06:40 – Maximise your weekend with an early start
You can fly direct from London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London City to Venice. An early start from London Gatwick on Friday means that you’ll be canal-side long before lunch. If this isn’t your local airport, flights depart from London City at 08:05 and London Heathrow at 08:55.
10:30 – Make a grand arrival
After touching down at Venice Marco Polo Airport, grab your bags and jump aboard an Alilaguna water bus (or a private speedboat if you’re feeling flash) to make the short transfer across the water to Venice. A private transfer will take under 30 minutes, whereas the less speedy (but very reliable) Alilaguna takes just over an hour to reach San Zaccaria (San Marco), costing 15 euros.
11:00 – Dive into the backstreets
The best way to get your bearings in Venice is to get lost. Nip through narrow calli (streets), across waterways (stopping on the bridge for a cheeky selfie) and into bustling piazzas – you’re never far from the water or the chiming of church bells.
12:00 – Cross the canal
Tick off a gondola ride on your Venice to-do list at the traghetto ferry. At just 2 euros this short and sweet journey is a must-do. It’s a quick, useful way to cross the Grand Canal.
If you can’t find a table, grab a glass of Prosecco and dangle your feet over the edge of the canal.
13:00 – Lunch on the go
If you’re pressed for time don’t worry, the Venetians don’t hang around; coffee, Prosecco and cicchetti (bar snacks) are all enjoyed on the go. Enjoy 'sardele in soar' – sweet and sour sardines, and Tramezzini – tiny crustless sandwiches. For something fancier, find Caffe Florian. The world’s oldest café serves its pricy gourmet dishes on silver trays.
14:00 – Take to the water
A ride along the Grand Canal is also a great way of getting to grips with the geography of this amphibious city. Take an Actv water taxi and stand up like the locals for the best photo opportunities, including your first glimpse of the famous Rialto Bridge. The great thing about the Actv water taxis is that you can get on and off as many times as you like. Buy the one- or two-day pass.
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15:00 – Hang out with the locals
Get off at Accademia to explore the bohemian area of Dorsoduro. Away from the throng of tourists in San Marco, this quieter neighbourhood feels like a breath of fresh air. If the sun is shining, head to a piazza for some people watching over a refreshing spritz.
16:00 – What’s your favourite work of art?
Venice really is an architectural masterpiece. Without stepping into a museum you’ll be dazzled by the design of its iconic buildings and treated to exquisite Renaissance works in its many churches. Get your art fix at one of the cities prestigious galleries. The Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection are both in Dorsoduro. Displaying work from over 200 artists, including Jackson Pollock, Picasso and Dali, at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection you’ll see some of the world’s best Surrealist, Cubist and Futurist works.
19:00 – Dine alfresco until the sun goes down
Make your way through the picturesque streets to Campo Santa Margherita, a lively square with an abundance of cafes and nightlife – perfect for an aperitif or leisurely dinner. Among the boho student hangouts you’ll find many affordable places to eat. Enjoy cocktails at Margaret Duchamp or fantastic pizza at Pizzeria ai Sportivi.