Venice is one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world and is on the bucketlist for many across the globe. For a city that stands on more than 100 islands, Venice sure has a lot to offer, from its beautiful canals filled with gondolas to the maze of narrow streets for you to get lost in. Even though the city is extremely crowded, touristic and expensive, it is one of the most picturesque cities in the world with an extremely unique experience that you would not want to miss. For those planning to visit the city but are short on time, here is how you can get the best of Venice in 2 days.
Below is a list of the most iconic landmarks in the city which can be divided between your 2 days in the city. Read on to find out about the unmissable spots in Venice.
Day 1 in Venice
Saint Mark’s Basilica
St. Mark’s Basilica is the most popular tourist attraction in Venice and is also Venice’s official cathedral since 1807. It is one of the most unique churches in Italy adorning beautiful Byzantine-style details, artifacts, incredible frescoes and it also houses the cupola of the Prophets which is St. Mark’s tomb. The building is designed with beautiful domes, carved marbles and mosaics, some of those have 24 – carat gold encrusted into them. This is one of the most famous landmarks in the country and definitely needs to make it to your Venice in 2 days itinerary.
The entrance to the basilica is free but it is also extremely crowded. It opens at 9:30 AM so it is a good idea for you to show up half an hour early and get in line to avoid the crowd and admire it in peace. The wait time otherwise throughout the day could be around an hour. To avoid the line, you can buy a skip-the-line entrance ticket for 3 Euros or be a part of a guided tour that covers both the Basilica and Doge’s Palace.
St. Mark’s Campanile
The Campanile di San Marco is a bell tower that is 325 feet tall at Piazza San Marco. You can get the best views of Piazza San Marco, St. Peter’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Venetian lagoon from the top of the tower. You can get to the top of the tower on an elevator inside the tower as there are no stairs. You can also admire the original bells that were once used in the past. So head over to the top of the bell tower for the most gorgeous view of the Venetian panorama. This view should definitely not missed if you have 2 days in Venice.
Piazza San Marco
Venice is popular for its expansive piazzas and Piazza San Marco is the main squares of the city. It should be definitely be one on your Venice in 2 days itinerary. This enormous square is packed with visitors, vendors and surprisingly pigeons all day long. You can take a stroll around the piazza and admire the architecture of famous buildings like Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. Or you can simply look over to the lagoons and watch over the passing gondolas.
Piazza San Marco gives you a glimpse of Venetian history and also houses some of the most famous cafes in Venice. Take your time and find a table at one of these cafes while taking in the magnificent view around.
Doge’s Palace, locally known as the Palazzo Ducale, is one of the most interesting historical sites in Venice and needs to be on your Venice in 2 days itinerary. The former residence of the Doge now serves as a museum of Venetian history. The ambiance of the palace glorifies Renaissance and Gothic architecture and you can admire it by taking a tour of the museum. There are several art tours and exhibitions that let you admire the aesthetic interior of the palace.
Those looking for a special experience in Venice should go for the The Secret Itineraries Tour that takes you through the inaccessible parts of the palace. The tour will take you through secret rooms of the palace like courtyards, attic, and hidden chambers and you can also visit the famous Bridge of Sighs. This tour also takes you through government administrative offices and meeting rooms and also shows the darker side like the torture chamber and the prison.
A short walk from Piazza San Marco is the Rialto Bridge, one of the oldest bridges over the Grand Canal. The bridge being a major tourist attraction is definitely going to be crowded but make sure you pause and take a good look at the incredible views of the Venetian panorama from both directions. Along with the view, you can also shop for souvenirs from the Rialto market right next to the bridge.
The best way for you to end your first day in Venice is by enjoying the beauty of the Grand Canal from this magnificent bridge.
After a long day of sightseeing head over to a restaurant or a family-run trattoria (preferably) to enjoy the Venetian tradition of aperitivo, a cocktail/drink before the meal to cleanse your palate and prepare yourself for a fine dinner. This brings the whole Venetian experience together and can be a great end to the day.
Day 2 in Venice
Architecture Walking Tour
To get to know a city intimately one has to walk through the streets. And what better to do it than a walking tour of the city. The walking tour will take you through the fascinating history of Venice and also show you the hidden gems and different sides Venice has to offer along with its famous tourist attractions.
You will be surprised by all the historical and architectural facts that you come across on these tours. Ever wondered how the homes are built and maintained with the changing waters around? Well, they might have answers to all your questions. You might get some personalized tips on where to go and what to visit around Venice.
An authentic Venetian experience is incomplete without experiencing the canals from the waters on a Gondola. It is an expensive and yet unforgettable experiences one can delve into when in Venice. This is once in a lifetime experience that you would definitely not want to cut corners on. A normal gondola ride lasts about 30 minutes and should cost you around 80 Euros.
A fair warning, the canals can be overly crowded in Venice, so if you are looking for a more personal and peaceful Gondola ride, make sure you hire a gondola away from Piazza San Marco and Rialto Bridge. You can either choose a personal gondola ride or book a spot on a group ride. The group gondola rides can be fairly cheaper as you will be sharing it with a group.
You can also choose a night gondola ride, however, it will cost you a little more but witnessing the sunset from a gondola on the waters can be mesmerizing.
During your day out in Venice, you can go check out the Support Sculpture. This is a pair of giant white hands emerging from the canal and seems to be supporting the building from falling into the canal. This art installation represents the significance of climate change and its effect on the buildings around the canal.
The sculpture offers two analogies where on one hand it looks like it is trying to support the building while on the other hand, it is trying to sink it. Lorenzo Quinn, the artist behind the sculpture quoted that “the sculpture represents the power of human beings to love, to hate, to create, to destroy.”
Browse Through the Gallerie dell’Accademia
For a picture-perfect view of the Grand Canal head over to Ponte dell’Accademia, another bridge over the canal. While you are there visit the Gallerie dell’Accademia, located right over the bridge. It is the home to art and paintings by Venetian artists.
The beautiful art museum showcases many pre-19th century paintings by Tintoretto, Guardi and other painters. The gallery is situated in a former church in the neighbourhood of Dorsoduro. You will need a reservation to get in so it is a good idea to get your reservations done in advance. This Gallery should not be missed on your Venice in 2 days itinerary.
Explore the Peggy Guggenheim Museum
The Peggy Guggenheim is situated in the 18th-century palace that was once home to Peggy Guggenheim. The museum mainly focuses on modern art which mostly belongs to the personal collection of Peggy Guggenheim, and the work she started to display publicly in the 1950s. Browse through and admire a wide and interesting collection of modern art pieces in the museum. You can also admire The Sculpture Garden in the museum.
The museum that is situated on the edge of the Grand Canal often goes unnoticed among other attractions that Venice has to offer. This surely is a hidden gem that will also help you to get away from the crowds.
Stroll the Streets
The most classic activity in Venice is to take a stroll around the streets of the city and enjoy picturesque views of the canals and the buildings. Your trip to Venice, no matter how short, is fairly incomplete without this activity. The streets can be meandering and tricky to some extent so pay attention to where you are and make sure you know how to get back.
The best place to take a stroll is away from all the hustle-bustle of the crowd and around neighbourhoods that offer you a very authentic local experience. You will come across various forms of architecture from different periods while aimlessly wandering through the streets.
While you are out and about you will come across various local markets and vendors. You can buy local products and souvenirs to keep as memories from your visit to Venice. If you like you can also shop for Authentic Masks that are a part of the centuries-old Venetian tradition.
Trust me! You will never get bored of walking around the streets of Venice and admiring its majestic existence.
If you have more time in Venice, check out some of these other sights :
Burano and Murano
You can take a trip to Burano, the colourful fishing village known for its lacework and also Murano, known for its glass making. Both these islands are definitely worth your while and you will surely fall in love with them.
Libreria Acqua Alta
Visit this unique library which is one of a kind, where the books are stored in gondolas and bathtubs. While you are there make sure you check out the fabulous view of the canal at the back by climbing up the staircase made of books.
Another island in the Venetian lagoon, popular amongst youngsters where you can go, chill and sit back and enjoy.
Dorsoduro is one of the more laid back neighbourhoods of Venice, which also houses two of its famous art galleries. For a more calm Venetian experience away from the crowd, head on to this part of the island.
San Giorgio Maggiore
One of the Venetian islands which is east of Giudecca and the island is known for a specific landmark which is the Palladiam Church. You can also admire a painting series by Monte on this island.
Campo Santa Maria Formosa
This is another city square in Venice where you will find the outstanding church, Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo. You can head inside the church and admire its pristine architecture and interior design which embodies beautiful frescoes and mosaics.
Teatro La Fenice
Enjoy a production of classic theatre or opera in one of the most magnificent Italian theatres, you can make reservations in advance.
A Few Tips for Your Trip To Venice:
- To get the most out of your two days of vacation in Venice, it is convenient if you wake up early to start your day off on the right foot.
- Start your day in the most Italian way possible by getting a cup of coffee and a pastry to complement it.
- If you are on a budget and don’t want to spend on a gondola ride or a boat tour, you can hop on a Vaporetto, the water bus which is Venice’s go to public transport. It will provide you with all the same sights as the boat tour for just 7.5 Euros per ride.
- Venice is fairly safe for tourists, however, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your belongings and beware of pickpockets in some of the crowded areas.
- If you want a hassle-free stay make your reservations well in advance instead of paying upfront and waiting in line.
- For a rather peaceful stay choose accommodation away from Piazza San Marco and the city centre.
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