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How many days in Venice is enough?
It’s a question I get asked all the time. It pops up daily in facebook groups and travel forums. Of course, in various forms. “Is two days enough time for Venice?” “I might be able to squeeze a half day in Venice. Will that be enough?” ” I’m planning a five day trip to Italy and will be flying into Rome . Is that enough time to visit Venice as well?” You might read those and think the answers are obvious. Maybe not. Either way, the challenge here is that everybody travels differently and what works for me might not be right for you. Asking how many days in Venice is enough is like asking how many Reese’s cups are enough. Well, technically one, but is that really all your going to eat? Probably not. I mean, they come in packs of two for a reason people.
Nonetheless, I get it. I get wanting, hoping to see as much as possible in a limited amount of time. Loading up trips with as many amazing experiences is humanly possible is my specialty! I don’t do a lot of relaxing on trips because the way I see it is I’m 34 years old and running out of time. Yeah, 34 is still young but there’s a whoooole lot of world out there, and the more I travel the more I realize that the popular destinations are just the tip of the iceberg. Plus, who knows when you’ll get a chance to return. It might be in a year, in 10 years or, in some cases, maybe never again. Yes, I over-plan. However, I’m also learning not to. Over-planning or underestimating the time you need in a destination can flat-out ruin a trip. Don’t ruin your trip.
Learn to Travel Smart.
It took me a few years and even more trips to finally set a personal travel rule. When traveling somewhere, I spend no less than two full days in a new city. Even two days is often a whirlwind but with
a little a lot of wise planning it can generally work out just fine. I implemented this new rule right before last year’s trip to Amsterdam and am so glad I did. I would’ve have been so disappointed with just a day trip to Bruges. We still only stayed two nights but an early arrival on the first day and an afternoon departure on the third day helped round out the experience.
My only exception is snagging one of those 24 hour layovers because those are freebies anyway. Thanks to one of these layovers, we got to hang out at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland on our way home from London last March. It might have not been enough time to cross Iceland off my bucket list but it was definitely a bonus for the overall trip. Plenty of airlines offer extended layovers now and I highly recommend it.
Things to consider while planning for Venice
In 2017, we allocated 2 weeks in Italy to explore and, oh baby, was it amazing! We traveled from the North to the South and back up again. We cruised the canals of Venice in a gondola and gazed at the Amalfi Coast from the seat of a boat. The picturesque views were as if we stepped out of a magazine. I wouldn’t take back a single experience or cut out a single city, but we definitely wore ourselves out and even cut ourselves short in a couple of places.
While planning, I often asked and even googled the very question we’re discussing – how many days in Venice is enough? Given the things we wanted to do in Venice, two nights seemed fine. Honestly, it kind of had to be that way anyway. It was cut a day from Venice or cut one from Rome and I think the latter would have been outright ludicrous. We actually ran into a couple of issues that would have been easier to manage if we planned an extra day. First of all, the closer we got to leaving for our trip, the more things in Venice we found interesting. Secondly, we got hit with a vaporetto strike. There’s a LOT of walking in Venice anyway, but being completely on foot slowed us down even more. If mobility is an issue, this will make things even more difficult.
Pro Tip: My number one tip for anyone planning a trip to Italy is to have cushion time and flexibility. Train strikes, vaporetto strikes, taxi strikes and even bank strikes can throw a big kink in your plans if you’re not prepared to roll with the punches.
In case you’re wondering, we spent 3 nights in Rome with two and a half days to explore. Not ideal, but enough to pack in the essentials. All that to say, my biggest regret is not planning an extra day in both Venice and Florence . Sometimes you don’t realize how significant a bit more time really is. My point is, try to allow yourself to be a little flexible when planning. The difference between one or two days in a city is that one day can leave you feeling like your trip was incomplete.
Planning a Venice trip? Consider these factors.
- Obstacles and delays such as Italian strikes.
- How much you want to see and do in Venice.
- Uncovering unexpected things to do in Venice.
- Mobility. Venice is a walking city with lots of steps!
If you can, plan an itinerary you’re happy with before you book you flight. Otherwise, try to be reasonable and understand that sometimes you might need to save something for another trip. We stumbled on an Emirates JFK to Milan sale that was about to end and quickly purchased tickets. There’s nothing wrong with doing it that way either. We got a great deal and not jumping on it would have been crazy. However, we really didn’t have time to iron out an itinerary first and sometimes that’s just the way it is.
How to determine how many days in Venice is right for YOU
It’s certainly possible to visit Venice in one day and I’m not even going to say you won’t enjoy it. You”ll love it and if it makes sense, do it. What I’m telling you to consider is what type of traveler you are. Are you a looker or a learner? If you just want to look, then you’re golden. Otherwise, you could find yourself spending a good chunk of a priceless day in a line. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound very fun to me!
When I’m traveling, I enjoy learning about the culture. Sure, you can check tourist hot spots off your bucket list all day but what does that matter if you don’t truly know where you’ve been? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for the touristy spots. I’ll go to every last darn one of them. Why? Not because they are popular but because they are meaningful. They are famous but they are famous for a reason. That reason is not for the purpose of selfies nor were they were not built for the ‘gram.
Before you yell at me, yes selfies are fun (but be responsible) and I love scrolling travel photos on instagram. The bottom line is that taking a few moments to learn why a monument is significant is a simple way to enrich your travel experience and gain cultural understanding.
What time frame fits your style?
If you enjoy full days and love history and cultural tourism, I would highly suggest spending AT LEAST two days in Venice. Do you want to soak in all of the good stuff at a more relaxed pace and maybe even plan a day trip to Murano? Give this amazing city 3 or 4 days. Perhaps you just want to catch some views and say you’ve been there. By all means, pass through for the day and enjoy its beauty. If you happen to be in a situation that puts you in Venice for one day (or even two) and you’re up for a full day packed with all the goodies, this Venice itinerary will help you maximize your time.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how many days you stay in Venice as long as it works well for you and helps you meet your travel goals. Which of these time frames fit your travel style? Do you whip through a city in a day or do you linger for a week or even a month? Have you been to Venice? Let me know how many days in Venice worked for you and anything you might have done differently!