Private Venice Highlights Tour with Gondola Ride

Join your own expert guide to discover St. Mark’s Basilica, Rialto Bridge, and Venice's hidden gems

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 17 Reviews · 2.50h · Venice, Italy

Want to get acquainted with the wonders of Venice without it taking all day? This short but jam-packed tour is just the answer! With your very own private Venetian guide, you’ll skip the line to explore incredible St. Mark’s Basilica, stroll across the famous Rialto Bridge, and see some of the hidden highlights that most tourists miss. And of course, no Venice vacation would be complete without an iconic gondola ride! It’s the ideal way to experience Venice in just a few hours!

  • Bite-sized private Venice tour
  • St. Mark's Square
  • Skip the line at St. Mark's Basilica
  • Hidden gems of Venice
  • Venetian "campos"
  • Rialto Bridge & Grand Canal
  • Rialto neighborhood
  • Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
  • Private gondola ride
  • A perfect introduction to Venice!

You'll meet your private Venetian guide in the famous St. Mark's Square, and after a stroll around the square's highlights you'll head to the entrance of beautiful St. Mark's Basilica. With skip-the-line tickets, your guide will lead you straight inside for a private tour of the iconic Church of Gold.

Afterwards, you'll enjoy a walking tour tailored to your ideal pace. You'll pass famous sites like Rialto Bridge, as well as charming side streets and hidden highlights that many tourists miss. Your tour finishes with a 30-minute private gondola ride—simply a must-do while you're in Venice—and you'll have the rest of your day to explore Venice at your leisure.

Private Venice Highlights Tour Description

Your 2.5-hour city tour includes:

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

  • Skip-the-line private tour of St. Mark’s Basilica

  • Explore the Rialto Bridge and neighborhood

  • 30-minute private gondola ride

  • Your own English-speaking Venice guide

St. Mark's Square in Venice

Your private tour of Venice begins in St. Mark’s Square. This historic gathering spot is a central location for festivities associated with Venice Carnivale, the legendary weeks-long celebration, and its significance to the city's history is unmatched. Your guide will explain some of the major events and famous buildings that make this square so well known.

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.

St. Mark's Basilica - The Church of Gold

Next, head to St. Mark’s Basilica with your private tour guide. Enter the church with your skip-the-line tickets, perfect for avoiding the long queues that form in summer months. Once inside, you’ll immediately understand why it is known as the "Church of Gold”. The basilica’s interior is lined by 85,000 square feet of gilded mosaics that took over eight centuries to complete. Treasures shipped to Venice after the fall of Constantinople in 1204 make up some of the most important works of art in St. Peter's. These include the four bronze horses and The Pala d’Oro (the basilica’s high altar).

Your guide will lead you on a fascinating private tour to show you all the best parts inside Venice's grand church. 

From November through March, St. Mark’s Basilica does not offer skip the line entry as lines are generally non-existent. Since St. Mark's Basilica is a sacred place, men and women must have their knees and shoulders covered once inside. You may be refused entry to a portion of your private tour otherwise. As summers in Venice are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you for covering your knees and shoulders when necessary.

Rialto Bridge and Neighborhood

A short walk away from St. Mark’s Square is the Rialto Bridge, one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks. One of the oldest of the four bridges that cross the Grand Canal, this bridge features a 24-foot-tall arch. Across the bridge is Venice’s Rialto Market, located in the Rialto neighborhood. This place is synonymous with Venice’s food culture. 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). Along to way, 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 get to see. 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.

Venetian Gondola Ride

After your private walking tour of Venice, you'll embark on a short gondola ride. Yes, it's a little touristy, but it's really an essential activity for visitors to the Floating City! The city of Venice only issues roughly 400 gondolier licenses per year, making the profession an esteemed one. In addition to operating gondolas, Gondoliers are also Venice’s unofficial storytellers and historians.

At the conclusion of your gondola ride, you'll be brought back to St. Mark’s Square. Don’t forget to ask your private tour guide where the best places to eat and drink in Venice are. We’ll gladly point you in the direction of Venice’s best cuisine.


What you get with this tour
Private walking tour of St. Mark's Square and Venice side streets
Skip-the-line private tour of St. Mark’s Basilica
Explore the Rialto Bridge and neighborhood
30-minute private gondola ride
Your own English-speaking Venice guide
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17 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 17 reviews)
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Venice and Gondola ride
14 October 2023
Reviewed by
Amy Swain

Marco is an excellent guide. He kept us and two teens entertained. If you know about teenagers nothing keeps them entertained! They said he was the best guide ever! Thanks for all the information and a wonderful time!

06 October 2023
Reviewed by
Louis and Melanie Burgess

Oh tour and guide were fantastic. Our guide was so personable and knowledgeable. We so so enjoyed meeting him and felt like we could have gone to dinner with he and his wife after we were done. The gondola ride at sunset was perfect way to finish the tour off.

Awesome Tour
14 September 2023
Reviewed by
Matt MacLean

Our guide Lara was very informative and a great tour guide. She answered all our questions and spoke clearly and knowledgeably. She showed us areas not where all the tourists were as well. She got us right on our gondola ride. Great job and thank you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

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

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?

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

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.

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.

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