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What To Do In Venice, Italy, On A Day Trip


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Inez Isley



Welcome to Venice, Italy, a city with a rich history, enchanting canals, and magnificent architecture. Known as the “Floating City,” Venice is a unique destination that attracts millions of visitors from around the world every year. Whether you’re planning a quick day trip or a longer stay, there are plenty of things to see and do in this picturesque city.


Venice is located in northeastern Italy and is made up of more than 100 small islands connected by bridges and canals. Its captivating beauty and timeless charm make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The absence of cars and the sound of gondolas gliding through the canals create a sense of tranquility and romance that is unparalleled.


Stepping foot in Venice feels like stepping into a different era. The colorful buildings, narrow winding streets, and stunning palaces reveal the grandeur of the city’s past. Venice was once a powerful maritime republic and a major trading center during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.


Known for its iconic landmarks, such as St. Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge, and Doge’s Palace, Venice offers a multitude of experiences for visitors. From exploring historical sites and art museums to taking a charming gondola ride through the canals, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this magical city.


In this article, we will explore the best things to do in Venice during a day trip. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, a foodie, or simply seeking a unique experience, Venice has it all. So, pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and let’s embark on a journey through the enchanting streets and canals of Venice.


Getting to Venice

Getting to Venice is relatively easy as it is well-connected to major cities in Italy and Europe. The city has its own international airport, Marco Polo Airport, which serves both domestic and international flights. From the airport, you have several options to reach the city center.


One popular mode of transportation is a water taxi, which provides a unique and scenic way to arrive in Venice. Water taxis are available outside the airport and can take you directly to your hotel or preferred destination in the city. Another option is to take the Alilaguna water shuttle, which offers more affordable transportation from the airport to various stops in Venice.


If you prefer to travel by land, you can take a bus or a taxi from the airport to Piazzale Roma, the main bus terminal in Venice. From there, you can easily walk or take a vaporetto (water bus) to your desired location.


If you are already in Italy, you can reach Venice by train. Venice has two major train stations, Santa Lucia Station and Mestre Station. Santa Lucia Station is located in the heart of Venice, while Mestre Station is just outside the city. Both stations are well-connected to other major cities in Italy, making train travel a convenient option.


For those traveling from other European countries, you can reach Venice by train as well. There are direct train connections from cities such as Milan, Florence, and Rome. If you prefer to travel by car, you can drive to Venice and park your car in one of the parking lots outside the city. From there, you can take a vaporetto or a water taxi to explore Venice.


Once you arrive in Venice, you’ll find that the best way to get around is on foot or by utilizing the city’s extensive vaporetto network. Vaporettos are water buses that operate on the canals and provide an efficient means of transportation. You can purchase a ticket at the vaporetto stops or at ticket booths throughout the city.


Now that you know how to get to Venice, let’s dive into the exciting experiences that await you in the city.


Exploring St. Mark’s Square

No visit to Venice is complete without a visit to the magnificent St. Mark’s Square, known as Piazza San Marco in Italian. This iconic square is the heart of the city and a must-see attraction for any visitor.


Surrounded by historical landmarks and vibrant cafes, St. Mark’s Square offers a glimpse into the grandeur of Venice’s past. The square is dominated by the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture adorned with intricate mosaics and sculptures.


Take your time to admire the exquisite details of the basilica, both inside and outside. Marvel at the golden mosaics that depict scenes from the Bible and the stunning marble facades. As you enter the basilica, you’ll be awestruck by the stunning interior, with its grand arches, domed ceilings, and golden mosaics.


Adjacent to the basilica is the Campanile di San Marco, the iconic bell tower of Venice. Take an elevator ride to the top for breathtaking panoramic views of the city, including the surrounding lagoon and rooftops of Venice. It’s a perfect spot for capturing memorable photos.


Another highlight of St. Mark’s Square is the Doge’s Palace. This magnificent palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice and the seat of government during the Venetian Republic. Take a guided tour of the palace to explore its opulent rooms, stunning artworks, and the famous Bridge of Sighs.


After exploring the basilica and the palace, take a leisurely stroll through the square. Admire the stunning architecture of the Procuratie buildings that line the square and house upscale shops and cafes. Enjoy a cup of coffee or a gelato at one of the famous cafes while soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of the square.


St. Mark’s Square also serves as a venue for various events and concerts throughout the year. You might be lucky enough to witness a live performance or an art exhibition during your visit.


As you explore St. Mark’s Square, keep an eye out for the resident pigeons. These feathered friends are a beloved symbol of the square and a tourist attraction in their own right. Feel free to join in the fun and feed the pigeons, but be mindful of the guidelines provided by the local authorities.


Exploring St. Mark’s Square is a fascinating experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the history, culture, and beauty of Venice. Take your time, soak in the ambiance, and let the magic of this iconic square capture your heart.


Visiting Doge’s Palace

One of the most breathtaking architectural marvels in Venice is the Doge’s Palace, located in St. Mark’s Square. This magnificent palace, also known as Palazzo Ducale in Italian, offers a glimpse into the rich history and grandeur of the Venetian Republic.


The Doge’s Palace served as the residence of the Doge of Venice, the highest authority in the Venetian Republic, as well as the seat of government. Today, it stands as a museum, showcasing the opulent rooms, stunning artworks, and the intricate architecture of Venice’s illustrious past.


As you enter the palace, you’ll be greeted by the stunning courtyard known as the Courtyard of the Giants. Admire the magnificent statues of Neptune and Mars, which stand as guardians of the palace. The courtyard itself is a work of art, with its beautiful arches and arcades.


Inside the palace, you’ll find a treasure trove of history and art. The halls are adorned with masterpieces by renowned Venetian painters, such as Tintoretto, Titian, and Veronese. Marvel at the exquisite details and vibrant colors of these artworks as you make your way through the palace.


One of the highlights of the Doge’s Palace is the Hall of the Great Council, the largest room in the palace. Admire the grandeur of the hall, with its high ceilings and intricate decorations. This was the meeting place of the Great Council, the main governing body of the Venetian Republic.


Another iconic feature of the Doge’s Palace is the Bridge of Sighs, which connects the palace to the adjacent Prisons. Legend has it that the bridge got its name from the sighs of the prisoners who would catch one last glimpse of Venice before being taken to their cells. Cross the bridge and explore the eerie prison cells, gaining insight into the harsh realities of life during the Venetian Republic.


When visiting the Doge’s Palace, consider taking a guided tour to fully appreciate the historical significance and architectural wonders of this landmark. Knowledgeable guides can provide fascinating stories and context that bring the palace to life.


As you explore the Doge’s Palace, take your time to absorb the grandeur and immerse yourself in Venice’s past. Don’t forget to look up at the stunning ceilings, adorned with intricate paintings and gold leaf. From the exquisite artwork to the ornate design, the palace is a testament to the glory and majesty of the Venetian Republic.


Visiting the Doge’s Palace is an essential part of any Venetian itinerary. Immerse yourself in the history and beauty of this iconic landmark, and let it transport you to a bygone era.


Taking a Gondola Ride

One of the quintessential experiences in Venice is taking a gondola ride through its enchanting canals. Stepping into a gondola and gliding through the serene waters is a romantic and iconic way to explore the city.


The gondola is a traditional Venetian rowing boat, characterized by its sleek black design and uniquely shaped hull. Originally used for transportation, gondolas now serve as a symbol of Venice and provide a leisurely and scenic mode of travel.


As you embark on your gondola ride, you’ll be transported to a different world. Drifting through the narrow canals, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the magnificent architecture, picturesque bridges, and charming Venetian homes that line the waterways. The silence and peacefulness of the canals create a sense of tranquility that is truly captivating.


During your gondola ride, don’t hesitate to ask your gondolier about the history of Venice or interesting facts about the canals and buildings. Many gondoliers are highly knowledgeable and can provide fascinating insights into the city’s rich past.


Aside from the main canals, such as the Grand Canal, your gondolier might take you through some of the smaller, quieter waterways, known as “rio tera.” These hidden gems offer a more intimate and authentic glimpse into the daily life of locals.


One of the most magical times to take a gondola ride is during sunset. As the golden hues of the sun reflect off the water, the city takes on a magical glow. The soft light and the romantic atmosphere create an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after your trip.


Keep in mind that gondola rides can be quite expensive, especially if you’re taking a private ride. However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can also opt for a shared gondola ride, where you share the boat with other passengers.


It’s important to note that gondolas are regulated by the city authorities, and all licensed gondolas have a distinctive “vernier” at the bow. Ensure that you choose a licensed gondola and agree on the price before boarding to avoid any confusion later.


A gondola ride in Venice is an experience like no other. It allows you to embrace the city’s atmosphere, appreciate its beauty, and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, sit back, relax, and let the gentle swaying of the gondola take you into the heart of this magical city.


Discovering the Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is the main waterway that meanders through the heart of Venice, making it one of the most iconic and picturesque features of the city. A visit to Venice wouldn’t be complete without exploring and appreciating the beauty of this famous canal.


Spanning approximately 2.4 miles (3.8 kilometers) in length and shaped like an inverted “S,” the Grand Canal is lined with beautiful buildings, palaces, and historic landmarks. It serves as the major thoroughfare of Venice, with vaporettos, water taxis, and gondolas gracefully maneuvering through its busy waters.


As you take a leisurely cruise along the Grand Canal, you’ll be captivated by the stunning architecture that frames the waterway. Palazzi, or palaces, that once belonged to wealthy Venetian families line the canal, each showcasing unique architectural styles, elaborate facades, and ornate details.


One of the most recognizable and grand palaces along the Grand Canal is the Ca’ d’Oro, known for its Gothic architecture and intricate tracery. Another impressive palace is the Palazzo Grassi, which now serves as an art museum and exhibition space, offering visitors a glimpse of both historical and contemporary art.


Perhaps the most iconic landmark along the Grand Canal is the Rialto Bridge, which connects the districts of San Marco and San Polo. This elegant stone bridge with its distinctive arches offers stunning panoramic views of the canal and bustling activity below.


As you continue your journey along the Grand Canal, you’ll also pass by the picturesque Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a former trading post, and the stunning Santa Maria della Salute church with its impressive domes and grandeur.


Keep in mind that while a boat ride along the Grand Canal gives you a fantastic perspective, exploring the canal on foot can also provide a unique experience. Wandering along the narrow walkways and crossing picturesque bridges allows you to appreciate the charm and intricate details of the buildings that line the canal.


Whether you choose to explore the Grand Canal by boat or on foot, this waterway offers a mesmerizing journey through the heart of Venice. It is a testament to the city’s architectural prowess and its rich history as a bustling maritime republic.


Make sure to have your camera ready to capture the enchanting sights along the Grand Canal, as every bend and turn brings new delights. This iconic waterway will leave a lasting impression and evoke the true essence of Venice.


Exploring the Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in Venice, and exploring this iconic bridge is a must-do for any visitor. Spanning the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge is a testament to Venice’s architectural beauty and historical significance.


The bridge has a rich history dating back to the 12th century when the first wooden bridge was built. It connected the two banks of the Grand Canal and served as a crucial link between the districts of San Marco and San Polo. Over time, due to the increasing traffic, the bridge was rebuilt several times, with the current stone bridge completed in 1591.


As you approach the Rialto Bridge, you’ll be awestruck by its grandeur and elegance. The bridge consists of a central arch and two smaller arches on either side, supported by rows of shops and stalls. The shops sell a variety of goods, from souvenirs and jewelry to high-end fashion and local artwork.


Climbing the steps of the Rialto Bridge offers a magnificent view of the Grand Canal. The bustling waterway below, with vaporettos, gondolas, and boats, provides a lively and vibrant scene. The panoramic view from the bridge allows you to appreciate the architectural splendor of Venice and the picturesque buildings that line the canal.


Once you cross the bridge, explore the surrounding area known as Rialto. This vibrant neighborhood is home to the famous Rialto Market, where you can immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and aromas of traditional Venetian food and produce. The market is a feast for the senses, offering fresh seafood, colorful fruits and vegetables, and an array of spices.


While in the Rialto area, take some time to explore the narrow streets and charming alleys. Serendipitous discoveries await around every corner, from quaint shops selling handmade crafts to hidden local eateries serving delectable Venetian cuisine.


For those interested in ancient history, visit the nearby Rialto Bridge Museum. Here, you can learn about the bridge’s construction, explore its evolving architectural form, and discover the significance of this landmark in Venice’s history.


Whether you visit the Rialto Bridge during the day or at night when it’s beautifully illuminated, the experience will leave an indelible impression. As you stroll across the bridge or admire the view, take a moment to appreciate the bridge’s timeless beauty and its symbolic importance to the city.


Exploring the Rialto Bridge and its surroundings is a captivating journey into the heart of Venice. Immerse yourself in the rich history, vibrant culture, and architectural splendor that make this bridge an enduring symbol of the city’s allure.


Visiting the Islands of Murano and Burano

Just a short boat ride away from Venice’s main islands lie the colorful and captivating islands of Murano and Burano. These charming islands offer a delightful escape from the bustling streets of Venice and provide the opportunity to explore the unique traditions and crafts that make them famous.


Murano is renowned for its glassmaking tradition that dates back centuries. As you step onto the island, you’ll find yourself surrounded by workshops and galleries showcasing exquisite glass creations. Take a walk along the Fondamenta dei Vetrai, the main street of Murano, where you’ll have the chance to witness skilled artisans working with molten glass, shaping it into beautiful and intricate sculptures, jewelry, and home decor.


Visit one of the local glass factories for a guided tour, where you can observe the glassblowing process and learn about the history and techniques of Murano glass. Don’t forget to browse the shops to find your own unique glass souvenir to take home as a reminder of your visit.


From Murano, hop on a boat and set sail to the colorful island of Burano. Known for its vibrant houses painted in a rainbow of colors, Burano offers a picturesque and photogenic setting that is truly enchanting. The island is also famous for its intricate lacework, which has been a part of Burano’s heritage for centuries.


Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets of Burano, admiring the kaleidoscope of colors and the charming canals that crisscross the island. Explore the Lace Museum to learn about the history of lace-making in Burano and see some exquisite lace pieces on display.


You can also visit the lace workshops scattered throughout the island, where local artisans continue to create delicate lacework using traditional techniques. Observe them at work and marvel at the intricate patterns and craftsmanship that goes into each piece.


When in Burano, be sure to indulge in the local cuisine, particularly the seafood delicacies. Many restaurants on the island offer a variety of fresh and delicious seafood dishes that are bound to satisfy your taste buds.


Both Murano and Burano provide a welcome respite from the crowds of Venice and offer a glimpse into the unique traditions and crafts that define these islands. Whether you’re drawn to the artistry of Murano glass or the captivating colors of Burano, a visit to these islands is a delightful and memorable experience.


As you return to Venice after your island adventure, you’ll carry with you the vibrant colors, exquisite craftsmanship, and the warm ambiance that make the islands of Murano and Burano an unforgettable part of your Venetian journey.


Enjoying Venetian Cuisine

One of the highlights of visiting Venice is getting the opportunity to indulge in its unique and delectable cuisine. Venetian food is a tantalizing blend of fresh seafood, hearty flavors, and local ingredients, influenced by its maritime history and diverse cultural influences.


Start your culinary adventure by trying cicchetti, which are small plates or bite-sized snacks that are typically enjoyed with a glass of wine. These delicious morsels can range from crostini topped with fresh seafood or creamy spreads to savory fried delicacies like polpette (meatballs) and sarde in saor (sardines marinated in a sweet and sour sauce).


Seafood lovers will be in heaven in Venice, as the city offers an abundance of fresh catches from the Adriatic Sea. Sample traditional dishes such as black ink risotto, seared scallops, or grilled branzino drizzled with fragrant olive oil. Be sure to try the Venetian specialty known as fritto misto, a delightful mix of lightly fried seafood including shrimp, calamari, and small fish.


If you’re craving pasta, don’t miss out on the Venetian classic, spaghetti alle vongole. This dish consists of spaghetti tossed with clams, garlic, white wine, and chili flakes, resulting in a flavorful and satisfying combination. Another famous pasta dish is Bigoli in salsa, thick spaghetti-like noodles served in a sauce of onions, salt-cured sardines, and olive oil.


When in Venice, make sure to try the local Venetian staple, baccalà mantecato. This dish features salted cod that is soaked, cooked, and whipped into a creamy and flavorful spread. It is often served on crostini or as a filling for savory pastries like the Venetian classic, baccalà mantecato, is a must-try dish when in Venice.


No Venetian culinary experience is complete without a taste of tiramisu. This famous Italian dessert originated in the region, and Venice offers some of the best renditions. Made with layers of espresso-soaked ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa, its creamy and coffee-infused flavors are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.


As you explore the city, be sure to visit the local markets such as the Rialto Market, where you can find an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and local ingredients. You might even consider taking a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Venetian dishes, allowing you to bring a taste of Venice back home with you.


Pair your culinary adventures with regional wines, such as a refreshing glass of Prosecco or a full-bodied red Valpolicella. Veneto, the region in which Venice is located, is known for its excellent wine production, offering a wide selection to complement your meal.


Venetian cuisine is a delight for food enthusiasts, offering a delightful blend of flavors and textures that will leave you craving for more. Immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of Venice, taste the local specialties, and savor the flavors that make the city’s cuisine truly exceptional.



Venice, Italy, is a city that enchants and captivates visitors with its unique beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. From the picturesque canals to the magnificent architecture, Venice offers a plethora of experiences that leave a lasting impression.


Whether you spend just a day or a longer stay in Venice, there are certain highlights that should not be missed. Exploring St. Mark’s Square, with its grand basilica and historic landmarks, provides a glimpse into Venice’s past and a feast for the eyes.


Visiting the Doge’s Palace allows you to step into the former seat of power and marvel at its opulent rooms and stunning artworks. Taking a gondola ride along the romantic canals is an iconic way to experience the charm and beauty of Venice.


Not to be missed are the islands of Murano and Burano, each offering their unique allure. Murano showcases the artistry of glassmaking, while Burano beckons with its vibrant colors and delicate lacework.


And of course, indulging in Venetian cuisine is a treat for the senses. From seafood specialties to flavorful pasta dishes, each bite brings you closer to the essence of Venice’s culinary heritage.


As you bid farewell to Venice, the beauty and magic of the city will stay with you. The memories of the glistening canals, the breathtaking architecture, and the warmth of the Venetian people will linger long after your visit.


Venice is a city like no other, and exploring it on a day trip offers just a taste of its wonders. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or simply an admirer of beauty, Venice will leave an indelible mark on your heart and soul.


So, embrace the enchantment of Venice, immerse yourself in its history, savor its cuisine, and allow the city to weave its magic around you. A day trip to Venice will be an experience that you cherish forever.