Venice is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in Italy. With its canals, narrow streets, gondolas and balconies it is an extremely popular destination. I recently spent a day there with my mum (so romantic!) where we tried to cover all of the highlights and best things to do in Venice in one day. If you’re looking for a 1-day itinerary to Venice, this is the guide for you! In this post I will take you to explore all of the must see points of interest of Venice.
How to get to Venice
Let’s start with the basics. Where is Venice and how do you get there? Venice is a city in the Veneto region of Italy. Venice has its own airport; Marco Polo Airport, where a lot of international flights land. Flights can be quite cheap depending on when you want to visit, on a Monday morning of mid-October I managed to book a flight from London for 15 GBP just a few weeks before the actual flight. From the airport you can get to get to Venice with a bus that for 8 EUR will take you to Piazzale Roma, which is just on the outskirts of Venice. From there you can reach pretty much all of Venice, but just bear in mind that the centre of Venice is entirely pedestrian, so you will not be able to be able to get a taxi to your hotel.
Where to stay in Venice
Accommodation in Venice is quite expensive when compared to other destinations. Then again, you are in one of the most famous and touristy cities in Europe, surely you didn’t expect it to be cheap? Hotels will range from 80 EUR a night upwards, all the way to a couple hundred euros depending on how close to Piazza San Marco you are. Even AirBnb isn’t much cheaper, with prices ranging around 70 EUR – 150 EUR. I recommend getting accommodation close to the Santa Lucia train station. This because it is considered slightly out of the central area which means it’s cheaper, plus you won’t have to carry your bags around Venice on foot for too long. I stayed at the Hotel all Guglie which was a great value for price and was only a 15-minute walk away from the main landmarks like Ponte di Rialto and Piazza San Marco.
Best things to do in Venice in 1 day
Do a gondola boat tour
One of the first things most people think of when you say Venice, are the typical gondola boats. Yes it’s touristy, but it’s also awesome and definitely worth the expense. It gives you the opportunity to see Venice from a completely different angle and go down canals that you can’t access on foot. As you walk around Venice you will find there are gondola parking spots all throughout the city and that they are all priced the same. A 25 / 30-minute gondola tour is 80 EUR and a 45 minute one is 120 EUR. You can choose to do a gondola tour from any part of Venice, however in my opinion the best departure spot is close to the Ponte di Rialto, as it is one of the most scenic spots of the city. A lot of people choose to do it from close to Piazza San Marco, which is obviously very scenic, however here you will be cruising also in open sea and there are a lot more waves. If you have issues with sea sickness this might be a bit too choppy for you. Instead if you start the tour close to the Rialto Bridge you get to cruise under it and in some of the small canals around it, where the water is still and the views are lovely.
Places to see in your Venice 1-day itinerary
Ponte di Rialto
This is one of the most famous bridges in Venice. It is one of the only four bridges that span the Grand Canal and it also the oldest. The bridge is very wide and is also famous for the rows of shops located along it. If you’re looking to buy a souvenir from Venice, this probably isn’t the best spot, as prices will be extremely over inflated. Close to the Ponte di Rialto there is also a beautiful viewpoint over the bridge and Grand Canal. We got the insider tip from our gondolier and couldn’t be more grateful. At first we found it a bit hard to locate the mall, as it is not obviously advertised or of a well-known brand. After a big of walking back and forth we identified it; it’s called T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS and is a high-end luxury mall inside a historical building. Again, probably not the best spot for your souvenir shopping. When you walk in you can just head straight to the top floor, where access to the rooftop is free. Be prepared to be amazed by the view!
Piazza San Marco
The most famous and visited location in Venice. Piazza San Marco, known in English as Saint Mark’s Square, is the main public square of Venice. This square is rich of history and lot of important buildings are in this square, amongst which the church of Saint Mark, the Clock tower, and the old procuracies. We weren’t very lucky with the weather, as it was an extremely foggy day, that completely obscured the top of the clock tower. The square itself was beautiful anyway and we enjoyed walking around it, taking in the atmosphere. You can visit the church, clock tower, museums and most of the buildings in Piazza San Marco if you have the time. Personally, I enjoy being outside and neither me or my mum are big museum people. Since we only had a day we chose to walk around Venice and to see more of the main landmarks from outside, instead of spending hours inside just one museum. What you choose to spend more time visiting obviously depends on your personal travel preferences.
Ponte dei Sospiri
The Ponte dei Sospiri (which translates to Bridge of Sighs) is another extremely famous bridge in Venice. Its peculiar architecture and higher up location compared to the other bridges in Venice have drawn the attention of tourists to it. People often interpret the Sighs part of the name as a romantic feature, given the romantic nature of the city, the reality if however very different. The bridge connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace and it is said that prisoners would sigh when walking from the bridge to prison, sighing at their final view of the beautiful Venice harbour. While the reality of the bridge is very different from the common stereotype of it, its still a beautiful bridge to see when visiting Venice.
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
After a bit of walking around I found a spot that I recognised from photos as a good sunset location, just in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. I was a bit unfortunate with the weather, as the fog that had been present in the morning was back once again, meaning that I could barely see the Basilica across the canal. I decided to embrace this and sit next to all the art students that were drawing the Basilica. Eventually the fog lifted and I was rewarded with this beautiful Venetian sunset. You can also visit the Basilica if you’re staying in Venice for longer, I didn’t get the opportunity to as I was only there for a day and as mentioned earlier I’m not much of a church or museum person. I prefer exploring the side streets of a city than locking myself up indoors.
Have you been to Venice before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below! In this article I tried to give you a comprehensive guide to everything you might need to know for a day trip to Venice, including all of the best things to do and places to see for a short city getaway.
Enjoyed reading about the best things to do in Venice in one day? Pin it!