Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A Perfect Day in Venice Italy: A Solo Traveler's One Day Guide

Venice, Italy, Solotravel, Venicedaytrip
All photography: copyright @mapleleopard
**This post contains affliliate links, which means if you click or purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you

As a person who had never traveled abroad, it was scary to jet off to Italy alone . As mentioned in a previous post, the trip was planned with a friend who could not go at last mintue.  Let me assure you, traveling to Italy as a solo female traveler is perfectly safe.  The only worry is picketpockets. If you keep eyes on your belongings at all times, you'll be fine.  

Sadly at this time, U.S. travelers are currently banned from traveling to any countries in the European Union. However my first country of citizenship- Canada, is not banned.  I know travel is limited for now,  but I want to keep sharing travel guides to keep your sense of wanderlust alive.

stmarkssquare, veniceitaly, sanmarcopiazza

Travel with me virtually across the Atlantic to Venice Italy.  This charming city on a lagoon, could take days to expore. You might ask " Is one day enough for Venice?"  It most certainly is! I was bummed I was only in town for 8 hours, nonetheless it was the most wonderful day ever! 

 Simply stated: " It's like stepping into another world."  When you see the Grand Canal for the first time, it will be forever etched in your memory.


Getting to Venice

If you don't already know, cars are not allowed in Venice. The city is serviced by two airports; Marco Polo airport and Treviso airport. The main one is Marco Polo and is closer to town.  Treviso airport is farther out and is mostly for cheaper, chartered flights.

I think train travel is the most popular mode of transportation for getting to Venice. It's very economical, comfortable, safe and offers great views of the Italian countryside.  I did a day trip to Venice from Milan, and to a few other locations as well.  The train arrives at Saint Lucia station on the Grand Canal.  

There are a few train companies providing service throughout Europe. I rode on Italotreno to Venice. I loved the ride, the trip took 2.5 hours each way. Be sure to choose a fast train route, as slower ones are offered too. The price was very resonable; 48.00 USD round trip.

RESERVE online before leaving home! All seats on the trains are by reservation only.  taly is the 5th most visited  country in the world, the seats go fast. If you wait to reserve after arriving , most likely no seats will be available. 

Start at the Rialto Bridge

I arrived in Venice about 9 in the morning. I made the mistake of not exploring the Grand Canal first.  I immediatley hopped on a water bus over to Piazza San Marco. I spent most of the day there and a few hours at the Lido.  Venice is divided into 6 neighborhoods. I only had time to visit two of the six.

When I got back to the Grand Canal, I had one hour left to explore til the train left.  My suggestion is to arrive even earlier at 7 a.m. This will allow time for photos at the bridge, shopping and exploring.  I did get some great shots of the bridge at dusk. 

Ride A Water Bus

The water bus system in Venice is the major mode of transportation. Also known as the " Vaporetto";these boats taxi visitors around the main canals, lagoon and outer islands. The water buses offer the cheapest way to see the city, other than walking. 

 If you prefer to be chauferred around solo or in a group, then reserving a Water Taxi would work best.  It's easy to confuse the two. The taxis are rented privately and the buses are for public use.  A 75 minute ride costs $7.50 Euro and allows unlimited travel during that time, as long as the ticket is validated.  

You can also buy 1-3 day passes or even a week long pass to save money. I wasn't told this by the ticket seller, so it pays to do your research.

How to Buy

You can purchase tickets online or at a ticket offices located at Piazzale Roma, Forrovia, Rialto and San Marco. They are also available at some of the shops and newsstands. Just look for the ACTV logo.

How to Use

The pass can be validated by swiping or tapping it on the machines near the boarding entrance. If you fail to validate your tickets, it could result in a big fine.  The fare also includes one piece of luggage up to 150 cm in dimension.

Key Routes

The main route starts on the Grand Canal, referred to as the " Leisurely No. 1. It runs from one end of the iconic waterway to the other. Along the way take in stunner views of the historic palazzos. The water buses stop at 6 different neighborhoods (called" sestieres), before going out to the Lido.

Schedules and availability are different for all the routes, be sure to study them well before leaving home. I had no idea Venice was so vast, and wish I had done more homework when planning my trip.

veniceitaly, venicegondola, venicelagoon, venicetravelguide

Visit Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco known in English as St. Mark's Square; is the main square of Venice. It is enormous and impossible to experience it all in one day. I spent 5 hours and did cover a good portion of the sqaure. This area is considred the "heart' of Venice and is most visited by tourists.

sanmarcopiazza, stmarkssquare, veniceitaly, venicedaytrip

Main Attractions
I explored outside of the Basilica, and took pictures. I didn't do a tour inside, but wish I had. It just rained before I arrived, and there was pools of water surrounding the church.  Venice typically is unindated with floods in late fall; keep this in mind when planning your trip.

sanmarcopiazza, saintmarkssquare, veniceitaly, venicedaytrip

saintmarkssquare, veniceitaly, venicecanals, venicedaytripguide

Where to Eat

There are many restaurants, bakeries and waterfront eateries scattered throughout Piazza San Marco. I chose to eat overlooking the lagoon, it was wonderful for taking in the dreamy landscape.  I later strolled into the narrow streets along the canals, and devoured a delicious Italian pastry!

veniceitaly, venicelagoon, saintmarkssquare, venicedaytrip

venicebakery, italianpastery, saintmarkssquare, veniceitaly

Where to Shop

On arrival at St. Mark's square you will see a plithera of street vendors lining the waterfront.  There are many options for shopping local and supporting the artisans of Venice. As you explore and walk the narrow streets, you will see quaint shops and boutiques. You many be wondering what are the top items Venice is known for, here ya go:

15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy In Venice
  • Murano Glass
  • Burano Lace
  • Masks
  • Fabrics
  • Doorknockers
  • Handmade Wooden Puzzles
  • Bellini
  • Handmade Shoes
veniceitaly, saintmarkssquare, venicebridges, italy, italytravel

Go on a Gondola Ride

Aright friends, you are going to call me crazy! I didn't go on a Gondola ride, and deeply regret it!  I didn't want to ride  alone. I hope to go again and ride one with family or friends.

If you do make it to Venice, put some cash away for this experience. The price tag can be quite spedy It really depends what time of day you go. I heard rides taken in the evening, offer good price drops. I was quoted 80 Euro for 20 minutes.

veniceitaly, venicecanals, stmarkssqure, mapleleopardtravels, italytravel

This solo travel experience taught me to value experiences over things. The purses, shoes and souvenirs will fade away, but memories are forever.  Even though I didn't ride a Gondola, I'm happy I was able to enjoy a boat ride on the lagoon and Grand Canal. 

venicecanals, venicegondolas, saintmarkssquare, sanmarcopiazza

venicecanals, venicegondola, visitveniceitaly, saintmarkssquare

End the Day at the Lido

The Lido is a barrier island and peaceful oasis in the Venetian Lagoon.  It is known to locas as " Lido di Venezia." The island separates the Venetian Lagoon from the Adiratic Sea.  It's 7 miles long and is home to about 20, 000 residents. This area of the city is known for the Venice film festival in late August or September.

The only connection between Venice and the Lido is the water buses. The No .1 water bus is the one to ride. It takes your from the S. Maria landing stage across to Venice and the length of the Grand Canal to Ferrovia, in front of the Saint Lucia train station.

I was quite shocked and surprised upon arrival at Lido Island!  It looks NOTHING like the rest of Venice. I thought I had stepped onto the shores of a California Beach.  Lido has similar vibes to many beaches located in Los Angerles and San Diego.

Thelido, lidoisland, veniceitaly, adriaticsea

When you arrive on the water bus, a beautiful beach shore awaits you.  If you don't like crowds, this is the place for you!  It's a great place to relax, with lots of green and a stunning beach view.  This island mostly caters to summer travelers. After October when it gets colder, there is nothing much to see.

thelido, lidoisland, veniceitaly, adriatic sea

I spent a few hours strolling the streets, browsing in shops and dipping my toes in the Adriatic Sea. The hugest sand dunes you've ever seen, are on this beach- WOWZA!  A cute beach cafe, with retro colors a promise a restful, low key experience. 

Lidoisland, Veniceitaly, Venicedaytrip

If you are including Lido as part of your day trip, keep in mind it's a 45 minute ride back to the Santa Lucia railway station on the Grand Canal. If an overnight stay in Venice is in your plans, the hotels are better prices here. I wish my schedule would've allowed an overnight stay.

VeniceItaly, TheLido, Lidoisland, Venicedaytrip

I hope you can make a trip to Venice someday, everyone should visit once! Ciao, stay well and travel safe.  

Have you been to Venice?


Would you like to comment?

  1. Venice looks incredible! I've not seen a lot of Italy, only Milan and some of the Alps, but I'd love to explore more! That's for the inspo!

  2. I was supposed to go to Venice in April this year and it got cancelled. I will use this post in future.

  3. Venice is so incredible! Cannot wait to go back one day! Thank you for making me dream!

  4. So in love with Venice and your post makes me dream of Italy and my future travels to Venice

  5. I would love to go to Venice, it looks so beautiful! Love your pics!

  6. Congrats on the solo travel. I loved our day in Venice and would happily go back. Great pics.

  7. I love how much there is to see and do in Venice in just one day! Thanks for including these awesome food recommendations in the blog - my mouth is watering just looking at them!