Europe // Italy Part I (Venice)

Italy was the last country on our Europe trip. We previously went to Germany (recaps here and here) and Austria (recaps here and here). 

We left off surviving the night train from Salzburg to Venice and despite the lack of sleep, we were excited to be in Italy! When planning this trip, Kevin said Italy was his top destination (mine was Germany), so we decided to hit four cities in eight days.

Our train got into Venice at 8:30 a.m. and we immediately dropped our bags off at the luggage drop within the train station for five or so euros (I can’t remember the exact amount) per suitcase.

Then, we caught Venice’s form of public transportation – a boat – to the main district, San Marco.

Venice is simply amazing. There are no cars, obviously, so everything is transported via boat. Kegs on a boat!

The ride was pretty cheap (maybe two euro a person?) and about 20 minutes, but it felt like a tour of all the districts as we passed by each. Highly recommend just using public transportation over a water taxi or gondola.

Once we got into the San Marco area, we popped into a little cafe for breakfast. Cappuccino and pastries!

We were only in Venice for the afternoon, and it rained the entire time we were there, so we didn’t do many touristy things. We basically just walked around and got lost in the streets – the best way to see Venice, in my opinion!

We made our way to Harry’s Bar, the birthplace of the bellini! This bar has been open since 1931 and was a favorite of Earnest Hemingway. I’ll warn you this place is not cheap, but it was fun to sip on the bellini, where it was created.

We kept getting more and more lost, but every turn was picturesque. I mean, someone lives here!

We found a little bar/cafe for lunch and grabbed a couple slices of pizza and a glass of wine. The pizza here doesn’t look very good, but it was delicious.

And gelato! Out of all the things I couldn’t wait to see/do in Italy, gelato was near the top. We got some twice each day, usually once after lunch and once after dinner.

Kevin always got some sort of fruit flavor, like berries or mixed fruit…

Meanwhile, pistachio was my flavor of choice. Obsessed. 

We left Venice around 3 p.m. to head over to Florence via train. We really didn’t give ourselves much time to truly explore Venice but I am honestly not sure what else we would have done – walk around, take a water taxi, saw the sites/culture, ate pizza, drank bellinis and got gelato.

Florence up next!

Austria Travel Guide

Just like the Germany travel guide I posted, I figured it made sense to do the same for Austria now that I’ve written our trip recaps (here and here in case you missed them). So, here we go!

Where we stayed

Hotel am Dom! And we couldn’t recommend it more. The location was perfect – right in the heart of Old Town Salzburg, and was within walking distance to everything. In fact, there aren’t really cars in Old Town because the roads are so narrow.

The staff was extremely friendly and they held our bags all day on our check-out day, because our train wasn’t until 1:40 a.m. the following day. And the rooms were so clean and cute! I loved the wood beam ceiling and the rain head shower was ah-mazing. The beds were so comfortable, too. Definitely highly recommend staying here!

Where we ate/drank 

One thing to know about me is that I like variety with my food. So after spending four days eating essentially only German food, I was ready for something else so we ate Italian food in Salzburg twice. (And when I write about Italy, I’ll share the delicious Mexican restaurant we dined at.)

Trattoria da Pippo – GO HERE TO EAT! It’s right in the heart of Old Town and has the best pizza we had the whole trip.

Festung Hohensalzburg – If you’re venturing up to the top, you might as well stop at the cafe for a beer and soak in the view.

Älteste Bäckerei Salzburg – Literally translates to “the oldest bakery in Salzburg.” They must have been real confident naming the place when they opened in 1429. We grabbed breakfast-to-go and the danishes were divine.

Mühlradl – Located outside of Salzburg in the town of St. Gilgen, this small family-owned restaurant had some of the best German/Austrian food we’d had. Definitely worth stopping by for lunch (and the views!) if you’re nearby.

Seppo – An amazing quaint little wine bar right in the heart of Old Town. It was one of the few places open late at night and had a great vibe, even on a random Tuesday night.

What we did

Old Town – We walked around Old Town and explored the streets on our first day and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about that. We walked along the river and stumbled across Mozart’s birth place.

Festung Hohensalzburg – Worth the climb or euros to take the tram to the top just to see the amazing views of Salzburg.

Bob’s Tours – Kevin and I aren’t really tour people, so this was only one of two tours we did out of our entire two-week trip, but we could not recommend this one enough! They were friendly, easy to deal with (i.e. when you book the tour online for the wrong date… twice, but they still change your reservation without hassle), and we got to see a lot of Austria in one short day.

Pro Tips/Stray Observations

Everything in Salzburg closes early – shops, restaurants, bars, etc. It’s a small city (less than 150,000 people) and they don’t accommodate late schedules, so plan to eat early.

Take the public transportation here. Seriously the bus system was so easy to navigate and it was dirt cheap (I think one, maybe two, euro for a one-way ticket).

And while we’re on the subject of transportation… the drivers in Austria were insane.

Soak it all in. This city is unbelievably beautiful and the higher up you go, the better it looks because the Alps surrounding the town make it look unreal.

We spent a day and a half in Salzburg and I think it gave us plenty of time to not only see the city, but explore the areas right outside of it. Perfect amount of time for us!