St. Mark's Basilica and Venice City Tour with Gondola Ride

See the best of Venice and enjoy a classic gondola ride in just a few hours

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 61 Reviews · 2.50h 18 max · Venice, Italy

Short on time, but want to see the essential sights of Venice and experience an iconic gondola ride? This shorter Venice city tour was made for you! Join a small group and engaging local guide as you visit historic St. Mark’s Square, skip the line at St. Mark’s Basilica, stroll across the Rialto Bridge, and finish with a memorable gondola ride along the canals. It’s the perfect, bite-sized introduction to the Floating City.

Tour Details
  • A bite-sized introduction to Venice
  • St. Mark’s Square
  • St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Explore Venetian piazzas
  • Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
  • Rialto Bridge and Grand Canal
  • Stroll through the Rialto District
  • Venice's quieter side
  • Traditional gondola ride
  • Photos to last a lifetime

You’ll meet up with your local guide and the rest of your group in the famous St. Mark’s Square, where your quick tour of Venice’s highlights begins. The next stop is St. Mark’s Basilica—one of the world’s most beautiful churches. During the summer, enjoy skip-the-line tickets so you can head straight in to see the stunning interior and learn its fascinating history from your guide.

After exploring the historic Rialto Bridge and neighborhood, along with some of Venice’s hidden gems along the way, you’ll hop on a traditional gondola for a gentle cruise through the watery streets of Venice.

Venice City Tour Description

Your 2.5-hour tour includes:

  • St. Mark’s Square introduction 

  • Skip-the-line entry to St. Mark's Basilica

  • Rialto Bridge and neighborhood

  • A traditional gondola ride

  • A maximum group size of 8

  • A fun, English-speaking local guide 

St. Mark's Square

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. Home to the magnificent St. Mark’s Basilica, the Bell Tower, and Doge’s Palace, this is the biggest piazza in Venice. Your Venice tour guide will show you some of the most important sites in the square and tell stories of the historic events that took place here.

After meeting up with your fellow Venetian visitors and guide, it's time to head to St. Mark’s Basilica. As this is one of the most visited landmarks in Venice, long lines are expected in summer months. However, this Venice walking tour includes skip-the-line tickets so you don't waste your valuable time.

St. Mark's Basilica

St Mark's 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).

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.

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.

Local Palazzos and Campos

Away from the famous squares and landmarks, Venice is a maze of narrow streets, shady campos (small squares) and beautiful old palazzos (palaces). Your guide will show you some hidden gems on your tour to give you a taste of local Venice, including the ornate Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. You may even find some lovely spots to return to for an evening glass of vino.

Venice Gondola Ride

Now, it's time to enjoy the beauty of Venice from the water on a 30-minute gondola ride. The privilege of working as a gondolier is not taken lightly. In fact, Venice only awards a limited number of licenses per year.

Your gondola ride ends a few minutes' walk from St. Mark’s Square, where your tour began. From here, catch a water taxi back to your hotel. If you aren't ready to call it a day, 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.

What you get with this tour
St. Mark’s Square introduction
Skip-the-line entry to St. Mark's Basilica
Rialto Bridge and neighborhood
A traditional gondola ride
A maximum group size of 8
A fun, English-speaking local guide
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61 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 61 reviews)
5 stars
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3 stars
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1 stars
Fantastic
11 August 2022
T
Reviewed by
Thomas McNamara

Marco was great!! Skip the lines are ideal!!

Our guide was very knowledgeable , it was extremely helpful having radio transmitters so we can hear our guide clearly
07 August 2022
J
Reviewed by
Joanne Donaldson

The gondola at the end was perfect! I wish I knew I could have chosen the second part of the tour but never saw that option.

Excellent
06 August 2022
F
Reviewed by
Femi Awodele

Great lead tour person

show more reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to meet?

Between the two big columns San Marco and San Teodoro located on the south side of the St. Mark’s Square, near the canal. A representative will be there holding a sign with The Tour Guy name on it. Please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.

What to bring?

Walking shoes, a water bottle, and something to cover your knees and shoulders for St Mark's Basilica. Sunscreen is also recommended in the summer.

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

This is primarily a walking tour and there will be some uneven streets and stairways along the way. You’ll also need to climb aboard a gondola. If you have any doubts about your mobility, we suggest taking a private Venice tour so your needs can be better accommodated.

What should I wear?

St. Mark's is a sacred place, so 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, so think light trousers or long skirts, or a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

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?

Walking shoes, a water bottle, and something to cover your knees and shoulders for St Mark's Basilica. Sunscreen is also recommended in the summer.

Where to meet?

Between the two big columns San Marco and San Teodoro located on the south side of the St. Mark’s Square, near the canal. A representative will be there holding a sign with The Tour Guy name on it. Please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.

Where does the tour end?

Your tour will end at the canal near St. Mark's Square. This leaves you in the best place to either continue exploring Venice or hail a water taxi to take you back to your hotel.

Is lunch included on this tour?

No, but you'll have a 1-hour break to find delicious food. We're happy to recommend one of our favorite spots, but your guide is sure to point you in the right direction too.

Total: $72.40

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