Visitors to Venice may wish to spend their time wandering the city’s narrow streets and canals and discovering its many art treasures. However, venture further afield and you’ll find everything from former city-states to peerless architecture to the islands of the lagoon. Here are some of the best day trips from Venice, all of which can be taken by train, bus or boat.
Islands Of The Lagoon
If you want to learn more about the amazing Venetian glass, take a day trip to the island of Murano where it is made. It’s just a short boat ride from Venice – take the number 7 vaporetto from San Zaccaria (close to St. Mark’s Square).
You can visit the Glass Making Museum, which tells the story of the history of glass making and has some impressive pieces of its own. You can visit the museum for free if you have the Venice Museum Pass. Then you need to see a glass blowing demonstration: there are several places around Murano that offer this. Next, visit Campo Santo Stefano which is home to Simone Cenedese’s eye-catching sculpture called ‘Comet Glass Star’ and a 19th-century clock tower.
There are also two churches that are worth visiting in Murano – Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato and Chiesa di San Pietro Martire. Santa Maria e San Donato was originally built back in the 7th century and it has some exquisite Byzantine mosaics on its floor and dome. San Pietro Martire is a Roman Catholic Church that has some impressive Renaissance art inside by artists such as Tintoretto and Bellini.
Anisa from Two Traveling Texans
For a fantastic day trip from Venice, consider heading over to Burano – the most colourful island of the Venetian lagoon. Tourists from all over the world make their way to this charming pocket of Veneto for its exquisite handmade lace and to gaze at the vibrant homes lining the winding canals of the island.
Burano is located about 7 km from Venice and can be reached in about 45 minutes by boarding the vaporetto Line 12 from the Fondamenta Nove stop. In addition, if you are travelling from the nearby island of Murano, the vaporetto takes around half an hour from the Faro stop.
The small island of Burano can easily be explored at a leisurely pace in a day. As you stroll around the island, particularly along Via Galuppi and Tre Ponti, you will come across the iconic colourful homes of Burano, including Bepi’s House – the most colourful house on the island. It is interesting to note that the tradition of painting the homes in bright hues originated as a way of guiding the local fishermen home after a day out in the lagoon during the foggy weather.
Besides tourism, fishing and lacemaking have always been an important part of the economy. One of the highlights of a visit to Burano includes indulging in fresh, traditional seafood served at the canal-side trattorias and restaurants around the island. Some of the must-try dishes include calamari, grilled fish, and cuttlefish risotto.
To witness the age-old traditional methods of lacemaking in Burano, consider stopping by the Lace Museum (Museo del Merletto) in Piazza Galuppi. There are also several boutiques across the island that sell handmade and machine-made Burano lace designs that make for a perfect souvenir.
Aditi Sharma of Land of Travels
Venice is surely one of Italy’s most visited cities. But the crowds can be daunting, so plan to spend at least an afternoon on Sant’Erasmo. A 40 minute ferry ride will take you to this small island, located northeast of Venice in the lagoon. Once known as the “Garden of the Doge”, this small agricultural community is still thriving.
Bicycling through the countryside is probably the best way to get around. Call ahead and rent bikes from Il Lato Azzurro Hotel, which is within easy walking distance from the boat landing. There are very few vehicles on the island and you’ll ride on dirt roads past tidy little farms growing vegetables, colourful flowers and grapes, as well as the island’s only honey and wine producer.
Sant’Erasmo grape farmers produce unique mineral wines and the coveted prosecco wine of the Veneto. Enjoy a lunch of fresh authentic Venetian food on the porch at the Hotel Lato Azzurro where the only sounds you’ll hear will be the birds.
Lori Sorrentino of Travlinmad
In the southernmost part of the Venice lagoon, there is a strip of land and sand 11 km long where time seems to have stopped. This is the island of Pellestrina. It is almost unknown by tourists, and you can easily visit in a day from Venice. Take the vaporetto to the Lido, then the No 11 bus, which takes you to the island on a car ferry.
The beauty of this island is its quiet rhythms and authentic atmosphere, which are still linked to maritime traditions. The men sit down and fix the nets or go out on their boats with ladders to collect the clams from the bottom of the sea. Women make lace, sitting on their doorsteps, not so much to sell to tourists as to continue the tradition.
The island has four beautiful villages with authentic and colourful houses. The first is San Pietro in Volta, then there are Porto Secco, Sant’Antonio and finally Pellestrina. You can either walk or rent a bike. Pellestrina’s most important landmark is the Murazzi, a stone dam that protects the island from the sea and was built by the Republic of Venice in 1716.
On the opposite side of the walls is a stretch of beach, ideal for those who want a natural place to sunbathe and swim. You can not leave the island without trying one of the fabulous restaurants with lagoon views and excellent fresh fish.
Miriam of Miry Giramondo
The Cities Of Veneto
Treviso is a charming city near Venice, overshadowed by its neighbour. It was once the land front of the maritime power that was the Venetian Republic. This fact is highlighted by the many examples of the Venetian lion emblem present throughout the city. Fishmongers from the Venetian island of Burano used to sell their wares at the Treviso fish market.
Treviso has plenty of sights to see, including the Treviso Cathedral with its six domes which are visible from far and wide. The historic city centre is pedestrianised and dotted with charming canals, giving it the appearance of a mini-Venice. Some of the original city walls and the city gates are still present.
Treviso is a prosperous city with lots of shop and restaurant choices. It is the home of several famous Italian fashion brands like Benetton and Stefanel. The city is credited with originating the famous Italian dessert, tiramisu, which you can try at the restaurant which created it. The nearby hills are full of prosecco-making vineyards which are also a delightful day trip.
Only 16 miles from Venice, Treviso is easy to reach with a half hour train ride. Moreover, discount airlines use the regional Treviso airport as a gateway to Venice itself.
Shobha George of Just Go Places
Verona was founded by the Romans and operated as an independent city-state until it was annexed by the Republic of Venice in the 15th century. Today it is known as “little Rome” because of its Roman remains, and the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its Roman, medieval and Renaissance architecture. If you need any further inducement to visit, it was also the setting for Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet!
You’ll find no shortage of things to do in Verona, from exploring the historic centre, visiting magnificent churches and relaxing in a historic Renaissance garden. The train from Venice to Verona takes around 1½ hours. It is also possible to take a guided tour of Verona travelling by train from Venice.
Padua is an exciting day trip from Venice because this charming city boasts beautiful frescoes, piazzas, churches and has a rich history. Also, it is conveniently located only 30 minutes (36km) away by train, with cheap tickets and frequent trains.
Padua is home to one of the largest and oldest universities in Italy: this creates a buzz and vibrancy in the city, as it is full of young people. Padua is the perfect place to spend a day trip because it is pedestrian-friendly, and all of the main attractions are close together. This means that you will have time to see most of them.
You should explore Prato Della Valle, a striking and large square, where you will find locals relaxing amongst the 78 statues around the canals. Then you can visit the medieval town hall, Palazzo Della Ragione, to admire the frescoes on its 3rd floor, and explore the nearby Piazza Dei Signori and the Clock Tower standing proudly in the square. Make time to appreciate Giotto’s masterpiece at the Scrovegni Chapel before ending your day in Padua with an aperitif at La Yarda.
Rachel of Average Lives
Vicenza is another former city-state that was once part of the Republic of Venice. Today it is known for its architecture: this was the home of Andrea Palladio, the man who was responsible for many of Venice’s grand buildings, including the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. The whole of Vicenza is a World Heritage Site, with no fewer than 23 of Palladio’s buildings in the city centre.
Apart from the architecture, there are the museums and churches that you would expect of any historic Italian city – read more about the Top Things To Do In Vicenza. The journey from Venice by train is approximately 45 minutes.
Do you have any other suggestions for day trips from Venice? Let me know in the comments below.