Taking for a guided tour in Vatican City? Here's how to make the most of it, from post cards to gelato.
I don't keep a travel bucket list, but if I did, Vatican City would surely be near the top. It's the world's smallest country, both in size and population. It has a unique economic system almost entirely sustained by tourists - many who are clamoring to get rare Vatican City postage stamps, a big bucket list item for many travelers. I've even read that it's the wealthiest country in the world (not that surprising, considering the treasure trove of art within its walls). And, of course, for many travelers it's much more than a bucket list destination - it's their spiritual home as Roman Catholics.
It's unthinkable to come to Rome and not visit the Vatican. But you don't just stroll into such a legendary location without a plan. We started by signing up for a group tour - an invaluable travel tool - and we learned some critical lessons along the way. Here are our seven best practical tips for making the most of a guided tour to Vatican City.
Travel writer Emma Higgins spent a year traveling solo around Ireland and the UK... and didn't shy away from taking some walks on the wild side.
Travel writer Emma Higgins went on a journey through the UK and Ireland for the whole of 2015. Emma travelled around her native land from the Hebrides in Scotland to the far corners of Cornwall, the west coast of Ireland and eastern England. Her book, A Year in the UK & Ireland, which is out now, is a collection of twenty long-form stories about her voyage, with beautiful accompanying photography aimed to inspire you to see the British Isles from a new perspective.
We sat down with Emma to talk about her incredible adventure!
"Just how much is a Gondola ride in Venice?"
Have you ever seen a news report about a ferry that tragically capsizes, unable to bear the burden of its oversized load of passengers and parcels? Thankfully, I've never faced a travel crisis that dangerous but I did have a moment of genuine fear and intense claustrophobia in the most unlikely of boating destinations: Venice!
We emerged from the train station and approached the water bus 'stations' - aka the vaporetto terminals - with enthusiasm and confidence. Not only would we ride to our hotel in comfort using water borne public transportation, we'd also have a classic Venetian sightseeing experience for a fraction of the price of a gondola! After all, I had looked into how much a gondola ride is in Venice and I was shocked. More on that in a minute.... I thought I was a genius for picking an alternative plan. A vaporetto ride costs just a few Euros. Brilliant plan, right?
Alas, our brilliant plan wasn't as unique as we imagined - everyone else had the exact same idea! It was peak time (early afternoon) in peak season (a weekend in August) - and those boats were PACKED. We let the first water bus (aka the vaporetto) pass, alarmed by the amount of passengers bursting its seams, certain the next boat would be better. Ha!
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