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3 Days in Venice

3 days in Venice will allow you to see almost all of this beautiful city in Northern Italy.

Venice is one of the most popular places in Italy and all of Europe, and it’s not hard to see why when you visit! From the Grand Canal to Doge’s Palace and Basilica di San Marco, there’s so much to see there.

I enjoyed my time in Venice with the city being as beautiful as you might imagine. As good as it is, there are so many people there due to its popularity. But you can still have a good time and visit some stunning places like the islands of Burano and Murano!

This Venice itinerary will provide you with all the information you need before you visit this incredible city. There’s info on where to stay, rough estimates of costs, the best time to visit and how to get around.

Keep scrolling to discover what to do in Venice for 3 days!

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3 Days in Venice Itinerary

Quick 3 Days in Venice Itinerary

Day 1 – Walking Tour, Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace
Day 2 – Rialto Bridge, Museo Corner, Santa Maria della Salute
Day 3 – Bridge of Sighs, Burano, Murano

Top Tip – Skip the lines at over 20+ activities with the Venice City Pass
Check out some of the best places to eat in Venice with this food tour
Get transport to/from Venice airport to Venice City Centre

My Experience in Venice

Tom in Venice in front of one of the canals
Me in Venice

After spending 3 days in Naples during my 3-month European trip, I made my way back north through Rome and Rimini until I got to Venice.

It’s a place I’ve been interested to visit for a while, as it’s one of those places you see a lot about on social media. It looks stunning in photos and I wanted to see it for myself to see what all the fuss was about!

The first thing I noted is that there are two parts to Venice, there’s the part on the mainland Mestre, which as the guy behind the counter at my hostel said, has nothing there, and the main bit in the Venetian lagoon that everyone is familiar with.

I stayed in Mestre and didn’t bother checking much of it out, as everything is on the island. The first thing I noted when I got onto the island was the beauty of the place and the sheer number of tourists.

There’s no getting away from it, Venice is beautiful and one of the must-visit places in Northern Italy. The buildings are incredible and the fact it’s built on water with a canal system makes it even more spectacular.

I instantly got why it’s so popular.

The second thing is that there were so many people, and I mean a lot. I went in the middle of October and it was very busy so I can only imagine what it’s like during the high season in the summer.

You can find quieter spots, but once you get to the main areas, such as Rialto Bridge overlooking the Grand Canal and Doge’s Palace, there are people everywhere. It can be a bit overwhelming at times.

Still, I enjoyed my time in Venice and would go back again, but I would try and avoid the busier parts of the year. The winding streets aren’t much fun to navigate when the city is packed!

Here are a few things I liked about Venice and a few things I didn’t:

Good

  • Venice is beautiful and one of the most stunning cities in Italy. It might be a small place but there are so many impressive buildings, churches and museums to check you won’t be short of things to do!
  • There are also plenty of great places to visit nearby, such as the beautiful village of Burano. This is the good thing about Venice if you want to stay longer than 3 days, there are plenty of boat trips you can take to some beautiful spots!

Bad

  • Venice is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and it shows. The sheer number of people there was mind-boggling. I’m writing this as a travel blogger, so it’s somewhat hypocritical, but I did feel like it was too much at times. I’d advise visiting during the quieter parts of the year to avoid huge crowds.
  • One of the worst things about Venice for me was finding my way around the island. There are a lot of narrow and tiny streets and it’s hard to get any idea of where you are. You can use Google Maps to help you, but if you just want to stroll around, you’re guaranteed to get lost and confused at some point!

What to do in Venice in 3 Days

view of canal in Venice with boats on the water

With so many things to do in Venice, you won’t have any difficulty filling time during your trip. Quite the opposite, you’ll be trying to cram everything you can in.

Venice is home to some of the most iconic attractions such as Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square, as well as all the canals in the city. There’s a reason there are so many amazing quotes about Venice as the city is beautiful!

There are also plenty of places you can go on a boat trip from Venice, such as Burano and Murano, which are worth checking out!

If you’ve never visited Venice before, I’ve listed some places you should check out below. I’ve also a recommendation of some of the best tours you can do in Venice:

If you’ve been to Rome for 3 days, you’ll know that you can spend a long time queuing to get into some of the main attractions. That’s why I recommend you get a Venice City Pass.

The pass gives you access to many of the main sights in Venice such as Mueso Corner and the 16 Churches of the Chorus Circuit. However, you don’t get access to St Mark’s Basilica, unfortunately.

Transportation on the ACTV network is available, so you can use your pass on waterbuses and the bus, but you have to select this option when you purchase the pass.

Venice is a busy city so getting this pass means you don’t have to queue for tickets and potentially miss out on some attractions. I recommend getting before you visit so you can get started straight away.

Here are a few places I recommend you visit during your 3 days in Venice:

  • Doge’s Palace – The former residence of the rulers of Venice, the spectacular Doge’s Palace is now a museum. It’s an amazing building that dominates Venice Lagoon and gives you an idea of the grandeur of the city!
  • Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) – This is the main square in Venice and is home to many amazing fights such as Basilica di San Marco (St Mark’s Basilica)! You’ll get a sense of the beauty of Venice when you’re here!
  • Burano – One of the islands not far from Venice, Burano is a small island that’s full of beautiful and colourful fishermen’s houses. It’s a short trip on the water bus and worth it to see the beauty of the island!
  • Rialto Bridge – There are 472 bridges connecting the various islands of Venice. But the nicest one is, without a doubt, the Rialto Bridge in the San Polo part of the city! It’s spectacular and much bigger than you realise. Be prepared to jostle for the best photo spots, though as it’s almost always busy!
  • Museo Corner – A fascinating museum located in St Mark’s Square, this is the place to go if you want. to learn about Venice’s past and see some of the best examples of Venetian art!

Venice Itinerary – Day 1

Start your 3 days in Venice with a tour of the city, then head to Piazza San Marco to check out the square before going to the Doge’s Palace afterwards!

Walking Tour

walking through narrow streets in Venice

One of the first things I like to do in a new city after I’ve checked into my accommodation is to go for a walk and see where I end up.

I never have a goal and walk around taking everything in at my own pace. This is what I did when I got to Venice, but out of all the places I’ve been, it was one of the hardest to do this in.

That’s because the city is so windy and full of little streets, figuring out where you’re going is almost impossible. It took me an hour before I was able to find Doge’s Palace and the other main sights by the waterfront.

I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did and would book a walking tour instead. Venice is a hard city to get grips with due to its layout.

The benefit of a tour is not only do you get an idea of where everything is but you get the backstory behind the buildings and the city too.

I’d book a tour so that you can get a feel for the city and then go and explore some of the sights by yourself afterwards!

Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square)

piazza san marco with St Mark's Basilica in the background

After you’ve finished your walking tour, I recommend heading to Piazza San Marco, also known as St Mark’s Square.

It’s the main public square in Venice and is one of the Venice landmarks you can’t miss while you’re here. It will likely be packed no matter what time you visit, but it’s still an incredible place.

St Mark's Basilica in Piazza San Marco
two columns in Piazza San Marco with people walking around the square

The backdrop of St Mark’s clocktower and St Mark’s Basilica are spectacular and you go into the Campanile di San Marco (St Mark’s Bell Tower) and get a fantastic view from one of the Venetian towers of the square below.

Visiting Piazza San Marco at night is special because the square is beautiful when it’s lit up and you’ll be able to appreciate it in a different way!

Doge’s Palace

view of the Doge's Palace from the water in Venice

The Doge’s Palace is one of the most spectacular buildings and one of the major attractions in Venice. It was the former residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the city.

Today, it’s a museum, but no less impressive. As the palace is in Piazza San Marco and looks out onto the Venetian lagoon, it’s the perfect place to visit after you’ve walked around the square for a bit.

It’s worth booking a ticket in advance to skip the line so you can see what the palace is like from the inside. As spectacular as it is from the outside, it’s just as impressive inside!

You can explore lots of exhibitions, the courtyard, see where the Doge lived and visit the prisons and armoury. It’s a fascinating experience and one of the best you can do in Venice!

Venice Itinerary – Day 2

The second of your 3 days in Venice itinerary takes you to the incredible Rialto Bridge, the stunning Museo Corner and the beautiful Santa Maria della Salute church.

Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge in Venice

The most famous bridge of the hundreds in Venice is Rialto Bridge or Ponte di Rialto in Italian, located in the San Polo district not far from Rialto Market.

Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges that span the Grand Canal and was first constructed in 1173 as a pontoon bridge before the design you see today was built in the 16th century!

As one of the main Venice attractions, it’s busy throughout the day. I was astounded by how many people were here jostling for photos or admiring the views of the floating city!

people queuing to take photos and see the view from Rialto Bridge
An idea of how busy Rialto Bridge can get!

If you want a photo on the bridge, it’s best to try and get here early to avoid the crowds. But that’s unlikely to happen, so you’ll need a lot of patience to wait for the chance to get your shot.

It’s a nice place to stay for a couple of minutes and take in the Grand Canal and watch people on a gondola ride. The views are stunning and are among the best in the city!

Museo Corner

Museo Corner in Saint Mark's Square, Venice

If you want to learn about the history of Venice, Museo Corner is the place to go.

The museum is located in St Mark’s Square and is an amazing place to visit. You can visit the Neoclassical rooms and see some fantastic sculptures by Canova.

The next stop is the Procuratie Nuove, which was home to some of the most important civic authorities in Venice.

You’ll also find some great collections of Venetian art in some of the other rooms, which include works from the earliest collection of Venetian paintings to the 16th century.

Santa Maria della Salute

santa maria della salute church in Venice

Santa Maria della Salute is one of the most beautiful churches in Venice and is visible from all over the city.

The white dome is easy to spot as you walk around Venice and was constructed in 1632 to celebrate the end of the plague. A fact I wasn’t expecting!

It’s a beautiful octagonal building and is worth checking out as it’s not far from St Mark’s Square and the bell tower.

There are chapels on each side of Santa Maria della Salute and you’ll also find paintings by Titian and Tintoretto. Entry is free, but it will cost €4 if you want to enter the sacristy.

Venice Itinerary – Day 3

The final part of this 3 days in Venice itinerary sees you check out the Bridge of Sighs before embarking on a day trip to the islands of Burano and Murano in the Venetian lagoon.

Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs in Venice

Along with Rialto Bridge and Accademia Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs is one of the most famous bridges in Venice.

It connects the Doge’s Palace to the interrogation rooms in the prison across the canal. The view from the bridge was the last one convicts would see before they were imprisoned.

Again, this is another popular spot on this Venice itinerary, so it’s best to get there early if you want to get some photos and avoid the crowds.

You can do a tour of the Doge’s Palace if you didn’t the other day and walk across the bridge into the prison.

Otherwise, I’d check out one of the other sights in the area such as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection or the Modern Art Museum at the Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery.

Burano

canal on the island of Burano with colorful houses either side

Burano is one of the islands located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Venetian Lagoon and is a perfect place to explore during the last of your 3 days in Venice.

It’s only a small island, but it’s home to a lot of colorful houses and is a scenic place. I enjoyed walking around and checking out the island, especially all the beautiful homes.

You’ll need to use the water bus to get there, and you can get an all-day ticket that allows you to explore some of the other islands nearby too.

a colorful house in Burano
walking along the canal in Burano with multi-colored houses in the background

It’s a slightly weird experience walking around on the island, as there are plenty of people who live here, yet there are also so many tourists walking around admiring the colorful houses and picturesque canals.

It does kind of feel like you’re in a sort of odd theme park, and the locals are actors. I did feel conscious about intruding too much, as this is a place where people live too, not just a tourist attraction.

Bear this in mind when walking around. It may be one of Venice’s hidden gems but it’s also home to plenty of people who’ve lived here for generations. Being respectful of this goes a long way!

Murano

multi-colored houses in Murano

Murano is another one of the small islands located in the Venetian lagoon. It’s perfect to visit after Burano, because the water bus stops there on the way back.

The island is famous for Murano glass and there’s a museum on the island that details the history of the industry in Murano.

You can also go to a traditional glass blowing demonstration to see how it’s made, which is a fascinating experience!

The island is also home to one of the oldest churches in Venice, Basilica di Santa Maria, which is worth visiting too.

A stroll around the island is a must too. It’s not as beautiful as Burano, but it’s still an interesting place and one you have to check out when you explore Venice!

Other Places to Visit in Venice

a square in Venice

Here are a few other places you can check out while you’re visiting Venice:

  • Campo Santa Margherita – Campo Santa Margherita is a large square near the university buildings that’s a great place to chill for a couple of minutes. There are a lot of nice cafes and restaurants here too, so if you want something to eat or an aperitif, it’s a good place to go!
  • Basilica dei Frari – Located in the San Polo district, the basilica is home to several Renaissance masterpieces by artists such as Titian. If you’re an art lover, it’s a place you have to check out!
  • Jewish Ghetto – The Jewish ghetto is a fascinating part of Venice and one of the most intriguing places to explore in the city. It’s the oldest ghetto in Europe and is home to some beautiful synagogues. You can also visit the Jewish Museum to learn more about the role Jews played in the city over three centuries in Venice. Click here to book your tour!
  • Gondola ride – One of the most famous things to do in Venice is to go on gondola rides and see the city from the Grand Canal. If you’re visiting as a couple, it’s a romantic activity to do and one neither of you will forget! Click here to book your ride!

If you want even more places to see and activities to do in Venice and the surrounding area, click the link below:

Venice Travel Tips

This section includes practical tips that will help you make the most of your trip to Venice. They include advice on where to stay, the best time to visit, rough costs and more!

Where to stay in Venice

canal-lined street in Venice

There are plenty of places to choose from when it comes to accommodation in Venice, so whether you’re after a hotel, hostel or want to rent an apartment, you should be able to find what you’re after.

Perhaps the biggest decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to stay on the mainland or the island part of Venice.

The mainland part of Venice is known as Mestre, which is connected to the islands via a bridge. This makes getting between the two areas easy, as trains run frequently and can cost as little as €1.

I stayed at Anda Venice in Mestre, a hostel which I recommend if you’re on a budget. Getting to and from Mestre is easy with the train only taking around 10 minutes.

If you want the experience of staying in the more well-known part of Venice, you have plenty of places to choose from. But you will have to take your luggage around a lot of waiting streets before you find your hotel or apartment.

I wouldn’t recommend this if you have a lot of luggage or a health issue, as there could be a lot of walking. Staying in Mestre is a good option and you’re not missing out by staying there when it’s so easy to get to the main sights!

Here are a few places I recommend staying at during your time in Venice:

Product Name / Description Product Image Primary Button
Our Pick
  • A lively hostel that's located in the Mestre part of Venice next to the train station. Lots of events and spacious rooms make it perfect for solo travellers.

  • A lovely hostel housed in a former convent that has a modern feel to it. The hostel has a bar and a restaurant, and spacious rooms too!

  • Located 15 minutes walk away from Piazza San Marco, this is a lovely hostel set in an old building. Nice clean rooms and a kitchen you can use too!

Our Pick

A lively hostel that's located in the Mestre part of Venice next to the train station. Lots of events and spacious rooms make it perfect for solo travellers.

A lovely hostel housed in a former convent that has a modern feel to it. The hostel has a bar and a restaurant, and spacious rooms too!

Located 15 minutes walk away from Piazza San Marco, this is a lovely hostel set in an old building. Nice clean rooms and a kitchen you can use too!

Cost of Travel in Venice

view of the Grand Canal in Venice from Rialto Bridge with the sun setting in the background

As one of the most popular places to visit in Italy, Venice is one of the most expensive cities in the country. If you’ve visited Milan in 3 days, you’ll have an idea of what the prices will be like.

Venice is a popular destination and it does feel like the city is geared towards tourism in a way that other cities in the country aren’t.

You can expect to pay more here for most things than you would in other places. Eating out will cost a lot, while accommodation can also be more expensive than in other places.

I’d recommend eating in quieter parts of Venice to avoid paying a lot for the privilege of eating by the Grand Canal!

One good thing is that getting around isn’t too expensive even if you stay in Mestre. It’s around €1 for a ticket to Santa Lucia train station, which is very cheap.

One of the most expensive parts of the trip will be paying for entry to museums, galleries and attractions such as Doge’s Palace and Campanile di San Marco.

I recommend getting the Venice City Pass before you go to reduce the costs and get discounts on entry to several attractions.

Most of your other expenses will be on food and drink, transport and any tours you book. Purchasing travel gifts for friends and family can add up if you buy a lot, so I’d consider that too before you visit Venice.

I’ve included a rough guide to prices for accommodation, eating out and transport in Venice below.

Prices for other expenses such as nights out at a bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenirs/clothing purchases, tours. etc. aren’t included.

You’ll need to budget extra for these purchases as they are ‘non-essential!’ 

Bed icon

Accommodation

Hostel: Dorm – €32-55; Private – €88-140
Hotels: €90-110
Rental Apartment: €100-190

Restaurant Icon

Food and Drink

Breakfast: €3-€8
Dinner: €10-20
Takeaway meal: €4-6+
Pint of beer: €3.50-5

 

Transport icon

Transport

Train from Mestre to Santa Lucia single ticket: €1.10
1-day ACTV card: €25
Gondola ride: €80-100 for 30 mins

 

Best Time to Visit Venice

a canal at night in Venice

The best time to visit Venice isn’t too easy to figure out due to the popularity of the city. As one of the most popular destinations in Italy, Venice is busy most times of the year.

I discovered this when I visited in the middle of October and was shocked by how many people there were. I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy!

I dread to think how busy it would be during the height of summer. It would almost be unbearable to walk around Venice. Especially in the popular areas as people are jostling for spots to take photos.

The other factor you have to consider when visiting Venice is the weather. It can get hot during the summer and combined with the huge number of tourists, this can make it a difficult place to be.

For example, I got a boat to Burano and back. It was busy, but I can imagine it’s rammed in summer. This combined with the heat would make it a tough place to be.

All of this needs to be considered before you book your trip.

I’d consider booking a trip for the shoulder seasons of March to May or September to November. Venice will still be bust but it won’t be full of crowds and the temperatures will be cooler too.

You could visit during the winter, but the temperatures will be much cooler and you might get bad weather, as well as the possibility of flooding too.

Don’t forget to check out my packing list for Italy before you go, so you know what to take whatever the weather!

I’ve put together a quick season-by-season guide on what to expect from Venice when you visit:

Venice in Spring

Spring is a good time to visit Venice to avoid the crowds of summer and the high temperatures. It’s much more comfortable to walk around the city in this weather, although you may get the odd shower!

Average temperatures from low to high: 4.5°C – 22°C / 40.1°F – 71.6°F

Venice in Summer

Summer will have the highest percentage of warm days, but the temperatures can get into the 30s and you’ll have hoards of tourists to deal with too! If this doesn’t bother you, it’s a good time to book a trip!

Average temperatures from low to high: 17.4°C – 28.5°C / 63.3°F – 83.3°F

Venice in Autumn

I visited Venice in October and thought the temperatures in the 20s were perfect for exploring the city. It was still busy, but nowhere near as bad as summer, so it’s a good time to go if you want to avoid the crowds!

Average temperatures from low to high: 5.7°C – 23.8°C / 42.3°F – 74.8°F

Venice in Winter

Winter isn’t the time most people consider visiting Venice due to the weather being much cooler. But id the low temperatures and possibility of rain don’t bother you, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and explore Venice in relative peace.

Average temperatures from low to high: 0.1°C – 9.2°C / 32.2°F – 48.6°F

How to Get Around Venice

Inside Santa Lucia Station in Venice with the timetable board visible

As I mentioned in the where to stay section, if you stay in Mestre you’ll need to get the train from the station there to Santa Lucia train station on the islands to see all the sights.

Thankfully, this is easy and cheap and the journey only takes 10 minutes. One issue is that the ticket machines can get busy in the evening with people returning, so either book your return ticket in advance, buy it on an app such as Trainline or try and beat the crowds!

This is the easiest part of getting around Venice in my opinion. Walking around the islands and navigating the narrow streets is not easy. I got lost several times and had to five in and use Google Maps to find my way.

Venice can feel like a labyrinth and you’re bound to get lost, so having a phone with data is essential unless you want to walk around aimlessly for hours. There are signs telling you the way to the train station and certain sights, but it’s easy to go down a wrong path and get lost.

Another option is to use the gondolas to get around, but I don’t think it’s very practical and they are more for riding on and admiring the views from the canal rather than a way to get around.

But if you want to take a scenic gondola ride as a way of getting between two places it’s not a bad idea!

If you want to visit islands such as Burano and Murano, you’ll need to use the water bus. There are stops across the islands and you can buy tickets at these stops.

If you want to see more than one location, I would get there early. I was unlucky to visit when the buses were on strike, so I only got to see Burano, but I would have checked more of the islands with more time and the regular timetable.

Venice Marco Polo Airport is the main route into the city if you’re flying in and is located about 4.7 miles (7.6 kilometres) from the Mestre district.

It’s easy to reach Mestre, with lots of buses available. You can also get a water bus to several locations in the Venetian Lagoon.

If you’re in a rush to get to or from Marco Polo Airport, you can get a private water taxi, but they will cost a lot and I’d only use one as a last resort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 3 Days in Venice Too Much?

3 days in Venice is just the right amount of time to see this fascinating city. While it may not be the biggest place, there are plenty of sights to see such as Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.

You also have day trips to places like Burano you can do as well, so you’ll need a minimum of three days to do all this.

How Many Days in Venice?

3 days is the minimum you need to see Venice. There’s a lot to see in the city and the surrounding area and you can see most of it in 3 days. If you can spend 5 days in the area then you should be able to see most of the city in that time!

Is Venice Expensive to Eat Out?

Venice can be expensive to eat out, especially in the tourist areas. If you want to eat at a restaurant along the Grand Canal, expect to pay a lot more than you would do elsewhere. My advice is to eat in quieter parts of the city or away from the Grand Canal in districts like San Polo.

There are plenty of options for takeaway too, which is what I did. This is a great way to save if you’re on a budget and try some local food too!

Looking For More Travel Guides?

Bologna in 3 Days – Bologna is linked well to Venice via the high-speed rail network and is a good place to visit afterwards if you have time!

Palermo in 3 Days – Palermo is a long way from Venice, but it’s a good place to visit if you’re on a longer Italy trip, as there’s a lot to see and do!

Florence in 3 Days – Another beautiful city in Italy, Florence is a great place to visit before or after Venice and has many fascinating sights to check out.

Turin in 3 Days – Turin is on the other side of Northern Italy, but it is a beautiful city with stunning architecture that’s easy to reach on the high-speed rail network.

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