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. Keep reading for tips on the best way to spend 48 Hours in Venice – Where to Stay, Top 10 Things To Do & Where to Eat!

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!

48 Hours in Venice: Things To Do, Where To Stay & Where To Eat

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 with my recommendations of where to stay, what to do and where to eat. 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.

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!

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Venice highlights & top 10 Things to Do

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

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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 weekend Venice travel guide

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 | Where to Stay Venice | Where to Eat Venice

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

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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.

RELATED: Already hit the main tourist sites? Head to the Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore – the cities most famous bookshop.

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9. Drink a Bellini in Harry’s Bar

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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

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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!)

RELATED: Heading to Italy but don’t know what to take? Our Italy Packing list has got a few hints and tips.

where to stay: 48 hours Venice

With so many beautiful hotel and apartment options throughout Venice and the surrounding areas, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. To help you out I’ve picked my favorite places in each price category. So whatever your budget – there’s something here to suit everyone! Scroll though my options for Where to stay and pick your favorite. And if you’re looking for a backpacker hostel in Venice read this post.

Venice Luxury Hotel Stays

Hilton Molino Stucky


Featuring a stunning rooftop pool with sweeping city and canal views, this unique hotel is set in a refurbished flour mill and boasts the largest wellness centre in Venice. It is a short walk from Stazione Marittima, providing guests with an ideal base when visiting Venice.
Like more info? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

Metropole Venice


Overlooking Venetian Lagoon, Metropole Hotel Venice is the ideal base for guests looking to venture out to the renowned shopping area in Venice. This elegant hotel is an ideal choice for discovering local vineyards as it is located in the Veneto Wine Region.
Like more info? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

Hotel Danieli


Overlooking Venice Lagoon, Hotel Danieli is a legendary hotel 200 m from St. Mark's Square. Each room is spacious and finely furnished. The staff provides an unmatchable service.
Like more info? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

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Venice Mid Range Hotel Stays

BB Venezia



Located within walking distance of San Toma Waterbus Station, this comfortable bed and breakfast is an ideal base for those wanting to explore Venice and its surrounds. It is ideally positioned for those wanting to sightsee in the area.
Like to know more? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo


Situated under a 20-minute walk from Venezia Santa Lucia Railway Station, Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo offers guests a convenient base when in Venice. It is conveniently positioned for guests wanting to visit local attractions.
Like to know more? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

Arcadia


Less than a 20-minute walk from Venezia Santa Lucia Railway Station, Arcadia Hotel Venice offers guests an ideal base while in Venice. This elegant hotel is an ideal choice for exploring the local vineyards as it is situated in the Veneto Wine Region.
Like to know more? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

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Venice Budget Hotel Stays

Ca'Barba B&B


Ca' Barba B&B is located in Venice and is close to local sightseeing spots, such as Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge. It is conveniently positioned for guests wishing to discover the area's attractions.
Like to know more? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

CimaRosa Venezia


Located within walking distance of Venezia Santa Lucia Railway Station, this comfortable bed and breakfast is a convenient base for those wanting to discover Venice and its surrounds. It is moments from Ca' Pesaro, eateries and nightlife options. It is also within a 20-minute walk of San Toma Waterbus Station, which allows convenient access in and around Venice.
Like to know more? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

Residenza de L'Osmarin Venezia


Conveniently located, Residenza De L'Osmarin allows for easy access to Venice's popular tourist attractions. It provides luggage storage and a safe, and is a short stroll from St Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace and Piazza San Marco.
Like to know more? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

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Where to Eat Venice

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, 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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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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