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Venice Experiences

The city of islands, canals and gondolas is a place to feel the true spirit of adventure. Venice has been built on more than 100 islands and with no roads – only waterways – visitors feel the sense of discovery, history and romance the city exudes. With many of the most famous sights in Venice concentrated in the city centre, this is an easy place to explore on foot, by water taxi or gondola. From the Grand Canal and more than 400 bridges, to St Mark’s Square and a swathe of historical and cultural attractions, Venice is a water-filled paradise.

Select an experience below to find out more.

Panoramic Sunset Tour

Get on board of one of our boats and sail across San Marco Basin at the sunset light, which will make Venice even more romantic.

 

Includes

  • 1.5hr sunset cruise
  • Aperitif and typical Ventian appetisers

 

From£35per person

Gondola tour

The gondola will take you round the canals of Venice.

 

Includes

  • 30-minute tour by Gondola

 

From£39per person

La Fenice Theatre Special Visit

La Fenice theatre is one of the most famous world opera houses. We will take you to see all the majesty and beauty of a leading creative venue.

 

Includes

  • English speaking guide

 

From£25per person

Grand Canal Tour

Excursion by private motor-launch with multilingual hostess along the Grand Canal, “the most beautiful street in the world”.

 

Includes

  • Local tour guide
  • 1 hour tour
  • Variety of masterpieces

 

From£36per person

The Doge's Palace

You’ll live it together with a Guide that will show you the halls of power, plunging you in a very particular historical context.

 

Includes

  • Local tour guide
  • Operates daily
  • Audio receiver included

From£42per person

The Golden Basilica

A guided tour of one of the most majestic cathedrals in the world!

 

Includes

  • English speaking guide
  • Full day visit
  • Audio receiver devices

 

From£32per person

The Mosaics

The Mosaics

The Golden Basilica

This one-hour tour of St Mark’s Basilica – nicknamed The Golden Basilica or the Church of Gold – offers an inside look in the most famous church in Venice.

Departing at midday, you’ll skip the queues with special tickets and meet your expert tour guide who will help you explore the art, history and stories of St Mark’s Basilica. Built in the 11th century, the church is connected to the Doge’s Palace, since it was formerly the chapel of the doge. Since 1807, it has been the only cathedral in Venice, and also a centre of incredible architecture and history.

As one of the best examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture – with a Gothic roofline – you’ll learn more about the fascinating architecture of the cathedral from your guide. Inside, you’ll discover yet more incredible detail of the buildings. With gold mosaics and marble floors, the interior is particularly opulent. In particular, it is the golden mosaics from which the church gains its nickname. The upper levels of the interior are entirely covered with mosaics made from gold glass tesserae, covering an incredible area of 8000 m2.

Your guide will also give you a closer look at the Pala d’Oro, the tall altar retable of Byzantine enamel. It was first commissioned in 976 by Doge Pietro Orseolo, and it was added to and altered over time. The top plank depicts the Man of Sorrows, the Virgin and various saints, while the bottom plank depicts visualisations of life, martyrdom and burial.

Prices from £32 per person. Meeting point – The Clock tower, 0-2 years free of charge.

Venice at dusk

Venice at dusk

Panoramic Sunset Tour

Enjoy the setting of the sun from the place that makes Venice most famous – the water.

This hour and a half sunset tour departs at approximately 19:00 near the city centre spot of St Mark’s Square. You’ll be served an aperitif and typical Venetian appetisers while we cruise along the San Marco basin. As the sun goes down, we’ll pass by some of the most character-filled islands in the city.

One of the islands we’ll cruise past is San Giorgio Maggiore, home to the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. One of the most noteworthy landmarks in Venice, the 16th century Church of San Giorgio Maggiore was designed by Andrea Palladio. The island and church were famously depicted by Claude Monet in his artwork called San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk.

Our cruise will also take us past San Servolo island, which was previously a monastery and later an asylum, which is now a museum and university buildings. We’ll also cruise past San Lazzaro degli Armeni – a verdant square island that is home to the monastery of the Mekhitarists, which is an Armenian Catholic congregation, since 1717. We’ll also take in the Venice Lido nearby – the seven mile long sandbar filled with beaches, restaurants and shops.

On the final stretch of our journey, we’ll pass Sant’Andrea, where a 16th century fortress can be found. We’ll also take in the two nearby islands of Vignole – a former holiday spot for the Venetians and the Romans.

Operates daily, Prices from £35 per person, 0-2 years: free.

Fenice theatre

Fenice theatre

Fenice Theatre

A must visit for culture vultures, this tour of the Teatro La Fenice gives you unparalleled insights into one of the most famous opera houses in the world.

Commencing at 13:00, you’ll join an expert guide for this one-hour tour of Teatro La Fenice. Having opened in 1792, La Fenice quickly became one of the leading opera houses in Italy and Europe. Unfortunately a couple of incidents of fire over the ages caused the building to be rebuilt, so Teatro La Fenice as it stands today was designed by the architect Aldo Rossi in 2003.

During this tour, you’ll be able to explore the opera house from all angles. See everything from the stage to the boxes – plus a behind the scenes look too – to soak up the majestic history of the creative space. Although the theatre was previously completely destroyed by fire, commentators have noted how painstakingly it was restored in the rococo style, to maintain connected to its history.

Your guide will also tell you about the famous names who have brought their creative talent to La Fenice. In particular, operatic premieres by the four major bel canto era composers – Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi – have all taken place here. Nowadays the opera house has more than 100 incredible performances each year. From full cycles of symphonies by the likes of Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann, to a contemporary calendar of events by Venetian artists and ballet companies, Teatro La Fenice is still a vibrant part of Venice’s cultural scene.

Operates daily, Prices from £25 per person, 0-2 years: free.

Rialto bridge

Rialto bridge

Grand Canal Tour

This afternoon tour along the most famous canal in Venice will bring fascinating new insights into the waterway and the palaces that line it.

You’ll board a private motor launch for this one-hour tour that will see you traversing the Grand Canal with an expert guide. At 2.4 miles long, the Grand Canal travels along a reverse S shape through the heart of Venice. Lined by more than 170 buildings, travelling along the canal is also a journey of history and architecture, with structures built between the 13th and 18th centuries.

Your guide will tell you more about the many palaces on this waterway, built by wealthy Venetian families who felt compelled to show off their wealth with the most lavish abodes. In particular, you’ll take a closer look at Palazzo Venier dei Leoni – now home to the immense Peggy Guggenheim Collection. You’ll learn more about Ca’Foscari, a gothic building constructed for Doge Francesco Foscari in 1453, and now a Venice university. Ca’Rezzonico, an illustrious 18th century palace of baroque and rococo architecture, and Ca’ d’Oro – the best surviving palazzo of Venetian Gothic architecture – are other highlights.

We’ll also take in the Rialto Bridge – the oldest bridge crossing the Grand Canal – and many other palaces, before returning along Giudecca Canal. This canal is best known for the churches located along it, including Il Redentore and La Zitelle, both thought to have been designed by the architect Andrea Palladio. Punta della Dogana is an enchanting old customs building, located where the Grand Canal and Giudecca Canal intersect.

Prices from £36 per person. Meeting point – Alilaguna Gardens, 0-5 years free of charge, 6-12 prices from £25 per child Departure times vary upon season

27th March – 14th June & 1st October – 2nd November – 15:30pm & 16:30pm, 15th June – 30th September – 15:30pm, 16:30pm, 17:30pm & 18:30pm 

Venice canal

Venice canal

Gondola Tour

Iconic of Venice, the gondola is an elegant and traditional way to explore Venice. This 30-minute tour is an ideal way to get an overview of Venice in style.

This tour departs five times a day from San Luca. The gondola is a flat-bottomed rowing boat designed in Venice specifically for navigating the shallow Venice lagoon. Incredibly, gondolas have existed in Venice since the 11th century. By the 1500s, there were an estimated 10,000 gondolas in operation in the city. Nowadays, there are just 400. Constructed from 280 hand-cut pieces of wood – with eight different types of wood used – gondolas are fine pieces of craftsmanship as well as a mode of transport. Operated by gondoliers, who have to have passed a series of rigorous tests to achieve their licence, this is a quaint and protected tradition of the city.

You’ll soak up the feeling of history of travelling by gondola on this tour, while sightseeing from the water. Your gondolier will navigate the narrow canal ways while telling you about some of the major sights of Venice you’ll pass on the way. Part of the gondolier examination process is about the history and major sights of Venice, so feel free to ask questions too! By the end of your tour, you’ll have a feeling for how the city is connected by water, and an overview of some of the key sights of Venice. It’s perfect for deciding where you’d like to go to explore further.

Prices from £39 per person. Meeting point San Luca, 0-2 years free of charge, must stay on an adult’s lap.

The Doge's Palace

The Doge's Palace

The Doge’s Palace

Join this one-hour tour of the Venetian Gothic palace for insights into one of the top landmarks in Venice.

Commencing at 11:00, our expert guide will lead you around the former hub of Venetian politics, recounting fascinating facts and stories from throughout the ages. The Doge’s Palace – home of the former chief magistrate of Venice (the doge) – is located in St Mark’s Square, next to St Mark’s Cathedral. There has been a palace at this location since the year 810, but it has taken many shapes and forms due to fires and successive doges wanting different structures and styles. Some features from throughout the ages have been preserved, meaning a visit to the Doge’s Palace offers a walk through a history of architectural styles too.

On your visit, your guide will show you some of the rooms where important decisions took place, and tell you about the story behind the extravagant gold staircase. You’ll see art masterpieces depicting scenes of life throughout the ages the palace has been in place. The Bridge of Sighs is another part of the palace you’ll learn more about. This is an enclosed white limestone bridge that provides a direct link between the prison and the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. It was here that Giacomo Casanova – the famed Italian adventurer and author – was held. By the end of the tour, you’ll have insights into what life was like in Venice over several centuries.

Operates daily, Prices from £45 per person. Meeting Point – The Clock tower, 0-2 years free of charge

 

More Venice Experiences

Gondola Serenade

Soak up the romance of the canal-ways of Venice on this 30-minute gondola ride accompanied by music and songs.

As traditional water-way vessels of Venice, gondolas are flat-bottomed rowing boats that have been part of the city scene in Venice since the 11th century. Perfect for traversing the particularly shallow Venice lagoon, gondolas are also even narrower than canoes so they can travel along some of the especially narrow canals in the city. Gondolas have an incredible sense of craftsmanship about them, with each one having been made with almost 300 hand-cut pieces of wood. Becoming a gondola operator – a gondolier – is a serious trade too, with each gondolier playing the part of oarsman, city guide and representative of Venice. In the case of this tour too, they also play the role of musician and serenade master!

This trip will take you along some of the most famous water-ways in the city. This centres on the Grand Canal, which is lined with almost 200 buildings that date between the 13th and 18th centuries. This is where noble Venetian families sought to show off their wealth in grand palazzos. You’ll explore the area around Santa Maria della Salute, as well as travelling along some of the minor canals in the Fenice area, where the famous opera house can be found. Throughout the tour, your gondolier will play mood-filled and romantic music that perfectly fits your changing scenery. Your tour finishes at the landing station at Vallaresso.

Prices from £49 per person, 0-2 years: free – must stay on an adult’s lap Meeting point – Giglio Square

Departure times daily from – 18.30, 19.00, 19.30.

Walking tour of Venice

Get to know Venice from the inside out on this walking tour with an expert guide.

This hour and a half morning tour starts in St Mark’s Square, the beating heart of Venice. Rumour has it that Napoleon called the square “the drawing room of Europe” and it’s easy to see why, with its captivating design surrounded by renowned buildings. Your guide will tell you more about the square’s origins and history, as well as go into more detail about the surrounding architecture and monuments. You’ll take in some of the buildings on the square too – namely St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Bell Tower, the Clock Tower and the Procuratie – three connected buildings on the square.

You’ll continue on foot to Santa Maria Formosa – a Renaissance church on a pretty square, and Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo. You’ll learn more about the ‘Pantheon’ of Venice and the Great School of Charity, before strolling past Marco Polo’s former house. The Italian merchant, explorer and writer learned his trade from his father and the pair embarked on an epic journey to Asia along with Kublai Khan, the fifth Khan of the Mongol Empire. They returned to Venice after 24 years in 1269 to find Venice at war with Genoa.

Your tour will continue on to the Malibran Theatre – a former opera house that was inaugurated in 1678. We’ll wander back to St Mark’s Square via a different route through Le Mercerie – the Venice district best known for shopping.

Operates daily: Prices from £31 per person. Meeting point – San Luca, 0-2 years free of charge

 

Islands Excursion

This tour takes you to some of the most captivating islands in the Venice Lagoon, where you can discover exciting history and modern day craftsmanship.

 

You’ll depart on this tour from Alilaguna Gardens, and you’ll spend the next four and a half hours exploring the islands of the Venetian Lagoon. In particular, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the islands best known for handicrafts.

Murano is actually a series of islands connected by bridges, and is a place best known for its tradition of glass making. Originally settled by the Romans, Murano had some fascinating residents over the centuries. In the second millennium a monastery was founded there, which became a great centre of learning. In 1291, Murano’s tradition of glass making began, as all the city’s glassmakers were forced to move their because of the risk of fire of their profession. At one point in time, Murano was the main glass producer in Europe. It is still possible to buy glass goods from the local glassmakers today.

You’ll also visit the island of Burano, famed for its lacemaking. The houses here are especially brightly coloured and are popular with artists as studios, meaning the whole island has a feeling of creativity. Torcello is the final island you’ll visit, best known for the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, where an enchanting collection of Venetian-Byzantine mosaics can be found. The sparsely populated island has attracted those who work in the arts through the ages, and Ernest Hemingway even spent some time here in 1948.

Prices from £27 per person

*Meeting point – Alilaguna Gardens, 0-5 years free of charge, 6-12 years from £20 per child Departure times vary upon season

1st – 21st April – 09:30, 11:30, 12:30 and 14:30.

22nd April – 28th May – 09:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30 and 14:30

29th May – 31st October – 09:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30 and 15:00

Classic Venice walking tour and Doge’s Palace

This two-hour walking tour will take you to some of the most classical sights in Venice, letting you into their stories and secrets.

You’ll set off at 9:00 with an expert guide, starting off in St Mark’s Square. Just called ‘la Piazza’ locally, this is the square where everyone finds themselves sooner or later. You’ll find out more about the incredible origins of this architecturally impressive open space, as well as the buildings surrounding it. This includes St Mark’s Basilica, the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, nicknamed the Church of Gold. You’ll also learn more about the connected buildings of the Procuratie, the Clock Tower and St Mark’s Campanile – the bell tower that stands at almost 100 metres tall.

The Doge’s Palace is another famous building on the square, and you’ll have the opportunity to visit this noble building on the tour too. The Doge was the chief magistrate of Venice, so this was a building all about crime and justice. You’ll be able to visit some of the institutional chambers, embodying various architectural styles and incorporating incredible artworks into the designs. Tintoretto is responsible for a number of the paintings – a 16th century painter of the Venetian school.

Another of the notable spots in the Doge’s Palace is the Bridge of Sighs – a white enclosed bridge that links the prison across the road with the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. Many prisoners have walked through the bridge over the centuries anticipating their interrogation in the palace.

Operates daily, Prices from £50 per person, 0-2 years: free.

Discover Venice on foot

This afternoon walking tour helps you discover some of Venice’s hidden treasures in just an hour and a half.Departing at 15:00, this tour begins with an exploration of Campo San Luca – a buzzing square in the city centre. The square is located right in between two of the main sights of Venice – St Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge – yet it has a magical feeling of being a little off the beaten track. This is a popular meeting point for Venetians, with a scattering of pavement bars and cafés perfect for people-watching.

Our tour will continue to the Scala Contarini del Bovolo. Attached to the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, this is an unusual exterior staircase with intricate arches at every level. The appearance is a little like a snail, and the meaning of ‘Scala Contarini del Bovolo’ literally translates to ‘of the snail’. The 15th century palazzo itself is in a tucked away position, making it a rare discovery for visitors to Venice. The palace was chosen by Orson Welles as a key filming location for his adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello in 1952, and the staircase was included prominently in the film.

We’ll continue our journey on foot, discovering small streets and charming alleyways as we make our way to Teatro La Fenice. The opera house is a landmark of Italian performing arts and it’s the location of many famous operatic premieres, including those by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi.

Operates daily, Prices from £25 per person, 0-2 years: free. 

Scala Contarini del Bovolo guided tour

Explore this hidden gem amid the winding warren of streets in the heart of Venice and find out more about why this snail-like staircase is so iconic.

Commencing at 14:30, this one-hour tour focuses on this staircase built in the 1400s. This external staircase was added to Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo to decorate the outside of the building belonging to the wealthy Venetian family. The staircase originally had no functional purpose to begin with – the family wanted the intricately designed addition to their home as a symbol of their wealth. The stairway is ringed by dozens of arches that travel gradually up, causing the stairway to be likened to a snail’s shell (‘bovolo’). This comparison had a lasting effect, as it was forever added to the family name – when the Contarini family became the Contarini del Bovolo family!

Your guide will tell you more about this fascinating staircase, which incorporates Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance styles. Interestingly, the attached palace was heavily featured in the 1952 version of Othello by Orson Welles – as Brabantio’s house – and the staircase is featured prominently. You’ll also have the opportunity to climb the 80 steps to the top of the staircase, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over Venice.

If you visit the Museo Correr after exploring Scala Contarini del Bovolo, seek out the bird’s eye view of Venice by Jacopo de’ Barbari, which dates back to 1489. You’ll spot the Scala Contarini del Bovolo depicted here too!

Operates daily, Prices from £25 per person, 0-2 years: free.

Legends of Venice

Join us on this evening walking tour where we’ll uncover the legends and lesser known roads of Venice city centre.

Commencing at 19:45, this hour and a half long tour will show you some of the hidden sights of Venice, with the help of an expert tour guide. This tour is designed to be an immersive experience where you can soak up the true sights and sounds of the Venice that locals know, so the itinerary Is variable depending on what else is going on in the city on a particular evening.

Focusing on three areas of Venice, you’ll spot some of the city’s well known sights before getting off the beaten track and discovering something new. One of the areas we’ll visit is Rialto, best known for the Rialto Bridge, which is the oldest bridge that crosses the Grand Canal. This is a place visitors flock to for the bridge and numerous shops, but you’ll also get closer to the heart of the neighbourhood on this tour. This includes passing by the San Giacomo di Rialto church – the only building in the locality that wasn’t destroyed by the big fire of 1514.

We’ll also visit Cannaregio, known for being a 16th century Jewish ghetto, and popular today for the restaurants that line the water front. Explore the backstreets, however, and your guide will help you discover amazing spots where crafts and vintage collections reign supreme. Castello is another stop on our tour, with tucked away bars and cafés frequented by locals.

Operates on Tuesday, Friday & Saturday, Prices from £30 per person, 0-2 years: free.

 

Walking tour of Venice and Pala d’Oro

hour walking tour.

We’ll set off at 9:00 on our journey that takes us to the heart of one of the most famous squares in the world. Your guide will tell you the fascinating story of the ‘drawing room of Europe’ – St Mark’s Square – before visiting some of the most noteworthy buildings located on the square. You’ll find out more about the Procuratie – the three interconnected buildings on the square, part of which are home to the Correr Museum.

You’ll also learn more about The Clocktower – a Renaissance building where the clock was positioned so it was visible to everyone out on the waters of the Venice Lagoon. The bell tower of St Mark’s Campanile is also a stop on your tour, one of the most recognisable sights that towers over the city. The Doge’s Palace is another important place you’ll learn more about, as the former seat of the Venetian government.

Lastly, you’ll pay a visit to the best known building on the square, St Mark’s Basilica. The cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, St Mark’s Basilica was consecrated in 1117. Within the church, you’ll get an intimate view of the Pala d’Oro – the high altar retable that is widely considered to be one of the world’s best works of Byzantine enamel. Your expert guide will tell you more about its history and the symbology of some of the intricate etchings on it.

Operates daily, Prices from £50 per person, 0-5years: free.