This post provides information about the best free walking tours available in Venice, including both introductory tours and outings covering Dorsoduro, the Jewish Ghetto, St. Mark’s Square and more.
- Overview + Schedule
- Introduction to Venice
- Dorsoduro (South Venice)
- Jewish Ghetto + Cannaregio
- St. Mark’s Square
- Grand Canal
Overview + Schedule
Venice might not be the biggest city in Italy, 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, 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 the history of Venice, discover the most important sites, and even receive tips and tricks about the best food and great ways to save both money and time.
Most free 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.
Introduction 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.
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
This pay-what-you-wish tour is approximately 2 ½ hours long 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 (South Venice) Tours
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 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, 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.
Hidden Gems and Secrets of Venice
This pay-what-you-wish walking tour also covers the district of Dorsoduro, and their guides promise several interesting stops including a workshop that builds gondolas and what they claim to be the best view in Venice.
The only issue with this option is that they only offer their Southern Venice tour once a week on Wednesday at 17:00 (5 pm). This free walking tour is also only 2 hours long, which means it’s not quite as extensive as others on our list.
Jewish Ghetto + Cannaregio
Although there aren’t as many companies offering free 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? You can learn more about the history of this area and see the most notable sites in the Cannaregio district on one of the following tours.
While traveling around these regions 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 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 secret corners of the city, historic locations, panoramic views, and even provide tips on some of the best places to eat.
This free 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. There is one self-guided tour available that you might want to consider, and you can find more details about it on our calendar.
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
This 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.
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 walking tours.
While in St. Mark’s Square, you’ll likely see and learn about some of the following locations:
- The Basilica of St. Mark
- St. Mark’s Bell Tower
- Doge’s Palace
- The Paper Door
- Correr Museum
- And more!
Venice Free Walking Tour
This company offers the only pay-what-you-wish walking tour that covers St. Mark’s Square, and it’s actually an evening tour which takes place at 17:00 (5 pm) and lasts for approximately 1 ½ hours.
Their tour is available daily, but it’s only offered from Spring to Autumn, so if you’re visiting out of season, you won’t be able to enjoy this outing.
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 Basilica of St. Mark 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 Tour
Although there aren’t currently any pay-what-you-wish tours which 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, 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
- 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.