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Grand Canal Tours

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Grand Canal
Venice is a city built on water, and the Grand Canal (Canale Grande) is its bustling main street. Lined with sumptuous Venetian palaces and crowded with gondolas, water taxis, and vaporetti (public ferries), this thoroughfare is a feast for the senses. The Grand Canal winds its way through the central neighborhoods of Venice from the Santa Lucia train station to St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), passing under the iconic Rialto Bridge along the way, and functions as the scenic main artery for transporting both people and goods around the City of Canals.

The Basics
A sail down the Grand Canal is a trip through centuries of Venetian history, as historic palaces dating from the 13th to the 18th centuries rise out of the water along most of the route. Though stretches of the canal are lined with walkways, many of the important landmarks can be seen only from the water, so a small-group Grand Canal boat tour or combination walking-and-canal tour is by far the best way to go. For a historical tour of the canal, opt for a daytime sightseeing tour so you can see the ornate facades of Venice’s famous palaces. For a romantic journey, choose a moonlit gondola ride. And for a truly Venetian experience, opt for a gondola ride with a serenade!

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Most Grand Canal gondola rides begin or end in St. Mark’s Square, home to St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, and include a few picturesque minor canals along the way.
  • Alongside Rome and Florence as one of the most popular destinations in Italy, Venice can get extremely crowded. To avoid a long wait at the motor launch, book your Venice tour tickets in advance.
  • The palaces along the Grand Canal have architectural styles that span from the Byzantine to the Renaissance, and are best appreciated with an expert tour guide who can explain their history and importance.
  • Note that Venice and the Grand Canal feature a great number of bridges, many of which are not wheelchair accessible. 

How to Get There
The Grand Canal snakes its way through the center of Venice from the train station to St. Mark’s Square. All of Venice is pedestrian only, so to get from anywhere in the city to the Grand Canal, you must either walk or take a boat.

When to Get There
Venice is lovely all year round, and the Grand Canal is spectacular both by day and night. 

The Islands of Venice
Venice is made up of over 100 small islands, so for a different perspective of this unique city on the water, take a boat tour to one of the quieter outlying islands such as Murano, famous for its glassblowing industry; Burano, known for its lace-making artisans; or Torcello, thought to be the first populated island the in Venetian lagoon.


Address: Venice, Italy
Hours: Open 24 hours every day
Admission: Free
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149 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Multi-day Tours

8-Day Relax Italy Tour: Rome Vatican Florence Pisa Venice

Discover Italy’s most popular cities, all in one tour—and don’t worry about organizing logistics on your own. This 8-day itinerary will whisk you from Rome and Vatican City to Florence, Pisa, and Venice. For your convenience, comfortable accommodation, buffet breakfasts, airport car transfers, and inter-city train journeys are all included in the tour cost. While this tour is primarily independent, and affords you opportunities to explore at your own pace, you can also join group sightseeing outings when preferred.
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  • 8 days
From  
US$1,399.00
From  
US$1,399.00
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  • 8 days

Gondola Cruises

Charming gondola ride on Grand Canal

Experience the history and romance of Venice with a shared 30-minute gondola ride through the city's famous canals. Save time and money by pre-booking your ride, and then relax and take in the scenery as a professional gondolier guides a beautifully handcrafted boat along the palaces of the Grand Canal and through smaller, atmospheric waterways brimming with charm.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$37.69
From  
US$37.69
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

Full Day Boat Trip to Venice from Rovinj

Few travelers realize Croatia’s close proximity to Venice. Maximize your time in Europe on a day trip from Rovinj to Venice by boat—the best way to travel to the City of Water. A guide takes care of arranging all logistics, allowing you to relax and enjoy a mix of guided sightseeing and free time.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$85.65
From  
US$85.65
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

5-Day Private Italy Tour of Rome and Venice

Get personalized attention on this 5-day tour that shows you the best Italy has to offer, from Venice to Rome. Travel between the two cities on a scenic train ride, visit the Vatican Museums, and take a traditional gondola ride, among other activities. Four nights' accommodation, all activities and meals per itinerary included. This private tour ensures undivided attention from a dedicated guide and a flexible itinerary.
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  • 5 days
From  
US$510.50
From  
US$510.50
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  • 5 days

Kid Friendly Tours & Activities

Illuminated Venice Tour for Kids & Families with Gelato & Sfogliatina Biscuit

Enjoy a family-friendly way to explore Venice on this intimate, small-group tour. Set off in the early evening and get ready to discover highlights like the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Cathedral, and more. As you go, your guide will share stories, games, and other activities designed to entertain kids and inspire their imaginations. As part of the tour, you’ll also pause to enjoy a traditional pizza dinner, plus a scoop of gelato in the summer (or a toasty hot chocolate in the winter).
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$55.96
From  
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Gondola Cruises

Venice: 30 Minute Private Gondola Ride

Explore Venice the way it was meant to be seen, from a seat in a traditional Venetian gondola. Avoid long lines at the canal by booking a private gondola ride in advance leaving you with more time to explore the charming piazzas and cathedrals of Venice. A private gondolier will lead your through the Grand Canal and some of the more picturesque narrower canals in Venice where you’ll enjoy views of the Rialto Bridge, the Papadopoli Palace, and more.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$159.88
From  
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Gondola Cruises

Private Grand Canal Gondola Serenade

Venice is a destination made for romance, with its winding canals, delicately arched bridges, and ornately carved palaces. This gondola tour allows you to experience Venetian romance at its best as you cruise through the city’s  picturesque waterways and enjoy a private serenade. Float down the famous Grand Canal, discover lightly-trafficked routes, and sit back to listen as musicians perform popular Italian songs for you and your partner or group.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$373.44
From  
US$373.44
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Walking Tours

Small-Group Secret Corners of Venice Walking and Motorboat Tour

Uncover the secrets of ‘Serenissima’ on this small-group walking and boat tour of Venice. Break away from crowds to explore the city's charm by land and water, beginning with a stroll through the enchanting squares and sidestreets of the Castello district. Then, board a motorboat for a cruise through the city’s famous canals, culminating at the bustling open-air Rialto Market.
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  • 2 hours
From  
US$74.23
From  
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  • 2 hours

Gondola Cruises

The Doge's Palace, old Royal Palace and the Grand Canal by gondola (skip the line)

Experience Venice from both the land and water with a combined Doge’s Palace and gondola ride tour. With this tour, you’ll save precious vacation time by enjoying special skip-the-line access to Doge’s Palace and at the canal. You’ll immerse yourself in the history of Venice during a guided tour of Doge’s Palace before setting off down the famed canals of Venice with a shared gondola ride.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$79.94
From  
US$79.94
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Walking Tours

Hidden Venice Afternoon Walking Tour

Venture off the beaten track and see the secret side of Venice on this 1.15-hour walking tour. Stroll along the tranquil canal ways and get a glimpse of local life as you explore Venice’s vibrant neighborhoods. Along the way, stop to snap photos of the Rialto Bridge, admire the striking Bovolo Staircase and La Fenice Theater, and peek into lively bacaris (local bars).
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  • 1 hour 9 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$26.27
From  
US$26.27
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  • 1 hour 9 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

10 Day Europe Tour: Rome, Florence,Zurich, Paris and More

Embark on a whistle-stop tour of some of Europe’s most in-demand cities, and leave the planning to someone else, on this seamless, 10-day tour. Begin in Rome and the Vatican before traveling to Florence, Pisa, and Venice. Cross the border into Switzerland, where you’ll explore Zurich and Lucerne, and then take a high-speed train to Paris. Comfortable hotel accommodation, buffet breakfasts, car transfers, and train tickets are all included in the cost. While the bulk of the tour is independent, you’ll join larger sightseeing groups on various city excursions.
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  • 10 days
From  
US$2,999.00
From  
US$2,999.00
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  • 10 days

Gondola Cruises

Grand Canal by charming gondola & the Golden Basilica

Take a 90-minute gondola ride down Venice’s Grand Canal and see some of the city’s famous landmarks. Pass by Mozart’s House, La Fenice Theatre, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collections, and more. Then enjoy a guided tour, with skip-the-line admission, of the exquisite St. Mark’s Basilica to discover its beautiful Byzantine art and architecture. End the tour with a visit to a local glass factory to see local craftsmen at work.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$68.52
From  
US$68.52
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Walking Tours

Walking guided tour and Gondola Ride in Venice

Discover the best of Venice by and by water on a combo walking and gondola tour. Stroll through the charming squares and narrow backstreets of the historic city center with a guide, learning the fascinating history of the Venetian Republic along the way. Explore highlights of St. Mark's Square and other landmarks like Santa Maria Formosa church and the Mercerie, and then hop into a classic Venetian gondola for a 30-minute ride through the city's captivating canals.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$63.95
From  
US$63.95
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Gondola Cruises

1 Hour Private Gondola Ride

Nothing represents Venice more than the gondola, and on this tour you’ll experience this age-old mode of transportation for yourself. Sit back and relax as your gondolier maneuvers through the city’s waterways. Admire the buildings, churches, and architecture as you cruise the Grand Canal as well as the minor canals.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$365.44
From  
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation

Wedding Packages

Proposal Gondola Ride in Venice with hotel pickup

Surprise the love of your life with a proposal in the romantic city of Venice. Planning how to propose in a foreign city can be a stressful experience, but you won’t have to worry about getting logistics right as everything will be taken care of for you—from hotel pickup to a private gondola ride, a rose, and even a bottle of Prosecco to share. You’ll pass the Grand Canal and see many of Venice's most scenic sites on this unforgettable tour.
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  • 30 minutes
From  
US$237.54
From  
US$237.54
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  • 30 minutes

Historical & Heritage Tours

Self guided tour on Grand Canal

The banks of the Grand Canal have over 170 buildings, so exploring this area on a guided tour can sometimes feel rushed. This self-guided tour is ideal for travelers who like to discover a city at their own pace. You’ll avoid timetables and strict itineraries, and instead explore Venice at a time and speed that suits you. You can listen to the tour content easily by downloading a mobile app, and a boat ticket is included too.
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  • 60 to 78 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$17.13
From  
US$17.13
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  • 60 to 78 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Running Tours

Venice Running Tour

Explore Venice on this guided, 1-hour, small-group running tour. Run through the wide squares and narrow alleys, exploring the San Marco and Castello districts. Cross the Grand Canal to the banks of Dogana, then visit the bustling Rialto Market, one of the most popular sites in the city. Choose to see either the most famous spots in San Marco or run along some of the roads less traveled. It’s a great introduction for first-time visitors.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$34.26
From  
US$34.26
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

Secret gardens of Venice in the Dorsoduro district with Cichetti tasting

Break away from the crowds to enjoy the serenity of two historic palaces and their hidden gardens in Venice. Get a taste of noble life on a tour of the elaborate estates and gardens of Nani Bernardo Palace and Ca’ Zenobio Palace, located in the Dorsoduro district far from the bustle of St. Mark’s Square. Finish in true local style with a tasting of ‘cichetti,’ delicious Venetian appetizers, at a typical bar.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$63.95
From  
US$63.95
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

24 Hours in Venice from Milan by Train

See Venice even if you have limited time with this overnight tour from Milan. Your tour package includes round-trip train tickets, one night in a 3-star hotel with breakfast, and two popular guided activities: a walking tour and gondola ride; and a motorboat tour to the Venice islands. With the details handled ahead of time, you can relax and enjoy your visit to one of Italy’s top destinations.
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  • 1 day
From  
US$496.00
From  
US$496.00
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  • 1 day

Gondola Cruises

Gondola Ride and Aperitif in a Venetian Palace

You will be travelling by a gondola that will take to a luxurious palace and a final destination for an aperitif. The best combination of the wonderful views from the terrace of the palace and the most delicious finger-foods and beverages will make your journey complete and your experiences elevated.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$445.38
From  
US$445.38
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Private Sightseeing Tours

Unique experience: Grand Canal Tour by Boat and Lunch

Take it all in on this unique experience that touches on all the city’s highlights. First, enjoy a three-course meal of traditional Italian foods. After lunch, cruise the Grand canal aboard a water taxi as you learn about the city’s history, landmarks, and architecture. Disembark for a walk among the city streets that concludes with a stroll over Rialto Bridge and its eponymous market.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$632.67
From  
US$632.67
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

Day trip to Venice: 18 to 35 years old

Make the most of your time in Italy on a convenient day trip from Florence to the canals of Venice, Italy. Round-trip transport from a central location is pre-arranged, which means you avoid the hassle of navigating public transit. On arrival in Venice, enjoy a guided tour that includes a glass-blowing demonstration and a walk over the Rialto. Free time for lunch and souvenir shopping is factored in for your convenience.
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  • 1 day
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$90.22
From  
US$90.22
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  • 1 day
  • Free Cancellation

Historical & Heritage Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Amazing guided tour by boat on Grand Canal - Small group

Guided tour on the magnificent Grand Canal on an elegant boat! The guide aboard will explain history and secrets of the main water-road of Venice and its impressive Palaces, full of mysteries and tales! The professional guide will escort along this amazing experience narrating the history, curiosities and anecdotes about the historical Venetian Palaces such as Ca 'Dario, with its history full of scary and mysterious events; Ca 'Pesaro, a bright example of Baroque style palace, Ca 'D'oro, (Golden house in Venetian dialect); Palazzo Loredan Vendramin Calergi, the antique gambling house of the lagoon and many other breathtaking highlights! After the Grand Canal you will come back to the starting point passing through the Giudecca Canal here you can see charming promenade of Zattere, and the marvelous Islands of Giudecca and San Giorgio with its monastery! Entering in the Saint Mark’s Basin you will enjoy and unforgettable overview of the Doge’s Palace and all St. Mark’s Square!
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$36.54
From  
US$36.54
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation

Kid Friendly Tours & Activities

SPECIAL OFFER

Grand Canal by Gondola with Music, Singer & commentary - No queue!

Nothing takes the shine off a gondola ride more than standing in line. Say goodbye to long waits as you cruise the Grand Canal in a flotilla of maximum five boats. As you glide past churches, bridges, and canals, professional musicians will serenade your flotilla with classic Italian songs. Learn about the sights without distracting from the melody using an app or brochure in your choice of nine languages.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$49.33
US$61.67
US$12.34 savings
From  
US$49.33
US$61.67
US$12.34 savings
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation


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