1 day in Venice: Best itinerary, what to see in Venice and how to enjoy it!

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Venice, a charming city floating on the lagoon, with historical charm, a labyrinth of canals and masterpieces of Renaissance art. From enchanting gondola rides under a starry sky to exploring hidden alleyways, Venice is one of the best places to visit in northern Italy. Today we will show you the itinerary of the route if you are planning to spend a day in Venice, Italy.

Can you visit Venice in one day?

Yes, it is possible to walk through Venice in one day. However, if you want to discover hidden corners and visit some of the most beautiful sights in Italy, I recommend staying in Venice for at least one or two days.

At a slower pace you can enjoy the city much more or visit the other beautiful islands around Venice.

what to see in Venice

Venice in one day – route map

On the map you will find the marked route for visiting Venice in one day. The route is pedestrian and starts at the Rialto Bridge. It is a 15-minute walk from Piazzale Roma (unless you are staying in Venice). The bridge can also be reached by water bus across the Grand Canal (see below for a description of the route, including photos).

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map with the route of what to see in Venice in one day. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places that in the itinerary for a day in Venice, Italy. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.



7:00 – Take a ride on the Grand Canal

We start early in the morning, preferably at 7am, until Venice is full of crowds. These are mainly concentrated between Piazza San Marco and Ponte di Rialto. For this reason, our itinerary for a day in Venice will start here.

We spent more than one day in Venice, but we still left early every day (anyone with small children understands 🙂 ). And we highly recommend it to everyone. There are only a few tourists in the city so you can enjoy an authentic Venice. You walk through the city and watch the locals rushing to work or sitting with the newspaper in a deserted square.

Venice in one day

If you’re not staying in the centre of Venice, hop on the vaporetto 2 (water bus) and take a ride along the Grand Canal. This way you can enjoy a morning vaporetto with just a few locals. You can admire the magnificent buildings and monuments that line the Grand Canal. And that it is a wonderful spectacle!

The Grand Canal is the main canal in Venice, 4 kilometres long, and is used by water bus lines 1 and 2. It starts at Piazzale Roma and runs across Venice, so you can reach it from almost any neighbourhood in Venice in a few minutes.

Line 1 stops at all stations along the Grand Canal. I recommend taking Line 2, which skips a few stops – the water bus moves at a relaxed pace, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the cruise across the Grand Canal.

Canal Grande Venice

If you’re coming to Venice from the surrounding area, park near Piazzale Roma and hop on the vaporetto here. Piazzale Roma is the main transport hub in Venice, so you can also arrive by bus and train.

Vaporetto runs day and night, so you can start your 1 day in Venice really early in the morning. When you see the crowds that flock here in the morning, you’ll be glad you got up :).

Read: How to get from Marco Polo Airport to Venice

7:30 – Walk along the Ponte di Rialto

The Rialto Bridge is the most famous and oldest bridge over the Grand Canal. The bridge is 400 years old and made of Istrian stone. It consists of 3 parallel staircases – two are on the edges and the central staircase is flanked by shops selling souvenirs, Murano glass and jewellery.

Ponte di Rialto Venice

We visited the Rialto Bridge (Ponte de Rialto) early in the morning and during the day when we literally pushed through the crowds. In the morning between 7:00-8:00 you will be here with only a few other tourists. You can enjoy the view from the bridge without having to wait in line.

Ponte di Rialto Venice

From the Rialto Bridge, continue east to Piazza San Marco – signs will direct you. You get to the main avenue, but there is not so much to see.

Ponte di Rialto Venice

We sail into narrow side streets where you often have to dodge oncoming traffic during the day. This morning, however, you can almost enjoy the streets for yourself, crossing bridges over picturesque canals until you reach the famous Farini bakery (all locations are marked on the map).

Venice in one day

Here you can have a coffee and a croissant, which they have with different fillings (including cream and chocolate, yum). During the day, they offer pizza slices, lasagne and other snacks, perfect for a quick meal on the go. They open at 7:30.

We walk through the picturesque streets and reach Piazza San Marco, which is only a quarter of an hour walk from the Ponte de Rialto, including a stop for breakfast.

Accommodation in Venice 😴

ubytování benátky
Hilton Garden Inn Venice Mestre

Modern 4* hotel with parking and restaurant

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Hotel Delle Rose

Cheap, clean accommodation with parking

Venice in one day

8:30 – Admire Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco is one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. A vast square surrounded by magnificent buildings that opens like an embrace to the sea.

The square is dominated by the beautifully decorated St Mark’s Basilica, which is unmissable. It is connected to the Doge’s Palace and the bell tower of St. Marco The square is flanked by buildings with arcades, which house, among others, the Correr Museum and the National Archaeological Museum.

Piazza San Marco Venice
St Mark's Basilica in Venice

There’s so much to see in Piazza San Marco that you’ll want to set aside a few hours.

There is a landscaped promenade around the square. If you walk past the Doge’s Palace along the promenade to the bridge, you will see the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) over the canal. This connected the prison with the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. It takes its name from the prisoners who, according to legend, sighed on the bridge that they were probably seeing the Venice canal for the last time.

Ponte dei Sospiri Venice

Enjoy a stroll along the landscaped promenade with views of La Salute Basilica and San Giorgio Maggiore Basilica in the distance, just opposite Piazza San Marco. As the city wakes up, so do the gondoliers, who prepare their gondolas for the new day. Along the promenade is also the beautiful Giardini Reali, a peaceful oasis of greenery away from the crowds and stalls in the area.

Venice promenade
  Giardini Reali Venice in one day

If you are planning to visit one of the sights, now is the best time. It’s around 9:00am, so you have time to walk around the square and promenade before the basilica and bell tower open at 9:30am. The Doge’s Palace opens at 9:00.

Now we’ll give you more information about the different places in Piazza San Marco so you can prepare for your visit.

St. Mark’s Basilica

St Mark’s Basilica is made of more than 500 marble columns from 3rd century and will blow you away with its glittering gold and Murano coloured glass mosaics covering 4000 square metres, statues, 5 Byzantine domes or the golden altar studded with jewels.

St Mark's Basilica Venice

It is nicknamed for its ornate and golden interiors “Chiesa d’Oro” or “Golden Church”. A wonderful spectacle, with long queues.

The basilica itself can be walked through in a few dozen minutes. If you’re also planning to visit the Golden Altar, see the bronze horses of Constantinople, and enjoy the view of the entire Piazza San Marco from the terrace, set aside at least an hour. We did the whole tour and it was definitely worth it.

bazilika svatého Marka Piazza San Marco Benátky
St Mark's Basilica Venice

Please note: Remember to dress appropriately – cover your knees and shoulders in summer. It is a religious building, where you will not be allowed to go in inappropriate clothing.

Admission and opening hours of the Basilica of San Marco in Venice

The Basilica is open 9:30-17:15 (last entry 16:45) and 14:00-17:00 on Sundays (closes at 16:00 in winter).

Entrance to the basilica is for 3 €. For another €5 you can see the Golden Altar and for €7 you can go to the Museo di San Marco, where you can enjoy the view from the terrace overlooking the square and get a closer look at the mosaics or the original bronze horses of St Mark (interestingly, they are mostly made of copper).

The bronze horses are one of the biggest attractions at St. Mark’s Basilica. They were brought by Venetians from 4th Crusades from Constantinople in the 4th century. Replicas of horses are placed directly on the facade of the basilica.

Children under the age of 6 can enter all parts of the basilica for free.

How to skip the lines for St. Mark’s Basilica:

We were buying combined tickets in advance at 9:30am – included the basilica, the Golden Altar, the museum and a view from the terrace. We went through the entrance on the left reserved for advance reservations, where only a few people were waiting. To the right of this is the entrance for those without a reservation – the queue was already long at opening time all the way to the Doge’s Palace.

The Doge’s Palace

The Doge’s Palace is a magnificent building that is considered a masterpiece of Venetian architecture with its mixture of Gothic, Byzantine and Moorish styles.

In the past, the Doge’s Palace served as the residence of the Doge, the government and also as a prison. For example, Cassanova was imprisoned here.

Doge's Palace Venice / What to see in Venice

Inside, you will see the beautiful courtyard, the richly decorated rooms, walk along the Bridge of Sighs and visit the prison. If you walk quickly, you can walk through the Doge’s Palace in an hour. I recommend setting aside about 2 hours to see all the details and absorb the history of the Doge’s Palace and the sights.

Doge's Palace Venice / What to see in Venice
Doge's Palace Venice / What to see in Venice
Admission and opening hours of the Doge’s Palace

Admission to the Doge’s Palace is €30 and it is open daily 9:00-19:00 (last entry one hour before). In winter it closes at 18:00.

How to skip the queues for the Doge’s Palace:

Everyone wants to go to the Doge’s Palace and the queues are long. Especially in the season it is advance booking is a must to avoid long queues (the price is the same as on site). Just show the tickets on your mobile phone, you don’t need to print anything. You will go through a reserved entrance for tickets booked in advance.

The ticket also includes entry to the Museo Correr and the National Archaeological Museum, also located in Piazza San Marco.

St. Mark’s Bell Tower

For one of the best views of Venice, climb the Campanile di San Marco, which at 98.6 metres is the tallest building in Venice. A distinctive brick-coloured bell tower with an ornate entrance, which takes you up in a minute by lift to the observation gallery. From here you can admire Venice in all directions.

St Mark's Bell Tower Venice

Admission to St Mark’s Bell Tower: The view from Campanile di San Marco is charged at €10 (children under 6 years old are free). Only 30 people are allowed in every 30 minutes, so it’s better to book tickets in advance. At the entrance, go right. On the left are those who don’t have a reservation.

Opening hours: the opening hours of the bell tower are 9:45-19:00.

view from the bell tower of St. Mark's,Venice

Tickets for the most popular sights in Piazza San Marco, where long queues form:

12:00 – Lunch

There are plenty of restaurants and trattorias around Piazza San Marco for lunch. Some are only open through lunch and do not reopen until the evening. Or buy a slice of pizza or a box of pasta and continue exploring Venice.

Venice pizza

Right in Piazza San Marco, you can enjoy a delicious coffee and dessert at the renowned Caffè Florian, which has been in its beautiful premises since the 18th century. If you fancy gelato, Venchi is 5 minutes from the square and has excellent gelato and chocolate.

Accommodation in Venice 😴

ubytování benátky
Camping Venezia Village

Private accommodation in bungalows

ubytování benátky
Antico Panada

3* cosy hotel in the centre of the old town

14:00 – Enjoy the view from Ponte dell’Accademia

Where can you get the best view of the Grand Canal? The answer is Ponte dell’Accademia. This is where those iconic photos of the Grand Canal with the baroque La Salute Basilica are taken.

The bridge can be reached in about 15 minutes from Piazza San Marco. You can walk along the main avenue, which starts behind the Correr Museum. Or take a little stroll around La Fenice Theatre, surrounded by charming streets with hidden squares and picturesque canals. We really liked this part of Venice and there were no crowds.

The other option is to get on the vaporetto 1 or 2 at Piazza San Marco and get off at the Accademia stop right by Ponte dell’Accademia.

Read: The best itinerary for 2 days in Venice

14:30 – Take a gondola ride

Yes, riding a gondola is not a cheap affair and some consider it touristy. On the other hand, it is the gondoliers navigating the narrow canals that make Venice Venice.

Gondola ride in Venice / Venice in one day

The price for a 30-minute gondola ride is €80 during the day and after 19 in the evening. 120 € per hour. The price is valid for the whole gondola, i.e. 6 people. You can buy in advance shared gondola ride for 30 € per person. Rates are regulated by the city, so prices are the same everywhere in Venice. In addition, the gondoliers are so busy in high season that there are queues for the gondolas (especially at Piazza San Marco).

Some gondoliers sail through narrow channels where fewer people wait for the gondolas. You have a better chance of getting your turn quickly. You can also get on the gondola at Ponte dell’Accademia.

Read: The Complete Guide to Transport in Venice

Venice in one day / gondola, Venice

16:30 – Discover the streets of the Dorsoduro district

The Dorsoduro is one of the six sestieri, Venice’s municipal districts, directly connected to the Ponte dell’Accademia bridge. Located between the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, it is a quiet corner of an otherwise busy city. If you want to experience authentic Venice, head here.

Dorsoduro Venice

It is home to the Gallerie dell’Accademia, a leading collection of Venetian art, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, one of the finest collections of modern art in Italy. Thanks to Venice’s Ca’ Foscari University, the neighbourhood exudes a lively and youthful energy.

Venice in one day

Taste Venetian cicchetti at Cantine Schiavi, just a few minutes from Gallerie dell’Accademia. This is one of the most typical things to try in Venice. A large selection of small snacks, something like Spanish tapas.

You can choose a variety of cicchetti on your plate and have wine or a spritz with it. You can eat it on the railings along the canal. Just watch out for the seagulls – we saw with our own eyes how they steal food right out of your hands.

You’ll also find similar eateries in the Santa Croce district near Piazzale Roma – Bacareto da Lele. They’re open from early morning till late at night. In addition to cicchetti, it also offers breaded buns. They don’t sound special, but they are really good and will come in handy with such a busy schedule.

The whole of the Dorsoduro district is lined with a landscaped promenade around the Giudecca Canal, which is much quieter than the promenade by Piazza San Marco. As you wander the streets, you’ll come across a number of simple trattorias with great Venetian cuisine, frequented by locals.

Dorsoduro Venice in one day

From Dorsoduro you can continue to Sestieri San Polo, dominated by the imposing Gothic Basilica of I Frari. You are walking through the streets and suddenly such a splendour appears in an inconspicuous square.

Basilica I Frari Venice

The Basilica is beautiful not only from the outside, but also from the inside, where it houses paintings and sculptures by the greatest Italian artists.

bazilika I Frari Benátky / co navštívit v Benátkách

Spend the rest of the day wandering the streets or hop on a vaporetto and enjoy one more view of the Grand Canal at sunset.

Where to stay when visiting Venice for the day

To soak up the atmosphere of Venice, stay in the old centre. Here are the best accommodation options:

  • Antico Panada: A budget and cosy hotel right in the centre of Piazza San Marco
  • Hotel Belle Arti: Three-star hotel in the artistic district of Dorsoduro, located a few minutes from the Grand Canal and San Marco Square.
  • Hotel Il Moro di Venezia: Cheap, clean hotel 5 minutes from Piazzale Roma, with private bathroom and air conditioning

Accommodation in the suburbs of Mestre keeps you away from the hustle and bustle of Venice while providing excellent facilities. Venice can be reached in a few minutes by bus, tram or train (you can usually buy tickets for €1.50 at your hotel reception).

  • Hilton Garden Inn Venice Mestre: Four-star modern hotel with great value for money, swimming pool, spa and excellent cuisine
  • Hotel Alverì: Three-star comfortable hotel at a good price and with free parking
  • Camping Venezia Village: Modern accommodation in self-contained bungalows with fridge and terrace, the complex also has a swimming pool, playground, restaurant and shop
  • Hotel Delle Rose: Cheap but clean and pleasant hotel with good access to the airport and Venice

Accommodation in Venice 😴

ubytování benátky
Hilton Garden Inn Venice Mestre

Modern 4* hotel with parking and restaurant

levné ubytování benátky
Hotel Delle Rose

Cheap, clean accommodation with parking

How to enjoy Venice in one day

  • As of 2024, there is now an obligation to pay the fee to enter Venice on selected days.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. The streets are narrow, there are a lot of steps and uneven surfaces.
  • Try the food outside the main tourist spots. In hidden alleyways or neighborhoods frequented mainly by locals. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also enjoy more.
  • Summer or winter, Italian gelato is a must-try, even if it’s slightly above freezing. The best gelato is in the city centre at SUSO, Gallonetto or Venchi.
  • Land at major tourist spots such as Ponte di Rialto and Piazza San Marco.
  • Or, alternatively, walk through Venice after dark, when it is beautifully lit. From a cruise on the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco, in the evening everything is bathed in warm colours of light.
  • See if the Venezia Unica tourist card can save you money.

These were our tips on what to see in Venice in one day. Do you have a question? We’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More information about Italy

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As of 2024, there is now an obligation to pay the fee to enter Venice on selected days.

In the article about parking in Venice, you will learn everything you need to know about parking if you are driving. We have also prepared a detailed guide to transport in Venice.

Looking for ways to get from the airport to Venice? Here are tips on how to get to Venice from Marco Polo Airport. Flying into Treviso Airport? In this article you will find ways to get from Treviso Airport to Venice.

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