After our group vacation was over, our group split up and traveled to different countries. Some went to Munich for Oktoberfest, others went to London, while four of us went to Venice, Italy.
The last time I was in Venice was back in 2015. We also only spent a couple of days in Venice, and truth be told, that’s all that you really need.
Venice is a very small island with a population just over 250,000 people. There are no roads or cars, just canals. The only way to get around is either by walking over bridges or by boat.
Because the city is built on water and is thousands of years old, it has been subjected to severe structural damage and has started to slowly sink. In fact, if you haven’t been paying attention to the news recently, Venice experienced severe high tides and the island was flooded! It left the city with a ton structural damage.
Many people make Venice one of their stops while they are taking a cruise or just traveling the country of Italy. It is very important to maximize your time there while you can. If you are one of these people and have limited time, follow this quick guide on how to do Venice in 48 hours.
Visit the Rialto Bridge
Stop by an open air market and grab some spices
Visit a La Mascareta- the original handmade mask store. Learn about the history of the Venetian Mardi Gras and why the masks were important
Go Shopping on Salizada San Moisè (high-end luxury stores)
Visit the Jewish ghetto
Stop by the Accademia bridge for more spectacular views of the Grand Canal
Grab a drink at Bar La Caravella
Enjoy breakfast on the patio
Visit San Marco Plaza and climb up the bell tower for the best views of Venice!
Take a quick ferry over to Burano & Murano and get some handcrafted lace and hand-blown glass!
Grab a delicious aperol spritz slushie from Bar Ducale. Be careful because they are extremely strong. Two is more than enough
Visit the Leonardo di Vinci Museum
Enjoy afternoon tea at Hotel Danieli
Have dinner at Ristorante a Raffaele
Grab a nightcap drink at Harry’s Bar
Where to Stay
The Gritti Palace– I absolutely adore this hotel! This Marriott property is apart of the Luxury Collection and it is exquisite. Also, meaning it is very expensive. I know that this hotel does not met the average reader’s budget- but if there is an opportunity to stay at this hotel, I HIGHLY recommend it. A guestroom can run about $750-$1,000 per night. Fortunately, I had enough Marriott points to cover two nights of our stay. Definitely made it a much easier pill to swallow. In fact, this hotel recently went through a multi-million dollar renovation, from the guest rooms to the public space. It is absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, it did suffer damage from the recent flood I mentioned above.
The service- from the time you arrive and check into your hotel, the staff is at your service. When we got to our room, they had a very nice amenity waiting for my friend and I- a nice Italian wine and a tray of exotic fruits. Again, just a really nice touch!
What I really loved is that the hotel is very traditional, they don’t give you a standard hotel plastic key, but instead they gave us a REAL KEY! Something so simple but adds a touch of elegance.
The location is also prime as you have a stunning view of the Duomo and are a short walk from high-end shopping and St. Marco’s Square.
This hotel is perfect for a romantic getaway, honeymoon, and or an anniversary.Scrounge up hotel points, use your credit card points, whatever it takes. If all options have been exhausted, then just stop by the bar and have yourself a fabulous martini from the martini cart.
How to Get Around
As I mentioned earlier, there are no cars allowed in Venice and the only way to get around is either to walk or via water taxi. Walking is always encouraged because you find the best hidden gems and it really helps you get familiar with the place you are visiting. But sometimes you need to get from point A to point B in a quick manor. Therefore a water taxi would be your next best option! Whether you are coming from the airport or want to see the Rialto, you can take a public water taxi to get you around the island.
The last time I was Venice we opted for the public water taxi route and I will never do it again. The boat can get very cramped at times and makes several stops along the way, so it takes forever to get wherever you are going. This time, I opted to go private and I will never go back. I requested a private water taxi to pick us up from the airport and take us to our hotel. One thing to note: if this is the direction you are going in, make sure to verify with your hotel to see if they have a private dock for your the taxi to pull up. If not, they will drop you off at the nearest port and you will have to drag your luggage through the winding streets of Venice. Not a good look! **The Gritti Palace has its’ own private dock-you can pull right up to the hotel 🙂 Costs for a private water taxi is about 115 euros for the entire boat. The price is based on per person and they will charge extra for large luggage. The boats are very spacious and come equipped with a retractable roof and leather seats. It’s a great way to arrive in style!
- Grab a map- I know you don’t want to be THAT person that has the map unfolded in the middle of street, trying to figure out if you should, left, right or straight. But Venice is a very old city and the narrow alleys do not have much lighting. The street signs are very hard to not only find but read, especially when it’s dark outside. So before, you start your day, identify all the points of interest and map out how you want to tackle them. The map will help you make better use of your time, so that you’re not just wandering around. Then use you GPS on your phone to help guide you.
- If you absolutely must ride a gondola, either book your ticket in advance or go earlier in the morning or later in the evening. Less crowds! The lines for gondolas are insane.
- When visiting San Marco Square- do everyone a favor and don’t feed the pigeons. They are everywhere and are actually just gross. But honestly, visit the square first thing in the morning. Do not get a tour guide, you can do it all on your own.
- If you plan to do some serious shopping, make sure to claim your VAT. VAT is a tourism tax that is applied to retail purchases. It’s about a 12% tax- but because you are a tourist, you can redeem that back. But you have to make sure you complete and submit the paperwork before you leave the country.
I hope you all enjoyed! I know there somethings I missed on the list, but this should be plenty in 48 hours. Leave your questions/comments below. Until next time…xoxo!