If you only have one day to enjoy this floating city, it is possible to get the best of it in just 24 hours. Venice is a small city where most major attractions are within short walking distance. Here’s how to see the most in your short time there.
Make the most of your time by getting to the popular spots such the Rialto Bridge, Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Square as early as you can, even if it means you see them only from the outside before they open. The impressive Palace, Basilica and Bell Tower are no less spectacular from the outside. Look out for the Ponte di Sospiri (the Bridge of Sighs), an enclosed bridge named after the sighs of the criminals who, as they crossed the bridge, viewed Venice for the last time before imprisonment in Doge’s Palace.
Wander through the Campo Santa Magherita towards the Mercato Rialto. Enjoy strolling through the vendor souvenir market stalls and boutique shops; keep a keen eye out for the signs that direct you through the city to the Rialto Bridge (as well as San Marco) to avoid getting lost. They’ll be countless photo opportunities of the canals, gondolas and colourful markets.
Stop in at a cafe or bar at the Mercato Rialto for cicchetti (similar to tapas). Alternatively, book a walking tour with specialists like Context Travel, to get an overview without worry of getting lost.
There are few places better to experience world-class art than Venice, so spend the afternoon enjoying some of the Renaissance masters at the Accademia or more contemporary works at the Peggy Guggenheim collection.
If it simply won’t feel as though you’ve truly experienced the city without a ride in a gondola, do it as the sun is setting. You’ll find gondola stations everywhere, just make sure the pricing is clear and agreed on before you board!
Evenings are a great time to visit St Mark’s Square as it’s less busy after sunset, which is a great time to grab a spot at Caffé Florian. Believed to be the oldest café in the world, it’s an ideal place to enjoy a drink or two, a bite to eat and the live music that takes place there frequently. It’s also an ideal spot for people watching.
Not quite tired? Venture out to a local bar and enjoy a prosecco, spritz or a shot of local grappa. It’s also an ideal time for a bit of gelato for dessert. Local bar stay open well past midnight, especially in peak season.
One of the best times to photograph the city is when it’s quiet and tourist-less. Take your camera to get some great photos on your stroll back to your accommodation.