This Spring we took a day trip to Venice. To our surprise, we managed to do a lot in Venice in a day, including chilling in the main square with a strong espresso, indulging in a tasty panini, taking a lovely gondola ride and more. Venice in a day might not seem viable for many, given the sheer number of attractions this city has to offer, but for us, it was just the right amount of time to catch a glimpse of this wonderful city. We took a ferry from Croatia to Italy and made a plan of all the great things we could do in Venice for a day.
So how did we do it? How did we take the ferry from Porec to Venice, what did we do during the day, and how was the overall journey?
Before we share our itinerary, we have a surprise for you. Because we loved our trip so much, we partnered up with Venezia Lines to offer you a discount when you take the ferry from Croatia to Italy. Just use the coupon code YCT20 and you'll get 25% off on ALL the travels with Venezia Lines across 2020.
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Day trip to Venice
Our day trip to Venice started bright and early. We had breakfast at our Hotel Valamar and presented ourselves for the ferry check-in at 7:40 am. The ferry leaves at 8 am sharp, so do make sure you allow plenty of time for passport control. Remember: bring your passport with you and keep it safe at all times.
Croatia is a non-Schengen country which means you have to go through passport control before leaving Croatia and again when entering Italy. Don't worry though, this usually doesn't take too long.
We crossed from Porec to Venice with Venezia Lines, a trustworthy ferry company with a speedy, Norwegian built ship.
Venezia Lines offers a few select premium tickets in their VIP lounge. For your comfort, we recommend that you book the VIP lounge, even though the tickets are a little more expensive, you will have amazing added benefits such as comfortable chairs at the top deck, a free drink - included in the prices - and the opportunity to be on the deck for about 30 minutes before docking in Venice. This is super important as you will get to admire Venice as you enter the city and take fantastic pictures.
Just as a quick reminder, you can book your Venezia Lines ferry ticket in advance and use the coupon code YCT20 to benefit from 25% off on ALL the travels with Venezia Lines across 2020.
Well, they say that people (merchants) used to arrive in Venice by ship only, so arriving by ferry is an exciting, almost historical experience. I can't express how amazing it was to finally see Venice with all the boats and ships and gorgeous houses.
Once we arrived at the port, we went through quick passport control. Camera-ready, we were finally ready to explore Venice in a day.
Venice in a day
To make our day fast-paced, efficient and enjoyable, we booked all the extras which were offered by Venezia Lines. You can pick and choose the extras and purchase them on the ferry directly. The staff will explain all of them during the ride but you also receive a brochure with all the details.
For your comfort and peace of mind, we recommend purchasing the whole package so you don't waste time searching for services during your trip to Venice. Exploring Venice in a day should be quick and fun, hence, having everything ready prior to your arrival is the best course of action.
We booked a boat transfer from the port to the centre, a gondola ride, lunch and a taxi from the centre back to the port. Here's our detailed itinerary on how we enjoyed Venice in a day. Ready, steady, go!
Arrival to the Port of Venice
Venezia Lines has a high-speed ferry which took us from Porec to Venice in just under 3 hours. About a quarter of that time, however, was spent going slowly as we entered Venice. This is because the city has a low-speed limit enforced for ships. To us, this was brilliant, because it allowed us to be on the deck and take gorgeous pictures of Venice. If you go for the VIP area, you can just chill on the deck when you enter and leave the city.
Once we arrived, we went through passport control (which took around 10 minutes in total) and regrouped with our guide. We were ready to start exploring Venice, so we took a boat transfer to San Marco.
Boat Transfer to Piazza San Marco
Our boat transfer from the Port of Venice to Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square) took around 30 minutes in total. During the trip, we got to see beautiful buildings with explanations of what they are and a bit about their history from our guide. It was a really great way to capture a glimpse of Venice from the boat.
We thought it's a good idea to stay on the water as long as possible so we can see more of the beautiful buildings along the canals and have that unique romantic vibe that only Venice can provide us with. It also enabled us to get around much quicker.
With a good attitude and a bit of patience, Venice is perfect. If you decide to explore on your own, we suggest that you move away from the main tourist points and head for the lesser-explored streets. We found several bridges and locations where we could take many pictures without any tourists or people around. To respect the locals, we kindly remind you to not trespass on someone's property, but to quietly and gently take photos without disturbing the people who live in Venice.
Quick espresso and panini
As we reached San Marco, we were mesmerised by two things: the number of tourists and the sheer beauty of the place. It took us exactly 3 minutes to forget about the crowds and immerse ourselves in the mesmerising piazza. Can you believe how beautiful Venice must be if it makes you forget about the dins of the world?
No Italy itinerary works without a pick me up panini and espresso. We stopped in a completely random place with views of San Marco, took a seat and enjoyed our strong Italian coffee. Normally, we avoid cafes close to the tourist attractions, but after quick consideration, we gave in. And you know what? Turns out, the service was impeccable, the prices were fair and the coffee and sandwich as delicious as you'd expect in an Italian city.
One coffee later, we started our tour around Venice. Just a quick note here: Venezia Lines offers a guided walking tour entirely free of charge. You can join in and listen to the knowledgeable guides, or explore on your own for about one hour.
If you do decide to explore on your own, we suggest that you head straight for the small streets in search of souvenirs and delicious Italian sweets while marvelling at the architecture and beauty of the narrow streets and canals.
We really wanted some cheeky time to purchase an authentic Venetian face mask and take some pictures with it. I had this fascination with face masks ever since I was a little girl, so I was incredibly excited to finally be able to purchase one straight from Venice. It was so much fun, trying them on, figuring out which one to go for.
Buying a Venetian mask is a fantastic souvenir option for anyone who loves Venice. It's authentic, it's made in Venice only and it's guaranteed to look stunning in your home.
After the guided tour, it was time to meet the guides again and head for a gondola ride. We foolishly almost said no to this experience, but we were so glad we decided to go for it. I mean when you are in Venice, you must have a gondola ride. Venezia Lines has a partnership with one of the providers, so you are guaranteed to have your gondola ready quickly. You can also organise a private gondola ride with the team if you prefer, just let them know and they can offer you a good price.
So why not book this on your own, you might ask? The guys at Venezia Lines did Venice in a day so many times, they know which partner is the best and who provides the best service. The prices are much friendlier than when you book directly with a gondola ride provider. They also picked a really nice part of Venice to experience the gondola ride.
We didn't expect to love our gondola ride as much as we did. I mean come on, it seems so cheesy, right? Dude in a stripy t-shirt with a boater hat taking us to sightsee Venice on its romantic canals... well it turns out it's pretty fun and yeah, it's kinda romantic. I'd say it's really worth the hype. We loved it and it enabled us to see an array of beautiful buildings and bridges from the water, many which you can't see when you are just walking.
It was an incredible experience and to our surprise, the journey itself was not very crowded. Maybe the guy knew some cool canals or quieter places, but we barely saw another 2-3 gondola during our ride. Whereby in some parts, the canals were packed. Great choice, we would strongly recommend it.
Lunch in Venice
When in Venice, of course, you'd expect some incredible Italian food, right? Well, our lunch didn't disappoint. Created to be fast in order to allow us to explore more, our lunch consisted of three generous portions of Italian classics on a plate: pasta, risotto and lasagna. There was a tasty dessert and unlimited wine and water included too. The price? 20 EUR per person. Amazing bargain! Again, Venezia Lines cleverly created a partnership with a local restaurant which takes orders in advance and prepares the food for everyone before the arrival. This means super fast service and really quick lunch.
Why is this good? Because we do Venice in a day: so we need to spend less in a restaurant and more exploring the wonderful streets and canals of the city. It worked like a charm and everyone was super excited about the food. It was actually very, very tasty with generous portions for everyone.
Venetian souvenirs and photographs
After lunch, everyone had some spare time to explore the city. This is when we tried to move away from the centre and aimed for the smaller, hidden streets for photography. We also stopped to get a few more souvenirs, including nougat and limoncello. I think you can tell that our priorities are pretty much about good food.
We took photos and generally took some time to really soak in the fact that we are in Venice - it was so beautiful. What also grabbed our attention - mine especially - were the shops selling amazing clothes and lovely shoes. Italians really know how to wow us. It was amusing, as we were in Venice, walking around, we were already planning our the next trip back.
Eating gelato and macarons
No trip to Venice (or Italy for that matter) is complete without eating some gelato. Ever since we tried so many Italian foods in Rome, we explored the world in search of a better gelato than what we found in Italy. No luck!
We also found some colourful macarons which were - not very Italian - but oh so delicious. Venice is a very sweet city.
Water Taxi transfer
Alas, our adventures in Venice in a day were almost over. We had one more thing to experience and that's the water taxi transfer from Piazza San Marco back to the Port of Venice to catch our ferry back to Croatia.
Why the water taxi? Because you can see the Grand Canal, which is accessible by boat only. Those grandiose palaces, those incredible buildings? All on the Grand Canal. And because they are all private, you can't walk in front of them, so taking a boat is the only way.
Added bonus? You get to feel a bit like James Bond in Casino Royale when he was riding at the back of a similar water taxi. Only you won't have to be worried about catching the bad guys.
There is a crazy number of places on the Grand Canal and they look perfect for photo purposes. Just make sure you go to the very back of the water taxi so you can admire the city sitting down or standing up.
The water taxi ride was really the highlight of the trip.
Venezia Lines return trip
Well, as all good things must come to an end, sadly that was the case with our day trip to Venice too. The sun was just about setting, so standing on the deck on the way back from Venice was a real golden hour treat.
After running around Venice for a whole day, we were pleased to sit down on the comfortable chairs of the Venezia Lines ferry. The staff was as excited as always and we were honestly wondering how come they still have so much energy after a whole day of exploring busy Venice. We were very grateful for their hospitality as they took such good care of us all.
The return trip on Venezia Lines ferry enabled us to check the photos and just relax. Even today as I write this, I can't believe we experienced Venice in a day. It seems like such an incredible, magical dream. What a beautiful city, what an amazing history.
We absolutely recommend you to explore Venice in a day and do take the extras provided by Venezia Lines. We tried them all to ensure they were great and our feedback is 100% positive. We loved the ferry ride and our time in Venice couldn't have been more spectacular.
Venezia Line Discount Code For Our Readers
Since we loved our trip from Porec to Venice so much, we decided to partner up with Venezia Lines to offer you a special discount. Simply select your tickets for the Venezia Lines ferry from Croatia to Italy and apply the coupon code "YCT20". You'll get a 25% discount on all the travels with Venezia Lines across 2020.
We hope you will enjoy your trip just as much as we did. After your trip, tell us what you think in the comments section below.
This post was sponsored by Venezia Lines. Thank you for partnering with us, Venezia Lines. Our experience was outstanding and from what we heard from other passengers, they were head over heels too. You managed to transform what could have been a dull crossing journey from Porec to Venice, into an exclusive all-day experience in Venice. We were so excited to write our honest review about you and your services. As you can tell, we LOVED every second of our time onboard and with your staff.