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Venice is one of the ultimate bucket list destinations. It’s romantic streets and canals give the city an atmosphere like no other. There are so many things to do in Venice, but with accommodation in Venice either being over budget for a backpacker, or poorly rated spending a day in Venice could be the way to go. With so many must sees in Venice, you may be wondering if a day trip here is actually enough, so I’m here to share how I made the most out of one day in Venice.

one day in venice

Expect Venice to be stunning and beautiful, but overcrowded, overpriced and very touristy. Gondola’s are 80€, need I say more!


Day Trip from Milan to Venice

When I visited Venice I did a Milan to Venice day trip. I got an 8am train from Milano Centrale to Venezia Saint Lucia, around a 2.5 hour journey. I then got the 19:50 train from Venice arriving back in Milan at 22:30. These trains were included in my interrail pass, although there was an extra reservation fee.

Best Things to do in Venice

If you only have one day in Venice you will want to make the most of it, and this means seeing all the top sights.

Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square)

Start a day in Venice by heading to the most famous Piazza in Venice – Piazza San Marco. It is home to St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Torre dell’Orologio. The piazza is surrounded by beautiful, ornate buildings and arched walkways. Despite being at the tourist centre, St Mark’s Square can be hard to get to. The narrow and windy streets of Venice will always lead you off in the wrong direction, but the city’s beauty means you won’t mind at all!

one day in venice

St. Mark’s Basilica

Without doubt the most renowned church in Venice, St Mark’s is considered one of the most important religious buildings in Northern Italy. It is also one of the best known surviving examples of Italian byzantine architecture, so it is definitely one of the best things to see in Venice. The church was completed in 1092 and from then on was nicknamed the Chiesa d’Ora (the Church of Gold).

San Marco Campanile

At 98.6m high the bell tower of St. Mark’s Square is the tallest building in Venice although this is a reconstruction as the original 9th century building, which was used as a watch tower, collapsed in 1902. You can get an elevator to the top and see stunning views over the city. 

Bridge of Sighs

There are so many bridges in Venice but one of the city’s best known is the Bridge of Sighs, so definitely one of the best Venice sights to see. It connects the Prigiono Nuobe to Doge’s Palace and passes over the Rio Palazzo. The name of the bridge is derived from an old legend that criminals were taken from the palace over the bridge where they would get one last glimpse of Venice and sigh as they thought about their upcoming punishment.

one day in venice

Grand Canal

I’m sure you know that Venice is sinking. It’s just made up of hundreds of canals connecting the various islands that make up the city. The largest of these canals is the Canale Grande. This iconic and picturesque canal is more like a river and snakes through the centre of Venice, connecting one side to the other.

The banks of the canal are lined with an array of almost 200 buildings dating from as far back as the 1200s line this canal, which has been the most important waterway in the city for hundreds of years. There are four bridges which go over the canal so you can admire the busy water traffic going along/ The Grand Canal is certainly a must see in Venice as it is so icnonic and so beautiful, but just be prepared for the hordes of tourists, overcrowded streets and masses of souvenir shops!

one day in venice

Bascilica di Santa Maria della Salute

This Basilica sits on the opposite side of the Grand Canal to St. Mark’s Square and is argued to be the second most well-known church in Venice so should certainly be on your list of what to see in Venice. The church was completed in 1687 and the main dome dominates the city’s skyline. 

Take a Ferry to Burano

Whilst the top things to do in Venice include getting an on an overpriced Gondola, have you thought of hopping on a ferry and visiting nearby islands? Burano is an island in the Venetian Lagoon, located 4 miles from Venice and can be reached by a Venetian water bus, Vaporetto, in around 40 minutes. It is best known for lacework and it’s brightly coloured homes – the Balamory of Italy! The island is only small, with a population of around 2,800 and the primary industry there is tourism so the ferries there from Venice were packed.

one day in venice

The coloured houses originate from the golden age of the island’s development. If a resident wants to paint their home  they have to send a request to the government, who then respond with the certain colours permitted for that specific lot.

There are lots of other islands to visit in the Venetian Lagoon: Murano, Torcello, Mazzorbo, Sant’Erasmo and San Michele. If you are planning on visitng a few in a day it is great value to get a 20€ day ticket. Otherwise a return ticket to one island costs 15€.

Eating in Venice on a Budget

Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta To Go

One day in Venice would not be complete without some PASTA! It can be very difficult to find good food that isn’t expensive in Venice, so I went to a backpacker recommended place – ‘Dal Moros’. They make the fresh pasta on site and you choose which toppings and sauces you want with it. I went for pasta in creamy white sauce with mushrooms, olives and parmesan. You get the food in a small cardboard box with a wooden fork. Average price for a portion is 7€. There is a small bit of room inside to eat, but most people sat on the shop windowsill outside. It was definitely the best pasta I’ve ever had – the best way to end a Venice day trip.

You can find Dal Moros at: Calle Casseleria, 5324, just a 3 minute walk from St Mark’s Basilica

one day in venice

You aren’t allowed to walk around eating food in Venice or sit on any of the benches and bridges to eat as you can be fined up to 200€.

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