10 best day trips from Venice

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 08.08.2023

In Veneto lies a whole world of exploration beyond Venice . Discover the 10 best day trips from Venice, full of culture, history and natural beauty. From the Renaissance charm of Verona to the crystal clear waters of Lake Garda, each trip offers its own unique and unmissable experience.

Planning a trip to Italy? Browse our Italy itineraries for inspiration.

1. Murano, Burano & Torcello Islands

40-45 minutes by boat from Venice

Venice landmark, Burano island canal, colorful houses and boats, Italy © StevanZZ/Shutterstock

Venice landmark, Burano Island canal, colourful houses and boats, Italy © StevanZZ/Shutterstock

The islands lying to the north of Venice – Murano, Burano and Torcello – are the places to go on day trips from Venice when the throng of tourists in the main part of the city becomes too oppressive. Murano has been a glass-producing centre for hundreds of years, while Burano was once renowned for its lace work. The main vaporetto stop for the northern islands is Fondamente Nove (or Nuove).

The glassblowing craft made Murano famous throughout Europe, and its furnaces today represent the last remaining industrial centre of Venice. You can't walk a few metres on this island without being invited to stop by a showroom. Some of the exhibition halls even have attached kilns, providing a unique opportunity to see the astounding craftsmanship of these artisans in action.

In contrast to the weathered facades of other lagoon settlements, Burano's small, brightly coloured houses are striking. According to local legend, these colours once helped fishermen distinguish their homes in the sea, although today they serve a purely decorative function.

Torcello settled as early as the fifth century, flourished as the episcopal seat of the Altinum by 638, and by the fourteenth century, it had a population of around twenty thousand before the rise of Venice diminished its prestige. By the end of the fifteenth century Torcello had fallen into decline, and today only a few inhabitants remain among the echoes of its history.

It is absolutely essential to have a comfortable residence in Venice to make day trips from here. To find the option that best suits your preferences, explore our guide to the best places to stay in Venice.

2. Lido di Venezia

20 minutes by ferry from Venice

Aerial view of Lido di Venezia © Shutterstock

Aerial view of Lido di Venezia © Shutterstock

As one of the interesting day trips from Venice, you can choose the island of Lido di Venezia. Just a short boat ride away, this charming island offers a break from bustling Venice.

For about eight centuries the Lido was the site of the annual hoopla associated with the "wedding at sea", when the Doge would go out to Porto di Lido to dip a gold ring into the rapa and then come ashore to celebrate Mass at San Nicolò al Lido.

It was then an unspoilt strip of land and remained so into the nineteenth century. By the twentieth century, however, it had become Italy's most elegant bathing resort, although not as chic as it was at the time of Thomas Mann, who set his novel Death in Venice here.

Here you can take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque promenades lined with charming cafes and boutiques, or relax on the sandy shore overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

Looking for day trip itineraries from other famous cities in Italy? Explore our guide to the 12 best day trips from Milan.

3. Padua

50 minutes by train from Venice


Padua © Shutterstock

Hemmed in by the sprawl that has accompanied its development as the most important economic centre of the Veneto, Padua (Padova) is not immediately the most alluring city in northern Italy. However, it is one of the oldest and offers a large number of ancient sites to explore during day trips from Venice.

Despite its young and dynamic student population, Padua has an atmosphere of focus on its heritage, thanks in part to its two main attractions: the mesmerising frescoes of Giotto and the revered Basilica of St Anthony.

The walls of the Capella degli Scrovegni come alive with Giotto's skilful depiction of the life of Mary, the story of Jesus and the Passion. This fresco cycle is the high point of European art, demonstrating Giotto's brilliant exploration of the inner essence of his characters.

Just eighteen months after his death in 1231, St Anthony of Padua was canonised, turning his tomb into a magnet for pilgrims. As a result of this influx, the modest church in which he rested had to be rebuilt and the grandiose Basilica of Sant'Antonio, also known as Il Santo, had to be built.

4. Ferrara

from 1 hour to 1.5 hours by train from Venice


Ferrara © Shutterstock

Ferrara was the residence of the Este dukes, an eccentric dynasty that ranked as a major political force throughout Renaissance times. The Este kept the main artists of the day in commissions and built a town which, despite a relatively small population, was – and still is – one of the most elegant urban creations of the period.

Ferrara’s main sights are clustered together in an area that’s easily explored on foot. The castle is the main focus, but several other palaces and museums offer reminders of the town’s more glorious past. Ferrara’s market days are Monday and Friday, with most activity taking place on Piazza Travaglio. On the first weekend of the month (except Aug) a large antique market takes place between the Castello and the Duomo.

Rough Guides tip: a trip to Italy is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Do you want to get the best out of your trip? Check our Italy itineraries.

5. Prosecco Valley

About 1 hour by train from Venice

Small italian town Valdobbiadene, surrounded by vineyards, zone of production of traditional italian white sparkling wine Prosecco © Shutterstock

Vineyards of traditional Italian white sparkling wine Prosecco, Valdobbiadene © Shutterstock

The valleys surrounding Conegliano are dotted with vineyards, and wine production - particularly Prosecco - makes for some of the most tempting destinations for day trips from Venice. Italy’s first wine-growers college was set up in Conegliano in 1876, and a couple of well-established wine routes meet here.

The Strada dei Vini del Piave runs for 68km southeast to Oderzo and concentrates on the region’s red wines, the more rewarding Strada del Prosecco is a 42km journey west to Valdobbiadene. The main square is given over to a medieval pageant in mid-June, the Dama Castellana and the streets of Conegliano host a major wine festival on the last weekend in September.

6. Valpolicella Valley

Around 2 hours by train from Venice

The town of Marano di Valpolicella © Shutterstock

The town of Marano di Valpolicella © Shutterstock

The Valpolicella Valley offers some amazing day trips from Venice for wine lovers. This region is renowned for its fine wines and mesmerising landscapes. Valpolicella is alluring with its charming vineyards, historic villages and exquisite culinary specialities.

Here you can dedicate a whole day to exploring the local wineries and tasting the famous local wines. Take a stroll through the manicured vineyards that provide the perfect romantic backdrop for your walk.

For an immersive local experience, visit the quaint villages that dot the landscape, each with its own unique character and charm. Taste the local cuisine in authentic trattorias, savouring regional specialities that perfectly complement the famous wines.

7. Dolomite Mountains

Less than 2 hours by train to Cortina from Venice


Italian Dolomites © Shutterstock

Day trips from Venice to the Dolomite Mountains will delight hikers and it's a joy to know that Venice is one of the closest major cities in Italy to the Dolomites. The most convenient option would be to first get to Cortina d'Ampezzo by train from Venice.

Cortina is well and truly part of the mountains of Trentino-Alto Adige, even though it officially belongs to the Veneto region next door. An upmarket ski resort, Cortina boasts a gorgeous setting, surrounded by a great circle of mountains, and it’s had a starring role in many films, including The Pink Panther, For Your Eyes Only and Cliffhanger.

About a 15min drive (or 30min bus ride) east of Cortina, this trio of massive spires (Drei Zinnen), the tallest of which – Cima Grande – rises just shy of 3000m, is high among the most iconic vistas in the Dolomites. The trail around the peaks is one of the most accessible.

Its start is easily accessible via a toll road from the pretty lakeside town of Misurina, from where buses also run frequently during the summer months. The shelters along the route are very crowded in high season, so be sure to call in advance to book a room - the first one, Rifugio Auronzo, is right at the start of the route.

8. Lake Garda

Around 2 hours by train from Venice

Porto Vecchio in Desenzano del Garda, Italy © Shutterstock

Porto Vecchio in Desenzano del Garda, Italy © Shutterstock

Lake Garda (Lago di Garda) is the largest lake in Italy, it’s so big that it alters the local climate, which is milder and sunnier than might be expected. It’s also the most popular of the lakes, attracting around seven percent of all tourists to Italy and acting as a bridge between the Alps and the rest of the country.

The narrow north of the lake is tightly enclosed by mountains that drop sheer into the water with villages wedged into gaps in the cliffs. Further south, the lake spreads out comfortably, flanked by gentle hills and lined by placid holiday resorts.

Day trips from Venice to Lake Garda are good for enjoying the beauty of the charming local towns in addition to the beauty of the lake. In the south, Desenzano is a spot with the advantage of good transport links, plus proximity to the very popular and scenically impressive Sirmione. On the western shore are the old Venetian towns of Salò and Gargnano, the lake’s best destination, a small village that remains largely unspoilt.

Experience the picturesque lakes of Northern Italy, including Lake Garda, Como, Lugano and Maggiore and stroll the romantic streets of Verona and Milan. All of this, and much more, with this self-drive tailor-made trip to Enchanting Italian Lakes!

9. Verona

Just over 1 hour by train from Venice

Verona image during summer sunset © Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock

Verona image during summer sunset © Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock

With its Roman sites and streets of pink-hued medieval buildings, the irresistible city of Verona offers one of the best day trips from Venice. It has more in the way of historic attractions than any other place in the Veneto except Venice itself. Unlike Venice, though, it’s not a city overwhelmed by the tourist industry, important though that is to the local economy.

Verona is the largest city of mainland Veneto, and its economic success is largely due to its position at the crossing of the major routes from Germany and Austria to central Italy and from the west to Venice and Trieste.

Set within the low amphitheatre that the wide River Adige has carved out of the hills, Verona conveys a sense of ease that you don’t find in the region’s other cities. As you walk past the great Roman arena, along the embankments or over the bridges that span the broad curves of the Adige, you’ll be struck by the spaciousness of the city.

10. Trieste

Around 2 hours by train from Venice


Trieste © Shutterstock

Framed by green hills and white limestone cliffs, Trieste looks out over the blue Adriatic, offering an idyllic panorama from its hilltop citadel, at least when the galeforce bora winds aren’t blasting you off the seafront. But in any weather, there’s a distinct atmosphere of grandeur with a cosmopolitan twist.

The city’s main squares are adorned with spectacular Neoclassical buildings, and the much-photographed canal, clustered with open-air cafés, is a reminder that, just like Venice and its lagoon, this city has enjoyed a glorious seafaring past, too.

The heart of modern Trieste is in the grid-like streets of the Borgo Teresiano, but no day trips from Venice here would be complete without a climb to the top of its hill, San Giusto, named for its patron saint and with the best views for kilometres around.

With our tailor-made trip to Trieste, you will discover its reality from another angle, the local one, made up of small daily rituals and places hidden from tourists. Keeping your company along the routes will often be the blue of the Adriatic and the wonderful views of the Gulf of Trieste.

Ready for a trip to Venice? Check out the snapshot of The Rough Guide to Italy.

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Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 08.08.2023

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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