Why choose Venice, Italy for a perfect weekend getaway right now?
- It only takes 25 minutes from the Airport to the islands by Water Taxi. Flights are only 1 hour 45 minutes from London. You can leave London and be at your Palazzo or Hotel in 3 hours.
- Venice is always a joy but particularly now that Cruise ships are banned and there are mostly Europeans visiting Venice. It is quiet, but not too quiet.
- Flights are unbelievably cheap.
- The Canals and seas are crystal clear and clean from lack of pollution.
- Covid 19 health precautions are taken everywhere. Masks, hand sanitiser and extra cleaning.
- Museums and galleries are open. There are some musical events too.
Where to Stay in Venice?
If you are taking a weekend break, stay near the places you want to visit. We stayed in a Palazzo Hotel near St Mark’s Square, this way we could walk everywhere on the island within 10 minutes. You do not want to spend your precious weekend travelling around.
Venice has every type of accomodation from eye wateringly expensive hotels to some nice airbnb apartments. Here are some centrally located hotels to look at for a luxury stay:
- Belmond Cipriani
- Gritti Palace .
- St Regis Hotel Hotel Danieli
- Bauer Hotel
- Aman Venice
But do check out Airbnb for some amazing places to stay from Grand Palazzo apartments to cosy lofts overlooking the quieter Canals on Dorsoduro. You don’t need to spend a fortune to have an amazing Venice experience.
I would recommend avoiding a stay in some of the outlying islands unless it is Spring/Summer and you are staying for a few days. It takes time to get on a shuttle boat and if the weather is bad, it is not so fun!
How to Travel from the Airport?
For me, there is only one way ….. A private Water Taxi! Always a treat, I just love whizzing along in a beautiful Riva speedboat. Live La dolce vita! A perfect start and end to any stay in Venice.
If you don’t want to spend the money for a whole Water Taxi, you can take a shared ride. Book online for a Water Taxi (It is slightly cheaper) or there is a stand in the Airport arrivals.
A cheaper option is a Water bus, but beware this takes a long time and stops EVERYWHERE. They are usually quite crowded too. Also. take a regular Taxi onto the island but the Taxi must leave you just on the island and then you have to walk.
How to get around in Venice?
WALK! Such a joy to amble through the quiet streets, peek into the shops and find fascinating Churches, Museums and galleries to explore along the way. Wear comfortable shoes and take water. Everything has reopened now although with strict protocols about the number of people allowed into a Museum. We walk miles everyday and love visiting exhibitions, stopping for an aperitif and maybe a little bit of shopping.
Read my popular blog, written a few years ago, with a lot of information about what to do in Venice here:
If you don’t want to walk, then take a Water Taxi! My favourite way to get to and from the airport and to island hop. There are Vaporetto Water buses which have stops all along the Grand Canal. However, these can be crowded and so possibly not the best choice right now.
Of course, you can always follow the tourist tradition of exploring in a Gondola.
What to Do in Venice?
Take a ride around the Canals. This is the best way to see Venice and get the most incredible views and photo opportunities along the way.
Then take a stroll around Venice. For inspiration, our day went something like this:
After a delicious breakfast and sipping Capucccino we strolled through a nearly empty St Mark’s Square. You can visit St Mark’s Basilica, this dates back to 11th Century and has a fascinating history. A lot of the treasures seen here were bought to Venice after the fall of Constantinople.
The remains of St Mark were actually smuggled out of Constantinople and transported to the Basilica, hence the name.. I would recommend watching Francesco’s Venice before your trip. It helps to bring Venetian history alive! Look up at St Mark’s Basilica and see the statues of 4 horses also from Constantinople.
Climb the Campanile di San Marco for breathtaking views over Venice, The Doge’s Palace. Get to the square early because the queue for tickets to all these places will be long! Also in St Mark’s Square are the National Archealogical Museum of Venice and Biblioteca Marciana.
The square is filled with Cafe’s such as Caffe Florian, opened in the 18th century, and a popular place to enjoy a coffee in the day of drink in the evening.
Then walk over the Bridge of Sighs, built in the 16th century by Antonio Contino and one of the most famous bridges in the world. Legend says that if you kiss in a Gondola under the Bridge of Sighs at sunset you will be granted eternal love!
We then headed out of St Mark’s Square, peeking into all the designer shops along the way (who can resist?) turning left towards Harry’s Bar for a glass of Champagne.
I was curious to visit this iconic Bar, never having been before. Harry’s Bar was declared a National Historic Monument by the Italian Government in 2001. It remains much as it when it opened was in 1931. Frequented by celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway.
The famous Bellini Cocktail was invented here. We stopped by for a well deserved glass of Champagne (ridiculously expensive, might I add!). But it was fun to step into history for a while. Make sure you book a table if you plan a meal here.
Our stroll continued past Chiesa di San Moise, stopping to buy a Venetian mask along the way. Over the bridge by the Bauer Hotel along Campo Larga XXII Marzo, popping into Art galleries and Murano glass shops along the way. A lot of designer stores are here too. The Gritti Palace is down towards the Grand Canal and a beautiful hotel to stay during your trip to Venice, or just pop in for drinks.
Keep going until you come to Campo Santo Stefano, a large square filled with bars and restaurants. This is a good place to stop for lunch. We enjoyed a Beer then yummy Pizza to start and some Venetian specialities.
We then tuned left out of the square heading to Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti where there is usually a fascinating Art Exhibition to see. After that we crossed the Wooden Bridge Pont dell’ Academia, a wooden bridge and one of only four bridges spanning the Grand Canal. The bridge links San Marco with Dorsoduro. Stop on the bridge to admire the amazing views of the Grand Canal.
One of my favourite places to visit is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Stop off at the Academia Gallery on the way., you can spend hours in here if you an Art history lover like me. I love Dorsoduro with the quiet Canals, cafes and restaurants. Walk through history as you stroll to the Guggenheim Collection. See more information here:
There is so much to see and places to visit in this part of Venice. Walk to Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.
Tired by now? Back to your Hotel for a nap before the evening fun! You can cross the Grand Canal by Gondola to save walking home but they are only allowed to cross in the morning!
What to do on Day 2 in Venice:
Here are some ideas for your second day on your weekend trip to Venice:
- Take a Boat Ride out to Murano or Burano or both! Murano is where the famous Venetian glass is produced. Such a pretty island with gorgeous colourful fishermens houses.
- Visit the Rialto Bridge. One of the most famous bridges connecting San Marco to San Polo.
- Venice Lido – If you are visiting in Summer and want to take some time out of the busy city and visit the beach.
- San Georgio Maggiore – Take a water taxi to see the famous Monastery and the Campanile.
- Check out the Exhibitions and Musical events taking place at the time of your stay.
Where to Eat in Venice:
There are a LOT of restaurants in Venice. Some are quite touristy and over priced, but there are some nice neighbourhood restaurants with local Venetian specialities. We had some great Pizza during our trip! Seafood is also a speciality. Some Venetian recipes for you to try are:
- Spagetti al Nero di Seppia – Squid Ink Spagetti
- Baccala Mantecato – Creamy Cod Paste
- Bigoli in Salsa – Sardine Sauce and Spagetti, Sarde in Saor – Sardines in Onion
- Moleche Fritte – Crabs battered and fried when in season
- Venetian Fish – Local Fish dishes made from the Fish in Season
Restaurants in Venice:
Here are some suggestions for you.
Osteria Alle Testiere – Located in Castello. Serves fresh local fish and the menu changes every day. A must try if you love fish.
Locanda Cipriani – On the island of Torello, Old fashioned style and service frequented by Royals and Ernest Hemingway.
La Zucca – Here is one for Vegetarians and everyone who love the freshest possible vegetables. Simple dishes and a new menu every day.
Il Ridotto – If you are staying near St Mark’s Square and don’t feel like going too far. Try a tasting menu of Fish and Meat creations.
Osteria Alla Frasca – In business since 1903 and serves typical Venetian cuisine such as Polenta and Cuttlefish, Baccala Mantecato and other delicacies.
Enjoy your weekend trip to Venice Italy!