Areal view of St Mark Square
St Mark's Chapel
Horse Statue Mark's Terrace
Gondola passing by the Rialto Bridge
Skip the Line

Semi-Private Tour: Best of Venice with St. Mark’s Basilica Terraces & Water Taxi Ride

(283 Reviews)
3 h.
Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri & Sat

  • On this intimate and personal tour, we’ll unravel the history, art and politics of the Floating City in a relaxed and unrushed pace on foot and by a luxurious private water taxi.
  • We first show you the secrets and the hidden history of the colorful canals and iconic sites like the Bridge of Sighs. We then visit the must-see St. Mark’s Basilica to give you an in-depth exploration of the mosaics and Byzantine architecture from within, with special access to the first floor terraces to soak up the views.
  • We finish your day with a relaxing and scenic one-hour cruise along the Grand Canal in a luxurious private water taxi, where you will see over 50 palaces, six churches, four bridges and two open-air markets from the comfort of your boat.
  • Your small group of 10 people will be accompanied by an expert English-speaking guide, who will organise it all for you, including skip-the-line access into St. Mark’s Basilica, and a luxurious one-hour private water taxi ride along the Grand Canal, in the boats you typically see in the movies. Terrace entry fee is also included with your tour.

Tour Description

What's Included

  • Local expert guide
  • Groups of 10 people or less
  • 1 hour Grand Canal cruise by private boat (groups limited to 10 people)
  • Skip the Line Access to St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Entrance ticket to the terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Headsets when appropriate, so you can always hear your guide
  • Gratuities

Sites Visited

  • St. Mark's Basilica
  • Terrace of St. Mark's
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Grand Canal (from the water)
  • Jewish Ghetto (from the water)
  • Doge’s Palace (exterior)
  • Columns of St. Mark and the Venetian Lion
  • Campo SM Formosa
  • Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo
  • Marco Polo’s house (exterior)
  • Rialto Bridge

See all the top sights of Venice with this exclusive, semi-private tour, limited to only ten people or less per group. With commentary tailored by an expert, English-speaking guide to suit your group, you’ll learn more about Venice in just a few hours than many visitors do on an entire trip. And with such small group sizes, your guide will have more time to answer questions and tailor the pace of the tour to suit you.

Beat the Queues at St Mark's Basilica

First of all, we’ll head straight for the main attraction, to be sure that you have plenty of time to take it all in. St. Mark’s Basilica took 800 years to build with relics and monuments inside bought (or stolen) from all over Europe and Asia. Even St. Mark’s remains eventually ended up here (albeit through dubious means) when Crusaders stole them from Egypt. The queues here can be long but no worries, we have Skip the Line Access! Your guide will take you inside this cavernous space for an extended tour, pointing out mosaics that date all the way back to the 11th century and beautiful artworks. Then it’s up to the second floor for some stolen time inside this busy basilica. The terraces of St. Mark’s Basilica are worth a visit in their own right, not to mention the incredible views they offer over bustling Piazza San Marco below.

Take a Historical Walk with our Expert Guides

After our tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and Piazza San Marco, we’ll set out on a walking tour past some of Venice's best-known sights, along with some unlikely favorites. We spent a lot of hours traversing the city, trying to get the right balance of major landmarks and picturesque corners and discovered that much of the joy of visiting Venice is in the journey, walking from one spot to another through quiet residential streets and along canals. Our Venice walking tour will take you on such a journey.

You'll see Marco Polo’s house to hear about the Venetian son who went to sea one day and came back with stories of China; Campo SS Giovanni Paolo with its mix of architecture from so many ages; and the famous Bridge of Sighs. As you move from one spot to another, your guide will entertain you with stories of Venice, from informative tales about how the city has stayed afloat so long, to the whispers of scandal that make Venice such a captivating city. They’ll also point out features and buildings that you may never have noticed on your own.

Enjoy the Grand Canal on a Private Vessel

A visit to the Rialto Bridge, an incredible marble structure that cost Venice a small fortune to build but was certainly worth every penny, is a highlight of this journey, and here our walking part ends. Now it's time to take a seat on a private boat to enjoy the beauty of the city. Our tour continues on the Grand Canal, the city’s main waterway which snakes its way past no less than 50 palaces, six churches, four bridges and two open-air markets. We’ll take to the water for a cruise that includes all these wonderful sights. Although many visitors opt to travel the Grand Canal by gondola, this wide and hectic waterway is much better suited to the water taxis we use, which allow us to move quickly and easily along the canal without losing the intimacy of a smaller vessel.

Your tour will end at the famous Rialto Bridge. And there you have it – in only a few hours you have seen the very best of Venice from three entirely different perspectives – water, land and even air from the terraces of St. Mark’s Basilica. And all without having to wait in line or jostling to see within a big tour group!

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Guide showing attraction

A City Wonders tour is the product of meticulous research, detailed planning, and a passion for providing customers with travel experiences they will cherish forever.

With City Wonders it's not just facts, our passionate guides tell you the stories that bring the sights to life.

  • All of our guides are experts in their field
  • We only hire fluent English-speakers so nothing is ever lost in translation
  • We focus on the little details and anecdotes that make City Wonders so special