To continue our romantic getaway, my boyfriend and I chose the unique city of Venice. This was our first time in Venice and with only two days, we made sure to pack in all the main tourist attractions. We even crossed off “gondola ride” from our bucket list! No cars are allowed on Venice Proper so get your walking shoes ready! I do think the best way to explore is to walk aimlessly around the city, passing by all the shops and crossing over numerous canals. I would absolutely visit Venice again because two days is just not enough!
What better way to kick off Venice than with a dinner on the Grand Canal! We took a romantic stroll along the canal until we found a restaurant that had a table by the water. There’s a lot of restaurants to choose from and they’re all quite similar, so don’t get too overwhelmed! We ordered the Fried Calamari, Carbonara Spaghetti, and Hot Style Spaghetti paired with some red wine. The food didn’t blow me away, but nothing could beat the ambiance eating outside on the canal.
Gelateria Ca’ D’oro
With completely stuffed tummies, we took a stroll around the city. It was such a beautiful and quiet night, with just a few couples walking about. We stumbled across a gelato place and had to give it a try! Of all the gelato places we had in Venice, this was my favorite and I wanted to go back every single day I was there.
We walked to the Rialto Market in hopes of picking up some delicious breakfast. To our surprise, it’s just a typical farmer’s market with fresh fruits and vegetables. We took a walk around and the strawberries caught our attention. We washed the strawberries in a water fountain at Campo San Giacomo di Rialto and ate them on the steps of the church.
Sadly, the bridge was under construction during our visit. Instead of offering the perfect view of the Grand Canal, it was simply a bridge that got us from one side to the other. There are also a ton of tourists on the bridge so prepare to be photobombed (like we were…).
You have to eat pasta in Italy and Dal Moro’s is the place to go! Delicious pasta at an affordable price! It is not a sit down restaurant, but it’s right around the corner from St. Mark’s Square, perfect spot to bring your takeout containers to enjoy the meal. We ordered the Cacio e Pepe (white sauce), Pomodoro (red sauce), and Frutti de Mare (seafood). The seafood pasta was far too fishy for us, but the other two were delicious. I prefer the Pomodoro though because it has a spicy kick!
Story time: The owners also get a lot of tourists, Koreans in particular, so they know a bit of Korean and ending up striking a convo with the boyfriend.
Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square)
The square was filled with tourists! It’s the perfect spot for people watching but I did miss the quiet Venice nights. You can also find all the major tourist attractions around the square – Basilica, Campanile, and Doge’s Palace.
Doge’s Palace is one of the main landmarks in Venice, consisting of a courtyard, the institutional chambers, and the prison. The palace’s architecture is impressive but the interior was overwhelming. I swear each room had more paintings and more gold than the one before. After our sixth gold room, we wanted nothing more than to leave but we had to finish the tour’s course before we could. Next time, I think I’ll skip the Doge.
Riva degli Schiavoni
It’s the promenade along the waterfront right by St. Mark’s Square. It’s flooded with tourists (like everywhere else in Venice) but it offers an amazing view of the water. Make sure to take notice of the Bridge of Sighs, the spot where prisoners took in their last view of Venice. And yes, for a picture with the Bridge of Sighs, we’re looking awfully happy… but who wouldn’t in Venice? Anyways, there are also plenty of tourist shops – perfect for buying souvenirs!
La Boutique del Gelato
All healthy diets call for daily gelato right? La Boutique del Gelato is supposed to be the best gelato in Venice. While it was good, I thought Gelateria Ca’ D’oro was better. There’s also no where to sit so we took our gelato to a nearby bridge and enjoyed it on the steps.
Gondola Ride and Serenade by Hotel Gritti Palace
My boyfriend booked our gondola ride on Rail Europe prior to our trip. It was supposed to be a private gondola ride with a singer… supposed to be! When we arrived, the workers forced us onto a gondola with two other couples – my boyfriend and I weren’t even sitting next to each other due to the small space! The ride was less than 30 minutes and we barely left the area. Needless to say, it was a horrible experience and I was pissed! Do not ride the gondola by Hotel Gritti Palace.
TIP: No need to book gondola rides in advance. There are plenty of options once you arrive in Venice.
Gondola Station Bacino Orseolo
After a failed gondola ride, we went in search for another. I refuse to leave Venice without a romantic gondola ride experience. We stumbled on Gondola Station Bacino Orseolo and for €80 (after some haggling), we had a gondola to ourselves. The experience lasted around 30 minutes, with the gondola going on the Grand Canal and side canals. It felt like a dream – just perfect.
Ristorante la Nuova Valigia
Our hotel was right down the street from the restaurant and we found ourselves drooling over the food whenever we passed by. We finally ate dinner here and we weren’t disappointed. We ordered the Carbonara, Gnocchi, and Prosciutto Pizza. It wasn’t a life-changing meal but it was good.
San Marco Campanile
This was my favorite tourist spot in Venice! Once you reach the top of the bell tower, you are welcomed with beautiful views of the city. We spent a long time enjoying the view of orange rooftops and open water. You can also see St. Mark’s Square from above, including the top of the Basilica.
TIP: You can’t book tickets for the Campanile, so go when it opens at 9am to avoid long lines.
Venezia Caffe Internazionale
Since it was our last day in Venice, we wanted to be by the water as much as possible. We walked along Riva degli Schiavoni until we found an open restaurant. Surprisingly, most restaurants weren’t open at 10am but luckily, Venezia Caffe Internazionale was. The owner was so nice and it was my favorite meal in Venice.
Basilica di San Marco
TIP: The entrance is free but the line is really long. I would recommend getting the Skip the Line ticket for €2 – completely worth it!
I was blown away by the gold mosaics in the basilica. How anyone designed and implemented that is beyond me! You can pay €5 to visit the museum upstairs. This will allow for a closer look of the mosaics. You can also step out onto the balcony for an open view of St. Mark’s Square.
Top Tourist Spots: San Marco Campanile, Piazza San Marco, Basilica di San Marco
Must Eat Snack: Gelato from Gelateria Ca’ D’oro
What to Skip: Gondola Ride and Serenade by Hotel Gritti Palace