Venice Discovery Private Tour

Skip the line at St. Mark's, explore Rialto Bridge, and ride a private boat through the Grand Canal

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 10 Reviews · 3.00h · Venice, Italy

Looking for the best way to discover Venice in just a few hours? This luxury private tour makes it easy! Join your engaging personal Venice guide for a journey through the famous sites and side streets that make this city so enchanting. You’ll skip the line to explore the magnificent St. Marks Basilica, cruise along the Grand Canal on a private boat tour, see St. Mark’s Square and Riato Bridge, and visit local canals that most tourists never see. It’s the perfect introduction to Venice!

  • An ideal introduction to Venice
  • St. Mark's Square
  • Skip the line at St. Mark's Basilica
  • Private tour of the "Church of Gold"
  • The Horses of St. Mark
  • The ultimate view of Venice
  • Rialto Bridge
  • Private Grand Canal boat tour
  • Gondola workshop
  • Explore Venice's local canals

The best way to get to know Venice is with a little local help, and our friendly Venetian guides are ready share their knowledge and show you what this incredible floating city is all about! You'll meet your personal Venice tour guide in beautiful St. Mark’s Square, and in just a few hours you'll discover the best of the city on foot and by boat. As this is a private tour, the pace can be tailored to you and you can ask as many questions as you like!

You'll save valuable time by skipping the line to see the awe-inspiring architecture and art of St Mark's Basilica, take a walking tour through the Rialto neighborhood and the side streets of Venice, and cruise along the Grand Canal on a private motor boat. Benvenuto a Venezia!

Venice Private Walking and Boat Tour Description

Your 3-hour private tour includes:

  • Private walking tour of St. Mark's Square and Venice side streets

  • Skip-the-line tour of St. Mark’s Basilica with special access

  • Explore the Rialto Bridge and neighborhood

  • Private boat tour of the Grand Canal and side canals

  • Your own expert English-speaking guide

Skip the line VIP access is included for St. Mark's Basilica with our local guide from April-October. If you are traveling to Venice between November-March, skip-the-line is not included as the Basilica does not offer this privilege to any operators during these slower months. As it is winter, the crowds are generally fewer and lines are a lot smaller and faster.

St. Mark's Square

You’ll begin your private 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. Your Venice tour guide will introduce you to their city and show you some of the most important sites in the square, and you'll also hear stories of the historic events that once took place here. Home to the magnificent St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bell Tower, and Doge’s Palace, this is the largest and most important piazza in Venice.

Private tour of St. Mark's Basilica

The imposing St. Mark's Basilica is one of Venice’s most jaw-dropping landmarks, so it’s no wonder that the line to get inside can be long. That’s why you’ll enjoy skip-the-line tickets at no extra cost during the busy summer months.

Once inside, it's clear why the basilica is 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. The basilica is so richly outfitted partly due to the conquest of Constantinople. After the city fell in 1204, treasure was shipped back and installed in St. Mark's Basilica. Included in the haul were the four bronze horses and the Pala d’Oro (high altar retable of St. Mark's).

After a brief explanation, your guide will bring you to a restricted area above the main church. Here, you'll see the Horses of St. Mark. These four life-size horses are truly exquisite artifacts with quite the story to tell. Originally, they sat on the front façade of the church, but now reside indoors to aid in their preservation. From here, your guide will escort you to the rooftop terrace to take in one of the most incredible views that Venice has to offer.

Rialto Bridge and Neighborhood

Just a few minutes away from St. Mark’s Square is the Rialto Bridge, as much a symbol of Venice as St. Mark's Basilica. Initially built from old boats, the unstable bridge was rebuilt in 1500. On one side of the bridge is the Rialto Market in the Rialto neighborhood, a place that’s been satisfying appetites for seven centuries. Your guide will lead your through this charming part of Venice and paint a picture of life in this unique Italian city along the way.

Local Campos and Palazzos

Away from the famous squares and landmarks, Venice is a maze of narrow streets, shady campos (small squares) and beautiful old palazzos (palaces). Your private guide will show you some hidden gems on your tour to give you a taste of local Venice that most tourists don't experience, including the ornate Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. You may even find some lovely spots to return to for an evening glass of vino, and your guide will have plenty of tips to share too.

A Private Cruise on the Grand Canal

The winding loops of Venetian canals not only entice travelers to explore Venice by boat, but also make it extremely practical to do so. It surprises many first-time Venice visitors, but Venice's canal network is essentially a direct replacement for roads, and is used every day by many locals. On this tour, cruise through the side canals on a private boat reserved especially for you. This is a great chance to see the wonders and local sights of Venice in style.

You'll see the breathtaking palaces that line the Grand Canal and catch a glimpse of one of the last standing gondola workshops in Venice. Here, you may even be able to see one of these beautiful boats being crafted by hand.

After your luxury boat ride, your tour ends in central Venice. From here you can catch a water taxi back to your hotel, but if you aren't ready to call it a day then ask your guide where the best places to eat and drink in Venice are and they’ll happily point you in the direction of some delicious Venetian cuisine!

Step off the boat to learn more about the rich city of Venice, and allow your guide’s stories of the Venetian people to aid your discovery.

What you get with this tour
Private walking tour of St. Mark's Square and Venice side streets
Skip-the-line tour of St. Mark’s Basilica with special access
Explore the Rialto Bridge and neighborhood
Private boat tour of the Grand Canal and side canals
Your own expert English-speaking guide
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10 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 10 reviews)
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Great way to see and get to know the city
30 June 2023
Reviewed by
bobby seminerio

Our guide Claire was tremendous. Very friendly and extremely knowledgeable! Her ability to tell the stories behind the history of Venice, St Marks, Rialto, and all the other areas we explored really brought the city to life! Would absolutely recommend. The 3+ hours went by very quickly. She was very good with the kids too.

Highly recommended!
11 October 2022
Reviewed by

Our tour guide Sara was fantastic! Very accommodating to anything we asked or wanted to do. She even steered us to a great restaurant. Very knowledgeable and thorough. Excellent tour through St. Mark's Basilica and around Venice. And I agree with some other posters here that the private motorboat tour was the best part. Up and down lots of canals and under lots of bridges (some so low I had to duck my head down) with lots of sightseeing and points of interest. A great way to tour the city!

No better way to see Venice
29 September 2019
Reviewed by
Unverified Review

The boat ride was by far the best part of this tour but I also loved seeing St. Mark's Basilica. Our guide Giulia gave us a wonderful introduction to the artwork on the outside and on the inside too and it was beautiful to see all of the gold accents that make it so unique. We went through a lot of the canals by boat which really was incredible to see how people live there. Thanks for a wonderful tour!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

Comfortable shoes, a bottle of water, and something to cover the knees and shoulders for St. Mark's Basilica. Sunscreen is essential in the Venetian summer. Don't bring large backpacks or bags, they are not always allowed inside St. Mark's Basilica.

I'm trying to book but I don't see any availability. What should I do?

If you are trying to book up to two weeks in advance, the website will show no availability. However, feel free to contact us and we'll do our best to accommodate you.

I have doubts about my mobility. Is this the right tour for me?

If you have reduced mobility, it's a good idea to take this private Venice tour. The itinerary is much more flexible and easily modified than a small group tour.

What should I wear?

Since St. Mark's is a sacred place, both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders. Otherwise, you may be refused entry to a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Venice are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary. Remember to wear comfortable shoes, you'll be walking plenty on this tour of Venice.

Does the tour always skip the line?

Skip the line access to St Mark's is offered during busier months. During November through March, St. Mark's Basilica does not offer skip the line entry to tour groups. This is because the lines are generally non-existent.

What to bring?

Comfortable shoes, a bottle of water, and something to cover the knees and shoulders for St. Mark's Basilica. Sunscreen is essential in the Venetian summer. Don't bring large backpacks or bags, they are not always allowed inside St. Mark's Basilica.

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