In case you didn’t know, it is totally possible to do Venice in a day as part of a more extensive trip to Italy or Europe. The City of Canals is relatively small and packs a mighty punch in terms of attractions and things to do all within the centro storico, or historic center of the city.
The city is best known for its intricate waterways, a plethora of bridges, and gondoliers transporting people from point a to point b. It’s one of those places that you simply have to experience. If you’re planning a quick trip, it’s best to plan your day in advance to maximize your time and navigate the notorious crowds.
So, if you’re hoping to see Venice in a day, we better get started…
One Day Venice Itinerary
It is essential to start your day in Venice early, especially if you want to avoid the crowds. If you can start before 8 am, you’ll find the city much more peaceful than later in the day.
One of the first things you should do is stroll along the Rialto Bridge. It is one of four bridges that cross Venice’s Grand Canal. It’s the oldest and certainly the most impressive.
Shops line both sides of the bridge, and it is close to the Rialto Market. After you’ve crossed the bridge, spend some time browsing all the lovely souvenirs.
Next, head to Piazza San Marco. This is the city’s most famous square. It will be full of tourists and vendors alike. What makes this area so special, though, is the architecture and the backdrop of the lagoon.
Once you’ve wandered around the plaza and seen the infamous pigeons, head to St. Mark’s Basilica. This stunning church is well worth the visit!
St. Mark’s opens at 9:30 each morning, but visitors tend to line up well beforehand. Entrance into the church is free, but you can pay 3 Euros to skip the line if you’re short on time—or patience.
If you’d like to learn more about the church, you can always take a guided tour. There are tour options that combine St. Mark’s and the Doge’s Palace. The next must-see place on your day in Venice.
The Doge’s Palace is seriously breathtaking. It used to be the Venitian Empire’s seat of government, and the interior and exterior are equally beautiful. From here, you can see the famous Bridge of Sighs, an important landmark that connects the prison to the interrogation rooms at the Doge’s palace. The Bridge of Sighs is an iconic spot, and its baroque architecture is the perfect photo op!
After exploring the palace, rest your feet and take a minute to recharge. Head to a café for a delicious Italian coffee or go for a gondola ride. While the ride is a bit of a tourist gimmick, it is still an iconic experience. Gondoliers often put on a show maneuvering through the tight canals. And when in Venice, right?
The ride itself may seem a little pricey, but it is possible to do a shared gondola ride if you don’t mind sharing your boat with strangers. Honestly, seeing Venice from the water is something you’ll never forget.
Once you’ve had some time to relax, wander over to the Riva Degli Schiavoni, Venice’s waterfront. You’ll be able to snap some lovely photos of the gondolas on the lagoon and even catch another glimpse of the Bridge of Sighs.
Since you are only on a day trip in Venice, finding time for the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute might be difficult. While you probably won’t have time to go inside, it is still worth going. And it’s the perfect place to see the sunset.
If you have time before the sun goes down or before catching your ride out of the city, be sure to check out Libreria Acqua Alta. This bookstore, located between the San Marco and Castello neighborhoods, is a book lover’s dream. The store is packed with vintage titles and interesting displays that will captivate any literature lover.
Ideally, you’ll have more time than a day to explore Venice and all its charms. However, it is possible to enjoy a lot of it in one big jam-packed day.
Where to Go After Venice
After you’ve had your fill of the Floating City, you can easily head to yet another charming European city.
If you’re interested in exploring lesser-known destinations, travel to Piran, Slovenia. Piran is a beautiful coastal city on the Adriatic Sea known for impressive medieval walls that rival Dubrovnik.
Venice to Piran ferry tickets are available for about $80 per person with Venezia Lines. While the price tag is a little steep, Venezia Lines ferry boats are very nice and well-maintained. The trip will take about two and a half hours.
Another option is Pula, Croatia—a charming town on the Istrian peninsula known for its great beaches and fascinating Roman ruins.
The ferry from Venice to Pula departs daily and takes about three and a half hours. Tickets with Venezia Lines start around $85 per person.
No matter where you go, you’ll have plenty of fond memories of Venice to take with you and lots of new adventures to look forward to! Visiting Venice will certainly be a highlight of your trip.
Venice is a popular tourist destination year-round, but crowds and weather may impact when you decide to book your trip. Weather is fairly temperate all year, but heat and humidity are intense during summer. It is crowded from May-October, February, and during the holiday season.
The Carnival of Venice dates change yearly, but it’s two weeks before Ash Wednesday—usually in late February. The carnival celebrates Venice Republic’s victory over its enemy in 1162.
Traveling around the city can be an issue if you have limited mobility. There are over 400 bridges, most of them hundreds of years old, and stairs are pretty hard to avoid. The cobblestone streets may also pose a problem. However, many of the vaporetti (water buses) are wheelchair friendly. If you plan your time carefully, you can see a lot of the centro storico this way. Wheelchair users get a discount on vaporetti tickets.