48 Hours in Venice
3rd March 2018 by Jamie Fisher
- Catch a water taxi from the airport to your hotel (or nearest taxi drop-off) - it'll set you back upwards of 80€, but the iconic panoramic cityscape views are breathtaking as you speed James Bond-style in your own private water taxi.
- Hit the streets, it's time to take in the sights. Wherever you're staying, a fairly central point to head first is the Rialto bridge - it's also a water bus stop so can be accessed by the regular water busses. From here, you can walk easily to some of the other popular and lesser known destinations, including the fairytale-esque Scala di Bovolo (a stunning staircase that befits an epic romance). No visit to Venice would be complete without a wander around St Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco). You don't need to suffer the extortionate drinks prices to enjoy the atmosphere of this European wonder - wander at your own pace. You can also conquer several of the key tourist spots dotted around the square within a few hours, including the beautiful Basilica San Marco and the oft-overlooked Campanile San Marco. Most italian cities boast a campanile (bell tower) and this is easily one of the best ways to view the city. This one (unlike sister cities) also has the added attraction of elevator access. Venture up just before the hour to hear and witness the spell-binding ringing of the bells, mere feet above your head.
- Venice by night is embalmed with romance. Squares provide a stunning backdrop to enjoy local seafood and delicious wines. Take a seat in the stunning square of Santa Maria Formosa as the sun sets behind the church and you won't be able to tear yourself away until long after dessert.
- An early start is a good way to miss the crowds at the Doge's Palace. Get in early and wander the decadent rooms and haunting prison to appreciate the dramatic history of this incredible city. Take a moment of reflection as you cross the Bridge of Sighs - the point at which inmates from centuries past had their final glimpses of the outside world (hence the name).
- You were waiting for it - now's your chance: hiring a gondola isn't cheap, but when in R̶o̶m̶e̶ Venice... Gondolas can be hired from various points around the city, including outside the Doge's Palace. The City of Venice sets the cost of gondola rides, so you needn't worry about shopping around. Hop in and behold the breathtaking scenes at every turn.
- Don't head home without a souvenir - for something a bit different, the Libreria Acqua Alta is a bookshop with a difference. It's built on the edge of a canal and features piles upon piles of books from centuries past up to the latest bestsellers. Stacks upon stacks of books pour out into the courtyard at the back where a structure of its own allows visitors to quite literally climb mountains of books. A bookworm's dream in a truly magical setting.
More time to spare?
For longer trips, catch a waterbus from outside the Doge's to the island of Murano. Famed for its ornately coloured glass - Murano is a tranquil island escape. Artisans invite you to watch them at work and browse unique gifts and trinkets. Lunch in the garden of Osteria al Duomo is compulsory if you're in Murano - it's fantastic for visitors with dietary needs too.