Disclaimer: This post might contain affiliate links, which means we get a small commission if you make a purchase (at no extra cost to you).
Learn how you can spend one day in Venice!
You only have one day in Venice.
So what should you do?!
Well, we only had one day to explore during our visit to Venice (or the floating city) so we know how to make the most of it! If you only have one day in Venice, surprisingly you can see and do a lot of the city! And for some people, one day in Venice is enough, especially in the summer since tourism will be at its peak and it will be flaming hot outside.
“The floating city” has a reputation for being romantic, culture-rich, and on the top of everyone’s bucket list. There are so many things to do in Venice! There are art galleries, museums, historic palaces, and beautiful churches to explore! Venice is definitely a place worth visiting if you have the chance because in the future it might be more difficult to visit because of overtourism and adverse environmental effects.
If you only have one day in Venice, don’t worry! You can still see a lot of amazing things in Venice for one day. This guide is perfect for first-time travelers to Venice who want to make the most of their one day in Venice. We include what to do in Venice and some suggestions on where to eat and where to stay in Venice. And keep reading to learn about how Venice tourism and the environment is affecting this beautiful city.
One Day in Venice Itinerary: 10 Awesome Things to Do in Venice
We only got to spend one full day in Venice, which ended up being enough to see everything we wanted. Here’s how you can do it too! We made a list of the top things to do in Venice if you only have one day!
Practical Information for One Day in Venice
Getting To and Around Around Venice
If you’re staying outside of Venice, you can either take a public bus or a water taxi into the city. Buses and water taxis are moderately priced and drop off at various points around the city.
If not, you won’t have to go far to get anywhere within Venice! Venice proper is fairly small, you could walk around the whole city in one day if you felt like it. But most of the famous attractions are close to one another! Walking tours are a great way to see the city!
Like mentioned before, Getting around Venice is fairly easy because it’s all walking! But the streets are very narrow and have no logical flow so it’s easy to get a little lost. But is that really a problem? Not really if you ask us!
If you’re interested in learning more about Venice from a local’s perspective, read this post by Got My Backpack for more!
Venice – What You Need to Know Before You Go
Consider Booking a Tour with a Local Guide
If you’re looking to get a less touristy experience in Venice, consider booking a local guide. Hi, Hi Guide offers personalized tours offered by locals. So consider looking into one of these guides for a more unique experience!
Recommended Day Trip Tours of Venice
Where to Stay Outside of Venice: Hotel Delfino
During our visit to Venice, we stayed outside of Venice in Mestre at Hotel Delfino. Venice hotels physically inside the city are very expensive. So if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly place to stay, then stay outside of the city in Mestre or nearby. Our rooms were very nice with a private bathroom, air conditioning, and lots of space. This was the largest hotel room we have stayed at in Europe EVER. The only downside was wifi was not free and the front desk gave us difficulty about getting another key. This hotel had a scarce breakfast in our opinion. There was very little to choose from. Only cereal, some bread, and fruit.
In terms of location, the hotel was located a short walk away from a pharmacy, grocery store, and restaurants. The only downside was it was not in historic Venice. The hotel was close enough to a bus stop for us to get to Venice in about 20 minutes.
One Day in Venice Itinerary: 10 Things to do in Venice
1. Start Your day at Riva degli Schiavoni
If you’re staying outside of Venice, to the Riva degli Schiavoni
2. Visit Doge’s Palace
After arriving in Venice, start off your day by visiting one of Venice’s top tourist attractions: Doge’s Palace. If you want to see some amazing Venetian Gothic architecture and learn about the history of Venice, visit Doge’s Palace. The palace has served as the Doge’s residence, political center, prison, and courthouse. You can couple your ticket with Doge’s Palace with other historic sites in Venice!
What: A Beautiful Venetian Palace
Where: Saint Mark’s Square
3. Visit Saint Mark’s Cathedral and Tower
After visiting Doge’s Palace, explore the rest of the major attractions in Saint Mark’s Square. Saint Mark’s Cathedral, located in Saint Mark’s Square, stands as a symbol of Venice’s wealth and power with its golden mosaics in Italo-Byzantine and Gothic style. It’s no wonder Saint Mark’s is called the Church of Gold! Unfortunately, you cannot take photos in the church.
If you want to see the beautiful Saint Mark’s cathedral, definitely book ahead of time. The lines can get extremely long! We were able to get tickets the day of, with only a wait time of half an hour. After you visit the Cathedral, walk over to the Tower. At the top of the tower, you get a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Once you get to the top, see how many church domes you can count around the city! If you’re lucky, you might get to be a the top when the bells ring.
Fun fact: In 1609, Galileo proved the effectiveness of his telescope from the top of the tower.
What: A Stunning Basilica and Belltower
Where: Saint Mark’s Square
Admission: Variable by tour selection
4. Walk Across Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge is one of the most famous sights in Venice! With your one day in Venice, definitely take some time to see this beautiful bridge! The Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge crossing the Grand Canal. Near the bridge is the Rialto Market, where you can find fresh food. Multiple wooden bridges predated the Rialto Bridge as a way to cross the Grand Canal without getting wet. The bridge was designed by Antonio da Ponte and completed in 1591.
5. View the Grand Canal
Have Lunch at a Hidden Gem Restuarant in Venice: Dal Moros Fresh Pasta To Go
If you’re looking for a quick place for lunch during your one day in Venice, visit the best take away pasta restaurant! Also take some time to eat some gelato because, well, you’re in Italy! You can also take food and wine tours in Venice!
Calle de La Casseleria 5342, 30122 Castello, Venezia Italy
Less than 10 Euro take away pasta. What?! Yes. It’s real and delicious. This lovely little sit-down and take away restaurant did not disappoint during out busy one day in Venice. You could pick from a list of pasta for take away. If you’re with another person, get something different you can share. The portions were large and the pasta and sauces were well prepared and delicious. We actually couldn’t finish our two boxes! The takeaway option was nice so we could enjoy lunch where ever we wanted. We decided to indulge at Saint Marks Square!
6. Scala Contarini del Bovolo
7. See Where Indiana Jones Dug into the Library
Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where he goes into the library and says, “X marks the spot?” Well, that scene wasn’t filmed in a library at all, it was the church at Campo San Barnaba in Venice! You can see the church where the Indiana Jones movie scenes were filmed in Venice.
8. Shop for Some Murano Glass
Almost everywhere in Italy, you can purchase Murano glass; however, ask yourself is this legit? Like any classic souvenir, it’s sometimes hard to tell if you’re getting the real deal. Don’t take offers for free tours and do some research before visiting a shop. It’s likely the touristic shops aren’t legitimate. You can also do tours of the island Murano!
9. Go for the gondola ride
As touristy as it is, you’ll probably regret not doing for the gondola ride if you don’t. There are gondoliers all over the city offers to take people for rides. Always check their rates first. Most rides are about a half hour and they take specific routes, so don’t expect every gondolier to take you under the Rialto Bridge. And don’t expect your gondolier to sing to you either, some will actually get annoyed if you ask! If you’re lucky, one might sing for you.
Fun fact: Each gondolier has a custom-made boat for their height, arm span, and handedness. And most gondoliers are in the business because of the passed-down tradition.
10. Explore a Museum
For the history buffs, visit the National Archeological Museum to see Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, and Roman antiquities!
After losing her father on the Titanic, heiress Peggy Guggenheim became one of the greatest art collectors. At her canalside home, at Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, you can see her collection of surrealist, futurist, and abstract expressionist art including Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Picasso, and Salvador Dalí.
Finish your day enjoying the sunset and exploring Venice at dusk
If you have the chance, see Venice at night. In the evening after sunset, most of the tourists leave, leaving the city peaceful. The sunset on the water and the lights dancing the waves show the calmer side of Venice worth seeing. Instead of heading home early after your one day in Venice, spend the extra time in the city and enjoy it at night.
Overtourism and Environmental Strain on Venice: The Sad Side of Venice
Full of canals, bridges, and gondolas, historic Venice awes an estimated 60,000 tourists daily. Going into Venice, we knew the city would be populated with tourists; however, in the summer it was almost overrun, comparable to Disney World. Venice struggles with tourism as its main economy and tourism contributing to the city’s “elegant decay.” When you visit Venice, take some time to think about how tourism and historic preservation should be balanced for the longevity of our world’s history. Furthermore, Venice is sinking. Unstable ground and rising sea levels due to climate change are threatening the city. As visitors, it is important that we keep this in mind as we travel, by respecting the local citizens, traveling at different times of year, and being as eco-friendly as possible in our daily lives. This incredible city is worthy of seeing and saving!
More Information about Visiting Venice and Italy
What would you do if you only had one day in Venice?
With only one day in Venice, you can see a lot of really amazing things in the city! Venice makes for a perfect day trip