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13 BEST Boat Tours in Venice, Italy [2024]

Looking for amazing boat tours in Venice? I bring you a list of the most enjoyable experiences, from leisure gondola rides to cultural trips and even boat photo shoots. Check them out!

Welcome to the enchanting city of Venice, a maze of waterways, islands, and exquisite bridges. Nestled in the heart of Italy’s Veneto region, it’s a city unlike any other, built on a network of 118 islands connected by canals.

On land, every corner greets you with charm and beauty as you get lost in its narrow alleys and promenades.

Even I, born and raised in Bologna, just a couple of hours south of Venice, find the city absolutely fascinating. Venice can be overcrowded and have issues with flooding, but it has a special place in my heart.

In Venice, forget cars and buses. You can choose a regular Venice tour, or get around on your own by walking and by ferry, but I highly recommend going on a boat tour as well. I mean, what better way to explore Venice than from the water?

Picture yourself gliding along the canals and under historic bridges on a traditional gondola… You’ll feel transported to a different time!

Not into a romantic gondola ride? No problem. You can also find Grand Canal boat tours, catamaran rides, boat tours to Murano and Burano, and amazing sunset cruises.

In this article, you’ll find my careful selection of boat tours in Venice. You can trust I’ve only picked the most outstanding options, so read on!

I generally use Viator and Get Your Guide to book tours around the world. I especially recommend them for their great cancellation policy. If you need to change your plans, you can cancel most activities up to 24 hours in advance and get a full refund. 

Limited time? These are the top tours

THE BEST TOUR Boat Tour with Grand Canal and San Giorgio Maggiore
MURANO & BURANO TOURMurano, Burano, Torcello Island & Glass Factory Tour
PRIVATE TOURPrivate: 2-Hour Grand Canal and Secret Canals
GONDOLA RIDEPrivate Bridge of Sighs Gondola Ride
SUNSET CRUISE Catamaran Sunset Jazz Cruise with Aperitivo

OUR PICK: The BEST Boat Tour in Venice, Italy

The Venice: Boat Tour with Grand Canal and San Giorgio Maggiore is our top choice. This 2-hour boat experience will have you gliding past the most iconic churches and palaces of the city. You’ll also cruise under its enchanting bridges, which are architectonic wonders.

St. Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace, the Rialto Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Fish Market are some of the sights you’ll get to take in. All the while, your guide will provide insightful commentary about the landmarks.

Cruise along the Grand Canal, Venice’s most famous waterway, and head to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, an off-the-beaten-path gem. You’ll visit its beautiful basilica, and go up the bell tower to check out the views.

Why is this the best tour? It takes you along the Grand Canal, an unmissable route on any boat tour, enabling you to check out all the highlights of Venice. But on top of that, you’ll be taken to one of the beautiful islands that’s rarely visited by tourists.

It’s the perfect tour to combine popular attractions with local secrets. And we didn’t even get started with the views you’ll see!

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Read what the reviews say

“What a wonderful experience. Our local guide Francesca was engaging, informative and shared insight on life in Venice. Views from San Giorgio were spectacular, truly memorable. The motor cruise through the Grand Canal was very special, particularly with commentary and anecdotes.”

Nina – Read more reviews

This tour includes: A speedboat, entrance ticket, headsets, and a guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Grand Canal Boat Tour

This Grand Canal Boat Tour is the classic Venetian experience with a twist. You’ll board a modern, fancy motorboat and escape the busy streets to enjoy a relaxing cruise down the Grand Canal. 

Pass by many Patrician homes, luxurious buildings, and several landmarks as you glide along the waterfront. Make sure to keep an eye out for the astounding Rialto Bridge!

This Grand Canal tour in Venice includes: Boat ride, and a hostess. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Murano and Burano Boat Tours

▶️ Venture to the striking Venetian islands as you sail across the lagoon on this Murano, Burano, Torcello Island & Glass Factory Tour

Prepare to be dazzled as you step into the world of Murano’s glassworks during a factory tour, and witness skilled artisans in action. Then, immerse yourself in the vibrant hues and lacework of Burano’s charming streets, indulging in local delights along the way!

Lastly, transport yourself back in time on Torcello, known for its Venetian-Byzantine mosaics.

This Venice boat tour to the islands includes: Boat ride, glass factory visit, and free time in Burano and Torcello. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Lookoing for a different option? Hop on a Private Excursion by Typical Venetian Motorboat to Murano, Burano and Torcello. Explore the lagoon’s most captivating islands with your group and a professional guide.

Marvel at the skillful artistry of Murano’s glass masters, and prepare to be captivated by the Duomo di Murano Santi Maria e Donato. Then, delve into the colorful world of Burano with its paintings, lacework, and biscuits.

Finally, wander through the serene remnants of Venice’s ancient settlement on Torcello. This island is one of the earliest sanctuaries for refugees fleeing from invasion.

Since you’ll be riding on a private boat in Venice, the itinerary is fully customizable.

This boat to Murano and Burano includes: A private boat trip, a guide, and hotel pick-up. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

➤ Looking for more Murano and Burano boat tours? I’ve written an entire post about it. Check it out!

Private Boat Tours in Venice

▶️ Join this Private Canal Cruise: 2-Hour Grand Canal and Secret Canals Boat Ride to glide along the city’s gorgeous waterways. 

You’ll pass by Venice’s different districts, and explore the lesser-known areas of Cannaregio, the Jewish Ghetto, and Dorsoduro.

While your guide provides insights into Venice’s history, legends, and culture, you’ll glide on the lesser-known canals. End your tour along the spectacular Grand Canal, marveling at the Rialto Bridge. 

This tour includes: A 2-hour boat ride, a guide, and stops at the Jewish Ghetto and Dorsoduro. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ One of the most spectacular Venice Grand Canal tours ought to be this Private Grand Canal Evening Boat Tour. Set sail on a private water taxi with up to 5 friends to enjoy a relaxing cruise along the Grand Canal and other smaller waterways as the day comes to an end. 

Learn about Venice’s cultural and artistic heritage from your guide as you take in the striking sights all around you. 

Choose between a 1 or 2-hour ride and enjoy personalized attention. A delightful evening awaits on this exclusive water taxi adventure!

This tour includes: A private boat, and a guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ This Private Grand Canal Boat Tour and Murano Glass Experience is a great combo tour. It blends the allure of one of Venice’s major canals with the artistic marvels of Murano.

Glide along the Grand Canal and other smaller waterways, catching glimpses of the majestic palazzos and bridges. Your knowledgeable guide will unveil tales of the floating city as you drift along its main roads.  

Cross the Venetian lagoon to Murano, where you’ll disembark for some land explorations. Witness a captivating glassblowing spectacle at a renowned glass factory, and get to admire the finished pieces on the shop.

This tour includes: A private boat ride, hotel pick-up, a guide, and a glass factory visit. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

A Classic Gondola Ride in Venice

▶️ With a Grand Canal Gondola Ride with App Commentary you’ll glide along Venice’s canals as your knowledgeable host (AKA: your phone!) shares fascinating insights through an in-app commentary.

Admire iconic landmarks like the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and the Salute Church. Besides, you’ll get to uncover secret canals that are only accessible by gondola!

Spot the renowned La Fenice Theatre and Mozart House, and end your journey with views of San Giorgio Island in the majestic Saint Mark’s Basin. Experience Venice’s charm in the best possible way, with the bonus of app-guided insights!

This Venice Gondola tour includes: Gondola ride, in-app commentary, and an introductory walk. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Take a Private Bridge of Sighs Gondola Ride to be awestruck by the wonders of the city’s historic center. Navigate through picturesque waterways, and pass iconic landmarks like the Bridge of Sighs and Rio di Santa Maria Formosa.

Since it’s a private tour, you’ll get to choose between a short route or an extended adventure, gliding along the majestic Grand Canal. The gondola ride can accommodate up to 5 passengers, so it’s ideal for families!  

This tour includes: A 30-minute Gondola ride. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Venice Sunset Cruises

▶️ Set sail on a 2-hour Sunset Gondola Ride in Venice by Typical Venetian Boat. You’ll cruise across the enchanting lagoon, passing by the historic buildings that surround it with a small group.

Immerse in the beauty of Venice Lido, San Clemente Le Grazie, and other remote islands. The sights are even more magnificent as the sun basks everything in a golden light. Toast to the experience with a half bottle of Prosecco onboard your traditional boat. 

This tour includes: Sunset boat ride, half a bottle of Prosecco, a guide, and soft drinks on request. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Spice up your evening with a delightful Venice: Catamaran Sunset Jazz Cruise with Aperitivo. Experience the alluring charm of Venice as you glide through the canals during sunset. Sail along the Bay of San Marco, and down the Giudecca Channel.

Sip on a refreshing spritz or Prosecco (or both!) and listen to soothing jazz melodies from a live saxophonist, as the colors in the sky change and Venice’s waterfront lit up. 

Pair your two drinks, which include beer and cocktails as well, with Cicchetti, the classic Venetian appetizers.

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This tour includes: Catamaran cruise, live music, Cicchetti, and 2 drinks. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Venice Dinner Cruise on a Galleon

Get ready for a magical candlelit Venetian Lagoon Tour and Galleon Dinner. Indulge in the chef’s exquisite creations, paired with wine and a glass of Prosecco.

As you dine, you’ll get to admire the San Marco Square from the water, and traverse the picturesque islands of Murano and Burano. 

Plus, you’ll be surely captivated by the lesser-known islands of Sant’Erasmo and San Francesco del Deserto you’ll cruise past.

Take in the panoramic views from the vessel’s windows, sitting comfortably as you sip on your drinks. The exclusive experience also offers the chance to disembark at the Museo Navale.

This tour includes: Boat ride, dinner, wine, and coffee. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Catamaran Cruise in Venice

Step aboard a catamaran and let Venice captivate you on this Lagoon Catamaran Cruise with Music and Drinks. Sip on a refreshing spritz or Prosecco while admiring the city’s skyline, and get ready to explore the Venetian lagoon. 

You’ll sail past the Sant’Elena island, the Giardini della Biennale, and the iconic San Marco. Plus, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Canale di Giudecca before it’s time to venture across to the enchanting Lido.

With comfortable seats, soothing music, and great views, this cruise promises a blend of relaxation and discovery.

This tour includes: Catamaran ride, and drinks (if the option is selected at check out). ➥ BOOK IT HERE

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.