We absolutely adored Venice. As soon as we got off the bus, we were amazed at how dream-like it was. It is a city that is frozen in time and reminded us of Disneyland in the way that it is a created world. Venice is so rich in history and culture. We were so happy that we were able to see it when we did because we would not be surprised to see Venice completely disappear during our lifetime. It is so old and is decaying at a rapid rate. So if you have always wanted to see Venice, do it now!
We spent a total of two full days in Venice, plus one evening and one morning. For a good Venice experience, we would suggest planning two full days and either an evening or a morning to get the full experience.
When we first got to Venice, we just spent the evening wandering and getting lost. And it truly is the best experience we had in Venice. I highly suggest everyone takes a few hours and literally get lost in Venice. We really enjoyed peeking in all of the mask and glass shops, finding a pizza place for dinner and treating ourselves to a double scoop of real Italian gelato. It was the perfect way to get ourselves into the Venetian mood. As we wandered, we took pictures at literally every corner. This city is so picturesque, it is hard to not take hundreds of photos. The evenings seem to have less people which makes it much better for taking pictures and enjoying the atmosphere.
We suggest starting your morning early. Find a bakery for some pastries for breakfast and get yourselves to St. Mark’s Square
. If you can get there before 9:30 or 10:00, you will basically have the square to yourselves. Listen to the Rick Steves Audio Europe
track for St. Mark’s Square.
After wandering around the Square listening to Rick, hop in line at St. Mark’s Basilica
. They open around 10:00, but the line starts forming by 9:30 so make sure you get a spot. The line moves quickly and it won’t take too long to get into the Basilica. Make sure you have covered shoulders and knees, but if you don’t they have brown plastic you can cover yourself with. Rick Steves
also has another Audio Europe track for St. Mark’s Basilica. Make sure to check it out while you’re there.
From St. Mark’s Basilica, go to the Campanile
. If you are lucky enough to be at the top of the tower during the half hour, you are in for a loud treat! You will get to see the bells as they ring the time. You will have amazing views of the city, so definitely take the time to make a stop here.
From here, if you’re ready for lunch, head away
from St. Mark’s. Everything close to the Square is quite a bit more expensive. We suggest heading towards the Frari Church
. If you can’t wait to eat, continue past the Church for a really yummy pizza and calzone place we found behind the church. Not too far away from there is also a really good gelato stand. After you’ve had your fill, head back to the Frari Church
for a calm tour of a beautiful building. Again, listen to Rick
to learn more about the history of this beautiful church.
After you’ve had a chance to cool down, you can wander around and head toward the Rialto Bridge. There are lots of cute shops and squares along the way. Take your time and soak up the Venetian-ness. Once you get to the Rialto Bridge, hop on a Vaporetto
and go back to San Marco Square
(St. Mark’s Square).
Once there, go to the Correr Museum. It is on the opposite side of St. Mark’s Basilica
. Once there, buy tickets for the Doge’s Palace
. Your tickets will be good for a few days so you can choose if you want to go to Doge’s Palace or if you want to check out the museums to end your day of sight seeing.
After the museums or the palace, find a place to eat some dinner, grab some gelato and if you have enough energy, spend some more time wandering around this seaside town in the evening.
This day, set aside for spending on the islands of Murano and Burano
. Know that the Vaporetto
ride takes a long time to get there. So plan on at least 45 minutes of travel time to get to Murano and add another 30-45 minutes of travel time to get to Burano. Also know that most places won’t open until 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning so you can’t get too early of a start. When you are are on Murano, enjoy looking at all of the glass shops and purchase some souvenirs. Make sure that you have a safe way to get them home though! After you’ve had your fill of glass, hop on another Vaporetto
and head to Burano. Once there, grab a pizza and some gelato for lunch before exploring this cute little island. There are lots of lace kiosks and stands to buy some famous lace if that’s your thing. Also make sure to spend a lot of time wandering the streets and taking in the vibrant colors of the homes along the canals.
From Burano, take another Vaporetto
and head to San Marco’s
. This is another 45 minute (at least) boat ride. Once you get to the Square finish off the day with either the Doge’s Palace and prisons or the Correr Museum.
After find some of your favorite Italian food and get one last gelato as you enjoy your last evening in Venice.