How many days do you need to truly experience Venice? We recently spent three great days in Venice as part of a travel extension through Viking Cruises. We started at St. Mark’s and Rialto, then spent the second day in Murano and Burano. On day 3, we walked through Canareggio and Dorsoduro.

Venice, Italy canals - How many days in Venice?

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Did you know that Viking Cruise Ships offers extentions on either end of the trip? Recently we sailed the The Empires of the Mediterranean cruise, and at the end of the trip, we stayed in Venice, Italy for an additional three days.

How many days in Venice?

People ask, how many days in Venice should we stay? Since it isn’t a huge city, we agree you can see the main sites and attractions in three days in Venice. Follow along for the best tips and place to see and places to eat in Venice, Italy.

Venice, Italy sunset

When visiting Venice it is important to consider holidays and festivals, and of course the crush of the ever-present tourists, just like you. Venice is popular year-round, yet we found that March and April are good times to visit before the busy season begins.

This “floating city,” comprised of more than a hundred small islands, is only a little more than three square miles, with charming footpaths that meander to seemingly never-ending views and appealing courtyards. So a good pair of walking shoes is a must, and sometimes a water taxi can be a convenient shortcut, to take in as much of the island as you can in three days.

map of Venice

Perfect 3 Days In Venice Itinerary

Day 1 in Venice – St. Mark’s Square And Rialto
Day 2 in Venice – Murano, and Burano
Day 3 in Venice – Canareggio and Dorsoduro

We added our 3-day extension to the tail end of our 10-day Viking Cruise from Athens to Venice (also called The Empires of the Mediterranean).

We stayed at the JW Marriott Venice Resort and Spa, about a 15-minute water taxi away from Venice.

Viking cruises took all our worries away when it came to leaving the boat and taking in Venice. But if you are not with a cruise line, you can fly into Marco Polo International Airport, hop on a water taxi, and transfer to your hotel.

riding water taxi from Viking cruise ship to Venice

Other benefits to a Viking Cruise Extension include:

• You don’t miss the boat – with flight interruptions or delays, the extensions allow you to arrive early, and taking advantage of some extra time in your chosen destination.

• Acclimating to time change – The extension allows you to acclimate to the new time zone and get some sleep before starting the cruise.

• Explore the first or last city – Many cruises end in a particular city, with no chance to really see it. An extension will allow you that extra time to see the sights.

• Transfers are included – Viking handles all the transfers, moving from point to point, taking care of your luggage, and getting you from the boat to the hotel. When you book an extension with Viking, all of your transfers are included, even if you did not book your flights with Viking.

• Viking host at hotel – There is always a Viking representative with a dedicated desk set up in the hotel.

hotel by water taxi in Venice (Marriott)

TIP: At the time of booking, be sure to check the hotel location and ensure that you like it. In our case, Viking did change the hotel (to a 5-star, which was very nice, but it was also farther from the city. Watch for any changes and you can always ask questions.

• Excursions – Viking will often offer optional excursions during the extension. We chose to do Venice “in three days” on our own. One day we walked 7 miles, the next day we walked 14 miles. Make sure you have excellent walking shoes!

sunrise at the Marriott in Venice

Where to stay in Venice?

The JW Marriott Venice Resort and Spa is a beautiful 5-star hotel, situated on the private island of Isola delle Rose in Venice, Italy. This was part of the “Viking cruises extension package.”

There is a water shuttle that takes you back and forth from St. Mark’s Square (private and complementary.

We loved the room we stayed in, with award-winning cuisine and restaurants, along with pools, on the 40-acre property.

water canals in Burano

3 days in Venice Itinerary

As you sail in towards St. Mark’s Square, the view and city feel like a painting by Italian artist Canaletto. It’s truly stunning, and a storybook panorama.

One of the things Paul and I love most about Venice is finding the tiny streets off the main routes, and as they say … just get lost in Venice.

Getting lost in Venice means you walk for miles, and zig and zag through the tiny streets, over the bridges of the canals, and you just enjoy the beauty. Take in the smells of the city (and water), the food, and feel the energy of the people shopping, walking, or just having a great time vacationing.

Venice Italy

Day 1 in Venice – St. Mark’s Square And Rialto

St. Mark’s Square is the epicenter of Venice, and the first place that we went. You will see the old prisons of Piazza San Marco. Saint Mark’s Basilica, aka Basilica di San Marco, is at the end of St. Mark’s Square, another place to stop. Then we made our way to the Rialto Bridge, Rialto Market, and ended with dinner at the Grand Canal. 

Insight Vacations, Italy

The most famous bridge in Venice is the Rialto Bridge, the only bridge that you can shop on. It’s the oldest bridge of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, and divides the San Marco and San Polo districts of Murano.

Burano, Italy

Day 2 in Venice – Murano, and Burano

Did you know that you can island-hop in Venice? We recommend going to both Murano and Burano in the same day. They are both known for their own crafts, as well as trattoria culture, and beautiful, brightly colored buildings.

TIP: A local told us to walk to the north of the city and get on the free public water taxi. It takes a little longer, but in comparison to free versus paying, it’s worth it.

You take a boat to the most beautiful islands on the Venetian Lagoon.

couple in Burano

Murano is most famous for its fine artisan glass products, and in the Museo del Vetro – Museum of Glass, you can see how it’s made. You can also go to Torcello to see the Church of Santa Fosca and Ponte del Diavolo.

Murano glass is the best souvenir here, and all kinds of products are available, from jewelry to ornaments to large sculptures and trinkets.

Burano is known for its lace craftsmanship.This craft is passed down from generation to generation, family members teaching their secrets. Burano taverns line the waterfront and are great places to sample local dishes that are specialties not only of Venice, but also of Burano in particular. We had the best lunch at Trattoria Da Romano (our hotel concierge recommended this place and it was fantastic!) Burano is one of Venice’s most beautiful islands, with its colorful houses.

Take the water taxi back and stroll back to St. Mark’s Square to enjoy dinner with a live “strings” quartet, with guitars and singers. A memory you will never forget.

water canals in Venice

Day 3 in Venice – Canareggio and Dorsoduro

We walked to the historic Canareggio area, visiting street markets, churches, eating along the way. We went to the Jewish quarter, too, and had lunch, sampling local Cicchetti. This means you have small dishes (tapas), such as bruschetta with a variety of toppings, or little pies or meats. Venice’s way of enjoying charcuterie.

Jewish Muesem: Venice has a long and turbulent relationship with its Jewish community, which we learned about at the Museo Ebaico di Venezia. This museum protects the area’s history, and showcases the textiles manufacturing and goldsmith work from this area.

The museum is centered in the Jewish Ghetto Novo (new ghetto) between the oldest two of the five synagogues. You can also take their tours through the ghetto and five synagogues.

lady in Venice

An evening in Campo Santa is stunning!

This bustling square is popular with locals, with popular fruit, vegetable and street food markets, which sell tasty Venetian treats.

Dorsoruro is the main student area of Venice, and this square is popular with them, as it has plenty of small hostaria and restaurants with good prices!

Venice, Italy

Tips and suggestions while in Venice:

The best way that you can save money and see all of the sites is to buy a Venice City Pass (24, 48 or 72 hour pass) which includes:

  • Free rides on the city’s water taxis and buses
  • Entrance to Doge’s Palace, Correr Museum (Museo Correr), Venice National Archaeological Museu, Biblioteca Marciana.
  • Entrance to sixteen of the city’s most beautiful churches.

water taxi in Italy

How do you get around in Venice?

  • Water taxis are expensive, so look into the public transportation.
  • If you want to cross the Grand Canal and you are not near a footbridge, a traghetto is a gondola service that you can take.
  • Walk! Venice is like a maze, and we tracked our miles as we walked everywhere. We used Google Maps for our destinations, and to get back to St. Mark’s Square to grab a water taxi to get back to our hotel.
  • You can always take a private water taxi boat, though they are spendy.
  • A gondola ride is fun to do at least once while you are in Italy. Did you know that you can negotiate your price before getting on?

dinner in Burano, Italy

Where to eat in Venice?

  • Venice is a city of food – like all Italian cities. You will never have to go far to find something tasty.
  • Vini da Gigio (you need a reservation!)
  • Eat dinner at Venezia, Rialto bridge.
  • Margaret Duchamp has low prices and a chilled café vibe.

snacks (appetizers) in Venice

  • Al Bochon Divino is a top spot to sip spritzers and snack on cicchetti. Cicchetti is like crostini with various toppings, or what we also call tapas. They are amazing!
  • Bepi Antico
  • Birraria La Corte

eating lunch in Burano

  • Trattoria Da Romano (our hotel concierge recommended this place in Burano and it was fantastic!)
  • La Lanternia

dinner in Venice, Italy

From St. Mark’s Square, follow the signs towards the Rialto Bridge that say “per Rialto.” On this route, there are tons of sandwich vendors (oh, the baguettes!), where you can grab a hot toasted Panini and an espresso for a snack. There are plenty of places to buy local truffles and Venetian chocolates!

Of course you have to try Venice’s best gelato at Gelatoteca Suso, with 30 flavors to choose from.

And dinner on the water at the Grand Canal, as it’s highly recommended for taking in the atmosphere and sunset. 

Restaurants along the banks of the Grand Canal close to the Rialto Bridge are all very good.

Grab an Aperol Spritz and just sit and “people watch,” or enjoy the magic of Venice at sunset.

We hope you enjoyed our 3 days in Venice!

These three days were a part of the Viking Cruises extension, and were not paid for by Viking. All thoughts, ideas, and opinions are my own.

boat in venice

More travel places to Italy & Greece you may enjoy:

Empire of the Mediterranean Cruise

Viking Mediterranean Odyssey Ocean Cruise

Florence, Tuscany

Rome, Italy

Trips for traveling to Italy

How many days in Venice?