A city where the “streets” are canals and motorized-bus-boats (Vaporetti) are the primary means of transportation, Venice offers travelers a treasure trove of captivating things to do. Most travelers join a day tour to Venice and only manage to see a few sites and leave before sunset.
What would you do if you have 24 hours in Venice like Trippy user Josh?
I am going on a Mediterranean cruise in June and will have a full 24 hours in Venice on the last day. I’d like to make the most of my time there! What kinds of things should I do within a short amount of time? 1. Take the Vaporetto
I suggest booking a hotel in Piazza San Marco (St. Marks Square). Staying close to the main attractions will give you more time to explore and enjoy the night entertainment without the need to travel far.
Hotel Casanova is 250 feet from the square, 1,000 feet from St. Marks Basilica and Doge’s Palace and 650 feet from San Marco Vallaresso Vaporetto water bus stop. The 40-room Hotel Flora is a 5-minute walk from St. Marks Square and Vaporetto stop.
On arrival at the train station or bus station, take Vaporetto #1 and enjoy the 45-minute Grand Canal ride to San Marco (St. Marks Square).
Dave from Houston wrote:
Taking a Vaporetto the length of the Grand Canal can be a joyous introduction to Venice. Try to catch one of the boats with room for you to position yourself outside the cabin in the very front of the boat. That way you’ll have the full panoramic view of that journey. If you have an iPhone, you might record a video of your trip. Avoid taking a vaporetto if crowded such that the only place for you would be inside the cabin. Very important to be outdoors in the bow of the boat.
What you do for the first few hours upon arrival will depend on your arrival time. If your arrival time is in the evening Trippy user, Carol suggested an early start the next day. She said, “Wander the streets before the hordes of tourists arrive when it’s just you and the people who live and work in Venice.”
So get ready to head out to wander the narrow streets or take the Vaporetto just after sunrise and enjoy the beauty of Venice.
Wander around as soon after dawn as you can manage it. Make your way to the Grand Canal and get on a Vaporetto (water bus) going towards the farthest end of the Grand Canal from where you get on. Sit in the front or rear rather than in the cabin and have your camera ready for some amazingly beautiful photos as the dawn light makes the palaces along the Canal glow.
The most popular vaporetti lines for tourists are Line #1 and #2. Line #1 is the slow water boat (45 minutes) making 20 stops along the way. Line #2 is the fast water boat (25 minutes) making fewer stops. Some of the major stops to watch out are Tronchetto parking lot, Piazzale Roma bus station, Ferrovia train station, San Marcuola, Rialto Bridge, San Toma Church, Accademia Bridge, and San Marco.
Trippy user Sabine said:
You can buy a 24-hour ticket (vaporetti) for ca. € 10,00 and hop on and off a vaporetto wherever and whenever you want. The Linea Uno passes all along the Grand Canal.
2. Join a guided walking tour that allows you to “skip the line” to visit St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace
St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace are two of the most iconic sites in Venice. I recommend taking the 3-hour guided Legendary St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace tour. This walking tour gives you exclusive access to the terraces of St. Mark’s Basilica, and you won’t have to stay in line to get tickets to Doge’s Palace.
Enjoy Byzantine masterpieces in St. Mark’s Basilica. Doge’s Palace is the place to see frescoes by Tintoretto and Veronese, the ornate apartments and the Bridge of Sighs.
Diane from New York City loves Venice, and she suggested:
Try and save some time to just wander through the back streets and get lost it is so interesting and you see place locals go. There are always signs that point you back to the Rialto Bridge or the Piazza San Marco.
The top sights in Venice as pointed out by Amit, a Trippy user are:
Campanile di San Marco
Saint Mark’s Basilica
Scuola Grande Di San Rocco La Gondola Rossa
3. Make time for lunch in Venice
Riccardo from Venice added:
Some suggestions are to lose yourself in the alleyways (here we called Calle) starting from the food and fish market close to Rialto Bridge. After a quick snack (tramezzino and a Prosecco wine), you can go to see the La Biennale di Venezia. And if you still have the energy, you can take your camera and take the Ponte dell’Accademia as a starting point of your photo journey.
Maria from Dublin suggested having lunch at Al Merco, located behind Rialto Market for lunch.
For lunch maybe stop at Al Merca’ behind the Rialto market where you can get a glass of Prosecco or wine with some lovely Cicchetti, standing with the local Venetians. Then just walk and try to get lost! To really experience Venice you need to walk through the back streets and see what you find!
Or learn more about Venetian food with Venice Bites Food Tour. This tour starts every day at 11 am meet at Accademia Gallery. You’ll have the opportunity to sample food and drinks that are not offered in the touristy parts of Venice. This tour is a great way to discover Venice beyond St Marks Square and Rialto Bridge.
4. Visit three islands in the Venetian Lagoon
In 24 hours you may not have time to venture out to the other islands. For those who want to visit beyond the main attractions Sabine suggested the following:
If you can “squeeze” it in, book a boat trip (starting at Riva Degli Schiavoni, down Piazza San Marco) to the islands Murano Island and Burano in the lagoon of Venice.
Marc preferred visiting Torcello Island. He said:
So there is a unique four-hour option away from the crowds and the tourist route: take a boat to the island of Torcello Island, the cradle of the entire Venetian civilization 1500 years ago, and have lunch at one of the lagoon’s most renowned restaurants, the historic Locanda Cipriani. I bet that would be the highlight of your whole trip (it has been ours several times!).
Murano is the most famous place to watch glass-blowing demonstration in Italy. Burano offers colorful fishermen’s homes and lace workshops. Torcello is the oldest settlement in Venice.
5. Enjoy Venice nightlife
Not many tourists stay for a night in Venice. You’re in for a treat if you do.
At night don’t miss the opportunity to have a $20 cup of coffee in St. Mark’s Square while listening to music ( can be entertained for hours for your $20 coffee no one will rush you.
Other nightspots to enjoy drinks and meals:
- Vino Vero
- Margaret Duchamp
- Cantina Alnardi (in Santa Croce)
- Hilton Venice Skyline Rooftop Bar
- Al Timon (in Cannaregio, near Jewish Ghetto)
Or go on an evening gondola ride. Take in the views of the illuminated iconic landmarks as you drift down the canals.
Another fun thing to do is to ride the Vaporetto on the Grand Canal after dark. See the sparkling lights from the restaurants, hotels, and palazzos. Venice is magical at night.