Ciao and welcome to my post on spending 3 days in Venice.
Whether you’re dreaming about spending a weekend in Venice or about to take your flight to the city of water, this post will help you find your feet here.
As you can probably imagine, in Venice, there’s quite a lot to see and do. This remains true even if your whole time is spent solely in the historical centre.
3 days in Venice Itinerary
From the St. Mark’s Basilica and Square to the Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs in one day you can already cover these iconic sights!
But the beauty of this unique destination fascinates thousands of visitors and goes well beyond these top attractions.
By spending 3 days in Venice, you’ll have enough time to explore the most popular landmarks as well as discover the best hidden gems of the city.
So, let’s find out everything you need to know with this post.
How to Spend 3 days in Venice
I always suggest spending at least 3 days in Venice. One day, in particular, if it’s your first time, then it’s all about visiting the top attractions.
Two days gives you chance to learn a bit more of what else Venice offers, outside the sights located in the St. Mark’s Square and Rialto bridge areas.
Three days is the ideal length of time to visit the most popular neighbourhoods in Venice and maybe some of other islands in the lagoon, without rushing.
Is Venice worth visiting for 3 days?
Before we get into the itinerary, let’s take a look at a few reasons why 3 days in Venice is the perfect amount of time to spend in this amazing city.
After reading these reasons why Venice is worth visiting in 3 days, let’s dive deeper into the post and find all the best to see in the historical city centre.
*Still not convinced? I invite you to read these 7 reasons to visit Venice I wrote that outline even more facts about Venice that make it worth visiting.
The canals are a symbol of Venice. The city has so many canals because it was built on 118 small islands and the bridges connect one to the other.
The most important canal is the Canal Grande, dividing the city in two parts through its sinuous s-shape.
For many artists and writers, the canals have represented for centuries fascinating places that inspired their poems or paintings, to the point that some of them decided to spend a longer period of time here.
As in the past, even today it’s possible to move around these waterways.
There are water buses, gondolas and water taxis that allow Venetian people and tourists to get from one point of Venice to the other.
Gondola Rides in Venice
Another symbol of Venice are it’s gondolas.
Everyone heard at least once about gondolas, with so many replicas around the world, it’s only in Venice that you admire the real one.
Gondolas are traditional and old means of transport to move around Venetian canals and the lagoon.
The only boat in the world that is 11 meters long and weighs about 600 kg, can be manoeuvred easily by a single person: the gondolier.
If it’s your first time in Venice, you should ride a gondola. Looking at the city from a completely new perspective makes you fall in love with it even more!
A private gondola ride in Venice costs:
- 80 euro during the daytime
- 100 euro from 7pm to 6am
Both costs mentioned are for a maximum of 5 people.
If you are eager to ride this archaic mode transport, you can join this Venice Grand Canal Gondola Ride to save money by sharing your gondola ride!
Now that you know all the possible ways you can get around Venice, thanks to its canals and the gondolas, let’s talk about which sights you should actually include (without fail) in your 3 days in Venice itinerary.
3 days in Venice Itinerary
Spending 3 days in Venice is a good amount of time to enjoy all its best bits without rushing around too much.
To make the most of your time, I’ve grouped the best attractions in Venice in the same areas, including the days I suggest you visit on: i.e. day 1, 2 and 3.
Day 1 in Venice
The first day in Venice is about visiting the top attractions in the city.
The reason why it’s worth seeing them in one day is that they’re all located in the same area: the San Marco and San Polo neighbourhoods.
St. Mark’s Square is the starting point of your itinerary. This enchanting piazza is one of the most beautiful in Italy and all around the world.
It dates back to the 11th century and is surrounded by the porticoes of the Procuratie Nove and Vecchie.
The eastern part of the public square, is where the St. Mark’s Basilica stands out in all its magnificent opulence.
The basilica is the religious heart of Venice and what’s incredible is not just the entrance made of arches, sculptures and pinnacles… but the inside.
Inside the St. Mark’s Basilica, there’s a huge golden mosaic you won’t be able to stop staring at, and here the life of Jesus and St. Mark is narrated.
After spending some time admiring this chest of treasures, move to the nearby Doge’s Palace. The Doge’s Palace was the old residence where the ‘doge’ (governor) of Venice was staying and ruling the Serenissima Republic.
The ancient Gothic palace houses apartments/chambers with paintings of Venetian artists. You can also visit the prisons and cross the Bridge of Sighs.
Then, after finishing your visit of the palace, take a look from the outside of the Bridge of Sighs, before moving towards the Rialto Bridge.
To avoid queues at the entrance of the Basilica and Doge’s Palace, get your Doge Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica pass to be able to ‘skip the line’ today.
The Rialto Bridge is only 10 minutes walk from St. Mark’s Square and it’s one of the four bridges in Venice crossing the Canal Grande.
There’s no need to try and convince you that the view from here is just one of the best and most romantic views in Venice – you’ll see for yourself.
Enjoy the sunset over the canal, and have an authentic Venetian aperitivo in one of the popular ‘bacari’ you can spot around the Rialto market area.
Day 2 in Venice
For your second day of this 3 days in Venice itinerary: you’ll be more focused on museums and art galleries in the Dorsoduro district.
Ideally, your first stop will be the Gallerie dell’Accademia.
This museum will take a couple of hours of your time but it’s worth visiting it (I lost the counting of how many times I’ve been there myself!).
These galleries are a collection of 15th-century Venetian masterpieces.
Some of the Venetian artists represented are:
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Paolo Veronese
Before visiting another world-famous museum, take time to enjoy this neighbourhood vibe and stop by the lovely small independent shops you can find here, a great place to get some souvenirs to take at home with you.
Close to the Gallerie dell’Accademia, you’ll find the Squero di San Trovaso. This is a hidden gem in Venice that you can’t miss (and the oldest in the city).
The ‘squero’ is the gondolas boatyard, basically the place where gondolas undergo their maintance. Only a few people know how to build and repair gondolas and they work in these ‘squeri’.
Your next stop is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The art museum presents the personal of Peggy Guggeinheim’s collection of art pieces.
This art gallery is a real institution in the world for European and American art of the the 20th century. It’s located in Peggy Guggenheim’s former house called Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, facing the Grand Canal.
Whilst strolling around this part of Venice, walk towards Punta della Dogana and reach the beautiful church of Santa Maria della Salute.
This is the city’s most important church, after the St. Mark’s Basilica.
The 21st of November is celebarated the ‘Festa della Salute‘, a city pilgrimage to the church, to thank the Virgin Mary for protecting the city of Venice from the terrible plague of the seventeenth century.
Day 3 in Venice
During your last day in Venice, I suggest spending your time walking around the streets and piazzas of the Cannaregio and Castello neighbourhoods.
Your starting point should be the Jewish Ghetto where you can visit one the most ancient synagogues of Europe and the Jewish museum.
This part of Venice is less touristic and you can also find traditional restaurants and bars where you can taste Venetian dishes.
If you fancy trying Jewish cuisine, then this part of the city offers a selection of delicious restaurants.
Walk along the Fondamenta Ormesini and Rio della Misericordia with direction Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo. This is where the hospital is!
A few meters from this basilica, you’ll find the Acqua Alta bookstore. Another hidden gem in Venice that’s turned into a quite popular attraction.
The original bookshop features a collection of new and second-hand books stored on boats and gondolas inside the shop! People love the book staircase and the gondola snuggly parked outside.
Here you’re close the Castello neighbourhood (a lesser known district).
Here you can find the Arsenale, a former shipyard, and where the Biennale takes place. The Biennale is the oldest and most prestigious international art exhibition. Still visit the gardens even if the event is on when visiting Venice.
From the Biennale gardens move towards the Riva degli Schiavoni with direction St. Mark’s Square to enjoy the last views of the beautiful lagoon.
This is my suggested 3 days in Venice itinerary, you can read my post on things to do in Venice to get more info on some of these landmarks.
Where to Stay in Venice
Depending on your budget there’s a huge selection of hotels, guest houses and hostels for you to sleep at while staying in Venice.
For this Venice itinerary I suggest the following places:
No doubt you will want to eat some of the finest street food in Venice and sample some of the city’s best resturants in the evening time, right?
See my pesonal suggestions below for places to eat while in Venice.
Places to Eat in Venice
Venice is one of the most popular touristic destinations, not only for its gondolas and Carnival masks, or its history and artistic heritage…
But, also for its very long culinary tradition!
The great thing about visiting Venice is that you can sample the best traditional dishes of the lagoon and the Veneto region.
All around the historical city centre, you can find good restaurants where to have your meal, but I also suggest to try the ‘cicchetti’ at any ‘bacaro’ that you can find during your time exploring the city’s streets on foot.
Check out two of my favourites: Bacareto da Lele and Osteria Bancogiro.
Here you can try the best ‘cicchetti’, tapas-style small bites which represent a big part of the Venetian food culture.
Among the long list of restaurants I can suggest here, Cantina Do Spade and Osteria dalla Vedova are very good ones and they serve tasty Venetian dishes made from fresh ingredients.
Also, I invite you to take a look at my guide of the must eat foods in Venice to understand the best dishes to try during your short stay in the city.
3 days in Venice
Now you should have a better idea on how to spend your 3 days in Venice.
Maybe you’ve already booked your flights or you’re still looking around the web, and wondering if Venice is fit for your next trip.
Well, I hope this article has helped you to plan for this wonderful city! Did you know that there are many things you can do for free in Venice?
Read my free things to do in Venice article to find out all you need to know.
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