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A weekend in Venice: A 3-day itinerary

Updated On 17th April, 2023

Venice is one of the most iconic cities in Europe and arguably one of the best places to visit in Italy, so it is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the charm and romance of Italy.

From its beautiful canals, gondolas, bridges, and alleyways to its world-famous landmarks such as St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Rialto Bridge – there is no shortage of things to do in this unique city. And it’s a perfect city for a weekend getaway.

Located in the northeastern part of Italy, Venice is a unique and stunning city that has captivated visitors for centuries. Its unique position in the lagoon means it’s termed the ‘floating city’ – there are no roads here, only canals!

Venice is also the host of the Venetian Carnival, one of the most iconic annual events in Europe. If it’s possible to visit during carnival season (usually February), you’ll be able to witness parades, processions and parties – an unforgettable experience.

But Venice is a city you can visit all year round. If you’re planning a weekend trip to Venice, you won’t want to miss out on any of the highlights!

This 3-day Venice itinerary will show you how best to explore Venice – from discovering hidden gems off the beaten path to taking part in classic Venetian traditions like riding gondolas down winding waterways. So get ready for an unforgettable journey into one of Italy’s most beloved cities!

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This blog post will walk you through a 3-day itinerary to Venice, including the best time to visit Venice, how to get around in Venice, and the best places to visit in Venice. But first, how do you get to Venice?

How do you get to Venice?

Most major cities in Europe offer direct flights to Venice Marco Polo Airport, making it easy and convenient to get there. Flights from the UK cost can cost as cheap as £50 return ticket with budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryan Air.

There are also various train connections from other parts of Italy and many day trips available from nearby cities like Verona and Padua. The main train station in Venice is Santa Lucia, and it’s easy to get around the city by taking a Vaporetto (waterbus) or using the efficient Gondola service.

Now that you know it’s easy to get to Venice, let’s go through when is the best time to visit Venice.

Best time to visit Venice?

The best time to visit Venice is in the late spring or mid-late Autumn when temperatures are pleasant, and there are fewer tourists. During the summer months, Venice can become uncomfortably hot and humid, temperatures can exceed 30°C, and there’s nowhere to escape the heat!

I visited in October during a trip to the Dolomites, and temperatures were perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities, especially after experiencing early snowfall in the mountains!

February is also a popular month as it’s when the Venice carnival takes place. This is one of the most well-known events in Italy, and it’s worth checking out if you can time your visit accordingly.

Where to stay in Venice…

Venice is a small city, so it’s easy to get around, but for a 3-day stay, I’d recommend staying in San Marco or Cannaregio as these areas are easy to get to the main attractions and have plenty of restaurants, cafes and gelato shops to enjoy.

San Marco is the most central area of Venice and is one of the most popular places on where to say as it’s close to some of the main attractions and landmarks, as well as being full of small shops and cafes. It is, however, more touristy and expensive than the other areas. So if you’re looking at where to stay in Venice and you’re on a budget, you might want to look into accommodation in Carnareggio.

Cannaregio is located in the north of Venice, close to some great bars and restaurants, as well as slightly cheaper accommodation than San Marco. This area is still very central but a bit quieter and more authentic than San Marco. There are plenty of hostels, guesthouses and Airbnb’s available for very reasonable prices in Carnareggio.

Getting around in Venice…

The best way to get around Venice is by foot, as it’s a fairly compact city, and most of the popular sights are located within walking distance. (This is why it’s such a perfect destination for a weekend trip!)

If you want to explore further afield, then you can take a vaporetto (water bus) ride along one of the many canals. You can find the Vaporetto route map here. Single tickets cost €7.50, which is a bit pricey, so it’s always worth looking into buying a travel card.

Now that you’ve for the lay of the land on how to get to Venice, the best time to visit Venice and where to stay in Venice, let’s move onto the 3-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Venice

Where to stay in the Dolomites… 

There are many small towns dotted around the Dolomites, with their own character and access to popular spots, but the most popular area to stay in is Val Gardena, which consists of three villages: Ortisei, Santa Cristina and Selva di Val Gardena.

Out of those three, Ortisei is the most popular and vibrant town, nestled in the valley between Seceda and Alpe di Siusi. It has a few shops, a public pool, and a variety of cozy restaurants – my favourite being Ristorante Cascade, where the risotto was delicious.

Ortisei may also be the most convenient place to stay for your Dolomites road trip itinerary as it is connected to many of the popular attractions, in some cases without the need of a car. Two of the most iconic hikes on the aforementioned mountains are accessible by cable car from Ortisei. 

Cortina d’Ampezzo is another popular town, a little more lively than Ortisei but also located close to popular hiking destinations like Tre Crime Laveredo, Lago di Sorapiss, and Lago di Braies – one of the most Instagrammable locations in Europe.

Brixen and Bolzano are two other great options of towns to stay in.

Without further ado… Below are some of the best things to do in the Venice and the best way to spend a weekend in Venice!

A 3-day itinerary in Venice

Day 1: Exploring the heart of Venice: St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace & Bridge of Sighs

Start your day with a visit to St Mark’s Basilica, one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks and home to some spectacular works of art. St Mark’s Basilica is free to enter, but as one of the best things to do in Venice, expect long queues, so arrive early!

Alternatively, there is the option to purchase a skip-the-line entrance for 3 euros. After that, wander over to Doge’s Palace – the former residence of the Doge of Venice and now a major tourist attraction.

Doges palace is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved buildings in Venice, so make sure to take your time exploring it. Tickets cost €15 and can be purchased online to avoid queueing, so you make the most of this 3-day itinerary.

For lunch, stick around St Mark’s Basilica as there are a number of highly rated restaurants like Ristorante Quadri, Al Chianti or Ristorante Centrale.

This is also a great time to try some authentic Venetian food such as cicchetti (small snacks) or polpette di baccala (salt cod fritters)

Take the rest of the afternoon to get lost in the streets and alleyways of San Marco, but make sure you don’t miss the Bridge of Sighs. The Bridge of Sighs is one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks and one of the best places to visit in Venice.

End your day with a romantic gondola ride along the canals of Venice, taking in stunning views of the city at dusk and sunset or head up St Mark’s Campanile Tower for beautiful views of the city. Gondola ride range from €60-120 depending on the length and region. The Grand Canal and San Marco areas tend to be the most expensive, but if you’ve got it in you to haggle, go for it!

Day 2: Island hopping on the islands of Murano and Burano

On day two of your weekend in Venice itinerary, go to the Fondamente Nove and catch a water bus across the Venetian lagoon to the islands Murano and Burano, one of the best places to visit in Venice!

Burano is a small island known for its colourful houses and lace-making industry and is a 45-minute boat ride from Venice. It’s the perfect place to explore some of Venice’s unique culture, with various shops and restaurants dotted around the narrow streets.

With a camera at hand, take time to wander around the picturesque canals lined with brightly coloured buildings, take photos of the vibrant scenery or stop off at one of Burano’s many lace-making workshops and pick up a souvenir. 

For lunch, head to Trattoria da Romano, where you can enjoy traditional Venetian cuisine while admiring views over Burano’s lagoon. 

Your last and final stop in Burano is La Serra dei Giardini which is located in an old glass factory; here, you’ll find beautiful gardens full of exotic plants and stunning views across Venice.

The remainder of your day will be spent in Murano

Murano is another island located in the Venetian lagoon, known for its glass-making industry. A visit to Murano should include a stop at one of their many glass-blowing factories, where you can watch artisans craft beautiful works of art from molten glass. You can also pick up some unique souvenirs, such as jewellery or decorative pieces made with Murano’s famous multicoloured glass.

For dinner, there is the option to have an early dinner and eat on the island to be able to catch the last ferry back (at 9:30 pm) or head back to Venice in the early afternoon to have dinner back in the city. If you choose to head back to Venice, then I’d recommend going for dinner in Carnareggio, which is less touristy and has so many hidden gems like Metri Quadrati, Sivoli and Tratorria alla Fontana.

Day 3: Carnareggio & Rialto

Start off your last day with a free walking tour to get to know Carnareggio, an area of Venice that is less crowded and full of surprises. The tour will take you through the northern and western parts of Carnareggio, walking through peaceful canals and narrow alleyways, making several stops to explore hidden gems such as Campo dei Mri and the Church of “Madonna dell’Orto”.

When you’re done with the tour, take a lunch break in Campo della Madonna dell Orto – one of the prettiest piazzas in Venice. This is also home to some excellent restaurants with delicious food, so make sure to stop for lunch here. The restaurants I’d recommend are Osteria L’Orto dei Mori or Ostaria da Rioba. After lunch, head to Libreria Acqua Alta.

As you make your way, make sure you stop by Ponte dei Conzafelzi, for a photos stop. Libreria Acqua Alta is a remarkable bookstore that has been open since 1810 and contains over 70,000 books. This bookshop is overflowing with books and decorated with canoes, bathtubs and old gondolas all filled with books.

Have a little pit stop at your hotel or Airbnb, get showered and get head out to Rialto Bridge, one of the oldest and most iconic bridges in Venice. Rialto Bridge spans over the Grand Canal and provides breathtaking views of the city at sunset and at night. Grab a seat, have an aperitivo and watch the sun go down on your last night of this 3-day Venice itinerary.

And there you have it, the weekend well spent in Venice. I hope you enjoyed this 3-day Venice itinerary. The city of Venice is so full of culture, diversity and history that it’s impossible to see everything in such a short period of time. However, these three days should give you an excellent glimpse into the beauty and wonder that this remarkable city has to offer.

What are your favourite things to do in the Dolomites?

Where are your top tips for planning a Dolomites road trip itinerary? Anything you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring…

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