48 Hours in Venice: Top 10 Things To Do

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things weekend Venice travel guide

Venice. One of my favorite Italian cities, and a rival to Paris as a place for romance. Built on over 100 small islands in a marsh area of the Adriatic sea, it’s uniqueness comes from the fact there are no roads – but rather a series of waterways where boats are the only form of transportation. With its endless narrow canals and small square within the city, Venice can become a bit of a maze to the uninitiated – but I can’t think of a better place to get lost!

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

RELATED: This is the seventh stop on my ‘Europe By Rail in 25 Days‘ Tour. Click the link to find out all about it!

So you have a booked a weekend in Venice and don’t have a clue where to start. Well I’m here to help you pack as much as possible into 48 hours. Venice is a place I would recommend you spend 3, maybe 4 days in, but I’ll stick with my theme of what you can do in 48 hours, as time is not a luxury some people have. weekend Venice travel guide

RELATED: Want to read about other cities you can hit in 48 hours – and the other stops on this Eurotrip? Read my posts on AMSTERDAM, BERLIN, PRAGUE, KRAKOW, BUDAPEST and VIENNA to get you started!

*** TIP: Accommodation in Venice itself can be a little on the pricey side. If you want to save a little cash, consider staying on Lido – one of the larger islands. If you decide to stay here, you will need to take the vaporetto (water taxi) to and from the mainland each day but services are regular and even with the cost of the tickets, you will save money on the cost of accommodation on the mainland***

1. Piazza San Marco 48 hours Venice highlights things weekend Venice Travel Guide

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

Piazza San Marco is the main square in Venice and really is the heart of the city, hosting a variety of attractions including St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Campanile and the Bridge of Sighs. A great place to start any tour and handy to use as a meeting point if your group plans to split up (or gets lost!) weekend Venice travel guide

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2. St Marks Basilica 48 hours Venice Highlights Things weekend Venice travel guide

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

A beautiful example of Italo-Byzantine architecture, the Basilica is a Roman Catholic Church open daily between 2-5pm and welcomes visitors and worshipers alike.

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3. Doge’s Palace 48 hours Venice highlights things

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

A Palace built in the Venetian Gothic style, its popularity has increased with the offering of it’s Secret Itineraries Tours. Weekend Venice Travel Guide

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4. Bridge of Sighs 48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

The enclosed bridge was built out of white limestone in 1600 and connects the prison with the interrogation rooms in Doge’s Palace. Legend has it that the Bridge of Sighs was so called because the prisoners sighed at the beauty of the view of Venice as the last thing they saw before being taken to their cells.

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5. Rialto Bridge 48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

One of the landmarks of Venice, the Rialto Bridge is one of only 4 bridges that span the Grand Canal. It is the oldest and was originally the dividing line between the districts of San Marco and San Polo. weekend Venice travel guide

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6. Ride a Gondola on the Grand Canal

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

The ultimate in touristy things to do – we managed to score a ride in a gondola for 1 Euro!! (Unwittingly ended up in the middle of a tour group who had a gondola ride included and only asked for tips at the end! We would have put in more than a Euro but it would have got us caught as everyone else was putting in one or none!) Ordinarily a pricey activity, it is a must do when in Venice.

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7. Santa Maria Della Salute weekend venice

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

Commonly referred to as La Salute, Santa Maria Della Salute (Basilica of St. Mary of Health) is one of Venice’s largest churches and has the status of minor Basilica. Located at the point where the Grand Canal and Bacino De San Marco. weekend Venice travel guide

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8. San Marco Campanile weekend Venice travel guide

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things8 Hours Venice Highlights Things

For the best view above Piazza San Marco and over the Grand Canal, head to the top of Campanile – at 98m high it offers the perfect vantage point and is well worth the climb.

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9. Drink a Bellini in Harry’s Bar

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

(c) http://www.cipriani.com/

If you are looking for a little bit of celebrity spotting, look no further than Harry’s Bar – and whilst you’re there you have to try their signature cocktail – the Bellini. A mix of prossecco and peach, it is regarded as the best champagne cocktail – even though it’s not made with champagne!

related: Already ticked Venice off your list? How about Milan next? Read: Top Things to Do in Milan

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10. Visit Murano/Burano 4/8 Hours Venice Highlights Things weekend Venice travel guide

48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

Famous for it’s lace and colored houses, it lies just a couple of miles north of Venice itself.  Pretty as a picture, it is worth the boat ride (or you could take a half day tour if you prefer!)

So there you have it – my top picks and highlights for 48 hours in Venice! Let me know if I have included your favorite spots – and let me know if there are any that I’ve missed!

READY FOR MORE: OUR NEXT Stops are FLORENCE & PISA – Click through to read more!

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48 Hours Venice Highlights Things

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37 thoughts on “48 Hours in Venice: Top 10 Things To Do

  1. Harvey (H-Bomb's Worldwide Karaoke) says:

    Fun fact: I learned when researching my own blog post on Venice that the popular legend about the origin of the name “Bridge of Sighs” was a myth invented centuries later (along with the bridge’s name) by Lord Byron. By the time the bridge was built in 1602, most of the criminals who crossed it to serve time in the prison were small-time offenders who would eventually be released and would see the beauty of Venice once again. Anyway . . . although your post hits all of the must-see sites, I agree that 48 hours is simply not enough time to allot to seeing Venezia. Especially for someone who wants to take an excursion to Murano and/or Burano. By the way, Murano is renowned for its glassworks and one cool thing to do on that island is take a tour of a glass factory and see demonstrations of glass blowing. Although I didn’t get to do that because I went in August and I discovered that like so many other things in Italy, Murano’s glass factories shut down for that month (although all the big tourist attractions in Venice itself remain open).
    Harvey (H-Bomb’s Worldwide Karaoke) recently posted…Taipei unplugged: highlights of my stay in the Taiwanese capitalMy Profile

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  2. Nathan says:

    Wow- you managed to do a lot in your short time there! I was in Venice years ago and absolutely loved it. I would love to go back. But where are all the food pics? Those are the most important!

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  3. Florence says:

    I love love love Venice 🙂 I grew up in the region (in Friuli), so I used to go very often to Venice and I usually avoid the crowd. But in any case, it’s just beautiful and so different 🙂
    Lovely pictures!

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  4. Karla at GlobalETA says:

    I have never been to Venice but have always wanted to go! The history, the gondolas, the beauty… it looks so amazing! Thanks for this list, it would be really helpful for a first-timer like me. I like that you pack a lot into your two days!

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  5. Teodora says:

    Great post! I actually stayed at Lido di Jesolo last time when I visited. No booking but turned out great, slept in this beautiful little family hotel where the owner’s handmade pizza is probably the best I’ve ever tasted!

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    • Vicki says:

      Hi Christine, this is quite a packed itinerary and with kids I’d say minimum 3-4 days, 3 would be doable, as the city is quite compact (without going out to Murano/Burano) but 4 would be better with the little ones. Good luck!

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    • Vicki says:

      Hi Mike – Venice in February should be lovely (just remember to take a couple of layers to take the chill off!).
      RE food and wine, it can be hard to find places frequented by locals, as 70% of the people in Venice at any given time are tourists!
      For a ‘normal everyday feed’ I’d recommend staying away from Piaza San Marco and the main strip in that area – food tends to be of average quality and grossly overpriced! Instead wander into the backstreets and look for small, family run style cafes – that aren’t full to the brim with holiday makers.
      For a more fancy, upmarket meal, I’ve heard that Al Covino (small restaurant with a short three course menu (approx 40E) and local organic wines) and Boccadoro (awesome fresh pasta and home grown veggies) are great choices.

      And for some afternoon drinking and grazing there is also Cantina Do Mori – located near the Rialto Bridge which is Venice’s oldest wine bar (and looks like it!) But is full of old world charm and a great selection of wines. And around the corner from there – for when you need some bread and antipasto to soak up the wine – is All’Arco: its usually standing room only but fight your way through to the counter from some beautiful breads heaped with prosciutto or truffle laced cheese! Just Divine!

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  6. Vyjay says:

    Venice is a real beauty. It had always been a dream to ride a gondola in Venice and we were thrilled when we did get to Venice and sailed on the waterways of Venice in a Gondola. i am sure you had a great experience. But Venice is a place where one needs to go back again and again.

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