From a distance, you’ve seen the famous Grand Canal, and its offshoots running around and under terracotta-tiled buildings, you’ve seen the pigeons of Piazza San Marco. You’ve watched men in odd striped uniforms sing serenades to loved-up movie stars on Gondolas, and witnessed men in stylish sunglasses, polo shirts and white shorts drinking espresso in a canal side cafe, chatting and gesticulating with one-another.
Ah, isn’t it all just exactly how you want to live your life?
Unlike Rome, the Capital of Italy, Venice is truly a unique city, practically aquatic and full of hidden treasures around each and every watery corner, from artisanal produce to rustic pizzerias, and from huge public plazas to tucked away coffee shops, it has it all.
So, you’re a Venice virgin, and you’re vaguely aware of all of these things here outlined, but, you don’t want to seem like you don’t know what you’re doing.
So, how many days should you actually spend in Venice? Well, lucky for you, I’m here to help, and it really does depend on your purpose for visiting.
Sightseeing and Tourism
Most visitors’ reason for trekking over to this unique little city, or more truthfully, collection of islands, in the Northeast of Italy, is to see the sights, both traditional and contemporary. Traditional sights include: the Grand Canal , San Marco Basilica and Piazza, Doges’ Palace and countless other basilicas, concert halls, bridges and older buildings which litter this once-centre of European trade city.
The amount of time you need here to sightsee is really up to you. The city and islands themselves are not enormous in size, which make it an ideal long-weekend destination just to meander along the canal routes and take in as many of the incredible facades as your vision can muster.
Many of the main attractions can be visited within a relatively swift paced day, which (plus its rather accessible location) is why many Mediterranean cruise liners utilise the city as the perfect spot for a day destination for their passengers.
You won’t get that much time to sit and enjoy an espresso with the locals, but a one-day cruise visit will give you plenty of time to enjoy other European or even Italian cities you might not have considered visiting otherwise.
If just staying a few days feels like a bit of a waste of a trip for you, fear not, Venice is located in a spectacular part of Italy (as if it isn’t all spectacular), with plenty of sights to see outside of the city’s boundaries.
So, why not stay for a fortnight? See everything the region has to offer and go back and make your friends who will surely have missed these spots jealous.
Special Events & Festivals
Venice is a big city for culture and commerce as well as just a tourist attraction, each year there are numerous fairs and expositions for varying industries.
You may already be aware of some, or want to know more to see if they showcase anything in your preferred area. For this, VeniceWelcome has created an events listing outlining what’s on in the city over the year, with TimeOut also having a designated site for the city.
The Venice Biennale is one of the world’s most renowned contemporary art and design festival, running from May to November every two years (hence the name) on odd years, which means 2017 is another biennale year.
With over 30 international pavilions, it’s best not to rush when visiting. Take at least two or three days to properly get around the exhibitions and find new works from your favourite up and coming artists.
Romantic City Getaway
Perhaps you and your partner just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of work, the kids and everyday life for a long weekend locked away in your own space with a view, some room service and a ‘do not disturb’ sign hanging from the door?
Well, look no further. With canal views, back alley retreats, incredible Italian food and wine all within one city, you’ll be sure to find the hotel of your dreams to complete that Hollywood-esque romantic getaway.
“Oh, but that’s got to be way out of my budget?”
Au contraire, if you can’t manage to find something via travel agents or hotel booking sites, discount sites such as Groupon usually have super competitive pricing on really nice hotels and often with deals thrown in such as 50% off a three-course meal for two, etc.
Get hunting and you can definitely live like a prince or princess on a pauper’s price range.
So really, in conclusion, there is no conclusion…
Typically, visitors stay for a few days and soak in as much as they can, but with a buzz about the city 24/7, why just do what everyone else does?
Either way, whether you stay for two days or two weeks, you’re sure to fall in love with Venice’s hidden and more obvious gems.
And even if you’re just there for food and drink, who would struggle to eat pizza for a whole week?
If you have any suggestions to improve this piece, or have experience of visiting Venice, why not tell us about it in the comments section below?