Following on from our 36 Hours in Milan, my partner and I caught a train to Venice. We arrived late morning, and by lunchtime we were well into our afternoon of exploration of the city.
We were originally only going to focus on one city for our long weekend away, but with a lot of mixed feedback on Venice we decided to do two cities instead. This way we were able to get a good (albeit short) feel for Venice, and Milan, and ensure there was always something do to or see.
Here’s how we spent our 24 Hours in Venice…
The Grand Canal
Arriving by train into the Santa de Lucia station, you walk straight out to the Grand Canal where all the river boats / metro depart from. This is one of the most convenient ways to travel round different areas of Venice as the Grand Canal circulates around some of the main regions.
Luckily, our hotel was situated within a small square deep within the Venice back streets which was only a few minutes walk from the popular river boat stop of Rialto.
The great (and weird!) thing about arriving into Venice is how the culture and way of life changes… It’s strange because it almost felt like a dream, or as if you’ve entered a theme park! With no cars in sight, you’re forced to travel by foot or river / canal. There were hardly any bicycles either because of the tight back streets.
San Marco / St. Mark’s Square
We were extremely lucky with the location of our hotel. It was only a short five minute walk away from the iconic St. Mark’s square so this was our first experience of Venice. The walk itself to the square was beautiful because of the Venetian architecture adorning the streets and small canals.
Before deciding on Venice as a destination for our long weekend, many people told us of how busy and overcrowded it was. As soon as we entered St. Mark’s Square we completed understood this. But having walked through some of the back streets to get there, it was quickly made clear that staying away from the main attractions was critical to making the most of all the city has to offer.
Although the main square itself is crowded with tourists, it is an absolute must-see whilst in Venice. The architecture is exquisite – I haven’t seen anything like it!
The Bell Tower
Situated within St. Mark’s Square we booked a fast-track ticket to go up the Bell Tower. I just love seeing cities from above – it’s a completely different perspective on the whole place. It’s a break from the hustle and bustle and gives you chance to reflect on the beauty you have been walking through.
From viewing a city from above, you can quite often discover other areas that you may not have considered wandering to beforehand. It was like this in Venice. Perhaps naively we didn’t realise the expanse of the city nor the close proximity to open waters and sights beyond. By gaining this fresh perspective we were able to plan the rest of our afternoon…
Water Front Walks
After we went up the Bell Tower, we decided to take a walk out the opposite side of the main square and approach the water front. As we walked further away from the main square the quieter the streets became so we could really take in the Venice atmosphere. We stopped for a few drinks to cool down (it was surprisingly warm for an October trip?) before heading off to find a Gondola!
Probably the most touristy thing to do in Venice – get a Gondola ride! We couldn’t not take a ride in a Gondola… If you ever go to Venice you just have to do it! We may never venture back to Venice so we thought we would make the most of our time there and really embrace the culture. Although the main canals are full of Gondola rides we just couldn’t resist.
Taking a Gondola through Venice is quite pricey. And yes, they are as expensive as everyone says they are! But is it worth it? 1,000,000 % worth it.
It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a true Gondola ride in the heart of Venice. You get to see the city in a completely different way, and it’s an experience we will never forget. It was the perfect almost-ending to our long weekend away.
I really hope this post has given you some ideas on how you can spend 24 hours in Venice and truly make the most of it! Have you been to Venice before? What did you think and what did you get up to? Share it with us in the comments below!