Venice tours

Best tours in Venice

Soak up the history, architecture and artwork in Venice with a variety of tours to choose from. Take the chance to visit the quieter – but just as vibrant – islands of Murano and Burano, steeped in traditional skillware and lagoon-side living. In fact, touring Venice by water is one of the best ways to see the city; with numerous gondola rides to choose from, you can also take a hop-on hop-off boat tour to create your own itinerary, or simply cruise beneath the famed Bridge of Sighs after you’ve taken an extensive tour of the surrounding grounds of the Doge’s Palace and Prisons.

  1. Boat trip to Murano and Burano
  2. Doge’s Palace & St Mark’s Basilica tour
  3. Rialto Market lunch tour
  4. Hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat tour
  5. Doge’s Palace and Prison Tour

If you’re browsing cheap holidays to Venice , hiring a tour is a great way to combine sightseeing with cutting down on travel costs!

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Rough Guides

1. Boat trip to Murano and Burano

To see a colourful and traditional side of Venice, take a guided boat trip tour of Murano and Burano islands. This four-hour boat tour travels along the Venetian Lagoon with designated stops and enough time to enjoy the small islands at your own leisure. In Murano, you can pay a visit to the workshops which display the skills of the impressive, traditional glassblowers, while in Burano you can appreciate the brightly-coloured houses, each small lagoon-side building a different shade from its neighbour. While you pass by the humdrum of activity and cute landscapes, your guide will explain the history and culture of the two spots.

Best for Quieter spots from Venice.

Top tip: Some tours also include stop off at Torcello, popular for its cute landscapes.

2. Doge’s Palace & St Mark’s Basilica tour

The combo Doge’s Palace & St Mark’s Basilica tour is one of the best Venice tours to take, not only because it’s in the heart of the city, but because you get to skip the queue – and we all know how popular a place Venice can be. Led by an expert guide, you’ll be navigated through two iconic landmarks, the impressive Doge’s Palace domineering St Mark’s Basilica, and stroll along the equally popular St Mark’s Square. You’ll learn all about the Byzantine architecture of the Basilica, the dark history of Doge’s Palace and discover who is buried in the Basilica.

Best for: Impressive history.

Top tip: Some tours give you extra access that is usually restricted to the general public.

3. Rialto Market lunch tour

This is the tour for those who want to try everything on the menu but never have enough time. The four-hour walking tour around Rialto Market is not only great for lunch, but for passing by key sights as well as lesser-known areas. The Rialto Market sits by the Rialto Bridge and Grand Canal, and starts early every day (excluding Sundays) at around 7.30am, finishing around 1pm. Your guide will walk you through the market, explaining the history and lesser-known tasteful delights of Italian and Venetian food, with regular stop-offs at various vendors to try everything. Taste the traditional and unique snacks, including peoci (mussels), bigoli (pasta) and risotto.

Best for: Eating your way around Venice.

Top tip: As well as food, you’re also visiting a historic institution; the market has been going since 1097.

4. Hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat tour

It’s not difficult to be indecisive in Venice: what to see? Where to start? But jumping on (and off) a sightseeing boat tour that you get to stay in control of exactly what and how much you want to see, all while receiving a narrated guided tour all the time you’re on board. This type of tour is great for those looking to be flexible with their time and options, as there’s no rush to how long you spend in one place; the full tour takes two hours in total, but this is a great way to make a day (or longer) of your time in Venice, particularly if you want to get off at most stops.

Best for: Touring the city at your own pace.

Top tip: A great way to cover Venice’s top sights and attractions by water.

5. Doge’s Palace and Prison Tour

Take in the gloomy mystery of the Doge’s Palace and Prison tour with your expert guide to lead the way. During the tour, your guide will lead you through the ornate public rooms of the Doge’s Palace, as you learn all about the powerful rulers who resided and took charge of the city. Alongside the impressive history, there’s Renaissance artwork to take in, some of which are masterpieces by the likes of Tintoretto. After seeing and learning as much about the Palace as possible, your tour moves onto the gloomy prison quarters, where you’ll find out more about the prisoners’ equally gloomy fates. Your tour ends by crossing the white-marble Bridge of Sighs, one of the most photographed spots in Venice – despite its depressing background.

Best for: The political powerhouse of Venetian history.

Top tip: Take a gondola ride under the bridge for a different view – and slightly less crowds.

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