Day Trips from Venice

by Jessica on September 19, 2008

by | September 19th, 2008  

For many people, Venice is only seen as a place to spend a day – arriving early by train or cruise ship, and leaving before dinner to head onto the next city or port. Of course, it’s not a big place, so it’s technically possible to see all the “must-see” sights in that short amount of time. But, as I’ve mentioned half a gajillion times on this site, if you don’t give Venice at least the benefit of one overnight stay, you’ll never fall in love with the city. So, while you’re staying for at least a couple of days, why not make it 3-4 and throw in a day trip from Venice while you’re at it?

Truthfully, using Venice as a home base and taking day trips from the canal city isn’t always the most ideal way to see the area. For one thing, hotels and hostels in Venice tend to be on the expensive side of things, so you’ll likely be paying more for your accommodation than you would in the surrounding area. But the convenience of reducing the number of packing/unpacking routines you have to perform during your vacation may make that worth it to you – I know it’s a big factor for me when I’m planning my trips. Another drawback may be the cost of airfare – that you’re less able to find cheap flights to Venice than you are to a larger airport like Rome or Milan. But if Venice is already on your itinerary, the city’s airport is (in my opinion) one of the best entry points into the country. So if you’re going to pay the extra to fly into Venice, you might as well stay a little longer! And luckily, there are plenty of great day trips from Venice that make staying a couple extra days in this glorious city even more worthwhile.

Did you know you can book discounted shore excursions in Venice without going through the cruise line? And that they’ll guarantee to have you back at the ship in time for depature? Find out more: Discount Shore Excursions from Venice

Here are just a few day trips from Venice you can take:

  • Lagoon Islands – Probably the easiest day trip in Venice is to make a tour of the islands in the Venetian lagoon. Visit Murano for glass-making demonstrations, Burano for lace-making lessons, and Torcello for the lack of crowds. And don’t forget the Lido beaches in the summer.
  • Verona – This lovely city is about 1.5 hours from Venice by fast train, and is the home of not only the Romeo & Juliet story but also a spectacular Roman arena.
  • Ravenna – If you liked the mosaics in the Basilica di San Marco in Venice, then you’ll love the mosaics in Ravenna. It’s easy to see the main sights in a 3-4 hour stop, making this a good (if long) day trip.
  • Lake Garda – Many of the towns along this northern Italian lake are easily reached via train from Venice, and it almost doesn’t matter which one you choose. If you get bored before you’re ready to return to Venice, just hop on another train and visit the next town!
  • Asolo & Castelfranco – Asolo boasts a gorgeous hilltop setting and Castelfranco Veneto is a pretty fortified town; Asolo is tough to reach without a car, but Castelfranco is on a railway line.
  • Treviso – About a half-hour from Venice by train, this city has its own network of canals and some churches worth exploring; but it’s mainly just a nice escape from the tourist crush.
  • Padua – Also just about a half-hour from Venice by train, this city is home to a major university and is therefore youthful and energetic, as well as a great city for art lovers.
  • Trieste – This city on the tip of the Friuli region is a long day-trip from Venice (it’s about a 2-hour trip on the train one-way), but it’s a charming port city that’s influenced by several cultures.
  • Vicenza – The US military base near Vicenza may be all you’ve heard of in relation to this city, but it’s an hour from Venice by train and you won’t find much evidence of the base in the city itself. It’s a pleasant place and usually quite crowd-free.
  • Tour of Palladio Villas – The work of legendary architect Andrea Palladio can be seen all over the Veneto region, and there are several organized day-trips that will let you tour some of the more prominent Palladio villas in the area.
  • Veneto & Friuli Wine Tours – While Chianti and Barolo may be more famous in terms of Italian wines, the Veneto and nearby Friuli regions have lots to offer wine lovers. Many companies offer organized day trips to area wineries, complete with tastings.
  • Cortina/Dolomites Tour – The stunning Dolomites mountains aren’t that far from Venice, and you can either join an organized tour or just get a train to Cortina d’Ampezzo and explore one of the pretty resort towns in the region.
  • Brenta Canal Cruise – Haven’t had enough of being on the water after a day or two in Venice? Hop on a one-day cruise from Venice to Padua on the Brenta River. It’s a great way to see many of the area’s beautiful historic villas.

{ 6 comments }

RaysAdventures September 23, 2008 at 6:07 am
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The vaporetto system makes it easy visit Murano island (Line 42). I enjoyed visiting the Glass Museum (Museo Vetrario), as boring as it may be for others, I found it quite interesting. Finding a glass-blowing demonstration is easy because just about every glass shop around offered one; really something to see.

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brendan April 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm
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hi jessica,
I am interested in doing a hiking day-trip from venice to the hills/mountains nearby, but I won’t have a car. I thought there would be companies that do day trips with a van or bus leaving from piazzale roma, but all my googling only turned up 7 day hiking tours and the like. would you be able to suggest anything? would it be to snowy for hiking in April?

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Jessica April 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm
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I don’t know of any day trips that leave from Venice to go hiking in the mountains, Brendan, but what I’d suggest is looking at a topographical map (or at least a semi-topographical one that shows where the more mountainous areas are in Italy). Note a few town names that don’t seem too far away from Venice and then look up those towns to see if there are self-guided hikes you can find from that town. Assuming you can reach that town by train or bus, that may be your best bet.

For instance, there are several towns around the base of Monte Grappa, which is a large-ish hill just before the Dolomites really get going upward, and many of them are easily reached by train.

Here’s some more information about hiking in Italy, including one major hike in the Dolomites, but I suspect that one is longer than a day trip!
http://www.italylogue.com/things-to-do/five-favorite-places-to-hike-in-italy.html

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CJ January 17, 2012 at 10:03 am
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I am planning a week or so long trip this May with my in-laws, husband and two boys (9, almost 6). How long would you stay in Venice? What would you suggest as a home base?

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Jessica January 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm
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If you’re looking for options for a one-week trip to Italy that includes Venice, this article has three one-week itineraries (one of which might suit you):
http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/1-week-italy-itinerary-options-planning-tips.html

I love Venice, but how long you should stay depends on what you want to do/see. If you want to stay in one city and relax there, and do day trips, Venice is fine for that. If you want to include Venice as part of a bigger trip, I think staying two nights is a must in Venice (but you can get away with one if you’re on a really tight schedule):
http://www.italylogue.com/venice
http://www.italylogue.com/planning-a-trip/itinerary-for-2-days-in-venice.html

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Robbie July 5, 2012 at 2:34 am
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Hi Jessica

My wife and I are from Cape Town , South Africa and will be making our 5th trip to Venice in September.We love the place. How do we enquire further into the Brenta Canal cruise as it looks quite interesting ?

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