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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our most affordable tours compromise on group size (up to 25), not quality.
The most affordable way to visit St Mark's Basilica & the Doge's Palace, with skip the line access and groups of 20.
Silver tours have small groups & skip the line access, guaranteed.
See the city from a local point of view on this relaxed walking tour, uncovering the history and culture of the city, ending with a gondola ride & St Mark's Basilica.