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Bucket list trip:

Venice 5-day itinerary

  • Italy

Last updated: 04 April, 2024

Where to go and what to see in Venice to get the most from your trip – a 5-day itinerary from destination expert and travel writer Nicky Swallow.

Editor note – Nicky has not included specific recommendations of where to stay each day unless it’s necessary. Instead, see the ‘Where to stay’ section in our Venice destination guide.

Day 1

3

Start this art-packed day with a stand-up coffee at historic Cafe Florian, then explore St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and the great, glittering Basilica of St. Mark. Grab a sandwich at Cafe Quadri before crossing the Grand Canal to visit the Accademia gallery.

After a rest, head to buzzy Campo Santa Margherita for a spritz before an al fresco dinner at Oniga in Campo San Barnaba.

Coffee at Café Florian

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

Coffee at Café Florian

Experience

Dating from 1720, world-famous Florian’s is a jewel-box of a café, all mirrors, stuccoes and frescoes. Join the locals perched at the bar rather than pay way over the odds for a table seat where a simple espresso is likely to set you back €10.

Good for age: 18+

Doge’s Palace

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

  • Bucket List Experience

Doge’s Palace

Experience

A glittering monument to the Golden Age of Venice – ducal, divine and downright decadent. From Casanova’s rooftop escapade to the twisty tale behind Tintoretto’s enormous Paradise paintings, these walls have seen Venetian history at its most decadent and devious.

Adult price 25

Good for age: 18+

St Mark’s Basilica

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

  • Bucket List Experience

St Mark’s Basilica

Experience

Surely the most exquisite, beguiling and opulent place of worship in Italy, St Mark’s cathedral was built to satisfy the wildest dreams of the Doges and is rich in glittering Byzantine mosaics, Gothic carvings and sumptuous treasures.

Good for age: 18+

Day 2

2

Catch the vaporetto to Murano, the glass-blowers island. Visit Berenga studio to watch the experts at work and explore the dozens of little glass shops flanking the main canal. Head for Osteria Acquastanca for a light lunch.

Finish the day in romantic style with a sunset gondola glide along Venice’s quiet backwaters before a Bellini at Harry’s Bar and dinner at elegant Il Covo.

Glass-blowing in Murano

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

  • Bucket List Experience

Glass-blowing in Murano

Experience

Watch in fascination as authentic artisans blow, snip, twist and tug at fiery blobs of liquid to transform them into exquisite glassy artworks – as they have done for centuries.

Good for age: 8+

Venice’s islands

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

  • Bucket List Experience

Venice’s islands

Experience

Venice is set in a lagoon surrounded by water and 39 islands. Murano and Burano are the best known, but there are others that are worth exploring, especially if you fancy getting away from it all, and each offers a very different atmosphere.

Good for age: 18+

Day 3

2

Start your day in the huge Frari church and then slip into the nearby Scuola di San Rocco to admire the Tintorettos before a canalside lunch at La Zucca (booking essential).

Sign up for a mask-making class at Ca’ Macana, and end the day with a vaporetto ride along the length of the Grand Canal and hop off at the Ca’ D’Oro stop for a traditional Venetian dinner at Osteria La Vedova.

Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Experience

Of all Venice’s many churches, the huge, Franciscan barn-like Frari (1338-1469) is one of the most art-packed. It boasts the second-highest bell tower in the city and a severe exterior, but once inside, the quality of the art is extraordinary.

Adult price 2

Good for age: 18+

Learn to make a Carnevale mask

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

Learn to make a Carnevale mask

Experience

Although Carnevale falls in February/March, you can learn to make your own Venetian Carnival masks year-round at one of several workshops in the city. Experienced artisans teach the art of papier-maché mask making and decorating in traditional Venetian style. Great for kids and adults alike.

Adult price 42

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1 hour

When: Monday-Saturday

Freq: daily

Website >

Day 4

4

Weather permitting, catch the vaporetto to the Lido for a beach day; rent a sunbed and umbrella at one of the bagnos, and break for lunch at cool Al Merca.

On the way back, stop off to explore the huge Arsenale shipyards, especially if the Biennale is running.

Sign up for an early evening Cicchetti tour; that will take care of dinner.

Lido

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

Lido

Experience

The Lido – a long, slim sand barrier separating Venice from the open sea – is a tranquil residential suburb that morphs into a beach destination in summer; it’s THE place to be seen during the Film Festival. For swimming and sunbathing, head to the free beach at Alberoni.

Good for age: 4+

Venice’s islands

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

  • Bucket List Experience

Venice’s islands

Experience

Venice is set in a lagoon surrounded by water and 39 islands. Murano and Burano are the best known, but there are others that are worth exploring, especially if you fancy getting away from it all, and each offers a very different atmosphere.

Good for age: 18+

Venice Biennial of Visual Arts

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

  • Bucket List Experience

Venice Biennial of Visual Arts

Experience

Weird-and-wonderful artworks and extraordinary architectural projects transform Venice into a surreal, ancient-meets-modern galaxy of contemporary culture for the summer months.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 8 months

When: April-November

Freq: bi-annually

Cicchetti Crawl

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

  • Bucket List Experience

Cicchetti Crawl

Experience

Cicchetti are Venetian tapas, traditionally served in a bacaro (wine bar), and often eaten by the Venetians before lunch or dinner. Take a cicchetti tour – guided or independent –  and sample these weird and wonderful dishes.

Adult price -

Good for age: 18+

Duration: -

Day 5

2

Splash out on a pair of Venetian velvet slippers at Pièd-a-Terre (Campo Santo Stefano) then wander over to the Peggy Guggenheim museum.

Zip across the Giudecca canal to Alla Palanca for a waterside lunch and wander the quiet backstreets of this very Venetian neighbourhood.

For a last blast, order a Negroni on the canalside terrace of the Gritti Palace hotel, and stay to dinner (bank balance permitting).

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

  • Bucket List Experience

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Experience

American millionairess collector Peggy Guggenheim’s glittering display of avant-garde art is housed in her own 18th-century palazzo on the Grand Canal.

Adult price 12

Good for age: 18+

Gritti Palace

  • Venice, Veneto, Italy

  • Official star rating:

Gritti Palace

Place to Stay

The grandest Dame of Venice’s classic hotels and wonderfully opulent, the Gritti lords it over the Grand Canal from a superb spot across from the Salute church and just 10 minutes’ walk from Piazza San Marco.

Average £1300

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club