Can I see Venice in a day?
One of the questions I get asked over and over again is: Can I see Venice in a day? When people started asking me this years ago my answer was an emphatic No! and Why would you only want to allot only a day of your vacation to one of the most spectacular cities in the world? Now though, I have to confess I have taken a day trip to Venice. Granted I have also spent weeks there but now my answer to that question is an emphatic Yes!
Planning Your Day Trip
Taking a day trip to Venice takes some planning. For one thing you need to look at the train schedules and book a ticket at least a couple of days in advance. You don’t want to risk getting there and not being able to get home and you want to be assured of getting a seat. Two hours is a long time to be standing in an aisle or sitting on a dirty floor outside of the WC.
By train it makes sense to go to Venice for a day from Florence (2 hours), Milan (2 1/2 hours). Verona (a little over an hour) and Padua (30 minutes). It does not make sense to go to Venice from Roma which is just under 4 hours.
You also need to check the local papers and websites to make sure there is nothing going on the day you plan to visit Venice which may interfere with your visit. On a trip to Verona several years ago I met a couple from New Zealand who had visited Venice the previous day only to find everything was closed because the Pope was visiting.
Choose Your “Must See” Priorities
As with any city where you have only allotted a day to visit you need to decide what you want to do. For Venice I always recommend taking one of the many boat tours around the city.
Venice is a city built on the water so the best way to see it is from the water. You can tour the grand canal looking at all the fabulous palazzi along the way. Get out at St. Marks to see this spectacular duomo and the Bridge of Sighs before wandering back through the city to the Rialto Bridge stopping along the way to grab a bite to eat. Sitting in the square in front of St. Marks is fun and the view spectacular but the food is very overpriced and not particularly good.
Venice can be spectacularly expensive which is why so many people don’t spend the night but I can think of at least 10 Free Things to do in Venice:
If you want to be able to spend several days wandering through Venice but are turned off by the crowds and expense of the city a nice alternative is to stay in Padua which is a lovely city and only about 30 minutes from Venice by train.
Remember when you travel things don’t always go as planned but even when you are thrown off your plan you need to make your visit fun. Weather, illness, strikes – all these things can interfere with a trip, especially a day trip. When these things happen remember that tromping through Venice in the rain will make you feel like a local and there won’t be as many tourists, it is worth incurring a change fee and delaying your trip to a day when you feel better and strikes, well they are just a way of life in Italy.