Gondolas in Venice during sunrise

Venice 2 day itinerary – loveliest 2 days in Venice

Venice is one of the most unique places in the world. A city built completely on islands in a lagoon, with thousands of years of history and architecture to show for it, you should definitely have a Venice 2 day itinerary on your Italy trip plan.

There are no roads to drive on, only canals, and the streets are narrow and full of bridges. You can find everything here – from high fashion stores to markets, from street food to Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s definitely special, and definitely interesting.

In this Venice 2 day itinerary, we’ve given you ways to enjoy the best the city has to offer. And, of course, advice on how to plan your best vacation in Venice.

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How many days in Venice is enough?

two people on the rialto bridge in Venice

Well, as it usually goes, the more – the better!

Venice is no exception to this rule.

But I’d say, two days is enough, and three days might be better.

We’ve visited Venice twice – once we spent three days there and once – two days. Our conclusion is that 2 days in Venice is definitely enough time to see the best sights.

Can I do a day trip to Venice?

Well, theoretically, you can, but I would advise against it for a couple of reasons.

First, you can’t really enjoy all of Venice in one day, it’s just too much to see there.

Secondly, starting from January 2023, there will be an entry fee for day-trippers. It will be from 3 to 10 euros depending on the time of your visit.

There will be a booking system introduced where you’ll need to register your arrival. It will be possible to register on a voluntary basis already in 2022, and there are supposed to be different incentives provided, such as skipping the lines for different sights.

When is the best time to visit Venice?

Well, any time honestly. We’ve been there in April and in November, as spring and autumn should be when there are the least crowds. Honestly, April was better because the weather was much nicer.

Since Venice is one of the most popular places in Italy to visit, there are always many people there. The crowds range from “small” to “crazy” depending on which time you visit, but you’ll never be alone.

In short, you can expect the most crowds from around the middle of April to the end of September.

Anyways, let’s go season by season.

Spring – shoulder season

Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute during sunrise
There are fewer crowds around sunrise time

Generally, in spring there are fewer crowds than in the summer in Venice, but already a bit more than in the winter.

Prices are what you’d expect from a shoulder season. Mind that at the beginning of spring some shops and restaurants might be closed.

The tourist season itself begins in May, which is when crowds start to arrive.

As for the weather, March is obviously much colder than May. The temperatures in March go up to around 12 degrees Celsius and at the end of May – even to low twenties Celsius. You might need a jacket, especially for the evenings. You can expect it to be raining as well, with the occasional thunderstorm thrown in.

Summer – high season

And by “high” season I mean HIGH. Summer is crowded in Venice. If you don’t love crowds, summer in Venice is not really for you.

The prices of things go up as well – so the hotels and gondola rides will cost more than during a shoulder season.

As for the temperature, summer in Venice is hot with the highest temperatures being in July. There are often thunderstorms in the afternoon and bugs during all hours of the day. All of this means – bring sunscreen and a bug spray with you!

Autumn – shoulder season

fog in venice in november
Foggy at the end of November

Similar to spring, Autumn in Venice is less crowded. This means easier access to a lot of attractions, including the museums and gondola rides.

The prices are friendlier than in Summer, although nothing really is cheap in Venice.

As for the weather, in September it’s still quite warm and sunny, but at the end of Autumn, it’s not that pleasant. There can be rains and fog, and it’s already getting quite cold outside. So it might happen that you have to wait in a line for St Mark’s Basilica while it rains. Unpleasant!

If you plan to go at the end of autumn, though, make sure you have some activities planned for a rainy day as well.

And keep in mind that in Autumn (and winter, for that matter) days are short, which means that there’s less time to do things.

Winter – low season, except for Venice Carnivale

During the Carnivale, which is held 40 days before Easter, usually between late January and mid-February, there are lots and lots of crowds. The prices of the hotels surge as well because of that.

Otherwise, there are little crowds really. You don’t have to worry about long lines to access the sights – just make sure to dress properly!

That’s because the weather is at its coldest. And since it’s cold and humid outside, it’s not exactly pleasant. There’s a bit of rain, maybe some snow, and freezing temperatures at night. Plus, the days are short which means less time to do things, as I already said.

On the other hand, the famous fog of Venice rolls in and the canals look very romantic. Tradeoffs, as usual!

How to get to Venice?

view of the Grand Canal and private taxi boats - one way to get around in Venice for a Venice 2 day itinerary
This is how a private “taxi” looks

There are many ways to get to Venice, but the ones we’ll look at are – public transport, airplane, and driving.

From then on, to get to the historic centre where you’re most probably staying, you just need to walk, use a Vaporetto or a water taxi.

The historic centre is a car-free zone. Honestly, there’s no way the cars could actually fit on the tiny streets or pass over the bridges.

How to get to Venice from other places in Italy or abroad

Let me explain more about how to conveniently travel to Venice from pretty much anywhere in the world.

Flying

There’s quite a big international airport, called Venice Marco Polo airport, which has flights available from many, many places.

From there, you can get a water taxi (shared or private) or public transport (bus and then vaporetto) to get to central Venice.

Public transport

A vaporetto station

Another way how to get to Venice is by bus or train.

Both of the stations are quite conveniently located just outside the historic centre of Venice, which means just outside the car-free zone.

The train station is called Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia and is located at Piazzale Roma.

The main bus station is near the train station on Piazzale Roma and is called just that – Venezia Piazzale Roma.

You can get to them from many places in Italy or even abroad.

Afterwards, to get to the historic centre, take a water bus, a water taxi, or you can just walk.

Driving

If you have your own or a rental car in Italy, you can drive to one of the many car parks that are located all around Venice.

There are quite a few parcheggios just near the bus and train stations in Venice. As you can imagine, those are quite pricey.

For that reason, we actually used long-term airport parking. We used Marco Polo on both of our trips to Venice and were very happy with them. They offer transfers to Venice Marco Polo airport, Venice centre and other places. But there’s a bus stop close by as well, where you can get a direct bus to the Venice Main bus station.

Cruise

For better or worse, there are many cruises available that stop in Venice. As I’ve never looked into cruises at all, I can’t really offer you any insights on those.

How to get to central Venice

By central Venice, I mean the historic centre of Venice that is actually a place of interest to everyone who visits.

To get to central Venice from the Piazzale Roma where the bus and train stations are, you can walk, take a water taxi, or a Vaporetto – a waterbus.

Walking

The city is actually not that big. If you have a convenient suitcase, you can start enjoying your two days in Venice from the very beginning and walk to your hotel.

On our first trip to Venice, we actually walked the way from the historic centre to the bus station. It was quite an interesting walk.

Vaporetto

View of the Grand Canal in Venice from the Rialto bridge at night
Vaporetto stop at the Rialto bridge

There are two types of main transport around Venice – water taxis and Vaporetto.

Vaporetto is a Venetian type of public bus. It is quite an incredible experience to use it, really. It’s convenient and runs 24h a day.

Water taxi

Water taxis are called Motoscafi and are a bit fancier than vaporettos, obviously. Just like normal taxis seem a bit fancier than buses. And that is reflected in the price as well.

If you want to enjoy the waterways already from your very first moments in Venice, you can even book a water taxi from the Marco Polo airport.

Just so you know, you’re not expected to tip the taxi and shuttle drivers in Italy.

Where to stay in Venice

The most convenient place to stay in Venice is the historic centre, obviously.

The closer you are to San Marco’s square, the more convenient – and expensive – the hotels get, of course. The neighbourhoods just around San Marco’s – San Marco and Castello – seem the most convenient to me for a Venice 2 day itinerary. Maybe San Polo would be good as well, as it’s just by the Rialto bridge.

Even if you have your hotel a bit further away from the very central locations, as I said, Venice is not too big, so it’s ok.

For our two trips to Venice, we stayed in Hotel Noemi and Hotel Mercurio.

Both of them are close to San Marco’s and pretty comfortable. The rooms were not huge, but if you have only two days in Venice, you’re not going to spend loads of time in the hotel. The breakfasts were tasty, and that’s one of the more important things, haha.

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What to pack for 2 days in Venice

Depending on the season during which you have your two days in Venice, the packing list changes, obviously.

But the main things to take during any season are

  • Travel essentials
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Camera
  • A bag for water and snacks. Just keep in mind that you might have to put the bag in a locker if visiting San Marco’s or another museum.

Do not pack high heels. You risk spraining your ankle on the cobblestone streets that way.

Things to know before visiting Venice

As for any historical city, there are some rules that you should follow when in Venice. That is so that your trip goes smoothly and without any unneeded altercations.

There are more Venice travel tips than I’ve listed here, though.

Don’t feed the pigeons

a view of people feeding pigeons on Piazza San Marco - something not do during a Venice trip
You shouldn’t feed pigeons

We’ve all seen those pictures of people feeding pigeons with the Basilica in the background. Well, in Venice, this is actually illegal. So, don’t feed pigeons on the San Marco’s Square.

Don’t sit on anything that is not a chair on San Marco’s square

Actually, there are signs of that. But still, just a reminder.

After many, many people use different walls, bases of monuments, and everything else to rest on, these things get damaged.

You will not be let into a church in “inappropriate attire”

That means, shorts, short skirts, naked shoulders, and crop tops. Make sure you have something to cover up – I actually wasn’t allowed in a church in Italy (not Venice) because it was +30C and I was wearing short shorts.

It’s better to not have a rolling suitcase – pack light!

Again, the cobblestone streets will not be your friend in this instance. There are no cars, so obviously no taxis, in Venice, so you’ll have to carry your luggage to your hotel. And there are almost never elevators in the buildings, so you’ll have to carry what you packed up some narrow staircases.

I’ve actually heard that it’s illegal to roll a suitcase in Venice and that you can get a 200EUR fine for that. It’s not often enforced, but I wouldn’t risk it.

The hotel rooms are smaller than usual

Venice as a city is quite dense, and that’s the reason that the rooms of the hotels are quite small. You still get enough space for a bed, a closet, and maybe even a nightstand, but not that much more.

Unless, of course, you splurge for a more luxurious hotel.

What and where to eat in Venice

having cicchetti and spritz in venice during our 2 days in venice
Cicchetti and spritz – a must!

Just like everywhere in Italy, the food in Venice is incredible.

There’s a wide variety of typical Italian food to choose from, and it definitely tastes much better than anywhere else in the world.

Where to eat in Venice

There are quite a few places in Venice where the food is amazing. Actually, so many that it’s hard to choose the best ones! So, a good idea is to just explore the restaurants around the place where you got hungry, haha.

As for where not to eat in Venice, it’s quite a good idea to not eat exactly on the St Mark’s Square. The food there is not really any better than anywhere else in Venice, but it is certainly more expensive. Even if you just go a block further, the prices are more reasonable.

Here are some well-rated places to get food for your Venice 2 day itinerary.

Osteria Enoteca San Marco

Don’t get scared by the name – it’s just off the Piazza San Marco.

It’s one of the best restaurants in Venice. (And the price reflects that – be aware).

Enoteca is typically a wine bar, but Osteria Enoteca San Marco serves both food and wine.

Arcicchetti Bakaro

A cicchetti spot not far from the Faculty of Architecture in Venice. This is a place to have good cicchetti for a good price.

All’Arco, of course, is more popular, but that means many, MANY people go there.

Hostaria Bacanera

One of the locals’ favourites in the Cannaregio district. There are mostly seafood dishes available, but there are vegetarian and meat options as well.

If you can’t decide where to eat, there are guided food tours available.

What to eat in Venice

Foodwise, as I said, any Italian food is a good bet.

Obviously, since Venice is a sea town, you should have at least one seafood dish during your two days in Venice!

I won’t list too many foods, but these are some traditional food and drink items to try in Venice!

Cicchetti

Typical Venetian food, cicchetti are small dishes of local finger foods. They are similar to tapas in Spain – just don’t let any Italians know that you compared the two!

This is a typical cheap eat in Venice, with prices usually being between 1-3EUR. Obviously, you will not fill up with only one plate, but still, it’s less expensive than a full meal in a restaurant.

Nero di Seppia

having spaghetti one of them nero di seppia in venice. venice 2 day itineary foods

Literal translation – the black of squid. It’s squid in its own ink.

It’s most typically added to rice – risotto al nero di Seppia – or spaghetti – Spaghetti al nero di seppia.

If you do decide to try this food, know that 1) it tastes much better than it looks and 2) the ink is pretty much impossible to wash out of clothes. Eat with caution! And better not give it to kids.

Spritz

Spritz is one of the most popular cocktails in Italy. Pretty much anyone who goes wherever in Italy will post a picture with a spritz, right? Well, many people are not aware that the origins of the drink are actually from the Veneto region!

The drink contains prosecco, a spritz of sparkling water, and a bit of Aperol or Campari.

It’s quite a nice experience to go to any bar or restaurant on the canale and have an Aperol Spritz.

Frutti di mare

“Fruit of the sea” literally. It’s a mix of seafood with fish, shrimps, crabs, and other things. You can get it as an appetizer or a main meal, for example, risotto or pasta.

Fegato alla Veneziana

A dish made from calf liver which has been cooked with onion, spices, and a bit of wine. The liver taste is nicely complemented by the other ingredients to the point where it doesn’t actually taste that much like liver anymore.

Venice 2 day itinerary

This is a “Venice in 2 days itinerary”, which means that you have 2 evenings and 2 mornings in Venice.

So, if you arrive on a Monday afternoon and depart Wednesday morning – that’s 2 days. If you arrive Monday morning and depart Tuesday evening – again, 2 days in Venice.

You just have to adjust the activities mentioned here according to when your Venice 2 day itinerary begins.

If you arrive in the evening or afternoon before the first day of this Venice 2 day itinerary, just enjoy your time for a bit. Check in your hotel, walk around a bit to get your first feel of Venice, and have some dinner and Aperol Spritz. Or maybe cicchetti – small sandwiches that are traditional in Venice.

Day one of Venice 2 day itinerary

Morning

san marcos campanile and the basilica should be on every single venice itinerary

Start your morning by going to the San Marco’s square and enjoy the most famous sight in the whole of Venice.

If you managed to go there around sunrise time or shortly after, there won’t be almost any people obstructing your view! Well, maybe some other early birds, probably with fancy cameras and tripods.

Afterwards, you can visit the incredible Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s palace) or the San Marco’s Basilica itself. The entrance to the palace and the Basilica is paid, with the Pala d’Oro (the high altar retable) of the Basilica having an extra cost, but definitely worth the price and the waiting in line.

Of course, you can get Skip-The-Line tickets as well.

If you feel like seeing Venice from above, I cannot recommend getting on top of the San Marco’s Campanile (bell tower) enough. You don’t even have to climb stairs – there’s an elevator for getting up. If the weather is clear, the views over Venice are unbelievable.

Just keep in mind, that all three of these places do not allow you to have a bag with you. There are lockers available, though. The Doge’s palace has lockers for free inside the premises, but for the St Mark’s Basilica and the bell tower, any bags should be left at Ateneo San Basso, across the Piazzetta dei Leoncini from St Mark’s Basilica.

Don’t miss the Bridge of Sighs! It connects the Doge’s palace to the city prison. The name comes from the fact that, when crossing the bridge to go to their cells, prisons let out a sigh because it was the last time they could see the incredible sights of Venice.

The bridge is located just around the corner from the Palazzo Ducale when you go towards the water.

Afternoon and evening

View from the Accademia bridge during sunrise with basilica Santa Maria Della Salute in the background
View from Ponte dell’Accademia of Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute

Depending on when you started your day and how many activities you did, this part of the first day of your Venice 2 day itinerary might be already later in the afternoon.

Anyways, after your lunch, head over to the Ponte dell’Accademia! From it, you’ll be able to enjoy that postcard view of Venice with Santa Maria Della Salute church and Canale Grande. Make sure to look the other way as well, as the view is stunning there, too.

Afterwards, continue on to explore the Dorsoduro district. There are many stunning alleyways with little romantic bridges, lots of churches, and museums. If you’re interested in modern art, check out the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Stroll on until you reach the Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute. It’s located at the very end of Venice so you get quite a unique view of the surrounding lagoon from there.

For dinner, stop in one of the cicchetti places – Baccari in Italian – in Dorsoduro or head over to Cannaregio for some of the best-rated ones in Venice. Feast on the small finger foods and drink a bit of Spritz – feel like a real Venetian!

Day two of Venice 2 day itinerary

Morning

Gondolas and Rialto bridge in Venice
Rialto bridge

In the morning, I would recommend quite early, head over to the Rialto Bridge. It’s the oldest of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal. Enjoy the view from it and check out the little stores as well – it’s quite a unique thing, actually.

Don’t miss the view of the bridge as well! Head over to the North side of it and hit two ducks with one stone. First, inspect the Rialto Market – that’s the reason why you should visit the bridge in the morning, as the market only works in the mornings.

The market is full of fresh veggies, fruit, fish and seafood, and so many other things. Many of the local restaurateurs go to the market in the mornings to get the catch of the day for their restaurants.

Then, you can have a coffee in one of the small cafés on the canalside and admire the beauty of the Rialto bridge.

Afternoon-ish

purple, red and blue houses in Burano near Venice. great place to add to a Venice 2 day itinerary
Houses on Burano

Before lunchtime, head over to the Cannaregio district where the vaporetto station is. Catch the vaporetto number 12 to go to Burano – a little island with colourful houses which is pretty much a photographer’s paradise. The vaporetto ride takes approximately 45 minutes, and they depart every 30 minutes.

Go to the island and have lunch in one of the restaurants. Of course, if your Rialto experience took until lunch or longer, you might want to have lunch in Venice itself.

If you’d like, there are Burano and Murano (an island where the Venetian glass is made) tours that last 4,5h or longer and cost starting from 20EUR.

After a couple of hours of exploring, head back to Venice.

If you’re still up to it, you might want to enjoy a romantic Gondola ride. Slide through the “streets” of Venice and enjoy the views from almost water level. It’s quite a special experience really.

Note: I’d recommend booking a gondola ride in advance if you are on a bit of a budget. We just went to a gondolier and asked for a private gondola ride, and it cost us 100EUR. It worked out ok because we were 5 people altogether. If you’re just a small group, though, I can see shared tours available that are cheaper.

Some alternative activities for your Venice 2 day itinerary

riding a gondola in venice is one of the most unique things to do in venice

As you probably noticed, I already mentioned some alternatives for your Venice itinerary.

But here are some other ones that you might consider instead of the ones mentioned or if you have some extra time in Venice.

Of course, this is a very short list – the full one is worth a whole other post, haha.

Lido

Lido is basically a beach. If you’d like a little bit of relaxing on your Venice 2 day itinerary, this is the place – island – to go to. Take the hour-long Vaporetto nr 1 from St Mark’s Square and enjoy!

Teatro La Fenice

“One of the most famous and renowned landmarks in the history of Italian theatre”. It looks gorgeous! You don’t have to go to a concert, there are guided tours of the opera house available.

Located in the former Santa Maria della Carita church, this is one of the best small museums in Europe. Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man can sometimes be seen in the Accademia, which is usually rather empty, as the crowds usually miss this museum.

One of the many beautiful gardens

a garden in venice with a lot of pidgeons - an alternative activity for a venice 2 day itinerary

Venice is actually not only streets, canals, squares, and old houses. There are quite a few beautiful gardens in the city as well!

If you’d like to add some greenery to your Venice itinerary, you can consider Giardini Reali, Giardini della Biennale, or Giardini Papadopoli.

Cannaregio district

Cannaregio is really Venice’s residential district, so by strolling through it you can get a sense of the authentic Venice. There are some museums and many restaurants, bars, cafés, gelaterias, etc. there, though.

Otello’s staircase – Scala Contarini del Bovolo

You can find this architectural marvel not too far from the Rialto bridge. It’s an exterior spiral staircase of the 15th century Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. You can get tickets to climb the staircase up to the roof which offers incredible views of Venice.

Last few thoughts about this Venice 2 day itinerary

Venice is such a unique place to visit!

Whether you have only 48 hours in Venice or longer, it’s definitely going to remain in your heart for a long time. That’s why we’ve been there multiple times!

Which places would you be most excited to add to your Venice 2 day itinerary?  


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