Two days are not a lot, but nor they are few and with some suggestions (and advice) you could see the “must see” things of Venice.
We will bring you through a tour of the city that, among other things, will include: museums, bacari visits, gondola trips and ferry boat tours for a unique holiday and an opportunity to notbe missed.
Are two days enough to visit Venice?
Venice is not very big, speaking in terms of its walkable space (by foot or with the ferry boat), but being an open-air museum there are a lot of things to see and do in Venice in 2 days. So, you need to choose what to see and what is less appealing, according to your personal tastes (and interests). We are going to present you an itinerary that covers various parts of the city, based on our experience and knowledge.
What to do in Venice in 2 days?
To better exploit the 2 days in Venice that you have at your disposal you need to organize yourselves before leaving and so, without overthinking too much, just entrust us and we will guide you in a 2 days itinerary in Venice, to discover the absolutely must-do things.
From the station to St. Mark Square
Once you get off the train at the Venice St. Lucia Train Station, or at Piazzale Roma if you came by car or bus (the train and the bus station are divided by the Calatrava bridge), you could begin your Venice trip by heading for St. Mark. Differently from the usual itinerary, we propose you a deviation on the left side to get into the Cannaregio area, where you could visit the Jewish ghetto (the most ancient of Europe), outside the touristic chaos and lost into a mystic atmosphere, just beyond the Ponte delle Guglie.
Inside the ghetto there are 5 synagogues and 1 museum to visit, or you can try some sweets as a snack, especially biscuits, handmade and that follow the ancient recipes, such as the “recie de Aman” or “ears of Aman” (small rolls of pastry filled with jam, almonds, poppy seeds or chocolate) that are the typical sweets of the Purìm celebration.
Go ahead then towards the Rialto bridge where, just before the bridge, only in the morning you could find the fish market (if you are interested into the local markets of Venice just follow the link), to breath the typical Venetian air and see how the residents buy food within the “shouts” of the shopkeepers. If you are not interested and you are more into shopping, the area surrounding Rialto is filled with famous branded shops and you can take the unavoidable picture of the top of the bridge, with a wonderful sight of the lagoon.
After a few minutes’ walk from here you will find the pulsing heart of the city: St. Mark’s Square! Here you can find the Torre dell’Orologio (“The Clockwork Tower”), St. Mark’s Church and the Doge’s Palace. Thousands of tourists arrive in Venice every day and St. Mark’s Square could be crowded (especially during big events such as the Carnival) and you could experience long waits to visit the main attractions, for this reason a good idea could be buy an online ticket for Venice that would allow you to skip the queue and shorten the waiting times, avoiding then the line.
Also with an organized guide tour, you can take a complete tour of the “Golden Basilica”.
The Tourist Guide will describe the biblical scenes that represent the history and characteristics of this ancient basilica. A suggestive tour in St. Mark’s Square with entrance ticket to the St. Mark’s Church is waiting for you!
A fast lunch
Some areas of Venice (such as St. Mark) are not cheap at all but with a bit of wit you could find places where you pay little and eat well, the best for who is short in time and wants to enjoy a fast lunch. For this reason you need to know where to eat cheap in Venice, depending on the area where you are at.
As an alternative, being at St. Marks you could try out the famous Hard Rock Cafè (the smallest of Europe), which is at the very edges of the square. For expert people and for who has already been in other European localities, you will surely remember that it is a place that attracts many people and it is normal to wait a lot for a table. To avoid the queue and don’t waste too much time it may be worthwhile to buy a ticket that includes a meal at the Hard Rock Cafè with priority seating.
Things to see in Venice in 2 days
Getting back to our 2 days itinerary of Venice from St. Mark’s Square with the belly full, one thing to see is one of the most beautiful and important bridges of Venice, the Ponte dei Sospiri (“The Bridge of Sighs”, at only 1 minute from St. Mark’s Square). The legend tells that if two lovers pass under the Bridge of Sighs in gondola at twilight, their love will last forever. But actually, it was the sigh of the prisoners that crossed the bridge, knowing that in that moment they could have seen Venice for the last time.
For the ones that want to carry on with the tour of the most beautiful bridges of Venice you should go to Dorsoduro and cross the Ponte dell’Accademia (“Academy Bridge”). Before continuing, near the bridge you will find the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which holds a wonderful collection of Venetian (but not only) paintings. It is absolutely worth a visit for all the masterpieces that it exhibits: from Titian, to Tiepolo, passing through Giorgione and Lotto.
Once out of the Gallerie the tour goes on towards the station and cross the Ponte dei Pugni (“Bridge of Fists”), one of the must-see things in Venice in 2 days. The bridge is characterized by a curious tradition: at its top, from September to Christmas the fists war took place between two factions: the castellani of St. Peter and the nicolotti of St. Nicholas of the Beggars
To conclude the tour and travel through the last of the 4 bridges that cross the Great Canal (after Calatrava, Rialto and the Accademia) proceed towards the Santa Croce (“St. Cross”), the train station area, you will find the Ponte degli Scalzi (“Bridge of the Barefeet”), which name derives from the fact that the bridge faces the Church of Saint Mary of Nazareth, in which the Mass has been officiated by the order of the barefoot Carmelite monks for many centuries.
Ferry boat tour
Once you arrive at the Ponte degli Scalzi, and then at the train station, you could take from here the line 2 from the train station pier that will allow you, at a low cost, to go on a panoramic ferry boat tour of Venice (about 60 minutes). You could buy the ticket at the automatic box offices placed just outside the pier. Otherwise, if you already know that you are going to use the ferry service, you can then book the ticket on the website of the ACTV public company, that implements the service. Here you can find the various lines (with stops), timetables, prices, some special tickets (such as the time limited ones) and other useful information such as accessibility, emergency services, etc…
Aperitifs and finger food
The aperitif in Venice is a real ceremony. If you want to taste a “spritz” (a wine based cocktail) or an “ombra” (a glass of wine”), you will find a lot of bacari (typical Venetian taverns) and pubs where you can drink to the day just over with a snack or a glass of wine (we suggest the area around Rialto).
If you like spritz or wine, but you also wonder about putting something in your belly, try the typical “scartosso”, which is a parcel with fried food that you can eat while walking, served with a glass of wine or one of the numerous typical Venetian “cicchetti” (Venetian finger food, such as sardines, bread with cold cuts, meatballs etc).
Near the train station there is also the popular and not very tourist pub “Da Lele” (mostly attended by students and always full, closed on Saturday), where you can try great and abundant Venetian style cocktails, which are also very cheap.
Venica by night
Magic during the day, mysterious and intriguing after the twilight, it’s Venice by night! Not many people know this face of it, but Venice by night is a city that fascinates, different from many other places and with a special personality.
If you are used to the image of Venice in which masses of tourists walks slowly in a straight line to see the main attractions of the city, you will be really surprised by what the Lagoon will show you at the sunset. You will feel like you have travelled into another dimension.
Young people, university students and a lot of Venetian locals prefer the area of Campo Santa Margherita (“St. Daisy’s Field”). If you are looking for the real Venetian nightlife, this is a place you cannot miss. Here you will find pubs, clubs, small restaurant and wine houses, where you can have fun with your friends (or spend a romantic night).
Beer lovers cannot miss the pub Il Santo Bevitore (“The Drinking Saint”), only few minutes from the train station, which offers high quality beers and often live music as well. If you like jazz music, don’t miss the Venice Jazz Club, near Campo Santa Margherita, in the Dorsoduro area. Live concerts, cocktails and good wine will be the best friend of your evening in this interesting club.
The most romantic ones can get lost through the waterways or rest on the canals’ banks, maybe sipping a good glass of wine, carried away by the sound of water and the silence that you can experience in some of the less frequented areas (Castello and Cannaregio).
Breakfast is an important moment of the day and in Venice even more, since you are going to walk up and down the bridge the whole day long (until you are planning to always use the ferry boat). For this reason, among the various places where you can have breakfast in Venice (for whom who has no time to lose) you can find bakeries spread all around the city (or you can go to the usual pubs).
For people that love the classic Venice and that don’t mind the wallet, our suggestion is to sit at the tables of one of the historical cafés in St. Mark’s Square, such as the Caffè Florian, just as the main protagonists of the Italian and foreign literature and art have done in the time past.
You cannot say you have been to Venice if you don’t try out this unique experience, that will carry you to the discovery of the water city, giving you some insights of the city that you could not see neither by foot nor with the ferry boat.
The staff of Venezia Help suggests you to read the article “A gondola tour in Venice”, that will take you to the discovery of the various itineraries that the city can offer. We propose you one for the most curious people, that will bring you in a tour through the most unknown and less frequented canals.
A lunch in an inn or a typical tavern
For your second day you could, once lunch time has come, pick up some quick lunch ideas from the day before (in those places where you eat well and spend little), or choose some nice and particular restaurant (such as the Ristorante da Mario alla Fava, where you will surely spend a bit more but for once it is totally worth it).
Otherwise you could act like a Venetian and try some inn or typical tavern, which usually present a daily fixed menu, where you can try some local specialties (such as the sarde in saor, seasoned sardines with onion, or the codfish) with an expense of 10 euros or few more.
The staff of Venezia Help suggests you the Cannaregio area, near the Ca’ Foscari University, and along the street that flanks the canal (start from the Ponte delle Guglie and proceed towards the university) you can find taverns and typical inns with a fixed cost menu (don’t say you are tourists). Tell us how you felt and what did you eat!
Once done with the lunch, before visiting some other historical place, one thing that must be done during your 2 days in Venice is to relax and do a little shopping (the shops are open the whole day). The options here vary a lot depending on your personal tastes and what do you mean with “shopping in Venice”.
Some want to buy a standard souvenir and some want to see the shop windows of famous brands such as Chanel (St. Mark’s area), while through the alleys of Venice you could also find some shops that sell handmade objects (Murano glass or leather bags).
There is no particular zone where you can find these special objects, just walk through the streets of Venice and look at the shops windows, there really are for all tastes.
Other things to see in Venice
At the afternoon you could visit one of the museums that we propose you below here, and we suggest you to go visit the various website to book your tickets (you will save precious time) and have a look at the prices and timetables (and closure days as well). For other information about accessibility and about the possible guide support we always send you back to the official websites.
- The Peggy Guggenheim is the most important Italian museum of European and American art of the XXth century, created by the American heiress Peggy Guggenheim. It is situated at the Venier dei Leoni Palace on the Grand Canal, in the very same place that was the residence of the American patron, and it collects paintings of different ages and artists, among whom Picasso stands out.
- The Museum of Natural History, especially recommended for those families with children that attend the primary school. The guides are trained to speak to children and even if the whole tour lasts 2 hours, it is funny and enjoyable. Here you can find dinosaurs, fossils, the origin of life on Earth, the animals of the past, etc.
- The Scuola Grande di San Rocco (“St. Rocco’s High School”) was the headquarters of a Venetian wealthy confraternity, which members were devoted to charity activities and it takes its name from St. Rocco’s body, placed here. On 1564 the Confraternity entrusted to Tintoretto the duty to decorate the Scuola. He put all his mastery to paint the Sala dell’Albergo of the Scuola di San Rocco: and he made it through, since this series of works is considered by everyone as the Sistine Chapel of Venice. It is located in the San Polo area and it is reachable by foot or with the ferry boat (line 2, San Tomà pier).
Furthermore, to discover the art and cultural heritage of Venice, visiting Palazzo Ducale, the Correr Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the Monumental Halls of the Marciana Library, it is possible to purchase a San Marco Museums Pass to discover the art and cultural heritage of Venice.
In our opinion, you must not miss the twilights that this city has to offer, and this could be the best occasion to declare your love (the sunset seen from the Rialto bridge is really spectacular). Admiring the twilight is one of the best things to do in 2 days in Venice, especially in one of these spots:
- The twilight from St. Mark’s Square is not easy to see and, in our opinion, the best spots are the terrace of the Hotel Danieli or, even better, the summit of St. Mark’s bell tower.
- The twilight from the Rialto Bridge is a typical tourist attraction, but going up the whole bridge and looking at the sun that sets is always very touching.
- The twilight from the Giudecca is even better if accompanied with a nice gianduiotto (a typical Venetian chocolate) or some other Venetian biscuit.
- The twilight from St. George’s island (a 5 minutes ferry boat trip), with the sight of the lagoon and of St. Mark’s Square is astonishing and very romantic.
Hotel Vecellio ★★★
Sestiere Canarreggio 5039/b, Venezia, VE
The hotel is at Fondamenta Nuove, only 15 minutes by foot from St. Mark’s Square and it is very near to the ferry boat stops. It provides support for the booking of field trips and tickets, polyglot staff and concierge services. The staff is very kind, careful and always available.
Hotel Montecarlo ★★★
Calle Specchieri 463, San Marco Venezia, VE
The polyglot staff at the reception, open 24/7, can provide information about Venice, book tours and tickets and supply money change services. Placed only 50m from St. Mark’s Square, the hotel has been built in 1592 and it equipped with an elevator. The staff is nice and very available.
Loc. Castello 4971/4972, Venezia, VE
The Hotel Ai Due Principi has polyglot staff available, concierge services, an elevator and a cafè or lounge. Distant only 5 minutes of walking from St. Mark’s Square, the hotel has been recently rebuilt and renewed. Thanks to additional comforts such as showers with new showerheads, hair dryers and strongboxes, nothing will be missing during your holiday.
Via G. Rizzardi 11, Mestre, VE
The hotel is only a 2 minutes’ walk from the Mestre-Venice train station. Built in 1964, it also owns a library, support for the booking of field trips and tickets and polyglot staff. Other services include concierge services, dry cleaner’s and dry wash.
Other things to know
We want to list some tips that we believe would be useful, if you would like to visit Venice in two days:
- in some periods there is the “Acqua Alta” phenomenon that although may be unique, it could cause some inconveniences
- if during one of these two days the weather is not that good you should know what to do in venice when it rains
- if you intend to visit the city with your four-legged friend there are some tricks you should know and we would like to give you some tips to visit Venice with the dog
- if you are a family with children (and strollers in tow) you may need to plan ahead how to enjoy your holiday in Venice with children
What did you manage to visit in two days? Do you have any useful suggestion? Tell us about your experience, while enjoying the video!