Two Days in Venice: Things to See and Do

Venice is like no other city on Earth. On the busy Grand Canal gondolas share the waters with the vaporretto and other vessels, whilst the occasional gondolier can be heard singing O Sole Mio or playing the accordion. Walk to the bustling Piazza San Marco and you’re likely to be fighting your way past tourists whilst simultaneously trying to dodge the pigeons overhead. What makes Venice so unique is that the waterways are the roads. The strangest thing I saw was a Venetian fire engine floating down a narrow backstreet canal- that’s when I stopped and thought “this place is pretty cool”. Wind your way through the tiny backstreets and you’ll find quiet emerald green canals with pretty bridges and peaceful squares with artists’ workshops.

Canal Grande, Venice, Italy

I’ve been to several places with the title of “little venice”, but seriously, the real Venice is like nothing I have ever seen before. A word of warning though, you are almost 100% guaranteed to get lost. Forget the map because you won’t be able to make any sense of it. Since Venice is full of canals and bridges, you cannot simply follow directions as you would with roads. I bumped into some people from my camp site who appeared to know where they were going…how did they know? “We just look at the sun for the general sense of direction and we’re bound to get there in the end”.

Venice is incredibly pretty but incredibly crowded. It was Easter when I visited and some cruise ships had just docked so I can imagine that made it even worse. The major sights in Venice are located around Piazza San Marco, but it was absolute bedlam, and the piazza isn’t the most attractive part of Venice. I much preferred walking around the pretty backstreet canals away from the sights, so if you want to see Venice, I suggest go for a wander and see where it takes you.

In many ways Venice itself is the “sight” but these are some of the main things to see and do. I covered all of these over two days in Venice:

Doge’s Palace- The Doge’s Palace is a magnificent gothic palace in Piazza San Marco. You have to dodge the crowds of tourists and the pigeons in the square to get to it! The Palace was the home of the elected Doge of Venice and the seat of the government for centuries. You can take the regular tour or the Secret Itineraries tour to explore its opulent interior, taking you through the elaborately decorated rooms and across the Bridge of Sighs to the Palace of the Prisoners.

Doge's Palace, Venice, Italy

St. Mark’s Basilica– St. Mark’s Basilica, also in Piazza San Marco, is the most famous church in Venice. It was the chapel of the Doge, but in 1807 it became the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archidiosese of Venice. The extravagant Byzantine church supposedly houses the remains of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice.

St. Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy

St. Marks Campanile– The tall red brick Bell Tower of St. Mark’s Basilica dominates Piazza San Marco. The original Campanile famously collapsed in 1902, and it was decided that it would be rebuilt exactly how it looked before. The new replica Campanile was inaugurated in 1912.

St Mark's Basilica and Campanile, Venice, Italy

Gondola Ride- Venice is famous for its gondolas and a gondola ride is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things that you should do whilst in Venice. Whilst people talk about it being rather expensive, the ‘official’ price is 80 euros for 40 minutes and you can fit up to 6 people in one. You can get them to take you down the Grand Canal as well as the quiet backstreet canals. It’s a very relaxing experience and a great way to see Venice from a different perspective. If you want your gondolier to sing or play the accordion, this usually costs a bit more.

Gondola Ride, Venice

Rialto Bridge- The Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge that crosses the Grand Canal. There are a lot of restaurants on the Canal here where you can have lunch with a view of the Bridge. Remember though, the closer you are to a major sight, the more expensive your food will be. There are signposts to the Rialto Bridge from Piazza San Marco and there are lots of shops selling jewellery and souvenirs actually on the bridge itself.

Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy

Accademia Bridge– This bridge is a wooden bridge that spans the Grand Canal in Venice, linking Dorsoduro with San Marco. It is a great place to take photos of the gondolas and boats going down the Grand Canal.

Accademia Bridge, Venice, Italy

Of course Venice is one of those places you must stop for a slice of pizza, a gelado and an espresso. If you want to take home a souvenir from your trip to Venice, then a Venetian mask always makes a good present.

Victoria Brewood

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

  • Liv
    Posted at 07:10h, 14 June Reply

    The closest I have got to Venice is the ‘fake’ Venice inside the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas (Somewhat ironic since I am from Europe!) I would love to go though. Venice looks like the sort of place you have to see to believe.

  • Leif aka The Runaway Guide
    Posted at 09:49h, 18 June Reply

    Hey Pommie,
    I love your site and this post on Venice. Your writing reads really well. Since I’m always on a really tight budget, this post will help. I’m looking forward to going back to Venice as a travel blogger.
    Safe travels,

  • Leif aka The Runaway Guide
    Posted at 09:50h, 18 June Reply

    Hey, I was wondering, if you are looking for someone to interview, I would love to be your interviewee.

    • victoria
      Posted at 00:21h, 11 September Reply

      Leif, I’d be happy to include you in my interview series.

  • Leif aka The Runaway Guide
    Posted at 09:52h, 18 June Reply

    Hey, I really like that box with the popular/latest/comments/ on it. Is that a plugin/widget?
    Thanks in advance,

    • victoria
      Posted at 00:23h, 11 September Reply

      Leif- the box with the popular/latest/comments is part of Woo Themes. It’s not a plugin-it’s part of the Woo Themes framework.

    Posted at 13:59h, 24 June Reply

    Hi Pommie,

    it really is a place like no other city. You can come back as many times as you want and discover new aspects and perspectives, this is what I like about Venice a lot.

  • Katie k
    Posted at 14:50h, 05 September Reply

    Hey, any advice on what are or any hotels to stay? Thank you. X

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