Arriving Venice by train, you will exit Santa Lucia train station and be greeted by the sight of Grand Canal. Across you will see the San Simeone Piccolo church with its light green dome. There are a number of water bus stops to take you to your destination on and off the island. There are numerous attractions in Venice among those is the Rialto Bridge, St Mark’s square, St Mark’s Basilica, St Mark’s Campanile, Dodge Palace, Grand Canal, Murano Island, Burano Island, Gondola ride and much more. The quiet back lanes of Venice is also pleasant to photograph.
While the major attractions on the island is posted here, the other attractions command a post by itself which will follow namely Grand Canal, Gondolas, canals & bridges, Murano Island & Burano Island.
Santa Lucia train station to the left.
San Simeone Piccolo church across the grand canal.
Water bus and gondolas on the Grand canal.
St Mark’s square on a rainy day.
Dodge palace facing San Giorgio Island.
St Mark’s basilica and St Mark’s Campanile (bell tower).
St Mark’s basilica.
Rialto bridge at dawn.
Souvenir carts leading to Rialto bridge.
Shoppers and locals on Rialto bridge.
Statue of the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni in one of the square.
Venetian in traditional costume and mask normally used during the Carnival of Venice.
Campo San Polo is the second largest Venetian public square after St Mark’s square.
Coming by train from Milalo Centrale into Venice Santa Lucia takes 2 hours 35 minutes. You may opt to stop at Venice Mestre, a stop before Santa Lucia as accommodations are cheaper here compared to those in Venice island. You can then shuttle between Mestre and Santa Lucia.
Venice Mestre train station. Just one stop before Santa Lucia, located on the mainland. Hotels are cheaper here.
Venice Santa Lucia train station located on Venice Island.
Venice Santa Lucia train station.
Mestre & Santa Lucia train stations are about 10 km and 10 minutes apart. There are train services between the two every 5-10 minutes.
Venice Santa Lucia train station looking from the canal.
Exiting Santa Lucia station, you’ll be greeted by the grand canal. Those yellow booth are water bus stops. Across is the San Simeone Piccolo church.
Getting around on a water bus (vaporetto) in Venice is expansive. A one way ticket for 75 minutes cost €7.50. Alternatively, you can get a 24hrs (€20),48hrs (€30) or a 72hrs (€40) ticket at a reduced price. Other duration ticket are also available. You can obtain more information at UNICA website. The main water bus service is operated by ACTV.
When you purchase your on-line tickets thru UNICA, you’ll be given a voucher which you will be required to exchange for tickets at designated counters or automatic ticket machines. There’s one counter right in front of Santa Lucia train station by the canal and another at the Rialto water bus stop. Automatic ticket machines are also there.
You can get a one way ACTV water bus ticket or 1 day (24 hours) ticket.
Water bus route displayed at the stops. You can determine which water bus no. to take.
The water bus no. is on the bow as well on the stern. Since there may be more than one water bus stopping at your stop, ensure you get on the correct one. Credit : wikimedia.org
Seats in the water bus. There are also open air seating at the bow and stern.
Once you’ve got your tickets, you are ready to explore Venice. With the many small and twisting alleys, getting lost in Venice is not hard to do. About the only place you want to get your bearing when you’re ‘lost’ is to return to either Rialto or St Mark’s square. Venetians has a creative way to assist us. Just look up at any corner building and you’ll see directional sign to either location. Simple and effective.
Directional sign on every corner block.
This way to Rialto.
Quite an efficient way to guide ‘lost’ tourist.
And this way to St Mark’s square.
But when you want to get back to your hotel or need to go to a certain location, an off-line navigation apps in your smart phone is all what you require. One map app I would definitely recommend is HERE Maps. It’s available for IOS and Android devices. Being an off-line navigation app, it does not require data connection to the internet. You do need to download the map of the country you intend to visit prior to using it the first time. This can be done in your home country or wherever wi-fi or internet is accessible.
Once this is done, you can search for a location without the need to be connected to the internet. Your intended route will be displayed on a map in your smart phone and voice guidance is also available. You can use HERE Maps for your walkabout or for driving. Truly a brilliant free, off-line navigation app.
Free off-line ‘HERE Maps’ navigation apps.
The phone on the left is an Apple (IOS) while the other is HTC (Android). I sort of favour the Apple as your location is denoted as a ‘pear’ shape green circle while on the HTC is just a grey circle. On the IOS, the pointed green circle shows the direction you’re facing while on the Android, you’ll need to walk a little to see where the circle moves to determine your direction.
UPDATE : Oct 2016 ‘HERE’ Maps is now known as ‘HERE We Go’. I’ve changed to a new Redmi 3S Android phone that has a compass and the grey direction indicator circle on my previous phone is now a green ‘pear’ just like the Apple. So a phone with or without a compass, makes that difference.
‘HERE Maps’ off-line apps installed on IOS & Android.
Like most hotels near major attractions or point of interest you will unlikely be able to get any cheap accommodation. If you do find a reasonably priced hotel, chances it will be located in a renovated old building and probably without a lift. As we’ll be staying for 3 nights and with the intention of capturing night scenery of Rialto area, we choose to stay at Hotel San Salvador. The hotel fits the description stated above.
Hotel San Salvador is nearby to the Rialto Bridge and to the water bus stop thus we do not have to drag our bags a long distance. Entrance to the hotel is via an alley just besides the Disney store. You do need to climb a steep staircase up to the reception. Room No. 22 is up another flight of stairs from the reception and has a queen sized bed with ensuite bathroom. The hotel staff will assist you with your bags to your room.
This room is situated in an annex building away from the restaurant (not hotel’s) below and is reasonably quiet. The room has a small CTV, minibar, hairdryer and a cupboard. You have control over the air-conditioner/heater. The free wi-fi offered was stable and strong. Ample power sockets in the room to charge your gadgets.
It’s not a cheap hotel to stay but the location is very strategic being in walking distance to all attractions (if you have strong legs). Otherwise, walking a short distance to the water bus stop for the vaporetto is a convenient alternative. If you’ve arrived by train via Santa Lucia station, it will be step free all the way up to the front door of the hotel. Please note this hotel do not serve breakfast or any meals.
Map to Hotel San Salvador.
The alley way besides Disney store to the hotel. A little turned-off by this sight.
A ‘bridge’ connecting the hotel rooms to the annex block. Entrance from the Disney store is at the far end. Hotel door is the red & white facade.
Ring the bell for the grille door to open.
You need to climb these stairs to the reception. Rather steep but the hotel staff will assist you.
The hotel reception.
The queen bed in room 22. There are two small side tables besides the bed.
A small dressing table with a mini bar at the bottom.