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How to Enjoy a Day or Two in Venice (7 Things to See and Do)

I spent a delightful couple of days in Venice in early June of 2019 on a bus tour. Some activities stood out above the rest!

Views of the Grand Canal, Venice

Views of the Grand Canal, Venice

7 Ways to Spend a Day in Venice

It took a long time for me to finally see Venice! Being of Italian background, I had visited Italy a few times in my childhood, but these trips were focused on visiting family in the Abruzzo region (also lovely and surrounded by sea and mountains).

It was long overdue to see the top three Italian cities and many more on the terrific Trafalgar Wonders of Italy tour. Venice was truly a highlight as it was the perfect early summer weather (we arrived June 1st). There were light crowds, so it was an ideal atmosphere of being both bustling and somewhat relaxing at the same time.

I will share a few tips about quick things to see and do, along with some lovely Venetian views.

Historic Florian, open in Venice since 1720

Historic Florian, open in Venice since 1720

1. Enjoy a Coffee or Drink in Caffe Florian

I love exploring cafes in different cities and didn't want to pass up the opportunity to experience this historical grand cafe and bar. Located in St. Mark's Square, Caffe Florian was born in Venice in 1720.

The interior (which includes both a cafe and bar) is stunning, the service is classy and the short stop here for an espresso was a unique and satisfying break.

Tranquil Canal View, Venice

Tranquil Canal View, Venice

2. Take a Walking Tour With a Local

Arranged by the Trafalgar tour, the Venice behind-the-scenes tour was informative and gave the experience an authentic vibe. Wandering just slightly off of the main squares brings about uncrowded, maze-like streets with a wonderful aura of mystery and the opportunity to observe real Venetians and unique buildings.

It is easy to get lost in these uniquely urban streets, so going on the tour was a great choice to see and hear a little more of authentic Venice in a short visit. There are many options that cater to different themes and interests. Check out With Locals for info on tours in Venice and many more cities.

Cute Kiosk in El Lido

Cute Kiosk in El Lido

3. Enjoy a Leisurely Stroll in The Lido

The Lido is a barrier island in the Venetian Lagoon, an easy 15 minute or so ferry ride from Venice. We stayed here for 2 nights and toured Venice by day, relaxing here on the long summer nights over gelato, sidewalk cafes and strolls to the sea.

It is well worth a visit and its charming, laid-back setting is a nice complement to the grand Venetian experience.

Posing in St. Mark's Square

Posing in St. Mark's Square

4. Visit Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square)

Piazza San Marco is a bustling and majestic square, one of the most beautiful in the world. It is a feeling of wonder as you stand amongst the grand buildings that surround it, especially the Basilica San Marco.

It can be quite a busy place as one of Venice's top attractions, so plan accordingly to avoid the peak of the crowds. We had a short time to take it all in on the tour, but it was memorable and special to stroll around this area and be surrounded by this incredible history.

A Leisurely Gondola Ride in the Narrow Canals of Venice

A Leisurely Gondola Ride in the Narrow Canals of Venice

5. Take a Gondola Ride

This is a must-do! I was a bit skeptical about whether it would live up to the hype, but this experience really did deliver. As part of the Trafalgar tour, it was priced at a slight premium, but it included an awesome boat ride across the Grand Canal which was also a fantastic feeling.

We were able to skip the line and have everything organized for us, which made it a seamless and almost surreal experience—well worth the cost. The melody of the gondoliers, the maze of canals and the views of this historic city were iconic.

Doge's Palace, Venice

Doge's Palace, Venice

6. Visit Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

The stunning and opulent gothic architecture of the Doge's Palace is a marvel to observe. The history is quite fascinating, and amazing art is brought to life while touring this grand building. The palace was home to the Doge, ruler of Venice for over 1000 years.

Tours include the courtyard, chambers and even the prisons of this incredible building, making you feel like you've stepped back into a very different time and place.

Rialto Bridge, Venice

Rialto Bridge, Venice

7. Admire the Beautiful Bridges

A stunning architectural view from our boat ride, it was a delight to look up and see fellow visitors on the oldest renaissance bridge on the Grand Canal on a sunny gorgeous day. Be sure to check out the gorgeous Bridge of Sighs limestone arch bridge as well. These bridges have a romantic and iconic aura to them.

Buon Viaggio!

Even if you have only a short day or two in Venice, the aura and attractions of this vibrant city have an impact and are part of a travel bucket list of very special places to experience and explore.

© 2021 Nella DiCarlo

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