Planning a dream vacation to Italy, and wondering how to visit Venice? This 2 day itinerary in Venice collected the real treasure to see and do, from iconic landmarks to world-class monuments in Venice, Italy. The best thing about this Venice itinerary is that it is flexible, giving you the opportunity to choose from 2 different itineraries in Venice or spend the third day exploring other islands of Venice.
Venice is also a tourist hotspot, with millions of visitors swarming in from all over the world — but here I share the real hidden gems to help you to escape the crowds and enjoy the beauty of Venice on your own.
Nicknamed the floating city, a phenomenal medieval town built on water, Venice is one of the most important Landmarks in Italy. With historical palaces and artistic treasures on islets connected by canals, Venice is a uniquely beautiful city. Famous for its peculiar gondolas rides, narrow canals, delicious cuisines, rich historical heritage, and breathtaking architecture.
Venice can be explored in a well-planned 2 days, and I have designed this itinerary to put all the favorite top sights in the right order, so first-time visitors to Venice need to waste no time. This should be your one-stop guide on how to visit Venice for the first time. Here you can also find very helpful tips on how to explore Venice, and the best neighborhoods to stay in. So, without any further ado, let’s discover the very best of Venice with this awesome itinerary.
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- 2-Day Itinerary Venice | Quick Guide
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- The Best 2-Day Itinerary Venice
- Best Areas to Stay in Venice
- 2-Day Itinerary Venice | Practical Information
- How To Get to Venice, Italy
- What to Pack for two days in Venice
- 2-Day Itinerary in Venice Conclusion
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2-Day Itinerary Venice | Quick Guide
WHERE TO STAY IN VENICE
Castello | Luxury Venetian Rooms
Cannaregio | Ca’ Bonfadini
Santa Croce | Casa Sant’Andrea
Budget-Friendly | Ca’ de la Fonte
BEST VENICE GUIDED TOURS
Best Food Tour | Rialto Market Food and Wine Tour
Best Photo Tour | Private Gondola ride and Photo Session in Venice
Best-Rated | St Mark’s Basilica After-Hours Small Group Tour
Airport Private Transfer | Private transfer
Venice Grand Canal Boat | Venice Turbopass
Transfer from Rome | Venice from Rome Private Day trip
5 Smart Tips to Save Money during your Venice Itinerary
If you are planning to go on a 2-day itinerary in Venice, you don’t need to break your bank account. To make your Venice trip as hassle-free and budget-friendly as possible, here are some pro tips for you. You can thank me later.
The Best 2-Day Itinerary Venice
Day 1 Venice Itinerary: Explore the Highlights of Venice
Your first day on this 2-day itinerary in Venice should be focused on exploring the city center. There are tons of amazing things to see and do in Venice, some of which will include taking a gondola ride, touring the Palace of Doge, climbing the bell tower to get a bird’s eye view of the city, and a ton of other exciting things.
1. Tour the Grand Canal
Touring the Grand Canal is a perfect way to start your discovery of Venice. Venice is the city of canals, and the Grand Canal is the longest and deepest of them all. You can take a gondola ride on the Grand Canal or explore it on foot to better appreciate the line-up of centuries-old palaces and buildings on both sides of the canal.
2. Visit the Galleria Dell’Accademia
As you explore the Grand Canal, stop by this famous art gallery to view the collections of centuries-old artworks. Galleria Dell’Accademia houses pre-19th-century paintings. It is located in the Scuola della Carità on the Grand Canal’s south bank. Visitors go to this gallery every year to see Da Vinci’s classic masterpiece Vitruvian Man, which is on display.
PRO-TIP: If you are planning to visit the Galleria Dell’Accadmia, it is recommended to book in advance, check price and availability
3. Take some photos on the Rialto bridge
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the Grand Canal’s bridges. It dates back to the 12th century, but it has been rebuilt several times since then. Many stores line the bridge, so you can stop by and get yourself a souvenir.
Views of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge are fantastic, but also make sure you view the bridge from afar because it’s a true architectural masterpiece. That is why it is such a famous tourist destination in Venice!
PRO-TIP: For the first time I hired a local professional photographer to do a photoshoot during my travels, and I loved it! I booked this photo tour, and besides getting amazing photos, I also got to explore more of Venice with a local and take advantage to walk to areas where I wound not even know how to visit by myself. Enzo is an incredible photographer, so don’t hesitate to let him make you the main characters of a gorgeous fairytale in Venice 😉
4. Tour St Mark’s Basilica
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, St Mark’s Basilica, is a magnificent structure glistening with brilliant gold mosaics and full of exquisite Byzantine-style decor. It’s certainly one of Italy’s most remarkable cathedrals, and there’s a lot of competition!
St Mark’s Basilica is also known as “Chiesa d’Oro,” which translates to “Golden Church,” because it’s decorated with golden mosaics. Touring the church is free and everyday tourists queue up to see the Basilica’s incredible architecture and artwork. Make sure you get there before the church, so you’re not made to wait.
PRO-TIP: If you are planning to visit the interior of St Mark’s Basilica, be prepared to spend hours in line. A great tip is to buy a Skip the line ticket, or even better option you can book a St Mark’s Basilica After-Hours Small Group Tour
5. Explore the Correr Civic museum
After marveling at the 4,240 square meters of gold mosaics in the Basilica, head over to the Museo Correr right there in St Mark’s Square. You’d love this museum if you’re interested in historical art, here you will discover the life and culture of the Venetian Republic over the centuries.
Also on display are Venetian paintings and sculptors from as far back as the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. You will need a ticket to gain entrance into the museum. A single ticket will allow you access to Doge’s Palace and the Museo Correr, and it’s valid for 3 months from the purchase date, however, it can only be used once.
PRO-TIP: You can purchase your ticket directly from their official website. Or you can book a skip-the-line with a private tour, for a more personalized experience, and to explore and admire paintings and sculptures by El Greco, Bellini, Brueghel, Canova, and more.
6. Climb Saint Marks’ Campanile
Also on the list of fun things to do on Piazza San Marco is to climb the bell tower. The bell tower was first built in the 9th century and is most renowned for holding an early exhibition of Galileo’s telescope. The view of Venice from the top of the bell tower is amazing, but getting up there requires a small fee.
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7. Visit the Doge’s Palace
The enchanting palace of Doge (Palazzo Ducale) is right next to the Basilica. It was built in the 14th century and served as the home of the leaders of the Venetian Republic and the seat of government.
This Gothic palace boasts a magnificent gilded ceiling with panels representing the Venetian Republic’s glory, the interiors are decorated with intricate frescoes of the Doges, marble floors, and gold ceilings.
8. Walk through the Bridge of Sighs
As you exit the Doge’s palace, your next stop should be the Bridge of Sighs. This is a small footbridge that connected the Palace of Doge to the prisons; it was once used by guards to walk prisoners from the Palace to the prison. It’s an enclosed stone bridge with a beautiful view of the city.
9. Dine at Wistèria Restaurant
After a full day of exploration, you may want to give yourself a big treat in an elegant restaurant with fine dining. For that, I suggest you stop at the Wistèria Restaurant.
This is an absolutely amazing place to eat, and it’s right in the heart of Venice. They have an innovative tasting menu, and every dish is paired with the perfect wine for it. You can taste the originality in every dish — the ambient atmosphere and friendly staff are also great additions.
Day 2 Venice Itinerary: Discover the nearby Islands (Option #1)
On the second day of this 2-day itinerary in Venice, I encourage you to take a boat trip outside the center of Venice and explore some of the nearby islands. The Islands of Murano and Burano are especially very idyllic and lovely. You can visit both islands in half a day if you join a private tour like this one.
1. Murano Island
Take a scenic boat ride from Venice and head to Murano, the small, peaceful Venetian island famous for glass factories and local artisan glassblowers. Murano is a beautiful place to visit, it’s been inhabited since Roman times, and each century added its own architectural style to the island.
In Murano, you will discover some of the most skilled glassblowers on earth. Since the 13th century, Murano has been home to some of the world’s finest artisan glassblowers, and they are very fascinating to watch.
Once in Murano, you can visit glass workshops to see amazing collections of glass sculptures and fabulous works of art, also tour the island to appreciate its tranquil waterways and gorgeous Byzantine churches.
2. Visit the 7th-century Church of Santa Maria e Donato
Another spectacular sight to behold is the Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus. This is one of the oldest churches on the lagoon, as it dates back to the 7th century. This graceful structure is decorated with Byzantine mosaics from the 12th century, plus it contains the relics of Saint Donatus of Arezzo in a marble sarcophagus, and large bones behind the altar claimed to be the bones of a dragon killed by the saint.
3. Attend a glassblowing demonstration
Murano is an island known for glassmaking with unmatched craftsmanship, it’s famous for glass factories, and you will find quite a number of them there. There are usually many tour groups, and you can join one for a small fee.
You need to witness a glassblowing session to appreciate the amount of heat and skill that goes into the process of making glass.
You will also get to browse the workshop gallery and marvel at the stunning glass sculptures, beautiful chandeliers, flowers, vases, and a variety of animal figures. Remember to take as many pictures as you want, and even buy some of your favorites, they come in a large range of prices, and some are very affordable.
4. Stop by the Palazzo da Mula
Visit the Palazzo da Mula to get a feel of Venetian Gothic architecture. Palazzo da Mula is one of the last few Venetian Gothic-style palaces, and it has a lovely garden and courtyard. This building dates back to the 12th century, it has been extensively remodeled, yet its original Gothic architectural style has been preserved. It’s an important piece of historical art.
5. Visit Burano
From Murano, you can take a short boat cruise to Burano Island for another few hours of the delightful discovery of a part of ancient Rome. For centuries now, this small picturesque island has been home to fishermen and is famous for needle lace. Burano is a very interesting place with brightly-colored houses which are just perfect for IG photos.
For the second part of your Venice 2 days itinerary, I encourage you to explore Burano, visit the lace museum, and lace factory and enjoy some local delicacies at the seafood restaurants.
6. Explore the colorful Island
The stunning brightness of vibrant colors is the first thing that strikes you as you approach the island. It’s an explosion of color, with every color of the rainbow and most of the hues in between.
Burano is a tiny island, only about 500 meters in length. Take a stroll along the many alleyways and courtyards, taking in the colorful beauty as you go. Everywhere you turn, there is a burst of vibrant colors, it’s a lovely scene for any photographer. You’ll need your camera battery, so make sure it’s fully charged.
7. Dine at a seafood restaurant
Burano is not as touristy as Venice, which is usually reflected in the prices of hotels and restaurants. Burano is significantly cheaper and there are many seafood restaurants serving the freshest seafood delicacies. One such restaurant is Riva Rosa, their seafood is so fresh and tasty, coupled with excellent service and phenomenal views outside.
Day 2 Venice Itinerary: Explore the Off-The-Beaten Path of Venice (Option #2)
If you decide to stay for a 3-day itinerary, or if you want to focus your time in Venice instead of Murano e Burano, this is the perfect option for you.
1. Visit the stunning Church of San Giorgio Maggiore
Start your 2 days in Venice Itinerary by taking a boat, and visiting the amazing San Giorgio Maggiori, which dominates the name of the small island. Besides the church, you and stroll around the island and visit the lighthouse and enjoy the stunning gardens behind the church.
San Giorgio Maggiore is one of Venice’s most visually striking buildings, and it sits directly across the canal from the Piazza San Marco. This magnificent building dates back to the 16th century, it’s a classical renaissance-style church with immaculate white marble glittering over the blue lagoon. San Giorgio Maggiore is a stunning beauty to behold, and you don’t want to miss this Italian Landmark.
2. Explore Giudecca
Located just across the San Giorgio Maggiori you will find the Giudecca, a very intriguing that used to be an industrial area with factories, shipyards, and warehouses. Here you can find a very laid-back and relaxed lifestyle. This is an exclusive residential island, and slowly it is also gaining more attention from the visitor. Especially because of its natural beauty.
To get from Venice to Giudecca, you will need to go by ferry or Vaporetti. Once on the island, you will have to explore it on foot. Giudecca is a very small island, that can be experienced by its charm only by walking around its pretty streets.
3. Enjoy the Dorsoduro
This area is a hidden gem in Venice – or at least, by Venice standards – I chose to stay in this neighborhood because it is quieter and away from the crowds, but equally beautiful. Actually, there is so much to see and explore here that you easily spend a full day without seeing everything.
While here visit the incredible Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute, sitting across the Grand Canal with mesmerizing views, just a great place for pictures.
Stroll around Dorsoduro and enjoy the local art shops, charming cafes, and great restaurants. You can also visit the Punta Della Dogana art museum located at the eastern point. There are also many waterfront palaces and churches, including the very small Chapel of San Vio, the amazing Palazzo Cini, and the museum Ca’Rezzonic.
Located eastern end of Venice, this sestiere (or neighborhood) is a very interesting area. While this district stretches almost to Piazza San Marco, you will need to go on a journey all the way to Castello. Here you can find beautiful architecture, the art organization of Bienalle started here.
The best thing about it is that you still can experience deserted squares and beautiful intimate park spaces. Explore the Via Garibaldi, the widest street in all of Venice, which is actually a filled-in canal. Enjoy the cafes, bars, and local small shops.
Enjoy the beautiful Castello Giardini, one of the greener spaces in Venice, with beautiful nature, pavilions, and fascinating buildings with architecture from the 1930s up to the 1980s.
Best Areas to Stay in Venice
Every year, Venice attracts millions of visitors from different parts of the globe, and the crowd can be overwhelming. Since this city is such a tourist hotspot, experiencing it as a local is very nearly impossible, but it can still be done. Even with all the tourists, there are still quiet neighborhoods in Venice that are outside the major tourist attractions, and so are off the beaten path and somewhat cozy. If you’d like to experience like a local and save as much money as possible, here are 3 of the best places to stay in Venice.
Make sure you choose accommodation in a good area, where you can walk to the main attractions. Making your reservations in advance is also part of a well-planned visit to Florence. I have a list of the best areas to stay in for every budget.
Castello: Best Place to Stay in Venice for First-Time Visitors
Being the largest neighborhood in Venice, you’d think that it’d be a magnet for tourists, but it’s really not. Castello is a quiet neighborhood, with a large population of locals. It’s the ideal neighborhood for anyone who wants to strike a perfect balance between the tourist charm of Central Venice and the everyday laid-back life of the locals.
- Good Value Hotel | Hotel Colombina is set in a historic building overlooking the canal of the nearby Bridge of Sighs.
- Entire Apartment | Vanilla House sets in a building dating from the 19th that century is less than 0.6 miles from Rialto Bridge, and a 12-minute walk from Doge’s Palace.
- Luxury hotel | Luxury Venetian Rooms is less than 650 feet from Saint Mark’s Square and Basilica, and 800 feet from the Ducal Palace.
Cannaregio: Best Place to Stay in Venice for Budget Accommodations
In contrast to Castello, Cannaregio is the heart of both tourist and local activities. It’s the most congested neighborhood in Venice, swarming with visitors every year. Despite this, it’s still a budget-friendly neighborhood with affordable accommodation options and direct access to the train station, only a 20-minute walk to San Marco — the tourist heart of Venice.
- Good Value Hotel | Ca’ de la Fonte has a garden, popular points of interest nearby include Rialto Bridge, San Michele Cemetery, and Basilica San Marco.
- Entire Apartment | Charming Palace Corte del Teatro offers units equipped with a kitchen and a seating area, and it is only a 6-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square and Basilica
- Luxury hotel | Ca’ Bonfadini Housed in a 16th-century building in Veniceoffers elegant accommodation, with a great location – Rialto Bridge is 1 mile away.
Santa Croce: Best Place to Stay in Venice For Charme and an Authentic Experience
Santa Croce is yet another low-key neighborhood with a local vibe. It’s quiet, authentic and one of the least touristy parts of Venice. Despite this, Santa Croce is still a busy neighborhood because it’s the transport hub with the bus station (in Piazzale Roma) and train station (Santa Lucia). It’s the only place in Venice where cars can travel.
- Good Value Accommodation | Santa Croce Boutique Hotel is situated in the Santa Croce district and is a 10-minute walk from both Venice Santa Lucia Train Station and Rialto Bridge.
- Entire Apartment | Master Venice Apartments features a kitchen with a dishwasher and more and it is located 1,650 feet from Ca’ d’Oro in Venice
- Luxury hotel | The Gritti Palace is set in a former noble residence on Venice’s Grand Canal and has incredible views and luxurious rooms with antique Muranos glasses, for a fabulous stay in Venice.
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2-Day Itinerary Venice | Practical Information
How to get around Venice?
BY FOOT: Venice is very walkable, and there are no cars or streets in Venice, and bicycles are not allowed.
GONDOLAS: While undeniably classic to take a gondola in Venice, they are very touristy too, so I recommend checking for options and booking in advance. Check this gondola with commentary or you can go more romantic, with a Gondola private tour with a serenade
VAPORETTO BOATS: Since Venice is a car-free city, your only options for getting around are limited and the #1 option is the public water bus: the water bus ticket. You can buy a single trip ticket, an hourly ticket, or a daily ticket, always make sure you buy your ticket in advance.
WATER TAXI: Another transport option in Venice is the private water taxis, they are more expensive, but they are great if you want something personal or private.
How many days should you spend in Venice?
Given the number of things to do and see in Venice, I recommend that 2 days is the absolute minimum you should plan for to avoid spending your trip running around from sight to sight without time to really enjoy the atmosphere of the city. Just because Venice has so much to do and to see, I highly recommend coming to Venice with a well-defined itinerary, in order to maximize your time.
What is the best time to visit Venice?
Venice has no off-seasons, but if you want to avoid the large crowds, visit during the spring and fall seasons. March, April, May, October, and November are usually the best months to visit. Visiting Venice during these periods will allow you to enjoy the cheapest offers with a very little crowd.
Another great tip, while you are visiting Venice, is to start your day very early. Venice is almost always crowded, and one way to beat the crowd is to start each day a little earlier than you normally would. You can beat the long queues and save yourself some time by getting started really early. Also, get yourself some skip-the-line tickets, those are really life savers!
How To Get to Venice, Italy
Venice has a train station, a bus station, and an airport, therefore you can get to Venice either by flight, train, bus, or even drive yourself. Most people will often get to Venice by taking a train or bus ride from other parts of Italy.
- BY TRAIN: If you take a train to Venice, you will arrive at the Santa Lucia Train Station or Piazzale Roma Bus Station.
- BY PLANE: If you decide to fly to Venice, you will arrive at the Venice Marco Polo airport. You can schedule a private airport pick up including a water taxi.
- WHEN YOU ARRIVE IN VENICE: Once in Venice, you have a few transport options for reaching the city center; the express bus, the city bus, water bus/taxi. The ride will take about 20 to 35 minutes, depending on where your hotel is.
A few items that can make your Venice 2 days trip safer:
I love this Anti-Theft crossbody bag is a great option to keep your cards, IDs and cell phone protected. It has slash-resistant body panels and a shoulder strap, which secures your belongs
This Backpack Anti-Theft comes with a USB charging port and with a laptop compartment, plus many compartments making it a safe and a great day pack to walk around with your belongings safe and protected. It is also a great option for a hiking daypack.
What to Pack for two days in Venice
If you are visiting in winter or cold months, be aware that it can be cold. The coldest months in Venice are from December to February. So bring some layers. I recommend a warm jacket, comfortable boots, and a nice coat to wear in the evenings.
If you are also visiting during the hot months, think about light clothes and comfortable shoes to walk and explore during the day.
Leave your pair of high heels at home, as you won’t need them. Don’t forget your sunblock, and sunglasses and consider a hat too.
For the evening, especially if you are planning to have dinner at one of the nice restaurants, you can think about a comfortable summer dress and sandals. Or if you are not into dresses, a pair of jeans and a nice top and a nice pair of sandals.
If you are planning to visit churches, consider bringing a pashmina to cover your shoulders.
2-Day Itinerary in Venice Conclusion
With a well-planned 2 day itinerary in Venice, you will be able to see and do plenty of things. From exploring the stunning St Mark Catedral, and some of the museums, wander around the canals and enjoy the best of this unique city at your own pace. If you have a third day, explore the other islands around Venice and fall in love.
If you are planning to visit Italy, you may also enjoy reading the following:
- 30 Most amazing Landmarks in Italy
- The 20 Top Coastal Towns in Italy you need to visit
- The Best Towns and Villages in Tuscany for your bucket list
- 2 Days Milan Itinerary
- 3 Days Florence Itinerary
- 4 Days in Rome Itinerary
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