While Italy’s Venice is a beautiful city surrounded by enchanting waters, there may come a period where travelers just want to sail away for a land adventure, or maybe just a change of scenery, even if it means just for a day trip.
With plenty of options for day trips from Venice, experience the scenic beauty of the Dolomite Mountains, the famous Alps of Italy, or travel to historical sites around the country.
Here are some great trips from Venice that you can experience just for a day:
Known to Venetians as Dolomiti Mountains, these visually spectacular red-hued pinnacles are located in northeastern Italy. Offering amazing views no matter what season Italy is going through, the Dolomite Mountains are in one of the top alpine areas in Europe. Enjoy snow-capped peaks during winter and rugged vistas in summer.
A significant part of the First World War, the line that divided the Italian and the Austro-Hungarian forces ran through these enormous mountains. Visitors interested in the heritage of these peaks can take on the challenge to climb a via ferrata, protected mountain paths with ladders, bridges, cables, rungs, chains, and more, created during the First World War.
For the even more adventurous, the Dolomites are renowned for skiing during the winter months and mountain climbing, hiking, cycling, and paragliding during the summer or late spring. Ascend to the highest peak in the Dolomites, Marmolada, where you can see as far as 160 kilometers (99.4 miles) from the top.
In fact, avid athletes will recognize this mountain as the location of the 1956 Winter Olympics, and movie-lovers can identify with the Dolomites appearance in the popular 1963 movie, The Pink Panther.
Just over 160 kilometers (99.4 miles) from Venice, the Dolomite Mountains make a perfect day trip for any traveler looking to see some splendid natural sights of Europe.
The heritage, adventure trails, and popularity of the Dolomites as a backdrop for movies is enough to book a day trip right now!
Price: from 156.15 USD
Duration: around 8.5 hours required
2. Refined Ravenna
Basilica di San Vitale
A seemingly unassuming church in Ravenna, Italy, the Basilica of San Vitale’s interior is nothing but extraordinary.
Its walls are filled with important examples of early Christian Byzantine art and it showcases revolutionary architecture in Europe. Named as one of the eight Ravenna structures listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, it is a definite must-visit when entering the city of Ravenna.
A unique octagonal plan, the interior combines Roman elements with Byzantine architecture. Filled with the largest collection of Byzantine mosaics than any location outside Constantinople, art-lovers can definitely identify with this church as a reminder of the culture and heritage that once filled the city.
One of the most famous artworks in the San Vitale is the apse mosaic depicting a youthful, clean-shaven Christ the Redeemer sitting on a sphere of the world, flanked by San Vitale, two angels, and the bishop who founded the church.
Just left of the apse mosaic stands a mosaic piece of Emperor Justinian and his entourage. Additionally, on the right, you can see Empress Theodora with her court. Used as a method of teaching locals about their culture and the Bible, these mosaics acted as pictorial books for those who were illiterate.
If the history does not appeal to you, don’t give up on this attraction, because, even without the understanding of the background material, the artworks are a real sight to behold.
The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia is a Roman building in Ravenna, Italy, another one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city, which has a large number of preserved mosaic monuments
Similar to San Vitale, the mausoleum has an unassuming exterior but is filled with stunning Byzantine mosaic structures, the details of which appear far ahead of their time. Additionally, the interior contains three sarcophagi, one belonging to the remains of the daughter of Theodosius I.
Also look out for the Good Shepherd Mosaic that lies over the north entrance of the building. Different from the other depictions of Christ, this mosaic is the first of its kind to show the transition between the naturalistic Jesus and the stylized medieval Jesus.
About 3 hours away from Venice by train, see one of the most ancient, well-kept mosaics in the world on this trip. Stand in awe of these mosaics as they tower over your head and cover the mausoleum’s architecture.
Walking Tour in Ravenna
Price: from 44.93 USD
Duration: around 2.5 hours required
3. Vibrant Verona
Casa di Giulieta
A trip to Verona is not complete without seeing the world-famous Casa di Giulietta. One of the must-visit places for Shakespere fans, it is the home of Juliet from the classic play of Romeo and Juliet. The Two Gentlemen was also set here.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Verona to see the balcony where Juliet stood during Romeo’s declaration of love. This Gothic-style 1300s house and museum, with the iconic stone balcony, is said to have inspired Shakespeare to write Romeo and Juliet.
Inside the house is a small museum for tourists to buy souvenirs and in the courtyard you can see a bronze statue of Juliet. The city of Verona is considered one of the most romantic cities in Italy and is also a close neighbor of the water-city of Venice, making it a great day trip that won’t need much traveling time.
Join this trip and maybe, in the city where love began for these star-crossed lovers, you might find your very own Romeo or Juliet!
The Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra, Verona. Built in the first century, this enormous monument is surprisingly still used for large-scale opera and local performances.
With the ability to hold up to 15,000 people at once, this structure is one of the most amazingly well built pieces of architecture in Verona and is something you would not want to miss. The 2,000-year-old open-air amphitheater has similar features to its famous big brother in Rome, but with less flashiness and fewer snaking queues.
The annual Arena di Verona festival is held here, so if you happen to be around Venice during the summer period, do check out this site for a simple day trip! Visitors can arrive directly from Venice by train in an hour or by car in about the same amount of time.
Verona: in the Footprints of Romeo & Juliet
Price: from 50.55 USD
Duration: around 2 hours required
4. Tantalizing Trieste
Castello di Miramare
One of the longer day trips from Venice, Trieste is located in the neighboring region of Fruili-Venezia. For those who are looking for views of the pristine seas and clear blue skies, this is a destination not to be missed.
With Hungarian and Slavic influences visible in the city’s architecture, cuisine, and even language, this destination is truly a fusion of the two cultures and juxtasposes the medieval city with the new-age Austrian district.
The Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian’s Castello di Miramare is home to one of the most spectacular sea views in Trieste. Overlooking the water, its prime location coupled with the vantage point proves to be one of the most popular spots for tourists to take their shots of the local scene.
Large squares and spectacular town-hall architecture are common in Italy. But the Piazza dell Unita d'Italia is one of the widest, scenic squares and also the most popular attraction when visiting Trieste.
Located at the foot of the hill with the castle of San Guisto, this unique square faces the Adriatic Sea, its location emphasizing the importance of Trieste as the largest seaport during the Austrian-Hungarian period.
Boasting one of the best coffee places in Italy, Piazza Unita d'Italia would definitely please coffee-lovers. If time permits, stay till dusk to watch the lights of the buildings in the square light up for that picture-perfect shot that would make any traveler jealous!
Habsburg Heritage Tour
Price: from 112.34 USD
Duration: around 3 hours required
5. Picturesque Padua
Basilica di Sant' Antonio
One of the churches with the most elements mixed in with it, the Basilica di Sant’ Antonio is a blend of Romanesque, Byzantium and even Gothic-style architecture.
One of those no-rush day trips from Venice, the walled city of Padua is a mere 25 minutes from Venice by train, so if you’re taking a day trip to this location, take your time and enjoy the views as the train moves along.
Although it is popular amongst tourists and pilgrams, it is not the central cathedral of the city, making it a great spot to visit if you just want to marvel at the architecture. Additionally, for the history-lover inside of you, try to verify the claims that the remains of St. Mark are located here.
For the art aficionado in you, Scrovegni Chapel is the perfect place to view Giotto’s most famous fresco cycle, completed in 1305.
Its humble exterior holds one of the most important pieces of western art to be created. Surprisingly, there is a claim that the Trojans founded the city in the 12th century BC, making this place the oldest city in northern Italy, as well as being home to the famous Giotto fresco.
Look out for the two most famous pieces, Lamentation and Kiss of Judas, both 14th-century frescos.
If you have some extra time after visiting the chapel, do drop by the city’s botanic gardens, which are not only the oldest in Europe but also make a fine place for a picnic with cheese and wine, the Italian way!
Padua Walking Tour
Price: from 106.72 USD
Duration: around 1 day required
Which direction is your sail heading to?
So there you have it … the 5 top sail-away destinations near to Venice that are perfect for a day trip!
If you are visiting Venice, keep these day trips in mind because you will definitely not regret leaving the scenic water city to visit other sites around Italy and experiencing other culture, heritage, and architecture in these lovely destinations.
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