Trying to decide how many days in Venice, Italy will make for the perfect trip? I'll take you through how much time you need for every type of trip and traveler!
Venice packs a lot into a small space. Charm, tourists, medieval alleyways, tourists, picturesque canals, and...tourists.
I actually wasn't the biggest fan of Venice until I learned how to do it right. That meant getting up at the crack of dawn, enjoying the popular sights/areas while it was empty, and then leaving the tourist hot spots and blissfully wandering the rest of the island until evening. Come dinner time, the day trippers were gone and the island was quiet and peaceful again.
Now, some of my fondest memories are in Venice. The views really are one of a kind. Where else can you visit an area made up of over 100 small islands pieced together by bridges and canals? The fact that it's car free makes it even more atmospheric.
So, how many days in Venice are ideal? The answer depends on a handful of factors. What type of traveler you are, the style of trip you're looking for, and your overall budget. We will consider all these things and more when discussing how many days in Venice will be right for you!
Short and sweet: how many days in Venice are ideal?
One night and two days will be enough time for the average tourist to see all the top sights and get a feel for the island. Though, if you like to travel slow and aren't in a rush, I would happily spend four days in Venice in order to take a day trip to Burano, have more time to shop, wander, eat, and really take in the atmosphere.
Now, let's take a deeper dive on how many days in Venice are ideal for different situations.
How many days in Venice for a first trip to Italy | 2 days
Venice deserves 2 days if it's your first time in Italy. No other place is like Venice. It's over 100 islands strung together by canals and bridges and 100% car free. It's made for wandering with its tiny alleyways, canal side cafes, and adorable piazzas.
You'll 100% want to spend at least one night in Venice, possibly two. It's the mornings and evenings that are magic in Venice. Afternoons bring the day trippers and cruise ship passengers.
Two days means you will get to see all the top sights and attractions. Tour St. Mark's Square and Basilica, take a wander through Doge's Palace, visit a museum or two, hop on a gondola ride, gaze upon the Rialto Bridge, take in the views from the Accademia bridge, and join a walking tour.
You'll even have time for an afternoon trip to colorful Burano if you plan your time right.
While some cities in Italy may start to feel similar or redundant, Venice is truly one of a kind. It deserves two days to give it justice.
How many days do you need in Venice to just see the highlights | 1 day
If your goal is to see the highlights and say you've done Venice, one day will be sufficient.
While this will be a very long and very busy day, you'll be able to hit all the top sights and have an hour or two to wander the canals.
If you're worried about fitting everything in, there are plenty of tours that string together all the musts. This "Venice in a day" tour combines a gondola ride, St. Mark's Square and Basilica, Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge, and several other stops.
In fact, you could do Venice as a day trip from neighboring cities like Verona (1 hour and 20 minutes by train), Bologna (2 hours), or Florence (2 hours 15 minutes).
Just make sure you take the earliest train in and the latest train back to get the most out of your day. That way you'll hopefully get an hour or two without all the other day trippers.
How many days in Venice for the budget traveler | 2 days
Some people argue that Venice is a lot more expensive than other cities in Italy. I just don't agree. Compared to Florence and Rome, Venice is just a tad more expensive. And it's actually cheaper than places like the Amalfi Coast or Bellagio in Lake Como.
Those that aren't willing to do some research may find Venice expensive. If you're willing to put some effort into your hotel search as well as restaurant planning, you won't spend more than other popular cities in Italy. Just know it may take a little more effort to find hotels and restaurants in your budget, but it's not impossible.
Because of this, I wouldn't rush your time in Venice on the assumption it's expensive.
There are plenty of hotels to be found for $100 to $200 a night. Instead of splurging on an expensive dinner, fill up on cicchetti (little toasts topped with an assortment of ingredients...kind of like pinchos in Spain). Enoteca Schiavi has a nice selection priced at €1.50 to €2.00 a piece. There are plenty of similar spots throughout Venice.
I would spend two full days in Venice if you're focused on budget. This will allow enough time to see the sights, not feel rushed, and feel like you did the city right before moving on to cheaper cities in Italy.
How many days in Venice for the slow traveler | 4 days
I used to view Venice as a place to quickly get your Venetian fix and then scram. After my last few visits and after changing my strategy, that view point has flipped.
The insane crowds used to frustrate me to no end. Venice is one of the most popular places to visit in the world. The fact that it's an island, and a small one at that, and a popular cruise ship stop, does not help.
My last few trips I rearranged my days around the crowds. I would be out the door by sunrise, and spend a few hours in popular spots like St. Mark's Square and the Rialto bridge (which are absolutely breathtaking without the crowds). The moment it started to feel crowded, I would wander away from the main tourist zones.
What's funny about Venice is that one moment there are a million people everywhere, walk five minutes away and you'll find yourself alone in a charming alleyway.
Use the afternoon to get lost in the canals of Venice and avoid all the tourist sights (unless it's a lessor known one). Find a cafe to leisurely sip your espresso or Aperol spritz, shop the boutiques, and just take it slow. Then, come evening, all the day trippers have left and you can enjoy a canal side dinner and take a nighttime stroll through St. Mark's Square.
If you're ok adapting this type of schedule, you could easily and happily spend 4 days in Venice.
4 days in Venice also means you have time to escape to other nearby islands. Pop over to colorful Burano or watch a glass blowing demonstration in Murano. This is another great way to escape the afternoon crowds.
There are plenty of tours to fill your day if you've gotten your fill of wandering:
I hope this post helps you decide how many days in Venice are ideal for your upcoming trip. See the highlights in one day on the quickest of itineraries or spend two full days for the perfect mix of sightseeing and slowing down to soak in the atmosphere.
Or, try the slow travel method and spend four days to get to know the island inside and out. This allows enough time for a few tours and a visit to the neighboring islands.
**VENICE HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS**
- Londra Palace Venezia
- The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice (Marriott)
- St. Regis Venice (Marriott)
- Baglioni Hotel Luna