3 Days In Venice: Our Complete Itinerary & Bucket List 

Written by Rem Malloy, since 1995 Rem has been guiding and designing trips to Italy and all of Western Europe and is considered an expert in his field for over 30 years.

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Venice Gondola in Canal

There is no city quite as marvelous as Venice, with its winding streets and clustered canals. This ancient hub showcases the very best of Italian history and architecture, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Italy. But can this historic marvel be experienced in just 3 days?  

In this guide, we present a thrilling itinerary that is perfect for 3 days in Venice. We give suggestions for the top Venice landmarks to see as well as unmissable experiences that will make your visit unforgettable. We also include some top tips for visiting Venice in 3 days that will give travelers all the information they need to plan a vibrant Venitian vacation.  

So whether you’re spending your entire visit in Venice or stopping off on a trip to all the best Italian cities, read on to discover what 3 days in Venice could be like.

Day 1: Experience Venice Sightseeing

The stunning streets of Venice are perfect for sightseeing and for your first day in Venice, you should get acquainted with the city and visit some of the top attractions. There are so many places that should feature on any Venice itinerary, but be sure not to miss the suggestions below. 

St. Mark’s Square

Known locally as Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Square is the place to be for your first day in Venice. It is one of the most famous squares in the world and has historically been the centre of social and political life in Venice. It dates back to the 9th century, making it one of the most historic Venice landmarks and an excellent place to start your Venice itinerary.

One of the most significant features of the square is the dramatic St. Mark’s Basilica. The iconic cathedral is a gorgeous example of Italian-Byzantine architecture, decorated with mosaics and detailed sculptures which showcase the wealth and artistic integrity of Venice in the past. The Basilica includes a myriad of architectural features like domes and arches as well as the mesmerizing Pala d’Oro altarpiece. 

Another lovely feature of St Mark’s Square is the Campanile di San Marco, a 323-foot tall bell tower connected to St Mark’s Basilica. It was reconstructed in the early 1900s after collapsing and is the best place in Venice to get panoramic views of the sweeping city skyline. On a clear day, visitors can enjoy views of the Adriatic Sea and even as far as the Alps.

Doge’s Palace

Also found within St. Marks Square is the Doge’s Palace, one of the most prominent landmarks in Venice. This Gothic-style palace was where the elected ruler of Venice, the Doge, would make his residence and also served as the political center of the city for centuries. The brilliant facade is decorated with sculptures of historical and mythological figures and features intricate detailing which speaks to the high level of craftsmanship that went into its construction. 

Within the palace, visitors can explore the many chambers and rooms which all feature fascinating architectural elements. One of the most significant rooms is the Hall of the Great Council, which was the seat of political power in Venice. 

An interesting feature of the Doge’s Palace is the Bridge of Sighs. It connects the palace to the New Prison and is one of the most striking and romantic parts of Venice, despite its macabre origins. Its name supposedly comes from the sighs of prisoners as they took in their final view of Venice before entering the prison. 

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Situated in the Dorsoduro district of Venice is one of Italy’s most impressive churches. Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute lies at the entrance to the Grand Canal and stands out due to its distinctive Baroque architecture. The church has an octagonal structure and an imposing dome is a prominent feature of the Venice skyline. 

Within the church, visitors will find some exceptional artworks by Venetian artists like Titian and Tintoretto. There are many paintings and sculptures inside the church which make it one of the best things to do in Venice for art lovers. Thanks to its convenient location, visitors can take in picturesque views of Venice and explore further along the canal for an evening stroll.

Day 2: Discover the Best Things to Do in Venice

Having spent your first of 3 days in Venice getting acquainted with the top sights, your second day will be dedicated to other experiences that will make your trip exceptional. From exploring local markets to enjoying an iconic gondola ride, you’ll feel immersed in the delightful ambience on this Venice itinerary. 

Rialto Bridge & Rialto Market

We start the second day of this Venice itinerary with a visit to 2 of the most historic landmarks in the city, Rialto Bridge and Rialto Market. Rialoti Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in Venice and spans the grand cabal. It features a central portico that has rows of shops on either side which gives the impression that you have stepped into a bustle bazaar of the past. 

At these shops, you can find souvenirs, crafts and Venetian glass works. Rialto Bridge is a serene tourist attraction in Venice and allows visitors to witness the fabulous architecture of the city and the gentle flow of the Grand Canal. 

Located near the bridge in the San Polo district, you can pursue the stalls of Rialto Market. It is one of Venice’s oldest markets and is split into two sections, the fish market Pescheria and the Erberia which sells fresh produce. It is a great place to people watch and observe the daily lives of Venetians while also getting a glimpse of the authentic culinary culture.

Gondola Ride in Venice

No trip to Venice would be complete without enjoying a leisurely ride on an iconic gondola. It is a very convenient way to traverse the city and also the perfect romantic activity for couples visiting Italy. Gondolas are flat-bottomed boats that are specifically designed for the narrow canals and waterways of Venice, so there is no better way to experience the city. 

Gondolas in Venice are navigated by Gondoliers, who are especially skilled boatmen who expertly traverse the intricate canal systems. What’s more, they can also provide insightful anecdotes and historical context for different parts of the city, which makes the experience so much more immersive. It’s also a spectacular way to spend nights in Venice as you can see the city illuminated from the water, resulting in a magical and enchanting ambiance.

Galleria dell’Accademia 

After an exciting morning exploring the hidden corners of Venice, you should round out the day with a trip to the Galleria dell’Accademia. This museum has an incredible collection of Venetian Renaissance art and is housed in the Scuola della Carità, a prominent religious institution. You will need to head to the southern side of Venice and cross the Ponte dell’Academia to reach it. 

The Galleria was established by Napoleon in 1807 and houses some of Venice’s Renaissance masterpieces. Within the hallowed exhibits, you can find Titian’s “Assumption of the Virgin” which is one of the museum’s most prized works. You can also see “The Tempest” by Giorgione, which has captivated historians and art enthusiasts for centuries. 

The Galleria dell’Accademia is one of the best things to do in Venice and as such it is very popular. Try to book your tickets in advance and avoid visiting during peak hours. It is also recommended that you check the opening hours beforehand and look into any temporary exhibitions that may be happening.

Day 3: Explore the Islands of Venice

There are some amazing islands in Venice that offer travellers the chance to experience a different side of the city. For the last day of this Venice itinerary, we recommend touring the different islands and discovering the highlights and hidden gems that make them so utterly charming. From the colourful waterfront of Burano to the historic streets of Torcello where the first settlers of Venice made their home.

Burano

This island is known for its charming streets, vibrant facades and lace-making traditions. It’s a great place to explore on a day trip in Venice as it showcases a more unique side of this exquisite city. Reaching Burano takes about 45 minutes on a water bus and is a popular stop on tours of the Venetian Lagoon. 

While it is known for its lace, Burano was originally a fishing village and it has retained this delightful town atmosphere. As you explore the island, be sure to visit top attractions like the leaning bell tower of San Martino. You can also dive into the local culture by perusing artisanal shops and tasting fresh seafood dishes in restaurants.

Murano

This group of islands is found just northeast of Venice and is quite small, making it easy to explore on foot. Murano is known for glassmaking and there are plenty of workshops where you can purchase gorgeous pieces. The island can be accessed via a ferry which should take around 18 minutes, perfect for an afternoon outing. 

On a trip to Murano, you can discover intriguing sites like the Murano Glass Museum and the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato. This allows you to experience more of Venice’s fascinating culture and helps to break up your visit.

Torcello

While not as popular as the previous Venetian Islands, Torcello is believed to be one of the oldest populated areas in the Venetian Lagoon and is a great place to visit on your trip. The island has some incredible historical sites like the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which dates back to the 7th Century. You can also visit the Church of Santa Fosca, which has a distinctive octagonal shape that is common in Venetian architecture. 

One of the best reasons to visit Torcello on a Venice day trip is that it provides a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The narrow lanes are juxtaposed with elegant natural surroundings. As you wander through the dazzling orchards and gardens, you will feel a stark contrast to the urban atmosphere of Venice.

Top Tips for Visiting Venice in 3 Days

To help you make the most of your trip to Venice, this section will cover some travel tips that will ensure you have a spectacular visit. From the best time to visit Venice to places to stay and what to pack, these tips offer a helpful guide for anyone thinking about visiting the floating city. 

When to Visit Venice

The best time to visit Venice is during the shoulder seasons before and after the peak of summer in Italy. March to May and September to November bring the most pleasant weather and temperatures to Venice. Days will reach average highs of 80°F, with lows of 65​​°F and minimal precipitation. 

March and April are the best times to visit Venice if you want to avoid the jostling summer crowds. The weather is still pleasant and you can enjoy the beautiful colours as nature bursts into bloom. You can also visit in late February or early March to participate in Carnivale, but Venice can get very busy around this time.

What to Pack for Venice

When packing for Venice you should aim to include essentials that you would pack for any vacation. However, you must invest in sturdy, comfortable walking shoes. There is limited public transport in Venice and many of the best attractions can be visited on a guided walking tour

The time of your visit will also impact your packing list. For summer you will want to pack light clothing and sun protection like shades and high SPF sunscreen. If you’re travelling to Venice in the shoulder season or in winter, make sure you bring layers as well as some waterproof clothing as there can be some rain.

Travelling To and Around Venice

You will arrive at Venice Marco Polo Airport and will need to get a water taxi to reach your accommodation. You may also wish to purchase a Venice City Pass as this will give you express access to top attractions like the Doge’s Palace and makes sightseeing very easy.  

Venice has limited public transport as there are narrow bridges connecting the different districts. The best way to get around is via water buses and taxis, as the canals are the main thoroughfares of the city. You can also utilise gondolas for short trips and a much more intimate means of transport.

Summary

Venice is a gorgeous city and this 3-day itinerary only skims the surface of all the wonderful experiences that can be had here. As you wander the narrow alleys and delve into the delights of Venetian cuisine, you will feel like you’ve found somewhere truly special. 

From the elegant architecture of St. Mark’s Square and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute to the hidden delights of Venice’s canals and Rialto Market, you can enjoy so many amazing moments in this historic city. You also have the opportunity to explore islands like Burano and Torcello which showcase a very different side of this fabulous destination and promise to be the highlight of your visit. 

Have you been thinking about a fabulous vacation in Venice? Get in touch with our experts now for more advice and unique itineraries crafted especially for you.

About the Author

Rem Malloy started Italy4real back in 1995 with his mother, Deborah de Maio.

He specialises in Italian tours as well as customised tours to France, England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Spain. He was also featured in the Travel Channel show Mysteries at The Museum in 2016.

Rem has family in Italy and his mothers home town is Cava di Terrani, near the Amalfi Coast. The family has a street named after them in Sorrento, Via Luigi de Maio; a relative who was mayor of Sorrento.

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