Venice
3 hours
Times vary; please select a specific date to see availability
Max 20

Highlights

  • Our most extraordinary experience in Venice, the Legendary Venice: St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace Tour is the best way to visit two of the city's most venerated spaces.
  • 8 am time slot only: Enter the Doge's Palace before it opens to the public thanks to our specially secured VIP access.
  • Bypass long lines into St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace, where golden mosaics await and stories of saints and sinners delight.
  • Step out onto the balcony overlooking St. Mark's Square for an exclusive view few others get to experience.
  • Walk into the scared spaces where Venice's most coveted artifacts reside and famed frescos beckon.

Preview the experience

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Tour description

Get swept away by tales of the rise and fall of the Venetian empire.

Venice’s incomparable artistic and historical masterpieces will leave you breathless on this unforgettable three-hour experience. More than simply a guided St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace tour, this experience brings both iconic buildings—and the historical characters behind them—to life.

Enjoy special-access entrance into St. Mark's Basilica, including a VIP-only balcony visit.

Meeting in St. Mark’s Square, take a few breathtaking moments to appreciate the incredible sight before you as your guide prepares you for what is to come. With our pre-reserved, special access tickets, we'll breeze past the infamous long lines into St. Mark’s Basilica—a massive architectural and artistic achievement.

You'll travel far beyond the spaces highlighted in guidebooks as your guide exposes all the rudimentary facts, features, and stories of St. Mark's Basilica and Venice itself throughout the tour. They'll spin swashbuckling tales of the basilica's foundation (let's just say it involves an angelic prophecy and a brazen theft) and lead you to the church's innumerable treasures—including the intricate mosaics and original quadriga of four bronze horses, a millennia-old symbol of St. Mark's. You'll even enjoy exclusive access onto the balcony overlooking the whole of Piazza San Marco, the Doge's Palace, and a good portion of the Venetian lagoon.

Unearth secret tales of power and corruption at the Doge's Palace.

Your St. Mark’s Basilica tour is only the tip of the iceberg. The Doge’s Palace was the heart of the Republic of Venice. It was home to the Doge (Duke) and Venetian government, and replete with everything from grandiose, gilded halls to grim torture chambers.

As you enter the palace (skipping once again past any lines), your guide will share stories of scandal and politics while leading you into the Doge's own lavish apartments and through to the Hall of the Great Council. It is here where you'll come face to face with the famed frescos of Veronese and Tintoretto and learn why the row of portraits of the Doges circling the hall is interrupted by a mysterious black veil. (Hint: It has to do with a beheading—how medieval!)

On your Doge's Palace tour, you’ll also explore the massive armory and the so-called "New Prisons," where your guide will share the grim life of a Venetian prisoner. You’ll even stroll through the interior of the Bridge of Sighs, which you'll learn isn't quite as romantic as modern-day folklore paints it to be.

NB: Choose the 8 am time slot for an even more exclusive experience—our groups are able to access the palace before it even opens to the public.

Privileged entrance, small groups, and expert guides—Legendary Venice is a St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace tour to remember.

In order to do justice to these incredible sites and your time in Venice, we’ve kept the group size limited to 20 people or fewer. You'll also have a headset, so you’ll be able to hear your guide clearly, engage with them and ask all the questions you want. Take advantage of their expertise—they’re truly the best in the business.

We’ve spent years building the best team of guides, chosen for their knowledge, enthusiasm, and friendliness. We know how important your guide is to the quality of your tour, so we only work with those who are both passionate and knowledgeable about the history, art, and stories of Venice.

For the best, most enjoyable, and informative way to see the top sights of Venice, explore St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace with us on this unforgettable tour. It’s three hours, two top sites, and dozens of tales you’ll be reliving forever!

Please note that it is not possible to bring large backpacks on the tour.

Sites visited

  • St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco)
  • St. Mark's Basilica (Exclusive Balcony Access)
  • Bell Tower in St. Mark's Square (exterior)
  • Marciana Library (exterior)
  • Doge’s Palace
  • New Prisons
  • Bridge of Sighs

Included

Verified guest reviews

4.7 / 5
2753 Customer Reviews
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Tonya

Feb 03, 2024

Nico was a fantastic guide! He was so knowledgeable and attentive. Loved all the information he provided on the beautiful city of Venice. I would not hesitate to recommend a tour with him. Absolutely wonderful!

Thomas

Dec 27, 2023

Our guide, Virginia (?), was excellent. Very friendly, knowledgeable, and a proud Venetian.

Karen

Oct 31, 2023

We have just spent over a week cruising from Athens through Greece, Croatia, Slovenia and ending in Venice. In all honesty, this was the best tour we have taken over the last 12 days. Although there were a few impressive locations in Croatia, everything about this tour starting and end with our guide, Mark, was remarkable. This is the only way to see the Doge's Palace before the public hours begin. So worth it. I learned so much about the history of Venice from Mark who provokes you to think about the politics and the culture that resulted from the society that they created. St. Mark's Basilica viewing was also a private entrance while several hundred people waiting outside. Great commentary here too.

Rosemary

Oct 30, 2023

Elisabeta was an excellent tour guide. She explained hundreds of years of Venice history in 3 hours with great insight and enthusiasm.

Deborah

Oct 29, 2023

A very good tour of the Doges Palace and San Marco Basilica. Matteo knows history and that made the tour more interesting. Great job all the way! Thanks

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Make it a perfect day

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Enjoy an unforgettable day in Venice as you explore its most legendary attractions, then head off the beaten path to experience the best bites in the city.

From $120
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