As we’ve mentioned before, we strategically plan self-imposed “layovers” in cities we want to visit, but that probably wouldn’t make the cut as a vacation destination on their own and that is exactly how we ended up in Venice for 24 hours on our way to Greece last year.
Venice has always been one of those “would be nice to see” destinations, so we were excited when it worked out perfectly for us to spend one night in Venice in route to Mykonos! We’ve all heard how romantic Venice can be with it’s canals & gondolas & how it’s sinking so we must visit NOW, but I’d also heard that it was crowded & confusing, and just kind of meh. Maybe it was because we were there for such a short visit & on a vacation high, but I loved Venice! Here’s how we spent our day in Venezia:
When we arrived to the airport we immediately hopped onto a bus which took us to the Venice city centre. After researching, this was the quickest way to get there, especially considering buses run pretty constantly & it’s only a 20-minute ride from the airport. When we arrived at the bus terminal, a 15 minute walk led us to where we believed our Airbnb to be — we then proceeded to hunt for said Airbnb for 30 minutes because VENICE STREETS ARE V CONFUSING. Finally we figured it out (no thanks to Google Maps), dropped our things off, freshened up real quick & we were off.
We walked to the nearest Vaporetto station (water taxis that run through the canals) & rode to Piazza San Marco — the station near St. Mark’s Square — where we’d begin our day. From here we walked to St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge's Palace, St. Mark’s Campanile and Museo Correr. As we’re not really “museum people” when traveling, we just took in the sights as we passed or popped in for a couple of photos when possible.
And then the hunt began for a very specific lunch spot (which we rarely do for the record — normally we just pop into places as we find them for lunch), but for whatever reason I’d read great things about this cute little pasta spot & we were determined to find it (against Google Maps’ will). Although it took us well over an hour to find said restaurant, we stumbled upon so many cute streets that we likely never would have found otherwise. (At around the 15th dead-end street, the hanger may have set in, tbh.) But the homemade pasta was worth it!
Post lunch we wandered towards the Grand Canal & oh, what a sight. This is quintessential Venice with the bridges & canals, live music & bustling crowds. We stopped at a (very touristy) restaurant with tables right on the Grand Canal for an Aperol Spritz (of course) & enjoyed the sights and sounds for a bit. This was one of my favorite moments of being in Venice — I specifically remember feeling overwhelmingly happy & grateful for the experience.
After some relaxing & a couple of drinks, we proceeded to explore around the Grand Canal — checking out the famous Rialto Bridge + Market, followed by a ride through the canals in a wooden boat which made me feel VERY George + Amal. Whether you explore the canals in a gondola or a wooden boat, I highly recommend one or the other because it’s such a fun way to see the city (& very romantic too). Beware though, it’s not cheap — gondola rides are about 80 euro for 30 minutes, with similar prices for wooden boats, but when in Rome!
About this time we were inching closer to sunset & if you’ve ever read one of our travel blogs before, you know that we make a point to find the best spot to watch the sunset in every city we visit. In Venice, it’s T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, the rooftop of a sort of shopping center with sweeping 360 degree views of all of Venice. I don’t think it’s super popular or well-known at this point because there weren’t many other people, but go ahead and reserve a (free!) ticket in advance just in case. The views were INCREDIBLE & it was the perfect watch to watch the sun set on our first & only evening in Venice.
The sun has set & the hanger was starting to set in & pizza was calling our name. On recommendation, we went to a quaint spot called Damamo. It was quiet & candlelit & everything I want in an Italian dinner. Definitely recommend!
We finished up dinner pretty late & upon walking out of the restaurant found that it was POURING. Not lightly sprinkling, raining heavily. We were not close to our Airbnb. And there is no driving in Venice. SO we proceeded to run through the pouring rain for about 20 minutes home. I first I was annoyed because my hair….but it quickly became really funny running through the streets of Venice DRENCHED. Those are the kind of stories we’ll tell our children about one day.
To wrap up, I give Venice two thumbs up; however, I would say that I feel like we were able to see everything we wanted to see & do in one day. If we had an additional day, we would have taken the ferry to the nearby island Murano — a picturesque, colorful little canal town known for it’s famed glass.
As always if you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer. Until next time!