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

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

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 107 Reviews · 3.50h 20 max · Venice, Italy

Only have a few hours to spend on a guided tour in Venice? Then we’ve got you covered. You’ll get skip-the-line entry at both St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace to maximize your time. As an added bonus, you’ll also head to the upper terrace at the basilica, which is an exclusive opportunity many people don’t know they can try. 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 tour of St. Mark's
  • St. Mark's Basilica guided tour
  • The Church of Gold
  • Skip the line tour of Doge's Palace
  • The Giant Staircase
  • The Golden Staircase
  • The Grand Ballroom
  • Prison cells and dungeon
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • 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 before heading up to the more exclusive upper terrace for amazing views of Venice. 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 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
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107 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 107 reviews)
5 stars
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3 stars
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1 stars
01 February 2023
A
Reviewed by
Akeem King

EXCELLENT, HIGHLY RECOMMEND
17 January 2023
M
Reviewed by
Merced Ada

This tour confirmed that I will use The Roman Guy for all future travel! All the planning and details are taken care of and not having to worry about tickets, correct entrances/lines, etc. was very convenient. The customer service is also excellent (I double booked some tours, and they corrected it right away) and regular communication and reminders via text was very easy. Chiara gave us an excellent history primer on Venezia before we started the tours so we had a greater appreciation for the sites, and her knowledge of the sites was also top-notch -- any group would be very lucky to have her as a guide!

10 January 2023
R
Reviewed by
Richard Hendley

Marco was ok.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where to meet?

Between the two big columns in St. Mark’s Square (columns of San Marco & San Teodoro) located on the south side of the square, near the canal. Our friendly representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it. Please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.

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.

Where to meet?

Between the two big columns in St. Mark’s Square (columns of San Marco & San Teodoro) located on the south side of the square, near the canal. Our friendly representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it. Please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.

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.

Total: as low as $128.20

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Reserve Now $142.45 as low as $128.20
$142.45 as low as $128.20
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