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A Guide to Venice’s Most Unique Tours and Experiences

There’s plenty to discover in Venice, if you know where to look
There’s plenty to discover in Venice, if you know where to look | © Matthias Scholz / Alamy Stock Photo
As one of the world’s most iconic cities, it may feel like there’s nothing new to see or do in Venice. But look past the gondola rides and museums and you’ll discover a completely different aspect of the city that’s just waiting to be explored. Culture Trip picks the floating city’s best unique tours and experiences.

Venice, though a dream destination for many, may seem as if it’s overplayed: like a city with nothing to offer the intrepid, culturally curious traveller. But nothing could be further from the truth. This canal-crossed city retains an aura of mystery and intrigue, despite the numbers that flock to the Piazza San Marco every season. Here are some of the most interesting experiences and attractions on offer, from a travelling opera performance and a truly authentic cooking experience to a brand-new (and breathtaking) way of exploring the canals.

ActivitiesMusica a Palazzo 'Traveling Opera' Performance in Venice
From $94 per person
2 hours 30 minutes
5 (278)
Experience the magic of ‘traveling opera’ during a 2-hour operatic performance at the grand Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto in Venice. Performed by the acclaimed Musica a Palazzo ensemble, this night of opera, song and music features world-class singers and instrumentalists performing as they move, with the audience, through the palazzo’s beautiful salons. With the singers performing feet away and the lavish rooms providing authentic backdrops, you’ll feel as if you’re part of the opera, not in the audience. Choose from three classic operas or a selection of duets to suit your tastes and schedule.
ToursVenice Wines Spirits with cicchetti tasting and Sightseeing Guided Tour
From $96 per person
2 hours 30 minutes
5 (15)
Enjoy a 2.5 hour tour of the most famous wine parlors of Venice and visit also some of the most interesting art and historic sites led by a professional local guide. You can choose between a private experience or being part of a small group (max 12 people).You will taste a great selection of regional wines and spirits served with typical appetizers. Between the tasting sessions you will see some off-the-beaten-track marvels.
ToursPrivate Tour Local Venice Away from the Crowds
From $43 per person
2 hours
5 (5)
Discover the floating city of Venice without following the bustling crowds. That’s right! Your private local insider has carefully selected the best hidden alleyways and paths that lead to hidden jewels. Wander through local neighbourhoods, beautiful gardens, and even a crowdless island.
ActivitiesLocal market visit and private cooking class at a Cesarina's home in Venice
From $241 per person
4 hours 30 minutes
5 (2)
Visit the vibrant local market and the traditional food shops with a local home cook and immerse yourself in a private cooking class at a local's home, learn the secrets of the most famous dishes of Bologna cuisine and taste the fruit of your labour accompanied by local wines.

During the lesson, your host will reveal the tricks of the trade of 3 authentic Bologna recipes. Have fun putting your cooking skills to the test. Participants will have a workstation equipped with utensils and all the ingredients to make the dishes. Then, taste everything you have prepared accompanied by a selection of red and white local wines.

This experience is held by Cesarine: Italy’s oldest network of 1000+ home cooks all over the country in more than 500 cities. They are passionate and welcoming hosts that open the doors of their own homes to curious travellers for immersive culinary experiences.
ToursReal Venetian Kayak
From $90 per person
1 hour 40 minutes
5 (25)
Enjoy 100 minutes guided kayaking tour in Venice with highly qualified guides to let you see many different aspects of an incredible city.We will visit all the hidden gems of Venice that only locals know. You will get to see the main monuments of Venice from a different point of view, directly in contact with nature. We strongly believe in sustainable tourism. We love our city. It is fragile and needs to be treated kindly. Kayaking in Venice means discovering its intimate part, the most hidden and beautiful places, without any negative environmental impact.
ToursStand Up Paddling on Venice Canals
From $84 per person
1 hour 30 minutes
We will visit all the hidden gems of Venice that only locals know. You will get to see the main monuments of Venice from a different point of view, directly in contact with nature. We strongly believe in sustainable tourism. We love our city. It is fragile and needs to be treated kindly. Paddling in Venice means discovering its intimate part, the most hidden and beautiful places, without any negative environmental impact.
ActivitiesVenice Carnival Mask-Making Class
From $63 per person
1 hour
5 (48)
If you want to live a real experience in the heart of Venice that’s the right choice!A Venetian Master Artisan will explain to you, in 1-hour course, the traditional art of making or decorating a mask, an artistic personal event which will make you live the preparation for the Venetian Carnival.Create your own unique masterpiece and following your artistic streak, a special memory of an amazing experience, and keep your artistic creation of the most emblematic icon of Venice! An unconventional and handcrafted moment to live with your family or friends!