Save time by buying admission tickets for the Doge’s Palace, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, St Mark’s Basilica and other top sites in Venice in advance or book guided tours.
Venice is one of the most-popular and most-crowded tourist destinations in Italy. Avoid long and slow-moving ticket queues by buying skip-the-line tickets online or book guided tours. Priority fast-track admission tickets are available for most of the top sights in Venice including amongst others the Doge’s Palace, San Marco, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Time-slot reservations are rarely used in Venice, so waiting may be required on busy days even for priority access ticket bearers. Online tickets are available from most sights but buying from Get Your Guide or Tiqets are generally a much simpler process. Visit the most popular sights early in the morning, late afternoon, or book a guided tour if available time in Venice is limited.
Currently, Venice is quiet and a great time to visit. Although getting tickets is less of a problem, most sights now require advance online ticket reservations.
Buy Skip-the-Line Tickets for the Doge’s Palace
The Doge’s Palace is the top historical sight to see in Venice. The Palazzo Ducale is justifiably popular and queues to get in are often very long and slow moving. Visitors with tickets use the priority entrance to skip the ticket window waiting line. Online tickets are available from many resellers including Tiqets and Get Your Guide.
Most of the Doge’s Palace may be seen without a tour – several good guidebooks and audio guides are available – but the secret itineraries tour is compulsory to see some of the smaller rooms and the jail. Shorter tours let visitors explore the main palace alone after the guided tour but some combination tours include a guided tour of the main palace and Saint Mark’s basilica.
At peak season, even priority ticket holders may have to wait to enter the building. Guided tours are a good way to skip the lines. Savings may be had by booking guided tours to multiple sites, e.g. combining with St Mark’s Basilica (some combination tours are a brisk two hours, but three-hour tours are less rushed), gondola rides, or a variety of museum passes or transportation travel cards.
After hours night visits are very pleasant too but these tours are pricey. Combination tours are possible to see the Doge’s Palace and St Mark Basilica at night — the venues are beautifully lit and uncrowded for those that can afford the ticket prices.
Admission to the Doge’s Palace is around €22 and also includes admission to the three civic museums at San Marco (Correr Museum, National Archaeological Museum, Biblioteca Marciana). Tickets are not sold for individual museums. These four sights are sometimes referred to as the four museums of San Marco. Tickets are generally valid for three months — the three civic museums must be seen in one session with the Doge’s Palace a separate visit.
Almost all Venice Museum Passes include the Doge’s Palace.
Buy Skip-the-Line Tickets for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the best-known and most-popular art museums in Venice. In contrast to the classic Renaissance and Baroque art popular in much of historic Venice, the art here are mostly 20th-century modern. Peggy Guggenheim bought an unfinished palace on the Grand Canal in 1949 and filled it with art, including works by Picasso, Dali, Pollock, Kandinsky and Magritte. Don’t miss the lovely sculpture garden.
Despite the fairly expensive admission price, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is hugely popular — buy tickets online from Tiqets or Get Your Guide to save queueing time. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is not included in museum passes.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is closed on Tuesdays.
Buy Skip-the-Line Tickets for St Mark’s Basilica Church in Venice
Note: San Marco may be closed to tourist visits but the museum and terrace remain open. Guided tours may skip the church if not open and only include the museum or balcony.
St Mark’s Basilica on the Piazza San Marco is the top religious site to see in Venice. Admission to see parts of the ground floor is free so queues are usually very, very long. After queueing for hours, visitors on busy days are basically press-ganged in less than 15 minutes through the small part of the church that is open.
Currently, during the summer season – 1 April to early November – it is possible, and highly advisable, to make online time-slot reservations. €3 is rarely better spent in Venice. Seeing the Golden Pala d’Oro altar adds €2 and a further €5 for the museum that includes going up to the terraces for wonderful views of San Marco and the famous horses.
Guided tours are also a great way to skip-the-lines at San Marco. Savings are often available when combining with further sights such as the Doge’s Palace (available in 2-hour, or 3-hour versions). A pricy but certainly the best way to experience the magical interior of San Marco is the guided tours at night or a combination with the Doge’s Palace after hours.
Saint Mark’s basilica is generally quieter early morning or in the afternoon later than 13:00. However, the ceiling is usually lit from 11:30 to 12:45 and this is spectacular enough to make it worth braving the crowds. Night visits are similarly beautiful lit but the tours are expensive.
Even fairly small bags must be handed in before getting into the queue at San Marco — the upside is that visitors with a checked bag get a plastic token that gives priority admission to the church. The queue at the free bag check is often shorter than the regular queue.
As a working church a dress code is enforced for Saint Mark’s Basilica: shoulders and knees should be covered, even in high summer. (The same goes for many other churches in Venice and Italy.)
Although seeing the Basilica di San Marco is almost obligatory when visiting Venice, it is worth keeping in mind that most of Venice’s churches are filled with art and many are free, or charge only a negligible admission fee, and often with very few visitors.
Also take the vaporetto across to San Giorgio Maggiore for some of the finest and cheapest views of Venice — elevator to the top of the bell tower around €5.
Buy Advance Skip-the-Line Tickets for Venice Sights
A few further sites for which advance purchase tickets are available include
- Chorus Churches Circuit — 16 churches on one ticket, some filled with fantastic art, others less so but still a good deal. (The churches are also often included in museum passes.)
- Querini Stampalia Foundation — over 400 paintings and frescoes mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. (Also included in the San Marco Silver Pass.)
- La Fenice Opera House
- Leonardo da Vince Museum Venice
- Jewish Museum of Venice
- Ca’ Rezzonico Museum
- Murano Glass Museum
- Ca’ Pesaro Museum
- Casanova Museum & Experience
- Naval History Museum — probably closed
- Scala Contarini del Bovolo — a spectacular Renaissance spiral staircase
- Casa dei Tre Oci — photography exhibitions
- Negozio Olivetti — a small architecture and design museum near the Piazza di San Marco
Note: Opening hours and days for some museums are shorter than in normal times.
A variety of Venice museum passes is available to save time and money when sightseeing in Venice. All include the Doge’s Palace but further interests should determine which pass to buy.