The Best Day Trips from Venice – Discover Northern Italy

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Jo Fitzsimons

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The floating city of Venice has long been north-eastern Italy’s most famous destination. And rightly so. With its winding canals, grand palaces, and luxurious piazzas, Venice has earned its place high on many travellers’ bucket lists. So, why would you want to leave the city that is the destination?

It might seem like a crazy idea at first, but gliding down the Grand Canal in a gondola isn’t the only reason to visit this captivating region of Italy. From the ancient city of Padua to the towering Dolomite mountains, the turquoise waters of Lake Garda to the rolling hills of the sparkling Prosecco wine region, there’s so much more to see and explore. And thanks to Italy’s high-speed rail network, so many amazing destinations are reachable on day trips from Venice.

So, we urge you to leave behind the busy streets of Venice for a day and check out some of these great Italian destinations. It will make your trip even more memorable. Related: 10 Things NOT To Do In Venice (And 10 To Do Instead)

NEW: Venice visitor fees apply from April 2024

1. Murano, Burano and Torcello Islands

Visiting the nearby islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello is the most popular day trip from Venice. The charm of it lies not just in the ease of the trip (these islands are very are close to Venice), it’s also how different they are, complete with their own style, architecture and sights. Murano is famous for being the island where Venetian glass is produced. You can see a glass blowing demonstration then pick up some gifts to take home.

On Burano, you have to have your camera ready because the bright shades of the local houses will have you snapping happy. Burano is also famous for lace. Meanwhile, Torcello holds more of the Venetian traditional sights you might expect from the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta Byzantine church to the Ponte del Davolo bridge with no sides (parapets) – one of only two such bridges in Venice. (The other is on Venice island, details here: 21 Most Popular Places to Visit in Venice, Italy).

How to visit: There are several ways to visit the islands on a day trip from Venice. If you only have half a day, Murano and Burano are a popular combination. These are my suggestions:

  • Buy a vaporetto pass and visit independently (from €25 for a day-pass). Tip: Buying a pass will be cheaper and easier than single tickets, which cost €9.50.
  • Book this Guided Tour of Murano, Burano and Torcello Islands (from €25, 6.5 – 7.5 hrs) – it includes a glass factory tour.
  • Book this Guided Tour of Murano and Burano (from €20, 4.5 – 5 hrs) – it also includes a glass factory tour.
  • Book the Hop On Hop Off Boat (from €25 for 24 hours) – this boat stops at Burano, Murano and Torcello. Book the 48 hours pass and you can explore Venice, too.
  • Take a private water taxi: you can find boat taxis easily in Venice but they are expensive. Expect to pay around €125-€150 one-way to Burano only.
  • Take a private guided tour of Murano island – includes glass blowing demonstration. Find out more about our Italy tours.

2. Treviso

Treviso Canals

The fascinating city of Treviso sits just 26 km inland from Venice, yet it is often overlooked in favour of its better-known neighbour. But Treviso is certainly worth a visit in its own right. Luckily, it’s one of the easiest day trips from Venice.

Treviso is fairly small (compared to Venice) but still has plenty to do and explore in a day, from visiting its historic palaces and medieval city walls to wandering around the maze of pretty canals and narrow cobbled streets. The city is perfect for a peaceful day away from the hustle and bustle of busy Venice. 

For Italian food-lovers, Treviso is a must-visit. The city is home to the restaurant where the famous Italian dessert tiramisu was first invented. Head to Ristorante Le Beccherie to try their classic tiramisu, which still uses the traditional recipe, or their contemporary tiramisu, which has received a slight update and is even better (in my opinion at least).

Want to learn more? Check out our guide to the best things to do in Treviso.

How to travel from Venice to Treviso: From Venice’s Venezia Santa Lucia station, you can easily jump on a regional train to Treviso central station. Both stations are located within the centre of each city, making it easy to do. The regional trains take between 30-40 minutes to get to Treviso from Venice and cost just €3.80 (one way). You can check schedules, prices, and book tickets on Trainline. (This is the website I use to book train travel).

New Tour: We’ve just added a wonderful new food and wine tour to our tour itineraries: Radicchio Rosso di Treviso and Tiramisu tasting From Venice, this half-day tour includes a visit to a radish farm followed by a walking tour and tiramisu tasting in Treviso. Contact us for more details.

3. Prosecco Wine Region

Travel just a little further north of Treviso and you’ll reach one of northern Italy’s true hidden gems, the Prosecco Hills.

Sitting between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the province of Treviso, you’ll discover the rolling vineyards and charming family-owned wineries responsible for producing the best Prosecco in all of Italy – Prosecco Superior DOCG.

A day sipping the highest-quality Italian sparkling wine in the Prosecco Hills is one of the best day tours from Venice for wine lovers. You can visit the wineries, learn about the winemaking process, and sample plenty of delicious Prosecco. You can even pair your Prosecco with locally produced cheeses and cured meats. Plus don’t miss the region’s unique Prosecco vending machine perched on the top of a hill in the middle of the vineyards.

How to take a wine tasting tour of Italy’s Prosecco Region: We offer full and half day Prosecco tours (from €250 per group for 4 or 7 hrs). It’s easy to reach the Prosecco Hills from Venice to join a tour – jump on one of the regular direct trains between Venezia Santa Lucia station and Conegliano. The journey takes around one hour and costs as little as €6.50 (each way). Book with Trainline. We will meet you at the station, take you wine tasting and have you back in time to return to Venice for dinner. We also offer pick-up from Venice.

Find out more: Our Prosecco Tours | 10 Expert Tips For Planning Wine Tasting in Prosecco.

4. Verona

Best-known as the setting of Shakespeare’s renowned romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, the historic city of Verona is one of the most beautiful and interesting places to visit in northern Italy’s Veneto region. It sits just 100km west of Venice and is small enough to visit on a day trip from the floating city.

Verona is packed with amazing historic architecture, including a 14th-century medieval castle and a Roman amphitheatre which is older and arguably better preserved than Rome’s Colosseum. On a day trip to Verona, you can take a romantic walk along the Adige River, drink Aperol Spritz in one of the city’s piazzas, and leave a love letter in the courtyard underneath Juliet’s balcony. And if you stay into the evening, see if you can catch some live opera or a concert at Verona Arena.

Visiting Verona? Check out the best things to do in Verona, Italy.

Getting from Venice to Verona: There are regular trains between Venezia Santa Lucia and Verona Porta Nuova stations each day. The direct train journey takes 1 hr 15 minutes and costs approx. €10 (each way). You can check details and book on Trainline.

Popular tours and tickets:

5. Lake Garda

Lake Garda is one of the largest and most popular lakes in all of Italy, known for its crystal clear waters and variety of charming lakeside towns.

There’s plenty to do in and around the lake for every type of traveller. If you’d rather stay on land, you can explore the charming lakeside towns, enjoy a gelato on the docks, browse the huge weekly markets, or have a fun day out at Movieland theme park and Caneva Aquapark.

Or if being on the water is your thing, you can hire a boat for a few hours and head out to explore the lake. Most boats are self-drive (you don’t need a license) and you can take them pretty much anywhere on the lake, including anchoring somewhere to jump into the water for a swim. You can usually take your own food and drinks on the boat to enjoy too (just make sure you have a designated boat driver – there are some rules!).

Getting from Venice to Lake Garda: You can take the train from Venezia Santa Lucia to Peschiera del Garda or Desenzano del Garda on the south of Lake Garda. The journey takes around 1 hr 30minutes by direct high-speed train and costs approx €12 (each way). From Desenzano del Garda, you can catch a 30 minute bus to Sirmione, another of the most popular towns on Lake Garda.

The towns of Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano del Garda on the south of Lake Garda sit just a short distance from Verona. The slower regional trains connect Lake Garda and Venice via Verona. So, if you’re really focused, you could just about squeeze both destinations into one (albeit long) day trip from Venice.

Tours of Lake Garda: We offer day a one-day private tour of Lake Garda. Find out more: Our Italy Tours.

6. Padua

Canal in Padua Italy with bright houses

Padua may not be as well known as some other northern Italian cities, but that’s what makes it one of the best day trips from Venice. Located just 40km west of Venice, Padua is one of the oldest cities in the region and is home to many fascinating historic sites and attractions.

On a day trip to Padua, you can see the stunning frescoes that sparked the Italian Renaissance, walk in the footsteps of Gallelio at one of the oldest universities in the world, and take a traditional Burchiello boat cruise to see the luxurious villas of the Brenta Canal.

Don’t forget to stop for a proper Italian coffee at one of Italy’s most famous historic coffee shops, Caffe Pedrocchi. Pedrocchi was once known as ‘the cafe without doors’ due to it being open 24/7 for a large part of its history.

Getting from Venice to Padua: Direct trains run regularly between Venice and Padua every day. The train takes 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending which train you catch, and costs around €5 to €11 (each way). Tip: search for Padova (which is the Italian word for Padua). You can check tickets with Trainline.

Want to know more about Padua? Read our guide to the best things to do in Padua.

Tours of Padua: We also offer day a one-day private tour of Padua. Find out more: Our Italy Tours. Otherwise, there is an excellent Boat Cruise tour from Venice to Padua that visits the small towns and grand villas along the route(from €119).

7. Cortina & The Dolomite Mountains

Cortina in the dolomites day trip from Venice

The Dolomites are a large mountain range that spreads right across northern Italy and forms part of the Southern Limestone Alps. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dolomites are famous for their unique landscapes and breathtaking scenery. And with part of the mountain range lying within the Veneto region, it’s possible to take a Dolomites day tour from Venice.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is the easiest destination in the Dolomites to reach from Venice in a day. The charming Alpine town makes a great base for exploring. There are loads of great hiking trails around the mountains and lakes close to Cortina. Or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can hire a mountain bike for the day.

Once you’ve finished exploring, cosy up in a mountain hut and enjoy some local wine and produce while soaking in the stunning panoramic views. The Dolomites are known for their rich culinary traditions. So be sure to try as much food as you can. You’ll have earned it after your hike.

And if you’re visiting during the winter, Cortina is a renowned ski destination. Bet you didn’t realise you could take a skiing day trip from Venice?

How to get from Venice to the Dolomites: The Dolomites are a little further away than the other Venice day trips on this list, but it’s certainly still doable in one day. Taking a bus from Venice to Cortina d’Ampezzo is the easiest way to visit. The bus takes around 2 hrs 30minutes and costs €12 (each way).

Once in the Dolomites, there’s a local bus network to get around. Alternatively, we are happy to offer a private tour of the Dolomites from Venice. Just sit back and let us do all the planning.

8. Vicenza

Views of the rooftops of Vincenza in Italy

If you think Venice is opulent, wait until you visit Vicenza. To give you a hint of what to expect, Vicenza is known as the City of Palladio after the Italian architect, Andrea Palladio. Famous for his wow-worthy palaces and elegant villas, the city is filled with architecture to rival the likes of Venice and Rome.

One of Vincenza’s highlights is the Olympic Theatre (Teatro Olimpico), Palladio’s last work of Rennaisance grandeur, built between 1580 and 1585. (Tip: it’s a theatre, not an Olympic sports stadium). The UNESCO World Heritage Villa Rotonda and Museo Civico di Palazzo Chiericati should also be on your list. If you have a car, check out the nearby Colli Berici hills, which provide a great backdrop to the city as well as a countryside escape.

Or perhaps you’re escaping the tourists of Venice, in which case, head to Piazza dei Signori for aperitivo (pre-dinner drinks and snacks). And, speaking of snacks, if you want to get truly local, order up some Baccalà alla Vicentina, cod steeped in a garlic and anchovy sauce.

How to visit Vicenza from Venice: you can take a direct train from Venice Santa Lucia Station to Vicenza. It takes 45 minutes on the fast train (around €15 one-way) or 1hr 15 on the slower train (around €7 one way). You can check the schedule on Trainline. We offer a private tour to Vicenza from Venice if you prefer.

9. Trieste

Sunset over the adriatic sea in trieste

I’ve added Trieste to this list for two reasons. First, it’s a beautiful city in the northeast of Italy. Secondly, we get a lot of queries from people who have visited Trieste, hoping to do some Prosecco tasting, only to realise it’s around 3 hrs away from the vineyards. Fear not, it is do-able, and we have written specifically about how to visit the Prosecco region from Trieste. Where there is a (wine) will, there is a way!

Otherwise, if you’re simply in Venice, looking to take a day trip to Trieste, on the Slovenian border, it is just about do-able in a day, by train. Within Trieste, you’ll be met with a blend of city sights and coastal views over the Gulf of Trieste. Don’t miss Piazza Unità d’Italia, a St Marks-style square, and Miramare Castle, complete with stunning panoramic sea views. Looking to relax? The Rive waterfront promenade is the perfect spot for a slow stroll.

How to visit Trieste from Venice: The train from Venice Santa Lucia station to Trieste takes around 2 hrs each way. This is by taking the fast train (around €16 one-way). There is a slower train that takes 3 hrs but you really don’t want to take that for a day trip, unless the point of the trip is to sit on the train. Once again, I recommend Trainline for tickets.

10. Amarone wine region

red wine grapes in amarone Italy

Love wine? We do, too. And, while Prosecco is our top choice, Amarone – a bold, full-bodied premium red wine from Venteto region of Italy, comes a close second. Like Prosecco, Amarone is a wine region that is great for taking a wine tasting tour. The region is simply stunning with rolling vineyards, historic castles and cutesy villages.

How to visit the Amarone wine region: Located west of Verona, it is best to visit with a tour that will take you to a few local wineries. Several tours depart from Verona. Otherwise, we’re excited to tell you we’ve just launched a new tour from Venice – tasting in the Amarone DOCG region with local food pairing, followed by a 2-hour visit at one of Veneto’s best thermal spas. Contact us for more details.

Map of day trips from Venice

Map of things to do in Italy and Venice and Prosecco region

You’ll find all of these day trip destinations on our Map of Venice and the Prosecco Region.

So, that’s our guide to the best day trips from Venice. Got any questions? Leave a comment below.

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