Venice has been on my travel bucket list for some time and, with a few days of annual leave left, I jumped at the chance to tick it off.
For our three-day break we stayed at Palazzo Veneziano, a stylish hotel that faces out across the famous lagoon towards the island of Giudecca.
The area around Palazzo Veneziano offers a slightly slower pace amid the frenetic energy of Venice, while still being within easy reach of the main attractions.
On arriving at the hotel, we passed through a chic courtyard that would make a perfect spot to recline in with a good book and a glass of wine, if it weren’t still a little too crisp for my al fresco tendencies at around 14°C.
After a warm welcome in an impressive reception, we headed to our Classic room on the second floor.
Stylishly decorated, it was compact but very comfortable and perfect for a short break.
I am glad we opted for the bed and breakfast rate as the buffet breakfast was lavish and varied.
From freshly-baked pastries to an array of meats, cheeses and fruit, there was something to suit all morning palates, including Prosecco.
Well, when in Venice…
Although the amazing network of canals makes exploring by boat one of the most popular ways to see the highlights, for me, getting to grips with a city is all about donning my comfiest shoes and pounding the pavements.
Feeling more like a movie set than a city, wandering the streets of Venice is a joyous experience.
Every corner reveals breath-taking squares, stunning historic buildings and beautiful bridges, which eases the frustration when you inevitably get lost.
As well as striking landmarks, most of the labyrinthine streets reveal culinary delights and our wanders were punctuated by frequent pauses to sample chocolate-filled cannoli and creamy gelato.
Venice is also something of a shopper’s paradise.
As well as countless stores selling local wares including Venetian masks, Murano glass and ornate quill pens, high-end fashion is everywhere.
From Gucci to Dolce & Gabbana, those who love a label will find themselves in shopping heaven.
One of the most popular areas to head for in the heart of Venice is the Piazza San Marco, or St Mark’s Square.
The Square is surrounded by unmissable buildings of note, including the Doge’s Palace and Museo Correr, but perhaps the most impressive is St Mark’s Basilica.
As well as an important religious landmark, the Basilica is a visual masterpiece.
With five towering domes, every inch of the building is lavishly decorated with intricate carvings and more than 8,000 square metres of mosaic which make a visit here truly unforgettable.
Venice consists of more than 100 islands and many are well worth a visit so we took a 45-minute trip by water bus out to Burano.
Famous for its lace, Burano is also known for its vibrancy.
With almost every building a different colour, it’s easily one of the prettiest places I’ve visited.
Spending a couple of hours wandering the island and enjoying an Aperol Spritz or two was a truly delightful way to pass an afternoon.
However, be prepared for photoshoots as the social-media savvy make the most of the fabulous backdrop.
Venice is not known for its nightlife but for those looking for an early-evening tipple, the city boasts many cosy bacari serving wine and small dishes called cicchetti.
A Venetian tradition, cicchetti take many forms but often involve delicious seafood and are perfect for staving off pre-dinner hunger pangs. Alternatively, head to Farini to enjoy a slice of hot pizza on the go.
Although we visited in March, Venice was already bustling. As the crowds increase in peak season, it would certainly be worth looking into pre-booking key attractions and restaurants to avoid disappointment.
Orangey, fizzy and served on the rocks, it looks just like Scotland’s other national drink. Bearing a resemblance to Irn-Bru but in fact made using Prosecco, soda and plenty of ice, Aperol Spritz is an incredibly popular tipple in Venice. This cool, refreshing cocktail tastes amazing after a day spent walking around this historic city.
EasyJet fly directly to Marco Polo Airport in Venice from Edinburgh. For more information about Palazzo Veneziano visit venicecollection.com/palazzo-veneziano/en/