Marco Polo’s Top 5 Romantic Destinations + GIVEAWAY

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is all about the big romantic gestures, and what better way to show your love than by taking your significant other on a romantic getaway. We at Marco Polo have decided to share our top 5 romantic destinations with you and to spread the love, we are also giving away a set of 5 Marco Polo Pocket Guides:

AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam may not seem like a romantic destination, but there is a lot of love in this Dutch city. A stroll down the canals, hand in hand with your love, while the locals cycle by, also often hand in hand. Or take a canal cruise and snuggle on the boat while you take in the beautiful 17th century sights.

Oh, and don’t forget to treat your love to a bunch of tulips at the Bloemenmarkt!

BALI

Bali is without a doubt a romantic getaway destination: the beaches, the views, the sunsets, what more could you ask for? The island is a perfect couple’s paradise! For those wishing to splurge, check out the AYANA Resort and Spa in Jimbaran for first class luxury! For those looking for luxury on a budget, this can still be found at Keraton Jimbaran Beach Resort with its own private beach!

While you’re on the island be sure to check out Sanur for its relaxed vibe, Ubud’s rice paddies and in the north: Lovina to do some dolphin watching!

Venice Marco Polo Guide

VENICE

The canals, the gondolas, the gorgeous historical buildings – Venice is full of romance! It has been the setting of many a love story, and one of the most famous ones is the tragic love story between a fisherman and a mermaid. All that is left of their love is a stone heart that is said to bring eternal love to those who touch it, so make sure to take your own love there.

For the best view of Venice, check out Ponte dell’Academia, also known for the many love locks attached to it. Just don’t leave yours there, the locals will not appreciate the damage done to the historical bridge.

Photo credit: Tim Kelly

LAKE GARDA

The beautiful Lake Garda, with mountains in the distance, makes for a stunning scene for the couples seeking an active vacation. Visit the historical harbour of Sirmione, go hiking in the nearby mountains and end your day in one of the area’s excellent Italian restaurants, or watch the sun set into the lake on the beach.

NEW YORK

With all the romantic comedies set in New York, it would be hard to argue why New York does not belong on this list. It is the perfect urban setting for your very own love story. Exchange kisses on the top of the Empire State Building, take a stroll in Central Park and re-enact your favourite romantic movie scene in the city that never sleeps.

*****

GIVEAWAY

To spread the love, Marco Polo is organising a giveaway! We are giving away a set of 5 Marco Polo Pocket guides to one lucky winner, chosen at random.

How to enter?

Simply share the story of your most romantic travel moment or your favourite romantic destination in the comments below. You can earn more win-chances by liking our Facebook page and by following our Twitter and Instagram and by letting us know in your comment that you have done so.

The competition is open from Wednesday 14 February 2018 until Tuesday 20 February 2018 at 12.00 GMT. We will contact the winner personally via email using the email address used to leave the comment so make sure to check that it is spelled correctly!

Good luck! 

Terms and Conditions:

  1. The promotion is open to UK and EU residents aged 18 or over, excluding employees and their immediate families of Marco Polo, its agents or anyone professionally connected with the promotion.
  2. To enter, simply comment on the blog post. Additional win-chances may be acquired by liking the Marco Polo Facebook page and by following the Marco Polo Twitter and Instagram accounts. If the entrant has done any of the mentioned actions, it should be stated in the comment.
  3. This competition will commence on 14 February 2018 and all entries must be received by 12.00 GMT on 20 Febryary 2018. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for any entries that are incomplete, posted late, misdirected, and incorrect, garbled or fail to reach the Promoter by the closing date for any reason. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid.
  4. No purchase necessary, however internet access is required.
  5. The Prizes: 1 x prize winner will receive 5 x Marco Polo Pocket Guides: (£7.99 each).
  6. The prize must be taken as stated and no compensation will be payable if a winner is unable to use the prize as stated. The winner will be liable for all costs and expenses not stated relating to claiming or partaking of the prize.
  7. The promoter may substitute the prize for a prize of an equal or greater value if, for any reason the original item is unavailable.
  8. By entering, winners agree that if they win they will participate in any reasonable publicity arranged by The Promoter or its agencies.
  9. By entering the promotion entrants confirm that they have read and agree to be bound by these terms & conditions and by the decisions of the Promoter, which are final in all matters relating to the promotion. Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of the prize. No correspondence will be entered into.
  10. The Promoter or its agencies accept no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered through acceptance of the prize.
  11. The Promoter or its agencies will not be responsible for the non-inclusion of entries as a result of technical failures or otherwise, including any such failure which is within the control of The Promoter or its agencies. Proof of submission of entry is not proof of receipt of entry.
  12. The Promoter reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any person it finds to be tampering or to have tampered with the operation of the promotion or the Marco Polo website, or to be acting in violation of these terms and conditions.
  13. To the full extent permitted by law the Promoter will not accept liability for any loss, damage, injury or death arising from this promotion beyond its reasonable control.

The Promoter is Marco Polo Travel Publishing, Pinewood, Chineham Business Park, Crockford Lane, Chineham, Basingstoke, RG24 8AL

Marco Polo Pocket Guide relaunch

Calling all trailblazers! Marco Polo has never been one to follow the crowd: since we burst onto the scene in 2012 and turned the travel publishing world upside-down, we have been pursuing a quest to create the best travel guide possible ever since! And now we are launching 30 ground-breaking new look pocket guides for 2018!

DISCOVERY TOURS

Along with all the regular content updates you’d expect from a relaunch – the guides also contain a new Discovery Tours chapter:

• Each book has 4 to 5 exciting, specially tailored tours helping readers get behind the scenes and head off the beaten track.
• The perfect planning tool – each tour has an overview box detailing the start and end points, distance, plus timing and costs involved – all the information an explorer needs at a glance!
• Each tour is plotted on an overview map highlighting the start point and final destination for easy orientation.
• A detailed flow chart with pictograms clearly shows the way – including distance indicators, sights to explore, views to enjoy en route and plenty of Insider Tips for
relaxing stops along the way.

FREE TOURING APP

Free touring app! The Discovery Tours are also available as an app – simply download any of the tours from the web link / QR code featured in each guide. The ultimate navigational tool to enjoy stress-free sightseeing.

NEW LOOK COVERS

Ground-breaking new look covers bring the guides bang up-to-date, so you won’t need to be shy about looking like a tourist! Fresh, simple, cool – the split line typography is designed to make you look twice and the bright colours will get you in the holiday mood!

INSIDER TIPS

The guides with Insider Tips! Showing the main sights in detail simply isn’t enough for modern-day travellers. Marco Polo specialises in getting you off the beaten track! Why follow the crowd when you can make your own path?

NEW TITLES

Relaunch titles available Jan 2018: Amsterdam, Bali, Barcelona, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Corfu, Costa Brava, French Riviera, Hong Kong, India South, Italy, Lake Garda, Mallorca, Malta & Gozo, Mauritius, Montenegro, Munich, New York, New Zealand, Rome, Sardinia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tenerife, Venice, Vienna.

Plus 4 brand new titles: Japan, Peru & Bolivia, Salzburg & Surroundings, Santorini.
All priced at £7.99.

ORDER YOUR MARCO POLO POCKET GUIDES NOW.

Let Marco Polo show you hidden gems, lesser-known locations and stunning viewpoints where you can make memories to last a lifetime. Brush shoulders with the locals, eat the food that Grandma makes and seek out unique experiences at every turn.

Be a traveller, not just a tourist!

Something to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Eat Like a Local – Venice

Many people think that the ‘cucina veneziana’, with its traditional, exquisite recipes, is still one of the finest cuisines on earth, but there are others who feel that it has been spoiled by mass tourism. Of course, the admirers and the moaners are both right in a way…

Venice Marco Polo Guide

There are still many chefs who create wonderful dishes to tickle the diner’s palate using the great variety of freshly-caught seafood from the Adriatic and fresh, crisp produce from the ‘vegetable islands’ and mainland, but you will equally well find the mass-produced menu turistico at a set price – and often, not a very reasonable one at that. In any case, the Venetian cuisine still has many incomparable specialities, ranging from the dozens of different varieties of pasta to the imaginative frutti di mare and meat dishes and sweet delights from the cake shops.

Those who want to experience everything the gastronomic landscape of the city has to offer, should start off by going to a few bacari (with the stress on the first ‘a’). These simple stand-up bars are the Venetian equivalent of the Spanish tapas bar, the Parisian bistro or the local pub in Britain – an institution, where you can have a glass of wine (an ombra), nibble a couple of delicious snacks (the cicheti), and – first and foremost – have a chat.

 

Local specialities to try on your visit to Venice:

Carpaccio – Venice’s culinary export hit: wafer-thin slices of raw beef, with a trickle of lemon juice and flakes of Parmesan

Cicheti – Venetian-style tapas: titbits such as small meatballs, tiny fried fish, pickled vegetables, mussels, stuffed olives, slices of polenta, etc.

Fegato alla venexiana – calf’s liver cooked in a white wine and onion stock

Fiori di zucca – pumpkin flowers, usually served stuffed and fried

Fritto misto di mare – fried fish and seafood

Pasta e fagioli – a substantial stew cooked with thick macaroni, white beans and a lot of olive oil and herbs

Risi e bisi – rice with green peas

Risotto nero – creamy, black risotto prepared with squid ink (seppie)

Sarde in soar – a very traditional, very Venetian starter: cooked sardines served cold with a marinade of olive oil, vinegar, wine, raisins and pine nuts

Tramezzini – triangular crust-less sandwiches with cheese, ham, mushrooms, tuna, egg or vegetables and various spreads

 

BACARI, BARS & OSTERIAS

Locals usually gather in these generally simply furnished, but extremely cosy wine bars to have a chat with their neighbours – usually standing up, to eat a few tasty titbits (in the case of the osteria, this is a real meal seated at a table) and knock back an ombra, a small glass of white wine that is impossible to imagine Venetian life without. The following are some of the more atmospheric places:

ACIUGHETA
A fine selection of cicheti, pizzas and other delicious things, as well as good wines, just a few yards behind St Mark’s Basilica. Soak up the atmosphere at one of the tables outside if the weather is fine. Daily (sometimes closed Wed in winter) | Campo Santi Filippo e Giacomo, 4357 | tel. 04 15 22 42 92 | stop: San Zaccaria

DA ALBERTO
Fans of excellent fish – come right in! There is a different menu every day which includes specialities such as spaghetti with scampi or squid, fish gnocchi or risotto, dried cod in salt, and much more. Closed Sun | Calle Ciacinto Gallina, 5401 | tel. 04 15 23 81 53 | stop: Ospedale

DO MORI
This is the oldest bacaro in Venice and has been here near the fish market for over 500 years. Countless pots and copper kettles hang from the ceiling and more than 100 different wines await you at the bar. All of this with many kinds of tramezzini and other snacks. Closed Sun and after 8.30pm | Calle dei Do Mori, 429 | tel. 04 15 22 54 01 | stop: Rialto

 

RESTAURANTS: BUDGET

BANDIERETTE
Good, home-style cooking – something that sounds as simple as that is almost a rarity in Venice these days. At noon, local workers drop in and choose from the two or three primi and secondi of the day. In the evening, the fare is a bit more upmarket – the fish is excellent. No wonder that it will be hard to find a table if you haven’t reserved. Closed Mon evening and Tue | Barbaria de le Tole, 6671 | tel. 04 15 22 06 19 | stop: Ospedale

AL BRINDISI
The chef in this small restaurant, not even a three minute walk from the railway station, has devoted himself to the preparation of freshly-caught creatures from the Adriatic and from the lagoon. In summer, meals are served outside on the Campo with a view of the magnificent Palazzo Labia. Daily | Campo San Geremia, 307 | tel. 0 41 71 69 68 | stop: Ferrovia

ALLE VIGNOLE
A lovely trip with the Line 13 vaporetto will take you to the island of Vignole. From May to September, you can have a pleasant meal surrounded by greenery after taking a short stroll through the vegetable fields. Self-service, large selection, hearty cooking. Closed Mon | Isola Delle Vignole | tel. 04 15 28 97 07 | stop: Vignole

 

RESTAURANTS: MODERATE

LINEA D’OMBRA
Creative cooking focussing on sophisticated fish dishes and a list of more than 600 (!) wines draw people to this smartly designed restaurant at the eastern end of the Zattere. Unforgettable: a meal on the wooden pontoon terrace directly over the water. Closed Wed | Zattere/Ponte dell’Unita, 19 | tel. 04 12 41 18 18 | www.ristorantelineadombra.com | stop: Salute

DA ROMANO
For generations, Venetian gourmands and gourmets have travelled over to Burano to eat in this trattoria that is famous far and near. The splendid cuisine focuses on fish that is cooked here with great care over a charcoal fire. Closed Sun evening and Tue in summer, every evening in winter | Via Baldassarre Galuppi, 221 | tel. 0 41 73 00 30 | www.daromano.it | stop: Burano

FIASCHETTERIA TOSCANA
There are not many other places in Venice where you can eat as well as here. From risotto to zabaione, from the perfectly grilled steak to the fried fish, the chef really shows that he is an artist. The atmosphere is tasteful but not ostentatious, the prices not low but justified. Closed Wed lunchtime and Tue | Salizzada San Giovanni Crisostomo, 5719 | tel. 04 15 28 52 81 | www.fiaschetteriatoscana.it | stop: Rialto

 

RESTAURANTS: EXPENSIVE

CORTE SCONTA
This modestly furnished restaurant is not easy to find but you will be rewarded with an excellent selection of first-class fish. It takes some time to get used to the fact that the specials of the day are not listed on the menu but rattled off by the lady of the house in Italian. Our tip: trust the chef and order an opulent plate of antipasti. But, be careful: quality has a price! Closed Sun/Mon | Calle del Pestrin, 3886 | tel. 04 15 22 70 24 | stop: Arsenale

IL RIDOTTO
This restaurant, with its brick walls and mirrors and minimalistic, elegant atmosphere, only has enough room for a maximum of 13 guests. It is therefore not surprising that you need to reserve well in advance and that Gianni Bonacorsi charges €5 for the coperto. In return, he serves his guests culinary highlights of supreme quality. Of course, there is pasta and rice served with amazing wines every day; the meat, fish and other exquisite ingredients vary with what the market supplies. Closed Thu at noon and Wed | Campo Santi Filippo e Giacomo, 4509 | tel. 04 15 20 82 80 | www.ilridotto.com | stop: San Zaccaria

LA RIVIERA
At the western end of the Zattere, the owners Monica and Luca pamper their guests in cosy surroundings, with excellent cooking and fine wines. It is especially delightful eating outside on a sunny day with a view of Giudecca across the wide canal. Closed Wed lunchtime and Mon | Fondamenta Zattere Ponte Lungo, 1473 | tel. 04 15 22 76 21 | www.ristoranteriviera.it | stop: San Basilio

 

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Venice Marco Polo Guide

What’s the best thing you have ever tasted in Venice? Comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Only in Venice

Unique experiences in the city of canals!

Venice Marco Polo Guide

Gondola ride
Many visitors feel that a ride in one of these icons of the city is the epitome of romance. Anybody who has ever glided over the waters of the peaceful canals will never forget it.

Sun-downer or dinner at the Rialto
The district on the bank of the Canal Grande between the fish market and Fabbriche Vecchie has the reputation of being a really trendy place. You will understand why if you feast on, or sip, the specialities served at one of the tables in the open air.

Marathon alla veneziana
The people who live in the city on the lagoon are keen rowers. When it is warm a regatta is held every couple of days, when the locals – spurred on by dense rows of supporters – lean into their oars for all it’s worth. The highlight of the season is the Vogalonga in May.

The glass-blowing Mecca
For centuries, Murano glass has been famous for its high quality and a visit to one of the famous studios is a must. Standing in front of the furnace, you will be amazed when you see how the master craftsmen create a fragile work of art out of the glowing mass through ‘only’ a long puff and amazing skill.

Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto & Co
From momentous Biblical scenes by the great masters of the Renaissance to the genre and landscape paintings of the Baroque period: nowhere else can art lovers find such a wealth from the quintessence of 500 years of Venetian painting of this quality than in the Galleria dell’Accademia.

The classic carnival
Every year, the Venetians revel in a feast for all the senses from the middle of January to Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras).

Long promenade on the waterside
When there is still snow on the mainland, the first sunrays of spring tickle the skin on the Zattere in Dorsoduro. But a walk along the quay with a view over the Giudecca Canal is sure to warm your heart.

 

Buy the Venice Marco Polo Guide.

Venice Marco Polo Guide

Something to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Low Budget Venice

Venice is renowned for its breathtaking views of beautiful canals and bridges, but Marco Polo has discovered that there are many more reasons to visit this picturesque city… and it can be done on a budget!

 Venice

Food & drink

Trattoria Cea – a simple, friendly trattoria with tables outside and very reasonably-priced risottos, pizzas and fish. Closed Sundays. Campiello Stella, 5422a | Tel. 04 15 23 74 50 | Stop: Fondamenta Nuove |  trattoriacea.com

Qcoffee – it is on the ground floor of the Fondazione Querini Stampalia and is a popular place for students and office workers to meet for simple, canteen-style food; e.g. a fresh three-course set meal every day for 8–9 euros. Tue–Sat 10am–10.30pm, Sun 10am–7pm | Campo Santa Maria Formosa, 5252 | Tel. 04 12 71 14 11 | Stop: San Zaccaria

Doge Morosini – this centrally-located, well-managed osteria (a place serving wine and simple food) is the perfect spot for a stamina-building lunch during your tour of the city. It is functionally decorated in a modern style, the service is friendly and exceedingly efficient. The cooking is superb with large portions and at low prices. Closed Mondays | Campo Santo Stefano, 2958 | www.osteriadogemorosini.it | Tel. 04 15 22 69 22 | Stop: Accademia

 

Accommodation

The youth hostel with what is probably the most beautiful view in the world is located on the northern side of Giudecca with a panorama of the Doge’s Palace and Campanile. It is open all year round and reservations are essential. Ostello Venezia | 18 rooms (260 beds) | Fondamenta delle Zitelle, 86 | Tel. 04 15 23 82 11 | www.ostellovenezia.it | Stop: Zitelle

Another alternative to the expensive hotels in Venice is the Campeggio San Nicolò. It is a well-run camp site with space for 174 tents on the north tip of the Lido. There are plenty of other reasonably-priced camp sites on the mainland to the north of Venice too. Via di Sammicheli 14 | Tel. 04 15 26 74 15 | www.campingsannicolo.com

Ca’ Del Dose – a charming guesthouse on a side street off of Riva degli Schiavoni. Modern atmosphere in warm colours, functionally furnished, air-conditioning and friendly service. 6 rooms | Calle del Dose, 3801 | Tel. 04 15 20 98 87 | www.cadeldose.com | Stop: Arsenale

 

Shopping

Fish, fruit, vegetables and spices are usually much cheaper at the small markets than in shops – e.g. Campo Santa Margherita or Rio Terrà San Leonardo. Both Mon–Sat 8am–2pm.

Chic, reasonably-priced dresses, jackets, bags and many more articles made of silk, velvet and brocade, tailored by the female inmates of the Giudecca Prison, make a visit to Banco No. 10 worthwhile. Each piece is unique and also helps the prisoners’ rehabilitation programme. Salizzada Sant’Antonin, 3478a | Stop: San Zaccaria

 

Sightseeing

Basilica Di San Marco – the core of this magnificent church, with its five domes and ornately decorated arches and windows, is almost 1000 years old but its over-powering effect on all the senses is the result of numerous extensions and alterations to the architectural fabric. Please note that it is forbidden to take luggage into the church; it can be stored in the Ateneo San Basso (Calle San Basso 315a | Mon–Sat 10am–4.30pm | Sun 2–4pm). Basilica Mon–Sat 9.45am–5pm, Sun 2–5pm, winter til 4pm; galleries daily 9.45am–4.45pm; Pala d’Oro and Tesoro Mon–Fri 9.45am–5pm (winter 9.45am– 4pm), Sat/Sun 2–5pm, winter til 4pm | www.basilicasanmarco.it | Stop: San Marco

Ceiling painting in San Pantalon – a little-known sensation lies waiting behind this modest façade: a gigantic ceiling painting made up of 40 individual canvas elements that will really turn your head in more ways than one. Gian Antonio Fumiani was the man who worked for 24 years to create this colossal Baroque work at the end of the 17th century!                       30123, Dorsoduro 3703, Venice | Open Mon–Sat 3–6pm | Stop: San Tomà

Museum of Harmony – an interesting exhibition of historical musical instruments has been established in San Maurizio. All of this is accompanied by taped Baroque music and is completely free! Daily 9.30am–7.30pm | Campo San Maurizio | Stop: Giglio

 

Entertainment 

Experimental theatres and cultural meeting places offer fascinating theatre, dance, music and multi-media performances at affordable prices and the opportunity to meet some of the young people of Venice.Two of the most interesting are:

Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, Fondamenta Nuove, 5013 | Tel. 04 15 22 44 98 www.teatrofondamentanuove.it | Stop: Fondamenta Nuove

Teatro Toniolo in Mestre Piazzetta Battisti, 3 | Tel. 0 41 97 16 66 www.teatrotoniolo.info (Website in Italian.)

Bar hopping – some of the squares have developed into trendy locations in the summer season where people drink and chat until the early hours of the morning – first and foremost the Campi San Luca, Santa Margherita, San Pantalon and San Bartolomeo.

 

» Read more about Venice

» Buy the Venice Marco Polo Pocket Guide

Venice Marco Polo Pocket Guide

Marco Polo Pocket Guides around the world!

Marco Polo Guides have been all around the world… from the sublime to the ridiculous (we’re not saying which are which!) Here’s a selection of our top “I AM MARCO POLO” photos:

BERLIN

Migrant Expats - Marco Polo Berlin Pocket Guide

Photo credit: The Migrant Expats

Marco Polo Berlin Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Alison Floutier

Berlin Marco Polo Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Chiara Colella

MONTENEGRO

Marco Polo Guide Montenegro

Photo credit: Steph McCall

DUBLIN

Dublin Marco Polo Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Carina Watson

ROME

Marco Polo Rome Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Jane W.

LAS VEGAS

Marco Polo Las Vegas Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Katie Bennett

Marco Polo Las Vegas Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Emma Whitlock

Las Vegas Marco Polo Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Emma Whitlock

LAKE GARDA

Lake Garda Marco Polo Guide

Photo credit: Vicky Merriman

Lake Garda Marco Polo Guide

Photo credit: Ian MacDonald

MALTA

Malta Marco Polo Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Tim Kelly

VENICE

Marco Polo Pocket Guide Venice

Photo credit: Vicky Merriman

Marco Polo Pocket Guide Venice

Photo credit: Hannah Shaw

Venice Marco Polo Guide

“I’m gonna have to go into the map.” Photo credit: Hannah Shaw recreating the London map scene by Joey in Friends.

BARCELONA

Barcelona Marco Polo Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Dannii Perrin

MALLORCA

Mallorca Marco Polo Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Bryan Bennion

CRETE

Crete Marco Polo Pocket Guide

Photo credit: Tim Kelly

Got a Marco Polo picture of your own?

To submit your photo: either email it to us hayley@marcopolouk.com or send it via our social media channels:  Tweet us @marcopologuides upload it to our Facebook wall or send it via Instagram. Please use the hashtag #marcopologuides

(By submitting your photo you are giving us permission to use your image on our website and social media sites.)

So the only question left is… Where to next?

Marco Polo Pocket Guides

Photo credit: Unamorenaintransit.com