48 hours in Venice – What to see?

Orient Express Special Venice compressed

So you’ve got 48 hours in Venice and want to get as much in as possible? Here’s what we think you need to have on any ‘must see and do’ list for your visit.

Orient Express Special Venice compressed

Venice is the capital of Northern Italy’s Veneto region.

Built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, with not a road to be seen (just meandering canals – not to mention 400 bridges) Venice is a totally unique environment.

With the romance of canals all around, a maze of pathways to explore and the Grand Canal, lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces, it is a breath-taking scene that has to be seen to be believed.

And what better way to explore than by water bus… an all day Vaporetto ticket is an excellent choice when it comes to hoping on and off the water buses. The buses run on fixed schedules and it is important to always remember your ticket as failing to show your ticket could result in a fine. So, armed with your Vaporetto ticket, a craving for Venetian culture, and with 48 hours to explore Venice, where do you begin?

Places to see…

Piazza San Marco is dominated by St Mark’s Basilica (Church).


An outstanding feat of architectural design steeped in history. A glorious church with the most exquisite art details, and a definite a must see location for any Visit to Venice.

Campanile di San Marco is the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica and, along with the church, is one of the city’s most recognisable symbols.

The view from the top is impressive, allowing you to see right across Venice. Housing 5 bells it stands at 98.6 metres tall, creating a dramatic and dominating presence in the Piazza San Marco.

To really enjoy the atmosphere of Piazza San Marco take a seat at one of the many cafés that fill the marble archways and columns. Take time to soak up the atmosphere, listen to the music, watch some street art and most importantly admire the outstanding architectural designs  all around.

Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) and Bridge of Sighs is simply breath taking. There is no single word that could sum up the grandeur and opulence the palace presents. You have to see it to feel its presence and admire its beauty.

Built in the Venetian Gothic style, the palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice. Today the palace represents Venice as the home of one of the finest masterpieces of Gothic architecture standing today.

The Bridge of Sighs links the back of the palace to the prison chambers and is where criminals passed from the palace interrogation rooms to the prison. Its curved profile, suspended over the Rio di Palazzo, provided a criminal their last look out at Venice through the tiny metal barred windows before being incarcerated. The Bridge of Sighs is best viewed from the outside and choosing the Canonica Bridge or Ponte della Paglia Bridge will allow you to take in the details of the white limestone design unobstructed.

San Giorgio Maggiore sits on the Riva degli Schiavoni and gleams in brilliant white marble next to the blue of the lagoon.

It is a 16th century Benedictine church built on the island of the same name, designed by Andrea Palladio it is classical to the Renaissance style. Like a sophisticated wedding cake iced to perfection, the church’s details crisp, delicate and defined are a stand out feature upon Venice’s skyline.

Another must see is the oldest of four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice – the Ponte di Rialto. Delicate stone arches, steps and shops adorn the bridge structure and the bridge has been a crossing of Venice’s Grand Canal for more than 400 years. Another bridge of equal stature but perhaps not as well-known as the Ponte di Rialto is the Ponte Dell’Accademia, another excellent example of the Venetian style.

There’s more than a full day of explorations already accounted for if you explore everything we’ve mentioned so far – and you can’t escape the beauty of art and architectural design that follows you all around Venice. Of course Venice is equally famed for it’s art and collections, so a visit to the famous Guggenheim Museum is well worth a trip. The Correr Museum is less well known but houses glorious collections of Venetian art, history and culture, and another must for anyone visiting Venice.

We think you’ll struggle to fit all this into 48 hours, but hopefully you can plan your trip more effectively with this as a guide. Of course, there are more tips on what to do and enjoy when visiting Venice, and we’ve listed our top tips on 48 hours in Venice below.

Visiting Venice Top Tips…

  • When choosing places to eat, don’t always go for the nearest option. Moving away from St Mark’s square and the station you will find lots of places offering a broad variety of good quality food.
  • Take to the canals in the evening, the landscape changes dramatically as everything lights up and becomes a glistening spectacle against the water.
  • Book tickets for attractions in advance as queues can be long, especially in high seasons.
  • If you use a smart phone take advantage of your SatNav as it may come in useful when navigating around the city.
  • Comfortable shoes are a must for enjoying the scenery all day long!
  • Don’t forget your camera. The changing light at different times of day creates beautiful colours that show off the architecture in unique ways.
  • Whatever new experiences you try don’t forget the Gelato!

Venice can offer you a range of amazing experience’s whether it is taking to the water in a Gondola, tasting the delights of new cuisines or enlightening your mind, with the wonders of the sights to be seen. You won’t be able to see everything in 48 hours, so be selective, walk, explore and enjoy soaking up even the smallest of details in one of the most romantic and unique city’s the world has to offer.

And if you’d like more inspiration or to find out more, ask one of our friendly experts on 01394 825292.