This post contains affiliate links and ads so I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you click on or make a purchase through one of these links.
Venice is an elaborate city with winding alleyways and endless options for food or drinks. Most people spend a couple of days and still don’t manage to see everything. Landing in Venice and having to move on to our next destination only left me with a handful of hours to explore. Even with a crunched itinerary, it was still possible to enjoy this charming city with my guide of things to do in during a short layover in Venice.
Table of Contents
Be Prepared For Your Short Layover In Venice
I’ll be honest in that I really didn’t do much research for my time in Venice. The trip was geared towards other stops in northern Italy and Slovenia. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a researcher, planner, schedule everything out to the minute kind of person. Times like these, however, I like to just have a grip on my bearings and go with the flow. My helpful advice for the planning stage is to have a phone plan that supports data in Italy. Also, keep your head up and some comfortable walking shoes because the fun part is that you will get lost. Also, I want to mention that this city felt extremely safe and most people spoke English. I would suggest brushing up on a few Italian phrases such as your “pleases” and “thank yous” or “per
Navigating To Town From The Venice Airport
Once you arrive at Marco Polo, you’ll follow signs to exit the Venice airport and head towards the buses. You can purchase a bus ticket to Venice-Piazzale Roma for €7 with either cash or card. I went with a round trip ticket since I needed to get back to the airport for our rental car. The ACTV bus will take approximately 25 minutes and will drop you at the bus station near Piazzale Roma. From there, you can walk over to the island. Since Venice’s transportation relies solely on its waterways, your options from here are either water taxis, the ACTV boat or simply walk.
Trek Around The Island
A visit to Venice must include at least one boat ride. I chose to walk the length of the islands and catch an ACTV boat back to the bus station. I ended up walking about seven miles over the course of four hours. As I zig-zagged through the streets at a casual pace I was able to enjoy all the sights. Take time to grab a delicious biscotti gelato or other Italian specialties during your time in Venice.
Things To Do In Venice
Like I mentioned earlier, Venice has so many unique hidden gems that I knew it would be impossible for me to see everything during my short layover in Venice. As I meandered through the skinny streets, I took time to appreciate the smaller details.
Since I did not have specific goals for my jaunt, I followed signs, my GPS and my compass to steer me towards St. Mark’s Basilica and Piazza San Marco. The signs are everywhere and are usually just over a shop’s doorway. Also, you can’t go wrong here because even if you make a wrong turn, chances are you’ll pop out in a square or,
As you wander you’ll find so many opportunities for photos, places to grab a coffee or even some lunch. Food and drinks will be more expensive the closer you get to the water. For a more authentic Italian experience, try one of the many small cafés that are further from the touristy areas.
The two main points of interest, in my opinion, would be Piazza San Marco as well as the Rialto Bridge. These spots are packed with tourists, but still, deserve at least a quick look because of how impressive they are. Definitely make sure to add these stops during your short layover in Venice.
Getting Back To The Venice Airport
After arriving at San Marco, you can grab an ACTV boat back to the bus station near Piazzale Roma. Look for signs for the ACTV just past St. Mark’s Basilica near the water. Taking the #2 line to Piazzale Roma will get you back much faster because there are far less stops. Grab a spot near the side of the boat rather than settling for the center because you’ll get a much better vantage point. The views are much different when you are riding along the Grand Canal so I highly recommend taking some form of water transportation during the day. This was absolutely one of my favorite things to do in Venice!
A Busy Short Layover In Venice
Obviously spending only a few hours in a city like Venice is not enough time to take in the sights, history, and culture. I recommend giving yourself more time to explore everything this old Italian city has to offer, but if you find yourself in a similar situation don’t pass it up. Although a bit rushed, Venice can be done in half a day and will leave you with the desire to come back for more. Before your departure, make a list of the most important things to do in Venice so that you make sure to hit those spots and enjoy your short layover in Venice!