Many people ask me for suggestions about their Venice to Padua day trip. So I decided to write a dedicated post.
Let’s begin with the transportation.
Venice to Padua day trip by train
Honestly, I would avoid buses. They cost more than the train and take more time. At Santa Lucia train station in Venice, you can find several trains connecting Venice to Padua. About one every 20 minutes. It’s so convenient. I took the bus just once in my life because there was a train strike. Otherwise I always travel by train.
About the trains, you have three choices (I always refer to Trenitalia, the state company). The quick train called Freccia, arrow, (bianca, white, or rossa, red), the regionale and the regionale veloce. I would avoid the freccia, cause it cost three times the regionale and it’s not that faster in this section. As for the regionale, both the regular and the veloce (fast) cost the same amount of money, about 4€. The regular takes around 50 minutes. But the veloce takes about 26 minutes to connect the two cities. So, if possible, always prefer a regionale veloce.
Where to purchase the tickets
You can purchase the ticket at the desk of the train station. Ask for a regionale ticket for Padua. Round trip: Andata e ritorno. Or you can use the automatic machine. Pay attention, some only work with cash. Other accept cards. Choose your language and then follow the instructions on the screen. There you will see the trains timetable. Choose the R o RV train. Since they cost the same amount of money, at this point there’s no difference. Just purchase the ticket.
Validate the ticket before getting on the train
But remember to validate the ticket before getting on the train. Here and there you should notice the white and green validating machines, mostly located between platforms, attached to the columns.
If you happen to forget to validate the ticket, as soon as you get on the train, you should look for the ticket inspector and “confess”. If you tell immediately, they should let it go and validate themselves the ticket, without a fine. I know that for many people this custom seems weird. But we Italians are used to this system.
Venice to Padua day trip – How to get around in Padua
Arrived in Padua, you can take Corso del Popolo, the main road leading to the historical centre (10 minutes by foot) or take the city tram. There’s a kiosk selling tickets inside the station of Padua. The tram would be suggested if you intend to go directly to visit Saint Anthony Basilica (hop off at Santo stop), the Botanical Garden (hop off at Santo) or Prato della Valle (hop off at Prato stop), located in the southernmost area of the centre. Anyway, they’re about half an hour by foot away. So, you can absolutely take a walk and snoop around.
Venice to Padua day trip – Padua Map
I prepared a map with the points of interests and a few spots where to eat.
The ancient Law Court ( Palazzo della Ragione), located between the two piazze (della Frutta and delle Erbe). In the upper floor you can admire a wonderful fresco cycle. In the ground floor, there’s the city covered market. A unique and special place where you can buy cheese, meat, wine, sweets and lots of scrumptious food.
Near here, Piazza dei Signori, very elegant, lined with cafés and four different gelato shops. Now you have the Clock Tower in front of you.
Take the road left and reach the Duomo. The duomo is not that interesting in my opinion. But the Baptistry hides some marvelous frescoes. Taking one of the streets in front of the Duomo you reach the small ghetto, made of tiny cobbled alleys, elegant palazzi with arcades, lovely original shops, cafés and trattorias.
Caffé Pedrocchi, the historical 1800s café, where to try the caffé pedrocchi, coffee, milk and mint cream, with cocoa powder on top. On the rear of the Café you can also admire the Town Hall and the University building.
Walking past the three buildings, walk along via Roma, the shopping alley. You will reach in 10 minutes the third biggest square in Europe, Prato della Valle.
Prato della Valle is a special place for Padua. Surrounded by beautiful palazzi, seat of the Saturday market, is the spot where to eat a gelato, take a bike or skate ride in Summer. On its centre a meadow, surrounded by a moat and about 70 statues. The church you see in front of you is Santa Giustina.
Now walk on the left side toward the yellow palace with the circular tower (there’s a pharmacy sign). Take that street and you will spot Saint Anthony Basilica down the road. Near there, there’s also Padua Botanical Garden.
From Prato della Valle, in about 10 minutes you can reach another lovely landmark, the Specola Tower. Once tower of the medieval castle of the city, then astronomical observatory, now seat of a museum, la Specola is very beloved as romantic photo set. From the bridge you have a charming view of the tower reflecting in the canal. It’s not uncommon to find there Nelu Pascu, a Romanian painter that loves to settle there and paint that subject.
Now you can return to Prato della Valle and take the tram back to the train station. Or wander a little more around town. If you keep following the canal, you can reach again the train station, and pass by another interesting spot: Ponte Molino. From the bridge, you can enjoy a lovely view of the colorful houses. This is one of the most beautiful areas of the city.
And if it rains, no problem. Padua has 12 kilometers of arcades! in many different styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, neoclassical and modern style.