Best Things to Do in Venice in 2 Days

BEST 2-DAY VENICE ITINERARY

If you’re planning a trip to one of the most unique cities in the world, aka Venice, this post will help you plan your trip. Find out about the best things to do in Venice in 2 days – where to go and what to see plus many essential travel tips.

Venice is one of my favorite cities, and I cannot recommend visiting Venice enough. I had so much love that I revisited Venice, and all I can say: the city doesn’t disappoint, and it is one of the most beautiful places in Northern Italy.

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR VENICE IN 2 DAYS

This 2-day Venice itinerary will help you plan your trip – find out about the best things to do in 48 hours or a little less, plus many travel tips for your trip. 

Why Visit Venice?

Located in the northern/eastern part of Italy, Venice offers the cutest, most picturesque streets and houses you can imagine. It seems to me that Venice is for people who love strolling through streets and enjoying life while not doing so much else.

Every corner has its charm and magic, and the Venetians do their best to welcome tourists friendly. And of course, there are the canals, bridges, and gondolas.

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  • Inhabitants: More than 250,000
  • Location: North-East of Italy
  • Language: Italian, though many have basics in other languages (English, German, etc.)
  • Currency: Euro

Is Venice Expensive?

  • Small cafes invite you to enjoy authentic Italian coffee and espresso. Some restaurants, however, charge ridiculous prices for beverages. So do the cafes near the main attractions like the Piazza San Marco, Rialto Bridge, Palazzo Ducale or the Basilica di San MarcoYou want to enjoy a bottle of coke or cappuccino in those cafes? You’ll pay around 9€ to 10€ for one beverage (a bottle of coke). The good thing about Venice is: it is not expensive everywhere.
  • If you aren’t willing to pay those overcharged prices, you have to look for one of the restaurants and cafes on the side streets. There you pay only about 1/3 or even less.
  • While I can ́t recommend the cafes near the tourist spots, I surely love the main tourist attractions. If you stroll through Venice, you will cross them eventually. So, you do not have to buy tickets for every attraction – Venice is beautiful even if you do it on a budget.
  • Though Venice enjoys worldwide fame, it isn’t geographically big. So, there is no need to spend much on transportation. You might need a day ticket for a trip to Burano. Other than that, you can save money by walking.
  • Water: Bring your bottle and refill it with fresh water from water fountains. There aren’t many water fountains with fresh water, but it’s an inexpensive option that allows you to save a bit of money here and there.

Where to Stay for 2 Days in Venice

I visited twice once. I stayed in Venice Lido, which meant we had to take a boat to get to Venice. It was a beautiful boat ride, and Lido was cute, so I would not mind staying there again.

  • Luxury Hotels in Venice: Venice has some great 5* hotels like the Gritti Palace with a lovely view of the Grand Canal. You can check the prices for the Gritti Palace here.
  • Mid-range Hotels in Venice: Travel back in time to the 18th century at Antica Locanda Sturion Residenza d’Epoca: antique furniture, silk wallpaper, and views of Rialto and Grand Canal. Check out the prices for this hotel here. 
  • Budget Hotels in Venice: The family-run Hotel Locanda Ca’ Foscari offers some hotel rooms with ensuite bathrooms, as well as cheaper rooms with shared bathrooms, at a good location close to a Vaporetto ferry stop. Check out prices here.
  • If you plan to travel by train or need even cheaper accommodation, consider staying in Mestre, the first large city on the mainland. The ao Hotel Venezia Mestre is conveniently located near the train station. Recently built, it provides comfortable rooms as well as dorms, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Check out the prices here.

Best Time to Visit Venice For 2 Days

But the most important advice I can give for a Venice trip: select your travel time wisely. If you visit in July or August, it will most likely be full of tourist crowds. Venice is always busy, but at that time, it gets crazy.

I suggest visiting at the end of September or even October or in spring. Venice is seriously crowded – even during the off-season (have I mentioned that before?).

If you have a sensitive nose, you’ll mind the smell in those months as well. Well, does Venice really smell? I am not sure if it is just a myth or true, but it is said that it smells terrible when the canals are drained.

I visited Venice in May/June and at the end of September, and I assume it was a perfect time to enjoy this incredible Italian place and explore Venice in 2 days.

If you want to see the other side of Venice you could visit during the carnival.

Is 2 Days in Venice a Good Amount of Time?

Many people visit Venice for one day – especially the people who arrive via a cruise ship. You can surely get a glimpse in one day, but I recommend visiting Venice for two days. Within 36 or 48 hours, you can also do a trip to at least one of the other beautiful islands close by, and you can explore Venice when the crowds have not arrived/have gone (early in the morning, after 6 pm).

P.S. Though Venice is car-free, you might need these tips for driving in Italy.

If you want to do a couple of day trips from Venice, plan a few more days to see Venice and the great places in the area.

WHAT TO DO IN VENICE IN 2 DAYS ITINERARY

Enough talking, here is how to spend two days in Venice.

DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN VENICE

Ideally, you start your 2 days in Venice at Piazza San Marco. From there, you’ll move on to other attractions.

STOP 1: PIAZZA SAN MARCO

Piazza San Marco (in English, St Mark’s Square) is one of the places that gets the most crowded. Thus I recommend getting there early before the crowds arrive.

Piazza San Marco with the Basilica of Saint Mark and the bell tower of St Mark's Campanile (Campanile di San Marco) in Venice, Italy,
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Piazza San Marco is the city’s largest square in the city and contains famous buildings such as St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. Napoleon called it “the world’s most beautiful drawing-room.” 

The main square of Venice used to be the place to discuss politics and trade business. Now, you’ll find several tourist attractions (some mentioned here later on) there as well, and so it doesn’t surprise that people come here to admire the historical and fantastic buildings you have around.

There are also many restaurants and cafes but keep in mind that it is costly. If you are on a budget, skip a coffee here (10€ or more is common) and have it in one of the side streets instead.

  • The Piazza is well signed and you can follow the signs – or type in Piazza San Marco on your phone to get there. 

Stop 2: BASILICA DI SAN MARCO

The Basilica di San Marco, also known as Saint Mark’s Basilica, is probably the most famous building on the Piazza San Marco.

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The church has its name from Saint Mark, whose body is kept here. Actually, it was built in the 9th century just for this purpose. The oldest mosaic on the facade dates back to the 13th century and is in the lunette above the far-left portal – depicting St Mark’s stolen body arriving at the basilica. Stolen body? Some Venetians stole the body of Saint Mark from Alexandria and brought the body back to Venice in the 9th century, and then the church’s construction began.

Since then, it has undergone many renovations. Before it became Venice’s cathedral in 1807, it was the doge’s private chapel. 

It looks impressive from the outside – and surely also from the inside.

We did not go inside, but you can book a tour if you are interested to see the impressive interior. To get in, you have to stand in line – probably the longest lines in Venice. Even early in the morning, the lines are crazy already. You can also visit the San Marco Museum, the Treasury, and the Golden Altarpiece (Pala d’oro).

  • Entrance to the basilica is free (donations are welcome), but it might take hours to get in.
  • Get there early for free (opens around 9,30 am but at that time there is already a line) or buy a skip the line ticket (and enjoy the guided tour) to have more precious time for exploring the city itself.
  • Open from Monday through Saturday from about 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 2 to 4 or 5 p.m.
  • On Sunday mornings, you can attend mass but cannot wander around.
  • The basilica’s museum is open daily from around 9:30 am to around 4:45 p.m.
  • Dress modestly (keep knees and shoulders covered)
  • The museum entrance is around 5€, entrance to the Pala d’oro costs 2€, admittance to the Treasury is about 3€

STOP 3: CAMPANILE DI SAN MARCO

The Campanile di San Marco (St. Mark’s Campanile) stands at 99 meters and is one of the best tourist places to visit in Venice in 2 days. It was built in the 12th century – and rebuilt several times between the 12th and 14th centuries, but the campanile took on its definitive appearance only in the 16th century. In 1902 the campanile suddenly collapsed – but in 1912 the new campanile was inaugurated.

Apart from all that: The views from the top are still outstanding. 

Venice 2-day Itinerary
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 Like so many other places in Venice, it is very popular – and lines can be long and crazy. If you don’t book tickets in advance, I suggest being there early, so you don’t have to waste too much precious time in line.

  • Around 10 am, the lines were still short (in September, though), and I got up without waiting for long.
  • While there are stairs, you can only use the lift to get up, overlook Venice’s whole and its lagoon. It is impressive and definitely worth the money and was one of my – many highlights –  in 2 days in Venice.
  • If you buy your ticket at the tower and accept standing in line, you pay 8€ – a bit more if you want to skip lines. Check out prices here.
    Venice 2-day Itinerary , best views of Venice, Italy
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STOP 4: PALAZZO DUCALE (DOGE’S PALACE)

Most people recommend visiting the Palazzo Ducale as it is imposing. I would have loved to visit the museum, but the crowds had scared me away, so I preferred looking at it from outside only.

Venice 2-day Itinerary , best places to see in a weekend
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 The Doge’s Palace, built in the 14th century, is also located on Piazza San Marco and is a palace that was the residence of the Doge of Venice (the elected main leader in former times). However, at times it was also partially used as a prison. Nowadays, it is used as a museum offering different exhibitions. 

The building is an excellent example of Gothic architecture. If you decide on buying a ticket for the Doge’s Palace, you can find out much about the history and the design (which is beyond amazing) and walk through the place that is now a museum.

  • The line you see in the picture is for the Basilica di San Marco. However, the Doge’s Palace lines aren’t much shorter (usually, they are a bit shorter).
  • You cannot buy a single ticket for the Doge´s Palace, but the ticket will also include the entrance to some museums nearby, and the cheapest is 25€.
  • You can skip the lines by buying tickets in advance (I seriously think I had enjoyed Venice even more with more planning and purchasing tickets in advance).

STOP 5: GRAND CANAL

You actually cannot miss the Grand Canal – the main “street” in Venice.  Well, it is not a street as we know it. To be more precise, the Grand Canal is one of the busiest water-traffic corridors where lots of gondolas, boats, etc., provide public transport with some lovely hotels, shops, and restaurants lined up. 

Venice Itinerary 2 days
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It is more than 3 km long and between 30 and 70 meters wide–  with an average water depth of 5 meters – and no, swimming in the canal is not allowed at all. However, it is still such an interesting and unique place to visit. If you walk along the Grand Canal – or do a boat cruise or gondola ride – you will see wonderful historical buildings lined up – some date back to the 15th century.

I love the Piazza in Venice, but I really adore the Grand Canal. This, of course, is crowded, too but strolling the Grand Canal gives you the feel of being in the most extraordinary city in the world.

Food and drinks here are overpriced, too, but I saw better offers here, so this is a good place to eat if you are not on a budget and don’t mind paying a bit extra for the view.

STOP 6: RIALTO BRIDGE

The most famous bridge is the Rialto Bridge (Venetian: Ponte de Rialto), which can get quite crowded but still worth visiting.

Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal (built in the late 16th century). Its unique shape has made it a popular photo spot – so another must-see for your 2-day Venice itinerary.

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 There are also shops – on the bridge – where you can get souvenirs (like the typical Venice masks). On the one side, there is even a little place where you can actually sit down and observe the people and gondolas even if you don’t visit a restaurant.

STOP 7: GONDOLA RIDE

For many tourists, a gondola ride is obligatory. A ride is about 80-90€ during the day – one boat accommodates up to six people.

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 We preferred discovering the place by foot back then. To be honest, one main reason was that we were poor students back then, and even on my second trip, I wasn’t sure if a gondola ride is worth the money. If it is on your bucket list or you do not have a budget, then it surely is a great experience. Book your gondola rides here to get the best deals and save money.

This first day in Venice is busy – and you will probably be exhausted. But with only 2 days in Venice, we do not have much time to waste. Venice is such a beautiful place, and also, places nearby are great for your itinerary.

DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN VENICE

For the second day in Venice, I recommend taking it easier and exploring Venice by just strolling for a few hours and doing a trip to one or two of the places I mention below.

STOP 1: BURANO

A must-visit place in Venice in 2 days is this stunning tiny island: Burano.

When I visited a few years ago, I did not know about Burano, close to Venice. I just learned about it after my first trip. You might have seen these extremely colorful houses on social media, and if you have time, I recommend visiting Burano.

Is Burano really that beautiful
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Instagrammability Burano, most Instagramwothy places in Burano
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 When I revisited Venice, I totally made sure to add Burano to my 2-day Venice itinerary, and I did not regret it.

It is so worth it. It takes about 40 minutes to get there by water taxi from Venice, and you should plan for at least 2 hours to stroll the tiny island. Find out more about getting to Burano and what to do and see there (click here to read my blog post on Burano).

Tip: By getting to either Lido or Burano, you will also have to use a Vaporetto, which is the main form of transport in Venice, and it is much cheaper than the gondola rides. You can get to many places, and it is a fun way of discovering Venice. Find guided tours for your trip to Burano from Venice.

MURANO

Another place you could squeeze in your Venice itinerary is Murano – a smaller island near Burano. You can easily combine a trip to both islands and get there by the same water taxi. However, you might only want to visit Murano for a limited time if you don’t feel stressed.

The good thing is that you can decide quite spontaneously – so on your way from Burano to Venice, you could still choose where you want to see Murano or not.

VENICE LIDO ISLAND

If you have some more time, I recommend heading to Venice Lido Island.

Venice Lido Venice points of interest
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 Doing the boat rides to and from Lido (where I actually stayed) where one of the best things because you can take more beautiful pictures from within the boat.

Lido also has a beach and some more cafes, hotels, and shops and is worth to be visited. It takes about 20 minutes to get there, and you will see a completely different side of  “Venice.”

For more places to visit in Northern Italy, click here – if you like to find out about Venice in the winter, click here.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO DO IN VENICE IN 2 DAYS

Venice is known as an excellent place for love birds and honeymoons. Without a doubt, it is a very romantic destination and perfect for a quick get-away for couples. However, Venice is NOT ONLY meant for love birds. If you aren’t there on your honeymoon, 2 days in Venice are enough to explore the city. I hope this itinerary has helped you plan your trip! Enjoy and stay safe.

P.S. I fell in love with Italy when I visited Venice, read about Melissa ́s 10 reasons to fall in love with Italy.

Safe Travels, Arzo
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