“Venice is meant to be seen by boat.” That is what our guide Jennifer said to us while we waited at the pier for our private tour of Venice. We were taking a tour of the city by water taxi in a sleek and classic white boat where we lounged under the sun in the lap of luxury. Jennifer was our guide to everything Venice and she is definitely an expert.

tour guide in Venice

Deb and our Fabulous Guide Jennifer

We met Jennifer by the pier at the Piazza San Marco on the Grand Canal where we caught our boat for a two hour tour with her around town. This Aussie native moved here from London 30 years ago, met her husband a half after landing and has stayed every since. Elegant and chic she is exactly what we expected a resident of Venice to be. It really is one of the most sophisticated cities in the world.

Water Taxi in Venice Italy

Our Luxurious ride for our Venice Tour

Changing our Perception of Venice

We had already been in Venice for a day and weren’t overly blown away by this world famous city. It isn’t exactly the most off the beaten path of destinations and we were feeling overwhelmed by the crowds and underwhelmed by the service. However all that changed the minute we stepped onto our boat for an alternate tour of the city.

travel Couple on boat tour in Venice Italy

Already Feeling The Charm of Venice

Jennifer’s love for the city was contagious and as we learned more about this historical destination, we fell in love with it as well. Once on the boat and away from the hustle and bustle of the square, we could see why people have been lured to the city of love for centuries. An inspiration for many artists and musicians such as Vivaldi, Giovanni Bellini and Monteverdi, Venice is truly a work of art.

Venice is Captivating

Works of Art on the Venice Canals were inspiration for many artists

Buildings Are a Work of Art in Venice

Great thought went into each façade as families competed to have the most opulent home on the waterways. Venetians were a proud people who made their money from trading and commerce. They weren’t born into aristocracy and appreciated every penny that they made. And made money they did.

Strategically located at the head of the Adriatic Sea, Venice was once a great empire that controlled the trading route between the west and the east.  The money pumping into its economy fuelled a construction boom and rivals built extravagant home after extravagant home to compete with each others wealth.

Gondola on the grand canal of Venice makes for a great vacation photo

Their need to impress was our gain as we are now blessed with viewing a living and working art gallery. To float through Venice is to float through historic beauty.

Boat Tour of Venice

This private VIP tour with Walks of Italy includes two glorious hours of sightseeing and exploring the canals of Venice. We immediately detoured off the Grand Canal to a waterway leading under the Bridge of Sighs. This is a famous sight in Venice as the Bridge of Sighs connects the interrogation rooms of Doges Palace with the old Prison. Convicted criminals took their final walk over this bridge and had their final view of Venice before serving their long and brutal sentences. And so, with a final sigh, they were sent to face their fate.

Bridge of Sighs in Venice Italy

The Bridge of Sighs, One last Look out of those Windows

We checked out many historical buildings and Jennifer referenced classic literature as we snapped our vacation photos at places like the Rialto Bridge, the Cemetery of San Michele, the Madonna dell’Orto Church and St Marks Basilica.

Rialto Bridge and gondola in Venice

A Gondolier floats towards the Rialto Bridge

When she pointed out the balcony where Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie shared a kiss in the Tourist and the building that James Bond blew up in Casino Royal we could finally honesty admit that we understood what she was talking about.

We learned that Gondoliers uniforms were changed after the film Summertime with Katherine Hepburn put them in striped shirts with corn hats. Hmm, Hollywood truly has influence!

Travel Blogger Dave takes over driving the boat in Venice

Dave takes the wheel

Our tour ended with a stop at the island of San Giorgio Maggiore where we took an elevator to the top of the bell tower of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore for the most jaw dropping view of Venice. It’s the spot where postcards are made and as the bells rang, we looked out and admired our 360? view of all the islands surrounding the city.

View of Venice from San Giorgio Maggiore

The City of Venice from the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore

What an end to a perfect day on the water in Venice.

We started the tour as an adventure couple who didn’t think much of Venice and ended it with a new love and respect for one of the most unique cities on earth.

Adventure Travel Couple Kissing in Venice

Smooching on our Water Taxi in Venice, One Romantic City

For more information on your own City Tour of Venice or other Walking Tours of Italy check out Walks of Italy.

 

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37 Comments

  1. Meg from LandingStanding

    Great article guys! I only visited Venice once and loved it. I went during off season when there weren’t the huge crowds, so walking around the city was nice – But the boat tour looks like the way to go! Tony and I may just have to use Walks of Italy for a tour if we ever make it back there!

    1. debndave Post author

      Meg, that is the best time to go. I think we’ll go back one day in the off season. Night and early mornings were free and clear of crowds but like we said, why do we have to walk around at 3:00 am to enjoy the city. I want to enjoy it when I am wide awake and coherent;) We took two tours with Walks of Italy and found them to be awesome. The guides are top notch!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Jennifer, it is a city that inspired me to write more poetically:) It was our first visit to Venice too, it is quite an extraordinary city to see at least once in your life.

  2. Chrystal McKay

    I am so looking forward to visiting Venice. I only saw it on a guided tour through Italy many years ago, so I am excited to wander the city with no plan! Great photos – I am so going to climb the San Giorggio Maggiore for that view! Spectacular!

    1. debndave Post author

      It was a beautiful view of the city from San Giorggio. Here’s a tip, make sure to go directly to the elevator when you arrive. It fills up quickly and only 6 people can pop on the elevator at once so if there is a line up it can be quite a wait. When you see an opening, make a dash for it:)

  3. Ali

    Andy and I were just in Venice during Carnivale, and even though it was cold and rainy in February, it was still gorgeous. There’s just something about that city, so unlike any other city in the world, that I couldn’t help but like it even through the cold and the crowds. I’m glad you guys enjoyed your boat tour!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Ali, I’d love to go during Carnivale. It looks like the most amazing event. Did you dress up? I think I’d like to go then as well, I always love seeing a city on the off season.

  4. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    I agree with others, your pictures are beautiful! They really bring Venice alive. The boat tour sounds like a wonderful way to “see” Venice. I haven’t been yet but when I do, I’ll be climbing up San Giorggio for those views for sure.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Debbie. I highly recommend the boat tour too, especially early on in your trip. It will help you appreciate Venice for the rest of your stay and it helps give you a layout of the land. This city is a maze and can be very confusing to navigate.

  5. John

    Venice is a city I’d like to give a second chance to as well. I was only there for one day in the middle of the summer and found the crowds and heat to be a bit oppressive. Beautiful photos as usual!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hey John. Yes, I think that you have to give it more than a day. The first day was overwhelming for us. We got lost trying to find our apartment, it was hot, we were carrying our packs and it was very crowded. By the time we settled in, we were over it. We couldnt’ find a place to eat the first night and kept ending up at dead ends on the canal. But the next day, we got our bearings, took the tour and really started to enjoy Venice. I can honestly say that we even know our way around a little bit. Well, at least Dave does, I followed him blindly through the streets, but he always knew exactly where we were!

    1. debndave Post author

      Yes, I think the tour guide always makes or breaks a trip and Jennifer from Walks of Italy definitely made our trip. Combined with the scenery and the history, it was a perfect day.

  6. DynnaLou

    I have never been to Venice and I think it is one of the nice places in the world where we can have a great holiday.. Anyway, Love this post!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Dynna, it is a great city to visit. It’s pricey so it’s good to include in a tour of Italy, but if you have the money to enjoy it, I’d stay there for much longer.

  7. Jenna

    I have always loved Venice. This seems like the perfect way to see the city, and as you said, get away from the crowds and see what it was meant to be like. Maybe next time I go there, I will take this tour! I once took a boat from Croatia to Venice and will never forget the experience of arriving in the city down the Grand Canal!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hey Jenna, it really is a great way to see the city. What we loved about it was that it is much longer than taking a gondola and nearly the same price! Having a guide point out the landmarks and talk about the history was a big help as well. We understood the city and had a better understanding of the layout after the rid. Wow! A a boat from Croatia to Venice, what an entrance you made! It really is breathtaking to come upon the city for the first time.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you so much. Venice is definitely one of those cities that you have to visit at least once in your life. We’re glad we saw it and especially by boat.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Laurel. I can’t wait to hear about your trip in July and yes, make sure you take a boat around the city. It is wonderful. It’s especially romantic with your husband.

  8. Wandergirl

    Wow! Beautiful! I skipped Venice on my first trip to Italy hearing similar things from people (though, to be fair, I shouldn’t ever trust an Italian to praise any other part of Italy than their own too strongly!). After seeing that amazing view, I have to make sure I get there when I return!

    1. debndave Post author

      Haha, that is so well said. You are right, everyone we met thought that their part of the country was the only and the best part of the country. It is busy, but you have to give it a couple of days to get used to it and figure it out. You will then fall in love.

  9. Bob R

    I’ve been dozens of times, and there really isn’t a true off-season to speak of. Not for day trips, anyway. Evenings can be wonderful. If you’ve got an interest in modern art, check out the Guggenheim on the Grand Canale. Peggy Guggenheim put together a pretty phenomenal collection of early 20th C modern art.

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  13. Tyler

    It looks like you guys had an absolute blast! And what a boat to tour around it – gorgeous. I’m inspired by your friend moving and setting up her life there – I’ve dreamed about it but never really entertained the idea seriously. I think it’s time for another trip… Thanks for sharing!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Tyler, Yes, our guide is an inspiration. She’s now lived in Venice for decades and calls it home. Truly a special place to live.

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