5 of the Best Venice Boat Tours

by Allie d'Almo  |  Published July 14, 2021

Venice is a sumptuous jewel box of a city, built on lagoons over 1,500 years ago. It follows then that the best way to see the sights is via its network of canals, secret waterways and impressive basins. 


Venice is a strictly no-car zone, so the best way to travel is on foot or by boat. There are dozens of different ways to explore by water, from rowing lessons and water taxis to private gondolas and sunset sightseeing trips. There are over 100 islands to explore too – some marshy, all magical. If you’re considering taking a tour of Venice,  we’ve selected five of the best Venice boat tours,  based on itinerary and value for money. 

Venice: 1.5 Hour Sunset Tour by Boat with Aperitivo 

This boat tour combines two great Vencitian pastimes – boat rides and ‘aperitivo’, the Italian version of an aperitif. Departing from San Zaccaria near San Marco, the boat winds around the fabled city’s most famous streets, through the San Marco Basin and out to Giudecca island. Few cities can serve up a sunset as well as Venice and this cruise offers one of the best, with views out to San Clement, San Servolo and San Lazzaro degli Armeni – all while sipping on bubbles and tucking into some local appetizers. From $35 per person. 

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2.5 Hour Rowing Class and Waterways Tour 

If the thought of sitting down and soaking in the sights is a little too sedate for you, then this 2.5-hour rowing class will be more up your street. Taught by Gloria Rogliani, a champion rower, you’ll get to learn how to row a traditional Venetian boat standing up. The tour slices through the canals, away from the crowds to the island of Murano. Along the way, Gloria shares the history of the city and provides entertaining stories about the sights you pass. You’ll even get a certificate at the end of it, providing you’re not too awful at it of course. From $58 per person. 

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Venice: Venetian Lagoon Tour and Galleon Dinner 

For those who prefer to travel in larger and more elegant modes of transport, you can’t get much bigger or bolder than a galleon. After a welcome drink on the deck, guests retreat for a romantic candlelit dinner. Innovative dishes combine the best of Venice’s garden island and lagoon produce, with nods to the city’s ancient spice route. The boat meanders around the northern lagoon, to smaller islands like Sant’Erasmo and San Francesco del Deserto. You’ll also pass the Venetian Arsenal, the Vinole, Mazzorbo and Murano islands, and the famous colourful houses of Burano, before circling back. From $118 per person.  

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Murano: 3 Hour Boat Trip 


Once upon a time, Venice’s lagoons were filled with over 10,000 gondolas. Today, there’s just 400 in active service. On this private tour,  your group of up to four will get to hop on one of the historic boats on this thirty-minute tour. You’ll be whisked away to 17th century Venice, as you navigate the Grand Canal waterway at night time. Along with the sparkling views, you’ll get to enjoy an insightful commentary from your gondolier, who can speak about the history of the city and teach you all all about the symbolic meaning of each part of the unique boat. From $210 per group of four. 

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Private Excursion by Typical Venetian Motorboat

While many other guided tours plonk you with as many other travellers as possible, this tour option is totally private. Travelling in a group of up to 14 people, you’ll be taken on a half-day tour of three of the city’s most beautiful islands: Murano, Burano and Torcello. At Murano, you’ll also get to explore a house made with some of the world’s finest Murano glass, while at Burano you’ll get to find out how the island became famous for beautiful lace. The fully customizable itinerary and devoted attention from your captain means you’ll get the chance to sail off-piste and off-itinerary too. From $133 per person

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