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17 BEST Boat Tours in Venice, Italy [2023]

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, where the historical canals intertwine and every corner greets you with its charm and beauty. Nestled in the heart of Italy’s Veneto region, Venice is a city unlike any other, built on a network of 118 islands connected by a maze of canals.

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 get around 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 through the narrow canals on a gondola, passing under historic bridges and along centuries-old palaces. You’ll feel transported back in time!

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

In this article, you’ll find 17 incredible boat tours in Venice that I carefully selected to make sure that you take part in only the most outstanding tours. Read on!

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

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 Collection Palace and the Salute Church, and uncover secret canals only accessible by gondola. 

Spot the renowned La Fenice Theatre and Mozart House, and end your journey with a spectacular view 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, pass iconic landmarks like the Bridge of Sighs and Rio di Santa Maria Formosa, and meander along the captivating Rio del Palazzo.

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

▶️ Capture your love story in the most enchanting way with this Private Photo Shoot in Venice with Gondola Ride. Embark on a 2-hour Venice boat ride with a skilled photographer, who will capture your romantic trip with the most charming nook and landmarks as a background.  

Admire iconic sights like the Bridge of Sighs and the picturesque Piazza San Marco, and relish the breathtaking scenery as the expert takes all your photos. In just a week you’ll receive a stunning digital photo book to cherish forever. A Venice romantic boat ride like no other!

Private Photo Shoot in Venice with Gondola Ride

📝 This tour includes: 2-hour Gondola ride with a professional photographer, and a digital photo book. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Express Grand Canal Boat Tours

▶️ A 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. 

You’ll pass by many Patrician homes, luxurious buildings, and several landmarks as you glide past the waterfront, and also get up close to the astounding Rialto Bridge. 

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

▶️ Join this Semi-Private or Private Grand Canal 1-Hour Boat Tour of Venice to glide down the canals and explore the city’s enchanting waterfront. Cruise past magnificent palaces, churches, and gardens as you traverse the iconic waterway, and discover hidden gems along the minor canals, rarely seen by tourists. 

Learn about St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and Venice’s rich mercantile traditions from a knowledgeable guide. Cruise through the picturesque Cannaregio district, and catch a glimpse of the historic gondola shipyard in Rio de S. Trovaso.

This Venice canal tour is perfect for lovers, photographers, and wanderers seeking a unique perspective of Venice. You can even upgrade it to enjoy a private trip!

Semi Private or Private Grand Canal 1-Hour Boat Tour

📝 This tour includes: A 1-hour motorboat tour and a guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Murano and Burano Boat Tours

▶️ Venture to the striking Venetian islands as you sail across the lagoon on this very comprehensive boat trip in Venice: a 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, before cruising back to Venice. 

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

▶️ Uncover the hidden gems of Venice’s lagoon on this Premium Lagoon Excursion: Murano Glass Making, Burano & Wine Tasting. First, you will admire St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs while gliding down the canals. 

Then, enjoy free time to explore the vibrant island of Murano on foot and follow your guide around Burano, before indulging in a VIP-level wine tasting at a secret vineyard in Mazzorbo, a rare Venetian gem that’s part of a Michelin Star restaurant.  

You’ll also get to immerse yourself in the centuries-old art of glassblowing with a private demonstration in a restored church. Plus, explore the colorful canals of Burano and visit a lace-making workshop. 

Premium Lagoon Excursion Murano Glass Making Burano Wine Tasting

📝 This tour includes: A walking tour in Burano, boat transfers, wine tasting, free time, and a guide. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

▶️ Hop on a Private Excursion by Typical Venetian Motorboat to Murano, Burano and Torcello to explore the lagoon’s most captivating islands. Marvel at the skillful artistry of Murano’s glass masters, prepare to be captivated by the Duomo di Murano Santi Maria e Donato, and 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, 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. 

Private Excursion by Typical Venetian Motorboat to Murano, Burano, and Torcello

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

Private Boat Tours in Venice

▶️ Join this Private Canal Cruise: 2-Hour Grand Canal and Secret Canals Boat Ride in Venice glide along the city’s gorgeous waterways wih your favorite people, discovering hidden gems along the way. 

You’ll pass by Venice’s different districts, witnessing the life of its citizens, 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 ride through off-the-beaten-track canals and end your tour along the spectacular Grand Canal, marveling at the Rialto Bridge. 

Private Venice Canal Cruise: 2-Hour Grand Canal and Secret Canals

📝 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. You’ll 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. 

As you’ll be joined by a local guide, you’ll get to learn about the cultural and artistic heritage of the city while venturing further than most tours, and taking 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!

Private Tour: Venice Grand Canal Evening Boat Tour

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

▶️ This Private Grand Canal Boat Tour and Murano Glass Experience is a memorable boat tour that combines the allure of the Grand Canal with the artistic marvels of Murano. You’ll glide along enchanting waterways, catching glimpses of majestic palazzos and hidden canals, and listen as your knowledgeable driver unveils tales of the floating city. 

Cross the Venetian lagoon to Murano, where you’ll witness a captivating glassblowing spectacle at a renowned glass factory. Be in awe as the skilled artisans shape molten glass into intricate works of art, and get to see the finished pieces in the showroom before heading back. 

Private Grand Canal Boat Tour and Murano Glass Experience

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

Venice Sunset Cruises

▶️ Set sail on a 2-hour Sunset Gondola Ride in Venice by Typical Venetian Boat to explore the enchanting lagoon and the historic buildings that surround it as you cruise past them on a traditional boat. 

Immerse in the beauty of Venice Lido, San Clemente Le Grazie, and other remote islands while the setting of the sun basks everything in a golden light, and toast to the experience with a half bottle of Prosecco. 

Venice Sunset Cruise by Typical Venetian 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 Sunset Jazz Cruise with Aperitivo. Experience the alluring charm of Venice as you glide through the canals during sunset, passing iconic landmarks like Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute and Dorsaduro. 

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

You’ll also get to explore hidden gems like Fondamenta Zattere and Lido di Venezia on a 90-minute panoramic journey that promises unforgettable moments amidst Venice’s captivating beauty.

Sunset Jazz Cruise with Aperitivo

📝 This tour includes: Boat trip, live music, snacks, and 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 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, taking in the panoramic windows from your comfortable seats as you sip on your coffee.

This exclusive experience offers a taste of elegance and serenity, and offers the chance to disembark at the Museo Navale, savoring the final moments of an unforgettable voyage.

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

Catamaran Cruises in Venice

▶️ Step aboard a catamaran and let Venice captivate you from the water on this unique boat trip from Venice: a 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 seating, soothing music, and breathtaking views, this cruise promises a perfect blend of relaxation and discovery.

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

▶️ Looking for a Venice Night Boat Tour by Catamaran? Indulge in an evening of enchantment with this extraordinary experience, in which you’ll leave the bustling crowds behind and set sail on the Venetian Lagoon as dusk falls. 

Admire the iconic Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, and glide along the picturesque Canale della Giudecca to soak in the serene atmosphere of Fondamenta Zattere and Dorsaduro. With a glass of spritz or Prosecco in hand, toast to Venice’s illuminated beauty accompanied by live jazz.

Venice by Night Catamaran Cruise

📝 This tour includes: Boat ride, live music, and drinks. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

A Boat Tour To Padua from Venice

Embark on a Full-Day Venice to Padua, Burchiello, Brenta Riviera Boat Cruise to glide along the Brenta Riviera and treat your eyes to stunning vistas, enjoying delightful stops at three alluring Venetian villas: Villa Pisani, Villa Foscari, and Villa Widmann.

You’ll meander through exquisite gardens and delve into the rich history of each villa with your expert guide, and then head to the village of Oriago for lunch (own expense) before continuing to Padua. You’ll return to Venice by bus.  

Full-Day Venice to Padua Burchiello Brenta Riviera Boat Cruise

📝 This tour includes: Boat trip, a guide, and land transfers. ➥ BOOK IT HERE

Venice Boat Tours FAQs

What are the best boat tours in Venice?

In my opinion, these are the best Venice boat rides available: 
Private Venice Cruise in Grand Canal & Secret Canals
Private Gondola Ride in Venice
Burano and Murano Boat Tour & Glass Factory visit 

Can I book in advance a gondola ride in Venice?

Absolutely! Booking a gondola ride in advance is not only possible but recommended. These are the best options you have: 
•  Grand Canal Gondola Ride 
•  Private Bridge of Sighs Gondola Ride
•  Private Photo Shoot + Venice Gondola Ride

Can you recommend a Grand Canal tour in Venice? 

My favorite Grand Canal tours in Venice include these three: 
Grand Canal Boat Tour
Semi-Private or Private Grand Canal 1-Hour Boat Tour of Venice
Grand Canal Venice Gondola Tour with App Commentary

  • 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.