If you are planning to visit Venice but aren’t sure how much time to spend in the city, this post will cover my suggestions for how many days to spend in Venice, and how to plan your Venice itinerary to perfection. Of course, your decision may be influenced by various factors, from how much money you want to spend to how many holiday days you have, and where else you plan to visit in Italy. I have to say though, don’t underestimate Venice. To truly appreciate this magnificent city beyond the tourist sites you need to take your time. So let’s see how many days in Venice are enough for you!
How to Get Around Venice
If you don’t have much time in Venice, I highly recommend getting a 24-hour transport ticket which includes unlimited journeys on the Vaporetto water buses. You can then move freely around the city (and take day trips to the other islands if you have time). The longer you spend in Venice, the cheaper the tickets become. A single trip costs €7.50, whereas a 24-hour ticket costs €20, a 48-hour ticket is €30, a 72-hour ticket is €40 and a 7-day travel ticket is €60, so figure out which ticket is best for you.
You can also walk around Venice quite easily, although if you are on your feet all day you certainly feel it by the end of the day! Bicycles aren’t allowed onto the island, so waterbuses or on foot are the best modes of transport to use. There are water-taxis all around Venice but they are very expensive, so stick to public transport in Venice wherever you can!
How to Plan Your Venice Itinerary
Venice is unique. There is no other place like it on earth, so if you are likely to only visit Venice once, you want to make it count! There are so many things to do in Venice it can be difficult to narrow it down to one or two days, so try to spend a little more time in Venice if you can. No matter how much time you have in Venice, the key is to think about what you enjoy doing. Do you like museums? Art? Food? Beautiful views? Getting off the beaten track? There is something for everyone in Venice, so choose what you like to do, without worrying about simply ticking items off your bucket list. If you want to take a gondola ride, feel free – but don’t feel pressured to spend that amount of money – there are ways to enjoy Venice on a budget without breaking the bank!
How to Enjoy Venice Responsibly
I adore Venice, and would not tell people not to go there, but the city is under threat from over-tourism, and the infrastructure does struggle in peak season. Plan your trip to Venice in the shoulder or off-season and remember that weekdays are also quieter than weekends. Take time to explore the city beyond the top attractions, and remember to follow the rules to #EnjoyRespectVenezia.
This video has some more tips for how to visit Venice responsibly:
Where to Stay in Venice
That also depends on how much time you will spend in Venice. If you only have a day in Venice then you will either arrive in Venice in the morning and leave the same day or spend the night. With only one night, a hotel on the island of Venice will probably be best, in order to maximise your time there. However, if you are spending two or more nights, then staying on the mainland in Mestre will be much cheaper and you are only 15 minutes away from the city.
Arguably, staying on the mainland is also more sustainable, as many local people have had to leave their homes in Venice due to astronomical rents which have increased drastically over the years as demand for tourist accommodation has soared. Remember too that water taxis are expensive, so staying somewhere close to the station will save you from dragging heavy bags through the streets, or having to get an expensive water taxi!
Hostels in Venice
For me, Wombat’s City Hostel Venice Mestre is by far the best hostel in Venice. I stayed there as part of the #WombatsTraveller ambassador project which has now finished, but I would happily stay at Wombat’s every time I go back to Venice! Wombat’s is on the mainland in Mestre, right next to the train station so you can be in Venice in 15 minutes.
The dorms are huge, and there are also private rooms with ensuite bathrooms if you prefer more privacy. There are social events, a kitchen if you want to make your own food, a buffet breakfast (extra cost) and a bar which is open every night – and you get a free drink voucher on check-in! I loved it here and highly recommend it whether you are visiting Venice on a budget, or are looking for a clean, comfy and friendly place to stay – regardless of price! Read my full review here, or check it out on Hostelworld.
Hotels in Venice
Although staying somewhere close to the train station isn’t as convenient for St Mark’s Square, you won’t have to worry about moving heavy cases around the streets of Venice. Hotel Antiche Figure, for example, is just opposite the station gets great reviews for the friendly staff, good location and great service. Canal Grande Santa Croce Venice is in a similar location and also gets rave reviews for the views over the Grand Canal. If you would rather be more ‘in the middle’ of the action, take a look at the lovely B&B Ca’ Bonvicini.
Airbnb in Venice
There are lots of options for Airbnb in Venice, but given how many locals have had to leave their homes, I would advise against getting a whole apartment for yourself. A private room in a local’s apartment will help them to pay the rent, and help you to really feel like a local in Venice. This spacious private room, for example, is a short walk from the train station and walking distance from the main sights in Venice. Alternatively, this private ensuite room is in Mestre, close to the train station
You can check all the options for Airbnb in Venice here. If you have never used Airbnb before, use this link to sign up & get up to $40 credit to use on your first trip! Read more about the Airbnb first time discount code and my full Airbnb guide or click below for your Airbnb coupon.
How Many Days to Spend in Venice?
While some people may tell you that one day in Venice is enough, I assure you that it is not. But just how many days in Venice are enough for you to explore the city? Well, that also depends on whether you would like to visit some of the other islands in the Venice Lagoon, explore the Veneto Region and really get to know La Serenissima in all her glory. Instead of rushing through Venice on a whistle-stop tour, you could easily spend four or five days in Venice, and more if you use the city as a hub to visit more of the region.
Is One Day in Venice Enough?
I understand that there are lots of beautiful places to visit in Italy, or you may not have long to visit Venice, but please try to spend at least 2 days in Venice. If you only have a day in Venice, you will rush around, following the crowds and doing all of the same things that everyone who only has one day in Venice does. I feel so strongly about this that I wrote a whole article on why attempting to visit Venice in a day is simply not enough, especially if you take a day trip to Venice from a city like Rome or Milan; you will spend far too long travelling and miss out on valuable time in Venice.
READ MORE: Why You Shouldn’t Spend One Day in Venice
How About 2 Days in Venice?
For me, this is the absolute minimum time anyone should spend in Venice. Two days in Venice are just about long enough for you to visit the top things to do in Venice and explore some of the quieter areas of the city like Cannaregio. You could also do a fun activity like taking a food tour or a rowing lesson, as well as wander around the streets away from the crowds at Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square. For me, the beauty of Venice is in the wandering, so avoid the main thoroughfares and get lost in the narrow alleyways. Trying to rush around Venice is not enjoyable for anyone, so relax, get a gelato or a spritz and sit for a while in a piazza and watch the world go by.
3 Days in Venice
Now we are starting to really get to know Venice. With three days in Venice, you’ll have time to see the main sites of the city, wander around, take a tour or two as well as a day trip to some of the other islands. My favourite islands to combine on a day trip are Murano, Burano and Torcello. If you are trying to see Venice in 2 days you could do this on your second day, but I’d recommend spending 3 days in Venice so you can spend a whole day on the other islands without sacrificing your time in Venice itself. Remember though that getting from the centre of Venice to the colourful island of Burano can take well over an hour, so plan your time accordingly. For beach lovers, Lido could be another option for your third day in Venice, with its miles of sandy beaches.
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4 Days in Venice
Considering how much there is to do in the Veneto region, 4 days is a decent amount of time to spend in Venice. Two days in the city itself, a day visiting the islands around Venice and a day to visit one of the nearby cities. There are lots of options for day trips from Venice like Padua with a UNESCO listed botanic garden and beautiful church frescoes, or Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet which is only about an hour away from Venice by train.
5 Days in Venice
For me, no amount of time in Venice will be too much. On my first visit to Venice, I spent nine days here, and although I was tired by the end of it all I still felt like there was more to see. Spend your extra day in Venice exploring the beach island of Lido, and Giudecca, explore the mainland town of Mestre (the interactive M9 museum is a fascinating insight into Italian history and culture) or take a prosecco wine tour in the Veneto Region.
A Week in Venice
If you have more than 5 days in Venice, a week in Venice or even more than that, you will have plenty of time to relax, enjoy the real ambience of Venice and learn much more about the culture of Venice. In the rest of my Venice itinerary, I haven’t included a visit to La Fenice theatre, a glass jewellery making workshop or even painting your own carnival mask – all of which you might like to do earlier on in your visit. It is hard to choose exactly what to do in Venice when you have a short amount of time, so focus on what you enjoy doing and take it from there.
My Suggested Venice Itinerary By Day
Venice Itinerary Day 1:
With just a day in Venice, try to cover the essentials but also take time to enjoy the city if you can. In my opinion, it really isn’t enough time to make the most of the city by any means, but it will give you a taste. Take the water bus Vaporetto 1 along the Grand Canal to see some of Venice from the water. It will take you from the train and bus station along the canal, under the Rialto Bridge, and all the way to St Mark’s Square on the other side of the island. You could also get off at Rialto, just past the bridge, and walk to St Mark’s Square which is a bit quicker than the Vaporetto.
Don’t miss the Bridge of Sighs near St Mark’s Square, and if you get there before the huge queues, St Mark’s Basilica is free to enter, and you can see the magnificent golden mosaics on the ceiling. Head to Rialto Market for lunch, either buying something from the stalls or to the nearby restaurants for cicchetti. After lunch, head up to the top of the shopping centre T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, where you can pre-book timeslots to go up to the roof terrace and enjoy a lovely view.
From there, walk to the Ponte dell’Academia for one of the best views in Venice of the Grand Canal and the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute. If you have time, I highly recommend walking via the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, one of the hidden gems in Venice. From the Ponte dell’Academia it’s a short walk to the Osteria Al Squero for an aperitivo, with views of one of the only remaining gondola makers across the canal. After that, it’s probably time to head back to the station, so you can walk through the narrow streets of the Dorsoduro district back to the station. On your way back, if it is before 6pm you can pop into Ca’Macana mask shop for a glimpse of the designs and incredible craftsmanship of a master mask maker.
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Venice Itinerary Day 2
With two days to explore Venice, a food tour is a great way to try some of the local food and explore, by way of the delicious food in Venice! I took a food tour with Urban Adventures that I booked through GetYourGuide which was fabulous. The tour started at 11.30 am and we had plenty of food for a big lunch, spread over 2 or 3 hours, with plenty of wine! The tour started in the Cannaregio district on the northern side of the city, so on your way there, take some time to explore the old Jewish neighbourhood, including the first ghetto.
If you want to take a gondola ride in Venice, I’d suggest looking up Chiara Curto, the only woman who is currently working as a gondolier – although technically her boat is not a gondola, it is a sandolo, so she is actually a sandolista, not a gondolier – but the experience is just the same! She is based next to the Jewish Ghetto so you could arrange a ride before the food tour.
After the tour, you could check out some of Venice’s extraordinary museums and churches, such as the Gallerie dell’Accademia, the Peggy Guggenheim collection and the Santa Maria della Salute church on the south side of the island.
Venice Itinerary Day 3
The islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello combine to make a fabulous day trip from Venice proper. Watch a glass-blowing demonstration on Murano, admire the colourful fishermen’s houses and lace-making artistry on Burano, and visit peaceful Torcello to learn more about the history of Venice at the museum and climb the bell tower for views of the lagoon. If you visit all three islands that will easily fill up a full day, and I’d suggest an early start if you can as Burano is about an hour away from Venice by boat.
Venice Itinerary Day 4
It’s time to explore more of the Veneto Region with a day trip to Padua, Verona, Treviso or anywhere else you fancy. Verona is a beautiful city, made famous by Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, and the impressive Arena which still hosts live Opera. If you want to watch the Opera you’ll need to spend the night in Verona, but you can still take a tour of the arena if you only have time for a day trip. Although Verona is the most famous city close to Venice, don’t underestimate Padua. Padua is home to the world’s first botanical garden and the exquisite Scrovegni Chapel, lined with 14th-century frescoes. It is a lovely little city to explore, and well worth a day of your time.
Venice Itinerary Day 5
Visit another one of the islands of Venice, long Lido. Hire a bike to explore or spend your time on the beach and eating delicious gelato. On the way back, pay a visit to the Church at San Giorgio Maggiore, and climb up the bell tower for my favourite view in Venice. Continue on to Giudecca Island, walk along the waterfront and head to the fancy Skyline Rooftop bar for sunset and an aperitivo. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it!
Venice Itinerary Day 6 +
Don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do in Venice to fill a week or more, so you will not be bored! I’m working on more blog posts about Venice, but the following articles will give you some more ideas about how to spend your time in this fabulous city.
What do you think, how many days in Venice are enough for you? I hope I persuaded you to allocate more time to this beautiful city, and to not rush around cramming everything into one day. Once you’ve planned your trip, let me know how many days you’ll have in your Venice itinerary!
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