Famous for its canals and historic architecture, Venice is one of Europe’s most iconic tourist destinations. This Italian city is tucked away in a corner of the Adriatic Sea and is one of the most distinctive cities in the country. Because it’s a collection of islands, the main thoroughfares are canals rather than boulevards. The cultural heritage of Venice, owing to its history of artisans and craftsmen, brings an added element to Venice’s appeal.
While Venice certainly has almost infinite potential for sightseeing, eating, and cultural activities, there are loads of fun options for venturing outside the city for a day trip. Whether you head to the nearby southern Alps, take a ferry to Croatia, or simply spend an afternoon in the outskirts, there are incredible destinations for your day trip from Venice. Luckily, you can quickly and conveniently drop your luggage off with Bounce before venturing out to the best day trips from Venice. And, if the weather changes on you and calls for rain, you can easily pivot to visiting one or two of the best museums in Venice.
How to Get Out of Venice
Getting around Venice isn't as simple as cities like New York or London, but there are plenty of options for getting to and from hotels and landmarks. Venice is the most pedestrianized city in the world, so if you find yourself in the historic district, you'll be able to walk almost everywhere. Otherwise, the water taxi (which you can find just about anywhere) will conveniently transport you from one stop to the next.
When you're trying to travel outside the city for a day trip, you'll want to head to the Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia train station. From there, you'll be able to board high-speed trains to cities all over Italy, as well as towns and villas in the Venetian countryside. There are also bus stations at Ponte Della Liberta, which is right next to the train station. All of these are at the northwest point of the islands in the Venetian Lagoon, which connects this otherworldly city to mainland Italy.
In order to get to Marco Polo Airport (yes, Venice has one of the coolest names for any airport), you can take either the #5 Bus or even a ferry ride from the Piazza San Marco with Alilaguna. The water taxi also has routes from all over the city to the airport. There are taxis (with wheels) that can take you to the airport, but it's less convenient. If you need more help learning how to get around Venice, check out our comprehensive guide.
From Venice to Florence
Florence is traditionally a travel destination in its own right. Many vacations to Italy have finite time and infinite possibilities, so tacking on a single day for a city like Florence can be worthwhile. There is a lot to cover with Florence, but unlike European capitals like Rome, it’s feasible to fit in a full day here and get a (mostly) full experience.
The birthplace of the Renaissance has more than a few famous sites, but highlights include the Piazza Signiris and Ponte Vecchio. The Santa Maria del Fiore might be the most famous domed cathedral outside of Rome, and definitely worth the hype! Art enthusiasts have even more to check out, with the world-famous Uffizi Gallery displaying countless works of art. The city center has plenty of charming restaurants and cafés to relax in between activities.
How to get to Florence
There are plenty of direct trains between the two cities daily, and the trip takes about 2 hours. The main train station in Florence is Santa Maria Novella, which is located near most of the popular historical sights and cultural districts.
From Venice to Bologna
Another prominent Italian travel destination, Bologna, is famously home to the oldest operating university in the world. This city is located further south along the peninsula and has been a cultural hub for almost as long as Rome. The best landmarks to see (because your stay will be short) are the San Petronio Basilica and the Palazzo del Podesta. Another highlight is the Piazza Maggiore, which boasts some of the most impressive historic architecture in Italy.
If you have enough time, simply walking the colonnades throughout the city is one of the best experiences to seek out. These beautiful architectural features are renowned for a reason. Depending on whether you stay the night and how late you’re willing to stay out, there is a vibrant youth culture in Bologna due to the university’s student population. There are tons of great restaurants, cafés, and affordable bars to check out.
How to get to Bologna
Luckily, it only takes 90 minutes by train to reach Bologna, with the city center only being an additional 20-minute walk away from the main train station.
From Venice to Asolo
Rarely do tourists explore a city’s outskirts or suburbs, but there are some real gems near Venice. Beautiful Venetian villas are some of the most attractive residences in the world, and there are spectacular ones to tour in Asolo. Here, you’ll learn more about the rich history of the region, which at one point constituted its own country, existing as the Republic of Venice. The beautiful Brenta Canal runs up from the coastline, making it even more scenic.
How to get to Asolo
The best way to get to Asolo is to drive, with the trip taking less than an hour. This offers the perfect mix of ease and flexibility. Other villas in the Veneto region are worth exploring, and the surrounding countryside is famously beautiful, so being able to stop at your leisure and take pictures or walk around is worth the expense. There are also buses (the #112 takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes) and trains (line #112 via Padova takes about 3 hours).
From Venice to Vicenza (Villa La Rotunda)
This quaint historical village is famous for its 16th-century architectural wonders, designed by the regionally famous Andrea Palladio. The compact town is easy to walk through, and you’ll get a real sense of the place as the buildings have a distinct design. There are colorful houses, and narrow alleys add to the charm. It’s also relatively quiet, which would break up the fast-paced experience of touring bustling Venice. The Teatro Olimpico is an ancient theatre that’s worth checking out, another must-see is the Santuario di Monte Berico.
How to get to Vicenza
Every day, there are over 40 trains from Venice to Vicenza, so it’s extremely convenient to pop in and out of this quiet but charming little town. The ride is about 35 minutes long, so you don’t necessarily have to dedicate a full day.
From Venice to Castelfranco
Another charming city nestled in the hills north of Venice, Castelfranco is a walled medieval town that has been remarkably well preserved. In fact, the whole place is a giant UNESCO World Heritage Site. Because of its proximity to must-visit Venice, Castelfranco is often overlooked by most travelers. While this is very much a worthwhile destination, it only means the hordes of tourists will be taking selfies elsewhere, while visitors and locals can wander the streets of Castelfranco, appreciating the architecture and daydreaming about medieval life.
How to get to Castelfranco
One of the best ways to get to Castelfranco is to rent a car in Venice and drive. It’s only about an hour each way, which offers flexibility for stopping in villages or taking pictures of the gorgeous countryside. There are also buses available to get to and from this charming town. The SP667 runs from Venice, with a quick transfer to SP6. The route back is the same. It’s only about 90 minutes using this method.
From Venice to Rovinj (Croatia)
Believe it or not, one of the best options for taking a day trip from Venice is the Croatian city of Rovinj. Venice is situated in the northeast corner of Italy, making it geographically closer to Slovenia than Rome, and just across the Adriatic Sea lies some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. Croatia is famous for its coastal cities and beaches and has become a popular tourist destination for partiers and tourists.
While you’ll have to travel further down the coast to get to King’s Landing (Game of Thrones was shot in Dubrovnik), you can still experience the best of Croatia’s beach culture in Rovinj!
How to get to Rovinj
The best way to get to Rovinj is to take a ferry across the gorgeous Adriatic. The whole trip takes just under 4 hours, but with the scenery and sea breeze, you might not want the ride to end. Atlas Kompas and Direct Ferries both offer routes.
From Venice to Bassano del Grappa
Venice may be located on the Adriatic coast, but it’s not far from the southern foothills of the Alps. The beautiful mountainous terrain is spotted with smaller cities. One of the most beautiful is Bassano del Grappa, which is one of the best destinations for a day trip from Venice. Like many smaller historic towns, Bassano del Grappa’s attractive architecture dates back to the Renaissance, with some buildings being as old as the Middle Ages.
If you’re staying for dinner or drinks, make sure to sample the strong brandy-like “Grappa” spirit that is distilled in the city. You can find it at cafés near the Piazza Della Liberta, which is the cultural heart of the city. Bassano del Grappa’s most famous landmark is the wonderful Ponte Vecchio (Ponte degli Alpini) bridge, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is also a Hemingway Museum that details his time in the region.
How to get to Bassano del Grappa
There’s a direct train line between Bassano del Grappa and Venice’s main train station. The journey takes about 75 minutes, and the train stops right near the charming city center and the best sites, restaurants, and cafés.
From Venice to Verona and Lake Garda
Shakespeare fans, or anyone that's taken a high school English course, will know this northern Italian city as the home of the fictional characters Romeo and Juliet. There are multiple sightseeing destinations related to Shakespeare’s famous love story set in Verona, the most famous of which is the Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s House).
There are plenty of non-literary landmarks in Verona, the most famous of which is the San Zeno Maggiore, an ornate Romanesque church. The Museo di Castelvecchio is a museum that details the magnificent Medieval Architecture in Verona. The Arena is a humongous amphitheater built by the Romans that still functions today for opera performances (in a limited capacity). It can be toured throughout the day, and when lit during the evenings, it’s the most picturesque landmark in Verona.
Lake Garda is one of the most beautiful lakes in Northern Italy and is a popular destination for a fantastic day trip from Venice. You can take a boat ride to see the scenery, and you can even see parts of Verona, including the city's historical centre. If you don't want to hire a private boat, there are also pebbly beaches for swimming. Lake Garda is only a short walk, so you can tack it on to your Verona day trip.
How to get to Verona and Lake Garda
The best way to travel between Verona and Venice is the train. Every day, there are multiple trains to catch from Venice’s Santa Lucia Train Station to Verona Porta Nuova. From the train station, it’s a quick cab ride to the best sites and cultural offerings in the city center. The whole trip takes less than 2 hours.
From Venice to The Lido (Venice Lagoon)
Anyone who hates water should avoid Venice because there are not only miles upon miles of canals, but there are incredible beaches to enjoy as well. Being located on a lagoon, historic Venice is surrounded by a long jut of land (resembling a handle) that is perfectly situated for enjoying the Adriatic waters.
Lido di Venezia has some of the nicest beaches in northern Italy and is a popular recreational area for both locals and travelers. This sliver of land isn’t solely beachfront, there are communities located across the peninsula, with several landmarks worth visiting, such as the Church of San Nicolò al Lido. Historically, Lido was also home to a prominent Jewish Community. You can visit Museo Ebraico, a museum documenting the history of Venice and Lido’s Jewish community.
After taking in some history and culture, check out the Venezia Spiaggia Blue Moon beach or the Spiaggia Lingomare d’Annunzio beach. The breeze off the Adriatic and dip in the water will refresh and help you recover from all the walking.
How to get to Lido
This is one of the most fun commutes you can take from Venice. There are a few different water bus options that operate out of the Centro Storico that use the Grand Canal to get to Lido. There are direct lines, as it's a short ferry ride, as well as the very scenic circular route that goes around the city. The Lido Ferry terminal has a convenient Bounce luggage storage location, so you can easily explore the area during your wonderful day trip.
From Venice to Padua/Padova (Veneto)
The historic town of Padua is located about half an hour outside of Venice. One of Europe’s oldest universities is located in the city, with preserved and impressive architecture dating back to the 11th century. There are plenty of fun cafés, restaurants, stores, and bars that appeal to the student population, which makes Padua a fun destination for younger travelers.
The Prato Della Valle Piazza is a sprawling public space where you can find authentic Venetian street food and enjoy the sun. The nearby Scrovegni Chapel boasts beautiful frescoes painted and gorgeous 12th-century architecture.
How to get to Padova/Padua
Trains frequently depart throughout the day to get to Padova and neighboring towns. The journey only takes about 30 minutes from station to station. You can also stop at Padova on your way to Verona, as it’s the same train line. Renting a car and then exploring the other villas clustered just north of Venice would be the best way to make a whole day out of it.
Venice is located in a very distinct part of Northern Italy. This could be a challenge for fitting in a day trip to other cities, but Venice is easy to get around and uniquely situated near gorgeous hills, spectacular lagoons, and coastal neighbors that all provide excellent opportunities for a day trip. However you choose to break up your stay in Venice, let Bounce take care of the bags while you take an unforgettable day trip.