Julie Italy, Itinerary 24 Comments

If you are planning to spend one day in Venice, there are several ways to do it.

Do you want to spend the day visiting the top sights in Venice, such as St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and the Rialto Bridge?

Or would you prefer to skip the crowded, touristy sights and instead, go on a leisurely stroll along the canals and visit the quieter corners of Venice?

Maybe you want a mix of both…visiting a few key sights but also have the time to wander the canals.

In this Venice itinerary, we cover all three options. Which one will you want to do?

About this Venice Itinerary

So far, we have visited Venice three times, first in 2014 as part of our trip around the world, again in 2017, and most recently in July 2022. 

Venice is one of Europe’s most popular destinations and with that, lines can be long several of Venice’s top attractions. With just one day in Venice, the last thing you want to do is spend that valuable time waiting in line. In this guide, we cover how to skip these lines or reduce your wait time. All of the links to book your tickets are included in this guide.

Finally, all of the times in the daily schedule are rough estimates, just to give you an idea about timing throughout the day. Your times may differ, based wait times to enter the sites and how much time you decide to spend at each place. I did my best to anticipate waiting times and visiting times, but on very busy days (or very quiet days) these times can differ

I do my best to keep the hours of operation and pricing up to date for each attraction, however, these can change at any time. I recommend getting updated hours and pricing for your dates of travel. The link to the official website is provided for each site.

Tourist Entry Fee in Venice: Beginning in April 2024, there will be a fee for visitors to enter Venice. This fee will cost €5. If you have plans to spend the night in Venice, you will be exempt from the fee. All visitors, even those with an overnight stay in Venice, will have to register their visit on an online website. Learn more here.

Overview of Venice

Venice is built on a group of 118 islands and these small islands are linked with 400 bridges. These islands are located in the Venetian Lagoon, which sits just off of the mainland of Italy.

Venice is made up of neighborhoods, also called sestieri (singular sestiere). Some sestieri contain Venice’s most popular sites while others are quieter, where the locals live.

San Marco is the touristy heart of Venice and home to Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square, and the Rialto Bridge. Most tourists spend the majority of their time here, along with Dorsoduro (Pont dell’Accademia, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute), and San Polo.

Santa Croce, located on the western end of Venice, is the main transportation hub. The bus station, parking garages, and train station are located here.

Cannaregio, Castello, and Giudecca are where many local Venetians live, but these sestieri make great places to go for a stroll if you want to escape the tourist crowds in the heart of Venice.

Finally, Murano, Burano, and Lido make great day trips from Venice, but you need to have at least three days in Venice in order to have enough time to do this.

Best Things to Do with One Day in Venice

Below is a list of the top places to visit if you have one day in Venice.

  • Grand Canal
  • St. Mark’s Square
  • St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Doge’s Palace
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Rialto Bridge
  • Gondola Ride
  • Campanile di San Marco
  • Explore the canals
  • Ponte dell’Accademia

Optional sights include Teatro La Fenice, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Scala Contarini del Bovolo, and the Libreria Acqua Alta. It is possible to visit a few of these, if you move fast, plan your day well, and give up some of your time strolling the canals.

Ponte dell Accademia View

View from Ponte dell’Accademia | One Day in Venice Itinerary

Best Time to Visit Venice

In general, spring and fall are the best times of the year to visit Venice. During this time, the weather is great for sightseeing and crowds tend to be lower than the busy summer months. But here is a breakdown by season of what you can expect in Venice:

WINTER: It’s cold in Venice during the winter months. Daytime high’s average around 7°C (in the mid-40’s) and it can get down to freezing at night. However, this is the driest time of the year. Crowds are also at their lowest, so if you want to visit Venice without the crowds, this is the time to go…just pack your winter coat. Carnavale is one of Venice’s biggest festivals and takes place at the end of February, ending on Mardi Gras.

SPRING: As the weather warms up in the spring, rain chances also go up. Spring is one of the wettest seasons to visit Venice, but not quite as rainy as the fall months. In early spring, the high temperature is 13°C (55°F) and it continues to get warmer week by week, reaching an average high of 21°C (70°F) by June.

SUMMER: Expect big crowds and hot weather during the summer months. Daily high temperatures average 28°C (82°F) but they can easily get up to 35°C (95°F). Rainfall is low. Summer is also the most popular time to visit Venice, so crowds will be at their highest. If you plan to visit in the summer months, make your hotel reservations far in advance and purchase skip-the-line tickets if possible.

FALL: In early fall, crowds can still be high, not really quieting down until the end of October. Daytime high’s range from 21°C (70°F) in early fall and cooling off to 13°C (55°F) by late fall. Autumn is the wettest time to visit Venice (late September through early November), so bring an umbrella if you plan to be here at this time.

VERDICT: I think the best time to visit Venice is from late-April through May. The weather is nice, spring break is over, and crowds are manageable. If you don’t mind chilly weather, March into April would also be a nice time to visit Venice, just try to avoid the Easter holiday.

One Day in Venice: Itinerary #1

Gotta See It All

This is the busiest Venice itinerary on this list.

This itinerary is for those who want to visit Venice’s top sights. It has the potential to be the most expensive, since you will visit more attractions and the entrance tickets and tours add up.

If you want to visit the long list of sights in the Best Things to Do in Venice section of this guide, this will do it. You will even visit a few places on the “optional” list.

You won’t have time for a leisurely lunch or a long coffee break, but you will get to see a lot of Venice.

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (points of interest and the walking route). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

8 am: Breakfast

Have breakfast at your hotel or at one of the cafes or pasticcerias (pastry shops) in Venice.

Morning (9:30 to 10 am): Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Teatro La Fenice, or Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is an art museum in Dorsoduro. Teatro La Fenice is an opera house. Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is a church on the Grand Canal and you can climb the steps to the cupola for one of the best views of Venice.

This morning, pick one of these to visit. To maximize your time, visit right at opening time.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

This modern art museum is located in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an 18th century palace. It contains modern art by Picasso, Dalí, Miró, and Kandinsky that was collected by American heiress Peggy Guggenheim.

Hours: 10 am to 6 pm daily; closed Tuesday
Cost: 16€
Website: Get updated hours and pricing on the official website. Purchase your ticket online in advance to avoid waiting in line.

Teatro La Fenice

This opera house is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. The theater was destroyed by a fire three times, the most recent being in 1996. It reopened in December 2003, truly earning its name “the Phoenix,” as it continually rises from the ashes.

The theater is open for tours on a daily basis. Your admission fee includes the audio guide tour.

Teatro La Fenice

Teatro La Fenice

Cost: 12€
Hours: 9:30 am to 6 pm daily
Website: Get updated hours and pricing here.

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is located on the Grand Canal. From Ponte dell’Accademia, this baroque cathedral is one of the main focal points. Climb the steps to the cupola for one of the best views of Venice.

Best Things to Do in Venice | One day in Venice itinerary

View from the cupola of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Cost: free to visit the Basilica; 8€ to visit the cupola
Hours: During the summer months, the Basilica is open from 9 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 5:30 pm. Get updated hours here before your visit. 
View from the Cupola: We cover the details on how to visit the cupola in our Venice Bucket List.

After your visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Teatro La Fenice, or the Basilica, make your way to Ponte dell’Accademia.

11:30 am: Ponte dell’Accademia

From Ponte dell’Accademia, you have one of the best views of the Grand Canal (it’s my favorite viewpoint in Venice).

Look east along the Grand Canal. You will be able to see the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, a 400-year-old church that is a famous Venetian landmark. This bridge also a great spot to watch as gondolas, water buses, and taxis drift up and down the Grand Canal.

Ponte dell Accademia

View from Ponte dell’Accademia | One Day in Venice Itinerary

12:00 pm: Vaporetto Ride on the Grand Canal

The vaporetto is a water bus that runs up and down the Grand Canal (and throughout much of Venice). This is the cheapest way to cruise up the Grand Canal.

From the water bus station next to Ponte dell’Accademia, ride the No. 1 or No. 2 vaporetto to the Rialto Bridge. It costs 7.50€ for a one-way ticket (good for 75 minutes) or 21€ for a 24-hour ticket. For this itinerary, a one-way ticket is sufficient.

Vaporetto Ride in Venice one day in Venice itinerary

View of the Grand Canal from the vaporetto

12:30 pm: Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is a covered footbridge with shops that run down the center of the bridge. We love the views from this bridge and the views are great in both directions. It’s worth it to visit both sides of the bridge for these views.

Grand Canal

View from the Rialto Bridge

1:00 pm: Lunch

You can grab a quick bite to eat at one of the cafes or small restaurants near the Rialto Bridge. We recommend Pizzeria Megaone, a highly rated restaurant that is a short walk from the Rialto Bridge.

1:30 pm: T Fondaco Terrace

This rooftop terrace is located on top of a building that sits right on the Grand Canal next to the Rialto Bridge. It is free to visit and you will have a great view overlooking the Grand Canal. For the best experience, book your ticket online in advance. 

T Fondaco Terrace

T Fondaco Terrace

2:15 pm: Canals of Venice

For the next one to two hours, stroll the canals of Venice. From the Rialto Bridge, head east, walking from the San Marco sestiere into Castello.

During this time, you have the option to hire a gondola. Gondolas cruise through many of the canals in Venice, so this can easily be added to your afternoon. Gondola rides can last 15 minutes to one hour, depending on what you negotiate with the gondolier.

How Much Does a Gondola ride cost? The city of Venice sets the rate at €80 per 40 minutes (€100 after 7 pm) but that doesn’t mean that’s the rate you will get. You will have to negotiate with your gondolier before you ride. Make sure you agree on the price and the length of time you will ride before you get in the gondola. And if you would like him to sing, that will cost extra. Here is a great article if you want to learn more.

Gondola Ride in Venice

Gondola Ride in Venice

Optional: Scala Contarini del Bovolo

The Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo is a small palazzo, or palace, in Venice. This palazzo is famous for its spiral staircase that leads to an observation terrace. Tickets cost €8 per adult (€6 for those 26 and younger).

Scala Contarini del Bovolo

Scala Contarini del Bovolo

4:00 pm: St. Mark’s Square & the Campanile

The Campanile is the huge bell tower in St. Mark’s Square. From the top of the Campanile, you get one of the best views of Venice. A visit typically lasts 30 minutes and an elevator carries you to the top, so don’t worry about climbing hundreds of stairs for this view.

Cost: 12€
Hours: 9:30 am to 5:15 pm, last admission 4:45 pm
Website: Book your tickets and get updated hours and pricing on the official website.

4:45 pm: Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale)

The Doges’ Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic styles. For centuries, this building served as the residence for the Doge, the seat of the government, and a palace of justice. Now, it is a museum. A visit to this museum is one of the best things to do in Venice.

Riva degli Schiavoni one day in Venice itinerary

View of Riva degli Schiavoni from the Doge’s Palace

5:00 pm is the latest you are allowed to enter Doge’s Palace. Get in line before 5:00 pm.

I also highly recommend that you reserve your ticket in advance. You can either reserve your ticket on the official website or through GetYourGuide. The official website is complicated but cheaper. GetYourGuide is much more user friendly.

Even with a reserved entry admission, you might still have to wait in line. There is a security line that everyone has to wait in, and this line can take a few minutes or longer.

6:00 pm: Quick Dinner

Doge’s Palace closes at 6:00 pm. This gives you just enough time to grab a bite to eat before the last stop of the day. I recommend Ai Do Leoni. This small restaurant is located just a few steps from St. Mark’s Basilica, and they serve coffee, small sandwiches, and small plates of pasta. It’s also a great spot for a cocktail.

Another recommendation is 1000 Gourmet Venezia. People love the pizza and pasta this restaurant serves, but they have been getting negative reviews for their service. It is located on a side street just a few blocks northeast of St. Mark’s Square.

7:00 pm: Nighttime Tour of St. Mark’s Basilica

This tour visits St. Mark’s Basilica at night, after it closes for the day. With a guide, you get to tour the Basilica without the crowds. The tour includes the Pala d’Oro, a beautiful Byzantine altarpiece.

We did this tour and it was one of our best experiences in Venice. You get to tour the Basilica in a small group without the crowds that are present during the day. Plus, the lights inside of the Basilica are only turned on for 30 minutes a day and you will be here during this time. To see the Basilica illuminated is stunning and it’s more beautiful than seeing it dimly lit during the daytime.

St Marks Basilica Tour

Inside St. Mark’s Basilica in the evening 

Optional: Combined Tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace

There is another highly rated tour that includes both St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace. It starts at 5 pm, first visiting Doge’s Palace and ending with a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica. This tour lasts three hours and you will have a guide for the entire experience. This tour is not offered every day of the week so it may not be available for the dates of your visit.

9:00 pm: Stroll the Canals

Spend the rest of the evening strolling the canals. You can also have a late dinner or go out for drinks. Below I list two restaurant/bars that look like wonderful places to have a cocktail or glass of wine.

Restaurant Terrazza Danieli is just a short walk from St. Mark’s Square. On top of this famous hotel is a rooftop restaurant with views over the Venetian Lagoon.

Riva Lounge, which is located at the Gritti Palace, is located right on the Grand Canal with a view of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. It’s an upscale restaurant with a view so it’s not cheap.

Italy Travel Guide

One Day in Venice: Itinerary #2

Highlights & Hidden Gems

This itinerary is perfect for those who want to visit a few of Venice’s top sights and have enough time to leisurely stroll the canals. It’s also a great itinerary for those who don’t have a full day in Venice, since there is free time built into the day (if you are day tripping to Venice, visit the sights around St. Mark’s Basilica first and then spend the rest of your time along the Grand Canal).

On this Venice itinerary, get the sights (and the waiting in line) over with early in the day, which gives you the afternoon and evening to wander the beautiful canals of Venice. On this itinerary, you have plenty of time for a leisurely lunch and a leisurely dinner.

8 am: Breakfast

Start your day off with breakfast, either at your hotel or at one of the coffee shops or pasticcerias (pastry shops) in Venice.

Pasticceria Marchini Time gets wonderful reviews, is located in San Marco, and is just a 5-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square.

Pasticceria Da Bonifacio is another highly rated pastry shop. It is located east of St. Mark’s Square and from here it is a 4-minute walk to St. Mark’s Basilica.

9 am: St. Mark’s Square and St. Mark’s Basilica

St. Mark’s Square (also called Piazza San Marco) is the main public square in Venice. St. Marks’ Basilica and the Campanile sit at the eastern end of the square. The remainder of the square is lined with arcades, which were once the homes and offices of the officers during the days of the republic of Venice. Now, the arcades are home to shops and restaurants.

St. Mark’s Basilica dates back to the 9th century AD. Over the course of eight centuries, mosaics were added to the interior of the cathedral, as well as treasures from the Crusades. The Pala d’Oro is a Byzantine alter piece that is covered in gold and studded with almost 2,000 gems.

St Marks Basilica one day in Venice itinerary

St. Mark’s Basilica


St Marks Basilica Photo

St. Mark’s Basilica


St Marks Basilica Terrace

Terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica

One of the most interesting sights on St. Mark’s Square is the Torre dell’Orologio (the Clock Tower). This clock and its tower dates back to the 15th century.

St Marks Clock Tower

Torre dell’Orologio

How to Visit St. Mark’s Basilica

This cathedral is one of Venice’s top attractions. Lines to get in are legendary but you can now book a ticket online in advance to skip the line.

On a visit to St. Mark’s Cathedral, you will pay a few euros to enter the basilica. For an additional fee, you can add on the Pala d’Oro, the Loggia dei Cavalli, and look out over St. Mark’s Square from the terrace. We cover each of these sites and their cost in much more detail in our Guide to St. Mark’s Basilica. This also includes tips to help you have the best experience, lots of photos both inside and outside of the basilica, and information on how to skip the line.

St. Mark’s Basilica opens at 9:30 am (on Sundays, it opens at 2 pm). I recommend getting in line at 9 am, or even earlier, to minimize your wait, if you plan to purchase your ticket onsite. But for the best experience, book your entrance ticket online for a 9:30 am entry. Before you go, get updates on hours of operation here.

Hours: 9:30 am to 5:15 pm Monday to Saturday; Sunday 2 pm to 5:15 pm; last admission at 4:45 pm
Cost: 3€ onsite, 6€ online in advance; Pala d’Oro, the Museum, and Loggia dei Cavalli have additional fees which you can see here.
Website: Get updated hours and pricing on the official website

Skip-the-line at St. Mark’s Basilica plus Doge’s Palace: This 3-hour skip-the-line tour includes both St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. This is a great tour to consider since it includes both of these sights and you get to tour them with a knowledgeable guide. It starts at 10 am so it also gives you a little more free time in the morning. 

10:30 am: Doge’s Palace

The Doges’ Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic styles. For centuries, this building served as the residence for the Doge, the seat of the government, and a palace of justice. Now, it is a museum.

The Doge’s Palace is located next to St. Mark’s Basilica. This is another place where the lines can be long to enter. You can either join the ticket line (expect a long wait), book your ticket in advance (highly recommended!!), or visit on a guided tour.

Cost: 25€
Hours: 9 am to 6 pm every day
Website: Get updated hours and pricing on the official website. You can also book your entrance tickets here as well.
Entry Ticket: If tickets are sold out on your dates of travel, you can also purchase an entry ticket through GetYourGuide. 

1 pm: Lunch

For a quick bite to eat, go to Ai Do Leoni. This small restaurant is located near St. Mark’s Basilica, and they serve coffee, small sandwiches, and small plates of pasta. Osteria Enoteca San Marco is a great option if you want a leisurely lunch with great food and wine (we ate here and it was one of our best meals in Venice). Another top pick is Restaurant Terrazza Danieli. Dine on the rooftop terrace and enjoy the view of the Venetian Lagoon.

2 pm: Campanile di San Marco

For one of the best views of Venice, ride the elevator to the top of the Campanile. Book your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line.

Campanile one day in Venice itinerary

Campanile di San Marco


View from the Campanile one day in Venice itinerary

View from the Campanile | One Day in Venice Itinerary

Cost: 12€
Hours: 9:30 am to 5:15 pm, last admission 4:45 pm
Website: Book your tickets and get updated hours and pricing on the official website. 

3 pm: Canals of Venice & a Gondola Ride

For the remainder of the day, you are free to explore the canals of Venice. No more lines, no more entrance tickets.

I recommend starting your walk on Riva degli Schiavoni, which is a wide promenade that runs along the Venetian Lagoon. As you cross Ponte della Paglia look down the canal for the iconic view of the Bridge of Sighs.

Bridge of Sighs one day in Venice itinerary

Bridge of Sighs


Riva degli Schiavoni one day in Venice itinerary

Riva degli Schiavoni

Then head north through Castello. Visit Libreria Acqua Alta, where stacks of books are kept in bathtubs and a gondola to protect them from flooding.

Make your way over to the Grand Canal. Take in the view from the Rialto Bridge and you have the option to visit the T Fondaco Terrace, for awesome views over the Grand Canal (book your tickets in advance).

From the Rialto Bridge, consider hopping on the vaporetto (the Venice water bus) and riding it to Ponte dell’Accademia. The views are beautiful and this is the cheapest way to cruise the Grand Canal. Once at Ponte dell’Accademia, enjoy yet another spectacular view of Venice.

As you wander through Venice, you have the option to hire a gondola. It can be easier to hire a gondola on small canal, rather than the Grand Canal. You can also hire a gondola in advance, which saves you the hassle of waiting in line and negotiating the price with a gondolier. 

Evening: Dinner & Drinks

Here are a few recommendations for dinner.

Ristorante Ca’ Dolfin. This Italian restaurant gets nothing but rave reviews. They are located in Sestiere di Canareggio near the Grand Canal.

Impronta. This modern café serves Italian and seafood dishes and is a popular spot with both locals and tourists. All ingredients are locally sourced.

Osteria Fanal del Codega. This Italian restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating along a canal. It also gets 5-star reviews.

One Day in Venice: Itinerary #3

Venice at Your Own Pace

This itinerary is for those who do not want to check sights off of list, join the crowds at the must-see sights, or follow a set itinerary. This itinerary is best for those who have visited Venice in the past or those who feel no need to visit the main sights.

So why even include this one day Venice itinerary on this list? Because we have some suggested sights and areas to recommend.

On our most recent visit to Venice, this is the “itinerary” that we followed. It was our second visit to Venice and we felt no need to join the crowds in San Marco.

Exploring the sestieri on the outskirts of Venice is one of our favorite things to do in this city. Crowds are much lower and these parts of Venice are just as scenic as the area around St. Mark’s Basilica.

Dorsoduro is a lovely place to explore. Colorful buildings line the canals and it’s fun to photograph the bridges. While in the area, you can visit Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, a landmark in Venice that sits on the eastern tip of Dorsoduro.

Dorsoduro one day in Venice itinerary


Cannaregio is on the north side of Venice. Visit Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, have a glass of wine at Vino Vero or the Il Santo Bevitore craft pub.

In Castello, visit Libreria Acqua Alta. We love strolling along Rio de S. Provoio. The farther east you go, the fewer tourists you will see.

In the afternoon, you have the option to take a day trip to Murano and Burano or Lido, if you think you will get tired of wandering the Venice canals.

Here is how to plan your day:

  • 8 am: Breakfast at your hotel or at a café
  • Morning: Stroll through one or two neighborhoods of Venice
  • Midday: Have a leisurely lunch. If you plan to visit a popular restaurant, make a reservation in advance if possible.
  • Afternoon: Explore more of Venice OR spend your time along the Grand Canal (visit the t fondaco Terrace, walk across the Rialto Bridge or Ponte dell’Accademia, hire a gondola) OR day trip to Murano and Burano
  • Evening: Dinner

You can also take a cooking class, a food tour, or a dinner cruise on the Venetian Lagoon.

Gondola Ride in Venice

Gondola ride in Venice

How to Get to Venice

If you are traveling by train through Italy, the most convenient train station in the area Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia, in Santa Croce. From this train station, you can walk, take the vaporetto, or hire a water taxi to take you to your hotel.

If you will have a car, park your car at Tronchetto Parking, a large parking garage in Venice in Santa Croce. The parking garage can hold 4500 vehicles. Learn more here.

If you are starting your trip through Italy in Venice, the main airport is the Venice Marco Polo Airport.

To get from the airport to your hotel in Venice, you can take the bus, a taxi, a vaporetto, or a water taxi. This article does a great job describing the numerous options, which can be overwhelming to choose from. You can also book a water taxi from the airport to Venice.

How to Get Around Venice

Venice is a very walkable city. It’s small and compact and most of the highlights are clustered together in the heart of Venice. When we are here, we primarily walk to everything.

If you want to minimize how much walking you do, you can use the vaporetto and water taxis to get around. If you are staying in Santa Croce or Giudecca, riding the vaporetto to the Rialto Bridge, Ponte dell’Accademia, and to San Marco can save you a lot of walking and a lot of time.

Grand Canal Venice

View of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge | One Day in Venice Itinerary

Where to Stay in Venice

With one day in Venice, the best place to stay is in the heart of Venice, to limit how much walking you do. San Marco, Dorsoduro, and San Polo are all great areas to choose from.

To help you choose the best location and the best hotel, read our Venice Hotel Guide, which organizes the best hotels in Venice by location and budget.

Tours of Venice

Joining a tour can help save you time waiting in line, allow you to learn more about Venice from a knowledgeable guide, and introduce you to sights that you may not be able to do on your own. Here are some of the best tours in Venice.

For one of the best experiences in Venice, visit St. Mark’s Basilica after hours. You get to tour the Basilica with an expert guide and visit it without the crowds. We are taking this tour on our upcoming visit to Venice.

This combination tour includes both St. Mark’s Basilica and a tour of Doge’s Palace. The tour lasts 2.5 to 3 hours and is one of the best things to do if this is your first visit to Venice.

Take a private evening tour of Cannaregio. With a guide, you will explore Cannaregio, dine on local food, and enjoy wine, beer, and cocktails. 

On this 2.5 hour food tour, explore the Rialto Market with a guide and sample local foods.

Walking Tours: Take a private tour with a local guide, see a darker side of Venice on this Murders and Mysteries tour, or take an off the beaten track private city tour.

For something unique, create your own glass artwork with famous craftsman or create your own Venetian mask in this workshop.

Finally, go on a candlelight dinner cruise on the Venetian Lagoon. 


Where Are You Going Next?

If you are just beginning to plan your Italy itinerary, take a look at our 10 Days in Italy Itinerary for five different ways to spend 10 days in Italy. We also have a detailed 10 day itinerary that includes Rome, Florence, the Cinque Terre, and Venice and a 10 day northern Italy itinerary that includes the Dolomites and Venice.

For those with more time, check out our 14 day Italy itinerary, which covers the highlights of Italy.

VENICE: For Venice, read our 2 day Venice itinerary for the best way to spend 2 days in Venice. Learn about the best hotels in Venice for all budgets in our Venice Hotel Guide. And for a list of things to do, read our Venice Bucket List.

FLORENCE: If you are planning your first visit to Florence, don’t miss our guide to the 10 Best Things to Do in Florence. We also have a guide about how to visit the Florence Cathedral and related sites, the best rooftop bars in Florence and the best viewpoints in Florence.

ROME: For a list of the top experiences in Rome, read our article Best Things to Do in Rome. Learn how to put these together in our 2 Day Rome Itinerary. And don’t miss our guides to the Best Views of Rome, best Rooftop Bars in Rome, and our Rome Restaurant Guide.

PLACES TO GO IN THE DOLOMITES: For a list of where to go and what to do, read our article Best Things to Do in the Dolomites.

NORTHERN ITALY: Verona is a beautiful city to add to your Italy itinerary and we also have a detailed guides on Lake Garda and how to day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio. In our Northern Italy Itinerary, visit Venice, the Dolomites, Verona, Milan, and Lake Como.

BEST OF ITALY: In our guide to the Best Places to Visit in Italy, we list 25 beautiful destinations to consider for your next trip to Italy.

We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, Basilicata, and Puglia.

If you have any questions about the best way to spend one day in Venice, let us know in the comment section below.


One Day in Venice Itinerary Italy Travel


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Comments 24

  1. Avatar for Jim

    Do you know if the 7pm bookings for the St. Mark’s Basilica After Hours turn on the lights inside even though the sun doesn’t set until about 8:30pm? Having less people inside for the tour is nice, but I don’t want to spend the money if it doesn’t have that full effect of the lights illuminating the interior.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We did the nighttime tour in early July, when sunset was late in the day (about 9 pm), and they turned the lights on. So yes, you should still be able to see the interior illuminated. Have a great time in Venice! Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Desh

    Hi Julie

    We will be spending 3 to 4 nights in Venice in December – would like to visit Cortina to attempt snow shoeing and visit the dolomites/lakes as a day trip from Venice. Is this advisable and what would be the best way to do this? Travelling with kids.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      That’s a great question. I don’t know much about visiting the Dolomites in the winter as both of our visits were in July. The easiest way to get around the Dolomites is by car, so you could rent a car for the day and use this as your transportation. I believe most cable cars in the Dolomites are running in December, but if there were particular ones you wanted to ride, I recommend checking their timetables to confirm they will be operating. I know that skiing is a big thing in the Dolomites but I don’t know anything about snowshoeing so you’ll have to do a little more research on this. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Lisa Kaplan
    Lisa Kaplan

    Thank you so much for your dedication to helping us wonder-lust folks get the most out our time away from work!
    We are traveling to Tuscany for a wedding in June of this year and we end our trip in Venice, for the first time.
    I was wondering if you have any experience visiting Murano to see the glass blowing factories or any of the other smaller islands off the coast? If so, how if the most time efficient way of doing this?

    Secondly, my husband and I are avid hikers and would love to do the Cinque Terra villages, but have read awful things about the crowds and how hiking them, is just a matter of following someone else “bum” along the way.
    Other than a very early start, do you have any inside information about avoiding the crowds and is it worth spending most of the day doing so, or do you recommend planning another activity while spending our 4 days in Lucca?
    P.S. We are also avid scuba divers so love just being on the water. If you have any other recommendations/connection for boat tour, I would love to hear about those as well.
    Our itinerary is 4 nights in Lucca, 2 nights in Sienna, 4 nights in Florence and the last 3 nights in Venice,
    We have been to Italy twice already, but never to any of these destinations.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Lisa. We have been to Murano and Lido. We visited both of them in one day, using the ferries. At that time, Tyler and Kara were 9 and 11 so we put time into renting a bike and going around Lido, which was fun but not an absolutely must do in my opinion. We personally didn’t have a lot of interest in seeing the glass blowing factories but that is a popular thing to do in Venice. You can do it on your own, traveling by ferry, or take a half day guided tour. We hiked the Cinque Terre that same trip, but this was in 2014, when Italy was a little less crowded. We loved it but didn’t have huge crowds (but the trail was busy as were the train stations). I think it is worth hiking at least part of the trail, especially if you are avid hikers, just start early (a little after sunrise is when I’d start if we ever return to Italy to do it again). You could also look into cruising to and visiting Elba Island as a day trip from Lucca. I don’t know the details on how to do this so that would take some more research. It looks like you are planning a wonderful trip! Let me know if you have any more questions. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Angie Black
    Angie Black

    Hi! I love your blogs! When I am considering traveling internationally, I always look for your itineraries! I am traveling to Italy in March/April. My first stop is Venice and I have a few questions. I have been to Venice once but only spent one day here and didn’t visit anything as far as museums or basilicas (just strolled the streets). I am now going back and spending 3 days here with my husband. I want to experience more of St. Mark’s Square. I want to visit the Basilica (and go to the terrace to get a good view thanks to your tip!), the Campanile (go to the top), and The Doge’s Palace. My first question is do you think I can/should do all of this in one day? I plan to get skip the line tickets. Second, as far as The Doge’s Palace, is a tour required to visit the prisons and walk across the Bridge of Sighs? If so, do you recommend a tour? I think I would like to do a tour anyway, but I was just curious if those areas were only for guided tours. Also, is there much difference between the tours of the actual Palace (different rooms for different tours)? Sorry for the rambling questions! I just want to make sure I buy the correct ticket to see what I want to see. Thank you in advance!!!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Angie. You can most certainly visit all 3 of those in one day, especially with tickets purchased in advance. You will still have time later in the day to see more of Venice. We visited Doge’s Palace with an entry ticket, not on a tour, and walked across the Bridge of Sighs and saw the prisons. There are tours that allow you to go deeper into the palace and see more rooms. We haven’t taken one of these tours so I don’t know exactly what they cover. Taking one of these tours would be worthwhile if you want to learn more about the palace and see more of the palace rooms. The official website has information about these and links to make your reservation in advance. With 3 days in Venice, you will have enough time to do an in depth tour if that interests you. Have a great time in Venice and write in again if you have more questions! Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Francis

    Hi I just wanted to say this is a very detailed guide and I will most likely be using it on my visit next month. However I have a question. I’m arriving in Venice in the evening on the 24th of December. I know there is a midnight mass for Christmas that will happen but my question is will the next day still have an early morning mass for Christmas? I tried checking the website but it’s kind of unclear. I just needed confirmation. Also, if I visit the museum inside for a mass, do I really need to book tickets to enter it again and tour it? Thank you.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Those are all great questions. I assume you are referring to St. Mark’s Basilica. Looking on the official website, it looks like mass is being offered on Christmas day. As far as touring the basilica, I assume that after mass you can visit the museum (if it opens that day) but will pay the small fee to enter. I don’t know how much you will be able to walk around the basilica following the service. There is an email address on the official website if you want to write in with your questions. I hope you have a wonderful visit to Venice during the holidays! Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Avantika

    thanks so much! yes there is no option for an audio guide and wasnt sure if there was signage where you could just view Doge’s Palace yourself. Also, for Doge’s Palace there are time slots now too, so does that mean we wont have to wait in line for this one either?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      By having a time slot, you will not have to wait in the ticket line, which can get very long. You will still go through security, so it just depends if there is a line for security. If there is, it is generally very short. But most likely you will have no wait in line to enter Doge’s Palace. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for avantika

    Hi there,

    we have one day in Venice and i love your layout for the 2nd option but had a quick question. the guided tours for st. marks and doge’s palace are taking too long so i think we are going to try to do it on our own. my question is, for doge’s palace, do you really really need a guide or can you just view yourself (we are not big museum people) also how long does Doge’s palace take?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      No, you don’t have to take a tour of Doge’s Palace. We didn’t and probably spent an hour here (our visit inside the Doge’s Palace was our first visit in 2014 and we hurried through it since we were here with our kids). And for St. Mark’s Basilica, you can now book your time slot in advance (this is new since our visit summer 2022) so that could save you lots of time in line. The links are on this page and I literally just added them in the past few days so your timing is perfect. Have a great time in Venice! Cheers, Julie

  8. Avatar for Rena

    This is absolutely helpful! I greatly appreciate your detailed suggestions. I’ll be using them, and also incorporating some of the Top 12 scenic viewpoints from your other article in our visit this December. Once again, thank you so very much!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      1. Avatar for Rena

        Hi Julie,

        I’ve just finished drawing up a 1-day itinerary based mostly on your recommendations. Do you think you can help me review it, and see if it’s something achievable?

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Yes, if you list here on this comment thread I can go over it. Tomorrow we will be flying home from Italy, so it could take me longer than usual to answer it, but I would be happy to help! Cheers, Julie

          1. Avatar for Rena

            Thanks Julie! I can’t emphasize enough how helpful your blogposts are to me and I’m sure to many others. Thank you once again.

            I’ll be heading to Venice in early December, so worry not. You can check out my itinerary once you’re back home from Italy. 🙂

            So here goes:

            Saturday, December 3
            (for context, I’ll be arriving at 8 PM the night before)

            8:30 AM – check-out after breakfast from Hotel Rio
            Visit Riva degli Schiavoni, Ponte Della Paglia bridge & St. Marks Square

            10:30 AM – travel by traghetto or vaporetto to Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, then walk to Ponte dell’Accademia

            12:30 PM – travel by vaporetto No. 1 or No. 2 to Rialto Bridge. Have lunch (and gelato!)

            1:45 PM – visit T Fondeco terrace rooftop and check-out the surrounding areas

            2:30 PM – take the vaporetto or walk to Santa Lucia Station

            3:50 PM – board Railjet back to Villach, Austria

            What do you think? Achievable or too ambitious?

          2. Avatar for Julie Post

            Hello Rena. I think your plan looks excellent. You have lots of time in St. Mark’s Square so you could visit St. Mark’s Basilica, the campanile, or Doge’s Palace (maybe 2 of them depending on crowd levels which I think will be low in December). We rode the vaporetto from St. Mark’s Square to Basilica di Santa Maria and it doesn’t take much time at all (maybe 10 to 15 minutes tops). You have lots of time for everything so it should work very well, just lunch will need to be quick. To pick out restaurants, we use Trip Advisor or Google Maps, clicking on restaurants near our location and picking one with at least a 4.3 or higher. We did this A LOT on this past trip to Italy and it worked great. Near T Fondaco Terrace, SEPA Osteria Vineria Gastronomica gets a 4.6 and they are open for lunch. I hope you have a lovely time in Venice! Cheers, Julie

  9. Avatar for Tricia

    Hello! Thank you so much for such a detailed itinerary! We are totally going to take your advice on time allocation and check list the sights to see! Just a question about the opening hours, we read somewhere online that most places are closed on Sunday or Monday in Venice and we are unfortunately coming by on those dates. Any idea if this is true? I hope not to miss out on any exciting part of Venice as its our first visit. So we’ll try to re-adjust our itinerary if it is true. Hope you are able to shine some light on this for us.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      You’re welcome! As far as closures are concerned, the Peggy Guggenheim is closed on Tuesday and St. Mark’s Basilica does not open until 2 pm on Sunday. Everything else we list is open every day, including the t fondaco terrace, Doge’s Palace, Teatro la Fenice, etc. So you should be good to go during your visit. We will be taking a nighttime tour of St. Mark’s Basilica (next week! 😊) and it looks like it’s going to be awesome. So that would be a potential option for you on Sunday night. I hope you have a great visit! Cheers, Julie

  10. Avatar for Sandi Charbonneau
    Sandi Charbonneau

    I am looking to print this itinerary but am unable to. IS there something I can do to get access. You have done a fantastic job

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, you should be able to print this. Press CTRL+P (command+P on a mac) to bring up the printer dialog box. From there, you can save it as a PDF and/or print it. However, our website is not optimized for printing so it will be a lot of pages, but you should be able to choose only those that you need. Cheers, Julie

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