Verona, which is a beautiful historic city in Northern Italy where Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” was set, was an absolute delight to visit. Beautiful buildings, rich history, delicious food and gorgeous views is what you can expect if and when you take a trip to Verona. However, it’s not just about the beauty; another reason to be drawn to Verona is the practicality of it. It’s perfect for a weekend city break as it’s so easy to get to – with frequent flights into Verona airport and a regular shuttle bus (Aerobus) which will take you into the city (the central train station) within just 15 minutes from the airport. It’s just 6 euros per person per journey and for us, this was perfect as the drop off point was just a ten minute walk away from our hotel – Leon d’Oro hotel which you can find here on booking.com. I’ll talk more about the hotel later on in this post, but for now… just wow!
So here are 10 things which you cannot visit Verona without doing…
1. Visit Verona Arena
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I’ve started with the most obvious one as this beautiful Roman Amphitheatre is one of Verona’s most famous highlights and and a trip to Verona is not complete without visiting it. Not only does the Arena provide interesting history but on walking into the Arena it’s truly awe inspiring at how vast and beautiful the amphitheatre is. Not only that, but climb up to the top, walk round and the views looking down onto the streets of Verona are fabulous too. Something special about the Arena is that it’s not just a historic Roman site; it’s still used nowadays for the Opera, which I have actually experienced myself about 10 years ago and it was truly magical. The Opera Festival runs from June through to September so if it’s this you’re after then book your Verona trip within these dates – check the festival information out here.
(The entrance to the Arena is included in the Verona pass, which I highly recommend you purchase as the pass get’s you in to so many of the most famous sites as well as the use of the city buses. Discover the benefits here.)
2. Walk up to the viewpoint above the Roman ruins
This one is completely free and offers the most breathtaking views over the whole of the city. Walk along the river to Pont de Pietra and opposite the bridge, there are some steps leading up. It only takes roughly 10 minutes to walk up around some quaint cobbled streets and corners. The views are insane with some gorgeous trees in the foreground and churches and towers poking out all over the city. The point also overlooks some Roman ruins which look really interesting (although we didn’t have time to visit). If you are needing a pit stop and the top – there is a cafe too to give you more time to soak up these gorgeous scenes. This was a definite highlight of the trip and if you don’t feel up to the walk, there’s also a funicular that will take you up there.
3. Buy and drink some vino at Signor Vino wine shop
We were walking back to our hotel to get ready for the night ahead when a window full of wine caught our eyes. We were drawn in by numerous discounts on so many bottles… as an avid Prosecco drinker, you can imagine my excitement when we snatched up 2 bottles of Prosecco for €9!! A perfect aperitif to enjoy whilst getting ready for dinner; it was so delicious and I couldn’t believe just how cheap it was. But the real fabulous part about this wine shop is that you can buy the wine and drink it there. So the next night this is exactly what we did! It was full of locals and oozed such a fun atmosphere – we had a great time! So even though we accidentally stumbled into (and out of haha!) this shop, I highly recommend buying a bottle and enjoying it there. You can buy nibbles and sit down and soak up the Italiano Vino. Take a look at the shop online here.
4. Wander the streets
Okay, so this one may sound slightly boring with no real substance… but just try it! Honestly, I just loved wandering round the small cobbled streets and then turning into a grand square with a cathedral. Something that became so apparent to me was that there were no ‘dodgy’ backend streets in Verona… every little street in the old town was beautiful in it’s own way, whether it was a quaint cafe or a mini archway – there was something to enjoy wherever we walked. It’s so liberating wandering with nowhere specific to be, but just relishing the environment around us.
5. Eat at Ristorante Greppia
On our first night in Verona, we had no idea where we wanted to eat, we were just excited about the thought of pizza or pasta so obviously we weren’t going to struggle finding somewhere. However, we swung by the reception of our hotel to check where the best area was to eat. They advised Piazza delle Erbe but also recommended a specific restaurant – Ristorante Greppia. We headed to Piazza delle Erbe and had a drink (see point 10 of this post) and then decided to try and find the restaurant. We followed our phone maps and wandered down a small very unassuming street, so unassuming that we almost turned around thinking we’d gone the wrong way… we then turned the corner and saw some fairy lights. We were here – Ristorante Greppia. We went in and it was jam packed with Italian families – when it’s full of locals you know it’s going to be good! We sat down at the table shown by our waiter (who were all lovely) and ordered. Points we loved about this restaurant:
– Friendly staff
– €13 bottle of delish white wine
– Lovely marble interior
– But the MAIN reason… the food was on another level – the pasta was out of this world! Every time I think about it I can still taste the pasta melting in my mouth…
So a lovely night was had here and I will be sure to visit again next time I’m in Verona.
6. Visit Lake Garda and more specifically, Sirmione
I’ve stayed in Lake Garda a couple of times before – once about 10 years ago with my family (it was then that we all fell in love with it!) and again when I went inter-railing around Europe a few years ago so we really couldn’t visit Verona without a little day trip to Lake Garda. Last time I was there, we did a day trip to Sirmione which is a beautiful town on the lake so we hopped on a bus which took about 45 minutes and headed there. We had a lovely walk around the town down memory lane. It gave a completely different dimension to the town in January but it was lovely to see it in a different season. So whatever the time of year, whether it’s Summer and jumping in the lake or a lovely winter stroll around the picturesque town – a visit to Sirmione will be a delight!
7. Stay at Hotel Leon D’oro
This hotel was not what I expected – I thought as we got it for such an incredible price… real life wouldn’t and couldn’t live up to the photos, but wow it so did! Firstly, the location is fabulous…. it’s not bang in the city centre but it’s pretty close – just a 15 minute walk away (which I really enjoyed and perfect to walk off all of the pizza/pasta consumed). Secondly the entrance of this hotel is so grand, with marble floor, marble pillars and beautiful Chesterfield sofas – this hotel oozed elegance and luxury. Our room was extremely pleasant, although not too big, it had everything we needed and there were lots of mirrors encouraging the sense of more space than there actually was. The bathroom was fresh and clean and it was exactly what we needed for our city break away. This hotel ticked all the boxes – delicious breakfast, elegant decor, friendly staff and great location.
8. Have lunch on the river
As there was so much to see and so much on our list to do on our sightseeing day in Verona, we didn’t want to stop and indulge in a long lunch at a restaurant (even though we do enjoy that very much) instead, we wanted to grab something quick. So we went to Queen’s Chips and took them to the river and munched on our lunch there. We’d done over 20,000 steps that day so the chips were so welcoming and a naughty treat that we deserved. But sitting on the riverside, watching the sun reflect and twinkle whilst devouring these chips was another highlight and a moment to savour.
9. Visit the Castelvecchio Museum
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A poignant building and one with so much interesting history and beautiful art but also offering the most beautiful views over the river and the city (a running trend in this blog post).
10. Happy hour drinks at Caffè Barbarani, Piazze delle Erbe
Toasting under the heaters, sipping on an Aperol Spritz and munching on the FREE tapas selection, Caffe Barbarini is the perfect spot for an aperitif. To enjoy the views, ambiance and a few bevvys without breaking the bank – a definite one to try.
So visit Verona, soak up some beautiful views, enrich your knowledge with some enticing history, eat some melt-in-your-mouth pasta and be merry on Prosecco.
Let me know if you give it a go.
Love Girl Going Global xx