6 Steps to make the MOST of a day in Venice

6 Steps to make the MOST of a day in Venice

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We were only there for just over 24 hours but we really experienced Venice. Here are 6 items we checked off our to-do list that helped us embrace the city for all it’s worth:

1. Get LOST – Inevitably, you WILL get lost. You’ll look down at your map, you’ll turn it 180 degrees, gaze up and down the alley or canal and you’ll realize that it happened. Despite how carefully you follow your map, you’re backwards. But THIS is Venice. This is the best way of seeing the city, wandering the narrow alleys with no specific purpose in mind. This is how you see the locals and most beautiful parts of the city at the same time.

(Tip: If you’d like to pass on this magical state of disorientation, download Ulmon app for Venice.)

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Check out more pictures from my morning stroll through the city here.

2. Visit Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and St. Mark’s Basilica – Yep, one of the most photographed places in Europe, visiting this beautiful square is a must. Perhaps you’ll be there with a zillion others but quickly hop in line for the Basilica then gawk at the square itself after. Once in the Basilica, look UP. The golden ceilings are beautiful.

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3. Get the GRAND perspective from St. Mark’s Campanile – located right in St. Mark’s Square, open from 9AM-4:30PM daily, for 8E you can quickly glide to the top in a large elevator and linger as long as you’d like. Dan and I walked to circumference of the tower twice then felt ready to head back down. I appreciated the bird’s eye perspective on the bustling city below. If anything it certainly helped great a visual map of the jumbled streets below.

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Views from the Campanile also allow you to scope out where you’d like to head to next. After spotting these beautiful gondolas along the lagoon from high above, once we descended I headed over to get a different perspective from ground level.

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4. Eat PIZZA – Not just any pizza, please, for the love of puppies, go to Antico Forno. The BEST pizza I’ve ever had in all 28 years of living. I’m not kidding, if you go to Venice and don’t have a slice of their pizza I’m going to be salty. Imagine – pillowy focaccia bread with the freshest of toppings that quite honestly MELTS in your mouth with each bite. It looks like thick crust, but is really just the perfect combination of soft, buttery and crispy crust you could imagine. Over the course of two days Dan and I went there 3 times and would’ve gone more had I not gained some self control.

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5. Capture blue hour from the Rialto Bridge – Blue hour is only something I recently discovered as being VERY important in world of photography. It’s that interesting period at twilight when the sun dips below the horizon and the sky turns to a lush deep blue. Positioning yourself on the Rialto Bridge at this time you’ll be guaranteed lovely pictures. The Rialto Bridge is a beauty in itself and is one of just four bridges that crosses the Grand Canal. As gondoliers paddle by and the city begins to sparkle, it’s the pinnacle of romantic.

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 6. Bottoms Up – It’s Italy, wherever you go count on exceptional wine. Please don’t waste money on something fancy from a bottle, just as for table wine and you’ll be pleased. Dan and I even found a cozy bar near the Rialto Bridge (by the Campo San Giacomo di Rialto) that had amazing wine on tap!

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One last bonus step – Visit BURANO ISLAND. Allot at least a half a day to take the vaparrato out to this beautiful island and wander around through the charming village. No matter the weather, pictures from here are keepers. Check out my visit here.

  • Your photography is so beautiful! And I agree, getting lost in Venice is almost a must to experience the city:)

  • I love your pictures, they’re absolutely stunning!! I’ve always heard of Venice being terribly crowded and touristy but it doesn’t seem to be that way in your photos! Makes me want to go there too 😉

  • Fabulous list and amazing photos! And good to know that you did all of this in 24 hours!!

  • Great post and lovely pictures. Though I didn’t fall in love with Venice it is such a picturesque place to photograph.

  • these pictures are GORGEOUS! and the pizza… and the wine… oh my goodness.

  • Lovely photo’s and oh my that pizza looks divine! I really want to go to Venice now!

  • Lovely! And great tips. I’ve always been more of a northern Europe gal but lately the need to experience Venice has been seeping into my subconscious. I’m wondering: why only 24 hrs? 🙂

  • Absolutely beautiful pictures and great tips, really want to go back now 😉

  • I am so envious of your pictures, those one from the Rialto Bridge are just wonderful. That pizza sounds amazing…love that you guys went back, that is a sure sign I need to mark it down as a must visit when we go 🙂

  • Hey Margo,

    Discovered your blog via TravelTuesday Link up 🙂 Fantastic pictures! I loved the pink lights all over Venice so much, especially when they light up in the evening.

    And the view is even more amazing from Sainy Giorgio Maggiore Campanella on the island right opposite San Marco square.

    Have you tried Belini, one of the Venice traditional cocktails? 🙂

  • Gorgeous!!! I’m very familiar with blue hour and have sat for (sometimes) long periods of time for Nick to capture places around the world during that time 🙂

  • Thanks, Kaelene! Venice is pretty darn gorgeous so it’s easy to get pretty pictures. 🙂 I would’ve actually been interested to see that flood that you experienced though!

  • Thanks, Dear! It’s all about timing – I went in February during low season and definitely recommend others do the same. I definitely agree with what you’ve heard, Venice is pretty unattractive in peak season… putting it nicely. 🙂

  • Thanks, Jamie! Yep, we had a weekend and made the most of our Saturday. Sunday was spent at Burano Island so when all was said and done I was sleepy but happy with how much we’d seen. 🙂

  • I completely understand – my first visit was spent trying to get away from the swarms of tourists. This time though, everything clicked and it was awesome. 🙂

  • Thanks, Jamie! I really enjoyed wandering around taking lots and lots (and lots..) of pictures. That pizza though, I tell ya, I’m still dreaming about it. (I realize that sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true.) 😀

  • Thanks so much, Sarah! Whenever you visit Venice, pretty please airmail a few more slices of that pizza. 🙂

  • Such a fair question – I was doing work elsewhere in Italy and only had a weekend. One day in Venice and one day at Burano Island. It’s a shame isn’t it? I hated to rush through the city without any solid tours but was really happy just to be there in low season with nice weather. 🙂

  • Thanks, Steffy – I hope you can make it back sometime soon too! Do you have any other trips planned in the coming months? I bet you do! 🙂

  • Perfect. This is exactly what I was hoping for… coupled with a shipment of pizza straight to my house, jot that down too! 😉

  • Hi Elena – thanks for stopping by, I love the TravelTuesday linkup – such a great way to meet other bloggers! We didn’t get a chance to make it to any other islands aside from Burano but I’ll definitely note that for next time!

    Oh, Belini’s and I don’t get along all that well, I find them a bit too sweet and get headachy pretty quickly. I would fail as a Venetian. 🙂

  • Hi Margo! This is the first time I’ve found your blog 🙂 and I love it! This list is so great – really helpful for when (if, but I really hope it’s more ‘when’) I make it to Venice. I’ve always wanted to go! And your photographs are fabulous. X Carly

  • Hi Margo, unfortunately Venice is not doable this year, but definitely have a few trips in Europe planned for the upcoming months: Locarno, Lake of Como, the South of France, Barcelona and Bordeaux – very excited!! What about you?

  • Yeah, I figured you guys were in the loop on blue hour – your pictures are too amazing not to be completely up to speed on all things photography! 😉

  • Wow – sounds awesome! Do you typically stay at airbnb places? I’ve found that areas like Lake Como and Lucerne are tricky (pricey) with finding good accommodations. I’m so envious of ALL your trips but especially because you’re going to Bordeaux and the south of France (Nice?), it’s going to be wonderful!

    In order, we’re heading to Malaga, Berlin, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Cinque Terre, Oslo then Munich (for Oktoberfest)…oye! Living in Europe is pretty stinking awesome, right? 😀

  • I haven’t tried airbnb as yet even though I have heard only great things about it – we are thinking of using that in South Africa next year. For hotels in Europe we usually use the Accor (Aclub scheme). Yes we loved Nice so much the last time we are going there again! Your line up sounds awesome too, I loved Berlin, Salzburg and Munich when we were back there in 2011 I am sure you are going to have a wonderful time. Cinque Terre is just something else, so, so beautiful!! Never been to Oslo or Amsterdam so looking forward to hearing about your trip. Yip, love how convenient and easy travel in Europe is!!

  • Ha, Ha Margo! Duly noted! I did pin your post to my travel board 😉

  • Yea, I’ve gotta give credit to Nick for all of that but I definitely have learned a thing or 2 about photography from him. He’s into it all!

  • Aha, well I’m a firm believer in going for a little while rather than not at all… and it sounds like you really made the most of it!

  • Great post, couldn’t agree more with everything on your list. Even the bonus item – Burano is magical! By the way, I LOVE your photo of the gondoliers hanging out under the covered deck.

  • I agree that getting lost is a necessary part of any trip. It might be terrible or you might discover something awesome, but either way you get a great story! Gorgeous photos, especially the pizza 🙂

  • Oh my God, the first thing you said here reminds me so much of one of my mom’s stories. So, she went to Venice on a Euro-backpacking trip at 18 with her best friend and they would get lost every freakin’ hour in Venice. Everytime they asked for directions, the Venetians would say “Oh, it’s just across this bridge and keep going straight!” The problem was that every time you would cross a bridge you would ALWAYS have to go either left or right. Haha… 😛 This went on for days, and they always got the same useless answer from the locals when they asked for directions. “Go straight!”. Yeah, good luck with that.

    Sorry – random anecdote, but it just made me think of my mom 🙂

  • I am bookmarking this post for our (hopefully soon) trip to Venice! Great tips 🙂 and, as always, gorgeous, gorgeous photos!!

  • so gorgeous! I would love to go back one day!

  • Wow, thanks for the sweet compliments Calli! I’m also extra-glad you’ve been able to see Venice and Burano first hand! I just checked out your blog (love it!).. you guys have been absolutely everywhere! Would you put Bosnia high on your must-visit list? It seems like a very interesting place to visit!

  • I toyed with posting those pizza photos… I mean, it’s kind of mean to anyone that might be hungry and reading the blog, right? 😀

  • Thanks, Amy! I really appreciate your kind words about my pictures! By the way, your ‘how to take a selfie’ post is hysterical! 🙂

  • Thanks, Dear! When you do go back, airmail me some of that pizza! 😉

  • Ha – your poor Mom! Yes, there’s no way to successfully navigate out of the Venetian jigsaw streetscape without someone grabbing your hand and pulling you to exactly where you need to go.

    It’s really sweet that when you think of Venice you think of your Mom’s saga. For me, that’s Australia (of all places!), where my Mom lived for 3 years in the 70s. Every story seems like a wild adventure. 😉

  • I just checked out Accor – that’s definitely a really great option, thanks for sharing! If you have any good tips for Berlin, I’ll be heading there at the end of May! 🙂

  • My biggest Venice regret is not going off the beaten path and hopping over to one of the islands, like Murano! Gorgeous photos!

  • I can’t get over how gorgeous all of these photos are! It’s one of the best advertisements for the city of Venice that I have ever seen! x

  • What a compliment! Wow, Amanda, thanks! Glad you liked the post! 🙂

  • Thanks, Alex! Also – kudos to you and rebranding, looks great! I love your little icon too – so cute! 🙂

  • Margo, can I first say: VENICE, YOU LUCKY DUCK!!!!! Second, gorgeous photos. Third, how did I miss the Blue Hour when I was in Venice years ago? Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Your photos are gorgeous. I have a soft spot for Venice, as it’s the city my husband proposed to me in. Thanks for sharing your tips.
    Claire xx | somewhere… beyond the sea

  • Venice is such a gorgeous place! There’s really no other place in the world quite like it – and that pizza looks heavenly!

  • Love the puppy pic getting water. Your camera takes amazing pics!! Xo

  • Haha thanks! I’m never shy about taking a selfie but I sure get some interesting ones 😉 I am so happy I found your blog and I’ve been keeping busy looking through your archives–so many great places!

  • Great post, I loved it. I’m heading there in a few weeks and I’ll definitely be checking out that pizza!

  • I love how vibrant that first photo is!
    Venice is another city that I’m dying to get to but wasn’t able to visit when I lived in Europe… guess I’ll just have to save it for another time 🙂
    P.S. That pizza looks goooooood!

  • These pictures!! I am meeting my mom in Venice in October I am now REALLY counting down the days!! So glad I have this to reference for when we are there. I found your blog through We Took The Road Less Traveled, and love that you are a fellow American expat living in Germany 🙂 Looking forward to reading your posts and seeing more beautiful pictures!!

  • Thanks for this!! I just moved to Venice so will be checking out your suggestions! Your pictures are gorgeous, too 🙂