Saint Mark's Basilica

Venice's most famous church is also a fascinating testament to its medieval wealth and power.

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Saint Mark's Basilica: Our most recommended tours and activities

Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

1. Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

Delve deep into Venice’s history with a 3-hour guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace, either as a private tour or shared group experience. Take in two of the city’s most important landmarks while discovering the history of the one-time mercantile capital of the Mediterranean.  Start by exploring St. Mark's Square with your guide before heading into the cathedral. From the first-floor terrace you’ll be able to admire views across the lagoon and see the famous bronze horses up close. Hear how they traveled all the way to Paris and back in Napoleon’s time. St. Mark's Basilica sometimes closes to visitors without warning. If this happens, visit the Church of San Zaccaria or the Correr Museum instead, depending on availability. Take a tour of the beautifully ornate 15th-century church and its flooded crypt or learn about the art and history of Venice. Next, you’ll use the priority entrance to reach Doge's Palace, formerly the residence of the leader of the Republic of Venice. Enjoy visiting the Chamber of the Great Council and courtrooms among other things. Highlights include frescoes by Tintoretto and the Giants’ Staircase.  After this, cross the infamous Bridge of Sighs that links to the New Prisons. Learn how the bridge got its name and the purpose for its construction in the 17th century as you take in the amazing views of the canals. At the end of your tour, feel free to stay and explore the Doge’s Palace with tips from your guide.

Saint Mark's Basilica Skip-the-line Ticket and Audio Guide

2. Saint Mark's Basilica Skip-the-line Ticket and Audio Guide

Save time during your visit to Venice with a skip-the-line ticket to the popular St. Mark’s Basilica. Admire the hundreds of golden mosaics in the Basilica and learn details about the byzantine art inside with your audio guide. Download your audio guide to your mobile device and head to St. Mark’s Basilica to begin your tour. Breeze past the long lines and put in your headphones. Explore the five-domes and an array of artworks. Hear legends and stories surrounding this church which has stood for almost a 1,000 years.  Witness the dazzling effect of the 43,000 square feet of mosaics in the church. Take in the stunning marble inlay work on the floors. Soak up the atmosphere in the building that dominates St. Mark’s Square. 

Punta Sabbioni: Roundtrip Boat to Venice w/ Reserved Parking

3. Punta Sabbioni: Roundtrip Boat to Venice w/ Reserved Parking

Reserve parking spot in Punta Sabbioni and skip the ticket lines to board the boat for a round-trip transfer to Venice. Sit back and relax as cruise towards the city center. Pass through the Lagoon and admire the islands of Lido, Sant'Elena, San Giorgio, and the Arsenale. With this ticket, you'll save time and reach the heart of Venice in only 30 minutes.

Day Trip to Venice by High Speed Train from Rome

4. Day Trip to Venice by High Speed Train from Rome

Set off on a day trip from Rome to reach Europe’s most romantic city in just a few hours by high-speed train. Your tour leader will be with you all the way from Termini train station, escorting you to the platform and on board. They will explain the highlights of Venice, and give you your ticket for Venice’s waterbus transportation. After reaching Venice in little more than 3 hours, enjoy a one-way ride on the Venetian typical public transport, the waterbus, or Vaporetto. It will be a fantastic opportunity to get the first glimpse of this magical city and its breathtaking views. Get to St. Mark’s Square, the heart and soul of Venice’s historical center. From the waterfront, marvel at the magnificence of the western façade of St. Mark's Basilica. Take the opportunity to go shopping or sip a good Italian coffee in one of the historic venues in the center, or get lost in the labyrinth of the insanely romantic alleys. You definitely cannot miss the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri), which is among the city's most beloved locations and a source of many popular Instagram shots. On the way back to the railway station, join your tour leader for a fantastic aperitivo, or cicchetto as the locals call it: a mix of small savory side dishes typically served in the so-called bàcari and accompanied by the famous Venetian Spritz. Head back to Rome.

Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge's Palace Evening Tour

5. Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge's Palace Evening Tour

Escape the crowds on a late afternoon guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, and discover 2 of the icons of Venice away from the crowds. Meet your guide by the statue of the winged lion on St. Mark’s Square. Then, enter the Doge's Palace to learn more about the center of power during the Venetian Republic. See the sumptuous apartments of the Venetian rulers, as well as the Hall of the Great Council with its stunning frescoes by Veronese and Tintoretto. Hear secret stories behind the art, such as why one doge in the painted series is covered by a black veil. Learn how the were dukes were elected, and what they did. Explore the massive armory and spooky prisons. Cross the Bridge of Sighs on the inside, and hear why it is not quite as romantic as you might have thought! After a short break, continue to the Byzantine basilica of St. Mark's, and see its gilt decorations after the crowds have left for the day. A custodian of the cathedral will unlock its doors so that you can experience like only a doge could. Marvel at the gemstones of the Pala d’Oro altarpiece. Visit the crypt, where the bones of St. Mark are said to be kept. Admire mosaics in the soft glimmer of the evening light, and learn about Venetian art and history from your passionate guide.

Venice: Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour

6. Venice: Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour

Get to know Venice at your own pace on this interactive scavenger hunt walking tour played on your phone. Decipher riddles, interact with the most important attractions of the city, and unlock interesting facts.  After downloading the scavenger hunt tour on your mobile device (via a link and login credentials received upon booking), use the mobile app and integrated maps to reach 10 of Venice’s most important attractions on foot. At each stop, learn about the attraction and solve a location-based riddle that can only be solved if you reach the specific location. Use logic, imagination, observation, and team spirit to unlock the correct code and reveal the next destination of the tour. Start the activity whenever you like and enjoy the flexibility to pause your game at any time to take a break, snap the perfect photos, stop for lunch, or visit a museum. Choose to continue the tour later or save the rest for another day. As you walk through the city, you will see Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Campo San Polo, Rialto Bridge, Campo S. Salvador, Teatro La Fenice, St. Mark’s Square, Saint Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Chiesa di San Zaccaria, San Giorgio dei Greci, and more.

From Lake Garda: Full-Day Guided Group Tour of Venice

7. From Lake Garda: Full-Day Guided Group Tour of Venice

Spend the day in one of the world’s most romantic cities on a full-day guided tour to Venice from Lake Garda. Travel across the Veneto on an air-conditioned bus, and hop on a private boat to the heart of the city. Finally, join a walking tour from St. Mark's Square to Rialto Bridge. Following your pick-up from various points in the Lake Garda region, including Limone, Riva del Garda and Bardolino, transfer to Venice with a short coffee break (at your expense) near Soave. Arrive in Venice by 11:00 AM and hop on a private boat and cross the lagoon to St. Mark's. Take a 40-minute walking tour of St. Mark's Square, complete with a guide and headphones, and see some of the city’s most famous landmarks, such as St. Mark's Basilica, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Campanile. Stroll the main streets to the Rialto Bridge and other monuments of “La Serenissima.” Learn more about the Republic of Venice and how it came to dominate the east and the west as the “Queen of the Adriatic.” The central district is teeming with beautiful squares, canals, crumbling mansions, ancient churches, artist workshops, and bridges — all of which you get to admire on this tour. In the afternoon, get some free time to relax and explore Venice on your own. Go off the beaten path for a more authentic look at everyday life in the city, or just sit back and people-watch in one of the many cafés of Piazza San Marco. At the end of the day trip, jump back on the boat to get from St. Mark's Square to the transfer bus at approximately 5:45 PM.

Venice: Highlights Tour, St. Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace

8. Venice: Highlights Tour, St. Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace

Meet your expert guide at St. Mark’s Square and start delving into the origins of Venice. See the most renowned public space in the city and find out its historical, social, and political importance. Learn about the Clock Tower and the Marble Lions. Continue to the Basilica of St.Mark and enter the cathedral with pre-reserved tickets. Savor its amazing sheer size and the fascinating golden mosaics. Learn about its opulent design and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power. Bask in all the exotic elements of Venetian Renaissance Art. Listen to the story of the life-size horses of St Mark’s Basilica, and have all your questions answered. Follow your guide through Doge’s Palace at a relaxed pace. Acquaint yourself with the supreme authority and wealth of the ruling Venetian Doges in the palace’s Gothic architecture. Learn about the 14th-century sculptors that worked on the palace. Enjoy stunning views across the Lagoon as you explore this world-famous landmark. Continue to the Old Prison that was part of the Doge’s Palace, learn why the New Prisons were built, and understand the significance of the Bridge of Sighs, another highlight of Venice. Listen to the extraordinary story of the famous Casanova and his life in Venice. Choose a small group of 12 people or less, with local tour guides to tell you the stories behind these top attractions. Meanwhile, pre-reserved, skip-the-line tickets potentially save you hours of waiting in line.

Saint Mark's and Doge's Palace: VIP After Hours Tour

9. Saint Mark's and Doge's Palace: VIP After Hours Tour

Enjoy exclusive, after-hours access into one of the most prestigious landmarks of Venice, the incredible Saint Mark's Basilica, preceded by a thorough and enchanted tour of the Doge's Palace, all in a semi-private group. Meet your guide in one of Italy’s most famous piazzas – St Mark’s Square – noted for its charming, Italian-Gothic beauty, just off the shores of the canal. Head to the Doge’s Palace and learn about the amazing color-changing facade of the Doge’s Palace and why it changes color from day to night. Go to the famous Bridge of Sighs, the last sight for prisoners on their march towards imprisonment. Make your way to Saint Mark's Basilica, the gates of which will have already closed for all other visitors, but will reopen exclusively for you. Admire the Pala D’oro ancient altarpiece up close, an act that is seemingly impossible during hurried daytime crowds. See the crypts where noble Venetians have been laid to rest. Be completely alone in the basilica for the portion of your tour – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Saint Mark's Basilica: After Hours Private Tour

10. Saint Mark's Basilica: After Hours Private Tour

Explore Saint Mark's Basilica without the crowds and enjoy an intimate look at the Golden Church of Venice. The Basilica is even more impressive by night, as its 85,000 sq ft of golden mosaics shine and reflect in a fantastic light show. Learn the secrets of this iconic church on a 1.5-hour guided tour. As part of this exclusive experience, the Basilica will reopen just for you, after it has officially closed its doors to the general public. See the Pala d'Or up close and descend into the mysterious crypt. Along the way, your professional guide will bring the Basilica's history to life through stories.

Planning Your Visit

  • What are the opening times?

    The Basilica's opening hours are from 9:45AM to 5:00PM, and on Sundays and holidays between 2:00PM and 4:00PM or 5:00PM depending on the season. Entrance to the Basilica is free, but visiting the museum, treasury, or Pala d'Oro requires paying for tickets.

  • What to wear?

    Whether you're booking a tour or intend to visit Saint Mark's Basilica alone, be sure to dress appropriately for a place of worship! A general rule of thumb is to keep arms and legs covered (and no flip-flops!). Also note that bringing luggage in is forbidden, as is filming or taking photographs inside.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    9:45AM to 5:00PM, Sundays and Holidays 2:00PM to 4:00PM or 5:00PM, depending on season.
  • Is it expensive?
    The Basilica is free, but the museum, treasury and Pala d'Oro require admission fees.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It will definitely help. Might be worth it to check out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    This attraction is within walking distance from most hotels in city center!
  • Additional information
    Bringing in luggage, filming or taking photographs inside is strictly forbidden. | It's best to keep your arms and legs covered, and no flip-flops!

Other Sightseeing Options in Saint Mark's Basilica

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What people are saying about Saint Mark's Basilica

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 19,738 reviews

A fantastic tour. The tour guide was fantastic. She was very knowledgeable and made the tour interesting and funny. The skip the line was invaluable due to the huge queues. The tour lasted around 3 hours which may seem long but really flew by and the 15 minutes break at the Dogo Palace was just the tonic for a quick break and refreshments. My only criticism was really during the tour of the jail. The commentary couldn’t be heard due probably because of the long line and distance between us and the tour guide…also I’m sure the thickness of the walls did not help. I would highly recommend the tour.

Helena was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide with excellent communication skills in English. Her commentary about the Basilica and Venice was really informative. Seeing the Basilica without the crowds was really lovely in terms of soaking up the atmosphere and the intricacies of the decor. It's pricey but I would recommend it.

Good organization with button in ear and constant audio contact with the guide. Guide Elisabeth was simply great, with in-depth knowledge, wit and charm, we were carried away into the history of Venice in a unique way.

Martina was so knowledgeable and thorough. She has so much passion talking about Venice. We love her!!!!

Federica was an awesome guide! Funny and very knowledgeable about the Basilica and Doge's Palace.