7 Easy Day Trips from Verona by Train

The fabled city of Romeo & Juliet is one of my favourite places in Italy. And thanks to its excellent rail connections, Verona is one of the best bases for visiting other destinations in the Veneto region and beyond.

I know because I have done exactly that.

Whether you want to relax by the shores of Lake Garda or learn more about the birth of Renaissance art in Padua, here are the best day trips from Verona by train.

statue of dante in front of a salmon coloured building in verona italy

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Best Day Trips from Verona by Train

Trains to all of these destinations leave from Verona Porta Nuova station. This is a 15-minute stroll from the Roman Arena.

1. Padua (Padova)

  • Recommended train: Trenitalia Regional Express (RV) service
  • Train station: Padua (Padova Centrale)
  • Journey time: 1 hour
an elegant piazza in padua italy with a building with clock tower and people dining in terrace restaurants

Art fangirls or fanboys should make a beeline for Padua. This is home to Giotto’s frescos in the Scrovegni Chapel, famous sculptures by Donatello and an extraordinary fresco cycle in the baptistery of Padua Cathedral.

These alone are worth the price of your train ticket.

giotto fresco of women weeping over jesus's dead body
The Lamentation, Giotto at the Scrovegni Chapel

Religious pilgrims flock to the Basilica of St. Anthony. Built after the saint’s death in 1231, it’s a treasure chest of faith and art. 

Padua has been a centre of academic excellence since medieval times. I joined a tour of Padua University, which counts Galileo, Copernicus and Dante amongst its alumni, to learn more about this prestigious university.

It also has the world’s oldest botanical garden. The UNESCO-listed Orto Botanico di Padova was founded in 1545 and contains the university’s vast collection of rare plants. 

Padua is an easy city to explore on foot. Its main attractions lie along a north-south axis from the train station to the Basilica of St. Anthony. Walking from end to end will take you 30 minutes.

2. Vicenza

  • Recommended train: Trenitalia Regional Express (RV) service
  • Train station: Vicenza
  • Journey time: 40 minutes
red brick bell tower and arcaded buildings in piazza dei signori in vicenza italy

Visit Vicenza if you are an architecture buff.

This elegant Veneto city is known as la città di Palladio – the city of Palladio – and was recognised by UNESCO in 1994. It is celebrated for the buildings of Andrea Palladio (1508 – 1580), the Renaissance architect who developed the style that spread throughout the world, from the White House in Washington DC to the palaces of St. Petersburg.

The Dominicans built the Church of Santa Corona in the 13th Century to house a relic from Christ’s crown of thorns, donated by King Louis IX of France. Its light-filled Gothic interior houses artistic masterpieces, including Paolo Veronese’s Adoration of the Magi.

Piazza dei Signori is home to several of the city’s landmark buildings, including Torre Bissara. Reaching a height of 269 feet, this is one of the tallest bell towers in Italy.

Vicenza is also a very walkable city. From the train station, it’s an easy 15-minute stroll to the Olympic Theatre, the most distant of the city’s main tourist attractions.

3. Lake Garda

  • Recommended train: Trenitalia Regional Express (RV) service
  • Train station: Desenzano del Garda-Sirmione
  • Journey time: 25 minutes
harbour in lake garda viewed through a giant red heart

If you have had your fill of cities, take a day trip to Lake Garda from Verona. In all my years travelling around Italy, I had never visited the country’s largest lake and grabbed this opportunity when it presented itself.

I am so glad that I did. Reports of Lake Garda’s beauty are not exaggerated.

Desenzano is one of the easiest lakeside towns to reach by train from Verona. If you tire of relaxing by the lake or at the picturesque Little Harbour, there is a castle and an Archaeological Museum to visit.

I liked the Roman Villa of Desenzano del Garda. This is one of the best-preserved late antiquity villas of northern Italy and is famous for its exceptional mosaic floors.

For adventures (slightly) further afield, jump on a boat to the gorgeous town of Sirmione. This takes 20 minutes and services run throughout the day.

From Desenzano train station it’s a 15-minute walk downhill to the lake.

4. Venice (Venezia)

  • Recommended train: Trenitalia Regional Express (RV) service
  • Train station: Venezia S. Lucia
  • Journey time: 90 minutes
the grand canal in venice which is one of the location used for movies set in italy

I’ll level with you. You will only scratch the surface of Venice in one day.

However, if this is your one chance to visit La Serenissima, grab it with both hands. But don’t try to shoehorn too much into your visit.

Start by jumping on vaporetto #1 from outside Venezia Santa Lucia train station for the 40-minute ride along the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco. Decide whether to linger for an outrageously overpriced coffee before hitting St. Mark’s Basilica.

Take a tour of the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and then make your way to the Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Realto).

If time permits, stroll around the Cannaregio district. It’s one of my favourite corners of Venice and relatively free from tourist glitz.

5. Bologna

  • Recommended train: High-speed Trenitalia or Italo service
  • Train station: Bologna Centrale
  • Journey time: 55 minutes
people-in-main-square-in-bologna-italy in front of medieval building with clock tower

Our next day trip from Verona takes us to the Emilia-Romagna region and is unmissable if you are a foodie.

Bologna reigns supreme as Italy’s culinary capital and is one of the country’s best destinations for authentic cuisine. At least that’s what my stomach told me.

This is your opportunity to try real Bolognese sauce, handmade pasta and an array of cured meats and cheeses.

Beyond food, Bologna is home to architectural treasures like the iconic Two Towers and the Basilica di San Petronio.

Bologna Centrale station is a 20-minute walk from Piazza Maggiore & Piazza Nettuno in the heart of the city centre.

6. Mantua (Mantova)

  • Recommended train: Trenitalia regional train
  • Train station: Mantova
  • Journey time: 45 minutes
painted ceiling detail at palazzo te in mantua italy
Palazzo Te, Mantua

Encircled by lakes, gorgeous Mantua is a magnet for history buffs.

Although this Lombardy city’s history stretches back to the Etruscans, its claim to fame lies in its association with the Gonzaga lordship. This noble family wielded significant influence in Renaissance Italy and Palazzo Ducale bears testament to their legacy.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, Mantua is the home of Virgil and the guardian of Mantegna‘s masterpieces. Other must-see sights include Palazzo Te and the Clock Tower.

It’s about a 10-minute walk from the train station to the centre of Mantua.

7. Milan (Milano)

  • Recommended train: High-speed Trenitalia or Italo service
  • Train station: Milano Centrale
  • Journey time: 75 minutes
illuminated gothic facade of milan cathedral at twilight

Milan may be Italy’s financial hub but it also has a rich cultural heritage.

Like Mantua, its origins go back to the Etruscans, but Milan thrived during the Renaissance heritage. It’s here that you can see Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper, one of the most famous paintings in the history of art.

I saw it more than 30 years ago and still vividly remember the experience.

Milan is renowned for its thriving arts scene and is home to world-class museums like the Pinacoteca di Brera. Milan Cathedral, or Duomo, is one of the world’s greatest examples of Gothic architecture.

As the world’s fashion capital, this is the place for you if you are into your designer clobber (don’t miss Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II). But if your interests verge towards the operatic, add La Scala opera house (Teatro alla Scala) to your itinerary.

Milan’s magnificent Centrale station is a 30-minute walk from  Milan Cathedral and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, or a short ride on the M3 subway line.

Which Train Ticket Should You Buy?

With a few exceptions, I recommend using Trenitalia’s regional express (RV) services.

Broadly speaking, you have a choice of two train operators to take these day trips from Verona: Italo and Trenitalia. You can check prices and timetables across both operators here.

Italo is the new(ish) kid on the block and runs high-speed services along key arteries. Fares are more expensive the closer you get to your date of departure.

Trenitalia runs high-speed Frecciarossa trains and regional (Regionale) services. Like Italo, you need to book ahead to bag a cheaper fare on the Frecciarossa trains.

green and white exterior of a trenord train in italy
A regional train in Italy

The regional express trains (RV) are often considerably cheaper than the Frecciarossa or Italo trains. As prices are fixed, there is no advantage to booking ahead. Simply buy your ticket from the self-service machines at the station or from the app on the day of departure.

This keeps your plans flexible with the acceptable penalty of a marginally longer journey.

One word of warning. Avoid the standard regional (R) services if you have a choice. These cost the same as the Regional Express trains but stop at every stick and gate post.

And That’s a Wrap

I hope this article inspires you to take a day trip from Verona by train. If you would like to learn more about Verona, take a look at these articles:

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About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at hello@theflashpacker.net or follow her on social media.

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