What to do in Venice

Full Itinerary for a weekend in Venice

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My name is Patrick, I'm originally from Sydney (Australia) but grew up in England (my second home) - and I love exploring cities (and writing about it!)

I work online in marketing, which gives me the opportunity to travel around the world full time.

So while I am away, I keep this blog updated with full travel info. I tend to stay in a city for a few months at a time, to really get to know it - then I write guides on it.

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Venice in A Weekend: What To Do There And Full Itinerary

Venice is an amazing and quite unique city that everyone should visit at least once. It is one of the best cities to wander and get lost in its many back streets! Every corner looks beautiful, and despite it being full of tourists you can really feel how quiet the island of Venice really is.

There are good airport links, so after reading this post about Venice there should be nothing stopping you from booking some cheap plane tickets to Venice for next summer!

Skip to the Venice Itinerary »


Never been to Venice? Well you should! Although there are several other Venice-like cities (a quick Google for 'cities similar to Venice' brings up lots of suggestions), no city can compare to Venice itself!

The island of Venice is worth paying the extra for and actually having your accommodation there. We did, and it was nice to be able to just walk back to our apartment every night.

There is a big main river that cuts the island in half - Grand Canal. This is where the main waterbus routes go up/down (although the water bus is quite expensive if you don't buy at least a 24 hour pass).

But of course the whole city is built on canals, and you won't be able to walk far without going over a bridge or along the side of a canal.

As well as the mainland (which we didn't explore), there are several nearby islands. The main ones are:

  • Murano - famous for its glass. Very close to Venice.
  • and a bit further away is Burano - famous for its colourful houses.

Both are worth a visit (do it in one day!)

Tip: pick a day to get a 24hour public transport ticket. Then use this ticket to see both islands and go up/down the Grand Canal in the water bus. See details in the 2 day Venice itinerary part below

Getting To Venice

There are two main airports in Venice:

  • Treviso Airport - 31km away - used by Ryanair, Wizzair and other budget airlines
  • Venice Marco Polo Airport - 12km away - used by most other airlines.

There are good links, and you will have no problems getting to the island of Venice itself.

We were travelling via Ryanair, so arrived at the Treviso airport. You can either get a coach from outside the airport direct to the main Venice island (€12, ~90 minutes journey) or get a bus to the city center of Treviso (approx 10-15 min journey €2.50 per person if you buy it from the driver (cheaper if you use a ticket machine before hand), then get a train to Venice (approx 30 min journey).

If you want more details, we have a dedicated page about how to get from Treviso airport to Venice.

BTW, there are boat links from Marco Polo to Venice! Although once you are in Venice you will have many more opportunities to travel by boat!

The main thing to do in my opinion is to just go and explore! There are tourist attractions and things to pay to enter, but you can have just as much fun walking around and people watching!

If there was any city on each that was made to be explored on foot, without a map*, then it is Venice! You can walk everywhere (Venice is small enough), and it can be fun to just pick random back streets. The main tourist sights are signposted, and there is always the big canal (or Lagoon) which you will eventually stumble upon, so it is hard to get too lost!

* but have a map for finding you way back to where you are staying!

2 Full Day Venice Itinerary

This assumes you arrive on day 1, have 2 full days, then leave on day 4. For example, arrive on Monday afternoon, explore Venice a little on Monday evening, then have all of Tuesday & Wednesday in Venice, then fly home on the Thursday. This is, in my opinion, the perfect number of days to spend in Venice.

First evening - just explore on foot!

Assuming you arrive late one day (then have two full days after that), you should use the first evening to just wander around on foot, get some food and get a feel for the city.

It won't really matter where you walk or what direction - the first night in Venice means everything is unexplored for you!

Full Day #1 - Venice!

Today is all about Venice! (Tomorrow will be about the nearby islands). The island is small, so it won't matter too much what order you decide to do things. But here is what you should be sure to not miss:

  • See both ends of the island of Venice! You probably have seen the north end (where the train station/bus stations are). You should also walk all the way to the south east corner (a big park is down there - it can be nice to get away from the hordes of tourists)
  • The main tourist attractions of course include St. Mark's Square (which often gets flooded! Notice all the boards lying around, waiting to be used when it floors) and St. Mark's Basilica.
  • See the Doge's Palace (next to Marco square) - go inside for an interesting museum!
  • Want to really feel like a tourist? Then pay for the €80+ Gondola rides. see here for cheaper alternatives to Venice's Gondolas (Traghetto).

Full day #2 - Nearby islands of Burano and Murano

Ok, you explored most things that Venice has to offer on foot yesterday. The island is small, so what else is there to see?

For the second full day here I recommend you buy a 24 hour public transport pass. This will mean you can use the water busses as often as you like within a 24 hour period. The tickets cost (in early 2018) €20 for 24 hours. It isn't cheap but worth it! Trust me!

  • Start by heading to the island of Murano. Take a water bus there, it'll take 5-10 minutes. You will (probably) pass another island which is just a cemetary. I recommend skipping this stop and going straight to Murano. Get off on the island and take a long wander around the island. The island is famous for its glass (and you will see endless amounts of shops selling their Murano glass - although be warned that the cheaper stuff is most likely just imported in from China or another Asian country. If you look closely you'll see notices (in Italian) about where some products come from. You can spend anywhere from 1-2.5 hours in Murano.
  • After Murano head to Burano. This is much further away (approx 30-45 minutes journey time). This island is famous for its painted and colourful houses. According the local legend, the reason dates back a couple of hundred years. Fishermen couldn't tell where their houses were (especially when it was foggy) so they started painting them to make them more recognisable from the sea. This is a fun place to explore, but there isn't much to do other than walk around and look at the houses and nice looking canals. Expect to spend a bit shorter time here than Burano (maybe just over an hour).
  • And end the day by using your 24 hour pass to go either up or down the Grand Canal in a waterbus. Start at the very top (or bottom) and sit on the waterboat for around 40 minutes as you head down (or up) the Grand Canal. Tip: get a seat outside, for better views! You can do this either when it is sunny, or even at night. There are plenty of lights and things going on near the Grand Canal for you to see!

Then go home the next day!

I feel that two full days is perfect in Venice. It isn't too big, and is so busy with tourists during the day that it would become a bit annoying with a longer stay!

Want even more information on Venice?
Check out our full and comprehensive city guide to Venice here!

March 9th 2022
Want To Know Best Venice Tips and Secret Gems? Read On...

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Venice in A Weekend: What To Do There And Full Itinerary

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Hi! I'm Patrick! I love travelling, and has been travelling most of the year for over 10 years now. Now I share my trips, tricks and advice here on CompleteCityGuides.com.

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About Me

I'm an Australian who has lived in Europe for most of my life. I work online, travelling with my laptop, working online and exploring cities for months at a time.

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