Venice is easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and certainly one of the most visited cities in Italy, second only to Rome. The city can get quite intense, actually – packed as it is with tourists. And although there are many things to do to keep you busy, you may at some point feel the need to escape for a while, to visit other places in Italy, perhaps a bit off the beaten path, but even just as famous.
While it is set on a lagoon, getting in and out of Venice is actually fairly easy, so you can enjoy many excellent day trips from Venice. I have selected the best day trips from Venice you should consider, and shared tips on how to make the most of each of them. At the end of this post, you will also find a selection of places I don’t recommend visiting on day trips from Venice.
You should also read my post 26 Best Things To Do In Venice.
Best Day Trips From Venice
Officially part of Venice, Murano is one of the many islands that make up the water-logged city itself. Murano is actually made up of seven smaller islets, separated by canals and linked by bridges. Long-famed for its glass making, the Venetian authorities forced artisans to the island in 1291 to keep the lucrative industry for themselves.
Today the islands remain a mainstay of craftspeople, and wandering the streets here reveals hidden workshops. There’s also the Murano Glassware Museum where you can learn all about the heritage of this outlying island and its people.
To get to Murano, take the vaporetto (public water bus). There are a range of different lines that connect up the main part of Venice and Murano, but the best is line 12 from Fondamente Nove. The trip takes 15 minutes, and the vaporetto leaves every 30 minutes. This can get very busy in peak tourist season so leave early in the morning to avoid the long lines.
Day tours also connect Murano with Venice (these often include trips to Burano as well). Below is a selection of the best day trips from Venice to Murano:
This private tour only goes to Murano and lasts 3 hours. It’s perfect if you’d rather avoid larger groups.
This tour departing from Venice goes to Murano and nearby Burano and it is highly rated. It lasts 5 hours.
There also are tours such as this one that go to Murano, Burano and Torcello – the one mentioned here lasts four hours. There’s a similar tour too, that is a bit more budget friendly. For more information, click here.
The nearby island of Burano originally consisted of five islands and is famous for its craft of lacemaking. Burano is also known for its array of colorful houses, which are lovingly painted by the homeowners themselves. It’s a fun place to take photos! Only certain colors are allowed, and are designated as per the orders of the local government.
Burano is the perfect place to visit on day trips from Venice. It’s also a charming local spot to explore, with only around 3,000 people who call the island home.
The cheapest and quickest way to get to Burano from elsewhere in Venice is by taking the vaporetto. Take line 12 from Fondamente Nove, which stops by Murano on the way. The trip takes half an hour and ferries leave every 30 minutes.
A selection of day tours also connect Burano with Venice (often including trips to Murano too).
This tour departing from Venice goes to Burano and nearby Murano and it is one of the best rated. It lasts 5 hours.
Lido di Venezia
I stayed in Lido di Venezia on my most recent trip to Venice and it was actually a quite nice, local experience if I may say. It just felt a million miles a way from the tourist crowds of Piazza San Marco.
Also part of Venice, this long barrier island runs for 11 kilometers (7 miles), most of which comprises a sandy beach. But beach aside, the island’s claim to fame is being the host of the Venice Film Festival. It’s here that every summer the rich and famous descend on the city to see blockbusters and independent films alike.
The Lido di Venezia also boasts some of the oldest history in Venice. It is here where the earliest settlements in the lagoon were located. Over the centuries, various power struggles resulted in forts, fortifications and barracks being built. But today it’s the beach that draws visitors (mostly locals) and the occasional foreign day tripper, and there’s a whole lot of glamorous accommodation options to choose from.
A number of vaporetto lines lead across Venice to Lido. Line 1 runs along the Grand Canal; lines 5.1 and 5.2 are circular routes that lead to Lido as well, while line 6 is a seasonal express service that runs from Piazzale Roma to Lido. It takes about 20 minutes to get there.
Once there, tours are available too, with bike tours such as this one being a popular way to see Lido di Venezia in its entirety.
Just to the south of Venice lies the coastal town of Chioggia. Also known as “Little Venice”, the compact fishing town actually predates Venice, and has been an integral place of trade in the lagoon for centuries. Here you can spend the day exploring the colorful lanes and walking along interesting canals to reveal the history of the town.
There’s also plenty of opportunity to spend time relaxing on the sandy shoreline or whiling away a few hours with a meal on the water’s edge. For history fans, there’s the chance to visit the Romanesque watchtower — the Torre dell’Orologio S. Andrea, complete with original medieval clock. You can also learn about the local fishing heritage at the Museum of Adriatic Zoology.
Getting from Venice to Chioggia involves getting a vaporetto to Lido, then hopping on a bus (line 11) to the island’s southern end. From here it’s a quick boat ride over to Chioggia on the number 11 boat. It’s an adventure getting there itself taking around two hours in total. There’s also a bus connection that leads overland and takes an hour and a half.
For a boat tour of the Venetial Lagoon in Chioggia, click here.
This is one of my favorite (secret) places to visit on day trips from Venice, and in fact since my cousin lives there, I sometimes use it as a base to explore Venice since it is just a quick train ride away.
Situated around half an hour away from the center of Venice by train, Treviso has a long connection to the fortunes of Venice. It was joined into the Republic of Venice at the start of the 13th century. This relationship meant that the town was fortified with defensive walls and ramparts, which remain visible and available for visitors to explore to this day.
Laced with waterways and crossed by canals, Treviso is also a foodie hotspot. The local fish market is a magnet for anybody looking to learn more about local cuisine. There’s also a long list of famous dishes that have been born here, including tiramisu. It’s also the home of prosecco!
It’s a quick 20-minute train ride from Venice to Treviso Centrale, which is the easiest way to get between the two.
The Prosecco Region is situated within striking distance of Venice (just an hour away from the city). Here travelers who enjoy spending time amongst nature — and most importantly sampling wine — can indulge their senses.
Officially, the Prosecco Region is spread out across the regions of both Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the region spans a sizeable area of 50,000 acres. It’s typified by rolling vineyard-coated hills that are punctuated by charming medieval towns and wineries.
The protected landscape is a romantic region to explore, but the main area to hit up in the Prosecco Region is the area around Valdobbiadene and Conegliano.
The best way to get there from Venice is to either rent a car and explore the region by yourself, or take a train from Venice to Conegliano (one hour); you can then easily rent an e-bike and pedal around the surrounding area.
Alternatively there are a number of tours offered from Venice to explore the Prosecco Region, which will take you to a number of wineries.
This guided day trip from Venice to the Prosecco region includes transportation from Venice and visits to two different wineries. It includes a light lunch.
This tour is similar, but includes a full lunch and is hence more expensive.
Brenta Canal and the Venetian Villas
Running from the town of Stra to the Venetian lagoon, where it meets the Grand Canal, the Brenta Canal is an idyllic waterway that was popular in the 16th century.
It was here that wealthy holidaymakers built their elaborate villas along the water’s edge, many of which can still be seen today — over 200, in fact. These villas are surrounded by large parklands, and though some are private, a fair few are open as museums, galleries and gardens for visitors to explore.
Some of the more famous of these include the Palladian-style 18th-century Villa Pisani, complete with landscaped gardens and internal courtyards. There’s also the romantic Villa Foscari La Malcontenta, famed for its weeping willows and gorgeously frescoed rooms, and the superb Villa Widmann — an incredible example of over-the-top rococo sensibilities.
While an independent day trip can be done, it’s probably easier to simply take a canal cruise up the waterway to see the sights of Brenta and its stunning villas.
For a boat tour along the Brenta Canal, click here.
You could even opt for something a little more adventurous, such as a tour by bicycle, or even better, a kayak expedition such as this one.
Bassano del Grappa
Set along the Brenta Canal, Bassano del Grappa is a charming waterside city featuring a bustling townscape of centuries-old buildings backed by mountains. Dominated by its river setting, one of the most famous sites in town is the 13th-century wooden Ponte Vecchio (literally “old bridge”), a covered crossing of the Brenta.
Bassano del Grappa is also home to a number of interesting museums where visitors can get to know more about the history of the medieval city itself. The place to start your exploration of Bassano del Grappa is the Piazza Libertà, which is edged by elegant buildings. The 12th-century Ezzelini Castle is also worth a visit, if not for the history then for its amazing views out over the town, mountains and river.
There’s a direct train from Venice to Bassano del Grappa. This takes an hour and 15 minutes and costs. By road, driving takes an hour and 10 minutes.
“Fair” Verona was made world-famous thanks to Shakespeare’s play Romeo & Juliet, but there’s more to this city than the English playwright. Strewn with squares and navigable by a network of intriguing lanes, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the place to go to learn more about an abundance of history, architecture and culture.
Thankfully, my cousin (not the same one that lives in Treviso!) used to live there (she’s now back in Sardinia) so I visited many times!
The main attraction here is a 1st-century amphitheater. There are also endless churches and even an illustrious opera festival held every summer. Lake Garda is also just a stone’s throw from Verona.
Getting to Verona is a simple matter of taking the train from Venice Santa Lucia station to Verona Porta Nuova station. The journey takes around an hour and 15 minutes. If you want to drive, the journey will take around an hour and 20 minutes.
But there are guided day trips from Venice to Verona too – such as this one – which allow you to take in the sights of Verona with ease and without worrying about timetables and schedules.
Once you are in Verona, you can easily explore on your own.
If this is the case, you may actually benefit from the Verona Card which includes priority entrance to the Arena.
However, to make the most of what the city has to offer, and to get a bit of background information about it, you may wish to join a guided tour. Here are some recommendations:
Original Verona Bike Tour – one of the most popular ways of exploring the city, this tour lasts three hours during which you’ll get to see the best of Verona.
You can also join this 2.5 hours walking tour of Verona that includes skip the line entrance to a few attractions.
Sirmione (Lake Garda)
Lake Garda is one of most iconic destinations in northern Italy. Famous for its picturesque scenery, gleaming waters and luxury hotels, Lake Garda plays host to a number of towns located along the water’s edge. One of these is Sirmione.
Situated on the south shores of the lake, the attractive town has long been a magnet for notable historical figures from the Roman poet Catullus and to renowned 20th-century opera singer Maria Callas.
Sirmione also boasts a long shoreline, thanks to it being located on a peninsula that sticks out into the lake. The town is home to a number of interesting sights, such as the Grotte di Catullo, the remains of a Roman villa dating to the 1st century.
Unfortunately, you can’t get the train directly from Venice to Sirmione, but you can get the train to a nearby location (such as Verona) and then take a bus from there. Alternatively, driving takes an hour and a half.
Tours won’t often specifically focus on Sirmione, but there are plenty of Lake Garda day trips from Venice, such as this highly rated one.
Located less than one hour from Venice, Padua provides the ideal antidote to the tourist rush of Venice’s core. It’s home to a mix of interesting medieval town squares and Fascist-era architecture, but is most famous for being home to one of the oldest universities in the country.
The city has also been influential throughout history, vying for regional power against Venice and Verona alike, but was conquered by Venice in the early 15th century. Padua remains important today, with much industry, religious importance and youth culture (owing to the student population that calls the city home).
To get there, you can simply take the train from Venice to Padua, it takes half an hour and leaves regularly throughout the day. Driving takes 45 minutes or so but the roads are tolled.
You could make it even easier and opt for something like this half-day tour from Venice to Padua.
Once in Padua, you may want to join a guided tour such as this one to discover what the city has to offer.
Elegant Vicenza is famous for its collection of architecture attributed to Andrea Palladio, an important figure in the development of European architecture as a whole.
Palladio escaped Padua and went to Rome, where he became inspired by the city’s ancient ruins. Returning to the region, he settled in Vicenza and set about creating his own architectural style, resulting in the UNESCO World Heritage Site that visitors can see today.
The cosmopolitan city is a hub of culture, with art galleries and museums housed in elegant palazzi, such as the Palazzo Chiericati — a civic art museum inside one of the city’s most beautiful buildings. It’s also a foodie favorite, with plenty of places to eat and wine to sample. And yet, not many people visit. I have been a few times because – guess what? – I have another cousin living there (call it the Sardinia-Veneto connection, if you wish!).
Vicenza is 45 minutes away from Venice by train (these leave around every 20 minutes). Driving is also possible (one hour; tolled roads).
Private day trips from Venice to Vicenza are also available, allowing you to see the highlights without worrying about public transport.
Known as “La Grassa” (literally “the fat one”), Bologna is well known throughout Italy and beyond for its food. But while there is ample opportunity to devour the long list of iconic foodstuffs that are connected to the city (ragu al bolognese, lasagne, mortadella and tortellini to name just a few), Bologna also boasts a UNESCO-recognized city center.
When I last visited a few months ago, Bologna wowed me with its porticoes, covered walkways that edge the many streets, which run for around 62 kilometers (38 miles) across the city and date back to 1041.
Other famous sights in the city include the medieval towers, namely the Asinelli Tower which can still be ascended today, and the impressive Santuario della Madonna di San Luca, to name just a few.
The train between Venice and Bologna Centrale takes an hour and a half. The distance is 131 kilometers (81 miles). To drive the route, it will take you around 2 hours, so I’d recommend taking the train instead.
Once in Bologna, consider joining this guided walking tour of historic the center – my friend and I took it when we visited, and we enjoyed it.
You can also go on a food tour such as this one, which given the location is pretty much a must!
Head over to my post A Perfect One Day In Bologna Itinerary.
Ferrara is well known for its well-preserved Renaissance city center, funded by the wealthy Este family, who effectively ruled the city over several centuries. As well as its beautiful architecture and ornate palaces, the city is bordered by its well-preserved medieval walls. With links to the 18th-century adventurer Casanova, Ferrara also has a UNESCO World Heritage Site at its core.
Despite taking heavy damage during World War II bombing raids, Ferrara’s historic center thankfully remains intact. The Jewish Ghetto here is also a must-visit: It was the largest and the oldest in the area, and was enforced between 1627 and 1859. It can all be easily explored on a day trip from Venice thanks to its pedestrian-friendly streets and bicycle lanes.
The train from Venice to Ferrara takes just one hour and 20 minutes. Once there, see its top-rated attractions on a guided tour such as this one to make the most of your day trip.
Of course, it would be better to spend longer than just a day in Florence, but if that’s all you’ve got and you really want to see some of the iconic sights of the capital of Tuscany, then you’ll be pleased to know that a day trip from Venice to Florence is very much a possibility.
On a day trip you’ll have enough time to visit the Duomo, Florence’s 15th-century cathedral (fourth largest in Europe), see Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery and see Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia. Just don’t forget to get skip-the-line tickets to all attractions you wish to visit beforehand!
There’ll even be time to enjoy a meal at one of the city’s countless terrace cafes to soak up some of the enchanting romance of the city’s cobbled lanes.
It takes some time to get to Florence — around two hours by train from Venice — but you’ll arrive right in the center of the city, ready to explore.
For a Florence itinerary that will literally guide you through everything you can see and do in just a day, read my post How To Make The Most Of One Day In Florence.
If you prefer going on a guided tour, consider joining this tour from Venice by train which includes tickets to the Uffizi Gallery.
Boasting a bustling port, the city of Trieste is the capital of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy. It’s long been an important place of trade, and was the main seaport of the Habsburg area. As such its waterfront is awash with ornate neoclassical architecture.
But it’s the location of the city — on the borders of Slovenia — that really gives Trieste an identity all of its own. It even has its own language, a mix of Venetian with words borrowed from Austrian, Slovene, German and Greek.
Today, Trieste’s marina bobs with colorful boats, while there are also sandy beaches and vineyards in easy reach for those looking for a taste of nature.
The train from Venice to Trieste is direct, taking just over two hours. Once in Trieste, consider joining a guided walking tour such as this one to get a feel for the city.
Places NOT Recommended For Day Trips From Venice
There are so many places that seem like they’re close to Venice, and they may be really tempting to visit, but really it’s not advisable to try and visit them on a day trip. Mostly, the reason for this is simply: they’re too far away!
Places you are better off not visiting on day trips from Venice include:
Although enticing, the Dolomites and places like Cortina d’Ampezzo and Lago di Braies are simply too far to be enjoyed on a day trip from Venice. It takes around three hours to get from one to the other, meaning you’ll be spending most of your time traveling rather than exploring the astounding beauty of the region. It’s best to spend more than just a day in this region.
Make sure to also read my post The Best Hikes In The Dolomites.
It may be just across the sea, but Rovinj is a destination in itself and definitely not day trip-worthy. There is a ferry that connects Venice and Rovinj, taking just under three hours, so although it’s doable again you’d be spending most of your time traveling. An overnight trip here is recommended instead.
Milan might seem like a magnificent city to include on your Venice itinerary, with its Gothic cathedral, financial hub and fashion credentials, but there are two things that stop it from being a good place for day trips from Venice.
Firstly, it’s quite far away, taking around three hours by road (two and a half by rail), and secondly you’d be hard pressed to see everything it has to offer in just one day, because it is quite spread out – the city simply deserves more than a day. For example, its Navigli district really warrants spending a night exploring the city as it comes alive in the evening.
Should you still want to go, make sure to check out this Milan in a day itinerary created by my friend who is a local!
If you are planning a trip to Venice, these other posts will be useful:
- The Best Venice Travel Tips
- Where To Stay In Venice
- What To Wear In Venice: A Perfect Venice Packing List For Any Season
- How To Get From Rome To Venice
- How To Get St. Mark’s Basilica Tickets
- How To Get Doge Palace Tickets
- How To Get From Marco Polo Airport To Venice