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When people think of Venice, they often imagine a city of romance and mystery. And while that is certainly true, there is much more to see and do in this amazing city. With so much to explore, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you only have one day in Venice.
That’s why we’ve put together this 1 day Venice itinerary – so you can make the most of your time in one of the most beautiful cities on earth!
Venice is one of my favourite cities in the world… so far. It’s impossible not to love the floating city, with the maze of canals, the paths and bridges connecting it all together and of course the incredible architecture.
Arriving in Venice makes you feel like you have just stepped onto the set of a movie about some ancient water city. Not so far from the truth, I guess.
We only had a couple of days to spend in the Venice area during our visit a few years back and in fact, it was really only one dayin Venice overall. It was part of a whirlwind guided tour through Europe, 2 months before our wedding.
What we did know when planning this trip was that Venice was a must-see destination, along with Rome. All the other countries and cities we saw were really just bonus add-ons, so long as we got our Italian highlights.
While more than a day would have been great, there is a lot you can see and do during a 1 day Venice day trip!
This Venice one-day itinerary will help you make the most of your short visit.
Planning Your Venice Day Trip
A day trip to Venice can be done as part of a guided day tour, or make your own way there. This 1 day Venice itinerary is one you can plan yourselves so you have the flexibility to do and see what you please.
Where Is Venice?
Venice is a city located in northeastern Italy, on the Adriatic Sea, in the Veneto region.
How To Get To Venice
If you are visiting Venice from elsewhere in the world, the nearest airport is Marco Polo Airport. From there, you can take a water taxi or bus to Piazzale Roma, which is the main transport hub for Venice.
If you’re coming to Venice from another city in Italy, the best way to get there is by train. Venice’s main train station, Santa Lucia Train Station is located on the northwestern edge of the city. There is also a bus terminal and car parking located at Piazzale Roma. From here, you can take a water taxi across to Venice.
The Best Time To Visit Venice
The best time to visit Venice is during the shoulder seasons, which are April-May and September-October. The weather is milder during these months and there are fewer tourists to contend with. We visited during August and it was chaotic being the busy summer tourist season.
Where To Stay In Venice
If you do decide to extend your stay in Venice beyond one day, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. There are many hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs located throughout the city.
VENICE ONE DAY ITINERARY
Now that we’ve gone over the logistics of planning your 1 day Venice itinerary, it’s time to get into the fun part – the actual itinerary!
We recommend you get to Venice really early to start your day so that you do have plenty of time to fit in the best Venice attractions without rushing!
Before all the tourist boats arrive is also the perfect way to enjoy a leisurely stroll through Venice.
St. Mark’s Square
As you walk, make your way toward one of Venice’s iconic landmarks – St. Mark’s Basilica.
As a common starting point when visiting Venice for one day or more, St Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) is where the action begins. Try not to get lost amongst the growing crowds as you admire the iconic structures that surround the square.
On one side, the water is lined with Gondolas and boats. Beside you, St. Mark’s Basilica in all its grandeur, standing opposite San Marco Campanile, and the line of cafes and restaurants in front. You could spend your entire day seeing everything in this one spot but don’t.
If it is high on your list, visit St Mark’s Basilica at the opening so you don’t have to spend a long time waiting in line.
This Byzantine church is one of the most beautiful in all of Italy and definitely worth a visit. If you want to go inside, be sure to dress modestly as there are strict clothing regulations in place.
Start by making your way toward the Rialto Bridge – one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Venice. This bridge spans the Grand Canal and is one of the busiest areas in the city.
If you want to get a good view of the Rialto Bridge, we recommend taking a water taxi or gondola ride down the Grand Canal.
As you walk across the Rialto Bridge, take a moment to soak in the stunning views of Venice. On one side, you’ll see the bustling market area and on the other, you’ll get a glimpse of some of the city’s most beautiful architecture.
Once you’ve crossed the Rialto Bridge, take a stroll through the nearby market area. Here, you can find everything from fresh produce to souvenirs. Be sure to haggle with the vendors for the best prices!
No trip to Venice would be complete without a ride on one of the city’s iconic gondolas. These long, narrow boats are a staple of Venetian life and offer a unique way to see the city.
It’s a cliche tourist attraction, but we loved every second of our gondola ride. Enjoy the relaxing ride through canals and under bridges and if you are lucky enough, you may even get serenaded while you ride.
The best part of exploring by boat is seeing areas of Venice you would not have seen on foot, and having a glimpse of how Venetians live. I loved seeing people coming and going by boat right to their front doorsteps.
Our gondola ride also gave us the chance to see a few of the other sites we did not have time to see up close, like the Basilica of Santa Maria, before arriving back in the main canal.
Most gondola rides go for around 30-45 minutes, so you will need at least an hour to account for lining up and waiting. Ours was pre-booked so no massive lineup with other tourists.
Wander away from the main tourist centre and Piazza San Marco and find yourself somewhere quiet for lunch. We avoided dining anywhere too close to St Mark’s Square to avoid the expensive prices and huge crowds and found plenty of delicious options.
Stroll Through The Streets
Getting lost is something you need to do, even if you only have one day to spend in Venice.
After lunch, we went for walk with no particular destination in mind. We wandered along narrow pathways and bridges, over canals and through tunnels. This was one of our favourite parts of the day, just the two of us away from the massive crowds and chaos.
We enjoyed taking photos and sharing our thoughts on this amazing and beautiful city. Those are always my favourite travel moments – having those ‘What if we lived here?’ conversations and seeing how different life is compared to back home.
San Marco Campanile
It doesn’t take long for the crowds to start arriving at Venice, fairly early in the day. Unfortunately for us, we should have planned our day out in advance because our hesitation upon arrival that morning meant we missed the chance to go inside St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica San Marco) and Doge’s Palace.
The lineup was massive within about half an hour of our arrival. Not uncommon since we were visiting during Summer. Had we waited, we would have missed out on so much else so it was a sacrifice we grudgingly made.
Thankfully the lineup to take the elevator up the top of San Marco Campanile was much more reasonable so in the afternoon this is what we did.
You get some of the best views of Venice and beyond from up the tower, and it’s the perfect photo opportunity. We spent quite a while enjoying the sights from the tower, seeing many of the attractions we would not have time to explore up close.
Our tip would be to head to St. Mark’s Basilica as soon as you arrive if you are keen to go inside, to avoid the massive lineup.
Get this out of the way first up, so you have the rest of the day to explore. Otherwise, like us, you may need to settle for admiring it from the outside, which thankfully is still pretty amazing!
Enjoy Dinner and Venice By Night
For dinner, we dined at a quaint little restaurant that we stumbled upon by accident further away from the tourist hub. It was a long windy walk between buildings and over bridges to find it. The food was amazing. All 5 courses of it!
After that, it was our final chance to enjoy the wonders of this charming and unique floating city before heading back to our hotel.
One day in Venice is not nearly enough, but we did make a good go of it, seeing the highlights and a few unexpected treasures along the way.
If you have the time, you can also explore St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace on an evening tour. This is a great option for after the day tourists have left for the day.
Plan your visit before you arrive so you know what you want to see most
Head straight to St Mark’s Basilica or Doge Palace if you are keen to go inside, before the queues get too long
Or consider a pre-purchased guided tour through St Mark’s and Doge Palace to bypass the queues entirely.
Find a gondola service away from the main tourist area – usually cheaper
Food is also cheaper outside the main piazza area
Avoid the dodgy fake handbag salesmen – we were warned by our tour guide that tourists can be fined for purchasing the fakes
Enjoy Venice by night – far fewer crowds
Take your photos of St Mark’s Square earlier in the day as by the end of the day, the amount of litter and rubbish littering the square is not very appealing.
There are some wonderful day trips possible from Venice, such as a day trip to the Dolomites in North-East Italy, where you will see some more of the incredible scenery.
One day in Venice was not enough for me and one day we will go back, with plans to stay on the island itself rather than on the mainland.
While we may take that opportunity to visit the popular sites we missed this trip, mostly I want the chance to experience a little bit of everyday life living in a city surrounded by water and to really get in there and see the lesser-known areas so often forgotten.
Italy is a beautiful country rich in culture, incredible food and such a long history. You will want to spend as long as you can exploring the different cities and stops along the way. And if you have the time, here is an Italy Itinerary- 10 Days, to make your planning easier.
What would be at the top of your list if you only had one day in Venice?