ABOVE: From Venezia Mestre railroad station, it's only a 10- to 15-minute trip into Venice's historic center.er.
We'd never advocate spending only one day in Venice (we'd suggest a week to a month), but we'll concede that one day is better than none. If you're pressed for time, this e-mail that we received from Harri Vainio of Finland may be helpful:
"Because of your site we were able to squeeze in a day in Venice in our week-long visit to Garda. I know lots of folks say that Venice cannot be visited by car in a day, but with some planning and avoiding the risks, I think it is well worth the effort!
"For us the key was an early start to our 2-hour drive from Riva del Garda to avoid traffic in Autostrada around Verona. We pre-booked a parking space from ParkVia in Venice Mestre Station parking lot. The service personnel were there to greet us already before the gate, so no problems there and you don’t have to pay this service in advance online. We had a bit of trouble finding the place, but “next to Europcar” was a great advice we got.
"From here, we took a local train to Venice SL buying the tickets from the machines. This was really easy, and even if you select the train in the machines, the tickes are valid 60 minutes after punching them on the platform. So even if you miss the train, there is always a next one in 10-15 minutes or so.
"Arriving in Venice SL [Venezia Santa Lucia train station] and a quick snack at the railway station to avoid eating in San Marco area, we immediately took the one-hour ride with Vaporetto nr.1 to Piazza San Marco to the other side of the city. I also had pre-booked a visit to cut the line at Basilica di San Marco from venetoinside.com at 1:05 – 1:15 PM entrance slot. I asked my hotel to print out the confirmation and the barcode, so this went really smooth. Only hassle was with the backpack I had, as I had to leave it to the deposit, which only takes care of the luggage for 1 hour (even if we tried to bargain for more time). But with our schedule, an hour at the Basilica was just fine at the end of the day.
"From here on it was an easy day of walking through the city back to railway station with visits to various sites including Rialto bridge to cross the main canal and stopping for pizza alices and macchiatos every once in a while. Arriving at Venice SL, we again bought the tickets to Venice Mestre with no problems and took the first train, as they all tend to stop at Mestre.
"Then, a quick set of burgers from McDonalds :) at Mestre Station and back to our car and 2 hours back to Garda.
"Sure, it was a tough day for two adults and our three kids between 10-13 years. And we do understand, that we missed a lot of fancy and special sites. But thanks to tips from your site, we got to see Venice even if we had only one day to spare!"
The site that Harri Vainio refers to is our main Venice for Visitors
site. Another useful resource is our new QuickVenice
companion site, which is geared to people who are in a hurry or who are using smartphones.)