The Doge's Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica Terraces Skip-the-Line Tour

Uncover the storied history of Venice’s most iconic landmarks including the top of the Basilica

Travel Flexibly · 2.30h · Venice, Italy

The Doge's Palace and St Mark's Basilica are incredible sights to behold, but did you know their true allure lies hidden beneath their majestic facades? On this immersive tour, join an expert guide to discover exquisite paintings, walk the Bridge of Sighs, unravel the stories portrayed in golden mosaics, and take in expansive views from the Basilica's terrace. Choose between special early entry and skip-the-line tickets and experience Venice's most profound sites.

  • Meeting point at Doge's Palace​
  • Doge's Palace​
  • Giant's Staircase​
  • Palace interior​
  • Bridge of Sights​
  • St. Mark's Basilica​
  • Pala d'Oro​
  • Basilica's Terrace​
  • End at the Basilica​

Your journey into Venice’s storied past begins at the awe-inspiring Doge’s Palace, and with skip-the-line tickets in hand, you’ll head inside in no time. If you choose the morning departure, you will be inside before it’s even open to the general public. Take in the interior's majestic courtyard, adorned with perfect arches and detailed stonework, and the famous Giants' Staircase and Bridge of Sighs, all while enjoying the palace's quiet elegance devoid of crowds.

The second half of your journey features St. Mark's Basilica, and again, with skip-the-line tickets, you'll bypass the queues and quickly find yourself standing under striking gold mosaics. Continue up to the Basilica's terrace, where expansive vistas of Venice are met with up-close views of the Basilica's exterior sculptures and mosaics, before bidding farewell to your expert guide.

Doge's Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica Skip-the-Line Tour Description

Your tour includes:

  • Professional guide

  • Fast-track tickets to Doge's Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica

  • Guided tour of Doge’s Palace featuring the Giants’ Staircase and the Bridge of Sighs

  • Guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica

  • Access to Basilica’s terrace

  • Audio headsets

  • Small group size for a more personalized experience

Meet at The Doge’s Palace

Your tour begins in front of the Doge’s Palace, where you’ll meet your expert guide and fellow travelers. Take a moment to pause and admire the palace's intriguing Gothic architecture, which dates back to 1340 when it served as the residence of the Doge of Venice (the supreme authority of the Republic). Since, it has housed central government, courts, and prisons, been repurposed for administrative use, and then in 1923, transformed into the museum you’ll be exploring this morning. Speaking of which, with special early access tickets in hand, it’s time to head inside before the doors are opened to the general public and take in the grand Venetian Gothic architecture and Renaissance artistry before the crowds arrive.

Guided Tour of the Doge’s Palace

Once inside, your guided tour of the Doge’s Palace begins. You’ll start with the grand courtyard, admiring its elegant arches and intricate stonework. Continue up the Giants' Staircase, flanked by imposing statues of Mars and Neptune, and tune in as your guide shares tales of the palace's storied past—-such as the dramatic rise and fall of the Venetian Republic and the political intrigues that took place within these walls.

Next, meander through the vast halls, such as the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, and take in enormous paintings by masters like Tintoretto and Veronese. Your guide will also lead you through the Doge's private apartments, showcasing opulent furnishings and exquisite artworks. Finally, cross the famous Bridge of Sighs, which connects the palace to the prison, the dark cells where Venetian prisoners were once held.

Continue to St. Mark’s Basilica

After exploring the Doge’s Palace, follow your guide on the short walk to St. Mark’s Basilica. Soon, you’ll be met by the breathtaking exterior of St. Mark’s Basilica, which features five grand domes and an abundance of intricate mosaics. Built in the 11th century, the basilica has long served as a symbol of the city’s religious and political power, and with helpful insights from your guide, you’ll learn how the striking marble columns, gilded statues, and stunning bronze horses reflect the city's connection to both Eastern and Western art.

Skip-the-Line Entry to St. Mark’s Basilica

By now, you’ll have noticed the long queue of people waiting to head inside, but not to worry—with skip-the-line tickets, you’ll step directly into the awe-inspiring interior of St. Mark’s Basilica. As you enter, be prepared to be amazed by the stunning gold mosaics that cover the ceilings and walls, telling biblical stories with intricate detail. Your guide will explain the meaning of these mosaics and how they reflect Venice’s deep religious heritage. You'll also admire the Pala d'Oro, a magnificent golden altarpiece encrusted with precious gems, and learn about its creation and importance. Additionally, tune in as your guide shares fascinating stories about the basilica's construction, its role in Venetian history, and the religious significance of the relics housed within.

Enjoy Access to Basilica’s Terrace

Following the tour of the magnificent interior, your guide will lead you to the Basilica’s terrace. From this elevated vantage point, you'll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of Venice. Take in the bustling Piazza San Marco below, seek out the serene island of San Giorgio, and admire the iconic Campanile towering above. Then, turn your gaze to the stunning mosaics and intricate sculptures that adorn the basilica’s exterior, which are even more impressive up close.

When you’ve taken it all in, it’s alas time to bid farewell to your guide and fellow group members. There’s no need to hurry off, though. Feel free to spend more time in the Basilica, or take the opportunity to pick your guide’s brain for new and exciting things to do in Venice. Either way, you’ll no doubt be ready to tackle the rest of your Venetian stay with a newfound appreciation for the city’s storied past.

What you get with this tour
Friendly, English-speaking guide
Group size of 10
Skip the line entry tickets
Doge’s Palace
Giants’ Staircase, Bridge of Sighs and more
St. Mark’s Basilica
Basilica’s terrace
Guide gratuity
Pick up
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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

Starting and ending point

This tour starts in front of the Doge’s Palace, and ends at St. Mark’s Basilica.

Is this tour run by The Tour Guy?

No, this tour is operated by one of our trusted and vetted partners in Venice.

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

While the majority of Doge's Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica are wheelchair accessible, there are areas that can be difficult to navigate. If you have any doubts about your mobility, please let us know beforehand.

What happens if it rains?

We run this tour rain or shine. If the weather is extremely bad and either site is closed, we'll inform you as soon as possible.

Is there any chance my tour might be canceled?

On the rare occasions the tour is canceled, we'll inform you as soon as possible and work together on al alternative date or a refund.

Is there a dress code to enter the Doge's Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica?

Yes, there is a dress code to join this tour. Please avoid wearing sandals, hats, shorts, skirts, or tops that expose your shoulders.

Do Doge's Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica ever experience sudden closures?

During adverse weather events or due to maintenance or safety reasons, Doge's Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica may be closed unexpectedly and without much notice. If this occurs, we will let you know as soon as possible.

Is lunch or dinner included in the price of the tour?

No,, but our knowledgeable guides will happily point out excellent places to eat after your tour.

Can I bring my kids, and do I have to pay for them?

All ages are welcome on our Doge's Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica tour, and we offer a discounted rate for children. Please choose accordingly during the booking.

Does this tour include hotel pickup?

No, hotel pickup is not included on this tour. You'll meet your guide outside the Doge’s Palace.

Where does this tour end?

This tour ends inside St. Mark’s Basilica. You're welcome to stay as long as you like and continue your exploration at your leisure.

What should I bring?

It's always smart to wear comfortable shoes since you'll be on your feet for most of the tour. A good camera or smartphone with a camera is also recommended.

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