Which are the best day trips from Venice by train you can do as a tourist or local?
The Veneto region and nearby regions are wonderful lands worth getting to know.
They have splendid villages nestled in the hills and mountains as well as medieval cities and towns that you can easily visit in one day from Venice.
Day trips from Venice by Train
If you’re currently in Venice and have some days available, then why not spend them exploring other places close to Venice by train?
See my list of 10 cities and towns near Venice to learn more about Italy. Depending on how much time you have, you can end up visiting one, two or even more!
Is it worth visiting small towns near Venice?
If you’re still asking yourself “why should I visit other towns near Venice?” Especially with Venice being so rich in art, history and culture. Well, read the list of reasons to understand why it’s worth visiting other cities and towns near Venice.
Impacts of tourism in Venice
Tourism is an important source of income for Venice, but it has also some negative sides. One of the main ones is the large amount of visitors overcrowding attractions, streets and piazzas.
The number of people becomes unsustainable during certain times of the year (e.g. the Venice Carnival). The main areas of the city suffering from overcrowding are St. Mark’s Square, Rialto Bridge and Strada Nova.
The negative impacts are both environmental and social. In fact, tourists cause environmental degradation damaging palaces, bridges and other sights, producing an unsustainable amount of waste and noise pollution.
Lately, one of the most damaging impacts has been caused by the cruises. The big ships getting too close to the St. Mark’s square area (the lowest part of the city) and the huge number of day trippers has been affecting badly the city and its residents.
I am sad to say that in the case of a fragile city like Venice, the impact of this ‘hit and run’ tourism is causing more damage than anything else.
From a social point of view, the presence of so many tourists affects locals’ lives that experience a real ‘invasion’ of their public spaces. Venetian people are not new to incivility episodes and disrespectful behaviour perpetrated by tourists. Over the years, residents started leaving the city and moving to the mainland.
If you want to make a sustainable decision, try to spend more than a day in Venice, spend your money in local businesses and travel off-season. Exploring other parts of Veneto’s region is another way to spread the impact of your visit.
Best day trips from Venice by Train
Now it’s time to learn more about some of the best places close to Venice by train to visit in one day, located both in the Veneto region and bordering regions.
See the map above to help you locate each place mentioned in this guide. If you have enough time, I recommend spending a night or two in each place!
In just 30 minutes by train, in the heart of Veneto’s region, you can get to the city of Padua, famous for its university, one of the most beautiful Italian piazzas Prato della Valle and Scrovegni Chapel painted by Giotto.
There’s a strong connection between Venice and Padua and many important Venetian figures spent time in this city, such as Casanova, who graduated here and Elena Lucrezia Cornaro, the first woman in the world to obtain a degree.
Some of the best attractions of the city are the Basilica of Sant’Antonio, the square of Prato della Valle, the Jewish Ghetto, Palazzo del Bo, the Scrovegni Chapel and UNESCO World Heritage Botanical Gardens.
Make the most of your time by joining this walking tour & Scrovegni’s Chapel visit, during which you’ll visit the city’s top sights accompanied by an expert local guide.
You’ll remain impressed by the beauty of Padua’s historical city centre with its mix of architectural styles and all the lovely piazzas where you can stop for a coffee or aperitivo. There are many cultural and artistic events taking place in Padua, so make sure to check out what’s going on by the time of your trip.
The city of Treviso is a lovely medieval town crossed by the river Sile, surrounded by ancient walls and crossed by canals. That’s why it’s also called ‘the small Venice‘.
It only takes less than 40 minutes to get from Venice to Treviso and trains are quite frequent. Among the best things you can visit in Treviso, there are Piazza dei Signori where you can spot the Trecento Palace, the evocative Canale dei Buranelli and the churches of San Nicolò and Duomo. Make sure to stop by the ‘pescheria‘, a small island on the river, where the traditional fish market takes place.
Stroll around its cobblestoned streets and small piazzas where you can spend time some time shopping too. I suggest trying the ‘mozzarella in carrozza’, a fried mozzarella with a filling of anchovies or ham and tiramisù, that come from this city.
Do you want to spend extra time visiting Treviso and the surrounding area? Book a night in this lovely one-bedroom Santa Caterina apartment close to the main sights.
Castelfranco Veneto is a medieval town, less than an hour away from Venice. There are two direct trains every hour leaving from Venice Santa Lucia station.
Castelfranco is my hometown and a place I always travel back to, to see family and friends. If you’re in Venice and wondering where to go, I believe this town is one of the best places close to Venice by train to visit.
In Castelfranco you can visit: the Duomo and the ‘Pala di Giorgione’, the Giorgione’s House, the Teatro Accademico where monthly cultural events take place and the Torre Civica, the clocktower. Outside the city walls, take time for a stroll around the castle’s gardens and in Piazza Giorgione.
If you have time to spend here, in 15 minutes walk from the city centre you can get to the stunning Villa Parco Bolasco, a romantic park dating back to the 19th century. Why not check out the park website so you can make sure it will be open at the time you’re planning your visit?
Just a few kilometres outside Castelfranco, if you’re interested in Venetian villas, make sure to visit Villa Emo in Vedelago and Villa Barbaro in Maser. Take more time to explore the area of nearby towns and stay at the Hotel alla Torre, a beautiful 4-star hotel just next to the clock tower and city walls.
Bassano del Grappa
Bassano del Grappa is another medieval town based in the province of Vicenza. It’s just one hour and 20 minutes away from Venice by train or car and that’s why I consider it a fantastic place close to Venice by train to visit.
Bassano del Grappa is located at the foot of Monte Grappa and crossed by the Brenta river, and thanks to its location you can enjoy lovely views of the nearby landscape from the Ponte Vecchio or Ponte degli Alpini as locals like to call it.
That should also be the first stop of your Bassano tour. The two main squares Piazza della Libertà and Piazza Garibaldi are great spots where people like hanging around and go to for a drink.
Try the cocktail Leon at Leon Bar if you’re around here, you won’t regret it! You can’t miss a visit to the Museo della Grappa Poli, dedicated to the history of grappa distillation and check out the small shops selling ceramic products, for which Bassano is famous all around the country and beyond.
To learn about local produce and cuisine, try this dining experience at a local home where you’ll join locals cooking and eating traditional food at their place!
Cittadella is the only medieval town left in the world where the tour of the ramparts is still walkable. If you want to get to Cittadella from Venice, get a train that stops in Vicenza or Padua, where you’ll change with a train to Citadella.
The journey lasts around one hour and 20/30 minutes. The small town, based in the province of Padua is not far from Castelfranco Veneto and Bassano del Grappa. You can easily spend a couple of hours walking around the streets of Cittadella, visit the Duomo and have a coffee or a meal in one of the restaurants.
Among the ones I’ve tried so far, I suggest going to Herb which is great, in particular for their gourmet pizzas! I think you can also combine the visit of Castelfranco with Cittadella or Bassano and Cittadella, since the historical city centres are small. At the end of September, there is a medieval fair with costumes and re-enactments that’s definitely worth attending.
Vicenza is one of the most beautiful Venetian cities and an easy day trip from Venice to organize. The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Known all around the world for the elegant buildings designed by the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. There are fast regional trains getting you from Venice to Vicenza in less than an hour.
If you end up travelling to this Veneto city, don’t miss the chance to see the Basilica Palladiana, the town’s medieval law courts, Teatro Olimpico, a theatre dating back to the 16th century and the Chiericati Palace, a Renaissance palace, all projects by Andrea Palladio.
If it’s summer, I recommend going for a walk around Parco Querini and if you fancy spending some time shopping, go to Corso Palladio.
Just outside the city centre, you can walk uphill (or take a bus) to the Santuario di Monte Berico, where it is said that the Madonna appeared.
A must-try food in Vicenza is the ‘baccalà alla vicentina’, made of stockfish, onions, anchovies, milk, and a mature cheese such as Parmesan. Want to spend more time in Vicenza? Then check out Glam Boutique Hotel for a comfy stay.
Verona is probably the second most famous Veneto’s city after Venice. The two main attractions of the city are the Juliet’s balcony and the Roman amphitheatre. But Verona counts on a remarkable historical city centre, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
If you are taking into consideration visiting Verona from Venice, then you can get a fast regional train that in less than an hour and a half will take you there!
The train station where you should stop is called Verona Porta Nuova, only 20 minutes walk. This city is a great place close to Venice to visit just by hopping on a train worth including in your Veneto’s itinerary.
Verona historical city centre is one of the most beautiful in Northern Italy. Among the best attractions of the city, visit the Scaliger Bridge, Piazza Bra and Piazza delle Erbe, the Castelvecchio musuem, Lamberti tower and the San Zeno Maggiore Basilica.
Want to spend a night in the romantic Verona, then I recommend the Escalus Luxury Suites Verona for an unforgettable stay.
If you were hoping to visit Lake Garda, the most famous lakeside destination in Italy from Venice, you’ll be happy to hear that it’s absolutely possible in one day and the train will take you there in less than an hour and a half.
The best way is to get the fast speed Freccia Argento train from Venice Santa Lucia and get to Peschiera del Garda or Desenzano del Garda-Sirmione.
Both resort towns are located on the southern bank of the lake and they’re particularly charming with some interesting historical and architectural sights to not miss. In Peschiera del Garda I recommend visiting the Venetian fortress declared UNESCO World Heritage Site and walk along the Mincio river for lovely views.
If stopping in Desenzano del Garda-Sirmione visit the 13th century Castello Scaligero and the Grottoes of Catullus. Sirmione is also a renowned spa destination, so why not take a break from all the walking around and go spend some time relaxing in the thermal baths for a couple of hours?
If you end up staying for more than a day, stay at the Hotel Casa Scaligeri, which is both close to the city centre and the beach.
Having more time to spend here, I really recommend joining this historic castle cruise with wine tasting experience. During this tour, you’ll be cruising the Lake Garda from Sirmione by speedboat, see different castles and villas overlooking the lake and taste lovely local Bardolino wine.
Bologna is the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region and it’s really well-connected to Venice, making of it a great place to visit by train for a day or more. From Venice Santa Lucia railway station it takes more or less an hour and a half to get to Bologna Centrale by fast-speed Freccia Rossa train.
Once in Bologna, you should definitely visit the city’s towers Asinelli and Garisenda, the main square called Piazza Maggiore, the Quadrilatero neighbourhood and walk down the charming porticoes of the city.
You can also join this 2-hour walking tour that includes the best bits worth visiting of the city. Bologna is a real food destination, so make sure to try a dish of ‘pasta alla bolognese’ and ‘tortellini’!
If you still have time to explore the city centre, see what’s going at the Museum of Modern Art (MAMbo) and enjoy the romantic view from the window in Via Piella. If you’re thinking about spending more than a day in Bologna, check out the 4-star hotel I Portici Hotel located in the heart of the city, close to all the main attractions.
Ferrara is based in Emilia-Romagna and is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can get to this lovely town from Venice in an hour by getting a Freccia Rossa train.
The town is surrounded by defensive walls and some of the best sights to visit are the Estense Castle that belonged to the Este family for many years back in the 14th century and the Cathedral.
The surrounding area is full of shops and lovely cafés. The city is a treasure chest with its museums and palaces, some of the most beautiful ones to visit are Palazzo Schifanoia (second floor) and Palazzo dei Diamanti, for the diamond shape of the stonework decorating the external walls of the palace.
I’d recommend spending more than a day in Ferrara to have enough time to explore the city and spend the night at the Avanguardia Art Club featuring luxurious and spacious suites.
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Day trips from Venice by Train
This is the list of places close to Venice by train you can visit in one day. For some of them, I’d probably suggest spending a night to explore slowly the attractions that the city or town offers.
All these destinations are located in the same region or nearby ones and the train journey won’t last more than one hour and a half, giving you plenty of time to visit each place.
Why not check out my post the best day trips from Venice if you want to get to know other places to visit near Venice that are even more popular?
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