Venice, the city of many canals, beautiful bridges, narrow streets, amazing architecture, and cute balconies. And don’t forget the romantic gondola rides. Plus, the oh so delicious Italian food. Get ready for this ‘a day in Venice’ itinerary!
This pictoresque city was already on my travel bucket list for a long time, and I’m so happy that I could finally see it with my own eyes. Yes, Italy has plenty of beautiful and romantic cities, but Venice is for sure one of the Italian cities you have to visit at least once. No place on earth is like Venice!
In this one day in Venice itinerary, we will you all about the top things to do in Venice. Venice in a day is enough time to see the highlights this picturesque city has to offer.
But if you have more time, there are also many other stunning places, like the islands Burano and Murano, that are great to visit. We will tell you all about it in this Venice itinerary. Plus about the transportation in Venice, where to stay in Venice, the best time to go, where to eat, and much more.
Before you go, it’s good to know Venice is located on over 110 small islands, which is why there are many canals and bridges!
The city is a pedestrian-only city, so you won’t find any cars, busses, or other motorcycles. The way to get around is by foot or boat.
Best Time to Visit Venice
July and August are two months to avoid, if possible! This time of year it gets the most crowded in Venice and the prices reach their highest point. August especially brings very hot temperatures, high humidity, and many bugs.
April, May, September, and October are the best months to visit Venice. It’s not that busy yet, or most tourists are leaving the city again, and it’s still warm, and dry in the city.
Weather in Venice
It can get pretty cold in Venice too! So if you want to visit Venice during winter, it’s good to know freezing temperatures can happen, mostly from November until March.
Winter in Venice can be cold, and sometimes there’s a bit of snow to make the city even more romantic. If you want to see Venice without many other people, these months might be perfect for you.
The temperatures in July and August are the hottest, reaching 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), but as we said, these are also the busiest months of the year in Venice.
You might have seen pictures of a flooded Venice, this high water (acqua alta) can happen between late September and April, and most likely in the months of November and December. But if you are very unlucky, it happens during the summer months too.
The high water happens because of a very high tide! Luckily, the city is doing things to prevent this from happening, though global warming isn’t helping!
Note: the acqua alta is basically sewage, so even though you might be tempted to step in is barefoot – we do not recommend this!
It can rain a bit every month of the year, but the high water has nothing to do with the rainfall!
How Many Days in Venice
One day in Venice is enough time to see the highlights this picturesque city has to offer. The main area, for tourists, of Venice isn’t that big. That’s why you are able to see a lot of the city in a short period of time!
If you have two or three days, you are also able to see the more quiet and less visited areas of Venice. Plus, you can visit some surrounding islands like Murano and Burano.
With this a day in Venice itinerary, we help you to see the best parts of the city in just one day!
Like Venice, Santorini is a super romantic place to visit too!
How to Get to Venice
Venice is a city located in the northeast of Italy, in the Veneto region. The distance between Milan and Venice is about 270 kilometers (168 miles). And the distance between Venice and the capital city Rome is about 530 kilometers (329 miles).
It’s possible to reach the city multiple ways. Venice has a train station and an airport. And of course, it’s possible to get to Venice by boat!
As the city is car-free, we don’t recommend traveling to Venice by car. But if you have a car, you are able to park your car in a parking garage when you enter the island from the bridge, at Piazzale Roma. Or leave your car on the other side of the water, in Mestre.
If you come to Venice by bus, it will stop at Piazzale Roma too. From here you can either walk, take a water taxi, or go with a water bus (more about transportation in Venice later).
Marco Polo Airport is the international airport of Venice. This is the airport closest to Venice. From Marco Polo Airport, you can either take a private water taxi or the Alilaguna water bus to Venice.
It’s also possible to take an overland taxi or an overland bus to Piazzale Roma. A private water taxi is the only way to get directly to your accommodation.
Another airport to fly to is Treviso Airport. Both airports are international airports. Though, Treviso Airport is mainly used by low-cost airlines. It’s a bit further located from the city, but you might find the best prices flying to Treviso Airport, depending on where you are coming from.
Traveling from Treviso airport to Venice is either possible by taxi or bus.
As of August 2021, cruise ships are banned from driving through the city center of Venice. The city is looking for a permanent port outside the Venice lagoon.
Venice is a car-free city. Buses and cars can reach Piazzale Roma, but from there Venice is entirely pedestrian-only. Transport in Venice is therefore only on the water!
Water taxis are an option but are quite pricey, another option is using the Venice public transportation water buses (called vaporetto). You can buy a 24-hour pass for €20 or a 75-minute ticket for €7.50.
And of course, you can walk!
If you just want to cross the Grand Canal, by water (as there are only a few bridges), you can use the traghetto, which are cheap gondola ferries. Traghetto means ferry and for €2 you can get to the other side of the water.
Venice isn’t a cheap city to visit. But that’s probably not a surprise, as it’s a famous tourist destination. Traveling outside the high season helps if you want to visit Venice on a budget.
- Accommodation €50-€500 per night ($60-$600)
If you want to stay in the heart of Venice in a luxury hotel, you easily pay (more than) €500/$600 a night for two people. But a bit further away from the heart of Venice, it’s more affordable. You can find hotels for €50 per night for two people. Of course, depending on when you book and when you go. And it’s also possible to stay in a hostel if you want a cheap option.
- Meals €15-€30 per person ($18-$36)
- Transport €7.50-€20 a day ($9-$24)
- Activities €10-€150 per activity ($12-$180)
Is tipping expected in Italy? In Italy, tipping is customary, but is definitely not obligatory. Italians usually only tip when they receive exceptional service at a restaurant or when dining in the finest restaurants. It’s usually a 10-15% on top of the bill.
Where to Stay in Venice?
We recommend staying in the neighborhood called San Marco. Since this is the neighborhood where you will spend most of your time during your day in Venice, it’s the tourist heart of the city. So it’s convenient if you also stay here, especially if you visit Venice for the first time. But as this is the most popular area of the city, it’s also the most expensive part of the city to stay.
If you are looking for cheaper accommodation, we recommend looking for accommodation in the area of the Santa Lucia train station or Piazzale Roma. This area is a bit further away from the central area, therefore it’s cheaper. And you don’t need to carry your luggage around the city, or with you on the water bus!
Below we will tell you about some of the best hotels in Venice.
Best Venice Hotels
From budget to mid-range to luxury hotels, you can find them all in Venice. And you can truly go as crazy as you want. Venice isn’t a cheap city to visit, but luckily there are also some options if you want to spend less on accommodation.
Luxury Venice Hotels
Hotel Danieli: Hotel Danieli is a fantastic hotel located a few minutes away from the famous Piazza San Marco. The interior of the whole hotel is so beautiful and typical authentic Venetian. It’s set right on the water and from the rooftop terrace and restaurant, you get the best views on the lagoon and the city of Venice.
The Gritti Palace: Located on Venice’s Grand Canal and overlooking the water and Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute, you can find a beautiful hotel named The Gritti Palace. It’s luxurious, romantic, and serves great food. If you are looking for an unforgettable hotel to stay in Venice and have the money to spend, this is the place to be during your day in Venice!
Baglioni Hotel Luna: Arrive in style with a water taxi or gondola at Baglioni Hotel Luna’s private dock. And within 1 minute you can reach Piazza San Marco by foot. This amazing hotel has beautiful elegant and spacious rooms plus the most beautiful dining and breakfast area, you will be impressed!
Mid-Range Venice Hotels
Palazzetto Pisani Grand Canal: Located in a 16th-century building, Palazzetto Pisani Grand Canal is an authentic Venetian place to stay with wooden decorated ceilings, beautiful paintings, and tapestries. It feels like you step back in time when entering Palazzetto Pisani Grand Canal! The area of the hotel is a bit quieter, but within a short walk, you are on Campo Santo Stefano and have access to restaurants and cafés. Also, every room is air-conditioned, which is very convenient during the hot Venetian summer months.
Hotel Firenze: This Venice boutique hotel is located very close to Piazza San Marco and offers rooms that are elegantly decorated. Have a delicious breakfast on the rooftop terrace of the hotel and enjoy the beautiful views of the tower bell. Shops and restaurants are literally located under and next to the hotel, so you don’t need to walk far to get the things you need. Plus, the staff at Hotel Firenze is helpful in all ways!
Hotel Serenissima: A typical Venetian style hotel which is a bit cheaper than all hotels mentioned above! If you want to stay in the heart of Venice while don’t spend too much money, but still enjoy some Venetian comfort, this might be a great option for you! Each room has air conditioning and is elegantly decorated. Within a 5-minute walk from Hotel Serenissima you are on Piazza San Marco!
Budget Venice Hotels
Hotel Belle Epoque: As we said before, for the cheaper accommodation, it’s better to look outside the neighborhood San Marco. Depending on when you go, the rooms at Hotel Belle Epoque should be between €50-100 per night for a double room. Of course, this can vary. This is a great place to stay close to the train station and bus stop.
Alle Guglie Boutique Hotel: Another great option close to the train station is Alle Guglie Boutique Hotel. In about 7 minutes, you reach the hotel from the train station. And in about 15 minutes you reach the famous Rialto bridge. They offer rooms with air-conditioning and decorated in classic Venetian style.
A Day in Venice Itinerary: Best Things to do in Venice
It’s time to start your day in Venice and experience the best things to do in this beautiful Italian city. One day in Venice is enough time to see the highlights of the city. And we are going to tell you all about where to go and what to see to make the most of your Venice trip.
- Visit Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco, also known as St Mark’s Square, is Venice’s main square. This is the tourist heart of Venice and where it’s often busy. That’s why we highly recommend starting the day here, to beat the big crowds.
If you haven’t had breakfast yet, enjoy breakfast or a coffee on the square (both Caffè Florian and Caffè Quadri are famous cafés to go to). Or in the surrounding streets, where the prices probably will be a bit cheaper.
St Mark’s Square is a famous and important square of Venice, rich in history. Many important buildings are located on this square. Walk around and enjoy the beauty of St Mark’s Basilica, St Mark’s Clock Tower, the Doge’s Palace, and St Mark’s Campanile.
St Mark’s Basilica
St Mark’s Basilica, or Basilica di San Marco, is a beautiful cathedral that you can enter for free. Go when the cathedral opens, to avoid long queues.
The basilica itself is free to enter, but there’s a fee if you want to visit special parts of the basilica complex. For the Treasury, the Golden Altar, and the Saint Mark’s Museum, there’s an entrance fee.
Make sure to dress appropriately when you want to go inside the cathedral (cover knees and shoulders). And it’s good to know large bags and luggage are forbidden to bring with you.
Doge’s Palace, also known as Palazzo Ducale, is an impressive Venetian Gothic-style palace. It’s one of the landmarks of Venice and is now a museum you can visit. The palace used to be the residence of the Doge (ruler of Venice).
Buy your tickets in advance to skip the long queues if you want to visit Doge’s Palace. This way you don’t have to wait long in line, and you can make most of your day in Venice.
Feel free to decide for yourself which buildings you want to enter, but in any case, you should wander around the square itself!
And we highly recommend going to the top of St Mark’s Campanile, the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica. More about in the next paragraph.
- Enjoy the View From the Top of St Mark’s Campanile
St Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica. The tower is a beautiful tower to see, and we highly recommend going to the top! With its 99 meters height (325 feet), it’s the tallest building in Venice.
Initially, the tower was supposed to be a watchtower, to see approaching ships from afar and to protect the entry to Venice. It was also the perfect landmark for ships to sail safely into the Venetian harbor safely, as the tower is visible for distant ships. So it was used as a lighthouse!
From the top, you get to enjoy beautiful views of the city! You look down on Piazza San Marco, the beautiful Basilica di San Marco, and Doge’s Palace. Plus you get to see the Venetian lagoon from above, the amazing Venetian houses and roofs, the Grand Canal, and even see the airport in the distance and the island Murano.
Of course, the weather needs to allow it! As it can be quite foggy in Venice.
Tickets for St Mark’s Campanile are €10 ($11.80) and there’s an elevator that can bring you to the top.
- Head to Ponte Dei Sospiri / Bridge of Sighs
Very close to St Mark’s Square and St Mark’s Campanile you can find Ponte Dei Sospiri. Ponte Dei Sospiri is a very beautiful bridge in Venice and translates to the Bridge of Sighs. After the Rialto bridge, it’s the most famous bridge in Venice!
Ponte Dei Sospiri is an enclosed bridge over the canal Rio di Palazzo and connects a former prison to the Doge’s Palace and its interrogation rooms.
The name of the bridge comes from the fact that prisoners walked over the bridge to the prison and their cell. While enjoying their final views of Venice through the bridge’s windows, they would sigh. Many prisoners would not come out of the prison alive or were sentenced to very long sentences.
If you visit Doge’s Palace, you are able to walk over the bridge. If you just want to see the outside of the bridge, head to the bridge Ponte della Paglia for a great view and picture spot! When lucky, multiple gondolas will pass by for an even more iconic Venetian picture.
Ponte della Paglia is located next to Doge’s Palace and along the sea!
- See Venice from the Grand Canal
One of the best things to do in Venice is to see the city from the water! We advise to buy a day ticket for the bus boat (vaporetto) or get a 75-minute ticket.
From Piazza San Marco, we recommend driving over the Grand Canal to the Rialto Bridge on line 1. This way you get to see the best of Venice. It’s a sightseeing cruise and transportation in one, how convenient.
On the way, you can stop at Basilica di Santa Maria della Salut, or you can spot the basilica from the water. Make sure to also spot the haunted house Palazzo Dario, Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Grande, Ponte dell’Accademia, and stop at the Rialto Bridge.
Going on a Europe trip? Why not visit the amazing cities Lisbon, Budapest, Amsterdam, and Paris too?
- Visit the Rialto Bridge
You made it to Venice’s most famous bridge: the Rialto Bridge. What’s a day in Venice without visiting the Rialto Bridge?! This bridge is built in the 16th century and is the oldest of four bridges in total on the Grand Canal.
It’s a beautiful stone arch bridge to see, and you can walk on it. There are even some (souvenir) shops and small galleries located on the Rialto Bridge. And it connects the districts San Marco and San Polo with each other.
Walk from one side to the other, and find some great viewing points and photo spots of the bridge on both sides of the water. And many gondolas will pass by for sure, for the perfect Venice photo!
Close to the bridge, you can find a mall named T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS. It’s a high-end mall in an old building and on the top there’s an amazing terrace with beautiful views over the canal and Venice! It’s a very different view than from St Mark’s Campanile, so we highly recommend going to the top of this mall.
And the best part is: it’s totally free! Make sure to reserve a preferred time slot in advance, as there are only 40 people allowed on the terrace every 15 minutes. Therefore, it’s often fully booked and walk-ins aren’t guaranteed.
We recommend reserving a time slot at the end of the afternoon, so you have enough time for all other activities before heading to the mall!
- Enjoy Venice’s Best Ice Cream
During your day in Venice, you can’t miss the world’s best ice cream. When in Italy, you simply have to eat Italian ice cream, gelato! Gelato comes from Italy and you can find it everywhere in the country.
One of the best places to go to for gelato in Venice is Gelatoteca Suso! And it’s just a short walk from the Rialto Bridge and T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS bridge.
What’s the difference between ice cream and Italian gelato? Gelato is softer, is made with less fat, and is packed with flavors and a rich texture. Whereas ice cream contains a higher fat level and is airier. Gelato also normally has less sugar!
- Go on a Venice Gondola Ride
One of the best things to do in Venice is going on a gondola ride. Because when you say Venice to someone, the first things they will think about are gondola boats and canals. The gondolas are iconic and unique to Venice, and you can only find them here. Or, well, maybe in Las Vegas too!
Before traveling to Venice, we weren’t 100% sure if we wanted to go on a gondola ride because to be honest, it’s quite pricey.
But it’s part of the Venice experience, and if you have the budget, you have to go on a gondola ride at least one time in your life. It’s an experience to never forget, and we enjoyed every second of it.
And you won’t remember the money afterwards, you will remember the memory!
You can go on a gondola ride from almost everywhere in the city center. And the prices are the same everywhere, €80 ($94) if you go on a gondola tour before 19:00 (7 PM) and €100 ($117) if you take it after that time. These prices are per gondola, so not per person. A maximum of 5 people in total is allowed in a gondola, plus the gondolier.
You will enjoy the ride for about 25-30 minutes. But of course, you can try to negotiate the price and time a bit (especially when it isn’t very busy in the city). We noticed this is easier further from the busiest places in Venice, like the gondolas at Piazza San Marco. Negotiate the price and the time on the water before you get into the gondola.
We recommend getting a gondola somewhere in the area of the Rialto Bridge. Your gondolier will take you to some very small authentic canals, but also bring you to the Grand Canal. But decide yourself what kind of gondola trip you want and where, and simply find a gondola stand there!
Interestingly, only since 2010 women are allowed to become gondoliers. Since gondolier licenses are fixed and usually stay in the family, there’s only 1 female gondolier at the time of writing this article. There’s also a trans man gondolier, Alex Hai, who offers more high-end gondola tours.
- End Your Day in Venice With a Delicious Italian Meal
By now, you’ve seen the top things to do in Venice! It’s time to end your one day in Venice with a delicious Italian meal. Not only Italy’s gelato is famous worldwide, but Italian cuisine, in general, is famous worldwide. You can find pasta and pizza almost everywhere!
Below, we will tell you about some great restaurants in Venice to go to. No matter if it’s for dinner or lunch. And we also found some great spots for vegetarians and vegans.
- Restaurant Terrazza Danieli: Looking for a high-end restaurant close to Piazza San Marco? Don’t look further! Restaurant Terrazza Danieli, which is part of Hotel Danieli, has an amazing rooftop terrace and serves amazing classic Venetian cuisine. The view from the rooftop terrace is wonderful! Dress appropriately when you go here (flip-flips and shorts aren’t allowed, for example!).
- La Zucca: Located closer to the train station, you can find a wonderful restaurant called La Zucca. It’s famous for its seasonal fresh vegetables courses. It has many vegetarian options on their menu, but also meat and fish. Their menu changes sometimes, so it’s always different. But they always have vegetarian options, and often vegan too. You do need to make a reservation to eat here, otherwise it might be full when you come. It’s possible to sit inside and outsides. We loved sitting outside, it’s a cozy place!
- Osteria Al Squero: Osteria Al Squero is perfect to go to for lunch, apéritif, or for a small dinner. You get to enjoy tapas and amazing spritzes (especially Aperol Spritz is super popular in Italy) and wines. Inside, there are a few spots, but the best thing to do is to sit outside next to the canal. On the other side of the canal there’s a gondola workshop. So if you are lucky, you get to see gondolas being built and repaired.
- Osteria Alle Testiere: Any seafood lovers here? Then head to Osteria Alle Testiere! This seafood restaurant adjusts their menu on availability of fresh fish at the market. Everything you will eat here will be just caught fresh! They make the dishes traditional Venetian, with some twists!
- Wine Bar Teamo: There aren’t many places that serve vegetarian and vegan lasagna in Venice, but Wine Bar Teamo does! They also have other vegetarian and vegan Italian food options on their menu. As well as meat and fish dishes. We found the dishes a bit small, but tasty.
- Pizzeria L’Angelo: Looking for great takeaway pizza in the heart of the neighborhood San Marco? Then this is the place to be. And they even have vegan pizza’s, which you don’t often see. The prices are great, the pizza’s super delicious, and they are huge (especially if you get a large one!).
Not only Italy has amazing food, but the food in Greece is amazing too!
More Activities For One Day in Venice
If you have more time, or if you are looking for other activities to do, we got you covered!
The islands Burano and Murano are amazing to visit in the Venetian Lagoon, especially if you want to escape the city. The Venetian lagoon is an enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea, which includes Venice and many other islands like Burano and Murano.
Burano is famous for its colored houses and Murano for its glassmaking. A bus boat ride to Burano takes about 45 minutes from Venice, and to Murano only about 10 minutes. Of course, this depends on where in Venice you are coming from!
We especially love visiting Burano as we love colorful places! But as Murano is a bit closer by, it’s perfect to head there for a short while. For dinner for example.
Other great spots in Venice to visit are:
- Libreria Acqua Alta (cute bookshop with Instagrammable ‘books stairs’)
- Gallerie dell’Accademia (for the art lovers)
- Lido island (to go to the beach)
- Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo (beautiful staircase with gorgeous view)
- San Giorgio Maggiore island (see San Marco from the island across!)
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection (again for the culture lovers)
Enjoy your once day in Venice! Do you have any questions? Drop them below or send us a message.
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PIN THIS ARTICLE
Tuesday 24th of August 2021
Hi, I will be visiting Venice soon and I found this post super helpful! I plan to visit Murano and Burano too. Would you recommend buying a water taxi ticket and exploring it on your own or joining a tour group with a guide? PS. I absolutely positively love your Instagram account!
Roxanne & Maartje
Friday 27th of August 2021
Hi Lynette! That is so great to hear, you'll love the islands! We personally loved exploring by ourselves, without the time pressure of a group tour. But if you want to get more information, a tour might be a good idea. Hope this helps!