A Magical Day Trip to Venice, Italy

Planning a day trip to Venice, Italy? Is a day in Venice enough? Is it possible to see Venice in a day? We answer those questions and cover how to get to Venice. We will share highlights not to miss during your short time in Venice.

Venice, Italy, is a beautiful day trip destination, but it is also one that you’ll want to return to and spend a longer length of time. It’s definitely possible to make a day trip to Venice, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to see everything there is to offer.

With some planning, you can enjoy some top things to do in Venice as well as spend time getting lost in the city of canals. Because getting lost is one of the most magical things to do in Venice, Italy.

Located in northeastern Italy, Venice is a city with many names. It’s known as The Floating City, The City of Canals, and the City of Bridges… to name a few. No matter what you call it, one thing is for sure – Venice is a magical city and a reason to visit Italy. In our opinion, Venice is a must-see destination.

With that said, if you’re looking for a dose of being immersed in Venetian culture and seeing a few of the top sights, a day trip to Venice will work.

When planning your trip, it’s important to know how you’re going to get there. Venice is accessible by train from many cities in Italy. However, we would only recommend making a day trip to Venice if it’s about 2 hours or less in travel time from where you’re staying.

Anything more than that, and the effort to get there ends up being more than a hassle. You will have very little time to enjoy the essence of what this beautiful city offers.

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Read on and find out how to appreciate Venice in a day.

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We took a day trip to Venice from Florence once, and it was the perfect amount of time to see what makes this city so special. We left early in the morning and arrived by train around 10 am.

We had enough time to walk around, see a few sights, enjoy lunch, and get back on the train by early evening. We hired a local guide to give us a 2-hour Venice walking tour which was worth every penny and helped us make the most of our time.

If you’re in Venice for the day with a cruise ship, a walking tour, or a food tour is a great start. No better way than to have a local show you around.

Here are some highlights not to miss during your trip to Venice in a day:

  • Walk around the city and get lost in the narrow streets and alleyways
  • Stroll across one of the many bridges that cross the canals
  • Take a Gondola ride
  • Visit St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Wander through the Rialto Market

Is a day trip to Venice worth it?

Yes and no. A day trip to Venice is worth it if you enjoy and are okay with getting a taste of a destination. Because there is so much more to Venice that you can fit in one day. A day in Venice is enough to leave a lasting impression.

Can you do a day trip to Venice from Florence?

Yes. It’s only a 2 hr and 14-minute train ride. We recommend taking the earliest train from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia. Make sure to book your return ticket on one of the latest trains back to Florence. Be prepared for a long day.

Can you do a day trip to Venice from Rome?

No, we would not recommend a day trip to Venice from Rome. It’s a 7-8 hour train ride. While you could technically take a 1-hour flight, once you start to add the travel time to the airport, getting through security, and waiting to depart, it’s not worth it.

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Day Trip to Venice: How to Get to Venice

Just looking to see how to spend your day in Venice? Click on the link to skip to the Venice day itinerary.

vaporetto riding along the grand canal in venice italy

1. Pre-book your entry to Venice

Important! Starting in June 2022, you may need to pre-book your entry to Venice. This applies to everyone that is just entering the city for a day. In the future, the city is planning to charge a small fee.

We will update this article as soon as we have more info.

2. Research Train Schedules

On a day trip to Venice, you want to take the train to the Venezia Santa Lucia station.

Unless you’re arriving via plane for a longer stay, the best way to get to Venice is by train.

You do not want to take rent a vehicle and drive there. The parking will be a hassle. As Venice is on water, there are no roads leading in or out of the city.

If you’re taking the train, make sure to check the schedules in advance. Trains run frequently, but they can also get crowded, especially during peak season.

See train times to Venezia Santa Lucia and book your tickets on ItaliaRail. Do not forget to validate your tickets at the train station before boarding.

Here are some destinations that you can easily take a day trip to Venice from:

  • Day trip from Florence to Venice is a 2 hr 14min ride one-way.
  • Day trip from Bologna to Venice is a 1 hr 34 min train ride one-way.
  • Day trip from Verona to Venice is a 1 hr 12 min train ride one-way.
  • Day trip from Padua to Venice is a 27 min train ride one-way.
  • Day trip from Ferrara to Venice is a 1 hr 3 min train ride one-way.

3. Arrive at Venezia Santa Lucia

Once you arrive at the train station in Venice, you can take a Vaporetto (water bus) to Grand Canal. There are also express water buses that can take you to San Marco.

You can also take a private water taxi. It will cost more but worth it to maximize your day in Venice as the lines for the Vaporetto are usually very long.

The final option is to walk from the train station to San Marco, which is about a 30-minute walk.

Tip: Bring a paper street map of Venice, Italy with you. You’ll want to use that in combination with Google Maps.

Venice in a Day: What to See and Do

gondolas along the venetian lagoon in venice italy

One of the best things to do in Venice, especially on a day trip to Venice, it’s to wander around. When we first visited, that’s what we enjoyed the most. We got lost in the narrow streets and alleyways, discovered new bridges, and popped into little shops. This is where you discover the best of Venice and what makes it so magical.

At the start of the day, we did have a local guide that shared with us some of the Venetian history and culture and what it’s like to live there. Also took us to see some hidden architectural gems.

It was raining on and off the day we were there. If there is rain in the forecast, be prepared to wear proper attire, especially footwear, as San Marco starts to retain water during heavy rains.

These are some of the highlights you’ll come across as you explore Venice in a day, including San Marco, the center of Venice, and beyond.

Here is a Google Maps of the top sites you don’t want to miss while spending one day in Venice.

Grand Canal

grand canal of venice italy

The Grand Canal is the main waterway in Venice. It’s over 3 kilometers long and runs through the heart of the city. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Venice, and for good reason. The views from the canal are simply amazing and a sight you’ll never forget.

There are a number of ways to enjoy the Grand Canal. Many take gondola rides, but the Grand Canal is not the best place. Think of the Grand Canal as a highway.

A ride on a water bus (Vaporetto) down the canal is a great way to experience it and a cheaper option. If you’re taking a Vaporetto from the train station, you will get to experience the ride through the canal as you make your way to San Marco.

You can also take a water taxi.

One Day in Florence, Italy

Planning a day in Florence, Italy? We have compiled 3 itinerary options for a day in Florence that can easily turn into three days. See how to spend a wonderful day in the city of Renaissance.

Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Venice. It spans the Grand Canal and offers breathtaking views of the city. It is the oldest bridge in Venice, and it is truly a sight to behold. The bridge is made of white limestone and has two inclined ramps and a central arch.

Every day, visitors flock to the bridge to take in the magnificent views of Venice’s canals and architecture. It is also a popular spot for tourists to take photos and enjoy the views of Venice’s canals.

The Rialto Bridge is a must-see for any traveler to Venice. Make sure to take some time to walk across the bridge and enjoy the views.

If you do decide to walk from the train station to San Marco, you will have to cross the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal.

Rialto Market

produce at rialto market

For foodies, Rialto Market is the perfect spot to see where locals do some of their shopping. If you are there early enough, you can see this market in full swing. There are a number of stalls selling everything from fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish for the day.

The market is not far from the Rialto Bridge along the Grand Canal.

Tip: Do not touch anything as vendors do not appreciate that. Look, and if you want to buy something, they will make the selection.

Piazza San Marco

st marks square in venice italy

St. Mark’s Square is the main piazza in Venice. It’s home to some of the most popular attractions in Venice, including St. Mark’s Basilica, the Campanile, and the Doge’s Palace.

The piazza is a great place to people watch and soak in the atmosphere of Venice. Make sure to visit at different times of day to see how it changes throughout the day.

St. Mark’s Basilica

st marks basilica on a rainy day

In St. Mark’s Square, you won’t miss St. Mark’s Basilica. It is one of the most beautiful churches globally, and photos do not do it justice. The church is incredibly ornate and if you have the time, visit inside the church to see the stunning details up close.

The Basilica entrance is free, but the lines are long. The best way to get inside without all the wait is to book a guided tour.

Doge’s Palace

doges palace as seen from the lagoon in venice italy

Right next to St. Mark’s Basilica is one of our favorite landmarks in Venice, The Doge’s Palace. It’s a beautiful building with gothic architecture. The palace was once the home of the Doges (doge translates to “duke”), the highest official of Venice.

Today, the Doge’s Palace is a popular tourist attraction in Venice. People crowd in front of the palace, just taking in its beautiful facade as well as the breathtaking views across from Riva Degli Schiavoni.

You can plan to go inside and explore the lavish rooms and learn about the history of Venice. Of course, with a day trip to Venice, you may want to leave the visit for next time and just admire it from the outside.

We definitely spent a lot of time around Doge’s Palace, admiring the atmosphere and surroundings.

Bridge of Sighs

gondola about to pass under the bridge of sighs in venice italy

The Bridge of Sighs is an iconic site in Venice you can see while exploring. It’s a covered bridge that connects the New Prison to Doge’s Palace.

The name of the bridge comes from the belief that prisoners would sigh when they saw Venice for the last time as they were being led across the bridge into the prison.

Today, the Bridge of Sighs is considered one of those romantic spots in Venice. It is said that when a couple of kisses while passing under it on a gondola ride, they will have eternal love.

You can see the Bridge of Sighs when you cross Ponte della Paglia on foot.

Gondola Ride

people taking gondola rides in the narrow canals of venice italy

Some may think you can’t go to Venice and not do a gondola ride. Sure, it’s one of those attractions that is a bit touristy, but it’s also one of those magical, once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Italy. It is more than likely on your bucket list that is worth checking off and remembering for a lifetime.

Gondola rides are not cheap, costing around 80 euros for a 30-40 minute ride. The cost is for the gondola and the time itself. You can split the cost and do a shared gondola ride with others to save some money.

Before you go ahead and try to share the gondola, ask yourself, do you want to share this experience with strangers? Remember that the gondola ride is meant to be ridden in pairs. You may want to consider splurging on this experience.

You do not need to book gondola rides in advance. You can simply walk up to a gondola dock, speak to a gondolier and make arrangements.

You have the option to take a gondola ride either at the Grand Canal or through the quieter Venice canals. However, we suggest that you take a gondola ride away from the tourist areas and through the smaller Venice canals. It will be a more intimate setting, away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. And, it’s simply more romantic.

In the end, it’s totally optional and up to you how important this experience is to you.

Explore and Get Lost

a canal in venice italy with boats

Literally, get lost.

The magic of Venice is found in its narrow streets, alleyways, and canals. Once you get away from the main attractions and piazzas, you’ll find a different Venice. It’s quieter, more local, and definitely more charming.

narrow charming canal in venice italy

Wandering around without a plan is our favorite way to explore any city, and Venice is no exception. If you stay in the heart of Venice the entire time, you will tire of the crowds and leave with a meek opinion of Venice. So make sure to walk away from the touristy center and explore.

Just keep an eye on the time when you have to start heading back to catch your train.

You will need to look at maps while in Venice. Maybe while exploring, you just simply get lost, but on the way back to the train, you may need the help of a map. You can use Google Maps but don’t rely on it 100%.

Shopping

Pop into local shops and do some shopping. You can really find some special souvenirs here to take back home, like anything made with authentic Murano glass or handmade Venetian masks.

We bought home an authentic handmade Venetian mask. As well as some beautiful jewelry made from Murano glass to gift to close family members that they continue to cherish.

This is just a taste of what Venice in a day would be like.

There is so much more to explore in Venice, and you may want to plan more time there in the future. But, if you’re short on time, a day trip to Venice is definitely doable and worth it. Just don’t feel like you have to rush through and see it all. Keep in mind that a day is limited.

Have you ever been to Venice? What are your top tips for a day trip? Let us know in the comments!

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