What To Do In Venice If You Have 1 Or 2 Days

Katherine Kooistra

By Katherine Kooistra
20 Dec 2019

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1 Day in Venice | The Must-Do's

Venice is called the ‘City of Canals’ for a good reason. The entire city is made up of small islands connected by bridges with canals in between. It’s super easy to get lost around this city, but it’s all part of the experience, so put down your Google Maps and spend the day exploring the streets.

Be sure to check out St Mark’s Square, the main square of Venice, with the famous St Mark’s Basilica at pride of place. It’s free to enter the basilica, however it costs to enter the museum, treasury or Pala d’oro inside. Be sure to cover up as no bare arms and bare legs are allowed. Within the square itself avoid the cafes and restaurants as prices soar to three times the normal price. Nearby is Doge’s Palace, a famous palace built in Venetian Gothic style which used to be home to the Doge of Venice, the supreme ruler of the former Venetian Republic.

For lunch, try Bacareto Da Lele. This ‘hole in the wall’ apertivo bar is an excellent spot to get very low priced Cicchetti. These are basically the Italian version of tapas and are snacks such as bread with seafood or cheese toppings. Buzzing with locals and the perfect spot to get a cheeky Aperol spritz too.

If you fancy some free chocolate to nibble on whilst you’re strolling, head to Nino & Friends. With three stores in Venice, Nino is one of the best places to get your chocolate cravings satisfied. As soon as you walk in, they offer free samples of stuffed pralines, chocolate bars and hazelnut biscuits amongst other delectable treats.

Another absolute must to check out is the Liberia Acqua Alta. This unique bookshop is full of books in boats and bathtubs. Shop owners found that this was the best way of preventing the books from getting wet when there are floods.

A quintessential thing to do is to jump on one of the gondolas and go for a ride. The general going rate for a gondola ride is €80 during the day and €100 after 7pm. The gondolas can hold up to 6 people and are for 40 minutes long. To extend your time on the water, it’s generally an extra €40-50 for each additional 20 minutes. This is obviously all part of the Venetian experience, however not the cheapest on the wallet. An alternative to experience the canals is catching a traghetto (a large gondola) across the Grand Canal. It allows you to have the experience of a gondola ride, however without the high price-tag only setting you back a couple Euro. While you’re in the Grand Canal area, be sure to check out the Rialto Bridge which is one of the best spots to take pictures of the canal.

For dinner, why not grab some takeaway pasta from Pasta Pasta. Open till 10pm, this DIY pasta bar lets you pick the type of pasta you want and the flavours and meats. Afterwards, head to Gelato Fantasy. It costs three Euros for two huge scoops of gelato and there are even dairy-free alternatives available.

Spend your evening with some Venetians and a couple of beverages. Café Noir is a gritty jazz bar popular with the university crowd and an ideal place for some low priced drinks. Another bar, the Venice Jazz Club, is pretty infamous in the Venetian bar scene. Live concerts happen there every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 – 11pm.

If you have more time | local experiences

On your second day in Venice, venture outside the city centre and head to the islands of Murano and Burano. The best way to get to these islands is a 45 minute ferry ride on the Vaporetto ferry line number 12 from Fondamente Nouve.

No doubt you would have come across the canals of Burano on your Instagram feed. The colourful houses that fill the streets and surround the canals make for many snap-happy moments. Check out the houses and walk over the bridges. Pop into a gelato shop or one of the many restaurants to get your fix of some Italian food.

After you’ve checked out Burano, jump back on the ferry to Murano. Murano is famous for its Murano glass with shops filling the streets alongside the main canal. If you’re after taking some home, make sure that the item has a sticker which certifies it as a proper Murano glass product. There are items for people of all budgets, with even necklaces and earrings at prices of under €10.

If you're heading off to Europe on an epic trip, why not visit Venice by building your own customised itinerary using our online Adventure Planner!