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Best tours and daytrips from Venice

As one of the most visited destinations in Europe and the world, La Serenissima offers the most varied experiences. Here is a compilation of the most interesting ones so that you can include as many as you can in your itinerary.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

10 min read

Best tours and daytrips from Venice

Grand Canal, View of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia and the Basilica di Santa Maria | ©Israel Ferrera

Venice is a truly one-of-a-kind city, placed on every travel enthusiast's bucket list, there is so much to see and do in Venice. That's why an excursion or guided tour is definitely the best decision you can make to make the most of your stay and not miss out on anything interesting. Here is a list of my personal favourites in the hope that they will inspire you to have an amazing holiday.

1. Excursion to Murano and Burano from Venice

Sunset on a canal in Burano| ©Fabio Mangione
Sunset on a canal in Burano| ©Fabio Mangione

This tour is the ideal choice for those holidaying in Venice for three days or more, as it allows you to see the traditional islands of Murano and Burano located to the north of the lagoon and famous for centuries for their delicate craftsmanship.

What will you see on these tours?

You will have the valuable opportunity to visit the island of Murano, with its prodigious glass industry; additionally you will see the island of Burano, famous for its lace creations and colourful houses; Burano's gastronomy is equally spectacular. Some travel options also include a visit to the island of Torcello from Burano, famous for being the first island in the lagoon to be inhabited.

Interesting details

  • Duration of the excursion: It may vary depending on the company you hire and the itinerary, but you should book at least 3 hours for this type of excursion. If you are planning a longer trip, you can opt for a full day trip to the islands and get to know them in depth.
  • Price: You will find different excursions to Murano and Burano from Venice, with premium price options and more general options, with prices starting at €30 per person.

Book your excursion to Murano and Burano

2. Night Tour of Mysterious Venice

Venice by Night| ©Luca Sartoni
Venice by Night| ©Luca Sartoni

Those who enjoy listening to intriguing stories, supernatural legends and spooky tales will find this kind of experience fascinating. Accompanied by an expert guide you will have the opportunity to take a walking tour through narrow alleys and labyrinths while hearing secrets and ghost stories that are rarely told in books.

What will you see on these tours?

This tour will take you through the districts of Castello and Cannaregio to hear disturbing stories of **Venice'**s former leaders, its most notable citizens. Also get to know the Rialto area, once the most important shopping area of the whole island. Some alternatives combine the experience with a stop for an aperitivo at a bacari.

Interesting details

  • Duration of the tour: The average time is 1.5 hours. This tour always takes place at sunset or dusk so it is perfect to combine with other options.
  • Price: About 25€.

Book a hidden Venice tour

3. Gondola ride with serenade

Rialto Bridge Gondola ride| ©Damiano Baschiera
Rialto Bridge Gondola ride| ©Damiano Baschiera

Where else in the world can you enjoy a similar experience? I don't think there is anything more traditional than a gondola ride on the waters of the Grand Canal. To travel to Venice and not enjoy this kind of experience is a real shame. Venetian gondoliers will take you on a shared gondola ride across the lagoon waters in gondolas that can accommodate up to 6 people; you have the option to hire the gondola for your own private use.

What will you see on these tours?

The gondola ride is combined with a tour of the Grand Canal of Venice to appreciate the architectural gems built along this important commercial thoroughfare throughout history. In addition, a talented singer will perform for you the most romantic Venetian ballads.

Interesting details

  • Duration of tour: These are usually short tours, but you will need to allow at least 30 minutes for the journey plus the time it will take to get to the meeting point.
  • Price: Serenaded gondola rides are available from €30 per person, if you require a gondola for private use you will have to pay a higher price.

Book your Gondola Ride

4. Take a walking tour through the streets of Venice.

St. Mark's Square| ©Toa Herftiba
St. Mark's Square| ©Toa Herftiba

A professional guide takes a small group of tourists around the main treasures of the city; these tours usually take place during the day to admire in detail the beautiful architecture of the Venetian buildings.

What will you see on these tours?

This type of tour involves exploring architectural gems and important Venetian monuments. The itinerary may vary depending on the company you choose to hire but some alternatives include: Guided tour of St. Mark's Square, stop to see the Casa di Marco Polo, view of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salutte, pass by the Teatro La Fenice, the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, ect.

Interesting details

  • Duration of the tour: You should reserve at least one hour of your itinerary for this tour, when combined with other alternatives such as a gondola ride the tour can be extended to approximately three hours.
  • Price: Depending on the duration and itinerary of stops included in the tour the initial price can vary between €30 and €60.

Book a private tour of Venice

5. Legendary Venice: see St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace

Entrance to St. Mark's Basilica| ©Mark Huguet
Entrance to St. Mark's Basilica| ©Mark Huguet

An expert guide on the architecture and history of Venice will take a small group of tourists to see two of the most opulent jewels of Venetian architecture: the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica. If you're interested in art, history or architecture, this is a tour not to be missed. The best part? By hiring a guided tour you avoid the entrance queue and the tour inside can be done very quickly. It's ideal for those who are only in Venice for a day.

What will you see on these tours?

You will have the opportunity to see the interior of the Doge's Palace with all its secrets, as well as the interior of St. Mark's Basilica with all its wonderful treasures brought from other lands and times long ago.

Interesting details

Book a tour of St. Mark's Square and the Basilica

6. Excursion to the Dolomite Mountains and the Alpine village of Cortina

With so much architectural and cultural richness that the city of Venice has to offer, you might want to escape the crowds of tourists and spend a day disconnecting with nature. A highly recommended option is to take an excursion to the Dolomite Mountain s, where you can admire idyllic landscapes, spectacular lakes and charming villages.

What will you see on this excursion?

With a driver-guide in a small group you will discover postcard-perfect scenery including: the impressive rocks known as the Three Peaks of Lavaredo, the relaxing Lago di Misurina or the beautiful alpine village of Cortina D'Ampezzo.

Interesting details

  • Duration of excursion: About 9 hours
  • Price: From 166 euros including transport in a minivan with a driver-guide.

Book an excursion to the Dolomite Mountains

7. A day trip to discover the Padua region by cruise ship.

Touring Padua| ©Gary Bembridge
Touring Padua| ©Gary Bembridge

If you're on a Venice trip that involves staying in the city for five or more days, one of the activities you should consider including in your itinerary is a cruise visit to the city of Padua. Located in the Veneto region, it has a beautiful historic centre and lies just 38km to the west. The destination is a favourite day getaway for the people of greater Venice.

What will you see on these tours?

Excursions of this type involve a cruise along the Riviera del Brenta; the idea is to take tourists not only to the final destination in Padua but also to show them the highlights along the way. Although it might change slightly depending on the company you hire, some stops that might be included in your trip are: Villa Foscari, the National Museum and gardens of Villa Pisani, the historic centre of Padua.

Interesting details

  • Duration of the tour: The complete tour including the return trip to the centre of Prague takes 9 to 10 hours. You will need to book a full day of your itinerary for this type of tour, so it is ideal if you will be in Venice for several days.
  • Price: This type of experience is usually available from €100, the price includes transport and in most cases entry to the gardens and palaces on the tour itinerary.

Book a tour from Venice

8. See the countryside outside Venice

Tasting Prosecco wine| ©Melissa Wang
Tasting Prosecco wine| ©Melissa Wang

Take a tour of the wine region just outside Venice. A local wine expert guide takes the tour group from the centre of La Serenissima to the very heart of the countryside to soak up the beauty of the landscapes, the splendid vineyards and the process of making this delicious drink.

What will you see on these tours?

Enjoy tastings and learn the step-by-step process of making prosecco, the local name for the famous Italian sparkling wine. The experience includes, entrance to the vineyards, tastings in the cellars and a visit to a local restaurant at lunchtime.

Details of interest

  • Duration of tour: With an average duration of 6-7 hours, you will need to set aside a day for this adventure. Excursions of this type usually start early in the morning from a major meeting point in Venice such as St. Mark's Square; heading to the Italian wine regions of Valdobbiadene Conegliano.
  • Price: This type of experience is available from €130 per participant.

Book a tour from Venice

9. Venetian Gastronomic Tour: Rialto Market and food tasting

Rialto Fish Market| ©VeneciaU
Rialto Fish Market| ©VeneciaU

It is impossible to leave Venice without enjoying its fabulous gastronomy. On this type of excursion a guide, an expert in Italian gastronomy, takes a small group of tourists to the Rialto Market, while exploring the gastronomic tradition of the Serenissima. Accompany this experience with historical facts and secret places that don't usually appear in guidebooks.

What will you see on these tours?

As well as seeing the famous Rialto Market and enjoying its curious architecture, you'll have the opportunity to sample various tastings in restaurants and bars highly rated by the locals; Italian wines are often included as part of the experience.

Details of interest

  • Duration of tour: This may vary slightly depending on the company you hire, however I recommend booking a minimum of 2.5 hours for this tour; some may extend up to 3.5 hours for the total tour.
  • Price: When several bars and restaurants are included the price to pay is approximately €90 for the experience.

Book a food tour of Venice

10. Take the alternative Venice tour

In Barnaba's countryside| ©Didier Descouens
In Barnaba's countryside| ©Didier Descouens

Once you've experienced the classic Venice that includes a cruise along the Grand Canal, a visit to the Doge's Palace, the Piazza and St Mark's Basilica, next up is an alternative Venice tour to explore those gems of architecture and history not seen on the more conventional sightseeing tours. It's an ideal addition if you're holidaying in Venice on a four- or seven-day itinerary.

Most companies offering this type of tour use native Venetian guides, with some specialisation in art, architecture and/or history, and guides are usually able to speak at least two languages: English and Italian. Before booking, you can check the availability of English-speaking guides if the tour does not specify it.

What will you see on these tours?

Your tour programme includes a tour of Venice' s hidden gems and while the itinerary may change depending on the company you choose, you can expect to see some of the following destinations: A visit to Barnaba's countryside, getting to know the more artistic side of Venice in the Dorsoduro district with its palazzos, most beautiful churches and museums.

Interesting details

  • Duration of the excursion: Depending on the route of your trip you may need to spend more time, but as a general rule this type of experience usually lasts about 2 hours on average, always starting from a known point in the area around the Grand Canal.
  • Price: The more specialised historical tours also tend to be a little more expensive, you can expect an average price of €30 for this experience.

Book a guided tour of Venice

11. Take a Jewish Ghetto Tour in Venice

Santa Maria della Salute Basilica| ©Jorge Franganillo
Santa Maria della Salute Basilica| ©Jorge Franganillo

Explore Venice away from the crowds by taking a tour of the Jewish Quarter of La Serenissima. Located in the Cannaregio area it is known to locals as il Ghetto. The Jews who arrived in Venice from the 16th century onwards were forced to settle in this area, which was once somewhat separated from the rest of the city by large canals. Today, centuries later, the area has a particular architecture and charm that certainly distinguishes it from the rest of what you'll find in Venice.

What will you see on these tours?

A local guide will give you an in-depth look at the Cannaregio area, its history and evolution; depending on the tour you choose, a small tasting of local street food may be included. All excursions of this type include an obligatory stop at the Jewish synagogues and a visit to the majestic Basilica Santa Maria della Salute. From the Cannaregio area it is possible to see St. Mark's Basilica from a different perspective, so bring your camera to take pictures.

Interesting details

  • Duration of the tour: It may vary depending on the company you hire. The minimum time required to get to know Cannaregio and its secrets is two hours, longer tours can take up to 4 hours.

  • Price: These types of experiences are handled in small groups of tourists so the price is around €80 or more per tour.

Book a guided tour of Venice

Frequently asked questions

  • What are the best day trips from Venice?

    Outside of Verona, Murano and Burano, many adventurers take the high-speed train to Florence to see the popular Tuscan city. Motoring enthusiasts can visit the Lamborghini headquarters and check out the Ferrari test track at Maranello.

  • What can you see in Torcello?

    Although not as famous as Murano and Burano, Torcello offers a change of scenery from the hustle and bustle of Venice, being much quieter. The island's main attraction is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Devil's Bridge.

  • Is it worth visiting the Dolomites from Venice?

    Considering that the Dolomite Mountains are only 2 hours away, it is actually a perfect destination for a day trip during your stay in Venice. The Dolomites are perfect for hiking and experiencing a lesser known part of Italy.