24 Hours In Venice Italy with Itinerary

24 Hours In Venice: A Perfect Itinerary

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Venice, a city on the water, is a dream destination for many. The beautiful canals, the colorful buildings, and the rich history make it an unforgettable experience. But what if you only have 24 hours to spend in this magical city?

How to spend 24-Hours in Venice, Italy
How to spend 24 hours in Venice, Italy

Don’t worry! With this itinerary, you’ll be able to see all of Venice’s highlights in just one day. We’ll start by discovering what makes Venice so special and how to prepare for your trip. Then, we’ll dive into our itinerary, starting with iconic landmarks such as the Rialto Bridge and Doge’s Palace.

We’ll also cover cultural insights about Venetian lingo and tips for souvenir shopping. Whether it’s your first time in Venice or you’re a frequent visitor, follow this itinerary to make the most of your 24 hours in this magnificent city.

What Makes Venice Special?

Venice, commonly known as the “City of Canals,” is a distinctive destination situated in northern Italy. It captivates visitors with its enchanting canals, breathtaking architecture, and romantic atmosphere.

Venice is known as the  "Floating City" or "City of Canals"
Venice is known as the “Floating City” or “City of Canals”

As a UNESCO World Heritage site, it boasts a rich history and vibrant culture. The absence of cars adds to its unique charm, creating a tranquil ambiance that is hard to find elsewhere. Venice truly offers a one-of-a-kind experience.

Making the Most of 24 Hours in Venice

To make the most of your limited time in Venice, it’s crucial to plan your itinerary in advance. Starting early will help you beat the crowds and maximize your sightseeing opportunities. Be sure to prioritize the must-see attractions like St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace.

Take breaks at local cafes to savor the authentic flavors of Venetian coffee. For a more immersive and informative experience, consider hiring a local guide.

Time Management Tips for a Short Visit

When exploring Venice with limited time, it’s important to manage your schedule effectively. Start by making a list of the attractions you want to visit and plan your route accordingly. Consider opting for skip-the-line tickets to save time and avoid long queues.

Utilize public transportation, such as Vaporettos, to quickly navigate between different areas. To avoid crowds, aim to visit popular attractions early in the morning or late in the evening. And don’t be afraid to embrace the spontaneity of getting lost in Venice’s narrow alleyways—it can be part of the adventure.

Preparation is key when you only have one day in Venice
Preparation is key when you only have one day in Venice

Choosing the Right Season to Visit

Consider visiting Venice during the shoulder seasons of spring or fall for pleasant weather and fewer tourists. If you don’t mind the crowds, summer offers longer days and a vibrant atmosphere. Winter can be a quieter time to explore, with the chance to witness Venice draped in enchanting fog.

Plan your trip around events like the Venice Carnival or the Biennale for a unique experience. Each season has its own charm and allure in Venice.

We love it when Venice is part of a Mediterranean Cruise Itinerary.

Preparation for the Venice Trip

Plan your trip to Venice meticulously to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the city and its main attractions. Pack appropriate clothing and footwear for exploring Venice’s narrow streets and bridges.

Research transportation options and purchase tickets in advance. Learning a few basic Italian phrases to navigate the city and interact with locals is also helpful. Basic Italian expressions like “buongiorno” (good morning) and “grazie” (thank you) can help you communicate with the locals.

How To Get To Venice From The Airport

Time is valuable when you only have one day to explore Venice. Therefore, you will need to get into the city as quickly as possible after your plane lands.

One important tip to remember is that the Marco Polo Airport is on the mainland, while the touristy area with St. Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge, and canals is Venice’s island(s).

A railway and highway connect the mainland to the island. However, cars are not allowed past the parking lot and garage at the island entrance.

The train station in Venice is Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia. If arriving or departing by train, pop in your accommodations into google maps to see how far the walk will be.

Water Taxi in Venice at the Airport
Water Taxi in Venice at the Airport

Water Taxis

We recommend hiring a water taxi, also known as a vapporato, to take you to your hotel or close to a luggage storage location. Booking your water taxi before arrival will ensure that you get a set rate. If not, determine your rate with your water taxi driver before leaving to avoid being scammed.

With private water taxis starting at 105-150 Euros, it is the most expensive way to get to the tourist center, but also the fastest. They can often be in front of your hotel within 30 minutes.

After clearing customs you will want to look for the signs leading you to the water taxis and the Alilaguna water bus. It is roughly an 8-minute walk from the terminal to the dock.

Alilaguna Water Bus

An affordable alternative to a water taxi is purchasing tickets for the Alilaguna Water Bus. The Alilaguna Water Bus tickets can be purchased at the airport after clearing customs for roughly 15 euros. It is the best way to get into the city for those on a budget.

Look for a large boat with Ailaguna written on the side.

There are three Alilaguna Bus Lines that take guests to different parts of the city. Ask your hotel which line you should take to get within walking distance. The water bus takes roughly an hour to an hour and 15 minutes since it is public transport and makes stops along the way.

TIP: Many hotels allow guests to store their luggage at the hotel for no additional charge while waiting to check-in. Message your hotel before your arrival to confirm that they offer this service. If not, there are luggage storage areas throughout the city.

Luggage Storage Areas In Venice
Luggage Storage Areas In Venice

Where To Stay In Venice

Overlooking the Grand Canal The Hilton Molino Stucky Venice is one of the best hotels in Venice. While the breathtaking views, top-notch service, and rooftop bar were all factors in my decision, the biggest is the shuttle service that takes guests to the Piazza San Marco and Zattere. The hotel shuttle service’s rate is €15 per person per stay.

Not having to navigate the Alilaguna Water Bus was a huge time saver and allowed us to explore the city more.

The Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
The Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

The Hilton Venice is a great place to stay; families will love the kid-friendly amenities and spacious rooms.

Need a few more reasons to consider staying at the Hilton Venice?

  • They will store your luggage for you until your room is ready.
  • A kid’s club is available for parents to take a much-needed break or rest.
  • The rooftop swimming pool overlooking the Grand Canal is something out of your dreams. It yields the best view of the city. Guests can reserve their two-hour pool slot each morning.
  • Grab a drink at the rooftop bar!
  • There is an onsite restaurant and breakfast options.
Rooftop pool overlooking the Grand Canal at the Hilton Venice
Rooftop pool overlooking the Grand Canal at the Hilton Venice

Another great hotel to stay at is the St. Regis in Venice. St. Regis is a historic hotel that offers guests a prime location along the Grand Canal. A unique feature of this hotel is that there is a selection of guestrooms and suites with private terraces.

Must-Know Tips for Visiting Venice

When visiting Venice, preparing for crowds is important, especially during peak tourist seasons. To avoid the busiest times, take advantage of early morning or late evening hours. Peak tourist season is the time to be more aware of scams and pickpockets throughout the city.

During the summer months, bring a sweater or scarf to cover your shoulders if you plan on going in churches and basilicas. Many have a dress code that indicates shoulders and knees must be covered; shorts, miniskirts and sleeveless shirts are not permitted.

When visiting Venice, getting around will be more time-consuming than anticipated. Waiting for shuttles and water buses can take upwards of 15-20 minutes; then you still have to ride to your destination.

Don’t be alarmed when asked to pay a fee to use the restroom. Public toilets often come with a cost throughout Europe, so take advantage of a free one in a restaurant or museum.

Many gondolas and water taxis will only accept cash. While ATMs are throughout the city, it is always best to come prepared.

Lastly, take time to explore Venice’s charming alleyways and discover hidden gems. Grab a paper map to help guide you through the windy labyrinth of alleys and streets.

Peak tourist season is the time to be more aware of scams and pickpockets throughout the city.

Here are some scams to be on the lookout for in Venice.

  • Pickpockets are notorious in these parts, especially in crowded areas and on public transportation. Keep your valuables safe by storing them in an anti-theft crossbody bag worn in the front.
  • Don’t pay 24 Euros for two cups of coffee. If you choose to grab a drink or get a meal near popular tourist sites such as St. Marks or Rialto, expect to be charged out the nose. You will find better cuisine, better prices, and a more authentic experience by venturing 5-10 minutes away from touristy areas.
  • While walking the streets of Venice, if you see a man with three boxes, and he has a group of people around him, keep walking. This is a scam to get people distracted while others pickpocket you.
  • Sadly, it has come to the point where you can’t even take someone’s photo. A new scam is someone who will have you take their photo with their phone, then drop it and blame you for breaking it.
  • Rule of advice: Don’t take any help from “helpful” locals unless it’s a medical emergency.
  • Don’t take the “free” rose or flower. It is never free, and they will pursue you until you pay them for it.
  • If you see pictures on the ground, be careful to walk around them. The scammers wait for you to step on them, then insist you pay for it.

Morning in Venice

While the dream of enjoying a lovely Venican breakfast in the back alleys of Venice seems appealing, that isn’t a reality unless you arrive very early in Venice. It took us roughly three hours from the plane touching down till we were strolling the Piazza San Marco.

Coffee at Hilton Venice
Coffee at Hilton Venice

If staying at the Hilton Venice, they offer a lovely lounge for Hilton Honor Members with complimentary coffee and light bites. The on-site restaurants offer cappuccinos, expressos, and other coffee delights.

Therefore, you will begin your day in Venice by dropping off your luggage at the hotel and utilizing the free hotel shuttle to get to Piazza San Marco. Take a leisurely stroll through Piazza San Marco, the heart of Venice. Marvel at the grandeur of St. Mark’s Square as you soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

A Walk Through Piazza San Marco

Experience the grandeur of Piazza San Marco, often referred to as the “drawing room of Europe,” during your 24 hours in Venice. Marvel at the Byzantine architecture of the Basilica di San Marco, a true masterpiece.

Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, accompanied by live music performances. Don’t forget to admire the stunning views of the Campanile and the Doge’s Palace from this iconic square.

Pro Tip: Do not eat or drink in Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square. It will be the most expensive, underwhelming meal of your entire trip. The same goes with souvenirs; you will find the same items for less the further you get from the main touristy areas.

Be on the lookout for pickpockets in Venice
Be on the lookout for pickpockets

Admiring St. Mark’s Square

Start your day in Venice by heading to the iconic St. Mark’s Square, the heart of the city. Marvel at the stunning architecture of St. Mark’s Basilica, adorned with intricate mosaics that tell stories of the city’s history. Take a leisurely walk around the square, immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of street performers and bustling cafes.

St. Mark’s Basilica

Skip-the-line tickets are a must when you have limited time. If St Mark’s Basilica is on your bucket list you will want to purchase your tickets months prior to your arrival.

Get your skip-the-line tickets weeks to months in advance
Get your skip-the-line tickets weeks to months in advance

Get A Skip The Line Ticket For St. Mark’s Basilica.

Viator offers different tours of Venice, each offering different sites and guided tours. Guided tours are one of the best ways to see the city, as a well-trained guide will have lots of expert advice about the history and ins and outs of Venice. Understanding the places and people of the city you’re visiting deepens your experience while traveling. You’ll appreciate what you’re seeing even more. 

While visiting the Basilica, climb the Campanile ( the bell tower ) for breathtaking panoramic views of Venice. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

Afternoon in Venice

Lunch At Gio’s

Take a break from touring the city with an exceptional lunch at Gio’s Restaurant. Grab a table on the spectacular garden terrace overlooking the Grand Canal as you sip botanical cocktails and dine on delectable Venetian dishes.

Lunch at Gio's Restaurant
Lunch at Gio’s Restaurant

Lunch at Gio’s was one of my favorite things during our one day in Venice. The staff went above and beyond, the food was heavenly, and the canal view was out of a dream.

Gio’s restaurant is inside the luxurious St. Regis Hotel and does take reservations. Sip on a spritz at the St. Regis Bar while waiting for your table, then relax at lunch watching the gonadliers drift through the Grand Canal.

Great spots to eat along Venice's Grand Canal
Great spots to eat along Venice’s Grand Canal

You can make a reservation for Gio’s Restaurant in Venice here.

Tip: Lunch can be a multiple-hour event in Italy. You will need to let them know when you are ready for the check. We welcomed a longer lunch as we were weary from a long morning.

Visiting the Doge’s Palace

The Doge’s Palace, Palazzo Ducale, once the political and cultural hub of Venice, offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history. With ornate chambers and artwork by renowned artists like Titian and Tintoretto, it’s one the best things for art lovers to experience.

The Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs

Don’t forget to cross the iconic Bridge of Sighs, connecting the palace to the prison. To fully appreciate the palace’s significance, consider opting for a guided tour. Plan your visit in advance to make the most of your time exploring this historical gem.

Tip: You will once again need to purchase skip-the-line tickets prior to your visit.

Many guests will opt for a Venice in a day tour that takes them to all the popular sites such as Doge’s Palace, Basilica San Marco, & a Gondola ride. These 6-hour tours ensure you get the most out of your visit but often occur at set times.

After your tour, you will likely want to check into your hotel and freshen up. Give yourself an hour or so to rejuvenate. If you have time, grab a cocktail at the rooftop bar at the Hilton Venice.

Evening in Venice

Taking a Gondola Ride

A special magic is in the air while taking a gondola ride at dusk. Ablaze in evening hues, the sky sets the mood as your gondolier glides through narrow waterways. Marvel at the picturesque views of historic buildings and bridges along the route.

Gondola Ride in Venice
Gondola Ride in Venice

Tip: We used the San Toma Station for our Gondola Ride and LOVED IT! We extended our gondola ride so we could see the Rialto Bridge. They are cash only, so come prepared!

Gondola rides are an iconic tourist attraction in Venice, but remember that this bucket list item comes with a hefty price tag. One that is often only paid in cash.

Rides are often sold by length of time, such as a 30-minute ride or 45-minute ride. In my personal opinion, go with the longer time. Time seems to slip away quickly while you are on the gondola, so splurge, especially if you don’t know the next time you will be back in Venice.

See The Rialto Bridge By Gondola

Marvel at the architectural beauty of the iconic Rialto Bridge by gondola. Many gondola companies will take guests out on the Grand Canel for an up-close look at the Rialto Bridge before gliding underneath it or into a quiet canal.

Making the most of 24 hours in Venice
Making the most of 24 hours in Venice

The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal, and it is one of the top things to do in Venice in 24 hours.

Can you skip a Gondola Ride in Venice?

There’s no need to feel obligated to take a gondola ride in Venice. While it’s a popular choice, there are other ways to experience the city’s charm. Explore the city on foot to uncover hidden treasures, or take the Alilaguna Water Bus to enjoy the canal. Just remember, gondola rides can be expensive, especially during peak tourist season.

Best Places to Eat in Venice

Indulge in the flavors of Italy with a traditional dinner at a charming waterfront restaurant. Sip on a refreshing spritz, a popular Venetian cocktail, and immerse yourself in the vibrant ambiance. To add a touch of romance, end the evening with a moonlit gondola ride, gliding through the narrow canals under the starry sky.

Enjoying cicchetti at a local trattoria
Enjoying cicchetti at a local trattoria

For an authentic culinary experience in Venice, explore the local trattorias and osterias where you can sample traditional Venetian cuisine. Delight your taste buds with delicious seafood dishes like fresh branzino or spaghetti alle vongole.

Pro Tip: As mentioned earlier, avoid restaurants and coffee shops near popular tourist attractions. They are severely overpriced.

Don’t forget to try the famous cicchetti, small plates of savory snacks, at a bacaro. Indulge in sweet treats like tiramisu or fritole for a taste of traditional Venetian desserts.

For a variety of fresh produce and local delicacies, visit the vibrant Rialto Market.

Be on the lookout for Aperol Spritz Windows, where you can take your spritz to go and sip while strolling the city.

Spritz Window
Spritz Window

Nightlife in Venice

As twilight descends upon Venice, the city transforms into a captivating wonderland illuminated by twinkling lights. The echo of the gondolier’s serenades can be heard throughout the city as the stars start to peak out.

Venice offers a unique nightlife experience with its lively bars and clubs. Campo Santa Margherita is the perfect place to immerse yourself in a vibrant atmosphere and enjoy a wide selection of bars. Indulge in live music performances at jazz clubs or piano bars for a memorable evening. For a trendy nightlife scene, head to Lido di Venezia. And of course, don’t forget to try the local Prosecco, a sparkling wine from the Veneto region.

Venice in the evening
Venice in the evening

Venice After Dark – What can you do?

Discover the enchanting allure of Venice at night. Take a romantic gondola ride along the quiet canals, stroll along the waterfront promenade, visit the historic La Fenice opera house, explore hidden corners on a guided night walking tour, or unwind at a charming waterfront bar. Venice comes alive after dark.

Beyond Venice City – The Outer Islands

An alternative to exploring Venice is visiting one of the lovely nearby islands for a day.

The Venetian Lagoon is home to several beautiful islands that offer a different experience from Venice city. Take a water bus or Vaporetto to visit Burano, known for its lace-making tradition, or explore Murano and watch artisans create intricate glasswork.

For a more relaxed vibe, head to the charming island of Lido with its sandy beaches. If you’re looking for a peaceful escape, consider visiting the lesser-known islands of Torcello and San Erasmo.

Venturing into the Venetian Lagoon

Explore the natural beauty of the Venetian Lagoon on a boat tour and immerse yourself in its breathtaking landscapes. Birdwatching enthusiasts will be delighted by the diverse range of bird species that call this lagoon home.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the awe-inspiring Santa Maria della Salute, a magnificent church nestled along the banks of the Grand Canal. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the historic San Polo neighborhood, known for its bustling local markets.

If you have a bit of extra time, consider taking a regional or high-speed train to nearby cities like Padua and Bologna for an enriching day trip experience.

Bringing Venice Home – Souvenir Shopping Tips

When in Venice, make sure to explore the small shops and boutiques in the Dorsoduro neighborhood for authentic local crafts. Look for unique souvenirs like handmade masks, Murano glass jewelry, and delicate lace products.

Coffee lovers can bring home a bag of freshly roasted Venetian coffee beans for a taste of Italy. Additionally, don’t forget to pick up a bottle of Prosecco, a sparkling wine produced in the Veneto region.

Get lost in the streets of Venice, but use Google Maps to help you get out!
Get lost in the streets of Venice, but use Google Maps to help you get out!

To truly experience the magic of Venice, it’s important to plan your itinerary carefully to have enough time to see as much as possible. Regardless of if you get to see all the major attractions, you will have the best time exploring this floating city.

We hope this article will help you plan your perfect 24 hours in Venice, Italy. Grab our 24-Hour Venice Itinerary below.

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