The number one aim of anyone visiting Venice should be to get lost. The island is a rabbit warren with small streets haphazardly linking the beautiful architecture. Attempting to use a map will only add to new-city-confusion you so throw any form of agenda out the window.
A good point of reference is St Mark’s Basilica; it’s well signposted all over the island. Entrance is free and once in you can see behind the beautiful mosaics, dome and marble to reveal the magnificent murals. It’s just a few Euros to climb the steep staircase onto the roof and well worth it for the view you’ll see of Venice.
Great photo ops
The famous Bridge of Sighs at Doge’s palace and the Rialto Food Market with the Rialto Bridge nearby will make great snaps to show your friends at home. Gondola trips are a national treasure, but they’re also very expensive. Grab a gelato and catch the number 1 vaparetto down the Grand Canal instead.
Mooch around the Libreria Acqua Alta – a bookshop where the books are on gondolas to save them if the floods come. As for food and drink, it’ll be hard to resist the cakes and meringues are stacked high in the bakery windows. Bellinis were said to be invented here, so it’d be a sacrilege not to have one.
Where to stay
There are plenty of Venice hostels to choose from, it might be worth staying on the mainland to save a few Euros as it’s easy to get the bus back in.
If you’re determined to stay in Venice, check out A Venice Fish. You get a free dinner, it’s close to the Rialto Bridge area and just a 20-minute walk away from Piazza San Marco. They’ll also take you out to show you the best bars and dorms start at low rates.
Italy’s capital city has always been important to Europe, so significant in fact it’s often known as the Eternal City. With all this history there’s plenty to see without paying extortionate entrance fees, from the must-sees of the Coliseum and the Pantheon, to the Piazza della Rotunda to watch the street opera singers charming the tourists and exploring the unique streets and alleys.
Great photo ops
Made famous in La Dolce Vita, The Trevi Fountain makes for a great photo. Throw a euro in and legend has it that this will ensure you return to the city again.
You’ll get a great view over Rome from the peak of the Scalinata di Spagna, the Spanish steps. Just don’t eat your lunch on them as you can be fined. Otherwise ridiculously high priced, the Vatican Museums are free on the last Sunday of every month.
For cheap eats check out the Campo dei Fiori, there are take-out stands and delis all over the square. Piazza Navona is where the cool kids hang out once the sun goes down and the Piazza Santa Maria houses one of the oldest churches in Rome, Drop a few coins in the light box at the altar and the Byzantine mosaic will illuminate for 60 seconds.
Where to stay
There are many options for a Rome hostel. Youth Station Hostel is near the train station and within a good distance of all the main sites in Rome. With pub crawls, happy hours and common areas it’s an excellent hostel for making friends and dorms start at low prices.