Venice by Boat: Grand Canal Tour

Unlock Venetian secrets on a private boat tour with an expert guide
From US$1,197 privately
Book a Tour
Tour Details
2 hours
Product Type
  • Ss. Giovanni e Paolo
  • San Marco Neighborhood
  • Grand Canal
Photos & Highlights
  • Looking for a unique way to see Venice? Swap the footpaths for waterways and indulge in the city's beauty aboard a private motor boat.
  • With a local expert sharing stories and secrets, you'll uncover the highlights and hidden gems of Venice, all from the comfort of your seat.
Select a date
Tour Description
Set sail on a two-hour tour through Venice's enchanting canals and discover the city's rich history from the comfort of a private boat. Your journey starts near the lively Campo Ss. Giovanni e Paolo, where a local historian will greet you and then guide you through the labyrinthine waterways of Venice.

You'll navigate the quiet canals that wind through the city's neighborhoods, known as sestieri, each with its own distinct atmosphere and stories. The boat's gentle movement provides a calm setting to absorb the tales of Venice's past, connecting you with the city's remarkable history and culture.

The highlight of the tour is a cruise down the iconic Grand Canal, lined with impressive palaces that echo the wealth and artistry of the Venetian Republic. Your guide will share insights into the remarkable landmarks and the lives of the people who shaped Venice into the city it is today.

Though some guides may choose to make a stop or two, most of your tour will be spent on the water, ensuring a seamless narrative of this floating city's legacy. As you circle back to your starting point, you'll be equipped with a deeper understanding of Venice, making this tour an ideal introduction to your visit to the city.

Join us for an experience that weaves historical insight with the allure of Venetian culture, offering you not just views, but a meaningful connection with one of the world's most storied cities.
  • You’ve just arrived in the city and are seeking a relaxing way to become oriented with your surroundings. 
  • You're eager to escape the bustling crowds of the city streets and enjoy a more relaxed and intimate experience on the water.
Please note that the specific route of the tour may vary due to factors such as tide levels and unforeseen events. While we aim to provide you with the best possible experience, we want to highlight that the exact sequence and order of sites visited may change.

  • Grand Canal – Venice's main water corridor is flanked by grand buildings that date back to the 13th century.
  • San Marco neighborhood – This area is the social, religious, and political heart of Venice and is home to the renowned Piazza San Marco.
  • Castello district – The largest of the six central districts, or 'sestieri', of Venice, known for its naval dockyard, the Arsenale.
  • Basilica Santi Giovanni e Paolo – A prime example of Italian Gothic architecture, this church is the final resting place of many Venetian doges.
  • The cost of your tour covers the exclusive hire of the private boat for two hours, ensuring a personalized experience as you navigate Venice's canals with your Context Expert.
  • Please note that admission to landmark sites, such as St. Mark's Basilica, is not included. This is a water-based tour, and you will be on board the boat for its entirety.
  • Please be aware that hotel pick-up is not included in this tour. You will meet your Context Guide at Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo, from where you will proceed together to the boat's departure point to meet your captain.
  • For groups of a certain size, the boat service provider may require us to use headsets to ensure you don't miss any of your Context Expert's insights. 
  • A "Headset Fee" will be included in your order in such cases. 
General Information
  • We strive to accommodate all guests, so please inform us of any mobility needs or concerns when you book your tour.
  • Departing the boat during the tour is not always possible, it it advisable to use the restroom prior to departure. 
For more information about Context Tours, please visit our FAQs.

Why are there no morning tours available?
Our Venice Boat Tours are scheduled for the afternoon and evening because boat access to the Grand Canal is restricted in the morning. This ensures you have the best experience possible when the waterways are open for us to explore.

Why do tour times vary by season?
We've tailored our tour times to offer you the best visual experience. From November to February, tours begin at 2:00 PM to take advantage of the daylight. From March to October, we start at 4:30 PM to catch the soft evening light and to avoid the peak summer heat.

Are boat tours available during the Venice Film Festival and Venice Biennale?
Tours are not available during these periods due to limited boat availability. We suggest booking your tour outside of this busy period.

Will the Venice Boat Tour be canceled if it rains?
No, our tours will proceed rain or shine. The boats are equipped with covers to ensure a comfortable experience regardless of the weather.

Is this tour conducted on a gondola?
No, this experience is on a private motorboat that is covered for your comfort.

How many guests can the private motorboat accommodate?
Generally, our boats have a capacity of up to 10-11 passengers. Please note, that for groups larger than 6, there is an additional fee.

What sights will we see during the tour?
The tour's itinerary is designed to showcase the best of Venice and typically includes St. Mark's Square, the Grand Canal, and a selection of smaller, more intimate canals. Please note that the exact route may vary depending on the tide and other elements to ensure the best experience.

Will we have the opportunity to leave the boat and explore on foot?
It depends. There may be a chance to disembark and explore a site such as the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore church, as long as the weather and timing allow. Please leave our team a note in the “Additional Details” box if you have any questions or concerns about this. 

Is the tour accessible to wheelchair users?
Unfortunately, directly wheeling onto the boat is not possible; passengers must exit their wheelchairs and be lifted to board the boat. Please send our team an email if you would like to further discuss mobility concerns prior to booking. 
Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Where You'll Start
(4.53) 310 Reviews

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Elena is fantastic across the board
Leo made our Venice experience much more interesting. He is an excellent guide. As a Venetian, born and raised, he painted a very realistic picture for us about Venice. If you want to get to know Venice on a deeper level, I recommend booking Leo as your guide. His knowledge is extensive. He obviously cares deeply for Venice. He explained the history, yes, but he also educated us on current Venetian environmental and economical concerns. We left feeling connected to Venice and wanting to learn more about its history and its people. 10 out of 10 for Leo.
Erianne was an excellent guide.

Context Experts in Venice

Get to know one of the experts leading this tour

Meet Lorenza