Piazza San Marco, Venice

Linger at one of its many outdoor cafes with views of St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace.

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Piazza San Marco, Venice: Our most recommended tours and activities

Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

1. Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

Delve deep into Venice’s history with a 3-hour guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace, either as a private tour or shared group experience. Take in two of the city’s most important landmarks while discovering the history of the one-time mercantile capital of the Mediterranean.  Start by exploring St. Mark's Square with your guide before heading into the cathedral. From the first-floor terrace you’ll be able to admire views across the lagoon and see the famous bronze horses up close. Hear how they traveled all the way to Paris and back in Napoleon’s time. St. Mark's Basilica sometimes closes to visitors without warning. If this happens, visit the Church of San Zaccaria or the Correr Museum instead, depending on availability. Take a tour of the beautifully ornate 15th-century church and its flooded crypt or learn about the art and history of Venice. Next, you’ll use the priority entrance to reach Doge's Palace, formerly the residence of the leader of the Republic of Venice. Enjoy visiting the Chamber of the Great Council and courtrooms among other things. Highlights include frescoes by Tintoretto and the Giants’ Staircase.  After this, cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs that links to the New Prisons. Learn how the bridge got its name and the purpose for its construction in the 17th century as you take in the amazing views of the canals. At the end of your tour, feel free to stay and explore the Doge’s Palace with tips from your guide.

Venice: Doge's Palace Reserved Entry Admission Ticket

2. Venice: Doge's Palace Reserved Entry Admission Ticket

Visit the Doge's Palace, an important historic landmark that served as the seat of Venetian political power for centuries. As you explore the seat of a 1,000-year republic, you’ll travel back in time to the Middle Ages. Marvel at the rich details of the magnificent gold staircase and spectacular works of art. Relive the anguish of the prisoners as they crossed the famous Bridge of Sighs. Your admission ticket also includes entry to the Correr Museum on St. Mark's Square. The building was originally designed as a residence for Napoleon, and later became the Venetian residence of the King of Italy.

Saint Mark's Basilica Skip-the-line Ticket and Audio Guide

3. Saint Mark's Basilica Skip-the-line Ticket and Audio Guide

Save time during your visit to Venice with a skip-the-line ticket to the popular St. Mark’s Basilica. Admire the hundreds of golden mosaics in the Basilica and learn details about the byzantine art inside with your audio guide. Download your audio guide to your mobile device and head to St. Mark’s Basilica to begin your tour. Breeze past the long lines and put in your headphones. Explore the five-domes and an array of artworks. Hear legends and stories surrounding this church which has stood for almost a 1,000 years.  Witness the dazzling effect of the 43,000 square feet of mosaics in the church. Take in the stunning marble inlay work on the floors. Soak up the atmosphere in the building that dominates St. Mark’s Square. 

Venice: Half-Day Trip to Murano and Burano

4. Venice: Half-Day Trip to Murano and Burano

Climb aboard a comfortable motorboat for a half-day trip around the Venetian islands of Murano and Burano, and discover a more local and authentic side to Venice. Depart from a pier close to St. Mark’s Square for a convenient crossing to Murano. Cross the lagoon to the “Island of Glass” as you hear fascinating stories about the city. On landing, go to one of the famous glass factories to see how the colorful glass ware is blown. Alternatively, stroll the quiet streets of the island at leisure. Continue to Burano to discover one of Venice Lagoon’s most picturesque islands. See the major sights, learn about the history of the island, before spending some free time wandering around the chocolate box houses. Admire the bright colors of the fishermen’s island and visit a typical lace museum.

Venice: Murano and Burano Excursion

5. Venice: Murano and Burano Excursion

Cruise to the islands of Murano and Burano aboard a comfortable boat on this guided tour from Venice. Step back in time at the ancient Basilica of Saint Mary and Saint Donatus. Uncover the magic of traditional glass blowing at a factory and take in the vibrant houses of Burano. Meet your local guide in a central location near Piazza San Marco and board a private boat to learn more about the Venetian lagoon and its islands. Stop on the characteristic island of Murano, and visit the 7th-century Church of Santa Maria e San Donato. Stroll through the silent streets for about 15 minutes to arrive at an old glass factory where the glass blowers are still working. Benefit for some free time to shop or explore the rest of the island. Then, travel by private boat to the nearby island of Burano. Upon arrival, take in the colorful houses of one of the most enchanting parts of Venice. Lose yourself in the picturesque streets and discover lovely corners. You will have free time to enjoy lunch on this tour. Return to the main island of Venice for a glass of sparkling Prosecco at the end of your tour services.

From Poreč: Full-Day Boat Trip to Venice, 1-Way or Return

6. From Poreč: Full-Day Boat Trip to Venice, 1-Way or Return

On this 12-hour program, you’ll travel to Venice by high-speed catamaran. Discover old squares, stunning palaces, churches, and galleries as you explore the city. At 7 AM you'll board the catamaran in the port of Poreč, and at 07:30 you’ll be on your way to Venice. On the catamaran sails out, you can sit back, relax and enjoy a short introduction to Venice. You'll also be offered some optional services such as gondola rides, taxi boat rides, lunch, and more. As you approach Venice you’ll have views of the islands in the lagoon and a panoramic view of the city. Disembark at 10:30 AM and from that point, you can explore the city at your leisure. Take a short walk to Piazza San Marco. From there you can head into the maze of streets off the square. Enjoy a gondola ride along the canals. Try some of the city’s fine cuisine. If you like, you can visit one of the Murano glass workshops and see the process of glassmaking. At 5 PM the catamaran departs Venice. The excursion ends at 8 PM back in the port of Poreč.

Punta Sabbioni: Roundtrip Boat to Venice w/ Reserved Parking

7. Punta Sabbioni: Roundtrip Boat to Venice w/ Reserved Parking

Reserve parking spot in Punta Sabbioni and skip the ticket lines to board the boat for a round-trip transfer to Venice. Sit back and relax as cruise towards the city center. Pass through the Lagoon and admire the islands of Lido, Sant'Elena, San Giorgio, and the Arsenale. With this ticket, you'll save time and reach the heart of Venice in only 30 minutes.

Venice: Panoramic Boat Tour to Murano, Burano, & Torcello

8. Venice: Panoramic Boat Tour to Murano, Burano, & Torcello

Discover some of the most famous islands of the Venetian Lagoon on this full-day boat tour. Travel with your guide through the canals of Venice on a panoramic vessel and witness the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Start your day of adventure boarding your comfortable panoramic boat as you set-off from St. Mark's. Take in the sights of this ancient city for around 30 minutes until you reach your first destination, Murano. Enjoy a glass-blowing demonstration with a glass master accompanied by a historical explanation of the craft. Be sure to stop by the souvenir store at the glass factory and enjoy a 20% discount on your purchases. Your scheduled time in Murano also includes free time to explore on your own. Leave Murano behind as you travel to the nearby island of Burano. Witness the quaint and colorful houses that dot the island and observe the lace makers at work. Become acquainted with their rare skill which is considered some of the finest worldwide. Stop for a bite to eat during your time in Burano and be sure to try some of the local biscotti that is native to the island. Travel to your final stop, Torcello. Enjoy a 1 hour visit to the island and visit historical landmarks such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Attila's Throne, the Devil's Bridge, and the Bell Tower. Finish your adventure with a 1 hour trip back to Venice taking in the breathtaking ambience of the Venetian lagoon.

Venice: Private Gondola Ride, Bridge of Sighs

9. Venice: Private Gondola Ride, Bridge of Sighs

Embark on a private gondola ride from just outside Hotel Danieli, near St. Mark's Square. Cruise through the small canals in some of the most ancient parts of the city and discover the city like a true Venetian. First, sail down the Rio del Palazzo and pass under the famous Bridge of Sighs. Pass through the Rio di Santa Maria Formosa, admiring the elegant apartments of shops on either side. Follow Rio di San Severo to finish your short journey in the Basin of San Marco. For a romantic experience, choose to include a musician and singer to serenade you as you ride through the canals.

St. Mark’s Square: Casanova’s Prison Walking Tour

10. St. Mark’s Square: Casanova’s Prison Walking Tour

Explore an amazing route through places that have never been visited until now. Enter the imposing courtroom and the dark cells of the old prisons of Piazza San Marco. You will learn what it meant to be a prisoner back in those days:  what prisoners ate, drank and where they slept. See actual graffiti left by inmates and listen to the story about Casanova’s exciting jailbreak. Hear the myths and legends that still live inside these cold walls and cells. Enjoy the explanation of the powerful Council of The Ten, which consisted of the highest Venice politicians, that oversaw the justice system in all Venetian domains.  Nowadays the prison’s palace that overlooks the stunning Riva Degli Schiavoni is the seat of the Artistic Circle, which offers its guests different cultural experiences and concerts. Yet still, you can feel the presence of the rich history when walking through the halls of the ancient prison.

Other Sightseeing Options in Piazza San Marco, Venice

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What people are saying about Piazza San Marco, Venice

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 22,425 reviews

Great value boat trip to some beautiful islands around Venice. The only thing that marred it was people returning late at the last stop which meant we had to walk fast to he able to catch our onward ferry. Would highly recommend the trip.

Good organization with button in ear and constant audio contact with the guide. Guide Elisabeth was simply great, with in-depth knowledge, wit and charm, we were carried away into the history of Venice in a unique way.

Martina was so knowledgeable and thorough. She has so much passion talking about Venice. We love her!!!!

Federica was an awesome guide! Funny and very knowledgeable about the Basilica and Doge's Palace.

Totally recommend as first time travellers to Venice. Great history and must see!