Venice in 4 Days: the key elements so you don’t miss anything

Venice is a city with countless charms. We show you how to optimize your time to the maximum and see the essentials in four days.

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

10 min read

Venice in 4 Days: the key elements so you don’t miss anything

Driving the Gondola | ©Chepté Cormani

Venice is part of that small group of unrepeatable cities. Its air between elegant and decadent, its incredible history, its artistic heritage, its canals... La Serenissima is, without a doubt, a place to get lost in while discovering new things every minute. In this article I show you how to organize your visit to the city of canals in 4 days without dying trying.

Day 1: Immerse yourself in the must-sees of historic Venice

St. Mark's Square| ©Massimo Adami
St. Mark's Square| ©Massimo Adami

Venice is famous all over the world for its artistic heritage. A legacy that is palpable in every street, on every corner and, practically, on every tile. Star Renaissance architects such as Palladio, Sansovino or Lombardo left in the city of canals examples of their best art. We will begin, therefore, getting to know this romantic and artistic Venice that captivates so many visitors. First stop: St. Mark's Square. Then we will cross the Rialto Bridge and have lunch at Campo de Santa Margherita.

Start at the heart of Venice: St. Mark's Square

I can't think of a better way to start than with a tour of St. Mark's Square. Without a doubt, St. Mark's Square is the most representative urban space of the city; especially for the presence of the imposing St. Mark's Basilica. An exceptional monument of Byzantine origin and with no less than 5 domes. The Campanile is not far behind in terms of quality and grandeur: its 98 meters will give you great views. I show you how to enjoy both monuments to the fullest.

Visiting both monuments at your leisure will take you 2 hours (unless you decide to see the Museum, the Treasury or the Golden Spade, which would require more time). However, I advise you to go with all the information already in hand. You will find here all the information on how to visit St. Mark's Basilica.

Book a tour of St. Mark's Square

Cross the Rialto Bridge

We leave St. Mark's Square for a moment and go to the Rialto Bridge, about 450 meters walking distance. This will give us the opportunity to see one of the icons of Venice. The Rialto Bridge, a late Renaissance bridge 48 meters long made of stone. It highlights the structure of semicircular arches culminating in a central arch topped by a pediment.

From there you can enjoy great views of the Grand Canal. In fact, nothing prevents you from lingering a bit in this space. Find out more about what to see on the Grand Canal here. You can also browse (and buy) something in the various souvenir and craft stores that are nearby on both banks of the river. You can also book a gondola ride in Venice- you'll love it!

Book a gondola ride in Venice

Head to Campo Santa Margherita for lunch

Campo Santa Margherita| ©Didier Descouens
Campo Santa Margherita| ©Didier Descouens

Once we have crossed the Rialto Bridge, we will head to Santa Margherita. A charming square full of charm where you can have a bite to eat and recharge your batteries. In addition, you can book a gastronomic tour of Venice. What I advise you to do is to take the route that follows the canal to your left. It will be a golden opportunity to wander around Venice. Some remarkable churches will be on your way:

  • Church of Sant Aponal.
  • Rectoral Church of San Polo.
  • Church of St. Thomas.

On this route, you will also have crossed two narrow canals before arriving at Campo Santa Margherita. The walk will have been about 20 minutes, not long but, if we add it to the route behind us, enough to sit and eat. In Santa Margherita, a rectangular square flanked by beautiful traditional Venetian buildings, you will have everything: restaurants, bars and even take-away pizza places.

Book a food tour of Venice

Relax at Palazzo Vendramin

To wash down your meal, nothing better than a stroll with an artistic dessert. Just 5 minutes from Santa Margherite, in the direction of the Santa Margarethe River, is Palazzo Vendramin. You can contemplate it from the other bank or cross the bridge and take a closer look. This Gothic palace is one of the symbols of Venice, so it is well worth a visit.

Once the visit is complete, we can go back and a 10-minute walk away awaits the gardens of Ca'Rezzonico. A haven of peace in which to sit or lie down on the lawn and, why not, let yourself fall asleep. Once rested, the best thing to do is to return to St. Mark's in the best possible way in Venice: taking a vaporetto!

Return to St. Mark's by vaporetto

A great idea if you want to go around the city enjoying the views provided by the Grand Canal. Here you can check the prices of the vaporetto but the best option is to book your Venice transport card, which includes the vaporetto. We have two options:

  • Take it at the Rialto Bridge;
  • Go to the nearest pier at Ca'Rezzonico.

To learn more, here you have more information about everything you need to know to get around by vaporetto. The journey will reveal the beauties of Venice as seen from the Grand Canal itself. We will also be able to admire another of the icons of Venice: the Church of Santa Maria della Salute. We will be very close to St. Mark's Square.

Depending on the time of day, it may already be dark and we can admire it illuminated at night. The best way to end the day. Especially if we top it off with a dinner in the vicinity of St. Mark's Square. Here are the places to dine around San Marco.

Buy your Venice Transport Card

Day 2: Stroll around Venice and ride the canals by gondola

Touring the Canal| ©Kit Suman
Touring the Canal| ©Kit Suman

The second day in Venice is all about getting to know the city. You've already seen some of the must-see sights. Now you can linger a bit and go for the experiences. So, you can continue your exploration of St. Mark's, then wander the back streets of Venice and finish off with a gondola ride before heading to dinner and getting ready to party.

Experience a little more culture

We started a new day, again in St. Mark's Square. Did you think you had already seen everything in this incomparable Venetian space? There are still a few exceptional monuments. For example, the Martian Library, designed by Sansovino.

Once we have finished, we can wander around the San Marco area, the area of Venice that is embraced by the Grand Canal separating it from San Polo. Interesting alleys await us here, as well as imposing monuments and spaces. We highlight these must-see monuments:

These are just a few ideas. Venice is a city full of monuments of great quality. Here is more information about the best monuments in Venice.

Book your ticket for La Fenice Theater

Take a gondola ride

Gondolas, Venice| ©Chen Kirin
Gondolas, Venice| ©Chen Kirin

One of the most desirable places to take a gondola ride is the area around La Fenice. It is a much better experience to ride a gondola on the narrow canals than on the wider waterways such as the Grand Canal. In the Fenice area you can rent a gondola for a ride.

My advice: make sure you are dealing with reputable gondoliers, as there is a lot of roguery and "pirate" gondoliers are not uncommon. Another issue is, of course, the price. Few things are cheap in Venice.

Gondola rides are usually charged by time; periods of between 30 and 50 minutes are most common. Prices for this time interval range from €20 to €80. My advice is that you go to Venice knowing all the information about it to avoid unforeseen events. Here you have detailed information about the prices for a gondola ride.

Book a gondola ride in Venice

Experience Venice by night

Nighttime is especially good for Venice. The illumination on the waters of the canals gives the city a halo of magic and romanticism. There are several things you can do. The first of all is, of course, dinner. There is no shortage of places in Venice to do this. Usually the most popular area for dining is Canareggio. Its authentic atmosphere and its wide range of restaurants and take-away pizza stores make it a great choice.

If after dinner you feel like doing something else, Venice offers you that possibility! Discover here the best things to do at night in Venice. You can also attend a musical or cultural event. On the official website of the city of Venice you can check some events taking place in Venice. Some of them are free and take place in the evening.

Book a private tour of Venice

Day 3: Visit the museums of Venice and the Jewish Quarter

Accademia Gallery| ©Didier Descouens
Accademia Gallery| ©Didier Descouens

We continue our cultural tour of Venice, this time through its museums. An opportunity not only to contemplate the beauties they host inside. It is also a great opportunity to see some of the most beautiful buildings in Venice, since many of these museums are housed in ancient palaces. We will also complement this cultural visit with a tour of the Jewish Quarter, one of the oldest in Europe.

The Venetian museums

Venice is one of the cradles of European culture. Great painters and composers had in Venice their homeland or place of work. All this has bequeathed us a handful of places to remember their work. Visiting the must-see museums of Venice can take you a good part of the day. I advise you to optimize your time taking into account the means of transport at your disposal. Here is more information on how to get around Venice. These are the museums you can't miss:

  • Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Venice: Delve into the figure of one of the most influential artists and geniuses in the history of Italy.
  • Natural History Museum of Venice: In this museum you can find collections of more than 700 million years.
  • Accademia Gallery: One of the most important in the city. It houses paintings by geniuses such as Titian and Tintoretto.
  • Museum of the Venice of the XVII century: Another of the great museums, since it includes the art of the great epoch of the Venetian culture. There you can contemplate the works of the great artists of the time such as Visconti, Tiepolo and Crosato among others.
  • Peggy Guggenheim Collection: Perfect if you prefer contemporary art. This museum treasures the works of some of the great artists of the twentieth century such as Duchamp, Miró and Picasso.
  • Franchetti Gallery: Located in one of the most beautiful palaces in Venice: Ca D'Oro. Inside you can contemplate some of the masterpieces of the Renaissance.

Book your ticket for the Leonardo da Vinci Museum

Take a tour of the Jewish Quarter

I advise you to reserve some time in your visit if you are going to see Ca D'Oro. Very close to this palace and art gallery is the Jewish Quarter. A place worth visiting for the enormous historical and architectural heritage it treasures. It is located just 15 minutes walk from Ca D'Oro.

It is considered one of the oldest Jewish quarters in Europe. Therefore, I recommend you book a tour of the Jewish quarter, where you can relive the story of the Jew Yorick, the protagonist of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Don't miss the heart of the area, the New Ghetto Field. An open square in which to contemplate without filters the beautiful traditional Venetian architecture. A nice finishing touch to this visit can be to discover the Jewish Museum.

It has been a full day of culture. If you still have time and energy to spare, you can unwind a bit with a more relaxed plan. And, perhaps, more oriented to children, if you are traveling with your family. Here is all the information you will need to visit Venice with children.

Book a tour of the Jewish quarter

Day 4: Enjoy a getaway

Murano| ©Kevin Charit
Murano| ©Kevin Charit

It's already the last day. We've seen the essentials of Venice, but we still have something left: the variety of places located far from the center that are nonetheless very worthwhile. I'll lay out some getaway ideas and show you how to make the most of them.

Take a trip to Murano and Burano

You can't leave Venice without visiting one of these two places located on two islands in the Venetian lagoon. You can reach them by vaporetto or with guided excursions to Burano, Murano and Torcello that include transportation in the price. If, however, you want to go on your own, you can check here how to go to Burano and Murano from Venice.

Even so, I recommend that you book the excursion to Murano and Burano. These are very traditional places, with very low and colorful little houses that are a great plan to spend about half of the day. You can discover here more details about what to see in Murano and what to see in Burano. I advise you, in addition to wandering the streets, to visit the famous glass workshops of Murano. Knowing the traditional way of life and craftsmanship of these small places will perfectly complement your visit.

Book an excursion to Murano and Burano

Don't miss the Lido

Another option is to take a trip to the Lido, a perfect beach for a relaxing last day. Something to which contributes not only the sea but also the local atmosphere that surrounds it. You can reach it by vaporetto, which depart with a frequency of about 15 minutes. You have the following points to take the vaporetto:

  • From Venice Central Station and Bus Station: 30 minutes;
  • From St. Mark's Square: 15 minutes;
  • From Rialto: 30 minutes;
  • From Punta Sabbioni: 15 minutes.

If you are considering going to the Lido, it is probably because you will be visiting Venice during the months of good weather. If so, here are some other things to do in Venice in summer.

And that's all. If you want to expand, you can always check more details here about what to see and do in Venice. And, don't hesitate, Venice is one of those cities you always come back to!

  • Day 1
  • Sights: St. Mark's Basilica, Campanile, Rialto Bridge, Santa Maria della Salute, Palazzo Vendramin.
  • Experiences: Riding the vaporetto, lunch at Campo Santa Margherite, relax in the Ca'Rezzonico Gardens
  • Approximate duration: from morning to mid-afternoon
  • Day 2
  • Monuments: Biblioteca Marciana, La Fenice, Scala Contarini de Bovolo, Ponte dei Sospiri, Palazzo Ducale
  • Experiences: Strolling through San Polo, sailing in gondola, dining in Canareggio, attending events
  • Approximate duration: All day
  • Day 3
  • Sights: Accademia Gallery, Ca D'Oro, Ca'Rezzonico Palace.
  • Experiences: Discover the Venetian masters, get to know the Jewish Quarter.
  • Approximate duration: Morning to mid-afternoon
  • Day 4
  • Sights: Streets of Murano and Burano
  • Experiences: Visit the glass workshops of Murano, sunbathing on the Lido
  • Approximate duration: From morning to mid-afternoon