Skip the Line at St. Mark’s with Terrace, Doge’s Palace, and Gondola Ride

Do more on this all-in-one tour of Venice's St. Mark’s Square with views most visitors miss

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 101 Reviews · 3.50h 20 max · Venice, Italy

Only have a few hours to spend on a guided tour in Venice? Then we’ve got you covered. You’ll get skip-the-line entry at both St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace to maximize your time. As an added bonus, you’ll also head to the upper terrace at the basilica, which is an exclusive opportunity many people don’t know they can try. Then finish off with a must-do gondola ride in the Grand Canal. Your day in Venice can’t get much more perfect!

  • Skip the line tour of St. Mark's
  • St. Mark's Basilica guided tour
  • The Church of Gold
  • St. Mark's Basilica terrace
  • Skip the line tour of Doge's Palace
  • The Giant Staircase
  • The Golden Staircase
  • The Grand Ballroom
  • Prison cells and dungeon
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Gondola Ride

You’ll meet up with your local guide and the rest of your group in the famous St. Mark’s Square near the two columns by the canal. Skip the long lines at St. Mark’s so you can get right inside to learn about this magnificent golden church before heading up to the more exclusive upper terrace for amazing views of Venice. Then explore the Doge’s Palace where you’ll see the golden staircase, prisons, and Bridge of Sighs. Finally, your guide will escort you to your gondola ride that might just become your favorite activity of the day!

St. Mark’s, Doge’s Palace, and Gondola Tour Description

Your 3.5-hour tour includes:

  • Skip-the-line entry and guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica

  • Access to upper terrace

  • Skip-the-line entry and guided tour of Doge’s Palace

  • 30-minute gondola ride

  • Maximum group size of 20

  • A local, English-speaking guide

St. Mark’s Basilica and Terrace

You’ll begin your tour of Venice in St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, which is perhaps one of the most famous public squares in the world. Then follow your guide past the crowds for your skip-the-line entry into St. Mark’s Basilica to see why it’s nicknamed the “Church of Gold”.

With over 45,000 square feet of gilded mosaics constructed over eight centuries, the interior of St. Mark's Basilica is unlike anything you've ever seen. And on this tour, you’ll also have a chance to climb just 42 steps to the terrace for a view of Venice and St. Mark’s Square. This is an extra touch you'll love since you'll take skyline photos that most visitors miss out on!

Please note that St. Mark's is a sacred place, so we ask both men and women to cover knees and shoulders, otherwise you might be refused entry and you’ll miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Venice can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

Doge’s Palace and Bridge of Sighs

The Gothic building right next to St. Mark’s Basilica is the infamous Doge’s Palace that has a storied past of tyranny, torture, and an iron fist of rulers. From the 15th to 18th centuries, the Doges of Venice lived and ruled from this palace that includes paintings from Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese.

The interior of the Doge's Palace is grand to say the least. Inside you’ll find marble fireplaces, friezes and stucco adorning the walls. Some works of art stand out over the rest, including iconic pieces by Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese, and your guide will explain the stories and interpretations behind the art. You'll also pass through the awe-inspiring Great Council Chamber, which is one of the largest rooms in Europe and the place where the most important decisions were discussed.

One of the palace's most impressive features is the Golden Staircase, considered the most valuable staircase ever built. It connects the first floor of the palace to the third, where the Doge's offices were located. Your guide will show you the grand offices from which Venice was ruled for centuries, including the rooms that housed the powerful Council of Ten—the city's governing body.

Linking the palace to the prison cells, you'll cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). Prisoners walked across this enclosed bridge before spending years or even the remainder of their lives behind bars. If that wasn’t enough to sigh about, look out from the small windows carved into the bridge that once offered convicts their last glimpse of beautiful Venice. That's plenty to sigh about. 

Traditional Gondola Ride

You might think it’s a super touristy thing to do—and it is—but taking a gondola ride through the Venetian canals really is a fun activity. Actually, it’s a must-do. That’s why it’s included on this tour to make sure your time in Venice is filled with the best opportunities. Enjoy lazily gliding through the canal while your gondolier poses for photos or even serenades you!

What you get with this tour
Skip-the-line entry and guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica
Access to upper terrace
Skip-the-line entry and guided tour of Doge’s Palace
30-minute gondola ride
Maximum group size of 20
A local, English-speaking guide
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See what people are saying

101 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 101 reviews)
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 stars
08 November 2022
D
Reviewed by
Donna Willacker

Excellent tour!!!

Doges Palace CTour
04 November 2022
R
Reviewed by
Rhoe Henderson

Our guide was friendly, very knowledgeable and grew up in Venice. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and highly recommend The Tour Guy. I have never used this tour company before, so I was apprehensive however I highly recommend them.

Amazing tour with Marco
28 October 2022
A
Reviewed by
Alan Cranford

Wonderful tour. This was part of an all day tour I more fully reviewed above but the summary is Marco was great, it was the best tour we have taken and I highly recommend it

show more reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to meet?

Between the two big columns in St. Mark’s Square (columns of San Marco & San Teodoro) located on the south side of the square, near the canal. Our friendly representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it. Please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.

What to bring?

We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes, a camera, and a water bottle. Large bags and backpacks are not allowed and will have to be checked before entering the Doge's Palace. It's best to leave them at your hotel if possible.

Where to meet?

Between the two big columns in St. Mark’s Square (columns of San Marco & San Teodoro) located on the south side of the square, near the canal. Our friendly representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it. Please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.

What to bring?

We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes, a camera, and a water bottle. Large bags and backpacks are not allowed and will have to be checked before entering the Doge's Palace. It's best to leave them at your hotel if possible.

What if I have concerns about my mobility on this tour?

This is a walking tour that includes several sets of stairs, as well as 42 steps to the terrace of St. Mark's Basilica. You can opt to stay in the church instead of climb to the terrace, but you will be on your feet for most of the 3.5 hours.

Does this tour skip the line?

During the busy months, this tour has skip-the-line access. When there are fewer crowds in the winter, St. Mark's doesn't offer skip-the-line access, but the lines aren't long.

Total: as low as $121.45

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$134.95 as low as $121.45
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