Want to know how to spend a weekend in Venice? This is a great 3 day itinerary to Venice that covers where to eat, the best photo spots, and what to do on a short weekend trip to Venice. I can’t help going back to Italy over and over again. It has some of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. Venice is simply stunning with hidden alleys and canals in almost every corner you turn (there are an incredible 400+ bridges in Venice!). The buildings are old and full of character and detail. The gondolas are the city’s icon and the food is out of this world.
How long to spend in Venice
Two to three days is the perfect time to spend in Venice and even take a day trip to the beautiful colorful village of Burano. If you only have a couple of days to spend in Venice, you can still see many of the city’s top attractions, including St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Grand Canal. You may have to prioritize your activities and be strategic with your time, but it’s still possible to have a great time in Venice over a weekend.
How to get around Venice
One thing to note about Venice is that cars are not allowed. Therefore, pick your hotel carefully as you might have a trek from wherever you come in from. There are water taxis (called vaporettos) throughout the city transporting you across the canals. You can find the timetables here.
Where to Stay in Venice
For a weekend in Venice, check out these hotels!
For a splurge
Belmond Hotel Cipriani: An iconic hotel located on Giudecca Island. This hotel offers stunning views of the lagoon and the Venetian skyline.
Ca’Sagredo Hotel: A 5-star luxury hotel in a beautifully restored 15th-century palazzo located directly on the Grand Canal. It features stunning views of the canal and the city’s historic architecture.
Hotel Giorgione: A gorgeous boutique hotel with elegant rooms decorated in classic Venetian style.
Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo: Located in the Santa Croce district, this boutique-style hotel features cozy rooms and a convenient location.
For solo travelers
Combo Venezia: Since I was solo traveling, I saved a little money from expensive Venice and stayed in a private room at probably the fanciest hostel ever, Combo Venezia. It was super convenient because I went on a day trip to Burano and it was located 2 minutes from the ferry needed to get there.
Check out this post for my tips on Traveling to Italy Alone
Top things to do for a weekend in Venice
1. Visit Piazza San Marco
In this lovely square, you will find St. Mark’s Basilica, a stunning cathedral dating back to 925.
2. Hidden Canals
This canal is quite a popular spot on Instagram without the need to fight for a photo as it’s situated behind Hotel San Moisè.
Address: S. Marco, 2058, 30173 Venezia VE, Italy
Another instagrammable location in Venice that is not widely known is the canal near Ponte de La Verona. To recreate the photo below you will need your photographer to stand on the bridge and you will need to sit on the railing of the canal!
Address: Ponte de La Verona Venezia VE, Italy
3. The Narrow Alleys & Backstreets
Just wander around Venice and literally get lost! Stumbling upon the prettiest backstreets and narrow alleys. It’s the best way to explore the city. Google Maps doesn’t always give the most correct directions so it makes getting lost even easier for ya! I was trying to get to my hotel and it literally told me to jump across the water and I’m there! I ended up having to walk all the way around before I could find the correct entrance without having to drown in the water with my luggage!
4. Visit the most beautiful bookstore: Libreria Acqua Alta
Address: Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5176b, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy
This bookstore is Instagram paradise. I wandered around and took some great snaps with books surrounding me everywhere.
5. Ride on a Gondola
Riding a gondola in Venice can be expensive (80 euros plus, a ride). However, it is a lovely experience and I’d recommend doing it. If you’d like a more affordable way you can do this group gondola tour for only 30 euros per person.
💡 Pro-tip: You can ride a Traghetto instead for only 2 euros (see how here). They are not as pretty as the normal gondolas though. It will be a short ride across the canal (used for public transport). The most reliable route is from Campo Santa Sofia to the Pescaria (fish market).
Or, you can go to the library I mentioned above and take a picture like I did below inside the gondola stationed outside of Libreria Acqua Alta.
6. Admire the Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge
Rialto bridge spans the Grand Canal in Venice and is one of the most famous landmarks in Venice, Italy. The bridge was first built in the late 16th century and features stunning architecture with three walkways. It is lined with rows of shops and vendors selling souvenirs and local products.
You will likely find it so busy most of the time which makes it hard to take nice photos. Instead of standing directly next to Rialto Bridge to try and get a photo, exit the bridge on the San Polo side. Then head to the right to find a quiet platform (pictured above) where you can take great photos and even get a gondola passing by in the shoot!
7. See the view of Venice at Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
I visited Venice three times before finding out about this amazing view at Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo (and if you follow me on Instagram, you will know I’m all about finding a good view). It’s not as known to tourists and is tucked away on a very hidden street! Be sure to book an appointment ahead as it’s required now. Entry is free but there’s a 1 euro service charge to book online.
8. Have an Aperol Spritz after dinner outside near a canal
One of my favorite things to do is to grab a drink and have it outside with a canal view post-dinner. Aperol Spritz is the Italian drink of choice – so refreshing and nice!
9. Explore the Doge’s Palace
This impressive palace was once the seat of the Venetian government, and now houses a museum with fascinating exhibits.
The best places to eat in Venice
I am a foodie at heart and found some of the best places to eat in Venice especially if you’re visiting over a short weekend.
All summarized here for you:
Places I tried & recommend:
Osteria alla Staffa: The lasagna is incredible and super affordable (pictured above).
Dal Moro’s: best place for handmade street food pasta. Also super affordable. Takeaway only.
i Tre Mercanti: right next to Dal Moro’s is i Tre Mercanti, a gourmet food shop with the best tiramisu ever! I recommend getting pasta next door and taking the tiramisu for takeaway if you are too full like I was. It came in a small little sealed cup for easy carry (pictured above).
La Zuca: Usually gets booked up, so make a reservation ahead to avoid disappointment. It is a great place to eat with vegetarian options.
Places I researched & would love to try next time:
Ristorante Antico Martini
Vini Da Arturo
Trattoria al Gazzettino
Osteria alle Testiere
Day Trips from Venice:
There are so many easy day trips you can take from Venice. I have personally gone to Verona, Burano, Torcello, and Murano!
Only a 1 hour and 10-minute train ride from Venice. Leave from Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia and arrive in Verona Porta Nuova. Book tickets at trainline.com. Verona is well worth it, with incredible views and some of the best tortelloni pasta you will ever have at a place called La Bottega della Gina.
Burano, Murano, Torcello
Only a short boat ride from Venice you can find Burano (known for lacemaking), Murano (known for glass making), and Torcello (known for its old Cathedral). Burano is seriously one of my favorite places in the world because it’s so colorful and every building is painted bright making the town so happy and cheerful. You can book a day trip from Venice to these islands here. Read my full post on Burano here.
3 day Itinerary to Venice
Here’s how I would organise a 3 day itinerary to Venice! A weekend or more in Venice is the perfect amount of time here.
Venice Itinerary Day 1
- Morning: Visit St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the historic clock tower.
- Afternoon: Take a stroll through the Rialto Market then explore the San Polo neighborhood known for its charming canals and local shops.
- Evening: Enjoy dinner at a traditional Venetian restaurant, such as Osteria alle Testiere or Trattoria da Remigio. After dinner, take a gondola ride through the canals.
Venice Itinerary Day 2
- Morning: Take a boat trip to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano, where you can see the famous Murano glassblowers at work and explore Burano’s colorful houses and lace-making traditions.
- Afternoon: Head back to Venice and visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a modern art museum housed in a beautiful 18th-century palace.
- Evening: Watch the sunset over the Grand Canal from the famous Rialto Bridge. Then, enjoy a glass of wine at a local bar or an Aperol Spritz.
Venice Itinerary Day 3
- Morning: Visit the Santa Maria della Salute church, which offers stunning views of the city from its rooftop terrace. Then, explore the Dorsoduro neighborhood, which is known for its art galleries and trendy cafes.
- Afternoon: Take a stroll through the Giardini public park, where you can see beautiful gardens and sculptures.
- Evening: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, such as La Zuca or Ristorante Al Covo. Then, take a night-time walk through the quiet streets of Venice, admiring the beauty of the city by night.
Hopefully, you have all you need to know for a weekend in Venice with this guide! Feel free to add any additional tips in the comments below!
For more reading you may also like:
🚣 Burano, a colorful fishermen’s village near Venice
💎 Best Hidden Gems in Italy
📸 Most Beautiful Cities in Europe
👩 Solo Female Travel Guide to Italy
🇮🇹 For more travel inspo visit my Italy section!