Venice In A Day With St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, & Gondola Ride

7.5 hours

Max 12

351 reviews

If you only have a short time in the Floating City, our comprehensive Venice In A Day Tour is a good start. Following a knowledgeable local guide you'll explore the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica with skip the line access; take to the canals for a gondola ride; and get a real sense of the city on a relaxed city stroll.

One of Venice's oldest spice shops harken's back to the city's distant past as one of the major spice importers of Europe. Venice is full of surprises, like this loggia with beautiful frescoes. The lovely, and very unique Rialto Bridge. You'll learn the history of Venice from your local guide as you explore its winding streets. Don't forget to look up every so often to enjoy some of the most unique streets in Europe. Our guides always bring visual aids to help you understand the layout of the city and its unique architecture. Exploring hidden canals in a gondola. The Grand Canal by gondola. St. Mark's Square. The facade of St. Mark's Cathedral includes four bronze horses that were taken from Constantinople, though today they are recreations - the originals are kept inside. Walking into the Doge's Palace feels like entering a world within a world in Venice. Expect a lot of rooms like this in the Doge's Palace. The story of Venice took place on these very stones. When it came to decoration, the Doges of Venice were not particularly understated. The wealth that built the Doge's Palace came from a shipping empire that spanned the entire Mediterranean Sea. Take a close look at the Bridge of Sighs. The view from inside the Bridge of Sighs.
  • Sites Visited
  • St. Mark's Basilica
  • Gondola ride
  • St. Mark's Square
  • Doge's Palace
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Rialto Bridge
  • Rialto Fish Market
  • House of Marco Polo (from outside)
  • Church of Miracles (from outside)
  • & much more
  • Tour Includes
  • Skip the line Access St. Mark’s Basilica tickets
  • Special access to the terraces of St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Skip the line Access Doge’s Palace tickets
  • Gondola Ride
  • Guided city stroll
  • Expert local guide
  • Small group of 12 people or fewer

Take a day to explore Venice; by land & water!

Venice is a city packed with unique history and culture, but if you only have a short amount of time to experience it the best way is through our Venice in a Day Tour.

Your day starts early, near the Rialto Bridge, where you'll learn how the city literally grew from the mud of the lagoon. You'll learn to identify the ways that its sea-borne origins have influenced history and culture. Nowhere is this demonstrated better than at the bustling Rialto Fish Market, where you'll see professional chefs mixing with home cooks, competing for some of the freshest fish you'll ever see.

From there you'll stroll through the backstreets of Venice, passing quiet piazzas and picturesque bridges, occasionally stopping at landmarks like the childhood home of Marco Polco, or popping into churches, like San Giovanni Gristosomo, to see paintings by Venetian masters Bellini and Sebastiano del Piombo. Along the way your guide will regail you with local history and lore to give you a feel for how Venice has evolved into the present day, and how this centuries-old society has survived for so long.

If you really want to see how the locals live, you have to hop on a boat. That's why this tour includes a 30-minute gondola ride that takes you through both busy thoroughfares and quieter, residential canals. In this way, you can see Venice the way it was meant to be seen: From the water.

After a break for lunch, during which your guide will give you recommendations on where to eat, you'll meet again in St. Mark's Square and stroll into St. Mark's Basilica with pre-reserved, Skip the Line tickets. This enormous church is one of the most unique and awe-inspiring in Italy. As you explore it, your guide will explain how a Byzantine-style building came to be Venice's greatest landmark, while pointing out some of the more unique stories featured in the golden mosaics that cover the ceilings.

Finally, you'll hop across St. Mark's Square to the Doge's Palace, which was once the political nerve center for an empire that stretched across the Mediterranean and into Asia. It was in this building that the Doge, or Duke of Venice lived and where he lorded over an empire of immense wealth but almost no actual land. This wealth is on display all through the palace in ornate decorations, and beautiful paintings by Venetian masters like Veronese and Bellini. You'll also get to see parts of the palace that weren't as nice, like the prisons, and the inside of the Bridge of Sighs.

With a small group of 12 people or fewer and a passionate local guide to give you the background on what you're seeing and answer all your questions, this is a terrific way to pack a lot of sightseeing into a small amount of time, and to see a side of Venice that most visitors miss.

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351 Verified Reviews

The tour was very enjoyable, everything that the advertising had lead us to expect.

The guide did a great job, getting the balance right between giving us plenty of information without overdoing the talking part. It was a long and tiring day, but a great way to get the most out of the city if you have limited time.

We really enjoyed the tour.

Our guide was friendly and informative. He explained things very well and answered all of our questions. It was nice to see areas of the city that we wouldn't have had time to see on our own and also to take a gondola ride.

FAQ

Does my guide accompany me on the gondola ride?
No. During your gondola ride you will be alone with maximum 5 other people and your Venetian gondoliere. This experience is much better as quiet time. Just sit back, relax and soak up the beauty of the city's canals.
What if the weather is bad (rain, snow, hail, etc.) on the day of my tour?
Our tours run rain or shine so please dress for the elements. We also ask you to please remember hats and sunscreen if you are taking this tour in the summer as it might be very hot.
Does the Doge's Palace accommodate wheelchair users?
The Doge’s Palace is not wheelchair-friendly. Some parts are accessible, but the Secret Rooms, Prisons, and Armory and not. Our route, in particular, is not wheelchair-friendly so we do not recommend that wheelchair users take this tour.
Does St. Mark's Basilica have a dress code?
Yes. Because it is a holy place, St. Mark's Basilica insists that both men and women wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees. They can and will refuse entry to anyone who does not meet this standard and we can't do anything about it, so come prepared.
Can I take a bag with me into St. Mark's Basilica?
You can only take small bags into St. Mark's. Anything bigger than a purse - backpacks or luggage - is prohibited. There is no coat check either, so do not bring any large bags with you.
What can I bring into the Doge's Palace?
You are permitted to enter the Doge's Palace with handbags and small backpacks. But any large backpacks or luggage are not permitted inside. You have to check them in the cloakroom.
Is lunch included on this tour?
No. But your guide is always happy to offer you plenty of recommendations for great places to eat in the vicinity that will suit any price point.
Can I take a gondola ride if I use a wheelchair?
No. Unfortunately, gondolas are not wheelchair accessbile.

The Perfect Guide, Every Time

We take care to assign our guides to the perfect tour for their particular skill set; so you’ll always have the perfect companion for your experience. Here are a few of the guides that regularly lead this tour.

Stefano

VENICE, EUROPE

One of Venice's many talented architects, Stefano has turned in love of form and structure into being a master tour guide.