4 Things to Consider Before Deciding How Many Days in Venice is Enough?

by Jenna Lee
How many days in Venice

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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 various forms. “Is two days enough time for Venice?” “I might be able to squeeze a half day in Venice. Is that enough?” ” I’m planning five days in Italy and will be flying into Rome . Is that enough time to visit Venice as well?” You may read these and think the answers are obvious. They’re not. The challenge is that everybody travels differently. What’s right for me might not be right for you. However, 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. Wanting to see as much as possible is a totally normal desire. Packing trips with as many amazing experiences as possible is how I usually travel too. I’m learning to slow down but what can I say? Old habits die hard. Seldom do I go on a trip to actually relax. I want to explore! The more I travel, the more I realize that the popular destinations are just the tip of the iceberg. Plus, who knows I’ll return, right? It might be in a year, 10 years or, in some cases, maybe never again.

The other side of that coin is moving too quickly and realizing you didn’t plan enough time in one place. Hello, Disappointment. That isn’t fun either. Over-planning or underestimating the time you need in a destination can flat-out ruin a trip. Don’t do that. Instead, learn to travel smart. Book tickets in advance and, if you can, plan your days activities based on areas of town.

My Personal Travel Rule

It took me a few years, and even more trips, to finally set a personal travel rule. When traveling, I spend at least two days in a new city. That is still often a whirlwind but, with wise planning, it can generally work out just fine. Take my recent trip to Belgium for example. I would’ve have been so disappointed with just a day trip to Bruges and, frankly, it’s no wonder others are too. When you only book a day trip to Bruges, you miss out on a lot of the magic. Unfortunately, a quick day tour is how most tourists choose to see this beautiful medieval town. By staying overnight, you get to experience this fairytale city in peaceful way. Once the buses loaded with tourists departs, it becomes quite magical. You MUST spend at least 24 hours in Bruges to get the full experience.

My only exception to this self-imposed rule is snagging one of those 24 hour layovers. These are what I like to call “freebies”. They aren’t free in the sense that you still have to book a hotel and pay for another days worth of food and activities, but you do get a bonus trip. Thanks to one of these long layovers, we got to explore Reykjavik and hang out at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland on our way home from London . It might have not been enough time to cross Iceland completely off my bucket list but it was still exciting. Plenty of airlines offer extended layovers now and I highly recommend them.

Things you should consider while deciding how many days to spend in 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.

Given the things we wanted to do in Venice, two nights seemed fine. Honestly, it kind of had to be that way anyway. Our choices were to cut a day from Venice or cut one from Rome and I think the latter would have been outright ludicrous. Turns out, 2 nights in Venice wasn’t enough because we didn’t take some important factors into consideration. For example, the closer we got to our trip, we found more things in Venice that sounded interesting. Secondly, we got hit with a vaporetto strike upon arrival. There’s a LOT of walking to do Venice anyway, but being completely on foot that first day really set us back. We planned out a day and a half full of activities without taking delays into account. In Italy, this is a big mistake.

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.

4 Important Factors to Consider Before You Decide How Many Days in Venice is Enough.

  1. Obstacles and delays. Italian strikes and train delays can impact your plans.
  2. How much you want to see and do in Venice. Do you prefer a jam packed day or a slower pace?
  3. Hidden gems. Getting lost in Venice is easy and so is uncovering unexpected places.
  4. Mobility. Venice is a walking city with lots of steps!

Obstacles and Delays

Obstacles happen. Curveballs are an inevitable part of travel. Transportation strikes are not uncommon in Italy and arriving in Venice during one of these strikes was a pretty significant hit to our already maxed out itinerary.

Your Preferred Pace

How much ground do you want to cover? Do you mind having a jam-packed itinerary that has you running from sun up to sun down or do you prefer a more relaxed pace? Venice isn’t that big, but there are a ton of things to do and some of them can be very time consuming depending on whether or not you planned in advance.

Hidden Gems

Inevitably, as you wander throughout Venice, you will uncover unexpected places. Here, getting lost is likely but it’s also one of the best (and cheapest) ways to experience Venice. Whether that is a museum that you didn’t notice on the top ten list of things to do in Venice or a book store to get lost in, reserve time for the unexpected. Local shops and quaint cafes hidden along the canals as you wander away from Piazza San Marco will help you escape the frenzy and enjoy the unique peacefulness of the city. These are often the activities that create the fondest memories.

Mobility

Do you have mobility issues? Venice is a walking city and is full bridges that cross over the canals. You will step up and back down a number of stairways in a given day. You can say a few euros to cross the canals in a gondola but that will add up quickly. If you suffer from any mobility issues, Venice will most certainly be a challenge.

All that to say…

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.

My biggest regret in regard to our 2 weeks in Italy is not planning an extra day in both Venice and Florence . Sometimes you don’t realize how significant a bit more time really is. I guess 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.

What to pack for Italy

How many days you should spend in Venice

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 AM 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. If you’re a curious learner, you could wind up disappointed with such a short amount of time. Plus, if you didn’t plan your day in advance, 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 understand 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 and, usually, for a reason. That reason is not for the purpose of selfies or for the ‘gram.

Before you yell at me, yes (responsible) selfies are fun 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? Plan 3 or even 4 days to immerse yourself in this unique city. 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.

Learn How to Make the Most of One Day in Venice

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, it’s enough.

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!

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