Padua, known locally as Padova, is home to the second oldest university in Italy, fantastic frescoed churches, and plazas and piazzas. Located just 30 minutes by train from Venice, Padua is a great home-based for visiting the areas many sites, villages, and wineries.
Places to Stay: Padua has a large selection of lodgings-- from multi-story hotels to bed and breakfasts. Given that the city is so walkable, most of the lodgings in central Padua are conveniently located to the sites and train station.
Eats: Padova, like many Italian cities, has lots of small restaurants. Some are tucked down little alleys and others face the grad plazas. Regardless, you are bound to get a great meal!
Note that locals love to get a drink in the pre-dinner hours. Many young adults can be seen drinking a "Spritz" while chatting with friends and nibbling on a cheese plate.
Here are two of our favorite places to eat:
Good to Knows: These are a few tidbits that are just helpful (or fun) to know!
Obviously, most people in Padua speak Italian. While some (not all) hotel staff, restaurant staff, and train station help desk speak English, Tested Travel found that many did not. Even for those who do speak English, we found it very helpful to have a few phrases -- good morning, please, thank you, what is this, how much, etc. A little Italian will go a long way!
Getting from Venice airport to Padua is pretty straightforward. The easiest thing to do it to take the bus from the airport to Pauda. After leaving the baggage claim area, look for the transportation desks. Stop at one and ask for the bus to Padua, they will point you to the BusItalia desk. Here you can buy a ticket and get directions to the bus stop (located just outside). This bus will take you to the train station in Padua. You can also view the bus schedule here.
Padua does have a bus and light rail system. Tested Travel found that Padua is very easily walkable and did not use public transportation while in Padua.
We did, however, use the train to go on day trips to Venice and Verona. Trains run frequently and the schedule is pretty easy to figure out at the train station or online at TrenItalia.
Note that the online transportation searches require you to use the Italian names for cities (Padova instead of Pauda, for example).
Padua makes for a great home base for this area of Iltay (the Veneto). Day trips Tested Travel took:
- Venice -- rather than stay in the crowded and very expensive Venice, stay in Padua and take a 1/2 hour train to Venice. The Venice train station stops right on the end of this very small, walkable town. Trains run about every 20 minutes (depending on the day and time of year) between Padua and Venice.
- Verona -- Verona makes for a terrific day trip! Only about 45 minutes by train, Verona is home to Roman ruins, Romeo and Juliette references, cute side streets and cafes, and ancient bridges.
Italians have many great loves -- coffee and candy are just two of them!
While in Padua you will see people grabbing a coffee at all times of days. Mostly they are having a quick espresso -- while standing at the coffee bar (if you sit at a table, the coffee cost more). If you have a taste fancy coffee, be sure to make your way to Pedrocchi Cafe -- home of a minty coffee and historic site of student uprisings.
Padua also has a giant two-story candy store "ODStore." While this is not the high end, made today chocolate shop (which also exist in Padua), it is the home of every kind of candy you can possibly imagine -- chocolate bars, hard candies, gummy candies, candy in fancy boxes, candy you can wear. This was a great stop to load up on treats to bring home!
Padua is a very walkable town. Tested Travel loved strolling around town and taking side streets just to see the cute architecture, shops, and people going about their business.