If you have a couple of days to spend in Venice, this is your Venice travel guide! Discover the best places to eat in Venice and the best things to do in Venice when you only have two days.
My husband and I have just returned from a magical 3 week trip to Europe. We chose Italy as the setting for our 30th wedding anniversary. The first stop on our amazing Italian journey was Venice, Italy. One of Italy’s most famous cities, I’m sharing the best of Venice and all of the incredible things to do in Venice when you only have two days to spend there.
Things To Do In Venice
There are plenty of travel articles detailing all of the wonderful things to do in Venice, I won’t be listing all of them. Instead I want to focus on the places we discovered in Venice that were memorable, perhaps a little off the beaten path, and definitely worth visiting again.
When my husband and I travel, we like to stay and explore cities as the locals would. For example, we don’t seek out restaurants that cater to tourists, instead we look for the hidden gems tucked away from the major sites.
My best piece of travel advice when visiting Venice is to get lost in the city. Wander the winding streets which are laced together by waterways and put away the map. This is where you will find the real Venice, the one enjoyed by the locals. Walk the back streets and when you’re ready to head back, follow the well marked signs back to St. Mark’s Square.
We chose to fly into Venice from London because we thought Venice would be a great city to transition to. My husband and I had always wanted to visit Venice but it was never a top pick on our Italian travel list. To our complete surprise, by the end of our two days in Venice, we were completely enchanted by this incredible city. So much beauty, so much charm, and so many wonderful places to see, we could have easily stayed a few days longer.
We only had one full day in Venice and one travel day but we made the most of the little time we were given and had a wonderful time.
Arriving In Venice
If you arrive in Venice by plane, you will likely land at Marco Polo Airport. This modern airport is on the mainland, six miles north of the city.
You can take one of three ways to get from the airport to downtown Venice. We chose the least expensive way, by a bus to the Piazzale Roma. The ATVO bus stops are located on the sidewalk outside the arrivals and baggage claim area. You can purchase tickets at the airport from either the ticket machines or from the staff members who are there to answer questions and provide information.
We stayed at the new AC Hotel Venezia which is just a few steps away from the bus stop where our bus from the airport let us off. After dropping off our bags, we set out to explore Venice.
Venice is best navigated by foot. There are signs all over the city on street corners pointing to all of the major attractions.
Venice travel tip: Determine where you want to go and follow the signs or your map. You can also get to your destinations by way of the Vaporetto. These bus-boats go up and down the Grand Canal and are much like city buses. Purchase your ticket at the ticket desk or kiosk, step up to the boarding platform and wait for your Vaporetti to pick you and the other passengers up.
A word of warning, these Venetian water taxis are notorious for pickpocketing. Know where your belongings are at all times and keep purses and wallets in front of you. Many times pickpockets will create a loud distraction and take advantage when you are not paying attention.
Visit St. Mark’s Square
We strolled from our hotel to Piazza San Marco, otherwise known in English as St. Mark’s Square. This grand square is home to St. Mark’s basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Campanile bell tower.
Admission to the Basilica is free but often the line to get inside is very long. We chose to tour the Basilica on Sunday so we were able to skip the line by going inside via the side door and attending Sunday Mass.
There is a strict dress code at St. Mark’s and no shorts or bare shoulders are allowed. Since this is the case throughout most of Italy, women might consider carrying a large scarf in a purse or bag to pull out and drape over your shoulders when necessary.
End the day with a walk back to St. Mark’s Square and listen to the street musicians while you enjoy the magic of the square at night. St. Mark’s Square at night is truly a beautiful experience.
Find The Best Food In Venice – Cicchetti
Venice is an expensive city and it’s hard to find true authentic Venetian restaurants that don’t cater to tourists. Our solution, and the solution of many others is to enjoy the cicchetti tradition in Venice.
Cicchetti, pronounced “chee-KET-eeh”, are small plates of food similar to Spain’s tapas which are enjoyed along with glasses of wine. They are served at small, local bars all over the city. The dishes are inexpensive, usually ranging from €1 to €3.
A few of our favorite places to enjoy Cicchetti are…
Vini AL Bottegon – Inexpensive, delicious little bites and good wine. Eat standing up or outside along the canal.
Osteria All’Arco located in the heart of the Rialto market.
Be sure to check out our map below which highlights these and other great places to eat in Venice.
Find The Best Street Food
The best street food in Venice can be found at Acqua & Mais. We enjoyed fried calamari and shrimp served in paper cones.
The Best Gelato In Venice
Boutique del Gelato – purchase a cone and stroll around the corner and enjoy it overlooking a canal on a quiet street.
Ride A Gondola In Venice
Yes, it’s touristy and yes, you must do it. So totally worth the price. Riding on a gondola in Venice is something you simply must do.
Slow Down And Enjoy An Aperol Spritz In Venice
While we were walking through the streets of the city, we stumbled upon a wonderful little café called, Art Cafe Venezia in the Campiello Santa Maria Nova. Here is where we enjoyed our first Aperol Spritz. It’s a lovely place to sit and watch the people pass by. We ended up staying for a couple of hours.
Here we have highlighted our favorite places to eat and favorite things to do in Venice to help with your trip planning.
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