Are you planning a trip to Venice but have only two days at your disposal? With this ultimate guide, you’ll know how to spend 48 hours in Venice without missing a thing! You’ll discover what to do, where to stay, and what to eat in Venice.
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What to Do in Venice in Two Days?
First of all, I should confess. For many years, I used to believe that Venice was quite overrated. Loud, touristic, lacking the charm. However, this spring, I had a beautiful trip to Venice myself, and oh my, how badly mistaken I was!
Venice is fairly known to be one of the best places in Italy. It’s a true wonderland rich in history and abundant in breathtaking palaces and romantic canals.
Interestingly, it consists of 117 tiny islands connected by almost 400 bridges. So, technically it’s not a city as we may think of it but a truly unique land you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Yes, it can sometimes be crowded and chaotic. But it still remains magical and charming, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to admire its beauty.
As I had only 48 hours in Venice myself, I know how difficult it can be to plan a trip when you’re limited in time. Therefore, I compiled this itinerary that will guide you.
By the end of this article, you’ll know what to do, where to eat, where to stay, and which Venice tourist attractions are worth your time.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!
48 Hours in Venice: Day 1
Here we are, in the City of Canals! To better understand how to move around Venice, we should first get acquainted with its districts. Overall, there are six districts:
- San Marco is the heart of Venice, where you can find all the famous landmarks.
- Cannaregio, or, as some people call it, the Jewish district, is the biggest area of Venice. You won’t see many tourists there. Instead, you would be able to discover the authentic life of locals.
- Dorsoduro is the students’ district where the famous Venice University is located.
- Santa Croce is the only district where you can drive, or better say, leave your car. It has some churches and parks, but overall it’s pretty industrialized.
- San Polo is the smallest but one of the most vibrant parts of Venice. It has a bunch of lively bars as well as magnificent churches. The famous Rialto Bridge connects it with the San Marco district.
- Castello is the largest but little-known district in Venice. It’s one of the greenest parts of Venice and is the only district Canal Grande doesn’t cross.
My Travel Tips
You can get to Venice by car, train, or plane. If you arrive in Venice by airplane, you can use this express transfer bus to the city center in just 20 minutes.
Remember that Venice is a car-free city where you can move around only on foot or by boat.
That’s why if you come by car, you must leave it either at Piazzale Roma, in the Santa Croce district, or on the mainland.
Let’s start your start your Venice adventure from Cannaregio, and here is why. First, no matter if you arrive in Venice by train, plane, or car, you’ll probably be quite hungry by that time.
Cannaregio is a great place where you can find a delicious meal for a reasonable price. And by saying reasonable, I mean 15 EUR for pasta with shells, fried seafood, salad, and a cup of espresso.
This price for lunch is a real win for Venice, which is known to be extremely expensive. Trattoria da Luca e Fred is one of those places where you can have a delicious meal without robbing the bank.
Second, Cannaregio is less touristy. You can stroll through the city and enjoy the atmosphere without rushing.
Cannaregio has gorgeous little bridges, a lovely green park (Parco Savorgnan) where you can take a breath after a long trip, and one hidden gem – the most beautiful supermarket in Italy!
It’s called Teatro Italia, which used to be a theater, cinema, and even the university. After a careful restoration, the building has been changed into a grocery store with stunning frescoes on the walls and ceilings.
In addition to buying high-quality products like Italian chocolate, pastries, and oil, you can also admire the elegance of this unusual grocery. Just remember that you can’t take pictures inside!
If you want to know more about the Jewish district, you can always join a 2-hour walking tour with a professional guide to discover all the hidden spots.
From Cannaregio, let’s move to the famous Canal Grande. Not only it’s the main water-traffic corridor of Venice, but it also has stunning bridges and gorgeous ancient palaces that stand on both sides of the waterway.
Do you remember the iconic picture of Venice with gondoliers you saw online? Well, that’s where it turns into a magical reality.
I believe that during your 48 hours in Venice, you would like to have a gondola ride. It’s indeed a very romantic but also quite expensive activity.
So, be ready to pay 80 EUR for 30 minutes. Otherwise, you can consider a more budget-friendly option and join a shared gondola ride.
One of the bridges to cross Canal Grande is the legendary Rialto Bridge.
It serves mainly as a pedestrian crossing that connects San Marco and San Polo districts and is one of the most scenic viewpoints of the Grand Canal.
That’s why go up to the bridge, take some time to appreciate the marvelous view, and let’s head to the heart of Venice!
Bridge of Sighs
The first must-see spot you should see on your way is the Bridge of Sighs. It’s definitely one of the most famous tourist attractions you should check out during your 48-hour stay in Venice.
In the past, it served as a passageway for prisoners, and its name refers to the heavy sighs of people who would lose their freedom or even their lives.
Despite its sorrowful past, today, the Bridge of Sighs is an admired landmark of Venice that attracts couples to take romantic photos in front of it.
Just within a one-minute walk from the Bridge of Sighs, you can see the impressive Gothic building called Palazzo Ducale.
It used to be an official residence where Venetian leaders held meetings, but now it’s a museum where you can see beautifully-decorated apartments, a courtyard, and even the prisons.
Remember that in peak season, Venice becomes extremely busy. That’s why, if you want to explore the palace without wasting your time in the queue, consider buying a skip-the-line entry ticket to save your time.
Piazza San Marco
After Palazzo Ducale, have a walk to Piazza San Marco. It was established in the 9th century and has been the central gathering point for public events since then.
Expect an incredible atmosphere filled with classical melodies that musicians are playing live and loud chit-chats from nearby cafes.
Basilica San Marco
And just in front of the Piazza San Marco, you’ll see a marvelous Basilica San Marco. This church is an undeniable masterpiece of Byzantine and Venetian artists. It has so many details!
When I saw the Basilica, I couldn’t stop studying it and wanted to look closely at every gold mosaic, ornament, and statue.
Next to Basilica San Marco is a 99-meters high bell tower called Venice Campanile that offers one of the most magnificent views of the city!
If you still have some energy left after a long walk, you can climb to the top of Campanile and discover Venice from a different angle! You can buy tickets on-site or purchase them online.
48 Hours in Venice: Day 2
Your 48-hour stay in Venice can’t be left without the nearby islands – Murano and Burano!
These jewels of the Venetian lagoon should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Venice. They offer a way more peaceful atmosphere, which can be exactly what you need after your first dynamic day.
Glassmaking – that’s what Murano island is famous for. Murano glass earned international recognition and has a reputation for high excellence.
It may sound unbelievable, but today Venetian artisans still use the same technique that their predecessors, creating sculptures, vases, and other glass objects in different shapes and sizes.
Many people describe glass blowing as a miracle, and if you have a chance, you should attend the glass factory experience to see it with your own eyes.
Burano is a charming little town full of colorful houses where getting lost is pure magic on its own.
Usually, people come here to escape Venice crowds, enjoy a peaceful stroll, and take memorable photos. And I recommend you do the same!
If you’re planning to buy some new clothes, Burano is famous for traditional lace-making and could be an excellent place for quality shopping.
How To Get From Venice to Burano or Murano?
To reach those islands, you should use a water bus called vaporetto. Vaporetto from Venice to Burano and Murano leaves from a Ferrovia D terminal on the opposite side of the central train station Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia.
Please avoid buying tickets online! Sometimes, the validating machine may not work, and you will lose time as I did.
So, don’t repeat my mistakes. Instead, buy tickets from a nearby ticket point. And once you do that, go to platform D (3, 4.2) and wait for your vaporetto.
Your first stop will be Murano. It’ll take you around 25 minutes to get to Murano from Venice.
Then you should change vaporetto, and in 15 more minutes, you’ll finally make it to Burano.
Best Area to Stay in Venice
If you’re planning to spend only 48 hours in Venice, Cannaregio is the best area to stay.
As I mentioned before, it’s a lively district loved by locals with plenty of great bars and places to eat.
Cannaregio has various budget-friendly accommodation options and is close to the main Venice sightseeing.
If you want to save some money, one of the accommodations could be Hotel Santa Lucia. I stayed there myself and can confirm that this hotel is affordable, clean, and has friendly staff.
48 Hours in Venice: FAQs
What is the Best Month to Go to Venice?
Okay, that’s important! If you go to Venice at the wrong time, your dream trip can become your worst nightmare. And that’s why.
All Venice buildings are built close to each other, and the air in the city doesn’t circulate well.
When it gets insanely hot in the summer, loads of seaweed in the water cause the unpleasant smells of rotting vegetation. And as a result, Venice turns into hell. During this period, even locals prefer to leave the town.
I recommend avoiding peak seasons and visiting Venice in April/May or September/October.
These are the months when the weather in Italy is still great, there are significantly fewer tourists, and you won’t suffer from a terrible smell.
Are 2 Days in Venice Enough?
When planning a trip to Venice, some people believe two days isn’t enough, but I would kindly disagree. As you can see from this Venice itinerary, you can do a lot even in 48 hours.
You can explore the most important tourist attractions and even have a one-day trip to the nearest Burano and Murano islands. I would say that it’s not bad at all.
Where to Eat in Venice?
Finding an affordable place with delicious food can be quite challenging in Venice. Therefore, follow these simple rules to avoid tourist scams and eat like a local.
First, don’t eat next to Venice tourist attractions. Unless you’re ready to pay 25 EUR for pasta (P.S. that’s too expensive!)
Second, pay attention to opening hours! Italians eat according to the schedule, and authentic restaurants follow it, too.
- Breakfast is from 7 am to 10 am.
- Lunch is from noon to 2 pm.
- Dinner doesn’t begin earlier than 7 pm and can last until midnight.
And most importantly, follow the locals! A trustworthy indicator of a good restaurant is when it’s full of Italians because they’re extremely picky with food! If you hear Italian speech in a restaurant, you can be sure that you won’t get disappointed with your meal.
As for me, that’s where I went during my weekend in Venice. The service, the food, everything was excellent!
- For breakfast, I went to Pasticceria Dal Mas. I ordered pastries, fresh orange juice called spremuta, and espresso, paying 6 EUR only.
- For lunch, I visited Trattoria da Luca e Fred. They have great offers of the day that won’t cost you much. Just for 15 EUR, you can get pasta with shells, fried seafood, salad, and a cup of espresso. Yummy!
- For a homemade gelato, I swung by Gelateria Artigianale.
- And for apperitivo, I stopped by Pescaria Vecia in Burano and tried a plate of traditional cichetti (bread snack with different toppings) with a glass of refreshing Aperol Spritz.
Summing Up My Recommendations
Italy is a fantastic destination for travelers, and Venice is definitely one of the best places to explore. It offers a wide range of activities and terrific attractions.
And even if you feel that two days weren’t enough, who said you couldn’t go back, right?
I hope you found my itinerary useful and will have a splendid 48 hours in Venice. Feel free to share your feedback or ask any questions you have in the comments below.
Have a beautiful trip, and let’s chase Italy together!
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