Venice in 48 hours: a quick guide to the water city

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Venice is commonly referred to as the most romantic city in all of Italy. For all its winding walkways, story-book architecture and city-on-the-sea appeal, it is, without a doubt, one of the “can’t miss” destinations for the Europe-centric traveler.

But an extended vacation in the City of Bridges is expensive, and a weak dollar only adds to the cost.

However, even with Venice’s high prices, it is possible to visit on a budget. By performing a quick check of one of many online travel search engines, you can find regular round-trip flights out of Stuttgart in the $150 to $300 range.

However, once you’ve touched down, finding a deal on accommodations can be more challenging. Hotels range from $200 to $350 per night for two-star accommodations to upwards of $600 a night if you’re looking to splurge on a five-star hotel.
With authentic Italian pizza and pasta, and an abundance of fresh seafood, there’s no shortage of eating options.

But be sure to check the prices beforehand though, as meals can go for as much as a few hundred euros in one sitting, with surcharges for hearing live music or just sitting outside.

Add it all up, and just a couple of nights in Venice could leave you floored when the credit card bill comes, if you’re not careful.

Avid shoppers will appreciate the choices available in Venice, from high-end designer-brand handbags and the more reasonably priced knock-offs, to the most gaudy tourist trinkets.

The must-see sights in Venice are a relatively short list, thanks to the island’s small size. At the top is the Basilica di San Marco, the cathedral of Venice. Even the Byzantine architecture in the Piazza San Marco offers one of the most breathtaking views in all of Italy.

Other “can’t miss” spots include the Grand Canal (which you literally can’t miss), the Gallerie dell’Accademia, a museum containing masterpieces of Venetian painting up to the 18th century, and the Rialto Bridge, the most famous bridge in the city, and the first across the Grand Canal.

There’s plenty more to take in, but checking out the top three to five attractions can easily be accomplished in just a single day, making Venice an ideal locale for an abbreviated trip.

Brief or not, be prepared to lace up your most comfortable walking shoes to explore this city. Venice is the world’s only pedestrian city, which means most of your travel will be done on foot.

The lack of cars, honking horns and smog helps the city’s image as an untouched relic from centuries past. However, after a couple days of pounding the cobblestones, you’re going to want a break.

The most ready form of relief comes by way of water travel. Gondola rides and water taxis are hard to miss. The gondola provides a scenic trip for those looking to slow down and enjoy the surroundings, while the water taxi is a quicker, cheaper way of getting to the other side of the island.

It’s nearly impossible to leave without sore feet, but walking, getting lost, and walking some more are all a part of an authentic Venetian experience.

There’s no doubt that Venice is one of the top vacation destinations in Europe, if not the world. Thanks to the short list of sights, easy-to-cover distance and high cost, it’s also an optimal choice for time-crunched travelers looking to cram an unforgettable experience into a weekend.

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