I was weary about whether 48 hours in Venice would be enough to discover all the beautiful city had to offer, but it turned out to be pretty perfect. No, we didn’t do everything you possibly could do in the city, but a weekend trip was definitely enough to get a real feel of why the Italian city is such a tourist hotspot.
Getting there: I flew to Venice Marco Polo airport with Vueling and came back with EasyJet. Venice isn’t the cheapest place to fly to but there are very often flights available. I 100% always use Skyscanner when booking flights as it’s an incredibly simple way of comparing different airlines without having to visit all their websites separately.
From the airport I took a shuttle bus into the centre of Venice, as the airport isn’t on the island itself. It was 8€, took around 25 minutes and was situated right outside arrivals at the airport. I would recommend using this service as opposed to an Uber or Taxi, as that’ll set you back a little money wise.
Getting around: Once in Venice we walked absolutely everywhere. We were incredibly lucky to have amazing weather so we didn’t mind being outside all the time, and walking though the narrow streets and between the beautiful houses is part of the city’s culture. Nothing was ever too far apart, in fact we had a running joke that almost every time we popped an address into our Maps app it would tell us that it was 20 minutes away.
The only other form of transport we used was a ferry one day to visit one of Venice’s nearby islands. There are multiple ferries for this purpose, most are around 15€ for a return ticket and stop at multiple different places.
I am an avid Airbnb user, and this trip was no exception. I find that by staying in an Airbnb you are far more likely to get somewhere in an ideal location without emptying your pockets before you even get there.
We stayed in this 4 bed apartment right on the waterfront, which was both handy if we ever got lost and great in terms of the view. It had two bedrooms, one double and one twin, a kitchen, which we never used but it looked well stocked, and a decent bathroom with a shower. We were hardly in the apparent apart from to sleep, so it was perfectly suited to our needs and exceptional value for money.
My top Airbnb tip would be to read as many reviews as you can and don’t be put off by bad photos. I have stayed in multiple places which have had insane reviews but bad quality photos and the reviews never let me down.
Things to do
Explore: As previously mentioned, one of the best things to do in Venice is literally to just walk around and take it all in. Everywhere you turn there is a pretty building or some interesting food you want to try, so be sure to reserve some time to unintentionally explore. We spent many an hour sitting on bridges or on canals watching the world go by, ice creams in hand of course.
Burano: Visiting the island of Burano was one of my highlights of the trip. It’s a small island about a 45 minute ferry ride away from Venice and is covered in multicolored painted houses. I don’t doubt that it was one of the most picturesque places I have ever been, and I have a very colourful camera roll on my phone to prove that. You don’t need more than a few hours to walk around the tiny island, so if you have a morning or afternoon free then hop on a ferry, you won’t regret it.
Bridges: There are apparently over 400 bridges in Venice, I suggested at the beginning of the trip that we should try and cross them all but was swiftly turned down. I am thankful for that now. Without even trying we must have crossed at least over a hundred, it’s impossible to walk about 5 minutes in Venice without crossing a bridge. The are incredibly pretty however, especially when you get to one just on time to see a gondola passing underneath. Arguably the most famous bridge is the Rialto Bridge, along with the Bridge of Sighs connecting the prison and the palace, both of which are definitely worth a visit.
St Mark’s Basilica: We actually queued for this twice, since the first time we reached the front of the queue we realised it was actually for something else. Unfortunate. Make sure to check the opening hours of the church itself, because they change dependant on month and day of the week. Also, do not be put off by the queue, we estimated ours was so long it would take about an hour but in reality it moved fast and was only around 20 minutes.
St Mark’s Basilica is stunning enough from the outside never mind when you actually get in. The interior is mostly golden, and there are multiple different areas you can access like a museum, treasure room and the balcony. Because we are cheapskates we stuck to the basilica itself, but to be fair that was beautiful enough in itself and doesn’t take long to walk around if you are in a rush.
Gondolas: We didn’t actually do a gondola ride while we were in Venice, much to my disappointment. There are multiple ports around the city where you can go on a gondola trip, the majority of the ones we saw were 80€ for a 30 minute trip for up to 6 people. Even if you don’t have time to, or don’t want to, actually climb aboard a gondola yourself while in Venice you will see them absolutely everywhere. Take some time to sit and watch them go along the canals, with the gondoliers often singing as they go wearing their classic striped shirts.
Food and Drink
Now I am not usually one to rave about food after a holiday. I’m not the world’s biggest foodie, I would say I eat to live as opposed to live to eat. Italian food however brought out a whole different side of me, and I doubt I will ever stop craving some of the food we ate in Venice.
Aperol Spritz: I lost count of how many of these I alone consumed this weekend, never mind the four of us together. They are everywhere and they’re absolutely delicious, the perfect thing for cooling you down on a hot summer’s day. We looked at prices in god knows how many places and came to the conclusion that the average price is around 5€, if you’re lucky 4, and if you are extra lucky like we were on our first night you will stumble across a bar in a hidden square selling them for 3.
Rizzo: Rizzo is a kind of deli/bakery that we visited more than once in our time in Venice. They have everything from gourmet pizzas to antipasti to tiramisu, all at a decent price and served quickly to-go. I would recommend the lasagne, which they heat up for you in store, and also the arancini which I was introduced to for the first time on this trip. They are basically fried balls of rice with a flavoured centre, most often a beef ragu or cheese and prosciutto.
Suso Gelato: There are of course more gelato shops in Venice than anyone could ever count, but we were recommended Suso by a friend and I am eternally grateful. It was by far some of the best ice cream I have ever had, and although it may have been a euro or two more expensive than some other shops it was worth it. We went here on both days of the weekend, one just wasn’t enough, and my favourite flavours were the casanova and the cheesecake.
Cannoli: We tried cannoli of all shapes, flavors and sizes, all of which were delicious. I must admit that I was less enthused by the larger, thicker cannoli so if you are only willing to try one or two then go for the smaller, crispy ones.
Squid Ink Pasta: One of my friends was determined to try squid ink pasta while we were in Venice, as it is a speciality of the area. Completely by accident, while we were actually on our way to a different restaurant, we stumbled across Dal Maro’s, a takeaway pasta shop down a little alleyway. It was kind of like a Subway but for pasta, you chose your pasta type, then your sauce and toppings. Although it looked terrifying and was quite the challenge to eat on the go, squid ink pasta was probably my favorite thing I ate on the trip and I couldn’t recommend more highly that you try it.
I will add that we found restaurants a tad difficult while we were in Venice. Everything was either massively overpriced or an obvious tourist trap. We made a massive mistake one night and just ate somewhere cheap, instantly regretting our choice to the extent that we have vowed never to speak of it again. Let’s just say it wasn’t all that pleasant. There are undoubtedly hundreds of delicious restaurants that we failed to find, so I would advise you do your research before heading out to eat.
I would highly recommend a weekend trip to Venice, and don’t worry about not having enough time as we found two full days pretty perfect for a first trip. I hope this has been helpful, don’t hesitate to ask for any more tips and tricks for visiting this beautiful city!
Best wishes from Paris x