Cheap Alternative Cruise Shore Excursions in Venice (On Your Own)
Venice, the capital of northern Italy's Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals - including the Grand Canal thoroughfare. Never was a thoroughfare so aptly named as the Grand Canal, reflecting the glories of Venetian architecture lining its banks. At the end of Venice's signature waterway, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark's Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city's red roofs. In the narrow backstreets you'll find neighborhood churches lined with Veroneses and priceless marbles, Tiepolo's glimpses of heaven on homeless-shelter ceilings, and a single Titian painting that mysteriously lights up an entire basilica. Garden islands and lagoon aquaculture yield specialty produce and seafood you won't find elsewhere - all highlighted in inventive Venetian cuisine, with tantalizing traces of ancient spice routes. Venetians are used to setting trends, whether it be with controversial artwork in the Punta della Dogana, racy operas at La Fenice or radical new art at the Biennale. In a world of cookie-cutter culture, Venice's originality still stands out. With so much to see, do, and taste, Venice is a great place to experience, and there are several options for exciting shore excursions to help you make the most of your time here.
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Explore the magic of Venice by land and by sea on this combo, small-group shore excursion. Swap your cruise ship for a water taxi and begin your tour with a 1-hour ride down the Grand Canal. A great introduction to the city's highlights, your boat trip will take you past grand palaces, cathedrals, historic homes and iconic bridges. Step back on solid ground for a walking tour through the back streets of Venice. Follow your local guide through narrow passageways and over footbridges as you hear tales of Venetian history and legends. See the former home of the explorer Marco Polo, and marvel at the spiraling Bovolo staircase. Stroll through the charming squares of Campo San Luca and Campo SS Giovanni Paolo, and stop outside the historic Goldoni Theater opera house. Cross the iconic Rialto Bridge and make your way to St Mark's Square, where your guide will present a brief history of Venice's most famous attractions. Admire the Italo-Byzantine architecture of St Mark's Basilica, and then head to the front of the queue to step inside. Admire the cathedral's soaring golden domes, detailed mosaics and masterful murals during a guided tour of the interior.
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Discover an important part of the Venetian artistic tradition on the islands of Murano and Burano. This half-day excursion begins with a scenic boat ride to Murano, where some of the world's finest glassblowers have been practicing their craft for centuries. Accompanied by your knowledgeable guide, visit a local workshop to watch the process of transforming a lump of molten glass into a work of art through a mesmerizing process of shaping and blowing. You'll have free time to admire candy-colored pieces of finished glasswork and to explore Murano's lovely streets and canals. Another short boat ride will deliver you to the nearby island of Burano. Here, you'll discover the traditional art of lacemaking that has been passed down through centuries. Watch craftswomen at work as they weave and stitch amazingly intricately textiles, and learn what makes Burano lace so exquisite that it once was coveted for royal wardrobes all across Europe. You'll have an opportunity to visit the Burano Lace Museum on your own or browse local shops for a special lace souvenir to take home. At the end of your artistic excursion, your guide will accompany you by boat back to the cruise terminal.
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You will be meet your tour escort and private boat driver at Venice Port for your transfer to St Mark's Square in the heart of Venice. Your private, licensed guide will take you on a 2 hour tour of the city center. You will visit some of the top highlights of Venice, including skip-the-line entrance to St. Mark's Cathedral, where you will see the stunning Pala d'Oro, or Golden Pall. This altarpiece is universally recognized as one of the most refined and accomplished works of Byzantine craftsmanship and is adorned with over 2000 gems. You will then head to the political heart of Venice, the Doges Palace, where the rulers of Venice once lived. Your tour will finish with the famous Bridge of Sighs. You will have some free time to wander the city and grab a bite to eat for lunch. Finally, travel Venice's elegant canals in style with your pre-booked 30-minute private gondola ride. After this, you will meet your tour escort back in St Mark's Square and be accompanied by your private driver back to the port.
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When your cruise ship is moored at Venice, book this private shore excursion walking tour and get to know this exquisite city in your own, preferred way. When you book, select your chosen departure time between 9am and 5pm, and share your preferences when it comes to the sights you'd like to see. Your guide will then design a flexible itinerary to suit your personal interests and wishes. Then, on the day of your tour, meet your guide near your central Venice port and set off on your private walking tour. Depending on your wishes, you may want to view some of Venice's beautiful churches, such as the Church of San Zaccaria and Church of Santa Maria Formosa, the first church on the Rialto to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary in 842. Other sites might include the bustling Rialto Fish Market, where the stalls are piled with fish and seafood freshly plucked from Venice's lagoon. Alternatively, perhaps explore the atmospheric Cannaregio Quarter. Roam the hidden corners of this traditional area and learn how it was made famous by Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. On your wanders, perhaps admire its little-known churches such as the 14th-century Church of Madonna dell'Orto or the opulent Church of Santa Maria Assunta, known as I Gesuiti. Whatever you see, your guide will tell fascinating stories about Venice's history and architecture as you go, although please bear in mind that they won't be able to accompany you inside any churches or historical buildings. As your 3-hour tour ends, follow your guide into a local bar that's beloved by the locals. Settle in and savor the atmosphere as you enjoy a complimentary glass of wine and tasty appetizer. After, walk back to the original starting point and end your tour when you leave your guide.
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