Do's and Don'ts for Three Days in Venice

By Jessica Ozar

A short and sweet stay in the City of Canals

Do's and Don'ts for Three Days in Venice

Known as the City of Canals, Venice is actually made up of nearly 120 islands. With so much to see, it might be difficult figuring out what to see and do in only three days. Don't fret. With these tips, you're sure to have an enjoyable visit.

1) Do make time to explore

Venice has much to offer, including St. Mark's Square where visitors can easily spend an entire day seeing St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, and the National Archeological Museum. Tourists can purchase the St. Mark's Square Museum Pass for entry into Doge’s Palace, Museo Correr, National Archeological Museum and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana online at the Civic Museums of Venice website. Most museums are open daily, but it's important to check the opening hours. However, there are many other less explored areas, including Castello to visit the Ventian Arsenel and the northern area called Cannaregio, where visitors can see the medieval Jewish quarter. Make sure to visit the Jewish quarter between Sunday and Friday, as most everything is closed on Saturdays.

2) Plan to take a day trip to see Murano, Burano, and Torcello

These three towns are accessible via motorboat on a half-day excursion. Glassware has been a tradition in Murano since the 1200s, and visitors can observe glassblowing up close. Tour churches from as early as the 600s in Torcello, and browse the shops in Burano, an island known for its lace production. Visitors hoping to learn about the production of lace in Burano will want to avoid this trip on Mondays, as the lace museum is closed. Tours can be booked in advance on Viator's website.

3) Make a dinner reservation

Make a reservation for dinner at a restaurant catering to tourists, or go off the beaten bath to a local's restaurant. Many restaurants have a "tourist's menu," which is offered in English and other languages. While that menu might be easy to understand, it's worth it to try a restaurant without one, like Ostaria a la Campana, which is in the heart of Old Venice. The meals vary by day, depending on what produce is available. Be prepared to eat earlier in Venice than in the rest of Italy. Seven in the evening is an appropriate time for dinner in Venice.

4) Skip midday visits to  St. Mark's Basilica or the Doge's Palace

Don't visit St. Mark's Basilica or the Doge's Palace in the middle of the day. Most tourists are out and about by mid-day. To avoid the crowds, arrive at St. Mark's Basilica before it opens to be one of the first visitors in for the day. Even better, skip the lines by booking tours in advance. Tour operators offer special access to the sites to help reduce the time spent in lines and provide commentary to enhance the visit. The square also clears by nightfall, so take time in the evening to explore once the attractions close.

5) Skip the gondola ride

Don't ride in a gondola. While it may seem to be the ideal attraction in the City of Canals, it's more economical and can be more pleasant to take a boat ride instead, especially when the waters are choppy. The boat rides will take you through the main canals and often into less known areas, as well.