Only have a few days in Venice? Don’t stress. The city is small, but mighty, with plenty of great sights within a 30-minute walk of each other.
You'll find beautiful views at almost every canal bridge you cross (and you’ll cross plenty), and there are so many distractions, you'll be thankful whenever you get lost. But don't fret, it's just as easy to find your way to a familiar path where charming cafes, inspiring museums and life-defining moments await.
You’ll likely arrive in Venice via train or boat, both of which deliver you to a typically crowded tourist area filled with day-trippers. Every person is usually heading to the same spots, but don't be fooled into following.
With all the little nooks and side streets to investigate, the crowd thins out eventually, and you won't be behind them for too long. If you arrive early or late in the day, try to maximise your time by visiting some of the popular attractions outside peak time, such as the Rialto Bridge, Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Square with its impressive Basilica and bell tower.
It's worth hiring a tour guide to make the most of these landmarks, but if you decide to save time and check them out solo, don’t miss Ponte di Sospiri (the Bridge of Sighs). The enclosed bridge is reportedly named after the sighs of prisoners who were viewing Venice for the last time before they were confined for their various crimes in the prison at Doge’s Palace.
Ascend the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica for a bird’s-eye view of this picturesque city. Book your ticket in advance to avoid the long queues and head straight inside.
If you arrive late in the afternoon or evening, wait to visit these hot spots until sunset, when they are much less crowded. Spend your first few hours enjoying a casual welcome to the city by grabbing a drink or a bite to eat at St Mark’s Square and soaking up the setting fueled by live music and fascinating people.
More Venice holiday inspiration
Venice is a great place to pick up gorgeous souvenirs and do a bit of retail therapy! Put on your walking shoes and wander through the Campo Santa Magherita to experience the laneways, boutique shops and colourful markets.
Keep watch of the buildings marked with arrows directing you back to St Mark’s or the Rialto Bridge to maintain your bearings. Take a stroll over the Rialto Bridge and enjoy the thriving markets where there are numerous photo opportunities to go along with cherished artisan goods.
From here, you can browse the Mercato Rialto and indulge in some cicchetti (Venetian tapas) at one of the many nearby bars for lunch.
What better place to enjoy world-class art than Venice? Lovers of Renaissance art will enjoy the Accademia’s collection of works by the masters. Those keen on something more contemporary should visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Most people don't feel as thought they've truly experienced Venice without an iconic gondola ride, but the best time is during sunset. Although gondolier stations are everywhere, the less crowded ones are just beyond San Marco Square. Double check the prices are clearly posted and agreed upon before you depart.
Spend your last day hopping onto one of Venice’s water shuttles (vaporetto) for views of the city from the water. Make your way via vaporetto off the mainland to the smaller islands of Murano, famous for its glassmaking, and Burano, known for lace making.
Even if the art of making glass and lace don’t particularly interest you, having a wander around these two small villages will leave you in awe of their brightly coloured houses and charming atmosphere.
A visit to these two areas will take most of your day, so why not enjoy a drink and watch the sun go down before saying ciao to this magical city.