St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge’s Palace Half-Day Tour with Gondola Ride

Explore St. Mark's Square's most iconic attractions with skip-the-line tickets and an expert guide

Travel Flexibly 4.9 / 5 See All 302 Reviews · 3.50h · Venice, Italy

Only have a few hours to spend on a guided tour in Venice? Then we have you covered. You’ll get skip-the-line entry at both St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace to maximize your time while you learn about the incredible centuries-old histories of these remarkable monuments. Then finish off with a must-do gondola ride in the Grand Canal. Your day in Venice can’t get much more perfect!

  • Skip the Line
  • Skip the line tour of Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica
  • Skip-the-line entry and guided tour of Doge’s Palace
  • The Golden Staircase
  • The Grand Ballroom
  • Prison cells and dungeon
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Skip-the-line entry and guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica
  • The Church of Gold
  • 30-Minute Gondola Ride

You’ll meet up with your local guide and the rest of your group in the famous St. Mark’s Square near the two columns by the canal. Skip the long lines at St. Mark’s so you can get right inside to learn about this magnificent golden church. Then explore the Doge’s Palace where you’ll see the golden staircase, prisons, and Bridge of Sighs. Finally, your guide will escort you to your gondola ride that might just become your favorite activity of the day!

St. Mark’s, Doge’s Palace, and Gondola Tour Description

Your 3.5-hour tour includes:

  • Skip-the-line entry and guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica

  • Skip-the-line entry and guided tour of Doge’s Palace

  • 30-minute gondola ride

  • Maximum group size of 20

  • A local, English-speaking guide

St. Mark’s Basilica

You’ll begin your tour of Venice in St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, which is perhaps one of the most famous public squares in the world. Then follow your guide past the crowds for your skip-the-line entry into St. Mark’s Basilica to see why it’s nicknamed the “Church of Gold”. With over 45,000 square feet of gilded mosaics constructed over eight centuries, the interior of St. Mark's Basilica is unlike anything you've ever seen.

Please note that St. Mark's is a sacred place, so we ask both men and women to cover knees and shoulders, otherwise you might be refused entry and you’ll miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Venice can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs

The Gothic building right next to St. Mark’s Basilica is the infamous Doge’s Palace that has a storied past of tyranny, torture, and an iron fist of rulers. From the 15th to 18th centuries, the Doges of Venice lived and ruled from this palace that includes paintings from Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese.

The interior of the Doge's Palace is grand to say the least. Inside you’ll find marble fireplaces, friezes and stucco adorning the walls. Some works of art stand out over the rest, including iconic pieces by Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese, and your guide will explain the stories and interpretations behind the art. You'll also pass through the awe-inspiring Great Council Chamber, which is one of the largest rooms in Europe and the place where the most important decisions were discussed.

One of the palace's most impressive features is the Golden Staircase, considered the most valuable staircase ever built. It connects the first floor of the palace to the third, where the Doge's offices were located. Your guide will show you the grand offices from which Venice was ruled for centuries, including the rooms that housed the powerful Council of Ten—the city's governing body.

Linking the palace to the prison cells, you'll cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). Prisoners walked across this enclosed bridge before spending years or even the remainder of their lives behind bars. If that wasn’t enough to sigh about, look out from the small windows carved into the bridge that once offered convicts their last glimpse of beautiful Venice. That's plenty to sigh about. 

Traditional Gondola Ride

You might think it’s a super touristy thing to do—and it is—but taking a gondola ride through the Venetian canals really is a fun activity. Actually, it’s a must-do. That’s why it’s included on this tour to make sure your time in Venice is filled with the best opportunities. Enjoy lazily gliding through the canal while your gondolier poses for photos or even serenades you!

What you get with this tour
Skip the line tickets
Passionate English-speaking guide
Gondola Ride
St. Mark's Basilica
Doge's Palace
Bridge of Sighs
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302 total reviews

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4.9/5 (based on 302 reviews)
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Incredible tour experience
23 April 2024
A
Reviewed by
Andrew Ross

We had Elaina as a tour guide and had a great experience. She has so much knowledge on Venice history and clearly is passionate about what she does. We had rainy weather the day of our tour but Elaina did everything she could to ensure our comfort while maintaining the tour.

Good value for money very enjoyable
23 April 2024
R
Reviewed by
RUTE ALARCAO

We had a great experience on this tour, our guide was knowledgeable and friendly and fun. A pity we ran a bit late starting and then had to go through certain areas rather fast. The radio audio is a great plus as you don't have to be right next to the guid to hear her.

21 April 2024
T
Reviewed by
Tom Borkowski

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes, a camera, and a water bottle. Large bags and backpacks are not allowed and will have to be checked before entering the Doge's Palace. It's best to leave them at your hotel if possible.

What to bring?

We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes, a camera, and a water bottle. Large bags and backpacks are not allowed and will have to be checked before entering the Doge's Palace. It's best to leave them at your hotel if possible.

What if I have concerns about my mobility on this tour?

This is a walking tour that includes several sets of stairs, and you will be on your feet for most of the 3.5 hours.

Does this tour skip the line?

During the busy months, this tour has skip-the-line access. When there are fewer crowds in the winter, St. Mark's doesn't offer skip-the-line access, but the lines aren't long.

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