Venice is one of those places where you fall in love at first sight. It goes without saying, then, that Venice is known as one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Beautiful canals, historic bridges and charming gondolas are only a snapshot of what you can see on this small Italian island. And let’s not forget the delicious cuisine and outstanding architecture, including the famous St Mark’s Basilica.
Can one day really be enough to explore everything brilliant about Venice? You’re about to find out!
How to get to Venice
There are many options to get to Venice. You can drive, fly, take a train or even get to Venice by boat or cruise ship from anywhere in the world.
Take the train, boat or car to arrive right in the heart of Venice. There are many places to park right after the bridge, with people on hand to help. It cost me about 30 euros for the day.
If you fly to Venice, you’ll find the airport eight miles outside Venice. From there you can take a ferry (a 40-minute to one hour journey, costing 14 euros ), bus or train (a shorter 20 – 25 minutes’ travel time for eight euros), or the very expensive water taxi (100 to 150 euros!) into Venice itself.
We decided to drive to Italy. It took us around 12 hours in the car. Call me crazy, but I really enjoyed it! There is always something to see on the road and European highways are much more fun than those in America. The best moment was driving between the mountains in Austria. The views kept me staring out the window for hours.
Getting around Venice
Venice is a small island and getting around is not very complicated. The most popular method of sightseeing is walking, so you will be able to visit hidden bridges, small streets with amazing restaurants and spot gondolas.
The downside of the amazing architecture, which includes a lot of bridges with stairs, is that you need to be fit and mobile to manage. I was travelling with my dad who had undergone hip replacement surgery, so we couldn’t explore quite so much of Venice. I’ve visited before, though, so I was happy to experience what we could.
If you’re only in Venice for the day, invest in a day pass for 20 euros for the water bus vaporetto and explore from the network of waterways. If you’re staying longer, there are other passes to choose from.
The main line 1 is the Grand Canal, where there is stop every five minutes so you can hop on and off whenever you like. The pass will also let you travel to other islands like Murano, Burano and Torcello. Here is map of all the lines.
If you want to experience gondolas but are on a budget, try Traghetto. This is a cheap option to get from one side of the Grand Canal to the other. The crossing takes two minutes and you have to stand the whole time.
Water taxis are faster than traditional boats, but they’re also much more expensive. That being said, they fit 10 people, so if you’re travelling in a group, it can turn out cheaper than the ferry.
Where to stay
You will find many hotels in Venice and if you book them early enough, you can have an unforgettably romantic experience. The range in accommodation is enormous, though, from five-star hotels with stunning views over the canal, to smaller apartments and hostels.
If you decide to book your trip a week before travelling during the high season, like I did, your other option is looking for accommodation in Lido. This is an island on a strip of land on the Adriatic sea.
Lido is also a popular and expensive place to stay, so there are lots of hotels with pools and private beaches. Mestre, a town on the mainland with great bus and train connections to Venice, is another option.
Check out these hotels in Venice if you’re deciding where to stay:
What to do in Venice in 24 hours
1. Take a gondola ride
Gondola rides are one of the most famous ways to see Venice. It’s a bit pricey but it’s an experience you need to try while visiting this romantic place.
2. Admire the architecture of St Mark’s Basilica
One of the most impressive, the most valuable and the most magnificent sacral monuments of Venice, St Mark’s Basilica features fantastic details, wonderful frescoes and Byzantine works of art.
3. Check out the best view from the top at St Mark’s Square
St Mark’s Square is a place where you can admire the wealth of the city over the centuries. This square is both symbolic of the city and its heart to this day.
Climb St Mark’s Campanile – the tallest building in Venice at 98.6m – to see the whole lagoon on a sunny day.
4. Take a ferry down the Grand Canal
The Grand Canal is 3.5km long, the widest in Venice. Its route passes through the middle of the island in the shape of an inverted letter S. As you cruise, you’ll admire palaces, historic buildings and the most iconic bridge of all – Ponte di Rialto.
5. Eat pizza, pasta and gelato, try Italian wine
I don’t have to introduce you the best kitchen in the world. In Venice you will find everything from luxury restaurants to small shops with snacks. Wherever you eat, it’s going to be delicious.
6. Visit the Art Museum
Gallerie dell’Accademia hosts a fine collection of pre-19th century art, including the famous ‘Vitruvian Man’ by Da Vinci.
7. Check out the Bridge of Sighs
Another of Venice’s wonderful bridges. It connects the Doge’s Palace with the prison building, which was built at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.
8. Take a trip to Murano
Murano is another popular but less crowded island, accessible by ferry (you can use your day pass here) with stunning, colourful houses. It is famous for its beautiful glass products.
9. Buy yourself a souvenir
The most popular souvenir is the Venetian mask. Every year Venice hosts one of the most popular carnivals in the world, with iconic and extravagant masks. All the traditional souvenirs – shirts, fridge magnets and postcards – are also available to buy.
So after all those ideas of things to see and do in Venice, let’s get back to the question. Is one day enough to visit Venice?
I hope that my sample itinerary shows you that it is doable. I was able to show my parents the main attractions. We had an amazing meal in a randomly chosen restaurant. We spent a lot of time on a ferry rocking on the water and we took some great photos. So yes, you can see Venice in a day if you need to.
It really depends of what you enjoy doing. If you want to admire art in every museum, try a few of the highest rated restaurants or visit a few of the islands nearby, then one day is definitely not enough.
The seaside called for the second day of our trip. We drove to Lido di Jesolo, which is a little tourist city with many hotels, restaurants, bars and other attractions.
The beach was nice, full of sun loungers available to rent. Some are owned by hotels, though, so if you try your luck with these someone will ask you to move. Beyond the loungers, the front of the beach is clear, so bring a towel and lie back on the sand.
All in all, we had a short but brilliant trip to Venice. Italy is one of my favourite countries in the world and I can’t wait to be back one day to explore even more. Find out why it topped my list of places to visit in 2018 here.
Are you planning a trip to Venice? What are you most looking forward to?
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I’ve been quiet here lately as the weather in Krakow is too beautiful 🌞 to just sit at home and work on my blog ( however, having AC in my flat can be helpful! 😅) I’ve spent July exploring my new home town, meeting new friends and traveling to a fabulous festival. As for now I have no trips planed till November but hopefully I’ll organise something spontaneous by the end of the month so stay tuned for some new photos! Until then make sure you checkout my blog for some travel inspirations.
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