Best of Venice and Gondola tour
- Duration: 3 Hours (approx.)
- Location: Venice
- Product code: VE-BG-G-E
Skip the line to Saint Mark’s Basilica, and enjoy a leisurely gondola ride
Nowhere else on the planet is quite like Venice. Our two-and-a-half-hour best of Venice Tour shows off the grandeur and mystique of this once powerful maritime republic from two entirely different perspectives. First, we’ll seek out the Floating City’s most sought-after sights on foot, enjoying skip-the-line entrance to spectacular Saint Mark’s Basilica, as well as special access to the Basilica’s terrace. We’ll also explore some lesser-known corners of the city where the essence of Venetian living is writ large, before hitting the canals for that most quintessential of Venetian experiences, an unforgettable gondola ride to explore the city’s beauty from the water.
9:00 am and 1:30 pm
Approx. 2.45 hours
April to November
What's Included in this tour:
Expert, English-speaking tour guide
Small groups of 24 people or less
Skip-the-Line access to Saint Mark’s Basilica
Entrance ticket to the terraces of Saint Mark’s Basilica
30-minute shared gondola ride
All entrance tickets & reservation fees
Dedicated audio headsets so you don't miss a thing
Sites visited on this tour:
Saint Mark’s Basilica (inside and out)
Terraces of Saint Mark’s Basilica
View of Grand Canal
Marco Polo’s house (outside)
Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo
Campo SM Formosa
Bridge of Sighs
Columns of San Marco and the Lion of Venice
Your tour itinerary
Stop 1: Meet your guide
Meet your local expert guide in the city center for the first portion of the tour exploring the city on foot. As you weave your way around the twisting back streets, cobbled courtyards and small arched bridges, your expert guide will regale you with tales from Venice’s colorful past. You’ll discover why the city was built on a lagoon, how it came to be an important center of trade and what events conspired to end its domination over much of the Mediterranean.
Stop 2: Marco Polo’s house and the Bridge of Sighs
You’ll walk by Marco Polo’s house and hear about how the Venetian merchant set off to sea one day and returned with tales of faraway eastern lands that in those days, few had ever seen. You’ll stroll across the church and palace-lined piazzas of Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo and Campo Santa Maria Formosa. This is where Byzantine, Renaissance, and modern elements fuse together their timeless portraits of the city, and also glimpse the fabled Bridge of Sighs, which are said to be named after the sighing prisoners as they were escorted across the canal to the cells of the adjacent prison.
Stop 3: Saint Marks Basilica with Skip-the-Line Access
After marveling at the elegance of Saint Mark’s Square, which Napoleon fondly described as the “finest drawing room in all of Europe,” we’ll breeze past the entry lines and head straight into Saint Mark’s Basilica. Together with your guide, you’ll uncover the diverse treasures inside the basilica, including the dazzling gold-laden mosaics that adorn its domed interior and ceilings. Having saved ourselves precious time with skip-the-line access, we’ll also manage to squeeze in a climb up to the famous terraces of Saint Mark’s. Rarely included on guided tours, these terraces offer beautiful views over the piazza and the rooftops beyond.
Stop 4: Gondola Ride down the Venetian Canals
Next, our representative will accompany you to the Gondola Station, where you’ll begin our 30-minute gondola tour of the waterways with a real local gondolier. We’ll start on Venice’s main thoroughfare, the much-traveled Grand Canal, where we’ll see such sights as Santa Maria della Salute Church, a 17th-century Baroque building constructed by lucky plague survivors to thank God for sparing their lives. Next, we’ll veer off down the quieter minor canals where we’ll float lazily by more iconic city sights and under its famous bridges. You will catch views of the dazzling Fenice Opera House and Theatre, the former home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Venice, the magnificent Church of San Moisè and the gothic style Bauer Palace.