Cruise Port Atlas | Venice, Italy Day Trips | Attractions

Venice, Italy Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Venice: Star Clippers, Voyages of Discovery, Voyages to Antiquity, Windstar, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Oceania, Paul Gauguin, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Celebrity, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Costa, Disney Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Uniworld, Viking River Cruises

Key Attractions: St. Marks Basilica, Ducal (Doges) Palace, St. Marks Square, Campanile, Bridge of Sighs, Murano Glass, Grand Canal, Gondolas, Lido di Venezia, Burano, San Giorgio Maggiore

St. Mark's Basilica entrance

St. Mark's Basilica

Port to St. Mark's Basilica - 6 KM, 15 minutes (Water Taxi or Vaporetto), 43 minute walk
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Located on St. Mark's Square, the basilica is one of the most beautiful and architecturally unique churches in the world. While it is Roman Catholic, the design is Byzantine, with stunning mosaics inside and out. Construction of the present church began in the 11th century, with additions added over a period of more than 400 years. It got its name from uncertain relics it still houses of Mark the Evangelist stolen by Venetian merchants in Alexandria. The facade has five ornate arches supported by marble columns. Three horses of the Greek Classic period stand in front of the entrance. Five domes in the Byzantine style adorn the roof. Inside, the upper portion of the walls and domes are mosaics of gold, bronze, and bright stones. The Basilica is connected to the Ducal Palace, since the church was originally the Duke's chapel.

Byzantine Church begun in the 11th century   Byzantine Building with a wide variety of styles blended together   Mosaics and sculptures  

Easy walking    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo St. Marks Basilica by Bernard bill5

Ducal Palace and St. Mark's Square

Port to Ducal Palace - 6 KM, 15 minutes (Water Taxi or Vaporetto), 43 minute walk
Link to Full-Page Google Map

St. Mark's Square (locally called the Piazza) is one of the great urban squares in all the world, allowing only pedestrians and surrounded by stunning historic structures, including the Basilica, the Ducal Palace, and the Campanile (Bell Tower). Most visitors have seen this square in movies as it has long been a favorite place for romantic meetings of lead characters. Feeding the pigeons is discouraged!

The Ducal Palace (Doge's Palace), long the residence of the elected Duke of Venice, was built in a Venetian Gothic style with elements borrowed from the east. It faces the square and borders the Lagoon. Built primarily during the 14th Century, the Palace hosted many governmental institutions including the court, which explains why the Bridge of Sighs connects the palace with the prison.

Photo by Patrick Clenet

Location of important historic events   Late Gothic Palace   Climb the Campanille for incredible views  

Varied Walking    Limited Wheelchair Accessibility

Photo of Ducal Palace by Patrick Clenet

Murano Glass Paperweights

Murano Glass Factory

Port to the Factory - Water Taxi or Ferry
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Venetian art glass is one of the city's most famous products and the most prized examples are made on the island of Murano, just north of Venice. The product was first made on the tiny island over 1000 years ago. These handmade products are made using centuries-old techniques that produce stunning and colorful works as large as chandeliers and as small as wine stoppers. Visitors can see demonstrations of the glass makers craft and visit the Museo Vetrario (Glass Museum), which has a fine display of historic pieces from many ages.

Glass works   Children will enjoy the demonstrations   History of Art Glass  

Some Walking    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Murano Glass by Shizhao

Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge

The Grand Canal

Cruise Port to Grand Canal (southern entrance) - 6 KM, 15 minutes (by water and taxi), 45 minutes walking
Cruise Port to Western entrance to the Grand Canal - 15 minutes walking
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The Grand Canal is the most important waterway in the city proper and by far the largest. It snakes like a backward S through the city with its southern entrance very near St. Mark's Square and the northern at the railway station and port area. The #1 Vaparetto Route follows the canal and is a great way to see the whole of it economically. Traveling the canal by boat provides views of some of the city's most venerable palazzi, houses built primarily between the 13th and 18th centuries mostly by wealthy merchants. Only four bridges cross the canal, including the city's most famous bridge, the Rialto (right). The most common way to cross the canal is by traghetto (a less fancy gondola). Another famous attraction on the canal is the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute.

Historic Waterway   Palazzi, Museum, Churches   Great Images  

Boat tours    Accessibility depends on your boat

Photo of Grand Canal by Martti Mustone

Lido di Venezia

Lido di Venezia

Port to Lido di Venezia - 6 KM, 15-30 minutes (Water Taxi or Vaporetto)
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Lido di Venezia is the resort area of Venice on an sandbar island to the southeast of Venice proper. It is the location of the city's beach area, along with a golf course, casino, and several top resort hotels. The beaches are large and provide nice Adriatic waters on the side facing away from Venice. After the first beach area was set up on this island, Lido came to mean an outdoor swimming area which explains why the swimming deck of cruise ships are often called the Lido deck.

Beach Resorts   Safe for Children  

Varied Walking    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Lido de Venezia


Other Islands - Burano and San Giorgio Maggiore

Link to Full-Page Google Map

To the northeast of Venice is the small residential island of Burano with its brightly colored houses and narrow canals. It is like a miniature and less wealthy Venice and a great antidote to the crowd of the famous city. The small island of San Giorgio Maggiore is southeast of the main islands and offers the beautiful Renaissance Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, an open air theater and a monastery.


Varied Walking    Somewhat Wheelchair Accessible

Photo of Burano by Saffron Blaze

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible