Insider's Guide to Venice

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 29 Reviews

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  • Location:Venice, Italy
  • Duration:2 hours (approx.)

Venice Canal Cruise: Grand Canal and Secret Canals by Motorboat

Explore some of the smaller, secret Venetian canals by motorboat on a 2-hour cruise, and discover the neighborhoods of Cannaregio, the Jewish Ghetto and Dorsoduro as well as the Grand Canal, too! While hearing anecdotes and history about the enchanting city from an onboard guide, look out for sights such as the Arsenale shipyard alongside intriguing lesser-known landmarks. See craftsmen at work at a gondola boat workshop, and then finish the cruise on a high note with a jaunt along the glamorous Grand Canal and underneath Rialto Bridge.

Numbers are limited to 9 on this small-group tour ensuring personalized attention at all times.


  • 2-hour small-group Venice canal cruise by motorboat including the Grand Canal
  • Explore the waterways of charming Venetian neighborhoods such as Cannaregio, the Jewish Ghetto and Dorsoduro
  • Discover pretty canals away from the well-trodden tourist trail, as well as top Venice attractions such as the Arsenale and Rialto Bridge
  • See craftsmen in work at a Dorsoduro gondola workshop and stop for photos at the Jewish Ghetto
  • Hear stories, anecdotes and snippets of Venetian history from an onboard guide
  • Small-group cruise with a maximum of 9 people ensures a personalized experience

What You Can Expect

Venice Canal Cruise: Grand Canal and Secret Canals by Motorboat

Enjoy your tour around Venice by boat!

Meet your guide in central Venice, near St Mark’s Square, and step aboard your motorboat for a 2-hour tour of the canals. While cruising away from the busy city centre, exploring the lesser-visited canals, look out for the Cattedral di San Pietro di Castello. Hear how the sleepy-looking place of worship served as Venice’s primary cathedral for centuries before Mark’s Basilica was ‘promoted’ from humble chapel status.

Pass alongside more quieter canals, seeing streets lined with drying laundry (a quintessential Venice sight), and enter the Porta dell’Acqua city gates into the impressive Arsenale, Venice’s historical shipyard and naval depot. Built at the start of the 12th century, the Arsenale grew to be one of Europe’s greatest shipyards, producing naval and merchant ships on a mass scale.

Relax as you cruise out of the old shipyard to the Cannaregio neighborhood, where some of the city’s most charming canals are found. Work your way around the quieter waterways, seeing romantic canalside restaurants and bars, and then head into the picturesque area known as the Jewish Ghetto. Enjoy a break of roughly 15-20 minutes to walk about and take photos of the pretty streets, and then continue by boat along the backwater canals of Santa Croce and Dorsoduro.

Loop past one of Dorsoduro’s gondola workshops to see craftsmen at work producing traditional Venetian gondolas, and then cruise down the famous Grand Canal. Have your camera ready to capture sights of the Baroque mansions and churches that line the busy stretch of water, and gaze at the thoroughfare of passing gondolas, vaporetto (water buses) and water taxis — all jostling for space on the water.

Cruise beneath Venice’s iconic Rialto Bridge, and return to the start point near St Mark’s Square where your cruise finishes.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Great guide, and beautiful boat.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

This was a great tour! There were only eight of us plus our guide so we were really able to see all the sights as well as get out of the boat several times to see different areas of the city. It was easy to stand up and take pictures whenever we wanted although beware of the salt spray making spots on your lens. We loved being able to see some of the smaller canals that are only available in this way. We saw parts of the city that we might otherwise have missed such as the Jewish Ghetto and the Gondola Boatyards where the gondolas are built. Our guide was great--very friendly and knowledgeable--and I would highly recommend her. I took her card so that I could include her in my review but alas it disappeared during the rest of our travels. I think her name was Katherine and she was originally from Croatia or the Czech Republic. We enjoyed her tour very much. It was totally worth the cost to see parts of the city that cannot be accessed by vaporetto.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

This was fantastic. Our tour guide---Christina was brilliant. It was so different to our gondola ride on our last visit to Venice and I'm so glad we decided to try something a little different.
Janece from the Gold Coast, australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

We ended up having an almost private tour with only one other couple on board and the tour guide was amazing and very knowledgeable. I was able to get a lot of great pictures and all in all we were very happy. As a final note, if its hot make sure to take water with you because there are hardly any opportunities to buy any on the tour. We saw places we never would have seen otherwise.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Tour was wonderful. Christina is the real deal - knowledgeable, friendly, and courteous! Great way to get introduced to some of the lesser known areas as well as hitting the major ones as well.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

This is an absolute MUST DO! You get so much more than the standard Grand Canal boat tour. Christine, our tour guide, was the very best guide we had on our two week trip. She was entertaining, engaging, and we learned so much about Venice. Its a wonderful overview of the whole city, with amazing views, entertaining stories, and interesting history and local culture. We even got off the boat and walked for a few minutes in two of the neighborhoods, seeing sights we never would have found on our own wandering the city. Don't hesitate to book this tour!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

A great way to see Venice by water

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Excellent tour and tour guide

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Good to see parts of Venice the tourist would not discover

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

Expensive but excellent. We've been to Venice four times and this was the best thing we've ever done there..

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Tour code: 2635GRANDCANAL


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