Posts Tagged ‘discount trips’

Why would you go to Venice?

Friday, July 29th, 2011

by Kara Segedin

“Four days in Venice, isn’t that a little long?”

“Well, it’s more like three days, four nights…”

“You know it’s full of tourists, locals who will scam you and it smells, right?!”

And that is how one conversation went when I told an acquaintance we were off on a summer holiday to the famous Floating City. Had we overestimated the time we’d need? Was it going to be one big stinking hot mess? What had we gotten ourselves into?!

Luckily for us, said acquaintance couldn’t have been more wrong.

From the moment I first stepped foot in Cannaregio, the northernmost of Venice’s six historic districts, I was in love.

Ahhh, Venice

Ahhh, Venice

It was well after 11pm when we dropped out luggage at the hotel and despite the fun of budget airline travel we were ready to hit Venice’s cobbled streets!

But before we could go anywhere I was in desperate need of a gelato and thankfully (dangerously) there was an amazing gelato shop right at the door of our hotel *bliss*.

We had arrived in town on the eve of Festa del Redentore (more about that later) so the streets were fairly deserted as we strolled over the famous canals for the first time.

However, come the morning the city was buzzing.

Traffic Jam: Venice Style

Traffic Jam: Venice Style

Travellers of all ages and all nationalities wandered up at down the streets while men opened their stalls selling souvenirs and replicas of traditional Venetian masks and Murano glass.

It’s fairly easy to spot the authentic stuff – they are usually found in dedicated stores and have price tags that reflect the quality.

With nowhere in particular in mind we made our way slowly into the middle of the island.

I would recommend spending at least one day getting totally lost, wandering up and down the thousands of small alley ways that sprawl across the city.

They are also a great escape from the crowds and the hot summer sun.

Making our way into the heart of Venice, we followed the official (and handmade) signs showing the way to Piazza San Marco and Rialto Bridge and were joined by an ever increasing number of fellow travellers.

The square is massive and in the blazing midday sun we were grateful for the shade from the shop front canopies.

Chilling in Piazza San Marco

Chilling in Piazza San Marco

If you’re tired of walking, or fancy doing some sightseeing from the water, the best way to get around is by waterbuses (vaporetti).

That night after take a rather long detour on a vaporetti we found ourselves on the island of Dorsoduro right in the middle of Festa del Redentore celebrations.

Hundreds of tables filled with big Italian families ran the length of the canal looking out across to the city centre. They feasted on giant plates of local food (it smelt so good!) and glasses of wine. Grandparents, parents, aunties, uncles and cousins singing, dancing and gossiping the evening away, waiting for the main event – the fireworks!

And what a display!

For at least 45 minutes pyrotechnics took over the city. Colours lit up the night sky and booming explosions echoed around the ancient street – if you didn’t know better you’d swear it was a war zone!

Festa del Redentore = Fireworks!

Festa del Redentore = Fireworks!

The following day we tried a bit of island hopping, Venice style. First stop, Murano.

Famous for its glasswork, the island was largely empty on the Sunday we stopped by.

Still, there were plenty of opportunities to pick up pieces of jewellery and take in the sights.

It was a recommendation from a colleague that proved to be one of my trip highlights - the island of Burano

Every Venetian lagoon seems to be famous for something, and in Burano’s case it is lacework and rainbow coloured buildings – my kind of place!

The first thing you see when getting off the boat is a rather frightful looking wailing woman – no idea what she represents, but it can’t be nice.

Why is she so upset?

Why is she so upset?

Thankfully your eye is quickly caught by the brilliant red building to your left and from there you can’t help but smile at the array of pinks, blues, yellows and oranges of the town.

The Rainbow Island or Burano

The Rainbow Island or Burano

Oh, and I also ate the best pizza I have had in my whole life! Cheese, mushroom, artichoke and prosciutto – delish!

Simply the Best Pizza Ever!

Simply the Best Pizza Ever!

Venetians are a lovely people – very friendly and helpful.

Despite the extraordinary lack of Italian language skills in our group we managed to get by.

As long as you can point and say hello, please and thank you you’ll be fine in this largely English speaking (or at least understanding) place.

Our final day was spent catching up on all the little things we had missed – a last stop here, a last stop there.

St Mark’s Basilica was one such destination and there in the July sun we joined a surprisingly fast moving queue to enter the 11th century church.

St Mark's Basilica

St Mark's Basilica

Many European churches still enforce a traditional dress code meaning men and women must cover their shoulders & knees.

I specially brought a church-suitable dress with me, but if you forget to wear appropriate attire it isn’t such a big deal as the staff will provide you with lovely papery shawls to wrap around you.

Be careful of the men on the door though – they are more like nightclub bouncers than church ushers grabbing visitors showing too much skin as they walk passed.

While it lacks the grandeur and quiet spiritual aura of St Peter’s in Rome, the interior and exterior are stunning nonetheless.

So how do you put the perfect finishing touch on a perfect holiday in Venice? With a gondola ride of course!

That's Amore - Gondola Time

That's Amore - Gondola Time

Lying back in our luxury boat it was hard not to feel like royalty gliding through the narrow canals the vaporetti can’t reach, our gondolier filling us in with bits and pieces of local history.

And that was it - what more can I say? We ate, drank and sweated our way through this magnificent island, cameras always at the ready.

Bellini, gelato, pizza and spaghetti. Fireworks, bridges, canals and history. The list goes on!

Venice, you surprised me. I didn’t expect to love you this much!

Arrivederci Venezia!

Arrivederci Venezia!

Want to see Venice for yourself? Here are a few of the Topdeck trips that take in this amazing city!

Venice Carnival

Pronto Italia 2011

Gondolas Go North 2011

Eastern Express 2011

Travel in Spring - land a spot on one of our latest new trips & save 10%!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Travel in Spring 2010 with Topdeck and land a spot on one of the several new arrivals on our list of awesome trips for 18-30 somethings! Including brand new itineraries around Europe, Egypt, Morocco and the Middle East!

Book this month and get 10% off!

New European Itineraries!

Trip Days Departure Dates Promo Code Discount
Europe Express 9 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Barcelona to Rome 11 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Rome to Barcelona 11 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Iberian Voyager 18 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Iberian Coast 13 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Trail of Columbus 7 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Turkey Explored 12 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Iceland Uncovered 8 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%

New Egypt, Morocco and Middle East Itineraries!

Trip Days Departure Dates Promo Code Discount
Ramses Adventure 8 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Middle East Explorer 10 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Syria and Jordan 9 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%
Marrakech Atlas Trek 5 30/03/2010- 31/10/2010 TD10NEW1 10%

” Psstt.. Hurry! - 10% discount ends 5 March 2010!! ” ;)


Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Maybe you need a break, maybe you’d prefer more than 10 minutes of blue skies and sunshine a day? (I know I do… ) Here’s an idea: how about heading out on our cool European Getaway trip on the 12 September 2009 for 20 glorious days around Europe? Paris, the Swiss Alps, French Riviera, Florence, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam – shall I go on? What’s even better, you can save a massive 20% off the trip price just by using promo code TD EUR09 31D

Not sure about 20 days? How about 12 days on our Eastern Escape? ticking off Berlin, Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna and Munich from your ‘must do’ list. If you can pack up and go on our 23 August departure, 20% savings are on the table when you use promo code TD EUR09 41B

For more info on all our current special offers, don’t forget to check our Travel Deals & Competitions page which we update regularly.

I’m off. Adios Amigos! 8)

Learn to dive in Dahab for less!

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Always wanted to experience diving? How about the Red Sea? Topdeck is now offering its awesome 9-day Learn to Dive package in Dahab for 10% less! Trip departs 8 August 2009, please use promo code TD ADV09 015 to redeem your discount when booking online. If the idea of chilling by the Red Sea appeals (diving optional), hop onto our Sinai Horizons trip on the 27 June or 8 August 2009 to save 10%  with promo code TD ADV09 002. For further Egypt deals, check out the travel deals and competitions page.

Las Fallas offer - save £10!

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Always wanted to experience a true European festival in the heart of Europe? Savings on the Las Fallas Festival are now available from Topdeck Travel so make the most of this offer and recieve £10 off using our Las Fallas discount code when booking a 4 day Las Fallas package online. See the sights of Valencia and experience the fantastic party atmosphere of Las Fallas - a spectacular display of fire in the Spanish town of Valencia will blow you away!

Winter trips are all available, book now and save!

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

This seasons cheap winter holidays from Topdeck will take you all over Europe! Find budget trips to Europe. Take advantage of our fabulous Early Bird Spring Saver offer and save 10%!

Be sure to keep a check on this site for the latest offers brought to you by Topdeck.