In this Venice day trip itinerary, you’ll see all of Venice in one day: Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal, St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, take a gondola ride, and Burano.
When I visited Venice, Italy, I only had one day to explore. So, I was determined to make the most out of that day.
If I was able to see Venice in a day, you can too. Here’s how.
Venice Day Trip Itinerary: Morning
Rialto Bridge & Grand Canal
Start your Venice day trip as early as possible, around 7:00 a.m. if you can.
After breakfast at your hotel, head to the famous Rialto Bridge, located on the Grand Canal.
Like all of Venice’s attractions, Rialto Bridge becomes crowded, so it’s best to go early to beat the crowds.
For the perfect Rialto Bridge photo, find an empty gondola dock facing the bridge.
Then, cross the Rialto Bridge to get a magical view of the Grand Canal.
The Grand Canal is the largest canal in Venice and offers some of the best canal and architecture views of the city.
St. Mark’s Square (St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace & Bridge Sighs)
Next, no later than 9:00 a.m., go to St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco in Italian).
St. Mark’s Square is about a 30 minute walk from Rialto Bridge. Otherwise, it’s a 30-40 minute vaporetto ride from Rialto Bridge.
When you get to St. Mark’s Square, you will immediately see St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica San Marco) and its bell tower, St. Mark’s Campanile.
To visit St. Mark’s Basilica during your day trip, you will definitely need to book skip-the-line entry tickets in advance. Admission sells out, and the line lasts hours.
Just around the corner from the basilica toward the water, you will find the entrance to Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) as well as the infamous Bridge of Sighs.
While my husband and I were able to buy an entrance ticket into Doge’s Palace without waiting for hours in line, this is rare.
You should plan to book skip-the-line entrance tickets to Doge’s Palace too to save time.
After exploring St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace, don’t forget to check out the neighboring Bridge of Sighs.
The Bridge of Sighs was the last view of the Venice that 1600s prisoners saw before they were locked behind bars.
Venice Day Trip Itinerary: Afternoon
Next, around noon, grab a quick cicchetti lunch. Cicchetti is Venice’s version of Spanish tapas or American appetizers. You can easily fill up on a few of these budget-friendly hors d’oeuvres.
Then, find a nearby gondolier to take an iconic gondola ride through Venice.
Gondoliers are located all around the city (you’ll see signs everywhere), so you shouldn’t have to wait in a long line. There will be signs throughout the canals with gondola ride hours and rates.
A 30 minute gondola ride in Venice will run you upward of 80 euro during the daytime.
At night, 30 minute gondola rides in cost around 100 euro.
Although the gondola rides are expensive, I can assure you the short rides worthwhile.
In fact, I was so happy after our gondola ride that I actually cried tears of joy.
Take The Vaporetto To Burano
Afterward, jump on the vaporetto (or private water taxi, if you’d prefer) and take the hour-long boat ride to Burano.
Burano is a Venetian island known for its vibrantly colored homes and traditional lacemaking.
You only need about an hour to walk around the island, which makes it a perfect addition to this Venice day trip itinerary.
While in Burano, you can watch a traditional lacemaking demonstration, support the local businesses, try a local “Essi” cookie and, if you’re lucky, admire swans along the main canal.
Additionally, don’t miss a chance to witness the Leaning Tower of Burano.
You don’t need to worry about transportation while in Burano, as the entire island is walkable. There is only one vaporetto dock area, which makes navigation easy.
Just make note of when the last vaporetto leaves Burano so you don’t get stuck on the island overnight.
Venice Day Trip Itinerary: Evening
Italian Dinner & Gelato Along The Canals
Once back in Venice, prepare for a relaxing evening filled with fine Italian dining.
I have traveled all over Italy, and the food in Venice is my favorite.
I personally recommend the four cheese gnocchi from Trattoria Da Gianni.
We went to Trattoria Da Gianni on a whim because it was steps from our hotel, Hotel Antico Doge (my top Venice hotel recommendation), and it is one of the best meals I’ve had in my entire life.
Their caprese salad was delicious too.
Then, finish off your day in Venice with a decadent scoop of Italian gelato.
While I don’t have a specific gelateria recommendation, I do suggest trying mango flavor. Mango gelato is readily available and, in my opinion, the best gelato flavor.
You can find a gelateria on just about every street.
Venice Day Trip Tours
Alternatively to planning your own Venice day trip itinerary, you can book a guided Venice day trip tour.
Guided tours are perfect for travelers who don’t want to deal with travel logistics like transportation.
To maximize your short time in Venice, I recommend booking one of the following guided tours:
- Starting in Venice: Venice, St. Mark’s, Doge’s Palace, Rialto and Gondola Tour (skip-the-line entries and gondola ride included).
- Starting in Venice: Venice, St. Mark’s, Doge’s Palace, Murano and Burano Tour (skip-the-line entries and gondola ride included).
- From Florence: Venice in One Day: Guided Tour From Florence.
- From Milan: Venice City Highlights Guided Day Trip.
How To Get To Venice For A Day Trip
The best way to get to your Venice day trip is by train because Venice is car free.
Direct train routes will get you to Venice fastest, and, therefore, give you more time in Venice.
Rome to Venice by train: 3h 59m.
Florence to Venice by train: 2h 14m.
Milan to Venice by train: 2h 15.
If you drive to Venice in a car, you have to park outside of the city near the airport and public transport (vaporetto) or water taxi into Venice.
You can park at the Venice Historic Center in the Tronchetto parking garage.
Rome to Venice by car: 6h 16m + transport into Venice.
Florence to Venice by car: 2h 51m + transport into Venice.
Milan to Venice by car: 2h 50m + transport into Venice.
Next, if you’re flying into Venice’s Marco Polo airport, which is outside of the city, you’ll take the Alilguna water boat or a water taxi into Venice.
Once you’re in Venice, you can walk to the main attractions, take the vaporetto public transport (use the CityMapper app to navigate) or take water taxis.
Of course, you can also save the logistical headache by booking a guided Venice day trip tour as mentioned above.
Is it possible to do Venice in 1 day?
Yes, it is possible to do Venice in one day.
If you visit Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal and St. Mark’s Square in the morning, and spend your afternoon with a gondola ride and trip to Burano island, you’ll be able to see everything in Venice in one day.
Is it worth it to do Venice for a day?
Yes, it is absolutely worth it to do Venice for a day.
The Venice canals are world-renown for a reason.
Everyone should see Venice at least once in their lifetime. So, even if you only have one day for Venice, you should still add the city to your Italy trip itinerary.
Is a day and a half in Venice enough?
Yes, a day and a half in Venice is enough to see all the main attractions, such as the gondola rides, canals, Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs and St. Mark’s Square.
As you can see, your day trip to Venice will be fully and busy. But, it will be a memorable day trip, nonetheless.
How many hours is enough in Venice?
If you’re short on time, you can see the main Venice attractions (Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal and gondolas) in just 2-3 hours.
But, ideally, you should spend at least 2-3 days in Venice.
My husband and I only spent one day in Venice, and we wish we would have had a full week there.
What can you do in Venice for a few hours?
If you only have a few hours in Venice, you can take a gondola ride, visit the Grand Canal at Rialto Bridge, and stop by St. Mark’s Square.
Have any questions about spending one day in Venice, Italy? Leave a reply below or send me a message on Instagram. I’m happy to help!
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