Sunset in Venice, Italy

One Day in Venice: Visitor’s Guide to Top Sights & Insider Tips

The city famous for its 400 bridges connecting 118 islands, the art of glassmaking, and romantic sceneries of gondolas gliding through the waters. You guessed it, I’m talking about the amazing Venice!

As one of the most visited destinations in Europe, this city has every right to live rent-free in our heads and hold a very high place on our travel bucket lists. As it’s been on mine for quite some time now, I decided to spend one day in Venice during my time in Italy.

You’re short on time and have just a couple of hours to explore? Have no worries! I cracked the code on what to do in Venice for a day and how to make the most of your trip.

Additionally, throughout this post, you’ll discover several useful tips and tricks to make the most of a day in Venice, ensuring you have the best experience possible.

One Day in Venice Itinerary


8:00 AM – Espresso fueled morning

When creating your Venice itinerary, remember that exploring everything it has to offer is easy and doable, even in a limited amount of time. The majority of attractions are conveniently located within walking distance.

If you decide to explore Venice in one day, I suggest you arrive in the city as early as possible. That’s exactly what my friend and I did, so I felt like we had all the time in the world to immerse ourselves in everything Venice has to offer.

The main priority was to explore the most iconic landmarks of the city, but you can’t do that on an empty stomach, right? That’s why the first thing we did was head to Bar Al Parlamento. This lively bar is located in the bustling area of Castello, one of the city’s oldest districts.

We wanted to dive head first into the culinary wonders of Italy, yet breakfast is the meal where you typically begin with the simple essentials. Tea had a sandwich and I ate a brioche, followed by a perfect cup of Italian coffee.

9:30 AM – Early risers’ guide to churches

After breakfast, we decided to explore the best of Venice on foot. Luckily, the majority of the city’s attractions are located within walking distance, so with a pair of comfortable shoes, you’re all set to explore Venice effectively.

Our Venice self-guided tour began with the Church of the Saints Jeremiah and Lucy. Renowned for being one of the most admirable examples of Venetian Gothic architecture, this marvelous building is one of the most visited monuments, cherished among those who want to see the best of Venice in one day. 

The facade is decorated with intricate details, such as pointed arches and sculpted reliefs. However, Tea and I found the interior more appealing due to its sacred atmosphere. 

One of the main reasons people come to visit is the relics of Saint Lucy which are displayed inside. Visitors honor her memory and learn about her life and sacrifices.

But what’s important to know is that the church closes by 1 pm, so make sure you visit it first thing in the morning if you’re strolling down the northern part of the city.

Church of the Saints Jeremiah and Lucy
Church of the Saints Jeremiah and Lucy, source: wikipedia

11 AM – Step by step

The hardest part of our trip was reaching St. Mark’s Square. It took us around 30 minutes of walking from the church to finally get there, but once we did, it was so worth it!

Piazza San Marco, as Italians call it, is a must-visit in this amazing city. It is a breathtaking sight bordered by elegant buildings, including the magnificent St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. These iconic landmarks not only boast stunning architecture but also hold centuries of history, telling the tale of the city’s glorious past.

A visit to these Venice highlights should take no longer than 2,5 hours in total. Regardless of whether you go alone or on a guided tour, experiencing both is essential.

For spectacular views of the surroundings, get to the top of St. Mark’s Campanile. Rising over 98 meters tall, this bell tower offers a great view of the city skyline and the surrounding lagoon.

St. Mark's Basilica
St. Mark’s Basilica


2 PM – Lunch on the Piazza

After the sightseeing, feel free to catch a break on the aforementioned Piazza San Marco – it is always bustling with activity, whether it’s the chatter of tourists or the melodies of street musicians. 

Out of all places to visit in Venice in 1 day, the Piazza will give you a perfect insight into how it is to live in an Italian city.

Going to Italy and not indulging in their traditional cuisine should be a crime! While you’re there, try fritto misto, risotto al nero di seppia, or baccala mantecato.

We had lunch at Bistrot de Venise, which is just 5 minutes away from the bell tower. It is a bit pricey, but quite possibly the best ravioli you’ll ever get to taste in Italy! Also, it will keep you well-energized for the rest of your Venice day trip.

St. Mark's Square
St. Mark’s Square

3 PM – No map, no problem!

Exploring Venice without a set path can truly enhance your experience. Imagine not knowing where you’re headed, but ending up amazed by the beauties hiding behind every corner! 

You have to get intentionally lost in the city, or at least try to

If you ask me, a week in Venice wouldn’t be enough, but we had to make these 24 hours count. Even if 1 day in Venice doesn’t sound like much, I assure you that you will have time to fully experience the vibe of the city. 

Now, there is no need to Google “Venice in one day walking map” and other related terms. If you’re tired and don’t feel like pointlessly roaming around, you’ll see signs pointing to the main attractions all over the walls around town.

Ironically, we felt like walking without a clear goal was a good idea. We stumbled upon so many charming shops that showcase beautiful handmade masks and delicate Murano glass creations. These treasures provide a glimpse into the city’s artistic heritage. 

But let’s be honest, getting lost in Venice is less about losing your way and more about finding new places to fall in love with!

Canals of Venice
Canals of Venice


5 PM – Bridges and bites

We wandered the city center all afternoon, visiting some of the most famous spots like the Rialto Bridge; the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal.

On our way to the bridge, we couldn’t resist stopping by Suso. I believe that the Instagram hype is worth it!

This gelateria is known as the best in Venice. There is usually a line in front, but swing by around 5 PM and you’ll be fine. Out of so many flavors to choose from, the workers swear by Olympia, so I got it without hesitation.

Other notable attractions you can add to your 1 day in Venice itinerary are the Church of Saint Simeon Piccolo and Fondaco dei Tedeschi (the German’s warehouse). 

Be sure to stroll across iconic bridges like Ponte della Costituzione and Ponte dei Sospiri to get the best views and snap a picture or two.

Also, while you’re exploring, keep an eye out for the seagulls – although they don’t look scary, they tend to steal food. 

Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Fondaco dei Tedeschi

7 PM – The charm of a gondola ride

There are plenty of inviting cafes perfect for a relaxing break while exploring the city center. 

However, it’s worth noting that many cafes and restaurants on busy routes will charge you “coperto” – a per-person fee added to the bill, that covers seating, service, and setup costs.

Coperto at some of the most visited places often amounts to 3 euros (or more) per person. 

Despite this, we didn’t let it deter us from taking a well-deserved rest from all the walking around. 

We found a spot in a cafe bar overlooking the canal, soaking in the vibrant atmosphere while the sun went down. Watching the gondolas glide felt like we were in a movie scene.

As an iconic symbol of the city, gondolas are primarily used for sightseeing rather than practical transportation. Out of all Venice things to do, this is by far the most unique experience, so that in itself justifies its high price. 

The most popular boarding points are near St. Mark’s Basilica and the Grand Canal. 

Unless you book a gondola tour in advance, it’s good to know they only accept cash payments.

Gondola rides
Gondola rides, source:

8 PM – When in Venice…

As our day was coming to an end, we decided not to sit in a restaurant but rather grab something on the go. Of course that wasn’t the healthiest option, but what can you do?

We didn’t want to miss a second of this spectacular city, feeling like there was always something new to discover. We had two hours of free time until we had to catch the bus, and they passed by so fast.

On our way back to the station, we just had to get one more gelato. When in Rome, do as the Romans do! 🍦

Before wrapping up this little guide, I must mention Libreria Acqua Alta. I didn’t know about this spot during my time there, but thank God for TikTok!

This charming little bookstore blew up on social media, as it is a place where books are stored in bathtubs and gondolas to safeguard them from floods. Not only that, but Libreria also takes pride in homing several cats that freely roam around and keep company to the visitors. 

Unfortunately, we missed out on this book haven, but you know what? That alone is a great excuse to come back!

Libreria Acqua Alta
Libreria Acqua Alta, source:

We came to the end of my 24-hour trip. I hope this itinerary helped you gain some insight and create your ideal day trip to Venice. Learn more in our YouTube video below:

If you have any questions you would like to ask, feel free to drop them in the comments below. Or even better – if you already visited this beautiful city, share your experience and tell me what you did in Venice for a day!

But we are not done yet! I answered some frequently asked questions that could help make your one day in Venice itinerary come to life.

How to get to Venice?

To explore most of Venice in a day, it’s crucial to know your transportation options in advance. So, how do you get to this beautiful city? 

You can fly into the Marco Polo Airport located just 12 kilometres from Venice. From there, it’s easy – take either the ACTV or ATVO bus, the Alilaguna boat service, or a private taxi to the city’s center.

For an in-depth guide on navigating the area, be sure to check out our blog post on transportation options in Venice.

If you’re coming from places outside of Venice, taking a train to the city’s core is a breeze and easy on your wallet. Alternatively, if you decide to go by bus, your final destination will be Piazzale Roma, the city’s main bus station.

And no, these are not the only ways of getting to this beautiful destination. There are 3 ferry ports in Venice, so it’s popular among cruises and easily connects multiple destinations.


How to get around Venice?

Before you start sightseeing, a question will surely pop up in your mind – can you walk around Venice? With its intertwining canals, getting from one place to another might seem like a hassle.

However, Venice is a completely walkable city. With about 400 bridges crossing its landscape, moving around is easier than you think. 

If you want to cover more areas but walk less, hop on a vaporetto. These water buses are a great way to save time and money while connecting all the city’s key spots. 

For a touch of magic, consider gliding through Venice’s canal network on a gondola ride. 

Additionally, if you’re wondering how long does it take to walk around Venice, it’s good to know that this relatively small city is completely walkable. To walk across it, from head to tail, it would take you around an hour.


Is one day enough for Venice?

Now, if you’re wondering how many days should you spend in Venice, you must be confident in determining the number of iconic sights and experiences you want to see. From there, you can easily decide the length of your stay in the city. Spending 4 days in Venice would be ideal, but you don’t always have the time and resources to do so. 

So in case you’re wondering is 1 day in Venice enough, I’d say it is. According to my experience, I got to see some of the main attractions, but that’s also because my day was pretty well organized.

If you’re unsure of what to see in Venice in 1 day, start at St. Mark’s Square and build your itinerary around it. Explore the surrounding attractions and get lost in the narrow streets. Even if you don’t get the time to enter many significant buildings, you’ll get a sense of the local way of living.


What’s the best time to visit Venice?

So, what’s the best time to visit Venice? Peak season runs from April to June. Since the city buzzes with tourists, navigating around may be hard.

Saying that Venice can get overcrowded would be an understatement. That’s why, since April 25th, 2024, every visitor has been required to pay an entry fee, in a bid to combat overtourism.

Are you considering a winter visit to Venice? You’ll find fewer tourists, making it easy to explore all the city has to offer. However, the weather can make outdoor activities less enjoyable. 

Fog tends to obscure views, and heavy rain can add to floods caused by acqua alta, translated to high waters in English. This phenomenon typically occurs between October and February. Venice’s water levels rise so much that they flood parts of the city.

So in case you do decide to go during the off-season, check the weather forecast in advance.


Where to stay in Venice?

If you’re staying a couple of days or even only one night in Venice, you might be curious about where to stay and the best accommodation options available. In this city, you will be spoiled for choices, as it offers something for every budget and preference.

Venice is a car-free zone, so if your accommodation is in the center, you might need to navigate the narrow streets and passages with your suitcases. However, don’t let that discourage you. Take your time to explore Venice’s gorgeous labyrinths and expect a pleasant surprise around every corner. 

With your luggage securely settled in your accommodation, you’re now free to roam the captivating corners of Venice!


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