Venice in 48 Hours

How to Spend 48 hours in Venice - our Itinerary

Welcome to our 48 hours in Venice guide. Why is Venice so special? It’s my top city worldwide. It’s timeless, elegant, and full of secrets. Venice’s mix of history, culture, and romance is unmatched. Sitting in the Venetian Lagoon, this water city offers a unique escape. It’s perfect for anyone wanting to dive into a world where human creativity meets nature. Planning two days in Venice or a long weekend? The city’s charm goes beyond the usual tourist spots.

Venice is more than a place; it’s an all-around experience. You’ll see stunning Gothic and Renaissance buildings reflecting in the canals. You’ll hear gondoliers sing and markets buzz. The food here, from seafood to cicchetti, takes you on a flavor journey. So, why visit Venice? It’s not just a trip; it invites you into a world where every moment is art. Every scene is a masterpiece. Every experience connects you to both the past and present. Whether it’s your first or tenth time, Venice always captures the heart, making each visit unforgettable.

Two Days in Venice: Go to...

Fast Facts for Visiting in 48 hours

Our easy to view fast facts for your visit to Venice to cover as much as you can when spending a long weekend in Venice. 


Spring and Autumn to miss the heaving crowds that visit in the summer months. In November you may experience the 'Acqua Alta'


Motorhome parking outside of Venice is around 35 euros a day. Budget hotels are around 130 euros per night


Buy the museum pass and the 48hr bus pass, which allows use of the water taxis


St Marks Basilica, Doge's Palace, Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal, Bridge of Sighs, Murano & Burano Islands

Local Foods

Risotto Al Nero di Seppa, Sardi in Saoi, Cicchetti, Frito Misto, Tiramisu


Carnevale de Venezia, Biennale, Venice Film Festival, Venice Jazz Festival, Christmas Markets

The Best Time To Visit Venice

The best time to visit Venice is in the spring, from April to June, or during the autumn, from September to October. During these months, the weather is nice, not too hot or too cold. Also, there are fewer tourists compared to the busy summer, so you can enjoy the city more and find shorter lines for attractions. Plus, you might find better deals on places to stay. Remember, Venice can get really crowded in the summer and during festivals like Carnival in February. If you don’t mind a bit of cold, winter is quieter and can be magical, especially with fewer people around.

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Top FAQ's on a Weekend in Venice

What are the must-visit attractions in Venice for a weekend trip?

St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge, and a gondola ride through the canals are the top attractions when visiting Venice. You might want to buy ‘Jump the Line’ tickets in peak season.

Yes, Venice is best explored on foot due to its narrow lanes and pedestrian-only zones, alongside using vaporetto’s (water buses) for longer distances.

Visit early in the morning or in the evening, and explore less popular areas like Cannaregio or Dorsoduro.  Travel in the shoulder seasons outside of June, July and August. 

Look for eateries away from the main tourist spots; try local bacari (wine bars) for cicchetti (Venetian tapas). Look for where the locals appear to be eating as well. That is always the best way.

Late spring (May to early June) and early autumn (September to October) for pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Options include the Alilaguna water bus, a private water taxi, or the ATVO express bus to Piazzale Roma. 

If you plan to use vaporetto’s frequently to explore various islands or distant parts of Venice, then yes, we would recommend. Otherwise the cheapest and easiest way is to just walk and get lost.

Murano and Burano islands for glass-making and lace-making, respectively, and Padua or Verona for historical sites (but these are on the mainland). 

Walking through the historic districts, visiting churches (some may have an entrance fee), and enjoying the views from the Rialto Bridge are all free, along with the local markets that you can catch on certain days. 

Comfortable walking shoes, a refillable water bottle, lightweight layers (depending on the season), and an umbrella or raincoat.

Getting to Venice

By Road: The main motorways to Venice are the A4 from Trieste and Turin, the A13 from Bologna and the A27 from Belluno. You have to end your journey to Venice by parking in the Piazzale Roma.

By Plane: Fly into Marco Polo airport or Venice Treviso Airport. Flights come from all over the world, although some of the bigger planes may find you landing in bigger airports further afield. 

By Train: Trains to Venice go straight into the centre and take only 10 minutes from Mestre Train Station. To get further into Venice, you can take a water taxi, a water bus or simply start walking! 

By Shuttle Bus: These buses run into the main area of Venice from all over Mestre city. We used the shuttle bus to get from our motorhome campsite and it took around 15 minutes to drop us in the Piazzale Roma, where we walked.  Buses run until late in the night. 

Venetian History Made Simple

Venice, a marvel of human ingenuity and natural wonder, emerged in the late 500s as the Roman Empire retreated. Today, it stands as the illustrious capital of the Veneto region in Northern Italy. A fascinating mosaic of 118 islands forms this unique city, though many are mere rocks peeking above the water at low tide. Among these, only about 11 are home to residents, with a handful like San Michele, the cemetery island, open for visits yet uninhabited. Adding to its allure, two islands have been transformed into luxury hotel resorts, offering a serene escape just 20 minutes by complimentary taxi from Venice’s heart.

With over 400 bridges arching over its myriad canals, Venice is a city intertwined by waterways. The Grand Canal, a central ‘S’ shaped artery, is spanned by just four of these bridges, marking a path through the city’s rich history and vibrant daily life.

The city’s 400 gondoliers, guardians of an age-old tradition, navigate these waters. Licensed to operate in specific zones, they embody the soul of Venice, with only four new licenses issued annually. Crafting a gondola is a 45-day labour of love, costing around 20,000 euros, and by tradition, each vessel is cloaked in elegant black.

Venice’s grandeur is further magnified by approximately 450 palaces dotting the islands, making a mere 48 hours in this city seem all too brief.

Venice is a labyrinth of 3,000 calle (streets), with the narrowest, Calletta Varisco, measuring just 53cm wide. This city invites you to lose yourself in its narrow alleys, alongside canals, and under the shadow of its storied architecture, each corner a postcard waiting to be discovered.

The 6 Venetian Sestieres (Districts)

Venice is divided into six sestiere, or districts, each with its own character:

  • San Marco: The quintessential tourist hub, home to the city’s top five attractions.
  • Santa Croce: The gateway for bus arrivals, welcoming visitors with open arms.
  • San Polo: Famous for the bustling Rialto market, a feast for the senses.
  • Castello: A quieter slice of Venice, stretching from San Marco to the island’s eastern edge.
  • Dorsoduro: Known for its relaxed vibe, art shops, and delicious cuisine.
  • Cannaregio: The historic Jewish quarter, conveniently located near the bus station for easy arrivals and departures, yet a peaceful retreat from the tourist center.

Where to Stay in Venice

Venice in a Motorhome

There are several motorhome sites that are based around Venice. We would not go into Venice and leave the van in a wild camping space (We live fulltime in our van and are often off grid – but with that comes a sense of when it is wise to be on site somewhere. This is one of those times). 

There are 2 main areas to base yourself when in a motorhome; The Venice Lido, which is the eastern side of Venice where the beach is and access to Venice city is by boat only. Or you can stay in the the main town, lots of places to stay around that area, with access to Venice by the train, bus or boat.

Motorhome Sites Near Venice

There are several motorhome sites that are based around Venice. We would not go into Venice and leave the van in a wild camping space. As fulltime motorhomers who spend most of the time off grid, we have times when we deem it an unnecessary risk. All of the following have links to their websites so you can read about them. We stayed at Camping Venizia Village. We purchased our bus tickets into Venice directly at the site and the bus stop is just outside the entrance to the site. 

Camping Fusina

Located directly across the lagoon from Venice, Camping Fusina, designed by the famous architect Carlo Scarpa, offers an ideal spot for motorhome parking. It provides a range of facilities and services for a comfortable stay. There’s also a ferry service directly from the campsite to Zattere in Venice, making it very convenient for exploring the city.

Situated in Mestre, just a short distance from Venice, Camping Venezia Village offers excellent facilities, including a swimming pool and restaurant. It’s an ideal base for motorhome travelers, with good public transport connections to Venice.

 This is another great option located on the mainland, about 20 minutes from Venice by public transport. It offers spots for motorhomes, along with basic amenities and a friendly atmosphere. Camping Serenissima also has  pool! 

Located closer to the centre of Mestre, Camping Rialto offers a convenient and economical option for visiting Venice. It has facilities for motorhomes and provides easy access to the city via bus.

If you prefer staying a bit further away in a quieter location, Camping Al Boschetto, located near the beach in Cavallino-Treporti, might be ideal. It’s a bit further from Venice, but you can reach the city by ferry, offering a scenic route to and from your day out.

Camping Garden Paradiso is a larger, well-equipped site in Cavallino-Treporti, offering numerous amenities including pools, restaurants, and direct beach access. From here, you can take a ferry from Punta Sabbioni to Venice.

Venice in a Hotel or Apartment

We have included hotel options as you may want to stay over night rather than going back to your motorhome, which will be parked up safely on a site somewhere. To get from the bus station to the Rialto bridge is approx 30 mins walk – so you would need to factor this in to timings  if you chose to go back every night.  We parked our motorhome up, for a discounted price and stayed once in a hotel and once in an apartment. 

I have a number of apps that I use to look for places to stay when I travel;

  1. Hostel World
  2. AirBnB
  4. Trivago

When we flew in to Treviso airport, we got a bus, which travels through the town and then over the bridge to take us to the main bus station at Venice Island. That is where the traffic stops – it becomes by foot, boat, river taxi or gondola only! 

Venice can be expensive, but if you search and don’t mind walking a little, you can find some great places to stay at a reasonable cost. The Hotel Alla Fava, which we booked through Hostel World, was about £130.00 for each night and was in a great location. It was really very central. Just 1 minute from the Rialto Bridge, 5 minutes from St Marks Square, which is exactly what we wanted. The room was clean and functional although a little dated, but that kind of lent an element of Italian charm! There was no bar or room service but that also suited us fine.

Weekend in Venice - Day One

Be sure to start your day early. I have based the itinerary on where we stayed – the Hotel Flava – in central Venice in the St Marco sestieri. If you want an easy way to see key attractions – here is our cheat link – Venice In A Day Tour


Waking up bright and early – take a quick stroll for 2 minutes to the Rialto Bridge and have a nice coffee and morning pastry or breakfast. It is one of the oldest bridges over the Grand Canal and is the bridge that is crowded with visitors trying to get that classic shot – either over the canal from the bridge or from one of the restaurants on the canal front looking up to the Rialto Bridge.  

Visit the Basilica, Campanile de San Marco, Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.

After breakfast, make your way to St Marcos to tick off the top items until mid afternoon. 

In San Marcos you can take a stroll around the square, get your tickets to the absolutely beautiful Basilica San Marco and take a trip up the Campanile de San Marco (the tower). You can visit Palazza Ducale (Doges Palace) and the Bridge of Sighs. It really is the most beautiful place with stunning rooms to roam around – and the contrast of the Bridge of Sighs and where the prisoners were held. Follow that up with a trip to the Museo Correr, tucked away back in the main square. 

You can save time and do the the Doges Palace, Bridge of Sighs and Cathedral on one Skip the Line ticket tour. You can only use the Skip the Line tickets if you are part of a tour. In peak season, this could be an essential.

If you only want to go to one of these places, then buy single tickets – mostly you have to say the time that you are going to be visiting. We got ourselves a museum pass, because we knew that we would be taking advantage of many of the places that are included in this one pass. 

I would suggest going all out for your first lunch and taking your time to people watch in the fabulous San Marco Square. You can go to the world famous Florian's which is a luxury experience and will cost around £60 pp for a light lunch with a glass of wine.


To spare yourself musuem overload, or architectural overload, or just ‘house bling’ overload all in one day, spend the afternoon exploring some of the areas around St Marcos. So you can walk through to the main canal front where all the gondolas park up and walk towards the East which will take you through some much quieter streets. It is where the military are based – 


You are likely going to need to sit down and have a break and a coffee or glass of wine at this point. I know I am! Stop off for a Venetian Spritz somewhere that you can either take in canal traffic –  or take a seat at a table in one of the many squares so that you can people watch – totally one of my favourite hobbies. The Venetian Spritz is probably known to you as an Aperol Spritz. It was ‘invented’ in 1912 and everywhere you go after about 11am, you can see people drinking glasses of the bright orange cocktail in the sun. 


For the first evening of any place that I visit – from China to Istanbul, I take a food tour. The reason behind that is that I get to taste the local cuisine and find out the best places to eat in the area. You often have guides that give you tips and pointers for other places to try that are not on your tour – you just need to ask them. 

An evening Venetian food tour is a perfect way to find out where to eat the following day.  

If you don’t fancy a food tour – we went to a gorgeous restaurant one night (booking essential) called Impronta Cafe. The food was absolutely fabulous – as you can see from my photos! 

Finish the evening off with a nice glass of wine or prosecco sitting by the Rialto Bridge, They have blankets – so even in November, sitting outside is a possibility. We went whilst there were still pandemic restrictions on, and it was still possible to sit outside at midnight. 

The Rialto Bridge, one of my favourite pictures I took on my weekend visit to Venice.
The Rialto Bridge, one of my favourite pictures I took on my weekend visit to Venice.

Weekend in Venice - Day Two


An another early morning start here and again – you are going over the Rialto Bridge and towards the fresh food and fish markets on the Grand Canal. You want to be at the market at 8am really. Before it gets packed. Have breakfast now – some amazing little places for coffee and pastries again. I am not really a coffee gal, but in Italy – I adore the coffee! Espresso always for me. With water of course. 

If you are a foodie – then this place is going to take you to heaven! I saved the market until day 2 of the itinerary because it makes sense to buy things that you can take back to your motorhome that evening.  We only have 48 hours remember. The market closes at 13:00. Both markets are closed on a Sunday and the fish market it also closed on a Monday. 

You can get some fantastic photos of the produce here – and you can also buy bags of risotto rice made up already with Venetian seasoning. It is a very touristy thing to buy – but we got 6 bags! Each bag will make a meal for 2 and they cost about 4 euros each. I must confess though – it would be wise to not buy the fresh fish, unless you are heading to the market on the way to the motorhome. Or you have a cool bag.  They will put ice in it for you to keep everything fresh. 

Don’t be surprised to find that after you have had a people watching kind of breakfast, wandered around the market and taken photos it is close to 11:00am! 

At this point – there is a choice to be made: You can either head towards the water taxi and take  a trip to the Burano/Murano Islands – or you can continue to explore Venice. 48 hours is really not enough to do everything in – so we are staying in Venice for the rest of the day. Either way you go back over the Rialto Bridge.

But if you do want to go and visit these places, you need to head to the water bus station Number 12. That is the only line that take you to Murano/Burano. It is in the old town part of San Marco district on the eastern side of Venice. Don’t make the mistake of getting off at the wrong island like we did – it was another hour till the next water bus came along! 


Going with the continuation of exploring Venice – next stop is a restaurant called Da Foire, local venetian food and drink We had a fabulous lunchtime meal here which was very good value and packed with locals. Which is always a good sign and something to look out for.

It just happens that when we were in Venice on the 21st November, it is a festival to commemorate the ending of the plague in 1631. Only on that day do they serve castradina. It is a traditional soup dish of castrated rams and cabbage! It is a dish from the Dalmatians – the only people that would dare send food to the island, which had isolated itself, with a loss of 50,000 people. I have to say that it was really delicious. We had venetian wine to match – that being wine of the local region.


For the afternoon, we are heading towards the Opera House – Teatro La Fenice. It is absolutely stunning inside. We took a tour (audio) of the building but it would be amazing to go and watch an actual opera taking place. Tickets for an actual event start at around 130 euros – so its not a cheap night out – its more a blow the budget night out. 

Afterward, cross the bridge to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, a fabulous collection of modern art. You will need to book tickets for this and it is closed on a Tuesday. You can see Picasso and Pollock side by side and can also pick up skip the queue tickets.

Meander your way through the Dorsoduro district to see ‘The Migrant Child’ by Banksy and which could be a good time to sit down and have your afternoon aperitif. There are some cute little bars around that area and you can sit out by the canals. 

Evening Gondola Ride

This could be the ideal time for you to have a gondola ride! OK – it is expensive and decadent but it really is a bucket list item. Remember that all gondoliers charge the same price for the same amount of time all over Venice everything is controlled & regulated to ensure that you have an ‘authentic’ experience, the difference might be that you get to experience part of the Grand Canal as well as some of the quieter ‘back street’ canals – a totally different feel from the Grand Canals hustle and bustle.  Be sure to ask which route your gondolier will take. If you pick up shortly before you get to the Grand Canal, you are likely to get a good mix of both. Chat to them before hand – someone who is cheerful and chatty is probably going to give a better atmosphere than one who got out of bed the wrong side (for whatever reason). 

Things to note – less tourists take gondola trips in the morning. Your gondolier will also be fresher in the morning as he hasn’t worked all day, so you might want to do this in the morning before the markets. There is a Gondola stop right at the market, but check the route. Prices increase after 7pm, so a sunset ride is more expensive (30 minutes – euros for the day and 100 during the evening). Unless it is pre-booked – a gondola ride is cash only.  The prices are regulated so don’t negotiate.

How to Save Money on your Gondola Ride

You can pre-book a shared ride from the Hotel Danieli, (a luxury hotel, in multiple flims, The Tourist (Angelina Jolie and Jonny Depp), 3 Bond films and many famous guests like Stephen Spielburg and Charles Dickens). Sharing the gondola will cost less money  – but you may get lucky and have the boat to yourself. 

For your last evening, try some more casual dining, If you are heading back to the motorhome at this point – so towards the bus terminal at Cannaregio, you can find lots of little bars on the way back (either in Cannaregio or Dorsoduro) that sell a tapas style food. When you ask for your food – rely on their expertise and ask them for what they recommend. We did this and paired it with wines and it was just a lovely, local meal, with wines for just 50 euros for us both. 

48 hours in Venice - DONE

And so ends a beautifully frantic 48 hours in Venice. You will have seen all the key attractions (and no doubt squeezed your own bits in too) as you wandered around the 3000 streets, crossed some of the 400 canals and visited just a few of the 450 palaces! 

If you do have another day in Venice, I really would recommend doing as the Venetians do – getting the boat to some of the other Islands. You can catch the water bus to Torcello, Burano, Murano and maybe even stopping at San Michele, it really is quite a fascinating place. Seafood on Burano and Murano is half the price of Venice, and they are famous for their coloured houses, It is a photographers dream. I would definitely recommend some Island hopping.

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