Day Trips in Italy Veneto Venice

Day Trips from Venice, Italy – Over 35 Unmissable Destinations with Travel Times, Sightseeing Plans, and Best Tours

Colourful houses and a canal with boats under a blue sky - Burano, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

This is a comprehensive travel guide about the best day trips to take from Venice, Italy. From how to get from Venice to over 35 world class destinations to what to do in each in a day, it includes lots of simple insider tips to make your day trip from Venice a breeze.

This post may contain affiliate links. At no cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you click and make a purchase through them. Full details in my Disclosure.

Here are the best day trips from Venice, Italy.

In this blog post, you will find over 35 unmissable destinations that you can easily visit from the city on water. You can travel independently either by train, bus, boat or car. Alternatively, you can join an organised tour.

Venice has a lot to offer to the curious traveller eager to experience the best in art, history, and architecture. Still, if you have more than a couple of days at your disposal for Venice, then make sure that you set aside some time to discover what lies in the Venetian Lagoon and on the Italian mainland.

It is a great opportunity to change the scenery and see more of Italy and who wouldn’t like that?!

Piazza delle Erbe and the daily market seen from the loggia of Palazzo della Ragione - Padua, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Venice is a great starting point for your exploration of the sights and beauty of Northern Italy. The city on water enjoys great connections by boat, road, and train to a number of must-see destinations. From the islands of Murano and Burano in the Venetian Lagoon to the cities of history and art of Padua, Bologna, Verona, and even Florence, there are many places near Venice to visit on a day trip.

So, these are my suggestions for the best day trips from Venice, Italy. I have personally visited each of these places of interest during the six years that I spent living in Italy. Here I share with you first-hand tried and tested information so that you can choose where to travel for a short trip from Venice based on your personal preferences.

Italy is an exciting country with a rich heritage. The more you see the more you want to see and to experience it all. So, take your pick according to your interests – art, nature, architecture, history, shopping, even spa and wellness!

Palladio's Basilica seen from the Furo Bridge - Vicenza, Italy - rossiwrites.com

For ease of use, I have split these Venice day trips into the following alphabetised categories:

  • Islands in the Venetian Lagoon
  • Cities and Towns
  • Lake Garda with Lakeside Towns and World-Class Amusement Parks
  • Sights of Natural Beauty
  • Spa Towns
  • Medieval Towns and Villages
  • Venetian Villas
Duomo - Milan, Italy - rossiwrites.com

For each of these best day trips from Venice I have included:

  • a photo to give you a visual idea what to expect;
  • for the larger destinations – a shortlist with the most important sights that can be seen in a day;
  • for the smaller destinations – a concise overview;
  • travel times by train, coach, boat, and/or car if you are travelling independently;
  • organised tours if you prefer to have it all planned and done for you by a professional guide;
  • tips how to make the most of your time at every destinations;
  • (where available) links to detailed overviews and exciting videos to help you organise your day trip. The videos are hosted on my blog’s Facebook page. If you haven’t liked it yet, I would really appreciate it if you could!

The maximum travel time is three hours one way. However, most destinations in this list are within half an hour to two hours away from Venice. After all, no one wants to spend a large chunk of the day just getting there when there is so much to see and do within very close proximity to the city on water.

At the end of this blog post, I have also added a selection of tips to help you navigate the Italian railway and road systems like a local. This way you can easily organise your day trip from Venice and feel at ease taking a boat, riding the train or renting a car as you see fit.

Now, let’s start!

Day Trips from Venice, Italy – Over 35 Unmissable Destinations with Travel Times, Sightseeing Plans, and Best Tours

I. Islands in the Venetian Lagoon

View of the island of Murano - Venetian Lagoon, Italy - rossiwrites.com

While Venice is the unrivalled star of the Venetian Lagoon, close to the city on water you will find several other islands that are worth a visit. Easy to reach on board of the vaporetti (water buses) that crisscross the lagoon from early in the morning til late in the evening, these islands will reveal to you their own stories, local crafts, priceless works of art, and wonderful settings.

Here are five unmissable island destinations to see on a day trip in the Venetian Lagoon. Each of them is unique in many different ways. From the colourful houses of Burano to the fish markets of Chioggia, there are many discoveries to be made right next door to Venice to leave you with memories that last a lifetime.

The best bit is that you can easily visit two or more of the Venetian Lagoon islands on the same day. Either independently or as part of an organised tour, they are a pleasure to discover in any season on a day trip from Venice.

Click here to buy a vaporetto ticket valid from 1 to 7 days so that you can move freely within the city of Venice, reach the islands in the Venetian Lagoon, and different parts of the mainland. For organised tours from Venice to the most beautiful and interesting islands in the lagoon, see the suggestions below.

1. Venice to Burano Day Trip

Clotheslines with freshly laundered clothes and colourful houses - Burano, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Burano is one of the most famous islands in the Venetian Lagoon on account of its technicolour houses and the centuries-old local tradition of handmade lace. Just looking at a photo of Burano makes you want to see for yourself this wonderful vibrant island that is so full of life.

It is easy to reach Burano from Venice. You just need to hop on vaporetto line number 12 from Fondamente Nove to the island.

Here are some of Burano’s major sights for you to explore and enjoy on a day trip from Venice:

  • Lace Museum – discover the roots and the pinnacles of Burano famous handmade lace in this small and neat museum. It opens your eyes and your heart to this centuries-old craft. Click here to buy a combined ticket for the Lace Musem on Burano and the Glass Museum on Murano – a great idea if you are visiting both islands.
  • Church of San Martino – a 16th-century church with a 17th-century bell tower that is 53 m tall and leans almost two metres off-true.
  • Bepe’s House – this is the most colourful house on the island of Burano. It is covered with stripes and geometric figures in vibrant shades. You will find Bepe’s House down a tiny side street. His original owner – Bepe (now sadly passed away) – loved repainting his house and on warm summer evenings would screen old films on the small square next to it.
  • Lunch on risotto de go’ and snack on esse cookies. The former is Burano’s staple dish – a lovely, creamy risotto made with the juice of go’ – a tiny fish from the Venetian Lagoon. The latter are Burano’s traditional cookies which can be either round or S-shaped and have a deeply satisfying flavour.

For its riot of colours, peaceful side streets, wonderful lace traditions, and fresh seafood, Burano is an unmissable day trip from Venice.

Travel Times: Around 40 mins by vaporetto (water bus) from Fondamente Nove in Venice. Click here to buy a vaporetto ticket valid from 1 to 7 days.

Best Organised Tours:

Tips: Starting from Burano, you can easily visit several other islands in the Venetian Lagoon. The island of Mazzorbo, for example, is connected to Burano via a long wooden bridge. The islands of Torcello and Murano are an easy vaporetto ride away. Alternatively, you can hire a boat and head to the island of San Francesco del Deserto to visit the monastery there that was originally founded by St. Francis in 1220.   

Click here for further information:

2. Venice to Chioggia Day Trip

Refugium Peccatorum - Piazzale Perotolo, Chioggia - Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Chioggia is like a mini Venice but without the suffocating tourist crowds.

A city built on islands at the southern end of the Venetian Lagoon, a long bridge connects Chioggia to the mainland. Canals full of boats crisscross the city. Pastel houses draped with Italy’s most photogenic clotheslines line the streets.

Just walking around feels like a real treat. You pass by many churches full of priceless works of art, small restaurants serving the freshest seafood, and everywhere you look picturesque views open in front of your eyes.

Here are some suggestions for things to do in Chioggia:

  • Boat trip – take a tour boat for a fun ride around Chioggia in the Venetian Lagoon. Regular boat tours run through the day taking you close to several sights of historic and cultural value in the lagoon.
  • Wholesale Fish Market and Retail Fish Markets – Chioggia is one of the biggest and oldest fishing ports in Italy. Its wholesale and retail fish markets are lively places where tons of fresh seafood are sold daily. Make sure that you check the opening times in advance to make sure you are there at the right time. 
  • Bell Tower of Sant’Andrea and Clock Tower Museum – Chioggia claims to have the world’s oldest clock. See it on the facade of the 30-meter high Bell Tower of Sant’Andrea. Then visit the Clock Tower Museum inside the bell tower to see the clock’s mechanism and to learn its fascinating story.
  • Museum of Southern Lagoon – an ethnographic and archaeologic museum tracing the history of Chioggia through the centuries. 
  • Museum of Adriatic Zoology – here you can see the most important historical collection of marine animals from the Adriatic Sea.
  • Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta – Chioggia’s main church.
  • Refugium Peccatorum (also known as Sagraeto) – A statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus underneath a golden dome. It stands at Piazzale Perotolo just outside Chioggia’s Duomo. Refugium Peccatorum is a Roman Catholic title of the Virgin Mary. It means Refuge for Sinners. In the past, those condemned to death in Chioggia were allowed to stop in front of this statue of the Virgin and pray for their souls on the way to the scaffold. 
  • Porta di Santa Maria (also known as Porta Garibaldi) – an early 16th-century gate that in the past provided the only entry point into Chioggia.
  • Corso del Popolo – Chioggia’s main artery – a wide and beautiful street that is lined with shops, restaurants, palaces, and churches. 
  • Ponte Vigo – the prettiest bridge in Chioggia stands over Canal Vena – the city’s most important canal – and it opens beautiful views over the Venetian Lagoon. From the adjacent to the bridge Piazzetta Vigo, you can get a tour boat for a fun trip around Chioggia and a ferry to the nearby island of Pellestrina.
  • Sottomarina – a lively suburb of Chioggia with a sandy beach that is 10 km long and up to 300 m wide. The sand is rich in augite, quartz, silicates, and micaceous elements making the beach ideal for sand bathing treatment.

Chioggia will give you a good idea of what Venice would have been like today had it not become a maritime and commercial powerhouse centuries ago. This city in Veneto is full of character, easy to navigate, and with tons of fresh seafood. There are huge beaches within a very close reach, and, above all, there are no maddening crowds.

In Chioggia, you can take it easy and observe the locals at what they have been doing for centuries: fishing and lacemaking. All in all, it’s a great destination for a city break or a day trip in this corner of Italy. 

Travel Times: Around mins by vaporetto (water bus) from Fondamente Nove in Venice. Click here to buy a vaporetto ticket valid from 1 to 7 days.

Best Organised Tours:

Tips: Starting from Burano, you can easily visit several other islands in the Venetian Lagoon. The island of Mazzorbo, for example, is connected to Burano via a long wooden bridge. The islands of Torcello and Murano are an easy vaporetto ride away. Alternatively, you can hire a boat and head to the island of San Francesco del Deserto to visit the monastery there that was originally founded by St. Francis in 1220.   

Click here for further information:

3. Venice to Lido Day Trip

4. Venice to Murano Day Trip

5. Venice to Torcello Day Trip

II. Cities and Towns

View of Verona with Ponte Pietra - Verona, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Italy is blessed with some of the most beautiful and interesting in terms of art, history, and traditions cities and towns in the world.

Finding yourself in Venice with time to spare you will feel like a child in a huge playground – super excited and a bit lost where to start your day tripping from.

My suggestion is to explore the nearby main cities first. Especially, if you are in Venice for a short amount of time.

Your top options are Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Bassano del Grappa, Ferrara, Bologna, and Brescia. They are all from half an hour to two hours one way from Venice and very easily reached by train or car. A day will be just enough to see their main sights and to whet your appetite for many future returns. Otherwise, feel free to dig into this list for many more ideas for day trips from Venice, Italy.

1. Venice to Bassano del Grappa Day Trip

The Lion of St. Mark's on Piazza della Liberta - Bassano del Grappa, Veneto, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Bassano del Grappa is a picturesque city on the shores of the crystal clear river Brenta. The Venetian Prealps serve as its dramatic backdrop. Founded in the 2nd century BC, today Bassano stands out with its medieval and Venetian architecture.

Here you will find the remains of a medieval castle (used for opera performances each summer), fortified city walls, lovely cobbled piazzas, and many old buildings with faded frescoes on their facades. Winged lions (the symbol of the Republic of Venice of which Bassano was once part) can be spotted all over the city’s historical centre.

Bassano is famous as a centre of production of grappa – a traditional for Italy potent alcoholic drink made of grapes. It is often assumed that this Italian city owes the second part of its name to the drink. Instead, Bassano was named del Grappa in 1928 to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives in the decisive battles that were fought on the nearby Mount Grappa during the First World War.

Here are some of Bassano del Grappa’s major sights for you to explore and enjoy on a day trip from Venice:

  • Ponte degli Alpini – a wooden covered bridge straddling the river Brenta. A bridge has stood in the same place since the Middle Ages. It was destroyed several times. In 1569, the renowned architect Andrea Palladio rebuilt the bridge giving it its current magnificent shape. The bridge’s tumultuous history didn’t stop there though. In the centuries that followed, it was destroyed again and again in wars and force major events. The last time this happened was at the end of the Second World War. Each time the bridge was erected again following Palladio’s original designs.
  • Duomo di Santa Maria in Colle – Bassano’s cathedral was originally built around the year 998 and its imposing body is still a wonder to behold.
  • Piazza della Liberta’ and Piazza Garibaldi – Bassano del Grappa’s beautiful main squares. At Piazza della Liberta’ don’t miss the 15th-century Loggia del Comune with the splendid astronomical clock on its facade. You can go up the steps and walk inside the loggia free of charge for a great view of the square below.
  • Civic Museum – housed in a former Franciscan convent, the Civic Museum of Bassano del Grappa has an archaeological collection, a medieval section, a number of artworks by the likes of Canova and father and son Tiepolo, as well as a whole room dedicated to Jacopo del Ponte (also known as Jacopo Bassano – the city’s most famous Renaissance painter). The adjacent cloister holds a lapidarium and it’s also used for contemporary art installations.
  • Church of St. Francis – an impressive 12th-century church next door to the Civic Museum. It has a 14th-century crucifix among several other important works of art.
  • Palazzo Bonaguro – this is where the Natural History section of Bassano’s Civic Museums is housed.
  • Palazzo Sturm – a lovely historic building that houses two museums.
  • Poli Grappa Museum – here you can learn all about the potent Italian drink grappa and see how it is made.
  • Hemingway and the Great War Museum – after being wounded in the First World War, the great writer Ernest Hemingway spent three months in Bassano del Grappa. The villa where he stayed has been turned into a museum. 

Bassano del Grappa is the perfect day trip from Venice. On one hand, it is small enough so that you can walk everywhere and cover all of its sights in a day. On the other hand, it offers a great variety of things to see and enjoy so that you can easily fill up a day with a spot of sightseeing, some nice shopping, and relaxed people-watching over a lovely lunch.

Travel Times: From 1 h 14 mins by Regionale train from Venezia Santa Lucia train station. From 1 h 5 mins to 1 h 40 mins by car from Piazzale Roma in Venice.

Best Organised Tours: Click here to book a great day trip from Venice taking in Bassano del Grappa as well as the beautiful village of Asolo. Expect a vineyard stopover where you can sample the locally produced Prosecco as well as a visit to one of the most beautiful and famous Venetian villas designed by Andrea Palladio. Otherwise, click here to see the full range of tours available in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

Tips: Bassano del Grappa is particularly famous for the locally made ceramics. There are many shops selling wonderful and whimsical ceramic pieces produced by small family-owned workshops. Stock up on imaginative hand-painted cups, plates, terrines, and bowls in order to take a piece of Italy home with you. Visit the Ceramics Museum G. Roi in Palazzo Sturm in town to learn more about the tradition of ceramics in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.  

Click here for further information:

2. Venice to Bologna Day Trip

Basilica di San Petronio - Bologna, Italy - rossiwrites.com

Come to Bologna for its excellent food, medieval history and the oldest University in the world still in continuous operation today. In a day, you can see most of Bologna’s main sights some of which are:

  • Archiginnasio – the first permanent seat of the University of Bologna;
  • Asinelli and Garisenda towers – witnesses of Bologna medieval past when close to 200 towers graced the city’s skyline;
  • Basilica of Santo Stefano (also known as Sette Chiese) – built over what was originally a temple of the goddess Isis and then grew into a complex of seven interconnected chapels and churches;
  • Neptune’s Fountain;
  • Quadrilatero – the city’s medieval market which is still going strong;
  • Piazza Maggiore – lined up by splendid palaces like Palazzo d’Accursio and the largest brick cathedral in the world – the Cathedral of St. Petronius;
  • Endless porticoes keeping you from rain and shine alike.

Very different to Venice, Bologna will give you a chance to see Italy in a new light. Plus, there is simply no chance to have bad food in the city which is known as La Gorda (the Fat One) Italy-wide.

Travel Times: From 1 h 25 mins (Frecciarossa and Frecciargento) and from 1 h 51 mins (Regionale Veloce).

Tips: For more information about what to do and see in Italy’s seventh most populous city, click here to read my article about Bologna.

2. Venice to Brescia Day Trip

The Capitolium and the Roman Forum - Brescia, Lombardy, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Torrione - Italy's first skyscraper - Brescia, Lombardy, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Piazza della Loggia with the astronomical clock - Brescia, Lombardy, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Brescia is a hidden gem in the Italian province of Lombardy. While most tourists head over to the Lombardian capital Milan, make sure that you get off the train at Brescia to experience its unexpected beauty. The city’s history spans 3200 years and offers a rich tapestry of sights and museums for you to explore. Among these are:

  • Monumental area of the Roman Forum – which contains the best preserved Roman public buildings in Northern Italy;
  • Huge medieval castle with battlements, a tower, drawbridge, rampart and an Arms Museum in the keep. Its position on the steep Cidneo hill also offers unparalleled views over Brescia;
  • Many spacious squares lined up by stunning buildings. Don’t miss the Art Deco Piazza della Vittoria (with its Torrione – the first skyscraper built in Italy) and the Renaissance Piazza della Loggia (with the inspiring Palazzo della Loggia and the beautiful astronomical clock).
  • Duomo Vecchio and Duomo Nuovo (The Old and the New Cathedrals);
  • Monastic Complex of San Salvatore/Santa Giulia (Santa Giulia City Museum) – with 11 000 works of art and archaeological finds;
  • Teatro Grande – a lavish opera house.

There are so many things to see and experience in Brescia, you can have a very full and exciting day there. Make sure that you plan well so as to cover as much ground as you can.

Travel Times: From 1 h 47 mins (Frecciarossa) and from 1 h 55 mins (Regionale Veloce).

Tips: Try the local cheese Bagoss. It is produced in small quantities in the nearby village of Bagolino and it has a lovely dense and salty flavour with hints of walnuts and chestnuts. On your descent from Brescia Castle, stop at ‘Gelateria e… di Bedont R & Martha‘ (Via dei Musei, 20a). Here you will find some of the best gelato in Italy. My favourite is the fiordilatte with caramelised sesame seeds flavour.

3. Venice to Chioggia Day Trip

The statue of the Madonna of the Fishermen - Chioggia, Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
A clothes-line - Chioggia, Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Fishing boats and Sottomarina's colourful houses - Chioggia, Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Come to Chioggia if you want more of Venice but at a much slower and gentile pace of life. This small town on the Italian Adriatic coast is older than Venice and just like it is criss-crossed by canals. Chioggia is full of character, easy to navigate even by car, with tons of fresh seafood, huge beaches within a very close reach and, above all, there are no maddening crowds. You can take it easy and observe the locals at what they have been doing for centuries: fishing, lacemaking and seafood selling, cooking and eating. When in Chioggia, don’t miss the following sights and experiences:

  • A fun boat trip around Chioggia in the Venetian Lagoon;
  • Wholesale and retail fish markets – after all Chioggia is one of the biggest and oldest fishing ports in Italy;
  • Local restaurants serving the freshest seafood;
  • The oldest clock in the world in the Clock Tower Museum;
  • Sottomarina beach – 10 km long and up to 300 m wide with sand which is rich in augite, quartz, silicates, and micaceous elements making the beach ideal for sand bathing treatment.

Chioggia will give you a good idea of what Venice would have been like today had it not become a maritime and commercial powerhouse centuries ago.

Travel Times: Getting from Venice to Chioggia by train is a long and tiring trip. Go there by boat instead. Take the No. 11 vaporetto or water bus from the Lido S.M.E. (the main Lido vaporetto stop) to Chioggia’s historic center and you will be enjoying the beautiful vistas of the Venetian Lagoon all through the journey. Or you can take the bus which leaves from Piazzale Roma in Venice and takes 1 h 11 mins to reach the beaches of Sottomarina. This website has very detailed information about reaching Chioggia from different points in Venice.

Tips: For more information about what to do and see in Chioggia, click here to read my article about this charming fishing town.

4. Venice to Ferrara Day Trip

Castello Estense - Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Natural History Museum - Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Cathedral of San Giorgio - Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Ferrara is beautiful and has so much to offer to the discerning traveller eager to learn more about Italy’s medieval history and art. Ruled by the House of Este in the 14th and 15th centuries, the city boasts several splendid palaces, a Romanesque cathedral with a fabulous facade, and 9 km of ancient defensive walls which are (alongside those of Lucca in Tuscany) the best preserved Renaissance walls in Italy. Ferrara’s historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some of the main sights here are:

  • Castello Estense – an iconic medieval brick building surrounded by moat in Ferrara’s heart;
  • Cathedral of San Giorgio with its lace-like facade, the construction of which started at the beginning of the 12th century;
  • Palazzo dei Diamanti – the seat of the National Gallery;
  • University of Ferrara with its Botanical Garden – Copernicus being one of its most notable students;
  • Natural History Museum with a dreamy building;
  • Teatro Comunale – its internal courtyard (called Rotonda Foschini in honour of the engineer Antonio Foschini) will make you marvel at its perfectly elliptical shape.

Ferrara is also an incredibly easy city to explore with children in tow. Head over there to give your little ones a chance to run and have fun in the many playgrounds installed all over town.

Travel Times: From 1 h 4 mins (Frecciabianca) and 1 h 27 mins (Regionale Veloce).

Tips: Come to Ferrara in September when Italy’s most important ballooning event takes place. Over nine days colourful baloons fly over the historical centre of Ferrara twice a day. The Ferrara Balloons Festival is held in the Bassani Urban Park just outside of the city’s Renaissance defensive walls. It is a big event with thousands of people flocking to see it, with pop-up restaurants and lots of entertainment options for little ones and grown-ups. Click here to find out more.

5. Venice to Lake Garda Day Trip

The view from the Scaliger Castle - Sirmione, Garda Lake, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Scaliger Castle - Sirmione, Garda Lake, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Beautiful house - Sirmione, Garda Lake, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Lago di Garda is Italy’s biggest lake. Its shores are dotted with picturesque towns and villages and its landscapes leave you breathless. You can get there very swiftly from Venice to experience la dolce vita in its true sense. Medieval castles, Roman ruins, frescoed houses, lake views, nature hikes, spa procedures, boat trips, sublime gelato. You can savour it all in one perfect day. Peschiera del Garda, Desenzano del Garda and Sirmione are three of the towns on Lake Garda which you can reach with ease from Venice. Don’t miss:

  • Fortress and external fortifications in Peschiera del Garda – part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list;
  • Archaeological Museum, castle, old villas and Tower of St. Martin in Desenzano del Garda;
  • Scaliger Castle,  Grottoes of Catullus (the ruins of a huge Roman villa), spa treatments, beaches and boat trips around the promontory in Sirmione;
  • Several large amusement parks and aquaparks are nearby. Check Gardaland, Caneva The Aquapark and CanevaWorld Movieland among others.

Lake Garda and the towns on its shores offer so many options and so much beauty to experience in a day that even the traveller who really knows their mind will find it difficult to choose. As such, make a plan before you go so that you can see as much as possible and yet feel refreshed and full of happy memories at the end of the day.

Travel Times: From 1 h 26 mins (Frecciarossa) and 1 h 46 mins (Regionale Veloce) to Peschiera del Garda. From 1 h 31 mins (Frecciarossa) and 1 h 56 mins (Regionale Veloce) to Desenzano del Garda/Sirmione

Tips: Lake Garda is gorgeous to visit any time of the year. August tends to be crowded, but any other month (including Christmas) the place is gorgeous. Beware that most historical sights are closed on Mondays. Look into visiting Lazise, Malcesine, Limone sul Garda, Garda, Bardolino, Riva del Garda and Torbole, if you are looking for more ideas as to cute little towns to see on the shores of the lake. For more tips and information about Lake Garda, have a look at my articles here, here, here, here and here.


Click here to discover the hidden gems of Venice – 101 Things to do In Venice, Italy Off the Beaten Track


6. Venice to Medieval Walled Towns Day Trip

Astronomical clock - Bassano del Grappa, Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Duomo - Castelfranco Veneto, Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
The medieval wall of the town of Cittadella in Italy with a crane in the distance - Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Within very easy reach of Venice, you will find a gorgeous bunch of medieval walled towns. With their defensive walls and museums they are able to make the heart of a history and art buff sing with happiness and appreciation. Here are three for your consideration:

  • Bassano del Grappa – an elegant town sat on the banks of the river Brenta. The Venetian Pre-Alps serve as its dramatic backdrop. The main sight here is the Alpini Bridge, the striking structure of which has become Bassano’s symbol. A very pleasant day can be spent in this town exploring its streets and museums (one of which is dedicated to the local strong drink grappa). When you reach the main square look up and admire the astronomical clock on the façade of one of the buildings. It is one of my most favourite things to see in charming Bassano.
  • Castelfranco Veneto – the cutest of the pack. A largely intact defensive wall circumnavigates the town’s historical centre. Don’t miss Giorgione’s House, then visit the adjacent 18th century cathedral where you can admire the artist’s breathtaking Castelfranco Madonna. The views from the Torre Civica are worth the steep steps to reach the tower’s top. If you can, come in September, when the town holds a Medieval Fair.
  • Cittadella – one of my most favourite small towns in Northern Italy. Here you will find ‘Europe’s best medieval parapet walkway’. In simple English this means that you can circumnavigate the whole town by walking on its medieval defensive wall. For this you need to climb 14 meters up the wall via narrow passages and steep steps and then follow a path by the battlements. At certain points you will need to go even higher – up to 30 meters in fact. All this exercise will offer you an unparalleled view of the old town encircled by the wall and, beyond it, the Pre-Alps on the horizon.

There are many medieval walled towns in the Veneto. The three I have suggested above are some of the most splendid and easiest to reach from Venice. If you want more suggestions, check out: Asolo, Marostica and Noale.

Train Times: From 1 h 11 mins (Regionale) to Bassano del Grappa. From 48 mins (Regionale) to Castelfranco Veneto. From 1 h 17 mins (Regionale Veloce and Regionale) to Cittadella.

Tips: You can explore Castelfranco Veneto and Cittadella in one day. There is a direct train line connecting these two medieval walled towns, so that you can spend the morning in one and the afternoon in the other. This particular train line starts in Vicenza (see point 10 below) and finishes in Treviso (see point 8 below), so you can also combine a visit to either Castelfranco Veneto or Cittadella with a visit to Vicenza or Treviso and make it a mega day trip to remember.

7. Venice to Padua Day Trip

Great Hall of Palazzo della Ragione , Padua, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
The facade of the Basilica of St. Antonio in Padua under the rays of the late afternoon sun, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Stall with soup and risotto mixes, The Marketplace, Piazza delle Erbe, Padua, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Tucked between Venice and Verona, Padua is often overlooked for one of these two much more famous cities. Still, if you look into it, you will soon discover that the art, the museums, the history and the shopping make Padua a real gem to have in your travel schedule. The city is mainly known as the setting for Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’, but when you are there, don’t miss the following sights:

  • Scrovegni Chapel with its stunning frescoes by Giotto. Tickets are in demand and tied to a time slot, so head there as soon as you arrive or book in advance;
  • Palazzo della Ragione – read more about it here;
  • Padua’s 800 years old daily market (Sundays excluded) which is still going strong – read more about it here;
  • Palazzo del Bo – the seat of Padua’s University. Founded in 1222, it is one of the oldest in Europe. This is where Galileo Galilei used to teach. You can visit the historical part of the University as part of a guided tour taking place several times a day;
  • Prato della Valle – a huge elliptical square with a surface of 90 000 sq m which is the biggest in Italy and one of the biggest in Europe;
  • Orto Botanico – the oldest botanical garden in the world. Read more about it here;
  • Basilica of St Anthony of Padua – where the body and the relics of the saint are venerated;
  • Caffe Pedrocchi – two hundred years old and one of Italy’s historical coffee houses. It used to be open 24/7. You will find its beautiful building right by Padua’s Palazzo della Ragione.

There are so many unique and wonderful things to be seen in Padua, it is impossible to mention them all here. The train journey from Venice takes less than half an hour, so it makes for a wonderful day trip.

Travel Times: From 26 mins (Regionale Veloce, Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Eurocity).

Tips: Set some time aside to explore Padua’s hidden gems. Visit the Church of the Eremitani to see the Mantegna frescoes. Read here the amazing story of how they were destroyed during the bombings of the Second World War and then decades later restored using advanced mathematical calculations. Don’t miss the Baptistery right next to Padua’s Duomo. It is covered in splendid frescoes and photos there are not allowed, so you can immerse yourself in a beautiful moment of art appreciation. Another little gem is St. Anthony’s School (just off the Basilica of St. Anthony) which is covered in frescoes (mainly) by Titian. Finally, when in Padua, don’t miss the fabulous cakes and sweets typical for this beautiful Italian city. Click here to find out more about them.

8. Venice to Treviso Day Trip

A beautiful building in Treviso - Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Loggia dei Cavalieri in Treviso - Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Street art in Treviso - Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

People usually fly into Treviso and then head straight to Venice, completely bypassing this rather very pretty Northern Italian city. Don’t make the same mistake. Treviso with its breathtaking frescoed and decorated buildings and narrow curving streets guarantees a day of exciting exploration. Some of the main sights here are:

  • Piazza dei Signori – the main square where you can admire the imposing Palazzo dei Trecento – built in the 13th and the 14th centuries, it was the seat of Treviso’s Highest Council (the main administrative body of the city) and nowadays it houses the municipal council.
  • Loggia dei Cavalieri – an elegant structure with faded frescoes in the heart of the old town. It was built in the 13th century to serve the local nobility as a place for meetings, conversations, and games.
  • La Pescheria – a small river island in the historic centre of the city where the fish market is held. 
  • San Francesco Church – a prime example of the late Romanesque/early Gothic style, this church was used as a stable by Napoleon’s troops. Here are the tombs of Petrarch’s daughter Francesca and Dante’s son Pietro.
  • Church of San Nicolo’ – for its many frescoes and also the earliest depiction of spectacles (eyeglasses) in Europe.
  • The seven-domed cathedral where you can admire a Titian and a very atmospheric crypt among other things.
  •  

Travel Times: From 37 mins (Regionale) and from 30 mins (Regionale Veloce).

Tips: Treviso is the birthplace of a dessert, a vegetable and a drink which make our lives so much better. The first one is tiramisu – that glorious dessert made with coffee- and marsala-dipped ladyfingers which are then layered with mascarpone beaten with raw eggs. The second one is the radicchio rosso – also called Italian chicory in English. Its bitter taste is a great complement to any fresh salad, plus it is very tasty grilled and added to pasta dishes, too.  The third one is prosecco which nowadays is incredibly popular in the UK. You can combine half a day in Treviso with a visit to a nearby medieval walled town. Castelfranco Veneto and Cittadella are both very easy to reach from Treviso’s train station.

9. Venice to Verona Day Trip

Lamberti Tower - Verona, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
A close-up of the facade of Palazzo Maffei at Piazza delle Erbe - Verona, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Piazza Bra - Verona, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Fair Verona doesn’t need an introduction. This is, after all, the Italian city which is forever linked in our hearts with the story of Romeo and Juliet. Verona is worth a day trip from Venice not just because of its Shakespearean links though. The city has a rich Roman and medieval past, a worldwide known opera festival and enough sights and places of interest to keep you occupied and excited for several days. Take your pick:

  • Piazza Bra – one of the largest squares in Italy where you will find Arena di Verona – once used to host gladiator fights and nowadays one of the finest concert venues in the world. This is where the famous Verona Opera Festival is held every summer. It is important to note that the Arena pre-dates Rome’s Coliseum by around a century;
  • Piazza delle Erbe – lined up with beautifully frescoed buildings and the gorgeous Palazzo Maffei. Don’t miss the adjacent Piazza dei Signori with the statue of Dante at its heart;
  • Torre dei Lamberti – the tallest tower in Verona which was built in 1172. It offers you inspiring views over the red rooftops of the city;
  • Roman Amphitheatre – built in the first century AD which is still used for stage performances today. Read more about it here;
  • Juliet’s house outfitted with the famous balcony (which, in fact, is a sawed in half sarcophagus) – if you go there though, make sure that you actually visit the house, as it gives you a fascinating look into life in the 13th century. Read more information about Juliet’s house here;
  • Castelvecchio – explore this medieval castle which nowadays houses a splendid art collection. Click here for more details.
  • Giardino dei Giusti – a Renaissance garden first planted in the 15th century. From its top level you can enjoy stunning views of the city. Read more about it here;
  • Scaliger Tombs – a group of Gothic funerary monuments in honour of Verona’s medieval rulers – the fearsome Scaligeri Family.
  • Juliet’s Club – where the Secretaries of Juliet reply to letters sent from all over the world asking the Shakespearean heroine for advice in the matters of the heart. If this sounds interesting, click here to read my account of my visit to Juliet’s Club on the 14th February 2017.

There are so many museums, churches and places of interest in Verona, that you will be spoiled for choice. The good thing is that the city centre is easily navigable by foot, so you can walk everywhere and see as much as possible within a day. Just wear some very comfortable shoes.

Travel Times: From 1 h 10 mins (Frecciarossa) and from 1 h 27 mins (Regionale Veloce).

Tips: Try the locally made sweets ‘Baci di Romeo’ and ‘Baci di Giulietta’ (literally ‘Romeo’s Kisses’ and ‘Juliet’s Kisses). They taste divine. Romeo’s version is made of almond paste and buttercream and Juliet’s is made of hazelnut paste and chocolate cream. They sell them in a few places around town. My favourite place to buy them from is a historical pasticceria called De Rossi. Here I hasten to add that I am in no way related to them and also, this is not an ad, just a personal recommendation as I love these sweets so much.

10. Venice to Vicenza Day Trip

Loggia del Capitaniato, Piazza dei Signori - seen from Palladio's Basilica, Vicenza , Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Piazza dei Signori seen from Palladio's Basilica, Vicenza , Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
Colourful houses with Monte Berico in the distance - seen from Palladio's Basilica, Vicenza , Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Known as the Pearl of Renaissance, the Heart of Veneto, the City of Palladio and the Gold Town, Vicenza lies half-way between Venice and Verona in the Northern Italian region of the Veneto. The city is a creative hub of art, jewellery traditions and one-of-a-kind events. Plus it is a veritable open-air museum of architecture. Its streets are lined with sumptuous palaces and buildings which have inspired architectural cannons all over Europe and North America for the past 500 years. This is also the city I have been calling home for the past three years. So, obviously, I have a lot of recommendations as to what to see and do here. Don’t miss the main sights:

  • Basilica Palladiana – a stunning work of architectural art and the pearl in the crown of Palladio – the most influential architect of the Western world for the past 500 years who used Vicenza as his own personal architectural playground;
  • Piazza dei Signori – Vicenza’s central square surrounded by Palladio’s buildings and seeped in history;
  • Church of  St. Mary of Mount Berico – overlooking the city and one of Italy’s most important and visited sanctuaries;
  • Teatro Olimpico – the theatre designed by Palladio where you can see the world’s oldest surviving stage set still in use today. Click here to read more about this jewel of Vicenza;
  • Many lavish jewellery shops confirming the fact that Vicenza is one of Italy’s most important centres of jewellery making;
  • Jewellery Museum – the first in Italy. Read more about it here;
  • Church of Santa Corona – see the precious works of art by Bellini and Montagna. Worship the thorn from Christ’s Crown which has been sheltered here for centuries (for security reasons, the thorn is shown to the public only on big Christian holidays, the rest of the time it is kept in the nearby Diocesan Museum);
  • Villa Capra ‘La Rotonda’ and Villa Valmarana ai Nani – within a short walk from Vicenza’s train station, you can see two of the most famous and most beautiful Venetian villas. La Rotonda is one of the most copied buildings in the world and it has inspired the design of the White House.

For all that it has to offer, Vicenza keeps itself away from the trodden tourist track. This makes it all the lovelier to explore and peaceful to enjoy. If you are an architecture aficionado or are looking for that rare gem of a city which has it all but it lacks crowds and cheapened attractions, come to Vicenza for a day trip from Venice to remember for years to come.

Travel Times: From 43 mins (Frecciarossa) and from 45 mins (Regionale Veloce).

Tips: Have a look at the Vicenza category of blog posts here for a detailed inside look on what to see, eat and do in this exciting yet off-the-beaten-track destination in Northern Italy.

11. Venice to the Villas of the Veneto Day Trip

A view of Villa Pisani - Stra, Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
The facade of Villa Pisani - Stra, Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com
The belvedere - Villa Pisani - Stra, Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

When the summer heat made Venice unbearable, its rulers and noblemen decanted en masse to the elegant villas they had built for themselves on the mainland. Designed by the best architects, covered in frescoes and surrounded by manicured gardens, the villas were akin to small palaces and just as lavishly furnished. Enjoy a day exploring some of these villas and see yet another facet of Venetian history. Some of the most splendid villas within an easy reach from Venice are:

  • Villa Pisani – the mother of all Venetian villas equipped with a maze, gorgeous gardens, water features and as much art as you can take in a day;
  • Villa Foscari ‘La Malcontenta’ – designed by Palladio, it impresses with its monumental architecture and lavish frescoes;
  • Villa Foscarini-Rossi – where, apart from the beauty of the villa itself, you can also see the Museum of the Shoes with over 1500 pairs of shoes created by the most feted designers.

Visiting a villa or two (or even three) is a pleasant and easy way to have a day trip from Venice to remember. In a way, you still feel like you are in Venice, for the history and the art of the villas are intrinsically connected with the powerful Venetian families of the day, yet there are no crowds and, in summer, the gardens offer shade to take refuge from the scorching Italian sun.

Travel Times: From 50-55 mins for Villa Pisani and Villa Foscarini-Rossi – from 26 mins by train (Regionale Veloce, Frecciarossa and Frecciargento) to Padua, followed by bus 53E to Stra (about 22 mins). Then walk about half a km to the villas. About 19 mins to Villa Foscari ‘La Malcontenta’ – take bus 53E from Corsia B7 at Piazzale Roma in Venice and get off at Chiesa. The villa is less than 500 m away from the bus stop.

Tips: There are many more villas to explore around Venice. A comfortable, yet quite pricey way to see a bunch of them is to join a river cruise which will take you up the river Brenta on the shores of which lie many of the more splendid villas.

And finally…

Trains in Italy – Tips and Tricks for Quick and Cheap Day Trips from Venice

Astronomical clock - Piazza della Loggia - Brescia, Lombardy, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Train travel in Italy is generally very well organised and can take you from A to B quickly and (in most cases) cheaply.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you enjoy these great day trips from Venice by train:

1. There are different types of trains in Italy depending on their speed:

  • Frecciarossa and Frecciargento are the high-speed trains which will zip you from Venice to Bologna in no time.
  • Regionale Veloce stands for fast regional trains which connect towns and cities within the region and are travelling at rather fast speeds.
  • Regionale are the slowest trains of them all. They stop at all small towns and villages along the way.

2. Where possible, try to travel by Regionale Veloce:

  • The tickets for this type of train are several times cheaper than the tickets for the high-speed trains Frecciarossa and Frecciargento.
  • The Regionale Veloce tickets also don’t fluctuate in price, so you can buy them on the day.
  • For example, a one-way ticket from Venice to Vicenza with the Frecciarossa train can cost as much as 20 euros if you buy it online. If you take a Regionale Veloce train, you will pay only 6.10 euros. The difference in travel times is negligible – only 2 mins. Frecciarossa takes 43 mins from Venice to Vicenza. Regionale Veloce takes 45 mins.

3. Travel by Frecciarossa/Frecciargento to destinations which are further away from Venice, like Bologna. You will pay more, but you will spend much less time travelling.

  • In this case, try to buy you tickets in advance online, as they will be cheaper than buying them on the day and at the train station.

4. Travel by Regionale trains only if there are no other options. They are cheap, but they can take a very long time.

5. Use the Trenitalia website to compare prices and travel times for the different types of trains.

  • You need to type the names of your departure and destination cities in Italian. For example, Venezia for Venice and Padova for Padua. It doesn’t matter if you are using the site in English or Italian. I don’t know why this is so, just be aware that if you type ‘Venice’, you will get an error message.
  • If you are staying in Venice, then your departure station will be Venezia Santa Lucia. If you are staying in Venice Mestre, then your departure station will be Venezia Mestre.

6. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before boarding the train:

  • Look for the small oval machines attached to walls and pillars at train stations and train platforms;
  • You don’t need to validate tickets for Frecciarossa/Frecciargento bought online which you have printed at home. These are usually tickets with an assigned seat and for a train leaving at a particular time;
  • You need to validate all other tickets (especially for Regionale Veloce and Regionale trains) bought at the station (from the ticket office or the ticket machine);
  • Tickets for the Regionale Veloce and the Regionale trains are ‘open’, in the sense that you can use them for any such train on the day you purchased the ticket for.
  • However, once validated, your ticket is valid for the next 4 hours. In other words, you need to board the train within the four hours after having validated your ticket.
  • Insert the ticket in the machine’s slot, pushing it in and as much to the left as it would go and then wait for the whirring sound. Take your ticket out and check if the machine has printed a long line with numbers on your ticket. The first few numbers are the time and the date.

7. You can buy tickets in advance or on the day at the train station:

  • Lines for the ticket office can be long and slow-moving;
  • You can use the ticket machines to either buy a ticket or print a ticket bought online;
  • Beware that some ticket machines only take cards and others take both cards and cash. Check the symbols in the upper right corner of the machine to make sure you are using the correct machine depending on how you want to pay;
  • The ticket machines are multilingual – you can select the language you want at the start of the operation;
  • There is a recorded message about pickpockets and being vigilant. You cannot skip it, you can only start buying your ticket once the message has finished playing;
  • Some ticket machines print the ticket on large rectangular pieces of card. Other machines print the ticket on small rectangular pieces of card. It seems to depend on the machines and the station, but all machines look the same and operate the same at all stations.

8. Always arrive with plenty of time to buy your ticket. Queues can be long.

9. Trains arrive a couple of minutes before the time of departure, so they stay on the platform a little longer than trains in England, for example, where they arrive and leave within a very short window of time.

10. Trains often have two floors with upstairs and downstairs seats. For the best views, go upstairs.

11. Always buy a ticket before you travel. If you are caught without a ticket, with the incorrect ticket or a not validated ticket, you may be given an option to buy a ticket at a higher price, but you may as well be fined a rather large amount of money.

Beautiful tiled decoration on a building in Treviso - Veneto, Italy - www.rossiwrites.com

Have fun exploring what Italy has to offer in the immediate vicinity of Venice. Let me know which ones of these great day trips from Venice you will be taking or have already taken.

Thank you for reading! Please, leave me a comment, pin the image below or use the buttons right at the end to share it on social media.

For more stories like this you can follow me on Facebook and subscribe to my weekly strictly no-spam newsletter.

Pin Me - 11 of the Best Day Trips from Venice (With Lots of Photos, Travel Times and Italy Train Tips) - www.rossiwrites.com



About the author

Rossi Thomson

Hello! I am Rossi - a Bulgarian currently living in England after 6 years in Italy which were preceded by 14 years in England. This is my blog about my life in these three countries and travels around Europe with history and culture in mind. For regular updates, please, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on social media online. You can also get in touch via the Contacts form or by commenting on the articles in my blog.

9 Comments

  • Rossi
    Your blog is amazing and it has given us great ideas for day trips from Venice that we will be definitely using when we go to italy
    Much better than the usual tripe you get on line
    Bravo
    Jim [from Australia]

  • We are so thankful we stumbled onto your blog! Your article on the 11 best day trips in northern Italy helped us make a decision to take the train from Venice to Padua for the day. We followed your itinerary and had a MOST pleasant visit to the city. We bought the Padua card with the Scrovegni Chapel ticket. Went to St. Anthony’s Basilica, Padua University, and Palazzo Ragione, as well as the coffee shop.

    • I am so glad to hear this! Padua is a lovely city.
      Thank you very much for your very kind words.
      With best wishes,

      Rossi

    • Yes, lots to do, see and experience. Actually, making a choice as to which option to take is quite hard. Thank you stopping by. Best wishes, Rossi

Leave a Comment