13 Recommended Tours in Venice

See as much of Venice as possible with a guided tour
See as much of Venice as possible with a guided tour | © Slawek Staszczuk / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sarah Glascott
28 August 2019

Best known for its canals and carnival, Venice is full of charm. Explore this floating city with the expertise of a local, with tours covering everything from Venice’s mysterious side to its incredible food.

Venice is a city unlike any other. It may be a tourist hub, but there are also centuries of intriguing history, tantalising food and wine, and a sense of playful romance in the air. Get to know this popular destination by booking one of Culture Trip’s top recommended tours in Venice.

St Mark’s Square Tour

Architectural Landmark
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Tourists walk around Saint Mark's Square in front of Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice.
Explore the various sights in Piazza San Marco | © Stephen Frost / Alamy Stock Photo

No one wants to waste precious holiday time standing in a long queue. Alleviate that drudgery by skipping a few people with this tour, which will allow you to enjoy priority entrance to Doge’s Palace and St Mark’s Basilica and give you ample time to marvel at the splendours within. You’ll be guided through the magnificent interiors of the palace, crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs to the prison where Venetian criminals were held, and then explore the wonders of the basilica. You will merge from this two-hour tour with a smile on your face – and ready to enjoy your evening in Venice.

Chocolate Tasting in Venice

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Italy is a haven for chocolate fans, and there’s no better way to feed your addiction than with a chocolate tasting in the heart of Venice. During this half-hour tour, you’ll visit VizioVirtú Cioccolateria, a Willy Wonka-esque shop sure to delight your inner child. There’s an array of gourmet treats, including handmade truffles and pralines, to sample. Finally, indulge in some hot chocolate as your guide reveals the secrets of Venice’s top chocolatiers and the history of the city’s sweet tooth.

Cicchetti and Wine Tour

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Cicchetti And Wine Tour
Experience Venice like a local on this cicchetti and wine tour | Courtesy of Urban Adventures

Let a local guide lead you through Venice’s narrow lanes on this foodie tour, where you’ll learn about the city’s rich culinary history while sampling delicacies unique to the region. You will cross the Grand Canal in a traditional stand-up traghetto gondola and then savour classic food prepared with a modern twist, including black ink calamari and polenta. While appreciating your surroundings, you will get to experience the art of the Italian aperitivo and take a peek into the real Venice.

Venetian-Style Carnival Pub Crawl

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Venice’s carnival is one of the world’s oldest and most spectacular celebrations – it’s the perfect occasion to unleash your dramatic side. If you miss the actual carnival festivities (it’s held annually before Lent), you can still experience the spirit of carnival culture in this two-hour pub crawl. You will navigate the city’s streets with a knowledgeable guide and a seriously fun group, hopping from bar to bar while enjoying Venetian cicchetti (small plates of nibbles) and some wine. At the end of the tour, you’ll get to taste the crown jewel of Italian cocktails – the Aperol spritz. Costumes aren’t forced upon you, but really, where’s the fun in not dressing up?

Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Boat Tour

Architectural Landmark
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Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Boat Tour
See the sights of Venice via a boat tour | © GetYourGuide Verified Photo

In a city with no roads, you can trade the traditional open-top tour bus for a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing boat tour. Available for 24 or 48 hours, this tour is a convenient and efficient way to visit the city’s main attractions at your own pace. There are two lines covering not only the main island but also the nearby treasures of Burano and Murano. There’s also Wi-Fi onboard and a self-guided walking tour available on the boat’s accompanying app.

Ghostly Tour of Venice

Historical Landmark
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On this walking tour, you’ll wander through a labyrinth of narrow, Venetian alleyways under cover of darkness, listening to the grisly ghost stories of the city’s past – if you’re brave enough. For those with a penchant for supernatural legends and gruesome history, the tour will take you through the city’s Castello and Cannaregio districts. You will hear intriguing stories about former leaders, notable citizens and city residents over the centuries. Don’t lose your head as you hear some scary tales from your guide as they lead you down dark lanes, avoiding the more crowded spots.

Gondola Ride With a Romantic Serenade

Architectural Landmark
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Tourists enjoying gondola ride on canal in Venice
Take a gondola ride with your special someone | © Ken Welsh / Alamy Stock Photo

Make memories that will last a lifetime with your very own bella notte in Venice and go on a 30-minute gondola ride. It may be a typical tourist activity in the city, but it’s a classic for a reason. The gondolas are unique to Venice, and seeing the city from the water adds an air of magic and romance to your trip. This particular gondola ride includes an enchanting Italian serenade as you weave through the canals, from the world-renowned Grand Canal to the minor canals accessible only by boat.

Venetian Mask Painting Workshop

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Venetian mask Italy.
Learn how to craft your very own Venetian mask | © Dmytro Sidashev / Alamy Stock Photo

Fancy yourself the next Raphael or Michelangelo? In this one-hour workshop, you’ll get the chance to learn about Venetian-painting techniques as well as create your own unique mask. Choose from over 50 different handmade paper maché mask models to paint and personalise with an array of feathers, ribbons and sequins. As well as gaining insight into the art of the popular Venetian mask, you’ll also get to take home your creation – a unique souvenir from the city of culture and carnival.

Eco-Friendly Kayak Tour

Architectural Landmark
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Eco-Friendly Kayak Tour
For the adventurists, explore Venice via a kayak | Courtesy of Viator

Forget the gondolas and explore the historic Venetian canals by kayak. In addition to being a great experience for adventurous travellers, it also an excellent option for eco-conscious visitors as it’s an eco-tour with a low environmental impact. With over-tourism being a major issue in Venice, and climate change impacting cities across the globe, this tour is fantastic for both you and the planet. It is open to beginners, with instruction and use of equipment included in the price. So, grab your paddle and get ready to see Venice as it should be seen – from the water.

Wine Tasting in Venice

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As any connoisseur knows, Italian wine is among the best in the world. This wine-tasting tour in Venice includes a visit to a winery in the Dorsoduro district, where you’ll learn all about the process of winemaking. Not one to tease without a reward, you’ll also enjoy two Venetian wines accompanied by some expertly paired cicchetti. Salute!

The Sweet Taste of Venice

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The Sweet Taste of Venice Tour
Indulge your sweet tooth on this tour of Venice | Courtesy of Urban Adventures

If you want to master the rules of Italian coffee and truly satisfy your sweet tooth, this tour is for you. Your guide will lead you on a charming stroll through Venice’s historic neighbourhoods, giving you the chance to sample traditional pastries and the best of Venetian coffee. The excursion includes a typical breakfast at a family-owned café, indulgent desserts in the ancient Jewish ghetto, and an Aperol spritz with a view. End your tour with a wonderfully sinful tiramisu accompanied by traditional Venetian hot chocolate, unchanged since the 17th century.

The Mysterious Venice Walking Tour

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
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This walking tour of the city offers a new take on Venice. You’ll visit locations where merchants once came to sell their wares, explore the oldest church on the island – the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto – and discover spots you may have otherwise missed or passed by without realising their importance. Some highlights on this 75-minute walking tour include the Teatro La Fenice and Scala Contarini del Bovolo, which is a gorgeous spiral staircase plucked right out of a fairytale.

Murano, Burano and Torcello Day Trip

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
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Canal with Boats, Burano, Venice.
© PSI / Alamy Stock Photo

Visit three of Venice’s most beautiful islands with this unmissable day trip to Murano, Burano and Torcello. Each island has a unique selling point to draw in visitors. Murano is known for its glass, and this tour takes you behind the scenes at a glass factory where you can witness the creation of artistic masterpieces. Burano is most famous for its brightly coloured houses and is also home to elegantly crafted lace and a vibrant fishing trade. Meanwhile, Torcello has a beautifully adorned church, and it’s where Ernest Hemingway worked on his novel, Across the River and Into the Trees (1950).

These recommendations were updated on August 28, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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