Ahh Italy, the place I swear I was born to live. The food, the people, the buildings- I really could move to Italy right now, if I could only take my sweet pups (well and RJ of course ha!). Every year, we try to explore a new part of Europe. Although I travel quite a bit during the year, mostly with family or friends, RJ can’t leave that often for work. His season starts to slow down a little in the Fall and we are able to sneak away for a week or so. We say we aren’t going to explore a place twice until we get more countries under our belt, but we just can’t quit you Italy! So when planning our trip abroad, we were so close to Venice, Italy and I could not resist. I convinced RJ that 48 hours in the Floating City, aka Venice, would be the perfect start to our annual European adventure!
So I know what you’re thinking- 48 hours to see all of Venice, Italy. Is it possible? Is it worth it? While I could spend weeks in Italy, I do believe Venice can be conquered in a short time. I think it’s important for us to tell you a few things we really enjoy when traveling, so you can see which things are important to us and which things we often skip. When traveling, RJ and I love to see the city or country for what it truly is. Experiencing the culture, the food and the ‘off the beaten path’ gems. Venice did have parts that were very touristy but we wanted to get a small peek of those too. Without further adieu, let’s dive into our trip!
Morning 1: Land in Marco Polo Airport at 9:10 am
When I started planning (err, well after I already booked our trip) I started to get anxious that such a short trip to Venice was going to be more of a hassle than what it was worth but it was too late so I trecked on –and I’m VERY glad I did. Venice is a city with no cars, so to get from the airport to your hotel you must take a water taxi or water bus. The water taxis are VERY expensive and the water bus can be crowded and slow, not something that’s ideal when you have such a short time in Venice. Since we weren’t looking to spend $400 one way for a water taxi, I took a risk and booked Venice Link. They had an ‘in the middle option’, a Water Shuttle. It is shared with 6 other couples and around $25 a person one way. Still over $100 for both of us round trip but this is a boat ride through the city so it is also enjoyable! I don’t want to dwell on our transportation too much, but I found very little about it when researching my trip – so I want to be helpful!
Once we landed, it was easy to find the Venice Link booth. We waited about 30 minutes and then went with three other couples to an adorable speedboat. This is the first place we got very lucky on our trip. The other couples got off at an island about 5 minutes from the airport, leaving us with the entire boat for about 20 minutes of our ride. It dropped us off on the main canal about a 5-minute walk to our hotel. Which leads me to the best part of our Venice trip- our hotel.
Our Hotel: Hotel Becher
HOLY MOLY! Ok, so like I said- I booked this leg of our trip and started second guessing everything. I couldn’t pick a hotel, I was stressed about transportation and time within the city. I ended up booking Hotel Becher on a whim and told RJ it would probably be the worst hotel of our trip. Boy oh boy, was I so wrong. From the moment we arrived, we fell in love. The women working the front desk was so kind, the location was incredible and they had a private porch on the most adorable canal.
We arrived about two hours before check-in, the concierge said that she had a room available but would love to wait and upgrade us to a canal view. We gladly accepted, checked our bags and headed around the corner for lunch at the opera house. We found our hotel to be incredibly convenient to everything we wanted to see during our visit. After lunch, we went back to check in and fell in love! Our room was larger than expected, had a nice size and clean bathroom, and two gorgeous windows overlooking the canal! This was seriously a pinch me moment. We’ve stayed in rooms overlooking the Trevi Fountain, with a View of the Eiffel Tower but this one is definitely one of my favorites.
While we originally were not going to nap, we both agreed our dinner would be more enjoyable with a short rest. We took a short nap, got ready for dinner and headed down to the lobby to enjoy wine and champagne on the hotel lobby balcony. Sitting on this little porch area is one of my favorite Italy memories ever. Our hotel is not big, so we got to enjoy this spot to ourselves twice. Gondolas riding by, historic buildings on either side – it’s really making my heart ache just writing this. After a few drinks on our porch, we headed to dinner.
Dinner Day 1: Club Del Doge
Last night, I asked RJ if he would recommend dinner here, especially if you only get one dinner in Venice. We both agreed yes!
We walked to dinner on the main canal and it was a short, easy and enjoyable walk. Walking through Italy is a dream though, can you tell it’s my favorite place in the world? We booked dinner here and I requested a spot on the water. It was absolutely dreamy! The restaurant is in a famous hotel, Hotel Gritti Palace, and the whole place is stunning. This is a higher end restaurant, so the prices are a little steep but completely worth it. RJ and I both ate so much and loved every minute. The service was incredible and the view is unmatched. I highly recommend adding this restaurant to your list for your next visit to Venice- Conde Nast named it one of the top 10 most romantic waterfront restaurants in the world.
Our original plans for day two went a little astray. After traveling for so long the day before, staying out late enjoying an incredible meal, we didn’t wake up as early as we planned. I originally booked a Gondola ride and lesson with Row Venice. We heard so many great things about this company and experience, so we are sad we missed it but ended up having an incredible day none the less!
Once we woke up, enjoyed cappuccinos (& chocolate croissants) in our hotel’s delicious, complimentary breakfast. Got dressed for the day and headed out to explore! We walked to the main canal, saw Piazzo San Marco and then had drinks next to the Rialto Bridge. Our water shuttle was picking us up around 4 to head back to the airport and we still needed a gondola ride!
I read a million and one things about gondola rides, do it here, don’t do it here, don’t do it at all, don’t miss it– so we were pretty much just hoping for the best. And we found it! We headed back to the main canal, right by Hotel Gritti Palace (where we ate the night before) and found a private gondola ride for around $100. Cheaper than what we would have paid in San Mark’s Square for a shared ride. Our gondolier was so kind and answered all of RJ’s many questions. He told us some history of the city and also showed us the main canal. If you go to this spot, ask for Allarico, he was the best!
We headed back to the hotel, enjoyed a few more glasses of champagne on our little porch and then headed to pick up our water shuttle. We majorly overestimated how much time we needed for getting back to the airport and checking in. They wouldn’t let us through security for over an hour. We ended up enjoying more wine in the airport, which led to a very fun (& silly) trip to Switzerland!
A few things to note:
I 100% think you can experience a lot of Venice in 48 hours and it’s absolutely worth it. Being the first stop on our trip, we did have a good amount of jet lag. If you aren’t jet legged, you could definitely see even more! If we would have had a little more time, I would have loved to see Burano but I absolutely think we will go back! The transfer to and from the airport wasn’t as stressful as expected and Venice had so much charm, I could fall in love all over again. I made a little IGTV video with my iPhone videos that you can watch here.
Not looking to travel abroad anytime soon? Check out other Weekender’s Guides here! We headed to Switzerland after this, so check back soon for more trip diaries! XO