If you're planning to spend a weekend in this amazing city, you should try hard to see it all and enjoy the most of your trip.
To help you plan a perfect 2- or 3-day weekend getaway to Venice, I've collaborated with a genuine Italian Giovanni and created this amazing itinerary.
Venice is the capital of the Vento region and is often called the floating city. It is popular for its world famous gondolas.
If you have seen pictures of a gondola in an urban city landscape, it is most probably from Venice. If you are going to be spending 2 or 3 days in Venice, then take a good look at this article.
Venice is a place that has a lot to look at, meaning, tourists who often travel to Venice do not think just a weekend would be enough, but with this perfectly curated guide, you will have seen everything that a person has to see in Venice without burning a hole in your pocket.
This list also features some of the best attractions in Venice that most tourists do not know about and their knowledge is usually only with the local people. So be sure to take note.
The post includes useful affiliate links to pages to help you plan your trip better and cheaper at no additional cost for you.
How to Plan a Weekend Trip to Venice
This section will contain all the information that you will require as a traveler: airports, hotels to stay in, modes of traveling within the city, some eating spots and much more...
Airports near Venice
Air travel is the most sought after mode of travel because it is easy and comfortable and can get you to the places you want as soon as possible.
Venice has one international airport that is called the “Venice Marco Polo Airport.” This is the airport where most of the flights to the places in Europe originated. During busy tourist seasons, they also have some direct flights to and from Canada as well as the United States of America.
There is another airport that is called the “Treviso Airport” which is about 31 kilometers from Venice. This is also an international airport but is mainly used only by low budget airlines.
There are a few other airports around Venice as well, but these are more aerodromes rather than airports and are usually used for private purposes.
Learn about the secrets of low-cost airlines
Transfer from the Airport
Marco Polo Airport is not very far from the central city of Venice. The best way to travel to and from the airport would be with a taxi.
Taxi fares are not very expensive and are better than public transport because it is assumed that you will be carrying some heavy luggage with you from the airport. So, it is recommended that you take a taxi service to reach your hotel.
Bus transfer from the Marco Polo Airport takes about 30 minutes and costs just about 7 euro.
If you want to take a bus from Treviso airport, it would take you about an hour and cost around 10 euro.
Where to Stay in Venice
There are many good places where you can stay in Venice for your Venice 3-day itinerary. Most of the hotels are concentrated in the main Venice area and surround the entire city.
Most of the hotels are located near basilicas, and you can always take a walk to see if them if you ever feel bored during your stay here.
I have a few recommendations that you can choose from if you are looking for accommodation, if you already have your accommodation sorted out, then you can skip this section and go to the next one.
- Carnival Palace Hotel (4 Stars): This is a beautiful hotel located in Canale di Cannaregio 929, 30121 Venice. This hotel overlooks the Cannaregio Canal in one of the most historic places of downtown Venice. The Carnival Palace is one of the very few hotels in Venice that have authentic Venetian furnishings. They have a very romantic architecture in the place. The staff are all multilingual and will be at your service at all times throughout the day and night. The Carnival Palace Hotel is also very near to public transport which will be a boon when you are ready to travel. Book your stay here
- Hotel Antiche Figure (3 Stars): The Hotel Antiche figure overlooks the Grand Canal. It is located at Santa Croce, 687, Fondamenta S. Simeon Piccolo, 30135 Venice. This is very close to the main entrances of Venice. This hotel is also close to the Marco Polo and Treviso airports. And it is just opposite the train station in Venice. The building of the hotel is an ancient and contemporary place. Book your room here
- Hotel Canal Grande (4 stars): One of the most notable features of the Hotel Canal Grande is that it features the beautiful Rococo style furniture. Located at Santa Croce, 932 Campo San Simeone Grande, 30135 Venice. This hotel is in a recently restored area of Venice. The furnishings are fit for a king in royalty. The staff is also very well trained to handle all the requests of their guests. There is also a small terrace on top of the hotel that guests can use to have a drink or something like that. Book a perfect room here
- Hotel Moresco (4 stars): One of the main highlights of this hotel is that it has a library that has an all leather seating. The Moresco is located on the Rio Nuovo canal. And is at a walking distance from the Piazzale Roma and the Santa Lucia Station. The hotel is designed elegantly with oriental and Venetian design. Book your room here
Speaking of hostels, Venice is not a place to stay in a 16-person room. From hostels in a modern style, I could only find Generator Hostel. It has good reviews and a relatively good location, however, it is expensive for a hostel.
Another good accommodation option for a weekend in Venice are apartments of locals that you can find through Airbnb. If you don't have an account yet, register now using this link and get $30 off your first trip!
Getting Around Venice & Exploring the City
Venice is not a huge city, meaning, most of the places that you should visit are usually at a walking distance from the hotels that you are choosing to stay in.
Walking is a fantastic way to discover the city. Especially if you want to experience city life and take in the sweet breeze from the canals. There are pedestrian ways all over the city.
All you will need is a map, or well a modern mobile phone that can connect to the internet are you are set. There are almost zero chances that you will get lost in Venice. The locals are very friendly and will help you find your way back.
There is public transportation in Venice. The catch is that there is no bus service in Venice. It is a boat service. Vaporetto is the main boat service in Venice. If you plan on traveling a lot or decide on staying for more than a few days, it might be economical to get a pass.
Else, ticket prices are cheap, and the service is usually on time. The advantage of taking the Vaporetto is that you can see the city from the canals itself.
The things to do in Venice in 3 days are all connected by the Vaporetto. The various basilicas, some restored renaissance homes and also a few gothic buildings can be seen on the Vaporetto rides.
How to Visit the Best Places in Venice Over a Weekend
If your question is what to do in Venice in 3 days, then this is the answer. Venice has a lot of tourist attractions. Also, many of them are close to Venice and are worth having a look at.
It is recommended that you buy a Venice museum pass. This pass together with Doge's Palace Entrance Ticket (one of the main attractions in Venice) costs 33 euros and will enable you to visit nine different museums in Venice, including, but not limited to the Glass Museum (Present on the island of Murano), the Doge's Palace and some others.
You can also get a combined ticket with entrance to all the main museums and public transportation for the time of your visit here.
Top Attractions in Venice
Below you can find a list of the main attractions to see and things to do in Venice during your weekend trip.
Basilica di San Marco or also known as St. Marks Basilica
This basilica was built in the 9th century to house the corpse of St Mark. It consists of gold ground mosaics with real gold and features many intricate designs.
Pala d’Oro golden altar is another famous attraction in the basilica. The altar features over two thousand gems (including pearls, rubies, emeralds and so on) that have been carefully encrusted in it. If you have time, a guided tour will help you learn more about the place and its history.
You can also climb the Campanile di San Marco (A bell tower) to see some amazing aerial views of St. Mark’s square and the places near it.
Not to miss any interesting detail, order a St. Marks Basilica and Doge's Palace tour here
Situated next to the St. Marks Basilica, the Doge’s palace, also known as the Palazzo Ducale is a fantastic museum. It is the seat of the power of the Vatican republic from the very beginning to the end.
There are a lot of renaissance masterpieces housed in the Doge’s palace. There are also guided tours for visitors. There is a secret tour service as well that will teach you about every single aspect of the Palace, including every nook and corner and the history behind it. You should go for it if you are interested in Renaissance art.
Not to wait in the line, you can get your Doge's Palace ticket here
Dorsoduro is located in a quiet part of Venice. This part of the town has a lot of pubs, some museums, galleries, a couple of churches and some vintage boutiques.
Most of the attractions that you will see here are all part of the Venice Museum pass. While you are here, you can go and see a breath-taking view of the Giudecca Canal.
There are a few workshops here as well, and you might see a laborer making one of the famous gondolas of Venice.
The Rialto market is situated on the western bank of the Grand Canal. This market is popular with the locals as well as tourists. This is an excellent place to do some shopping as well.
If you are planning on buying some souvenirs for your loved ones’ back home, there are very few places better than the Rialto market.
Almost everything of importance and household goods is available in this market. If you have a strong distaste for the smell of fish, you might want to hold back a little because, as the name suggests, the Rialto market is a market which sells a lot of fish.
To have a great foodie experience during your weekend in Venice, book a Rialto Market food tour.
What is a trip to Venice without a ride on the world-famous gondolas?
The best time to take a ride would be during sunset or sunrise. This will ensure you get a beautiful view of the city and the sky.
Some gondoliers sing soft Italian music while they ride as well, you should go for it if you are in for that sort of thing. Most gondolas can be found in the Grand Canal; this is where a trip usually starts.
You can choose the duration of your trip as per your convenience. Typically, most tourists take a thirty or a forty-minute trip. Not to be negatively surprised with the prices, book your gondola tour online.
Teatro La Fenice
The Teatro La Fenice is an opera house. It has featured some of the world’s best opera singers like Verdi, Rossini, Luciano Pavarotti and many more...
The name La Fenice means “The Phoenix.” This can be attributed to the fact that the theatre has been rebuilt twice since its original construction. There is gold plated ceilings as well as walls in the place. This place is very popular with art-loving tourists as well.
There is also a free audio guide service available here for tourists who have the time. If you want to witness an opera show, you will have to book the tickets in advance. You can find them on the official website of the theater.
Or, you can take a guided tour around the theater if you book it in advance.
Some of the best attractions in Venice are the numerous churches and basilicas around the city. Venice is home to many churches; most of them have a historical significance.
Just like the museum pass, some passes are available that can be used to enter churches without having to stand at a queue to pay every time.
This is called the Chorus pass, and it gives you access to about 16 churches in Venice. There are guides at almost all of the famous churches so that you can take tours for a better understanding.
The carnival which is popularly known as Carnevale di Venezia in Italy is an annual festival which is held in Venice every year between January and March. Venice Carnival is a two weeks long festival which has parades, markets, concerts and many more to explore.
Beach on Lido Island
Lido island is an island that is close to the main city of Venice. You can take the hop on hop off service that is available to get here. This will save you some money on travel expenses.
The beach in itself is a magnificent place with amazing views as far as the eye can see. It has a stone walkway which is lined with shops selling everything that you would need and also some souvenirs.
There is also some cycle and scooter renting services on the island. You can use them if you want to take a casual stroll on the cycle to explore more of the city.
You can also order a bike tour to explore all the hidden places on the island.
The Islands of Burano, Murano, and Torcello
There are many islands in Venice, but the most popular ones are Burano, Murano, and Torcello. These are often visited by tourists, and hence it has a lot to offer.
Shopping sprees can be made on these islands. There are also two famous churches in Burano namely, Church of San Martino Vescovo and Museo del Merletto.
There are land bus passes that can be used for these islands. The hop on hop off service is also available on these islands.
You can also order a boat tour to see all three of them during a convenient boat ride.
Unusual Things to See in Venice
Tempio Votivo Church: This is a war memorial that is present on the Lido island.
San Zaccaria Church: The church is famous for its flooded crypt. There is a permanent level of water in the crypt.
Ancient Jewish Cemetery: This is a burial ground that can be seen only with the proper prior permission and located on Lido Island.
San Servolo Museum: This museum was a mental asylum in the olden days. The island itself is called the Island of the mad. It was opened in the year 1725 and was the city’ s official mental asylum for more than two centuries.
Lazzaretto Nuovo: It means the New quarantine. Because Venice was a group of islands, one particular one housed the victim so f the plague. The Lazzaretto Vecchio was called the Old Quarantine. The Lazzaretto Nuovo is better known because of the incident of the Vampire of Venice. There are museums on the island that can explain the history of the island.
You can learn more about the hidden gems of Venice from locals here.
Places to Eat in Venice
Venice is full of small eateries and hotels. If you want to save a few bucks, then go to a place that is not frequented by tourists and is usually filled with the local people.
Some places that serve the local cuisine are:
All’Arco: They make some of the best pasta in all of Venice and probably Italy as well. There is also a wine tour for enthusiasts.
La Palanca: It is a seafood restaurant. It also has a fantastic view that you can enjoy while having some authentic fish-based dishes in Venice.
Osteria Trefanti: It is a Mediterranean restaurant in Venice. They also serve some authentic Italian cuisine. The food and the restaurant are well known among tourists who are visiting Venice.
To explore all the best places to have a meal in Venice, and find out where the locals eat, book a food tour.
So that is the end of the 3-day itinerary for a perfect trip to Venice. Now, it's up to you how you want to visit these places.
Except for the island visits, all of the other attractions are in the main city of Venice, so that means that the order of visiting will not eat up too much time.
As long as you keep a separate day or maybe a few hours to visit the other islands, the 3-day itinerary for Venice should be a pleasure to follow.
Also, check this Rome 3-day itinerary
About the Author: Giovanni Benvenuto is the managing director of Benvenuto Limos, a chauffeur and private tour guide company, serving the tourists who visit Italy to discover the outstanding beauty of the country. Apart from his professional work he also loves reading, writing journals and cooking.