Once upon a time I rocked up to Venice on a super yacht for a weekend. It sounds glamorous, but aside from a whistle-stop tour through the canals, a bellini in Harry’s Bar, and a few evening strolls around San Marco’s square, we worked flat out. When travel blogger Neha asked if she could share exactly how to spend 48 beautiful hours in Venice, of course I said yes – I myself had no clue! She shared her 48 hour itinerary for the perfect weekend escape to the floating city!

48 Hours in Venice by Neha of TravelBinocular.com.

(Featured Image above by Luxury Backpack. All other images by Travel Bincocular)

Before sharing my perfect itinerary for Venice, I would like to ask if you know how many tourists visit Venice every year? Any guesses?

Venice receives 30 million tourists a year. Are you amazed by this number? I’m not! This floating city is a dream for photographers and tourists alike. Plan a weekend escape to this dreamy city and you too will be mesmerized by its Gothic architecture, emerald canals and colorful street life. Venice feels like a dream until you see it from your own eyes. It consists 118 small islands, separated by canals and linked by bridges. I fell in love with this city instantly – its big inviting squares, the people, the secret alleyways, and the food. 

Let’s start with our beautiful journey in Venice…

I would recommend to aim for an itinerary you can manage, as it is easy to be overwhelmed by Venice’s rich culture. Plan your day with a mix of activities, like visiting popular sightseeing places, a few smaller surprises and a lot of pleasant strolling through alleyways. This itinerary will introduce you to some of the best places that are scattered over a large area of the city. You should be ready to walk a lot, but you can also take a Vaporetto (waterbus – ACTV) for some city hops.

48 hours in Venice – Day 1

  1. PIAZZA SAN MARCO

Let’s start with Piazza San Marco, the main square in the heart of the city. There are so many attractions to visit at this square including St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Campanile and the Bridge of Sighs.

48 hours in Venice

  1. ST MARK’S BASILICA

St Mark’s Basilica is a roman catholic church of Byzantine architecture. The interior of the church is mosaic-studded and an incredible sight. Later, you can also visit the Museum of St. Mark’s.

Tips: Entrance = Free. Casual visitors not allowed until 9:45am, but you can go and attend the morning mass.

48 hours in Venice

  1. BRIDGE OF SIGHS

This bridge was built in 1600 and is made-up of white limestone. You will also notice that the bridge is connected to the Doge’s Palace interrogation rooms. The reason it is called as a “bridge of sighs” as this is the last thing they saw before being taken to the prison and they sighed at the beauty of this view.

  1. DOGE’S PALACE

The architecture style of Doge’s Palace is Gothic. Doge’s Palace opened as a museum in 1923. In former times, it was used as the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice.

After your visit to the palace, pop around the back to visit my favorite Venetian cafe Dinky Da Bonifacio (Constello district). This cafe serves tasty coffee and irresistible cakes, like pasta con le mandorle (almond cake). The unique thing about this cafe is its lovely crazy-paving mosaic floor!

Tip: Take an organized tour to learn more. I recommend Secret Itineraries Tours

48 hours in Venice

  1. SCUOLA DI SAN GIORGIO DEGLI SCHIAVONI

After having delicious cake, its time to burn out some calories. Start walking in the east in Constello district, until you reach the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni. It is less of a tourist place.

Art lovers, this is a great chance to see some amazing artwork. You can indulge in charming early 16th Century paintings of the city, by local artist Vittore Carpaccio. In his painting he narrated the life of Dalmatia’s three patron saints, Jerome, Tryphon, and George.

Tip: Entrance = €5

  1. SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE

Next in the list is the panoramic view of the city. If you would like an incredible view of the series of islands in the lagoon, you should head to San Giorgio Maggiore. Here, you can take a lift to the top of the 18th-century campanile. I really loved the view of the bell tower of St Mark’s.

I believe it is good to explore city without a plan to see the real hidden gems. I think Venice is a right place to get lost and forget about your phone for a while! The best place to start is the Dorsoduro district. This artsy district is filled with mask-making workshops, bacaros, bars and quirky shops.

Tip: Visit Ca’ Macana (mask shop) in Dorsoduro. Do you remember the movie Eyes Wide Shut? This is the place from where Stanley Kubrick bought the masks!

Evening in Venice: 

Now, its a time to wrap up this beautiful day. Hop back in the direction of Piazzale Roma and disembark at San Marcuola. You can find your way to un-touristy stretches of Cannaregio, passing through narrow lanes and beautiful bridges. Here, you can find excellent restaurants that offer creative Venetian cuisine along with good-value house wines.

Tip: Visit trattoria Anice Stellato restaurant

48 hours in Venice – Day 2

  1. RIALTO BRIDGE

You can start your beautiful day with the oldest bridge in Venice called “Rialto”. There are 4 bridges which span around the Grand Canal: Rialto Bridge, Ponte degli Scalzi, Ponte dell’Accademia, and Ponte della Costituzione. The most interesting fact about this bridge is that it was originally the dividing line between two districts of San Polo and San Marco. 

48 hours in Venice

  1. RIDE A GONDOLA ON THE GRAND CANAL

Venice is a city which is built on water, so what else is the best way to enjoy the uniqueness of a city other than a boat ride? In earlier times, these Gondolas were the only way to navigate Venice. Today, the popularity of these gondola rides has become so extensive that you can find these rides in a handful of U.S. cities as well. There are four places in the United States of America where you can take a gondola ride: New Orleans, Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale and Boston.

So, why not try these flat-bottom boats where it all began – the birthplace of the gondola – Venice? Immerse yourself in a new experience along the meandering waters of the Grand Canal and the minor canals.

48 hours in Venice

  1. SAN MARCO CAMPANILE

Head to the top of Campanile (98m high) if you want to enjoy the best view above Piazza San Marco. It is well worth the journey to the top to get a bird’s eye view of Venice. Interestingly, this place was built as a lighthouse to navigate boats in the lagoon.

Tip: Entrance = €8 for an adult €44 for a student. Be sure to get the ticket online in advance as it might get really crowded and you have to wait in a queue for several hours.

  1. SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE

Your next stop should be one of the most dramatic landmarks in Venice. Commonly known as La Salute, Santa Maria Della Salute. This is one of Venice’s largest churches. It has the status of minor Basilica. It is located across the Grand Canal from St Mark’s Square.

I planned to visit the Basilica by walking from St Mark’s Square and got lost so many times, but it was worth it. It is so much fun getting lost in Venice if you have the right attitude! The Basilica is pretty on the inside and out, and you will have a nice view across the Grand Canal. 

48 hours in Venice

  1. PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION

It is a very short walk from Santa Maria Della to reach the modern art museum. Here you can find a great selection of art from Picasso to Matisse. These were gathered in the middle of the 20th century by the American heir.

Tip: Entrance: €14

  1. VISIT MURANO/BURANO

You can visit these pretty colorful islands which are famous for their lace and glass factory. You can take a boat ride to these islands which lie just a couple of miles north of Venice. You could take a half day tour if you prefer!

  1. DRINK A BELLINI IN HARRY’S BAR

Your last stop should be Harry’s Bar. This bar was opened in 1931, and is the place where Arrigo Cipriani has invented the Bellini (fresh peach juice and sparkling wine). A Bellini is known as the best champagne cocktail. Interestingly, it’s not even made with champagne! I would not be amazed if you spot celebrities here.  

48 hours in Venice

I hope you enjoy your 48 hours in Venice! Let Neha know which are your favorite spots or she has missed any! Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and have a read of her blog here

Further reading:

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