2 Days In Venice – The Perfect Itinerary Of Top Things To Do
After visiting Venice on our recent and first trip to Italy, I can tell you that it's a magical place to see and offers so unique things to do! You'll see what I mean as you read through this post including exactly what you don't want to miss and must include in your itinerary. If you're like us, you'll probably be visiting several places around the country and wondering how many days would be good to plan for Venice.
If you ask me, you should plan a whole week here, but that may not be possible for everyone so at least 2 days should be dedicated to your Venice itinerary. Some folks who live in Europe might even enjoy popping over for a weekend away (my friend did this to spend time with us)! If you can spend 3 days in Venice, even better!
I can't rave enough about Venice. There is a reason why this City of Canals is so famous and tourists pour into it year after year. I must admit that I was not always on the bandwagon. The place came across as overrated or, simply, a basic destination that those with no imagination went to visit. Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise!
While the romance swept me away in Venice, I was equally impressed by the history and architecture here. The itinerary I share with you below has a mix of things to do that are great for couples visiting on their honeymoon, but can also be used for a family trip. I'd even use this itinerary if I was visiting Venice solo or with a friend. I spent part of one day roaming around on my own and another part of it with a friend so I know it would work!
Top Things To Do & See In Venice Italy
There's probably an endless amount of things you can do while staying in Venice, but here's a short and sweet list of the top things to do in Venice Italy for quick reference. These are all of the things we did and places we saw on our trip there. If you want to know the best itinerary to get to all of the places on this list, check out the details in the next section.
How To Plan Your 2 Days In Venice
Here's how we suggest you set up your itinerary for 2 days in Venice:
Day 1 - Basilica, Rialto Bridge, doge palace &the piazza san marco
On your first day in Venice, you'll probably have seen the grand canal coming into town. If you're like us and took the train to Venice from another part of Italy (or maybe the airport?) you may have had to catch a water bus -or vaporetto- to wherever you were staying. The Vaporetto are the public ferries that you can take around the Grand Canal. Think of it as a public bus, only it is over water, hence, water bus. If for some reason you didn't see the Grand Canal coming in, then you must go check it out. It's kind of hard to miss, to be honest. It's the largest path of water in Venice and creates something like a circle around all of the little islands that make up Venice.
Yeah, did you know that every time you walk over one of those little bridges in Venice that you are going from one tiny island to another? Well, I didn't know that so finding it out was a nice treat!
Check Out Rialto Bridge
A lot of people tend to stay near the San Marco neighborhood which is pretty touristy (in my opinion). However, there's a good reason why people choose this area. Those who book accommodations in this area are going to be close to a good chunk of the major attractions in Venice. Though I have to say, it really is not that far of a walk from most other neighborhoods.
Pro-Traveler Tip: Try to avoid staying in the San Marco area. Be aware that depending on where you stay in some of the other areas in Venice you may have to walk around 15-20 minutes to get to some of the famous sights. However, by staying a bit farther away, you'll get a bit more peace and quiet as well as some nice places to explore!
Having said that, you should not worry about booking a bit out of the popular area of San Marco (try Airbnb for the best experience). You'll easily be able to reach the Grand Canal and see the magnificent structure of the Rialto Bridge. Walking over it (I probably did this 6 or 7 times during our 2 days) can be difficult sometimes only due to the huge number of people that pass through or hang around to take photos. I got lucky and went once on a drizzly day when fewer people were out and about.
Either way, there are plenty of options for restaurants lining the Grand Canal which offer perfect views of the iconic Rialto Bridge. Whether you're there for lunch or dinner, you'll be able to admire the bridge from the comfort of your table outside!
Stroll Around Piazza San Marco and Climb Up the Campanile di San Marco
The Rialto Bridge is a quick walk over to Piazza San Marco. If you're like me and don't like crowded places, you may want to allocate a short amount of time here. But don't be discouraged from visiting this landmark! It is certainly a must see!
There are some restaurants in the piazza that offer live music and outdoor seating. It can be a romantic place to hang out and just people watch. The birds flying in for a chance to score some food, the people strolling around and admiring the surroundings, photographers taking advantage of some of the great scenery this area provides, and the sheer beauty of the historic architecture here are all a sight to see!
Here's where you can easily get your tickets for the most popular tours & attractions
Pay a Visit to Saint Mark's Basilica
This basilica is located on the side of the piazza so you can't miss it! I was highly wowed by the opulent and intricately designed exterior and architecture of this cathedral. It is obvious that this place served as a symbol of wealth and power in Venice in the past and, perhaps, even today! The mosaic designs on this building are so beautiful so make sure you get an up-close look.
Make sure to reserve tickets in advance if you want entry to visit Saint Mark's Basilica.
Admire Doge's Palace
Another beautifully designed building can be found right next door to Saint Mark's Basilica. Palazzo Ducale, commonly known as Doge's Palace, is a palace built in the gothic style. It has been a museum since the early 1900's but if you're not much of a museum-lover (or lack the time to visit the exhibits), admiring this palace from the outside should still be on your itinerary for Venice!
You can purchase Doge's Palace Priority Admission Ticket here and save some time.
Get Lost In In The Alleys & Shop For A Mask and Other Souvenirs
The day I decided to just go out and wander around without any specific destination or landmark to see was the most memorable for me. It was drizzling outside and not many people were out and about.
It almost felt like I had the whole city to myself, but a lot of that feeling was coming from the fact that I was walking around a less touristy part of Venice, near Campo San Polo. I didn't encounter any other people while walking down most of the alleys in this area, so it added to the magic of my day!
Incidentally, I recalled some of the memories from this visit when I was walking around the historic town of Kotor in Montenegro. It was one of the most amazing things I experienced there and it made sense because the Venetians had a hand in building the churches and fortifications of that town as well! You can definitely see the resemblance in architecture and design!
Bonus Travel Tip: Where To Eat In Venice In 2 Days
- Ostaria Dai Zemei
- Pizza 2000
Day 2 - grand canal gondola ride & More!
Take Free Walking Tour
You may have read in some of our other posts how much we love walking tours. They are even better when they are free, right?! Well, we've taken one on our trip to Lisbon as well as the time we visited Amsterdam so we had to go on one in Venice!
We enjoy walking around and learning tidbits of interesting information about the cities we visit. The cool thing about these free walking tours is that you are usually taken around by a local who also shares tips and advice on where to go and what else to see as well as how to get around.
I'm usually blown away about the historical and architectural facts I learn on these tours so the one in Venice was no exception. The tour guide showed us where Marco Polo purportedly lived as well as the residence of Casanova, the famous author! There were also loads of things we learned about how the homes were build in Venice and how they are maintained considering the water is always working away at their destruction.
Ride A Gondola Through The Grand Canal
It's certainly not the cheapest thing to do in Venice, but I'd say that it's magical and a must experience!
They charge about 80 euro for a half hour gondola ride. If you share the gondola with several others, it will be cheaper per person.
Do watch out for some gondoliers that may take you through some of the "less desirable" routes. Take your time to talk with the gondolier in advance and ask them the route they will take to make sure you will like it. Also, they may shortchange you on time.
We were promised a half hour ride and even confirmed this before we got on. It ended up being a 22 minute ride. It's not a lot, but I imagine it adds up for him. It's not fare that he does less for each rider, get's more rides and the people don't get their promised time on the ride. (They make you pay in advance so, sadly, we had no leverage to make them complete the full time).
Pay Tribute To The Support Sculpture
The pair of hands emerging from within the canal are part of an art installation (or sculpture) demonstrating the significance of climate change on the buildings that are surrounded by the canals. The dual interpretations that one can gather from these hands are: the ability of people to make or to destroy. More on this can be found here.
Discover A Couple Of Unique Churches
Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli
This church is highly popular for weddings. The unique factor that makes it so popular is its proximity to the canal nearby. Brides appreciate having a few platforms set up, creating a path directly to the church entrance. When the water rises they don't get their dresses wet!
Chiesa di Santa Maria Maddalena
This Catholic Church in Venice has some very interesting and mysterious legend behind it. Although it is not open to the public to visit, it can certainly be admired from the outside.
If you find yourself with extra time in the two days or end up satying in Venice for three days, we suggest taking a Grand Canal Cruise of Murano, Burano,and Torcello for an extra treat! See below for tickets:
Where To Stay In Venice For Two Days
As we mentioned before, it's a better experience to pick a place to stay away from the San Marco area. We enjoyed the quieter alleyways, restaurant options, and seeing more locals in the San Stae area where we stayed. If you like the sound of that, here are a few of our recommendations for accommodations:
Are You Ready For Your 2-day venice Trip?
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About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!