This practical travel guide shows you how to get from Lake Garda to Venice.
If you’re on a relaxing trip by Lake Garda’s shores and wondering what the perfect day trip to do would be, Venice is without doubt a great day trip from Lake Garda.
The first thing to take into account is that it’s easy to get from Lake Garda to Venice and you have various options to explore in this guide. Thanks to the frequent regional and direct high-speed trains you can get to the Lagoon city in no time!
If you want to follow your own schedule, you can simply rent a car and get the state-of-the-art A4 motorway connecting these two popular destinations in northern Italy.
Lake Garda to Venice
Keep reading this guide below to find out the transport options you have to get to Venice from Lake Garda and the best way that will save you time and money.
I have written this guide from my own experience after doing this trip, so if you are planning to spend a day or more in Venice from Lake Garda, I’ve got you covered.
If you’re asking yourself questions such as is Venice really worth visiting, is it not too far from Lake Garda and what’s the best way to get there, with this practical transport guide you will find the answers to all these important questions.
Let’s start by looking at where Venice is in Italy and exactly why you’d want to visit it.
Where is Venice, Italy?
Venice is the capital city of the Veneto region, located in north-east Italy and it’s 183 kilometres east of Lake Garda. See the map below for a better idea:
Depending on where you’re staying in the lake region, it could take more or less 2 hours and a half by car to get to Venice.
As you might already know, Venice is a city built on 118 small islands connected one to the other by bridges.
Navigating Venice is unlike any other city in the world simply because of its unique conformation and position, in the middle of the Venetian lagoon and Adriatic Sea.
If this will be your first time in Venice and you a completely new here, you may want to take a look at my guide on getting around Venice to learn more about this.
There are several ways to get to Venice from the mainland: by car, by train, by bus, by tram and even on foot or by bike, by crossing the Liberty Bridge (Ponte della Libertà).
During the glorious Serenissima Republic days of Venice, the city was one of the wealthiest cities in the then-known world and had countless trade relations with the rest of Europe via and in particular, with the Middle and Far East.
Venice’s cultural heritage wouldn’t be the same without the contamination with different peoples and cultures that occurred over the centuries.
Is Venice worth visiting from Lake Garda?
Of course it is! In fact, Venice makes the perfect day trip from Lake Garda or even a great pit-stop to add in to any northern Italian itinerary you may be planning.
The famous lake district and the Lagoon city are well-connected by public transport and it’s easy to get there by car, if you prefer to have the freedom to stop along the way or don’t depend on train and bus timetables.
Venice is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and the historic centre with the rest of the Venetian lagoon has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
The unique lagoon landscape acts as backdrop to the invaluable cultural, architectural and artistic heritage of this city that you can discover simply by walking around its streets and crossing its romantic canals and bridges.
There are many things you can see and do in Venice all year long like St. Mark’s Square and famous landmarks it houses, the Rialto Bridge and lesser-known gems such as the Jewish Ghetto (the oldest in the world) and many more.
There are always many events going on in the city, no matter the season you’re travelling. Finally, let’s not forget about the delicious Venetian cuisine, which is definitely a reason why you should visit the city.
Away from the most touristic places (the ones with the classic ‘tourist menu’), you can find intimate restaurants frequented by locals, serving dishes of the tradition.
They are always prepared using fresh produce from the close countryside and the Adriatic Sea. I highly recommend you try some cicchetti in Venice as it is one of the most traditional types of food that you can find here and is not to be missed.
How far is Venice from Lake Garda?
Venice is 183 kilometres away from Lake Garda and it takes 2 and 20 minutes to get to the Lagoon city. Check out the table below for detailed information about distance, journey length and best way to get from some popular lakeside resorts to Venice.
|Lake Garda towns||Distance from Venice||Journey length to Venice||Best way to get to Venice|
|Peschiera del Garda||1 hour and 36 minutes||139 kilometres||High-speed train|
|Sirmione||1 hour and 46 minutes||153 kilometres||Car|
|Desenzano del Garda||1 hour and 34 minutes||154 kilometres||High-speed train|
|Lazise||1 hour and 28 minutes||141 kilometres||Car or guided tour|
|Bardolino||1 hour and 32 minutes||150 kilometres||Car or guided tour|
|Torri del Benaco||1 hour and 46 minutes||158 kilometres||Car or guided tour|
|Malcesine||2 hours and 11 minutes||179 kilometres||Car or guided tour|
The only two lakeside resorts connected by direct high-speed trains to Venice are Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano del Garda.
For the other Lake Garda’s towns it’s advisable to rent a car locally and drive to Venice, where you can park the car in the Tronchetto island or in Mestre where it’s cheaper.
This way you can save precious time, especially if you’re going to spend only one day in Venice.
Where to stay in Venice?
To really enjoy Venice to the fullest, you should spend the night there.
When most of the day trippers have gone, you can walk around the silent calli (streets) and small squares in peace and catch the real essence of the city.
See below a couple of hotels I recommend for your stay in Venice:
Looking for more ideas on where to stay in Venice? See my post about the best places to stay in Venice divided by the six neighbourhoods of the city.
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How to get from Lake Garda to Venice
In the sections below you can find more information on how you can get from Lake Garda to Venice by train, by car, by bus and also by joining a small guided tour, in case you don’t want to deal with public transportation and car rental.
Train from Lake Garda to Venice
Getting the train from Lake Garda to Venice is the most convenient option, but only if you’re staying in Peschiera del Garda or Desenzano del Garda.
Of course, you can travel from other towns and villages, but this means changing trains once or twice. The best way to go to Venice from Peschiera or Desenzano is by getting the high-speed train of Trenitalia, called Freccia Rossa, or Italo.
It would take only 1 hour and 28 minutes from Peschiera del Garda and 1 hour and 34 minutes from Desenzano del Garda.
The high-speed trains are comfortable and direct, stopping only a couple of times before reaching Venice. They are more expensive than the regional trains though. There are no direct regional trains from Lake Garda to Venice.
This means that you should first change train in Verona and then get a fast regional train (called ‘regionale veloce’ – RV) from the station Verona Porta Nuova to Venice.
The regional trains take longer (around 2 hours) and if you’re only going to spend 24 hours in Venice, I don’t recommend using this service.
If you’re planning your trip in advance, make sure to book as soon as you can the high-speed train tickets from Trenitalia or Italo, so you can save money. The closer you get to the departure date, the higher the ticket cost goes. It’s worth knowing that the change in price doesn’t affect regional trains, but only high-speed trains.
Driving Lake Garda to Venice
Travelling by car from Lake Garda to Venice is one of the best options, and in some cases the only one that makes sense if you’re staying in lakeside towns not connected by train to Venice.
You can rent a car from some of the most popular towns from car rental companies like Avis and Hertz.
I recommend driving very early in the morning or after 9am or in the evening after 7pm, and avoid rush hour. If you leave from Peschiera del Garda, it can take 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to Venice.
The fastest way is getting the A4 Torino-Trieste motorway from Peschiera del Garda (with direction Trieste) to Via della Libertà in Venice.
Once there, take the SS309 exit from Tangenziale di Mestre/A57 and cross the Liberty Bridge to get to Venice historic centre. Venice is a car-free city, so you’d have to park your car as soon as you get there.
You can park it at the Tronchetto car park or at the Autorimessa Comunale, in Piazzale Roma but remember to book in advance your spot.
Alternatively, park the car in Mestre because it’s cheaper and then get a train to Venice, which only takes 10 minutes.
In Italy, you pay tolls to access motorways. To check how much the tolls may cost you to get to Venice, you can visit Autostrade.it website and calculate the amount.
Bus from Lake Garda to Venice
If you’re on a budget or backpacking Italy, then you should definitely get a bus from Lake Garda to Venice. It’s not the fastest way to get to Venice but it’s the cheapest.
You can travel by Flixbus for an affordable price, but there are only two towns from where you can take the direct bus:
- Peschiera del Garda (Viale Stazione 55, 37019);
- Gardaland theme park (Via Ronchi 3 (SR 249), 37014 Castelnuovo del Garda).
The bus takes around 1 hour and 30/45 minutes to 2 hours and stops first in Mestre, near the railway station, and then in Venice Tronchetto.
From the Tronchetto car park, you can get the People Mover to Piazzale Roma or the water bus (vaporetto) to reach the attractions you want to visit or your accommodation in Venice.
Here’s a practical interactive water bus map that you can download or look at while in Venice at anytime (from your phone). Or, you can print it out and carry it with you.
If you’re not based in Peschiera or Castelnuovo del Garda, then you should first take a local bus to one of these two towns and from there the Flixbus.
Small group tour to Venice from Lake Garda
The fourth option that you might want to take into consideration for your day trip to Venice from Lake Garda is the small group guided tour.
This popular and highly-rated Venice Full-Day Tour from Lake Garda is perfect for you if you don’t want to rent a car or rely on public transport to get to Venice. The tour lasts approximately 11/13 hours and has live commentary on board.
What’s really interesting about this tour is that the coach leaves from different locations around Lake Garda such as Limone sul Garda, Riva del Garda, Torri del Benaco, Bardolino, Lazise and Peschiera del Garda.
This means that you only have to think about get to the meeting point on time. Once you meet your driver and the group, during the coach journey just sit back and relax and get ready to explore Venice accompanied by a tour guide.
During the walking tour, you’ll be given headphones so you won’t miss any detail of Venice’s history. This tour also includes the private boat ride from the bus station (Piazzale Roma) to St. Mark’s Square.
Some of the best attractions that you’ll visit during your tour are: St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs and Rialto Bridge.
Getting from Lake Garda to Venice
After reading this post, you should have a better idea on how you can get from Lake Garda to Venice.
Whether you’re planning a day trip to the city of water or spending a couple of days, travelling by private or public transport to Venice from Lake Garda is quite simple.
Based on my experience, I suggest getting the high-speed train if you’re staying in Peschiera del Garda or Desenzano del Garda, otherwise rent a car or join a tour.
In any case, if you’re staying enough time to fit in a day trip, you won’t regret visiting Venice, which I’m sure will capture your heart at first sight.
See this list of tourist attractions in Venice you can not afford to miss while here.
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