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Once in a lifetime trip to Venice for 2.5 days - what to do?

(36 Posts)
Goingonagondola Mon 29-Jul-19 00:09:42

I'm taking my mum to Venice for her 70th in mid October (I've really booked it now!) We'll arrive on a Friday about midday and leave on Monday morning.

I don't want to plan/schedule too much because I want it to be relaxed and to just enjoy being there.We're staying in San Marco, 10 mins walk from St Mark's square so can go there early/late to do things if necessary. The only thing I think we're bound by is Rialto Market (worth seeing?) as I think it'll only be on the Saturday morning not Sun/Mon, right?

People who know Venice, if you were in Venice for this time frame (and for the first and probably only ever once in a lifetime visit), what would you do? Should we fit in Murano/Burano? Take a gondola ride? (And if so during the day or in the evening?) Are there things that are good to do as a group (so should we do the Doge's palace and Basilica in one stint, for example? And on our own or on a tour?) I'm going to get the 3 day vaporetto pass so we can just sit and cruise if we're tired.

Thank you for all your advice and, for anyone on my previous threads, for being so kind and supportive and motivational that I've actually managed to book this and am excited about it.

TheDuckSaysMoo Mon 29-Jul-19 10:46:35

I highly recommend a Murano / Burano trip. Burano is pretty for a wander and Murano is great to see some glass blowing and to visit the glass museum. The ferries run regularly.

Struckbylightning Mon 29-Jul-19 10:55:18

I went last month and it was magical. I would say do the very touristy things like St Marks square, grand canal etc very early in the morning as it gets incredibly crowded. We just enjoyed mooching around the back streets, stopping for coffees, gelato, food regularly.

We did do a gondola ride and it was fun but at 80euros very expensive.

Oh and take insect repellent, the mozzies are awful!

Goingonagondola Mon 29-Jul-19 11:30:11

Thank you! I’m hoping mozzies will be minimal in October but have my repellent lined up.

If we go to the Rialto market early on Saturday can we then do St Mark’s reasonably early or is that trying to cram too much in and we’ll end up rushing away from the market?

Blowingthroughthejasmine Mon 29-Jul-19 11:44:16

Yes do doge Palace and basilica, they are next door, also bellini in Harry's bar?

Peggy gugenenheim was very different, showed us different side of Venice, very small and eat chichetti
.. At the old bars... Little Wood rooms lit by candles, check out famous ones, oozing character

Bobbiepin Mon 29-Jul-19 11:46:49

Do a 3 island tour rather than the 2, you can do one boat that gives you time on each island.

Goingonagondola Tue 30-Jul-19 09:15:38

With only 2.5 days there is it definitely worth doing the islands though? Are they a ‘don’t miss’?

sleepwouldbenice Fri 02-Aug-19 17:26:15

Hi we just visited as a family for same time period.
You can spend the first afternoon getting your bearings, the no 1 vaporetto does the length of the canal.
You might want to get Water bus or taxi in, great way to arrive !
You could do the market and all of st marks square in a day as you are so close and you can book slots for the bascillca and palace on line
That would leave you a day to do the islands
Would also recommend getting out of the immediate tourist areas to wander quieter canals and lovely views

mirmc Fri 02-Aug-19 18:15:36

We're just back. We loved the view from the top of the church San Giorgio Maggiore. No queues and there's a lift. It's €6. Got the vaporetto over to Giudecca, there's loads of lovely seafood restaurants by the water, gorgeous views and less touristy and expensive as on St Mark's side. We got off the boat at Palanca and loved the restaurant with the same name. October will be lovely. Very hot when we were there, still loved it though.

MummatoaMunchkin Fri 02-Aug-19 21:39:18

We stopped in Venice for two nights and one day on our honeymoon. We managed to fit in a gondola ride, st marks basilica and doge palace, rialto bridge and st marks clock tower (i think thats what it is called), plus getting lost wandering around all in that time.

If it is a once in a life time trip i would highly recommend a private gondola ride, yea it is €80 but we thought it was so worth it!

You will love it there, it was our favourite part of our honeymoon!

theunrivalledjoysofparenting Fri 02-Aug-19 21:42:03

We just wandered. We took a trip to Murano, which was fab. We also took a private gondola trip - you have to! Worth the money.

We wandered through St Mark’s square but didn’t do the Doge’s Palace. Walked, boats, people watched, ate good meals...

stucknoue Fri 02-Aug-19 21:44:05

The water bus is cheap and gives great views. Going out into the lagoon and visiting one of the islands could be good but check opening times if on Sunday. We did a couple of museums and several churches, as soon as you get away from st marks the crowds dissipate and prices in restaurants plummet, but stick to set menus and check the price of extras/drinks to avoid being conned (Venice is famous for fleecing tourists!) we downloaded a guide to free artwork, was really handy

PrivateIsles Fri 02-Aug-19 21:51:40

Yes the gondolas are expensive but I agree with PP, if it's a once in a lifetime trip it's so worth doing. They take you on all the quiet little canals away from all the hustle and bustle, you see a completely different side of the city, it's so worth it. We saw the "boat yard" (I'm sure that's not the right word) where they maintain/mend the gondolas, it was so interesting (if you like that kind of thing!).

The quiet parts of the city were my favourite tbh - yes you have to see St Mark's etc and it's fantastic... but it's so busy. I liked the quieter streets/canals/bridges best.

I haven't been to the islands but it's a full day I think - if I was there for a long a weekend I'd rather stay in the city itself. We were there for a similar amount of time last summer and we had more than enough to do in the city tbh.

Good plan re the vaporetto pass, Venice is best seen from the water!!

Have a fab time OP, I'm completely envious!!

PrivateIsles Fri 02-Aug-19 21:54:14

Ok I've read PPs' posts now and the islands also sound lovely. You'll probably have a great time no matter what you do!

itstrue Fri 02-Aug-19 21:59:42

We were there in May. Definately do a gondola ride. While 80€ is a lot it really is a once in a lifetime trip.

StCharlotte Fri 02-Aug-19 22:01:49

Venice is smaller and nothing is as far as you might think. You can probably see more than you'd imagine. Definitely do Murano and Burano. Have a brilliant trip!

BirdIsland Fri 02-Aug-19 22:02:36

Got to say, my absolute favorite thing in Venice was the Peggy Guggenheim, a cool, quiet oasis to wander round, but with a little courtyard that opened right into the Grand Canal. Just lovely, but small enough that it doesn't take hours.

Hepzibar Fri 02-Aug-19 23:06:10

Venice is just the best. You can meander around and have a fabulous experience.

No need to plan, walk around, soak it in.

It is my favourite place on earth

BubblesBuddy Sat 03-Aug-19 05:22:53

I think with such a short visit, the islands are a bit of a distraction from the main event. Venice! The Grand Canal! It’s just wonderful.

There are so many churches to see with great art inside them. The Scuola Grande San Rocco is a Tintoretto masterpiece and the Basilica Dei Frari is superb. They get tourists but are less touristy than many other areas. They showcase the wealth of Venice and it’s promotion of art. The Peggy Guggenheim is also very worthwhile as an antidote to religious art.

The back canals, the hidden squares and little specialist shops all make Venice unique, as well as the No1 Vaporetto down the length of the Grand Canal. You can get a “traghetti” a gondola ferry across the Grand Canal at various points. Way cheaper than a gondola ride if money is an issue.

The Rialto Market is ok but not brilliant for more than 30 mins. The other great sights are the Opera House and the Bridge of Sighs. There are also some outstanding palaces that face the Grand Canal. The Ca’ D’Oro, Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ Pesaro and visit the rooftop terrace at Fondaco Dei Tedeschi. These old palaces really show you what Venice was all about. Opulence built on the Grand Canal. I much prefer architecture and renaissance art to glass blowing but you need to decide what Venice means to you.

Buy a decent guide book with a map. We usually like Lonely Planet. Using a guide book helps narrow down choices and ensure you see what’s important to you and enables you to plan each day effectively. Read it before you go.

taeglas Sun 04-Aug-19 09:12:17

DH and I were in Venice for the first time this year for three days . This Airbnb tour Wandering in Venice was excellent, gave us a great start to our trip and a lovely insight into hidden venice that we would never have found on our own .
There was only one other person apart from DH and I on the tour which I prefer to larger tours.

Bowbridge Sun 04-Aug-19 09:33:58

I have been to Venice 5 times. I just love it.

However, the last time we went we started with a free walking tour by one of the locals. It gave us our bearings and showed us places we would have just walked by... The Jewish ghetto, the gondola boat yard, a real gem is a bookshop that has made a staircase our of flood damaged books that gives great views of Venice. etc

We would have never seen these things on our own or heard the stories. It was 2 hours well spent and gave recommendations of what else to do and where the locals eat beyond the samey touristy restaurants. These tours are free, you just give a tip at the end of your choice (what you think the tour was worth).

bingohandjob Mon 05-Aug-19 20:33:19

If you can afford it, arriving at midday I'd take a private water taxi to your hotel - amazing way to arrive. Personally, I'd do this over a gondola ride. The Guggenheim Museum was wonderful and the seats in the garden overlooking the Grand Canal worth the entrance price alone. We loved the 'secret itineraries' tour of the Doge's Palace and we did a fabulous food and drink tour which gave us great tips on where to go the next few nights , look for cichetti tours on Air BnB etc. The Jewish quarter was fascinating to explore. If you can, early morning or late evening are wonderful times to visit St Mark's Square and unless you are loaded, is highly recommend walking literally 10 yards off an alley from the main square (by the lions) to enjoy a spritz and the view at a fraction of the cost. We stayed on Fondamenta Misericordia and the food, wine and artisan shops were heaven. For a breathtaking view, aim to go for a sunset trip to I love Venice, it's stunningly beautiful and I've always found it so friendly and the food amazing if you wander off the beaten track a little. Hope you have an amazing time!

StCharlotte Mon 05-Aug-19 23:06:24

Whereabouts are you staying OP?

timeforakinderworld Mon 05-Aug-19 23:12:16

We were there last week. The islands are lovely but you don't have much time - I wouldn't bother if the weather isn't perfect. I agree with visiting the Jewish quarter- v interesting. Also get tickets at the Doges palace for the complete guided tour including the prison - I think you can only buy them for the following day. Make time for lots of drinks and cicchetti (tapas).

LillianGish Mon 05-Aug-19 23:24:08

I love Venice and if I have one tip it is to arrive by boat - Water bus or taxi from the airport. Venice is best seen from the water and seeing the city emerge across the lagoon is totally magical. Also get up very early so you can see it without the crowds (have a nap after lunch if necessary) - watching the city come to life and go about its business before all the tourists are up is great. And another vote for the Guggenheim - I especially loved all the monument to her dogs, some of whom had died by falling into the canal.

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