How Many Days Do You Need in Venice? 3 Itineraries to Plan Your Trip

How many days do you need in Venice?

Venice is a must-visit destination that captures the imagination of travelers worldwide. It's no surprise that it finds a spot on almost every traveler's bucket list. The best of what the City of Canals offers can be experienced in just one day, thanks to its concentrated layout. However, adding a couple of extra days expands your view, allowing you to uncover lesser-known destinations and turn your visit into a fantastic long weekend getaway. To simplify your planning, we've created three itineraries for an unforgettable trip to Venice.

Rialto Bridge in Venice, ItalyFreepik

One-Day Itinerary: Discover Rialto

Rialto is probably what comes to mind when you think of Venice — sunlit plazas, winding canals, and stunningly beautiful architecture. There is so much packed into this small area that it can easily take a full day to explore. Here's what we recommend for a one-day itinerary. Prepare for some classic Instagram shots, iconic structures, and some of the most beautiful art in the world!

Piazza San Marco

This main square is the heart and soul of Venice. Start your day off with some espresso at one of the many cafés which hug the perimeter. Take in your first view of the many nearby marvels, which you will be visiting after breakfast, or simply watch the lapping tide and passing boats until you are ready to start your day.

Basilica di San Marco

Venice's most famous church is a wonder to behold. The Basilica di San Marco has graced the Piazza since it was first built almost 1,000 years ago! Get there before it opens to avoid the long waits to get inside (hence our suggestion for breakfast in the Piazza). Soak in the stunning architecture and incredible works within, such as the 8,000 square meters of mosaic covering the walls, vaults, and cupolas.

Doge's Palace

If there was ever a picture of grandeur, the Doge's Palace is it. Venice's seat of royalty for several centuries embodies all the trappings and splendor one might expect. Within, you will behold the largest painting in the world, "Paradise" by the master Tintoretto, as well as works by the likes of Titian and Veronese. The armory will wow you with military wonders. Visitors can even cross The Bridge of Sighs, which leads to the palace's dungeon, where many of the royals' enemies were imprisoned.

The Campanile

Once you've emerged from the interiors of the Basilica and Palace, head back out to the Piazza and grab a quick bite of lunch with some cicchetti, quick bites that are sort of like Spanish tapas. As the afternoon approaches dusk, head to the top of The Campanile, a looming bell tower overlooking the Piazza. An elevator ride will take you to the best views of the city and the canals below. 

Colorful houses in Burano, VeniceUnsplash

Two-Day Itinerary: Visit the Islands

Impressive as Rialto may be, there's still plenty of Venice to explore. While there's no way to see all the hundreds of islands during a short stay, a few are special and well worth an easy day trip to check out. Get ready for the perfect day two to expand your view of this remarkable city!


Located on the other end of the lagoon from Rialto, Burano can easily be reached via water bus and is well worth the 45-minute ride. Distinguished by its colorful houses, walking around the island is like being inside a magical kaleidoscope. Encounter the community of elderly ladies practicing their lace pillow embroidery, a specialty on the island. Visit the Leaning Tower and Galuppi Square. And fish lovers should seek out a spot of risotto de gò, a traditional stew made with the daily catch.


On the way back from Burano, just a short way north of Rialto, lies one of Europe's most famous artisan destinations. Known for centuries as a glassmaking center, Murano's glassworks are still going strong. Step in to watch the masters make their beads, mirrors, and drinking glasses. Visit one of the many medieval structures still standing. Or just take in the picturesque scenery of the village on the island. There's even a glassware museum to check out if you have time.

Sant'Erasmo (Bonus)

If you get up early enough and want to make the most of your day, squeeze in Sant'Erasmo in between Burano and Murano. Known as the "market garden" of Venice, this is an island of farms and fresh produce. While you can make a whole day out of this quiet, tranquil agricultural treasure, a shorter visit will give you a taste of the harvest and some peace from the bustling city. Be sure to visit the famed artichoke gardens while you're here.

Canal in Venice, ItalyFreepik

Three-Day Itinerary: Explore Venice

Once you've seen the top sights in Venice, use your third day for a little daring discovery. The streets in Rialto are full of romance and mystery. Wandering them can see you happening upon unexpected delights. Footbridges crisscross the city by the dozens, making for rewarding explorations. Bump into crafts stores, wine-tasting rooms, and gondola stations, taking a cruise through the canals on a whim. It's not a large place, so it's great for aimless meandering, but always be sure to have a map on your phone open to avoid frustrating dead ends and ensure you circle back to your home base. Along the way, choose from the following stops for site goals as you go.

Ponte di Rialto

The bridge crossing the Grand Canal is a must-see spot in Venice. The Ponte di Rialto is the heart of the city and has been since it was completed in 1591. It's the perfect place to get a view of the hustle and bustle in and around the canals. And it has a magnificent market where you can buy everything from fresh produce to catch-of-the-day fish.


Known as the artsy district of Venice, this is the place to walk around if you want to be inspired by the creative spirit. You can find everything from the latest works of local creators to a mural by famed artist Banksy. If you have the time, you can also visit the Peggy Guggenheim collection here, which holds pieces by the likes of Dali and more.

Santa Croce

If there's one place in Venice with an authentic local vibe, it's Santa Croce. This district is where residents tend to congregate, and mom-and-pop shops reign. With fewer tourists milling about, family-owned eateries and the sublime Papadopoli Gardens become the antidote to the crowded spaces in the rest of the city.

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