When it comes to must-see cities in Italy, Venice is high on the list of popular destinations. The flowing canals, imposing Gothic buildings, Venetian coffee, and atmospheric streets are unlike anywhere else in the world. But Venice also happens to be a great base for exploring other sites in Italy. Despite being surrounded entirely by water, there are many fun and fascinating places that you can reach from Venice. In just a few hours, you can be in the mountains, at the lake, or even in the center of a historic Italian village!
If you’re planning a day trip out of Venice, then there are a few places you should consider adding to your bucket list.
What is the Best Day Trip from Venice?
The nearby islands of Murano and Burano are easy to reach from Venice, making it one of the more popular day trips for visitors. Beachgoers can also visit the Lido for an afternoon of sun and surf. Venice is also near many other Italian cities, including Verona, Florence, and Padua, all of which can be reached in under 2 hours.
However, there are many other hidden gems around Italy that are worth visiting on your trip. Read on to discover a few more places that are close to Venice.
Spend the day at one of Italy’s most romantic cities on a trip to Verona. Famed for being the home of Romeo and Juliet, Verona has plenty of sights (Shakespearean and otherwise) to see during your visit.
Most of the attractions are located in the Centro Storico, or old town. There are grand public squares, medieval castles, and even a Roman amphitheater that precedes the Colosseum.
And if you’re a fan of the tragic love story, then you can also visit Juliet’s balcony and courtyard. Getting to Verona is relatively easy from Venice. A direct train takes just 1.5 hours, although the station is a short bus ride (or a 15-minute walk) from the old town.
Located a short boat ride away on another island in the Venetian Lagoon is Murano. Known for the production of Murano glass, the island is littered with glassmaking studios, factories, and shops.
You can even visit the oldest Murano glass factory from 1866 (Pauly & C. – Compagnia Venezia Murano) or the Murano Glass Museum to learn more about the craft.
Other attractions on the island include the Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato, a 7th-century church decorated with colorful mosaic tiles. Another church, Santa Maria degli Angeli, is also located nearby.
Despite its rather unassuming exterior, the inside of the church features colorful frescoes and intricate marble carvings.
Unlike the muted terracotta colors of Venetian architecture, the buildings in Burano are painted in practically every color of the rainbow.
From pastel pink to baby blue, this colorful destination in the Venetian Lagoon is most famous for its painted houses. You could easily spend all day wandering the streets just taking photos of the eye-catching architecture.
Burano also has a history of lace making, and there are many shops where you can purchase handmade table clothes, placemats, and other gifts. Or you can stop by the Venice Lace Museum to learn more about the tradition. Burano and Murano are often visited together as a day trip from Venice using the Vaporetto Water Ferry.
As the largest lake in all of Italy, Lake Garda makes an excellent day trip for those seeking a bit of nature. From kayaking and kitesurfing to mountain biking and canyoning, this region has something for every type of outdoor enthusiast.
There are also ancient castles (Scaligero), amusement parks (Gardaland Resort), and tons of historic villas dating back hundreds of years.
If you’re taking the train, you can reach two towns on the lake in under two hours – Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano del Garda. A car will give you more flexibility to explore other iconic villages like Sirmione, Bardolino, or Lazise.
Lido di Venezia
If you’re visiting in summer and looking to escape the humidity of the city, then there’s no better place to visit than the beach. Venice has several excellent beaches close by, although Lido di Venezia is arguably the most famous.
With over 6 miles of golden sand, it’s the perfect day trip for sunbathers, swimmers, and surfers.
The beach also hosts the annual Venice International Film Festival in late summer. Public tickets are available, although you’ll need to book them early if you want to attend a screening.
For art, history, and culture, Padua is a fascinating destination that’s just 40 minutes from Venice. Even if the throngs of tourists are flooding Venice, you can always visit Padua to experience a quieter and more authentic side of Italian life.
Big attractions in the old town include the Scrovegni Chapel, Palazzo Bo’ Palazzo della Ragione, and the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua.
Don’t forget to visit Prato della Valle, which is the largest public square in the whole country. Unlike other Italian squares, it has a flowing canal and a green island in the middle! The whole elliptical canal is lined with 78 statues of famous Italian and European artists, philosophers, and religious figures.
If you want to tick another large Italian city off your bucket list, then take the train from Venice to Florence, the art capital of Italy. With so many museums and art galleries, you’ll have to be picky about which ones you can visit in a day.
I recommend the world-famous Uffizi Gallery, although the Accademia Gallery and Bargello National Museum are also good choices.
But Florence has so much more to offer besides art. The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Ponte Vecchio are just a few other must-see attractions.
Or you can simply spend the day shopping, dining, or people watching at one of the many squares dotted around the city.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site makes a great day trip for art and architecture lovers. Designed and built by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, Villa Barbero was used as a private home.
When it was built, it was one of the most architecturally unique villas in the region. As such, it created a new style of architecture named after Palladio himself, known as Palladian architecture.
During your visit, you can tour the villa, which includes many colorful frescos by Paolo Veronese. A church, Tempietto Barbaro, is also on the property and resembles the Pantheon in Rome.
You can also take a short walk through the vineyards (the villa also produces wine) to visit the carriage house, which contains over 30 vehicles from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Booking a trip to Venice requires a bit of planning. Not only because it’s one of the most popular cities in the world but also because of how many other amazing destinations there are nearby.
So, if you’re planning your vacation, make sure to add a few extra days to explore one of the neighboring cities, beaches, or natural wonders. Exploring other areas of Veneto (or Italy in general) is a great way to see more of this wonderful planet we call home.