• Caitlin McAninch

48 Hours in Venice

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

We weren’t in Venice for long: made it to our hotel on Friday at 7 pm, and were gone by Sunday at noon. We were in Venice because we took an 8-Day Adriatic Cruise that left from the Venice Cruise Port. I am still so grateful we opted to go into Venice early because it was my favorite city we visited in our 5-country tour of #Europe. We felt that it was the perfect amount of time to explore Venice and see everything on our list.

There are a handful of stops that are “must-sees in Venice” and it’s incredibly easy to get to all of them in a day, and see a few other spots along the way. Okay! Let’s dive in!

Must Sees in Venice

Venice is fairly easy to get around. It’s a small island (well, many islands with many bridges connecting them all), walking from the train station to St. Mark’s Square is only 1.5 miles. So depending on how fast you walk…

In the map above our hotel is the pin pointed dot, and then all the points in black are the main areas I'm talking about in this post. The pink points are the restaurants we ate at.

On our full day there, a Saturday, we walked around all day long, and only managed to clock in 6 miles. It’s not that big of an area. So with that said, here are a few main spots to have on your list when you visit Venice:

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is the biggest canal in Venice and is lined with some of the nicest buildings dating back to the 13th to the 18th century. Old Venetians would flaunt their riches by building along the canal, and it’s still one of the prettiest areas of the city. Although there are few walkways that go down the entire canal, you can spot it while walking around.

Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal. It’s been rebuilt several times since its first construction in 1588, and is now a significant tourist attraction in the city. Not only is it gorgeous during the day, it’s equally beautiful at night. And truly, you can get good great angles for photos from any side of the bridge. Below are photos of the bridge and views from the top.

St. Mark's Square/Doge’s Palace

St. Mark’s Square is the main public square in Venice and is home to St. Mark’s Basilica, Piazzetta dei Leoncini, the Clock Tower, the Campanile, and Doge’s Palace. The square is very large and there is a lot to do in this area. We did not go into the Basilica or the Palace, simply because we did not have enough time. But I regret not fitting some more time in to do so.

The Sunday that we left Venice was extremely unique because there was a lot of flooding, some of the worst in years. The platforms in my pictures are placed out so people can walk above the flooded ground. We saw images from later that Sunday and Monday of people standing in St. Mark’s Square in waist deep water. Insane!

Truly though, you can spend a lot of time in this area. So it’s a stop you cannot miss.

Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is a bridge located in Doge's Palace and was built in 1600. The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone, has windows with stone bars, passes over the Rio di Palazzo, and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Palace. It’s on most lists of things not to miss in Venice. And really, it’s right around the corner from St. Mark’s Square, so it’s easy to go check out.

Acqua Alta Book Shop

Because of Instagram, one spot I knew I did not want to miss was the Acqua Alta Book Shop, a used bookstore that is very photogenic. They also have postcards and small trinkets if you want to buy a souvenir. But of course, we were just there for photos.

Chiesa di San Stae

On our first morning out exploring, just a few minutes from our hotel was the beautiful Chiesa di San Stae, a church founded in the 11th century. The reason this building sticks out to me is because it was the first instance where we turned a corner and saw this incredible giant building, built so long ago, that just put us in awe. Although that happened many times throughout our trip, Chiesa di San Stae did it to us first. We spent the rest of our weekend in Venice going into every church with an open door.

Eating in Venice

Trattoria Al Ponte del Megio

We got to our hotel room on a Friday around 7pm. We were exhausted from spending over 24 hours traveling. But! We put everything down, and headed out to find some dinner. The first cute restaurant we passed was Trattoria Al Ponte del Megio. We kept walking, but ended up turning around to eat there. It was our first meal in Italy, and one I’ll never forget.

Rivo Alto

On our day of exploring, Saturday, we swung into a pizza place right by the Rialto Bridge so I could people watch. From what I understand prices go up the closer you are to the bridge, but our meal wasn’t more than 20 Euro for two pizzas and two Coca-Cola’s. This spot is also right in front of a very famous Instagram pier that I wanted to snap a photo on. In the map below you can see the restaurant (pink pin) and the pier the photo was taken on (blue pin).


I don’t exactly remember how many cafes we stopped in while exploring Venice, but there were definitely a few. I kept ordering cappuccinos and they truly were so freaking delicious. We would sit outside and watch passerby’s and relax for a few minutes before picking up again. Definitely a must-do while in any Italian city.

Vini da Pinto

For our second dinner in Venice, we ate at Vini da Pinto. It was in a small plaza not far from the Rialto Bridge, right near the fish market. There was live music in the plaza, so I knew I wanted to eat where I could listen. Again, another perfect Italian dinner. Oddly enough, there was also a fashion show occurring in the plaza while we ate. https://ristorantevinidapinto.it

Breakfast in Venice

I just want to disclose that we eat more than three places! Our hotel had free breakfast, which was actually very delicious! So had big breakfasts before taking off each day. This helped because we did not have to spend extra money or stress about finding food in the morning.

Getting Around in Venice and Tips

We stayed at the beautiful Ca’ San Girorgio bed and breakfast, and although it was in a quieter area of Venice, it was perfect base spot. It took us about 15 minutes to walk to our hotel from the bus drop off area. Walking took us about 10 minutes to get to the Rialto Bridge.

Although tempted, we chose not to do a gondola ride. It’s 80 Euro for 30 minutes of riding, definitely not worth it to us. We almost did a water taxi, but decided not to. Our only form of transportation was walking, which was perfect because we didn’t miss anything.

My main tip for Venice is not to sleep in. We set out on both Saturday and Sunday morning at about 7:45 am and we were the only people walking around! It was great to get to areas that were so quiet, and yet only a few hours later would be packed with tourists. We went back and took a small nap on Saturday and got back out later in the evening, which was perfect.

Narrowing down photos of Venice was extremely hard. Check out the gallery below to see more pictures:

Truly though, everywhere you go in Venice is insanely beautiful. There isn’t a city like it in the world. Every corner is a gorgeous view, and every canal has it’s own story. Dylan and I always say we don’t want to repeat cities because the world is too small, but I could definitely see myself returning to Venice again one day.

#Italy #TravelTips #Activities