This post provides information about the best free walking tours available in Venice led by local guides.
We include both introductory tours and outings covering the sestieres (districts) of Dorsoduro, the Jewish Ghetto, St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), and more.
- Overview + Schedule
- Introduction to Venice
- Dorsoduro (South Venice)
- Jewish Ghetto + Cannaregio
- St. Mark’s Square
- Murano and Burano Islands
- Gondola Rides
- Grand Canal
Overview + Schedule
Venice might not be one of the bigger cities in Italy like Rome, but there’s still a lot to see in the area, and the tours listed on this post will make it easier to discover some of the most notable locations.
There are tours covering Northern Venice, Southern Venice, the Jewish Ghetto, Cannaregio, and many smaller neighbourhoods and locations in the city.
You may also want to consider a tour of specific locations and sites like St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), and there is even a free audio tour designed to be used while riding a boat down the Grand Canal.
As you explore the city with a tour guide, you’ll learn about Venetian history, fun facts, the legends, and the mysteries of Venice.
You'll also discover the most important sites, and even receive tips and tricks about the best cuisine and great ways to save both money and time.
Most free Venice walking tours operate on a pay-what-you-wish basis, which means that at the end of the tour you can tip your guide however much you want, even nothing if you weren’t impressed.
Most people really enjoy these types of walking tours and tip their guides an average of €10-€15 for the experience.
Although these tours can be fun, they are usually open to larger group sizes, so if you’d rather take a walking tour with small group sizes, consider going on a paid tour of Venice instead.
Some of the paid options also focus on special subjects that the free tours won’t always cover, so depending on what you want to learn about, it may be worth the extra money.
You may also want to think about experiencing Venice from one of the gondolas that float down the canals of this city.
INTORDUCTION TO VENICE TOURS
If you’re interested in learning about and discovering some of the most notable sites in the historic centre of Venice, these free walking tours will introduce you to the city.
You can expect to see incredible monuments and beautiful architecture along the way.
You’ll also get tips and tricks to avoid tourist traps and get the most out of your time and experience what life is like for Venetians.
Here are a few of the locations you will likely visit on an introductory tour:
- Santa Maria della Fava
- The Grand Canal
- San Salvador
- Rialto Bridge
- And more!
Northern Venice Tour (Touring Different)
This pay-what-you-wish tour is approximately 2 ½ hours in duration and it’s currently available at 16:30 (4:30 pm) every day. They also have plans to offer a daily 10:30 am tour in the near future.
Tour itineraries can change depending on your guide, and they will often personalize the tour based on what you want to see.
DORSODURO TOURS (SOUTH VENICE)
Aside from the Introductory tour, there are also outings in the Southern District of Dorsoduro which cover a variety of interesting locations.
This is considered a more “artsy” part of the city, with many student inhabitants, but there’s still plenty of history to learn about and notable sites to see in Southern Venice.
Here are a few of the stops you’ll most likely make while on one of the following free Venice walking tours:
- Campo della Carità
- Punta della Dogana
- Campo Santo Stefano
- Accademia Galleries
- Zattere Fondamenta
- Basilica della Salute
- And more!
While on these tours, you may also hear stories about subjects as varied as the Napoleonic invasion, Peggy Guggenheim, the plague epidemics of the past, and much more.
Southern Venice Tour
Once again provided by Touring Different, the duration of this tour is quite extensive at around 2 ½ hours in length and it’s available daily at 10 am.
Learn about notable art in the area, interesting traditions, and even details about what is said to be the most haunted palace in Venice.
JEWISH GHETTO + CANNAREGIO
Although there aren’t as many companies offering free Venice walking tours of this part of the city, there are a few options you may want to consider.
Did you know that Venice is actually home to the first Jewish Ghetto in the world?
Get lost (with a local guide) in the narrow streets of Cannaregio.
You can learn more about the Venetian history of this area and see the most notable sites in the Cannaregio district on one of the following tours.
It's also a great area to bump into resident Venetians.
While traveling around these 2 neighborhoods of Venice, you can expect to see some of the following sites:
- Jewish Ghetto
- Ponte Chiodo
- Ponte Borgoloco
- Campo San Zanipolo
- Campo Santa Maria Formosa
- And more!
If you’re interested in discovering or learning more about any of these attractions, please consider one of the free Venice walking tours below.
Cannaregio: The Local Venice + Jewish Ghetto
The company Free Walk in Venice currently offers the only pay-what-you-wish tour in this district, and it’s a pretty good one to take.
Guides promise to show you the secret corners of the city, historic locations, panoramic views, and even tips on some of the best places to eat.
The duration of this free Venice walking tour is approximately 2 ½ hours long and it’s available on Thursdays at 15:00 (3 pm) and Mondays at 10:30 am.
Other Cannaregio + Jewish Ghetto Tours
When it comes to free tours of the area, there aren’t many other options.
Alternatively, if you don’t mind spending a bit of money, there are some interesting paid tours you may want to consider, including a privately led service and even a ghost tour.
Check this list of paid Cannaregio + Jewish Quarter tours to find an outing you’ll enjoy.
ST. MARK'S SQUARE TOURS
Piazza San Marco is one of the most interesting and historic public squares in all of Venice, and there are a lot of things to see in the area.
So, it makes sense that there would be tours devoted to St. Mark’s Square.
We have our own free, self-guided tour for you.
If you don’t want to miss anything in this part of the city and you want to learn as much as possible about all of the historic sites, consider one of these free Venice walking tours.
While in St. Mark’s Square, you’ll likely see the exterior and learn about some of the following locations:
- The Basilica of St. Mark
- St. Mark’s Bell Tower
- St. Mark's Basilica
- Doge’s Palace
- The Paper Door
- Correr Museum
- Bridge of Sighs
- And more!
Venice Free Walking Tour
This tour is run by one tour guide, David. He calls his tour the Secret and Mysterious Venice: St. Mark's and the Silk Road.
In addition to seeing a side of the city most tourists don't visit, you'll also learn about some of the most notable legends and stories from throughout the history of Venice.
Their tour is available daily at 10 am.
If you’re visiting out of season or you can’t make it to the other service, this company actually offers two audio tours which cover both the St. Mark's Basilica and St. Mark’s Square.
The nice thing about these options is that you can take an audio tour anytime you want, day or night.
That said, there is a small section of the St. Mark’s Square tour focusing on Venice after dark, so you might want to consider using that one in the evening.
GRAND CANAL TOURS
Although there aren’t currently any pay-what-you-wish tours that cover this attraction, there is one free audio tour offered by Rick Steves that you may want to consider.
The Grand Canal curves its way through the entire city almost like a main street — but instead of cars and buses, you'll see gondolas and tour boats!
And there are a lot of interesting attractions to see along the water as it stretches from Santa Lucia Station to St. Mark’s Square, passing by the Jewish Ghetto, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, and San Marco.
Here are some of the sites you can expect to see and learn about on this audio tour:
- Ca’ d’Oro
- Rialto Bridge
- Ca’ Rezzonico
- Accademia Gallery
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection
- Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
- Bridge of Sighs
- And more!
If you’re interested in discovering more about these locations and seeing everything of interest in this area, download the Grand Canal audio tour.
You might also want to consider crossing the canals of Venice on one of the many gondolas in Venice.
MURANO AND BURANO ISLANDS
There are even free tours on the islands of Murano and Burano.
Blowing glass is a specialty of the island of Murano, and on this tour, you can visit the Canal dei Vetrai and visit a glass factory to witness a glass-blowing demonstration by a master glassmaker.
Murano is also home to the Basilica of Santa Maria and San Donato, a masterpiece of Italian Romanesque, and the Church of San Pedro Martir, known for its blown glass lights.
This company is currently offering one of the only free tours of Murano and Burano from Venice. It's important to note that transport is not included, and entrance to the glass factory will cost an additional €3 per person.
The tour provided by your tour guide will be pay-what-you-wish, and most visitors will tip at least €10-€15 if they enjoyed their experience.
You can expect this tour to last for 4 hours and 30 minutes, and it is available to take every Wednesday - Sunday in Spanish.
OTHER TOURS IN ITALY: