How Many Days Should You Stay in Venice? A Tourist’s Guide 2024

Curious how many days you should stay in Venice?

Venice is, without a doubt, one of the most picturesque destinations in the world. The city is built on 118 small islands separated by canals and linked together by over 400 bridges. It feels like a labyrinth to navigate through, but what an amazing place to get lost.

From my experience, two days is more than enough time to see the main sights in Venice. While you could easily stay for three days or longer, if you are pressed for time, a couple days will definitely suffice.

In this post, I describe the perfect two-day Venice itinerary to see 13 of the city’s top attractions.

Exploring the streets of Venice

Two-Day Venice Itinerary

On Day 1 of this two-day itinerary, you’ll explore the main sights of Venice. On Day 2, you’ll visit the neighboring islands of Murano and Burano. Andiamo!

Day 1: The Heart of Venice

I recommend staying at Angeles Inn, which is only about a 20-minute walk to Piazza San Marco. Below is a map of our Day 1 itinerary using Angeles Inn as the starting and ending point.

Click More Options to open the map in Google Maps and adjust the itinerary to your liking!

1. Cross the Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of four bridges that span Venice’s Grand Canal. It has undergone several reconstructions since the time it was first built in 1181, when it started as a simple pontoon bridge.

The “modern” version we see today was completed in 1591 and is known for its rows of shops on either side of the bridge. It is an architectural marvel that has stood the test of time and become an iconic symbol of Venice.

Rialto Bridge Venice

2. Step Inside Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) is somewhere you could stay for hours, as there is so much to see. After meandering through the narrow streets of Venice, you will suddenly find yourself in this expansive square right on the water, surrounded by some of the most stunning architecture in the world.

Note: Items 3-8 below are all in or near Piazza San Marco.

3. See the Torre dell’Orologio

Venice’s Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio) stands at the entrance of Piazza San Marco. It leads into the Merceria via its grand archway, where you likely walked through to arrive at the Piazza. The Merceria is the main shop-lined street of Venice that stretches from Rialto to the Piazza.

The Clock Tower has been historically seen as the link between the political and religious center of Venice (the Piazza) and the business and financial quarter (Rialto).

Torre dell'Orologio Venice

4. Tour St. Mark’s Basilica

One of the very first things you will see in Piazza San Marco is St. Mark’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic cathedral named after Mark, the patron saint of Venice. The architecture has a fascinating mixture of Roman, Middle-Byzantine, Islamic, and Gothic influences, which is probably what makes this building so unique.

Over time, the brick exterior and interior walls of the Basilica were embellished with rare gems and marble as a way to convey the wealth of Venice.

Admission to the Basilica is free, but there are certain parts of the building, such as the museum and treasury, that require a fee. The line to get inside can sometimes be long, so it may also pay to reserve a skip-the-line ticket ahead of time.

🏰 Purchase a St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace combo tour
St. Mark's Basilica Venice

5. Look Up to See San Marco’s Campanile

San Marco’s Campanile is the bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica and the tallest structure in Venice.

The original tower actually collapsed in 1902 and was reconstructed in 1912. It had the dual purpose of serving as a watchtower to protect the city and a landmark to guide incoming ships safely into the harbor.

The five different bells were rung at different times for various purposes, including government assemblies in Doge’s Palace and public executions (yikes). Nowadays the bells are rung for special occasions and on holidays and weekends.

San Marco's Campanile Venice

6. Tour Doge’s Palace

Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) is built in traditional Venetian Gothic style and is a signature landmark in Venice. It was built in 1340 an served as the residence of the Doge of Venice, the highest authority of the republic during that time.

It’s a beautiful building to see from the outside, but you can also book tickets to view its magnificent interior.

This highly rated Viator tour includes both St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace in one combined price.

Doge's Palace Venice

7. Take an Enchanting Gondola Ride

If you want to splurge on something while in Venice, a gondola ride is a great choice. On my last visit to Venice, my husband and I chose a 45-minute ride that started at Piazza San Marco, and it was one of the highlights of our trip.

Gondola ride in Venice

The ride is much quieter than walking through the streets of Venice and can be a peaceful break in your day. You will wind through the narrow canals and under low bridges, passing by other gondola riders and pedestrians along the way.

We took our ride a little closer to sunset and had the most spectacular views, but this ended up being one of our last stops for the day.

If you plan to tour the Salute and Frari basilicas (keep reading to learn more), you may want to take the gondola ride earlier in the day.

Gondola ride sunset in Venice

8. Spot the Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs is a closed bridge connecting Doge’s Palace to a former prison. The name supposedly refers to the “sighs” of prisoners who crossed the bridge after being tried and sentenced in the palace – their last glimpse of freedom before returning to the prison.

Tradition also holds that if a couple kisses under the bridge while riding in a gondola, they will experience eternal love.

You can see the Bridge of Sighs from the Ponte della Paglia pedestrian bridge that passes by Doge’s Palace along the sea (pictured below). To walk across the Bridge of Sighs, you will need to pay to tour Doge’s Palace.

Note: You will likely pass under the Bridge of Sighs if you choose a gondola that starts near Piazza San Marco.

On a gondola headed toward the Bridge of Sighs in Venice
Heading toward the Bridge of Sighs behind the
Ponte della Paglia bridge

9. Visit Basilica Di Santa Maria Della Salute

This beautiful basilica, also known as the Salute, is one of the most popular places to visit in the city. But the significance of this church goes beyond its beauty. It was constructed after the Black Death broke through Venice in the 1600s, killing off a third of its residents.

Venetians vowed to build a church in honor of the Virgin Mary, “Our Lady of Health,” as an act of gratitude for surviving the deadly pestilence. This is why most of the artwork inside the church is in reference to the Black Death.

Basilica Di Santa Maria Della Salute in Venice
View of the Salute from across the Grand Canal
How to get to the Salute from Piazza San Marco:
  • Take the vaporetto from the San Marco stop to the Salute stop, if you don’t mind paying the 6.50 Euro fare.

  • You can also walk 15-20 minutes to get there by crossing the Grand Canal via the Accademia Bridge.

  • Another option is to hop on a traghetto for only about 2 Euros. You can find a traghetto at the gondola stop next to the Gritti Palace (a 7-minute walk from Piazza San Marco). Take it to the Calle Lanza stop, which is only a short walk from the Salute.

Note: It seems sometimes traghetti timetables can be unpredictable, so you may find it faster to simply walk over to the Salute or hop on the vaporetto.

10. Visit Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

This basilica, also called the Frari, is at the heart of the San Polo district in Venice, and makes for a nice stop as you make your way back to your hotel for the night, rather than simply back-tracking the way you came.

As is typical of Franciscan churches, the outside of the church is rather simple compared to other architecture in Venice. Inside, however, you’ll find grand marble tombs and wall monuments for Venetians who were buried at the church.

Day 2: Islands of Murano and Burano

Now that you’ve had a chance to see some of the highlights in the main part of Venice, you can take a day tour to the two well-known islands of Murano and Burano. (But see the next section for one quick stop I would recommend before leaving for the islands.)

The #12 vaporetto leaves from Fondamente Nove on the north side of Venice and goes all the way to Burano, with a stop in Murano along the way. You can choose if you would rather see Burano or Murano first.

Some say Burano is more crowded and better to see earlier in the morning before it gets too busy, but you may prefer to get all of your stops in first and then have a relaxing 45-minute ride from Burano back to Venice. (The latter would be my preference.)

Map showing the vaporetto route from Fondamente Nove
in Venice to Murano and Burano

11. Stop by the Librairie Acqua Alta

Before going to the Fondamente Nove vaporetto station in Venice, I would suggest making a slight detour along the way to visit the Librairie Acqua Alta (literally means “Bookstore of High Water”).

This whimsical bookstore is filled with books in the most unusual of containers, due to the flood waters that often seep into the building. You’ll find books inside of bathtubs, a full-size gondola, and other items that can withstand water.

It’s a book lover’s paradise, but even if you aren’t a big reader, the unusual atmosphere of this bookstore makes for a fascinating experience.

12. Tour the Glass-Making Island of Murano

From the bookstore, it’s a short walk to the Fondamente Nove vaporetto station. Hop on the #12 and you’ll arrive to Murano in less than 15 minutes. Murano is a small island best known for its tradition of glass-making and is a charming place to spend a few hours.

Here is a list of the best things to see in Murano:

Glassblowing Factory & Glass Shops

Admire glass artisans at work in one of the many factories on the island. There are guided tours you can book ahead of time, but this isn’t absolutely necessary. When I visited, I could see someone making glass as I was walking along one of the streets and was able to stop and watch for a while.

There is also an endless number of glass shops in Murano where you can stop in to browse the vast collections and pick up a souvenir or two…or three. 😉

Glass sculpture in Murano, Italy
Museo del Vetro

The Museo del Vetro (Murano Glass Museum) is about a 10-minute walk from the vaporetto station and is worth visiting if you would like to learn more about the history of glass blowing in Murano.

Unless you have the Venice Museum Pass, it will cost about 12 Euros for entry into the museum. The nice thing is the museum is only a 2-minute walk from the Church of Santa Maria and San Donato (see below).

Church of Santa Maria and San Donato

This church is one of the oldest in the Venetian lagoon and is best known for its intricate mosaic floor patterns. Local legend also says that behind the altar hang the bones of a large dragon slain by San Donato. More likely, the bones are from extinct Pleistocene mammals.

13. Visit Burano, the Island of Color and Lace

After exploring Murano, you can get on the same #12 vaporetto toward Burano and be there in about 30 minutes. (You will also take the #12 from Burano back to Venice, a 45-minute ride.)

While Murano is known for its glass, Burano is known for its lace and colored houses. In fact, there is a system to the colors on the island.

If someone wishes to paint their house a different color, they have to notify the government first to determine if their desired color is acceptable for their property.

Here are the top things to do in Burano:

San Martino Church and the Crooked Bell Tower

The San Martino Church is the only church in Burano and is known for its crooked bell tower (Il Campanile Storto). Stop by to see Burano’s own leaning tower. The church is near the Piazza Baldassarre Galuppi, a town central point with several shops and restaurants.

Museo del Merletto & Lace Shops

Learn about the history of lacemaking at the Museo del Merletto (Venice Lace Museum). The museum is in the building that once housed the Burano lacemaking school.

Similar to Murano with glass, throughout Burano, you will find dozens of lace stores where you can see the varying styles and perhaps pick up some lace of your own to take home with you.

Explore the Colorful Streets

Similar to the main part of Venice, simply wandering around the narrow streets with its canals and bridges can be fun all on its own. Burano is especially attractive with its many colorful buildings, but because the island is much smaller than Venice, you won’t really get lost.

Just make note of when you need to catch the vaporetto back to Venice. (It departs every 20-30 minutes until pretty late in the evening – see the full schedule for the #12 line.)

Best Time to Visit Venice

I always tell people who are considering a trip to Venice to go during the off-season from October-May. The city won’t be nearly as crowded, you won’t notice the bad smell people often complain about, and the weather won’t be as hot, making it more enjoyable to walk around all day.

I’ve never spent more than a couple nights in Venice, and I think it’s totally doable to see the main sights in that amount of time.

For one of my visits, I went in February during the famous Carnival of Venice. It was chilly, but worth it to see all the people in costume around the island.

My last visit to Venice was in October, which was also a really nice time to go. The weather was perfect – highs in the 70s °F (low 20s °C) and sunshine the whole time. There were still a lot of people there, but not nearly as crowded as during the summer months.

How to Get to Venice


The best way to get to Venice is by train. There are two Venice train stations: Venice Mestra and Venice Santa Lucia. Mestre is on the mainland right before the Ponta della Libertá railway bridge, and Santa Lucia is on Venice itself.

Unless you plan to stay in Mestre and take a train or bus in to Venice each day, I would suggest taking the train directly to Santa Lucia. It is the very last stop on the train route, so you will know you arrived at the right place when everyone gets off the train.


The Venezia Marco Polo Airport is located on the mainland in a town called Tessera, which is a similar distance to Venice as Mestre. There are several airlines that fly to Venezia from across Europe. Once you arrive at the airport, you can take a Marco Polo shuttle bus directly to the Venice city center.


You can also take a bus from Mestre to Venice, which only costs between 2 and 4 Euros per person and takes about 20 minutes. Since there are no cars in Venice, the bus will drop you off at Port San Basilio, and from there you can easily walk into the city.

Best Place to Stay in Venice

People often say to stay on the mainland near Mestre for cheaper accommodations and then commute in to Venice each day. I did that once with a friend, and it was okay.

I don’t remember the bus ride from our hotel to Venice being incredibly long, but you somehow don’t get that same Venetian experience when you aren’t really staying in Venice (in my opinion).

I think you can still find hotels at reasonable prices right in Venice (especially if you go off season!), and then you’ll be near everything when you wake up the next morning.

Angeles Inn

My husband and I stayed at Angeles Inn during our October visit and really enjoyed it. The owners, Arnulfo and Valentina, were so hospitable, even upgrading us for free to their superior room on our second night.

The rooms have so much character with their traditional Venetian decor. The hotel is also only about a 10-minute walk from the Santa Lucia Railway Station.

🎭 Book your stay at Angeles Inn now

How to get to Angeles Inn

We had a hard time finding Angeles Inn at night after a full day of travel, so let me spare you the trouble. It’s actually not that difficult to get to. We just made it difficult. 😉

Map showing the route from Santa Lucia train station to Angeles Inn
It only takes 8 minutes to get from the Santa Lucia station to Angeles Inn via water taxi and a short walk afterward.

Directions to Angeles Inn:

  1. From the Santa Lucia Railway Station, take the water taxi to the S. Marcuola Casino stop.
  2. Take S. Marcuola street straight north from the canal, and just past the San Marcuola Church, turn right on Rio Terà Drio la Chiesa.
  3. Walk until you cross over a little bridge, and then turn left onto Fondamenta del Ponto Storto, which will then curve to the right to become Calle Piero Favretti già Columbina.
  4. Take that street all the way down until it curves to the left and becomes Calle Larga Vendramin. Angeles Inn will be about three buildings down on the left.

Best Places to Eat in Venice

You can’t really go wrong with food in Venice—or Italy as a whole. Every time I have been there, I haven’t had much of a strategy when it comes to food.

I am always confident that whenever hunger hits me, I will have a dozen restaurants nearby to choose from (which is pretty true).

I wish I could remember all the places I have eaten in Venice, but honestly, if you go inside any restaurant and order a pizza or pasta, I doubt you will be disappointed.

All the food I have had there has been a hundred times better than any Italian food I have tried to cook at home.

A few Restaurants that stand out from our last trip:

Serenissima Restaurant

Serenissima Restaurant is very close to Angeles Inn where we stayed and a less than 10-minute walk to the train station, so we ate here twice. The pizza was so delicious, with that semisweet tomato sauce and perfectly crispy thin crust.

Pizza at Serenissima Restaurant Venice

Al Buso Restaurant

Al Buso Restaurant is located by Rialto Bridge, and you can get a table right on the Grand Canal next to the bridge. While I can’t tell you what we had for dinner, I do remember this cake, which tasted as good as it looks.

Cake at Al Buso Restaurant Venice

Il Gelatone

And of course, when in Venice, gelato is a must. There are dozens of gelaterias spread across the islands. Il Gelatone is also very close to Angeles Inn, and their gelato was delicious.

Turn left when you get out of the hotel, then turn right onto Rio Terà de la Maddalena and it will be just a few buildings down on your right.

Gelato from Il Gelatone in Venice

How to Get Around in Venice

Cars are prohibited (and quite impossible to drive) in Venice. The entire city is made up of a series of thin, winding streets with numerous staircases and bridges, so walking and boats are your only options for getting around.


The nice thing about Venice is you can walk in any direction and eventually end up where you want to go. Some routes might take way longer than others, but it’s hard to get completely lost. (Plus, wandering around aimlessly is part of what makes Venice so magical.)

If you really find yourself going in circles, there’s always someone who can point you in the right direction.

There are also signs on the sides of several buildings pointing toward Piazza San Marco and a few other key attractions, so that can help you stay on the right track. You may also consider purchasing a map of Venice to have on hand.

See Day 1 below for a nice walking tour itinerary.


The ACTV vaporetto is Venice’s public waterbus. There are 19 scheduled lines that run throughout the main part of Venice, as well as the neighboring Burano, Murano, and Lido islands.

A day pass for the vaporetto costs 21 Euros and is the recommended way to buy if you think you might ride the boat multiple times. An individual ride is 7.50 Euros. Children under 6 ride for free.

You can purchase vaporetto tickets either in person at VeneziaUnica points of sale throughout the city, from the automated machines at vaporetto stops, or on the VeneziaUnica website.

Gondolas & Traghetti

And of course, there are the iconic gondolas of Venice. While not the cheapest or most convenient way to travel through the city, it is worth taking a ride for a one-of-a-kind experience.

You will see the city from a vantage point you wouldn’t get simply by walking. I included a gondola ride as part of the Day 1 itinerary.

But did you know? There are little boats called traghetti that are not as well-known by tourists and are mostly used by locals to get around Venice.

They look very similar to gondolas and one ride costs only about 2 Euros. You can often find traghetti at regular gondola stops and they will usually be marked as such.

Wrap-up: Venice Two-Day Itinerary

It is completely doable to see the most noteworthy sights during a two-day Venice itinerary, without feeling like you need to rush.

  • Spend your first day on the main part of Venice, seeing Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, and the most well-known churches.
  • On day 2, tour the “waterproof” bookstore, Libraire Acqua Alta. Then take the vaporetto to the neighboring islands of Murano and Burano to learn about their famous glass and lace industries.

I hope you end up loving Venice as much as I do!

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