City tour of Venice

The main attractions during a city walk

St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, the Basilica and the Rialto Bridge – these are the absolute highlights you should have at least seen if you come to Venice. Nevertheless, when in Venice there is never enough time to see all the things one would like to – there are just too many beautiful places and sights to admire. With a small city tour and a cruise on the Grand Canal, you can, however, get a relatively good idea of ​​the beauty of Venice in little time. It doesn’t take long for the special atmosphere of the city to enchant each visitor and whet their appetite for another visit to the lagoon city.

A short city tour through Venice

While it must be said that making a selection from the numerous interesting places in Venice is really difficult, we have attempted to put together a little tour of the city that includes the major highlights and gives a good impression of the beauty of Venice. If you want to spend even more time after the walk in the city, you can think about purchasing a 12-hour card to travel by waterbus as often as you like. But you don’t need one for the city walk described here. The city tour takes about 4 to 6 hours. This tour can be shortened by skipping, for example, a visit to the interior of the Doge’s Palace.

  • Since most visitors arrive at Venice’s Santa Lucia railway station, this is where we shall start our short tour.
  • Directly in front of the station, you will find a waterbus landing stage. Both tourist boats and the normal water ferries start from here. The latter are considerably cheaper, but do not include additional information and travel down the Grand Canal to St. Mark’s Square just like a bus. The decision therefore depends on the time and the money you have at your disposal.
  • Choose a place on deck to take some nice photos. Going down the Grand Canal you will pass by more than 250 magnificent palaces, 15 churches and the famous Rialto Bridge on your way to St. Mark’s Square.
  • On the small square next to the boat drop-off point you can enjoy the most famous views of the city of Venice at a glance: St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, Campanile and the magnificent views of the lagoon.
  •  Now it is time to proceed strategically. As there are normally long waiting times before entering the Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, it is up to you to choose which one to enter first. In general, the crowd is the smallest in the early morning and afternoon while it becomes bigger around lunchtime.
  • In the Doge’s Palace you will get a good impression of both the seat of government of the Doge’s Republic as well as of the private chambers of the Doges. Furthermore, via the famous Bridge of Sighs you can reach the prison from which Casanova once escaped.
  • The St. Mark’s Basilica is a unique example of Western-Oriental architecture, which is found nowhere else in Europe. The very beautiful mosaic floors are well worth a visit. You should make sure not to miss the Marciana museum where you can admire the famous bronze horses and enjoy the view from the balcony.
  • If by now you are feeling a little peckish, you can look into one of the famous cafes in St. Mark’s Square for a free table and enjoy the atmosphere of Venice. If you prefer something cheaper, just a few streets away from the centre you will find far less expensive ways to get something to eat.
  •  If you have enough time, you should certainly take the elevator up to the bell tower of the Campanile. The view from here is breathtaking and worth every penny of the admission fee.
  • The city walk proceeds through the Clock Tower along the Mercerie. The Mercerie consists of the three famous shopping streets of Venice and leads from St. Mark’s Square directly to the former commercial district of the Rialto Bridge. Shopping enthusiasts will find almost anything their hearts desire – of course at the appropriate price.
  • Once you reach the Rialto Bridge, there are two routes back to the station – depending on your physical condition and how much time you have left. The quickest way is from the Rialto dock by ferry directly to the station. If you want to see a little bit more of Venice, cross the Rialto Bridge and follow the streets along the canals back to the station. This takes about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Via the Ponte degli Scalzi you finally cross the Grand Canal and arrive directly in front of the main train station.

You can personalise this walking tour of Venice, extending and expanding it at will. On ZAINOO you will find many other attractions such as the Gallerie dell’Accademia, San Zaccaria or the Teatro La Fenice, which are all within walking distance around St Mark’s Square. With a one-hour waterbus ticket you can also reach most attractions and islands all in around a few minutes.

Those who consider this city walk too strenuous can also go directly by boat to San Marco Square and back and stop just briefly at the Rialto Bridge.

Tour details

Approximate walking time:


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