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The Grand Canal and beyond | Book Venice canal tours

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Multilingual Guided Tours
Multilingual Guided Tours
Multiple Route Options
Multiple Route Options
Panoramic views of top attractions
Panoramic views of top attractions



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Venice Grand Canal: Gondola Ride with Serenade

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€59
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30 min.
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  • Experience picture-perfect romance on a harmonious gondola cruise through the floating city of Venice.
  • On this leisurely 30-minute ride, sprinkle a bit of magic onto your date with that special someone as you’re serenaded by traditional live music.
  • Find hidden gems in liquid Venetian alleys; perhaps admire the quaint limestone Bridge of Sighs over the Rio del Palazzo – all from a unique perspective.
  • Keep an eye out for the mesmerizing façade of Ca' d'Oro, a Gothic palace-turned-art museum along the Grand Canal.

Inclusions

  • 30-minute gondola ride in Venice
  • Live singer aboard one of the gondolas
  • Gondola and seat assigned by the gondolier
  • Tip: Embrace the Venetian lifestyle and go for a traditional aperitivo after your gondola ride. Join the locals at a canal-side bar for cicchetti (Venetian tapas)!
  • The serenade performers will board a gondola in the center of the row so everyone can hear the music. Musicians may not be on every gondola.
  • Please note that the ride could last less than 30 minutes depending on weather and canal traffic.
  • Seating arrangements inside the gondola may vary for balance. This means you might not be able to sit next to your travel partner(s).
  • This experience is not accessible for wheelchair users.
  • You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
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Venice Walking Tour with Grand Canal Gondola Ride

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€50
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2 hr. - 3 hr.
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  • Get to know some of Venice's top attractions including St. Mark's Square, Rialto Bridge, and La Fenice theatre, enjoying the best of the city on foot and by boat.
  • Local guides provide fascinating insights on Venetian history and culture as you spend 2 hours wandering through the city's streets and squares.
  • Glide along the Grand Canal on a 30-minute gondola ride, admiring majestic palaces and historic landmarks that line the waterways.
  • Enjoy a leisurely break between tours to savor the sights, sounds, and flavors of Venice, indulging in local delicacies or capturing memorable photos.

Inclusions

  • 2-hour walking tour of Venice
  • Expert English, Italian, Spanish, German or French-speaking guide (optional)
  • Headsets for groups over 10 participants
  • 30-minute shared gondola ride
  • Tip: Take advantage of spectacular photo ops as you get remarkable views of Doge's Palace and St. Marks’ Bell Tower.
  • This activity includes a shared gondola ride of up to 5 people. Seating arrangements within a gondola may vary for balance and safety reasons.
  • This tour is not recommended for wheelchair users or those with walking disabilities.
  • There will be a small break between the tours.
  • You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
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Venice Classic Gondola Ride

from
€30
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30 min. - 35 min.
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  • This traditional gondola ride invites you to discover Venice's enchanting waterways in 30 mins while giving you the flexibility to choose a ride that suits you best.
  • The cost-saving seating option is perfect for solo travelers, and history buffs can delight in a route under the Bridge of Sighs, connecting the Doge's Palace to its prisons!
  • Want to share a gondola with your travel buddies? Select the options that guarantee seating in the same gondola to ensure you're in the same boat.
  • Let the storytelling bug bite you by opting for bilingual live commentary or a digital app in 7 languages to hear the legends behind all the Venetian landmarks you will pass.
  • Marvel at the domes of Santa Maria della Salute, the waterfront entrance of the Peggy Guggenheim House Museum, and more.

Inclusions

  • 30-min shared gondola ride in Venice
  • Gondola and seat assigned by the gondolier
  • Seating guaranteed in the same gondola (optional)
  • Live commentary in English and Italian (optional)
  • Digital app audio commentary in Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, French & Hindi (optional)
  • Special route under the Bridge of Sighs (optional)

Exclusions

  • Headphones (ensure you bring your own)
  • Tip: This experience starts just around the corner from St. Mark's Basilica. Combine your visits and tick off 2 bucket list items in 1 day!
  • Please note that the ride could last less than 30 mins depending on weather and canal traffic.
  • Seating arrangements inside the gondola may vary for balance. This means you might not be able to sit next to your travel partner(s).
  • This experience is not accessible for wheelchair users.
  • You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
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Venice Private Gondola Ride

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€135
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You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.

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30 min.
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  • The most peaceful way to discover the meandering canals of Venice is a private experience aboard a classic Venetian gondola!
  • Get an exclusive escape with the people of your choice, and the opportunity to snap away at stunning waterfront architecture.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for the glamorous Fenice Theater and the white stone Rialto Bridge, the city’s oldest bridge that spans the Grand Canal.
  • This experience is perfect for families with little ones, small friend groups that are thicker than blood, or simply two lovers looking for a quiet escape.

Inclusions

  • 30-minute gondola ride in Venice
  • Private group tour (max 5 per gondola)
  • Tip: Look out for the impressive external spiral staircase at Contarini del Bovolo Palace, near St. Mark's Square.
  • Please note that the ride could last less than 30 minutes depending on weather and canal traffic.
  • The ride will only be canceled in case of extreme weather conditions or a gondolier strike.
  • This experience is not accessible for wheelchair users.
  • You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
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St. Mark's Basilica Guided Tour with Gondola Ride

€75
Free Cancellation

You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.

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2 hr.
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  • Tick off 2 bucket list experiences in Venice at once! Follow an expert guide through St. Mark's Basilica, then catch a famous water taxi.
  • Dive right in with skip the line access to St. Mark's Basilica, as your guide helps unveil its dazzling gold mosaics in the language of your choice.
  • Soak in the charm of Venice with a leisurely half hour gondola ride along the Grand Canal and smaller waterways near the Salute Basilica.
  • Marvel at architectural wonders like La Fenice Theatre, and the Murano glass mosaics of Palazzo Barbarigo inspired by St. Marks' Basilica!
  • Enjoy a leisurely break between the 2 tours to explore the city, indulge in local delicacies, or simply soak up the Venetian vibes.

Inclusions

  • 1-hour guided tour of St. Mark's Basilica with skip-the-line entry
  • Expert English, Italian, Spanish, German or French-speaking guide
  • 30-minute shared gondola ride in Venice
  • Tip: Stop in at a local trattoria for an authentic Venetian Lunch, try local favourites like risotto al nero di seppia (black squid ink risotto) or fritto misto (mixed fried seafood).
  • Seating arrangements within a gondola may vary for balance and safety reasons, it may not be possible to sit next to your partner.
  • The gondola ride is not accessible for wheelchair users.
  • Strict Dress Code: All guests must wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees to enter the basilica.
  • Please note that the tour may not operate under exceptional high tide conditions or during religious functions at the basilica. In the event of cancellation, your tour will either be rescheduled or refunded for your convenience.
  • You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
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Venice in a Day: St. Mark’s, Doge’s Palace, Murano & Burano with Gondola Ride

€149
Free Cancellation

You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.

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9 hr.
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  • Explore the best of Venice on this full-day tour, including seamless skip-the-line access to St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace.
  • Glide through historic canals on a 30-minute gondola ride, led by an expert gondolier who shares captivating stories.
  • Witness the age-old tradition of glassblowing at Murano island, observing skilled artisans at work in a real workshop.
  • Discover Burano's colorful houses and rich lacemaking heritage, with a live demonstration of the intricate craft.
  • Learn all about the history of St. Mark's and the political significance of the Doge's Palace from an expert English-speaking guide.

Inclusions

  • Full-day tour of Venice
  • English-guided tour of St. Mark's Basilica with skip-the-line entry
  • English-guided tour of Doge's Palace with skip-the-line entry
  • 30-minute shared gondola ride in Venice
  • Round-trip transfers to/from Murano & Burano Islands
  • Glass-blowing demonstration
  • Lace-making demonstration
  • Free time to explore both islands
  • Guided tour of St Marks Basilica
  • Guided tour of Doge's Palace
  • 30-minute gondola ride
  • Murano Island with glass-blowing demonstration
  • Burano Island with lace-making demonstration

Tip: Take advantage of the local expert knowledge! Request your gondolier to point out the lesser-known sights along the canals.
There is a compulsory security check at the entrance to the main sites. Depending on the volume of visitors, there may be a short wait time.

  • Strict Dress Code: All guests must wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees to enter the basilica.
  • This activity includes a shared gondola ride of up to 5 people. Seating arrangements within a gondola may vary for balance and safety reasons.
    -This tour is not recommended for wheelchair users or those with walking disabilities.
  • You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.

Venice's canals are more than just transportation routes; they're the city's arteries, pulsing with life and history. They are an invitation to slow down, disconnect and discover the city's hidden treasures. So, ditch the itinerary, embrace the winding waterways, and let the canals weave their magic on you. Here's all you need to know about a canal tour in Venice.

The Grand Canal in Venice

Quick facts

  • Official name: The Grand Canal
  • Location/Address: 30100 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy. Find on maps.
  • Formation: Around the 11th or 12th century
  • Depth: 16-26 feet
  • Number of visitors annually: Approximately 15 million
  • Function: Waterway/tourist attraction

Location

Address
Getting there

30100 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy.

Find on maps

The Grand Canal roughly begins from the train station at Venice and winds its way to St. Marks Square. To get to any of the stations along the Grand Canal, you can either walk between the Santa Lucia Rail Station and St Mark’s Square from the Rialto Bridge, or take the following public transport options:

Vaporetti: Also known as the water bus, all vaporetti use the Grand Canal as it is the main waterway. However, line 1 traverses the entire length of the Grand Canal. Lines 5.1 and 5.2 connect the Fondamenta Nuove area (northwest of Venice) with Piazza San Marco and Rialto Bridge via the Grand Canal. They offer scenic journeys with different perspectives and are less crowded than Lines 1 and 2.
Water taxi: Akin to a cab but on water, water taxis are significantly more expensive. If you know exactly where you want to disembark on the Grand Canal, or you're seeking an airport/rail transfer, then the water taxi is a good option. However, prices are significantly higher as it is a private mode of transport.

The Grand Canal as a prime gondola station

While the Grand Canal is undeniably important for gondolas, it might be more accurate to think of it as a vast network of gondola "stations" rather than a single, centralized one. Here's why:

  • Multiple boarding points: There are numerous designated gondola boarding points (called "traghetti") along the canal's entire length, not just one central location. These traghetti are typically small piers marked with signage or simply identified by waiting gondolas.
  • Additional boarding options: Gondolas can also pick up passengers directly from private piers of hotels, residences, or specific landmarks along the canal.
  • Scenic backdrop: The Grand Canal itself becomes an integral part of the gondola experience, offering stunning scenery and historical context for the ride.

Other functions of the Grand Canal

  • Trade and commerce: The canal's location connected Venice to the Adriatic Sea, making it a vital hub for trade and commerce. This fueled the city's economic prosperity for centuries, attracting merchants and promoting the exchange of goods across Europe and beyond.
  • Tourism: The Grand Canal is a major tourist attraction, drawing millions of visitors every year. Gondola rides, boat tours, and scenic walks along the canal are popular activities, generating significant revenue for the city.
  • Aesthetic beauty: The canal's picturesque setting, with its iconic bridges, palaces, and gondolas, creates a visually stunning environment that contributes to Venice's romantic image and popularity.

Is the Grand Canal tour for me?

To help you decide, let's weigh in the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Gondolier stands (traghetti) are readily available along the Grand Canal, making it easy to find a ride without extensive planning.
  • Lively, busting atmosphere that's sure to give you the charm and zest of Venetian life.
  • Chance to see iconic landmarks on the gondola tour including the Doge's Palace, St. Marks Basilica, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and more. They also act as stunning photo backgrounds.
  • You'll also see stores, restaurants and shops lining the banks, capturing the city in its element.

Cons

  • Can get very crowded, with wait times occasionally exceeding an hour during peak season. This is especially the case if you don't have pre-booked tickets.
  • The traffic can extend on to the waterways too, with gondolas sometimes jostling for space. This might mean a reduced ride time.
  • If you're seeking an after-hours tour, you might be charged higher as compared to the after-hours rate of a quieter gondola station.

Ultimately, riding a gondola on the Grand Canal is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you're willing to brave a bit of the crowd, you'll have memories to cherish forever.

Besides the Grand Canal, there are some hidden gems that offer a quieter waterway experience.

Cannaregio Canals

Explore a number of canals like:

  • Rio di San Barnaba: Lined with colorful houses and bridges, this canal offers a glimpse into local life. Nearby, Campo Santa Margherita provides a lively atmosphere.
  • Rio di Sant'Alvise: This narrow canal winds through a peaceful residential area, showcasing hidden gardens and traditional architecture.
  • Rio dell'Arsenale: Pass by the historic Venetian Arsenal, once a shipbuilding powerhouse, for a touch of history.

San Marco district canals

  • Rio dei Bareteri: This tranquil canal leads you past artisans' workshops and charming squares, offering a taste of Venetian craftsmanship.
  • Rio di San Salvador: Navigate under bridges adorned with flowers and admire Renaissance palaces lining the canal banks.
  • Rio della Canonica: Discover hidden gardens and peaceful corners near St. Mark's Square, offering a serene escape from the crowds.

Dorsoduro district

  • Rio di Santa Maria del Giglio: Pass by charming bridges and historic churches like the Basilica dei Gesuiti.
  • Rio di San Trovaso: Witnessing gondola-making firsthand at the Squero di San Trovaso, a traditional boatyard, is a unique experience.
  • Rio del Zattere: Glide along the charming waterfront promenade, offering stunning views of Giudecca Island and the lagoon.

Hear from our guests

Know before you go on a Venice canal tour

Gondola stations
Waiting times
Tips
Alternatives
  • As the Grand Canal and St Marks are the busiest boarding points, book your tickets in advance to skip the lines, find your gondolier and hop on for your ride.
  • Alternatives to these boarding points are the Cannaregio canals and the ones in the San Marco and Dorsoduro districts. Since gondolas take you down smaller canals, may have to pass on up some of the top sights like the Bridge of Sighs or the Doge's Palace.

Peak season: Wait times can go up to an hour or even more, especially if you arrive without advance booking. This is especially true if you're boarding around the Grand Canal.

Lean season: You can get a ride within 30 minutes on-spot. If you've booked tickets in advance, you can even snag a ride within 15 minutes of arrival at the gondola station.

  • Consider the time of year and day: Peak season (summer) brings crowds and higher prices. Early mornings or evenings offer a quieter experience.
  • Think about budget: Gondola rides can be expensive. Negotiate the price beforehand, consider shared gondolas, or choose less crowded canals for potentially lower rates.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes: You'll be sitting for a while, and steps near the water may be uneven.
  • Learn some basic Italian phrases: It's not essential, but saying "Buongiorno" (good morning) or "Grazie" (thank you) goes a long way.
  • Ask questions: Your gondolier is a wealth of knowledge about the canals and city. Engage in conversation to learn more.
  • Combine your ride: Pair your gondola tour with other activities like visiting nearby landmarks or enjoying a meal at a canal-side restaurant.

Can't go on a Venice canal tour aboard a gondola? No problem! There's still ways you can see around the city:

  • Water bus: Also known as a vaporetto (plural: vaporetti), the water bus is a public transport option that runs on water (as Venice has a no-car policy). These vaporetti are cheaper and faster than the gondolas, although more crowded.
  • Water taxi: For the ultimate convenience (and privacy), book a water taxi to get around Venice. Water taxis vary in size but typically accommodate 4-12 passengers. Note that this is a pricier option owing to its speed and convenience.
  • By foot: If it's available to you, exploring Venice on foot is a close second to the gondola ride, some would even argue that it's better! Stroll beneath awnings and iconic bridges as you take in the sights, smells and sounds of Venice.

Attractions covered in a Venice canal tour

Benefits of a Venice canal tour

Going on the Grand Canal, of course

  • Undeniably, it's a classic Venetian activity, offering a chance to feel like you're stepping into a historical scene or romantic movie. Imagine gliding past iconic landmarks like the Rialto Bridge and Doge's Palace, soaking in the grandeur and architectural beauty.
  • The Grand Canal provides stunning backdrops for memorable photos. Capture iconic landmarks, gondolas gliding under bridges, and charming details along the canal banks to document your Venetian adventure.
  • You can combine your gondola ride with other activities like visiting landmarks nearby or enjoying a meal at a canal-side restaurant, creating a richer and more comprehensive experience.

Discovering hidden gems

  • Whether it's by boarding near the Jewish Ghetto or the districts of San Marco and Dorsoduro, glide down lesser known canals and secret waterways for a quaint and peaceful experience.
  • Make a note of the stores/attractions you pass and visit them later on foot.
  • In a quieter setting, you might even succeed at negotiating with the gondolier to extend your ride by a few more minutes.

Capturing gram-worthy moments

  • Whether you go on the Grand Canal or not, simply being on a gondola in Venice is enough to fill an entire photo album, digital or otherwise.
  • Choose the golden hour for your best photos: the time right before sunset. The warm hues will add a bonus magic touch to your shots.
  • Make sure to capture the moments you pass through iconic monuments like the Rialto Bridge or the Bridge of Sighs.

Frequently asked questions about Venice canal tours

What is a Venice canal tour?

A Venice canal tour is a gondola ride (shared or private) taken down the iconic canals of the city. You can choose either the bustling canals like the Grand Canal as your starting point, or opt for quieter, more tucked-away spots near the Jewish Ghetto, San Marco district, etc.

How much does a Venice canal tour cost?

A 30-minute shared ride starts from €30 per person, while a private ride could be €80-150+ per gondola. These prices can vary if you decide to extend your ride or take an after-hours gondola.

How long does a Venice canal tour last?

Generally, the tour is around 30 minutes, depending on the route you choose. It's enough time to soak in the sights and capture good photos. However, you might be able to extend the duration of your ride if your gondolier permits.

Do I need to book my Venice canal tour in advance?

Pre-booking online is strongly recommended, especially during peak tourist seasons. This secures your spot as gondola rides are extremely sought after in Venice.

What attractions can I see during my Venice canal tour?

You'll sail through the scenic waterways of Venice, passing by awe-inspiring architecture, quaint bridges, and busy piazzas. You'll also get a close-up of famous landmarks like the Doge's Palace, St. Marks Basilica, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and the Rialto Bridge.

How many canals are there in Venice?

There are around 150 canals threading their way through the city. It's important to note that this number isn't completely fixed, as classifications can differ between natural waterways, man-made canals, and smaller channels.

How deep are Venetian canals?

While the Grand Canal's average depth is 16 feet, some of the smaller canals are only about 5-6 feet. Periodically, canals are dredged to remove sediment and maintain navigable depths. This can temporarily affect the depth in specific areas.

What are Venice canals today like?

The network of canals still serves as the city's primary transportation system, just like in centuries past. Gondolas, vaporetti and water taxis ply the waterways, carrying locals and tourists alike. However, due to increased population, traffic on the canals is greater. Moreover, sea level rise and climate change pose new challenges, making Venice more vulnerable to flooding. Constant adaptation measures are required to protect the historical city and its canals.

How long is the Grand Canal?

The Grand Canal of Venice stretches for a total of approximately 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles). This measurement represents the main navigable pathway of the canal, excluding any small side canals or branches that might contribute to a slightly larger overall length if counted.

Should I tip the gondolier after a gondola ride?

Tipping is not compulsory, but is appreciated if the service was good. A standard €5-10 per person is the norm, depending on customer satisfaction.

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