I want to tell you straight away… it is totally possible to see Venice in 1 day! You can see so much of the city in one day, since it is very compact and easy to walk around, provided that you don’t land in one of those peak days in summer or late spring.. the it can get a bit complicated. Read here if you are interested what is the perfect time to visit Venice.
In one day this city will completely charm you and you will be left with a feeling of nostalgia when you leave…just be warned. Its beautiful facades, the astonishing architecture and the romantic gondola rides on the canal will leave a lasting impression on you. Venice is a city of the heart, whether you are a true romantic or somewhat of a skeptic.
Venice new tourist tax for day tourists
Please be aware that if you are a one day tourist and you do not have an overnight stay booked at a Hotel, Airbnd, Hostel, other authorized accommodation, in Venice or in Mestre, you are subject to the daily tourist tax of 3 EUR in weak tourist day, 6 EUR in fuller days and 8 EUR in peak days. This tax is going to come in force starting from 1st of July 2020. Prices might change with 1st of January 2021.
I have compiled for you an itinerary that will not let you miss out anything essentially Venetian. So let’s start.
Piazza San Marco (30 minutes)
In the morning start your tour in the beautiful Piazza San Marco. You can have there a coffee at the many coffee establishments (I recommend Caffe Florian) and witness the display of the beautiful renaissance architecture in front of you. After you have taken in the beauty of the Piazza continue your tour with the many attractions in the area.
Basilica San Marco (40 minutes – 1hour)
The Basilica is a beautifully ornated building and a landmark of Venice, exposing all its wealth and glory of the peak of commerce in Venetian Republic. Since you have only one day time, I would recommend that you reserve your visiting time here, thus not having to wait in line. The reservation service is only available in the peak season (1st of April to 2ed of November), when the number of tourists is really high. The entrance in the Basilica is free, however if you want to visit the Treasury and the St. Mark’s Museum it will cost you 3 EUR respectively 5 EUR. The visit to the Basilica will take you about 20 minutes, the museum will take you another 40 minutes (if you are fast).
Go up the St Mark’s Campanile (20 – 40 minutes)
This landmark offers a different view over the city and the lagoon. It is definitely worth going up with the elevator and admire the scenery from above. Again, in order to avoid the crowds it is better to reserve your ticket before here. This will help you skip the line. The cost of the ticket is 8 EUR (with and without reservations, so you have nothing to lose). The service is available only in peak season as well season (1st of April to 2ed of November), outside of peak season calculate in some time of waiting, as it is always a bit of a line.
Admire Ponti di Suspini (10 minutes)
Next to the Doge’s Palace you can find the Ponti di Suspini (Bridge of Sight), which has quite a sad story around it. Legend has it that the life sentence prisoners where transported via the Bridge of Sights from the interrogation rooms in Doge’s Palace to the New prison. While having one last glance over Venice, they let out a sight of regret, as they were forever doomed at life of darkness in the very dreaded prison. Although a small bridge, it is beautifully ornated and a sight worth seeing.
Visit Doge’s Palace (1 hour – 1hour 30 minutes)
Again, due to time constrains reserve your ticket beforehand, it is always better. Here you can purchase your skip the line ticket. (you can do that whether its is peak season or not). Doge’s Palace is built in 1340 in Gothic Venetian Style and was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the main authority figure of the Republic of Venice. You will be impressed by the grandiosity of the interior and the beautiful golden ball rooms.
Lunch (1 hour)
Now it’s time for a quick bite to eat to reload the energy. But for that, let’s head out of San Marco Square. In a radius of 15 minutes walking from San Marco Square you will start finding more cheaper restaurants. I would recommend:
- Bar Puppa, Calle Dello Spezier 4: it is a small budget friendly restaurant with good food and wine selection
- La Bottiglia, Campo S. Stin 2537 : it is a small sandwich place, but very delicious
- Trattoria da’a Marisa: it is a bit further away (30 minutes from San Marco Square), but the food there is amazing and it is a very friendly place to eat
Ponti de Rialto (1hour)
After lunch take a walk along the Grand Canal, to Ponti de Rialto. This white stone bridge is very imposing and frames the Grand Canal perfectly. It is the oldest bridge that crossed the canal and the only one, up until the 19th century. Now it is full of souvenir shops, which sell beautiful carnival masques and jewelry and Murano glass shops. Take your time to enjoy the beauty of the bridge and to cross it. It is the perfect place to take beautiful pictures of the Canal as well.
Enjoy a Gondola Ride (40 minutes – 1 hour)
The gondola ride is a good way to fully take in the beauty of the Grand Canal. A private gondola ride costs around 80 EUR. You can also book shared gondola rides at the fraction of the costs here. There are many historically important building along the Grand Canal, which you can admire during your ride: Palazzi Barbaro, Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ d’Oro, Palazzo Dario, Ca’ Foscari, Palazzo Barbarigo.
The gondola ride is the perfect way to conclude your tour of Venice with an accomplishing feeling of having seen the most important attractions that the city has to offer. Of course if you have more time then please read my articles on the top attractions in Venice or 2 days in Venice and decide which of the other objectives you wish to still see.
I hope you enjoyed your time and please let me know, in the comments below, if you liked the itinerary and if I should have added something? Did you have time to do more in one day?