Skip to Content

What To Do Venice In One Day: Best Things To Do & Places To See

Planning to spend one day in Venice? You’ve come to the right place!

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 if you only have one day in Venice.

Before you go, make sure you have everything you need for your Venice trip with this ultimate Italy packing list!

Exploring the side streets, canals and bridges of Venice, Italy

Exploring the side streets, canals and bridges of Venice, Italy

Do you need travel insurance for 1 day in Venice?

After my personal experience spending two nights in a private hospital in Tenerife, and having to pay for it out of pocket (it wasn’t cheap), I always recommend getting travel insurance.

You might not end up needing it, but for a small fee you can travel without worries. Personally, I suggest getting your Italy travel insurance with  Heymondo.

Heymondo offers tailor made travel insurance, providing the best value for money for your specific trip. You can also buy it once you’re already abroad and have forgotten about it before flying (which, if you’re anything like me, is quite likely).

Besides the usual cancellation, medical expenses, luggage coverage and general travel insurance services, Heymondo also has a 24/7 doctor chat and instant assistance through their app.

As a Greta’s Travels reader, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance!

Click here to get your 5% off Heymondo travel insurance!

Sunset on the grand canal in Venice

Sunset on the grand canal in Venice from Ponte di Rialto

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. When you travel within Europe 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.

This Venice 1-day itinerary focuses just on Venice (and it’s pretty packed as it is!) but there are many beautiful spots around Venice too. The Venice Lagoon islands are a must-see if you have longer in Venice.

The view from the rooftop of the mall next to Ponte di Rialto

The view from the rooftop of the mall next to Ponte di Rialto

The canals and bridges of Venice, Italy

The canals and bridges of Venice, Italy

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.

In my opinion one of the best areas to stay in Venice is 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.

Find the best deals at Hotel all Guglie and other hotels in Venice here.

Enjoying a gelato in the side streets of Venice

Enjoying a gelato in the side streets of Venice

Best things to do in Venice in one 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.

It’s not cheap, but trust me when I say, it’s a magical experience. Make sure to factor this expense in your Italy travel budget!

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.

Enjoying my gondola cruise around Venice

Enjoying my gondola cruise around Venice

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.

Click here to book your private gondola cruise in Venice!

Or click below to see prices & availability!



Our gondola ride in Venice took us close to Rialto Bridge

Our gondola ride took us close to Rialto Bridge

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!

The Ponte di Rialto seen from the side

The Ponte di Rialto seen from the side

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.

Click here to book a skip-the-line ticket to St Mark’s Basilica & the Doge’s Palace!

Or click below to see prices & availability!



Piazza San Marco in the early evening

Piazza San Marco in the early evening

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.

If, unlike me, you have a more romantic travel companion than your mum you might want to check out this visiting Venice on a honeymoon guide.

The Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice, Italy, one of the main things to see in the city

The Ponte dei Sospiri in Venice, Italy, one of the main things to see in the city

Cruising the canals of Venice, Italy, in our gondola

Cruising the canals of 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. If you want an exact walking itinerary, check out this off-the beaten path Venice walking tour!

The best sunset spot in Venice, Italy, just across from the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

The best sunset spot in Venice, Italy, just across from the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Final thoughts on my Venice 1-day itinerary

Have you been to Venice before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

If you can’t get enough of Venice, check out these 10 reasons why you need to visit Venice article by Be Anything But Boring.

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.

I hope you find my guide useful in planning your day in Venice!

Looking for more Italy travel tips? Check out these guides:

Enjoyed reading about the best things to do in Venice in one day? Pin it!

Photo collage of iconic spots in Venice with text overlay saying "Venice in 1 day"

Photo of a blonde girl walking across one of the bridges in Venice with text overlay saying "how to spend one day in Venice"

Photo collage of Ponte Rialto, a blonde girl sat on a gondola boat and sunset along the canals of Venice with text overlay saying "Venice 1-day itinerary"

Photo of Ponte Rialto in Venice with text overlay saying "Venice in 24 hours"

9 Things to see and do in Catania, Sicily - Life On The Mediterranean

Saturday 11th of August 2018

[…] in the Veneto area and have only a day to visit Venice, please check out Greta’s Travels on What to do in Venice in One Day. She has some great information of the best-see attractions to get the most out of a single day in […]

3 Days in Venice in November: Was It Worth It? - Our Escape Clause

Tuesday 24th of July 2018

[…] We are so glad that we took the risk and decided to spend 3 days in Venice in November–even one day in Venice would have been worth […]

12 Things To Do In Italy - The Gay Globetrotter

Monday 23rd of July 2018

[…] do in Italy, which is also one of the most traditional activities, is going for a gondola ride in Venice. Venice is famous for its vast network of canals, which act as the streets of the city. Gondola […]

One Day in Venice: an Itinerary - Pink Caddy Travelogue

Wednesday 4th of July 2018

[…] chance. Personally, we opted out and chose to save our money for something else. But if you do it, consensus is that the Rialto Bridge is one of the best departure points for a gondola tour, and if […]

Kerala Backwaters Cruise: 1 Day & 1 Night On A Houseboat In India

Saturday 9th of June 2018

[…] you’ve done river cruises in European cities such as Venice, London or Budapest you might be expecting a lot of sailing with little to see until you reach one […]