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3 Days in Venice
Located in Northern Italy, this city makes for the perfect city break. And 3 days in Venice, is the perfect amount. Leaving you enough time to see all the key sights, while still leaving you wanting to come back for more.
With this 3 day guide, you will fall in love with the city. See the romantic architecture, wander through the cobbled streets, and cross more bridges than you can count.
How to make the most of 3 days in Venice
One of the most amazing things about this city, is how walkable it is. Any trip to Venice should involve an element of wandering and simply getting lost. Any spare time you might have, do just this.
I am firm believer in free walking tours, having taken them in cities all over the world. The model of them means you get an excellent tour and it is the perfect way to get to know a place when you arrive. The Venice through the Centuries tour meets at 11am every day. Not only does it cover really interesting historical facts about Venice, it takes you to see some of the less well know sights and I had so many great local food recommendations from going on this walking tour.
St Mark’s Square
While you might, depending on the time of year, make this your very first early stop to try and avoid the crowds. I am still going to put this stop on Day 1! It is the most classic Venice site, and definitely somewhere to pop by on the first day. It is the iconic Venice sight, and will really make you feel you are in the heart of the city. Before getting to know some of the more off the beaten track sights.
St Mark’s Campanile
While in St Mark’s square, join the queue to go up the large tower in front you of! The line might be long, but the views over the city and out into the lagoon are pretty spectacular! Plus the bells are absolutely enormous.
From St Mark’s square take a wander along the waterfront. It is one the prettiest spots in Venice, with views of the iconic gondolas lined up, along the edge of the lagoon. And from there you can see the perfect view of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in the distance. This is definitely one of the most beautiful views in Venice.
While wandering along here, make sure to stop and see the famous Bridge of Sighs. There are many theories as to the name, but this is the bridge that prisoners crossed on their way to jail. And it is said they would sigh as they saw their last view of Venice.
Sit and watch Venice pass you by
As this is your first day in Venice, there needs to be plenty of time to relax. And one of the best things to do is find a restaurant overlooking a square, canal, view, order an aperol and watch the city pass you by. There is some incredible food to be found. Indulge in a glass of prosecco while eating the local food of Cicchetti, small snacks or side dishes (don’t call it tapas!)
To finish the day, head to the famous Rialto Bridge for sunset. Stand and take in the views over the main canal and the sun sets on this beautiful and mesmerising city.
Make sure you check out these sights as well, for some of the best views in Venice:
If you wanted to see St Marks Square a little less crowded, then this is the moment. Head there first thing and I mean very first thing. 6am or 7am in the morning would be the best time!
Take a day trip
There is more to Venice than just the city itself. Out in the Lagoon are some beautiful islands that are definitely worth taking the time to explore. Burano and Murano can be visited in one day, so this makes the perfect day 2 of the 3 days in Venice.
The easiest way to get to the islands is a on a vaparetto. You can buy Venezia Unica City passes for public transport ahead of time, and this will include transport from the airport. This pass can be 1, 3 or 5 days long depending on your time in the city. And these are also valid for the trips to the island! (As well as some of the tourist sites!)
Head to Ferry Terminal Pointe A and get the number 12 ferry. Burano takes around 40 minutes to get to by vaparetto from Venice. Check the boat times, but ideally head off earlyish in the morning to make the most of your time on the Lagoon Islands. Setting off around 9/10am will give you plenty of time to explore.
Famous for it’s production of lace, and known for the very colourful houses. Step off the ferry and immediately get swept up exploring the rainbow, colourful alleyways. Grab some lunch and slip on bellini’s in the sun before hopping back onto the ferry.
After you have had your fill of Burano, head back to the ferry terminal to get the boat back towards Venice. However, on your way make sure you get off early at Murano. This island is famous for it’s production of blown glass. More accurately, Murano is actually 7 islands all linked together by bridges. A great place to pick up some glass souvenirs and given watch glass being blown. Wander around before heading back to Venice.
Once you arrive back in the city, make the most of your vaparetto pass to see the city from it’s most famous location – the canals. If you want to spend a little more, a gondola or private boat taxi will take you off the main route. However, seeing the sunset from a busy Vaparetto is quite special. Zoom under both the Rialto Bridge and Ponte dell’Accademia. Then finish your day with some delicious Venetian cuisine.
Prepare yourself for quite a bit of walking on day three. This is the day to take in all the remaining sights!
Get up early and head to the Rialto Fish Market and Fresh Produce Market. Fish is a staple part of the Venetian diet, as the lagoon is a rich source of seafood. This fish market starts to come to life at 7.30am each morning with fishmongers selling their catch from the lagoon. Local restaurant owners will also be purchasing the ingredients for their dishes. There are also stalls selling fruit and vegetables as well.
t fondaco Rooftop Terrace
This is a 13th century historic building which was resorted over 7 years into a luxury department store. The inside of the building itself is incredibly impressive. But if you take the ‘red carpet’ escalators up towards the top, you will reach an incredibly impressive rooftop terrace. It is free to enter, but you do need to book your time slot in advance and be there 5 minutes before. The views out over are some of the best views in Venice. You can see straight down to the Rialto bridge, the Grand Palace, over towards St Marks square and out over the the lagoon. Highly recommend.
Sitting in pride of place at the edge of St Mark’s Square is the Doge’s Palace. Book a tour around this incredibly impressive building and see the former Venetian secret service offices, courtrooms and the cell from which Casanova escaped from. It is also a great chance to learn more about Venice’s long history which dates back to 400AD. Finally, you will have a chance to walk over the aforementioned Bridge of Sighs which takes you into the former jail of Venice, and walk as the prisoners did.
After wandering the palace, then head to the most famous museum in Venice – Museo Correr. It is home to objects and works of art that reflect Venetian culture. The entrance ticket to the Museo Correr is also valid for the National Archaeological Museum of Venezia and the Marciana National Library. The three museums are connected to each other and can be visited one after the other. It is also part of the same ticket to enter the Doge’s palace!
Libreria Acqua Alta
A ten minute walk from St Mark’s Square is Libreria Acqua Alta. This is the one of the most famous and prettiest book shops, maybe even in the world. This bookshop is so used to flooding, it has resorted to putting it’s books in bathtubs and even gondola’s. Inside it is a maze of books piled high. It is also home to some fairly famous cats! And if you head out to the back there is the famous stack of books, which are some of the books that have been destroyed by the flooding. It is now designed to be climbed on to get that perfect shot!
Also known as the ‘Venetian Ghetto’. This is the area of Venice that the Jews were compelled to live in by the Venetian Government. During nights, the ghetto was locked and patrolled, ensuring the Jewish population were separated from the rest of the city. Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese Jews all lived here, which resulted in 5 synagogues being built on the small island. Nowadays around 50 Jews live in this area, but it is still the centre of Jewish life in the city, with a butcher, a bakery and restaurants. Also home to the Jewish Museum.
Finish your time in Venice, with another iconic bridge. This bridge was built in the mid 19th Century and is the southern most of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal. A bridge was first constructed here in 1854. This was then demolished and replaced by a wooden bridge in the 1930’s. This bridge was in a dangerous condition, pulled down and the current bridge was built in the exact same style in 1985. Now, it is one of the prettiest views in Venice, stand and watch the sunset on a great few days in the city!
If you have more than 3 days in Venice…
Then how about a day trip to other parts of Northern Italy? One of the most popular is Verona, about an hour and half by train and just a little less by car!
Have a look at things to do in this wonderful city: 24 awesome things to do in Verona!
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