Venice is a city that doesn’t need an introduction! A city built on water and famous for its canals, gondolas and unique architecture. Today, it remains a popular tourist destination, and there are plenty of things to see and do. This guide will give you a good idea of what to expect when visiting this beautiful city for just one day! 

Yes. You can visit Venice in just one day and this one day in Venice itinerary will help you plan how to spend a day here. And don’t worry, you’ll have time to relax and explore on your own as well.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary gondolier

Things to know before you spend one day in Venice Italy

  • Venice consists of canals and small islands. There is literally only one part of Venice (Piazzale Roma) that you can drive to (I don’t recommend this) so get ready to do a lot of walking.
  • One day in Venice is not something unheard of, in fact, many tour companies and tourists do exactly that – hence why this one day in Venice itinerary was created. 
  • Venice has a lot of stairs as you will be crossing many canals. Wear comfy shoes.
  • Venice might introduce an entry fee soon so your one day in Venice experience will come with a fee. This is to try to combat overtourism.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary on a map

Where to stay in Venice for one day?

One of the key questions about your one day in Venice is where to stay.

Venice is different to other cities in Italy, so the main decision is to either stay in Venice-Mestre which is the modern part of Venice on the mainland or to stay on the island of Venice. 

If you stay in Venice Mestre – The best hotels to stay

You’ll find everything here. Better hotels, a train station, supermarkets etc. It means you need to get to Venice itself (the island of Venice) on public transport (or taxi if you want) but this is super easy. 

Buses connect Venice Mestre and Venice throughout the day – buses leave every 10 minutes and the cost is €1.50. It takes 10-15 minutes to reach the island of Venice. You could even take a 10-minute train, but the buses are easier. And it’s easy to check out and head to the airport or train when you leave Venice.

I have stayed in Mestre Venice many times as a tour guide with groups and my favourite hotels are:

Hotel Plaza – Located right in front of Mestre Train Station, Hotel Plaza offers elegant, spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi. Venice is just a 10-minute bus or train ride away. This hotel ticks all the boxes. Highly recommended.

One Day in Venice Itinerary - where to stay Hotel Plaza

One day in Venice itinerary – Hotel Plaza is highly recommended. Credit: Booking.com

Prices start from €120 per night – Check Availability

Hotel Venezia – In the heart of Mestre Venice, this is a nice choice for budget travellers with excellent bus links into Venice’s historic centre.

One Day in Venice Itinerary - where to stay Hotel Venezia

One day in Venice itinerary – Hotel Venezia in Mestre. Credit: Booking.com

Prices start from €65 per night – Check Availability

The main reason to stay in Mestre when visiting Venice for one day is that it is easy. You can arrive at the hotel in Mestre which is probably nicer and cheaper than if you stayed in Venice and you can leave early morning to explore Venice for one day.

You won’t need to carry your bags over stairs and bridges in Venice to find your small hotel. Simply enjoy a day in Venice and then return to your hotel in Mestre to sleep and leave.

If you stay inside Venice on the island – The best hotels to stay

This means it might take longer to get to your hotel. Venice is built on more than 120 small islands and it is a maze filled with canals and bridges. Every time I see disoriented tourists carrying their suitcases across looking totally lost, I feel sorry for them. 

If you decide to stay inside Venice, then ask for a water taxi to get you there to save you wasting too much time. 

You can book a direct water taxi online here. 

The upside of staying in Venice is that you can explore it early morning or late at night when many visitors that come to Venice on a one day itinerary leave to go back to Mestre. 

Royal San Marco Hotel – If you want to stay in the heart of Venice in a traditional Venezian Hotel, then this is it. I stayed here for a long weekend and loved being literally a stone’s throw away from San Marco Square. 

One Day in Venice Itinerary - where to stay Royal San Marco Hotel

One day in Venice itinerary – Stay at the Royal San Marco Hotel. Credit: Booking.com

Prices start from €105 per night – Check Availability

Al Mascaron Ridente – A simple 3-star Venetian Hotel in the quiet area of Cannaregio. Away from the busy street but close enough to the action. Great value hotel for a comfortable stay for your one day in Venice itinerary.

One Day in Venice Itinerary - where to stay Al Mascaron Ridente

Where to stay for you one day in Venice itinerary. Al Mascaron Ridente hotel in Venice. Credit: Booking.com

Prices start from €140 per night – Check Availability

Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal – Overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal, Hotel Carlton offers a rooftop cocktail bar with a terrace and spacious, Venetian-style rooms. Santa Lucia Train Station and the Piazzale Roma car park are both 5 minutes’ walk away.

One Day in Venice Itinerary - where to stay Hotel Carlton On The Grand Canal

Hotel Carlton on the Grand. Credit: Booking.com

Prices start from €150 per night – Check Availability

Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice – If you are looking for a modern 5-star hotel, then the Radisson is the best choice. This hotel has everything you need for a top-rated stay in Venice.

One Day in Venice Itinerary - where to stay Radisson Collection Hotel Palazzo Nani

Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice. Credit: Booking.com

Prices start from €200 per night – Check Availability

One day in Venice itinerary – Start the day early

It doesn’t matter where you staying, start the day early with a walk across Venice. I suggest starting at 8 am at the latest. 

If you are arriving in Venice from Mestre, you will arrive at the square of Piazzale Rome. This is where all buses leave from and where you eventually need to get to. Don’t worry you won’t need to walk here at the end of the day, you can take the big Vaporetto (water boat) back or even better a private water taxi.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary getting lost in Venice

Is 1 day in Venice enough? The Beaty of Venice can be appreciated in just one day!

Start walking from Piazzale Roma to Academia which is the direction to Academia Bridge. Since Venice has many tiny streets, the best way to navigate is to follow these yellow signs for the main sights (look out for them on the corner of the buildings).

The walk from Pizzale Roma square to Academia Bridge should take about 30 minutes. You get to see some picturesque streets and canals, and maybe locals shopping for some fresh fruit.

Academia Bridge and views of the Grand Canal

This bridge is the perfect opportunity to capture some photos of the Grand Canal that cuts through Venice and all the boats passing under it. In the distance, you will spot a huge church at the entrance of the Grand Canal – Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. 

The big white building at the side of the bridge where you just came from is the Gallerie dell’Accademia or Academia of Arts.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary Selfie from Academia bridge

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary Selfie from Academia bridge

Since you’ll be seeing Venice in 24 hours, it’s important to pick the right place to stay in Venice.

Time to continue and this time follow the signs for SAN MARCO which is the name of Saint Marks Square, the main square of Venice. It will take you another 10-15 minutes to reach it and once again you will spot some shops, tiny alleyways, churches and even gondoliers hopefully getting ready for work.

Take the Gondola ride in the morning!

This is the perfect opportunity to take a 30 minutes gondola ride! You will see gondolas “parked up” just before you reach a huge church San Moise church. Ask one of the guys and they will point you to the cashier. The Gondola ride costs €80-€120 depending on the length. 

If they are not at work yet (you might be here early) come back here later in the afternoon.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary Rialto Bridge

For some gondola ride is a must-do when visiting Venice for one day – here is a ride with a view of the Rialto Bridge

Now I know you might think gondola rides are just for tourists, and you are right! Locals don’t take gondolas! But they used to do so when gondolas were the key type of transport in the city. So it’s up to you.

If you’d like to do it on a budget, book a Grand Canal 35 minute gondola ride here, starting from €35.50 (shared with others) or choose a private gondola for €120.

If you don’t like the idea of a gondola, don’t worry we have another opportunity to see Venice from the water at the end of the evening.

Continue your morning stroll after your gondola towards San Marco Square.

Visit St Mark’s Basilica and admire the San Marco Square

Nothing prepares you for the moment when you first step onto San Marco’s square – it is simply breathtaking. You will see the huge St Marks Basilica as well as the bell tower called Campanile. You will spot huge pigeons in the square that all tourists seem to be obsessed with feeding.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary San Marco Square

San Marco Square is the main square with the key attractions in Venice

You might also spot the drains in the middle of the square that are actually the reason why San Marco floods with water – when the water level rises in the lagoon, it is the draining system that brings the water in. I spent one day in Venice in winter when the city was flooded and it was quite the experience. 

San Marco square has a few cafes as well. The most famous is the first cafe in Venice founded in 1720, the Caffe Florian. Caffe Florian is gorgeous and it’s known for quality, elegance, and refined Italian style. 

I guess if money isn’t an issue you can treat yourself to a hot chocolate, cappuccino or breakfast which starts from €35/€50. The menu can be found here.

By now Venice will be already busy so it’s time to visit the main attraction.

The best way to see San Marco’s Basilica & Doge’s Palace is with a tour!

Entry to this incredible church is free of charge, but some sections require additional payment. During the busy summer season, there is usually a line to get in early morning already and since you have only one day in Venice, I recommend booking a tour. 

When you only have one day in Venice, you can’t afford to miss out.

Best tour of Venice: Doge Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica Skip The Line Tour with Terrace Access

The tour starts at 10 am or 10.45 am.  You might need to do a later one if you choose to do a gondola and breakfast. The tour goes for 3 hours and includes:

  • Access to Saint Mark’s Basilica
  • Access to St. Mark’s Museum
  • Access to Doge’s Palace (This is another highlight of Venice)
  • Access to New Prisons, Doge’s Palace
  • Access to Bridge of Sighs
  • Live tour guide
The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary San Marco Basilica

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary San Marco Basilica details will blow your mind! Tour is a must!

The basilica is stunning inside and out. It is the resting place of Saint Mark’s body and there are some great legends about how the remains were transported back to Venice. The guide will explain a lot about the site and the history of Venice. There are paintings by famous Italian artists such as Tintoretto.

The basilica is open from 9.30 am Monday-Saturday and closes at 5.30 pm.

The tour will then continue onto Doges palace which was the seat of the ruler of Venice and once upon a time the grand Venetian Republic. Another great highlight of our one day in Venice itinerary. 

Plus as a bonus, you get to see the famous Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). 

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary Bridge of sighs

The Bridge of Sighs in Venice – One day in Venice itinerary

Lunch Time – What food not to miss during your 1 day in Venice

Once you finish your tour it is time for lunch! You can choose to walk outside the Doges Palace and find restaurants along the water with great views of a small island across the water – San Giorgio Maggiore. 

Alternatively, get lost in the small streets that will provide some shade on the other side of San Marco’s Basilica. 

As for typical Venetian meals, you can try bigoli in salsa (pasta in an anchovy sauce) or risotto al nero di seppia (risotto cooked with cuttlefish ink). Or simply grab a nice panini sandwich and leave some space for gelato.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary gelato time

My favourite gelato in Venice place is Suso near Rialto Bridge – Gelato is a must-eat when in Venice for one day

Take the lift to the top of St Mark’s Campanile (Campanile di San Marco)

Seeing Venice from above will be the highlight of your one day in Venice itinerary. You don’t need a private jet or drone to see Venice islands from above. You can simply visit the Bell Tower known as the Campanile on San Marco Square. 

Take the elevator to the top of this 98.6m (323-foot) tall tower to get a magnificent view of the city and the lagoon beyond.

The tickets can be pre-purchased online here for €10.

Get lost in Venice on the way to Rialto Bridge

Then spend the afternoon getting lost around the streets of Venice, enjoy more gelato and shop for the famous Venitian lace and glass. If you haven’t taken a gondola ride, you’ll have the opportunity to do so this afternoon as well. 

Rialto bridge is one of the 4 bridges crossing the Grand Canal and it’s the oldest bridge in Venice. It’s always busy with tourists but there are spectacular views of the canal and plenty of restaurants and cafes around here.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary exploring other areas

Getting lost in Venice – It doesn’t matter if you visit Venice for one day or a week. Getting lost here is fun!

I recommend breaking for aperitivo – essentially a late afternoon drink. Many bars offer a drink for €4-5, and serve some light snacks with it.

Why not try the one drink that Venice has given not only to Italy but it’s now a famous cocktail worldwide? Yes, I am talking about the Aperol Spritz. This bright orange cocktail is served in a big wine glass with a slice of orange. It consists of Prosecco, Aperol (Italian bitter apéritif) and soda water. 

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary Aperol Spritz

When in Venice – Aperol Spritz is of course part of this one day in Venice itinerary

Sunset at Rialto Bridge and dinner in Cannaregio

Your perfect day in Venice can be finished in style. You can either opt out to enjoy the sunset near Rialto bridge and have dinner in one of the nearby restaurants and then take the Vaporetto (water bus) from here to Piazzale Roma to return back to your hotel in Mestre.

If you are staying on Venice island, you might enjoy taking the Vaporetto along the Grand Canal at sunset to see all the palaces along. You can take it from San Marco Square to Piazzale Roma or even join from Rialto. 

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary vaparetto

Vaporetto is the  answer to public transport in Venice – one day in Venice itinerary

Alternatively, if you plan accordingly and book at least 48 hrs in advance, you can take this Private 2-hour Venice Canal Cruise. It’s a great way to explore the waterways of charming Venetian neighbourhoods such as Cannaregio, the Jewish Ghetto and Dorsoduro.

Which Vaporetto (water bus) should you take in Venice to see the best of it? 

The No. 1 local line (see Vaporetto Line 1 – Grand Canal) zigzags between 20 stations on its way from the Piazzale Roma. It’s popular with tourists because it offers a leisurely tour of the Grand Canal. don’t forget to buy a ticket for €7.50.

Alternatively, why not splash out and hire one of the wooden water taxi boats you have seen in the movies and take a ride along the canal just for the fun of it? 

Honestly if it’s 2 or 4 of you and you’re going to pay for a Vaparetto anyway, why not go in style?

Plus they might drop you at Cannaregio district which is a popular place with wine bars and restaurants. I have been told this is where locals go out. The standard Water Taxi rates range between €50-100 depending on the distance.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary

Imagine being on this boat – Venice taxi is more like a limo ride through Venice

Final thoughts on Venice in one day itinerary

And that’s it for one day Venice itinerary. While you could easily spend 3 days in Venice and explore it in-depth, not forgetting the nearby Burano and Murano islands, this simple itinerary shows that you can see the best of the best in Venice in just one day. If you were looking for Venice 2 day itinerary, follow this blog and then take a day trip to Murano and Burano:

I truly believe you can get to see and experience a lot in just a day and while the city is busy during the summer months, you can get up early for empty streets and stay out late!

Or come during April/early May. And the sunset during this time can be as amazing.

The Perfect One Day in Venice Itinerary San Marco square

Venice sunsets are simply amazing

Travelling around Italy or Exploring more of Europe?

If you’re planning to discover more of Italy, these are our Top 15 Places to Visit in Italy.

Don’t miss our detailed 3 days in Rome itinerary, and of course, some of the most popular Roman dishes to eat when you’re there. And if you are heading to Florence, our Florence in 2 days has everything you need! And a visit to the most underrated city in Italy is a must! Bologna is awesome; here are 12 Amazing Things to Do in Bologna, including where to stay and what to eat.

I highly recommend you choose one of these top-rated Vatican tours for your day visiting Vatican City.

Interested in visiting the beautiful Lake Como? We’ve got the Perfect Guide for visiting Bellagio in Lake Como.

You may also be interested to know these 4 top reasons to visit Italy by train. Alternatively, if you’re planning to travel around Europe, then our post about travelling Europe by train will give you many useful tips.

Finally, our Ultimate packing list for Europe has covered all the essentials you’ll need for your trip. You must take a look at our Complete Food Map of Europe to make sure you don’t miss anything delicious too.

Get Connected with eSIM in Italy!

airolo digital esim travel resourcesGet connected the easy way when you’re travelling – and buy an eSIM for Italy.

An eSIM works like an app: Buy it, download it, and get connected within minutes!

It’s easy, affordable, and convenient. Keep your original mobile phone number too!

Read more about how an eSIMs works or click below to view which eSIM data plan you need for your Italian adventure. Use our referral code: RACHEL5045 to get $3 off your first purchase!

Buy an eSIM for Italy!

Get 5% off the Best Group Tours in Italy

Why not consider travelling around Italy on a group tour? We highly recommend this 12-Day Tour in Italy with Expat Explore. Let your fantastic crew take care of all the details; your only task is to turn up and have an amazing time. 

Check out the entire range of Italy Tours with Expat Explore. If you find the perfect trip for you, use our promo code VERYHUNGRYNOMADS at checkout for an additional 5% off your trip!

TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES

✈️ Flights: Aviasales & CheapOair are the best websites to book cheap flights.

🏨 AccommodationBooking.comAgoda, and Hotellook are the top platforms to search for fantastic hotels and accommodation options at the best price.

🏥 Travel Insurance: Don’t forget travel insurance! We recommend World Nomads or SafetyWing.

🚌 Transportation: To book trains, Trainline is the best and cheapest website. To book transport in Europe, USA & Canada, we use Omio & FlixbusUS. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go. For all other countries, we use BookaWay to compare and book Bus, Ferry, or train tickets to get around.

🚘 Car Rental: DiscoverCars, & Europcar are reliable platforms to book rental cars.

👫 Group ToursG Adventures or Expat Explore offers the best group adventures around the world. Use our promo code VERYHUNGRYNOMADS at checkout to receive 5% off your Expat Explore Trip!

📸 Day Tours & TripsGetYourGuide & Viator are the only platforms you will need. They offer everything at unbeatable prices.

🎒 LuggageOsprey Farpoint 40L Backpack or Samsonite Luggage Range (we love this Stack’d Carry-On Spinner Suitcase).

🛄 What to Pack: To help you get started on packing, here is our ULTIMATE Packing List for all Travellers.

🐶 Become a House Sitter: Join Trusted Housesitters and enjoy FREE accommodation around the world. Use our personal invite to receive 25% off your new membership.

💰 Send Money Anywhere: WISE is the best online account that lets you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. It’s so easy to use and way cheaper than any bank transfer.

📶 Stay Connected: Airalo eSIM allows you to get connected the moment you land at your destination and you can avoid those expensive data roaming charges. We LOVE this product! Use promo code VHN20 for a 20% discount on ALL eSIMs (new Airalo users only – Read Terms & Conditions) OR use promo code VHN15 for a 15% discount on ALL eSIMs (for existing Airalo account users – Read Terms & Conditions)

✅ Check out our Travel Resources Page for more Useful Tips to Save you Money!