Venice hop on hop off tour

After 2 enchanting days each in Rome and Florence we finally headed to the romantic city of Venice. Venice is one city that is perhaps on everyone’s radar when visiting Europe for the first time. However, we had also heard from many that Venice often disappoints it’s visitors. Because over and over it has been overrated. However, we found Venice to be one of the most beautiful destinations that we visited on this tour. One of our most wonderful experiences was  taking the Venice hop on hop off tour.

Venice hop on hop off tour

Venice hop on hop off tour

Almost all the cities in Europe provided hop on hop off tour provisions. There are buses with fixed routes. One can buy a day or two days pass and then hop on and off these while one explores the city. Venice, being an archipelago, called for a boat hop on hop off trip. And we were so excited to do one. So, we got our tickets booked with Panoramic tours. They have an office at the Venice train station itself. And we stayed at the Hotel Continental, which is walkable from the train station – at just 300 meters. So, morning, we collected our passes from the office and headed to the next boat at the deck besides the train station. Soon we on boarded and seated by the back deck in the boat. And were ready to take off.

The Venice hop on hop off route

There is a pre designated route for the Venice hop on hop off tour. Altogether, there are 7 stops on this route. The very first one being the train station from where we boarded. And finally the boat comes back to this spot itself end of the tour. Even more flexibility is provided by the fact that the boats reach and leave from designated spots at regular fixed timings. Towards the end of the article we have included the timings from the leaflet. So, this means, we can get down at any spot we want, spend as much time here as we want. And then reach the boat station in time to get onto the next boat which will be arriving shortly. And we did exactly that. This way, we spent more time on the islands and spots that we loved more and skipped some that we didn’t find interesting.

Venice from across the water

As our boat started from the first stop and soared towards the third (as the second stop was temporarily suspended), soon we were mesmerized by the scene of Venice from across the waters. It was a one of a kind experience. Amidst the cool breeze and the crushing waves, we moved towards the next stop. However, the third spot on the route doesn’t have anything of interest. It is more of a spot where more people can take the Venice hop on hop off tour. Basically, yet another spot for the people to get on and off the bus.

Venice hop on hop off tour

While arriving at this spot, we crossed several huge vessels and cruise ships that were resting by the shores. And we also spotted some yatches sailing through the waters of Venice. Across the water, we could spot several prominent structures of Venice including churches, famous squares, some parks, gardens, and different smaller islands separated from each other by the water ways. Along with bridges across these islands to act as the beautiful way of connectivity between them. Looking at Venice from across the waters is definitely an experience to cherish.

Stop 4 on Venice hop on hop off tour : Piazza San Marco

Our next stop on the Venice hop on hop off tour was around the Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square. As we got down here from our Venice hop on hop off boat, we first entered into a garden just in front of the station. Later, we started towards the St. Mark’s Square. Around this spot, there are several interesting buildings like the great Church of St. Marks, the Clock tower, Doge’s Palace the buildings opposite the church called Procuratie Vecchie and the vast space in the middle.

St. Mark’s Square is the most famous square in Venice. As once upon a time, it was the hub of the social and political activities in Venice. And throughout the modern years, it has been the favorite spot for shooting of countless movies. The shopping street that stands at one end of St. Mark’s square is just idle for picking some souvenirs. And through these streets, you can also walk to the famous Bridge of Sighs and Rialto Bridge. We spent quiet some time here before heading further on our Venice hop on hop off tour.

The Saint Mark’s Basillica and Doge’s Palace are particularly known for their architectural details and beautiful outlines. A must visit when in Venice, I would say. And the Venice hop on hop off route makes it really convenient to visit here. Overall, the abuzz St Marks Square particularly held my attention. And at that moment I decided we will be returning here as the evening proceeds, when the lights lit up. Because I very much wanted to have dinner here under the stars, on a table twinkling with candle lights. Although that didn’t happen eventually (Sigh!!) , yet I found another very sweet and cute place where we had our last meal of the evening. So, no complains there really.

Stop 5 on Venice hop on hop off tour : Lido

One of the posh islands of Venice, Lido, was our next stop on our Venice hop on hop off tour. As we stepped out of the boat station, we could clearly see the contrast from the old town of Venice. As, Lido has a modern vibe by all means. It gives the look and feel of a vibrant modern society. The buildings are new. And the roads are wide. The lanes are very well planned. Overall, there is a lot of greenery. And unlike the rest of Venice, it seems not at all crowded. In conclusion, it is so peaceful, not abuzz with tourists all the times and yet so beautiful. For a change, cemented pathways instead of cobbled ones and modern houses instead of the medieval architecture will greet you as you step onto Lido.

The main attraction on Lido island is it’s beautiful beach. It lies along one of the most frequented beaches of Venice. As we got off the station, we asked a local for the direction of the beach. And to our pleasure, it was straight ahead. So, we walked along the beautiful road that eventually leads to reach the beach. Admiring the beautiful pathways, and keeping an eye for the roadside eateries. As the plan was to grab something from one as we returned from the beach. Since it would be lunch time by the time we did.

As we approached the beach, soft sand and swallow water greeted us. It was cold, yet beautiful to stand by the crushing waves that kept coming and going. There is provision of shacks and food outlets along the coast. A very nice restaurant is developed here. And plenty of tables and chairs are put under shades for visitors to enjoy their day. We could see a lot of people enjoying themselves, doing almost nothing, on the beach. Not all looked like tourists. Even locals were equally enjoying their bliss. And we really liked that. Overall, we had a wonderful time here.

Stop 6 on Venice hop on hop off tour : Murano

Famous for its glass works, Murano was our next stop on the Venice hop on hop off tour. As we got down the boat and started walking towards the center of the town, we were greeted with a line of shops showcasing intricate glass works. First we passed through some factories. And soon it was followed by the glass windows of the shops luring us with such beautiful glass works that it’s difficult to capture their details in words. And finally we arrived at this signature work that signifies the deep relation of Murano and it’s glass work. This is the symbol of Murano, it’s identity. (The blue one in the picture below)

The island houses several glass factories. And for generations people here have been doing glass work. Almost every other household owns a small factory of it’s own. And those who don’t, they work with others on their factory. Overall, they create beautiful items out of glass crystals day in and day out. The kind of accuracy and intricacy with which these people create the glass structures is just marvellous. I have personally not seen such beautiful glass works anywhere else. So no wonder, their work is so renowned. And is exported all through Italy and beyond. A perfect spot to pick some souvenirs in case you are interested. They have several miniatures and even larger show pieces, house decor items, crockery and other glass works.

Things to do in Murano

Apart from the shops, you can also do a guided tour to one of the glass factories. And see the formation of these glass pieces for yourself. Murano also has a glass museum that has several creations of interest. Further, you can visit the Roman catholic parish church in Murano named San Pietro Martire and the church of Santa Maria e San Donato. You will definitely have a wonderful time. Although we wished we could stay for longer here but we had to leave to the next stop on our Venice hop on hop off tour. But, in case you are staying in Venice for couple of more days, we would recommend spending enough time on these beautiful islands around Venice doing day tour, like Lido and Murano.

Stop 7 on Venice hop on hop off tour

Finally, we left Murano and took the next vaporetto to our final stop on our Venice hop on hop off tour. Almost near to the fourth stop at St. Mark’s Square, this one is at walking distance from the Academia Gallery and the grand canal. As we got off the vaporetto, the evening had started to set. And after so much of walking, we were feeling so very hungry. The mood was just right and so was the romantic setting along the canal. That we felt just ready to sit down at a restaurant and have our first official meal in Europe sitting peacefully. We chose a cafe cum pizzeria by the side of the waters. And ordered some delicious Italian desserts. Thereafter, we spent our evening enjoying the desserts and looking at the waters and the buildings across the water as the evening slowly faded into the night.

Venice hop on hop off trip
Our mouth watering dessert platter end of the day

From here, we took the last vaporetto back to the train station. And by the time we reached the train station, it was dark. It is always mesmerizing to look at Venice through the dark. With the glittering lights and their perfect reflections in the water, the place just turns so magical. Like no other place on this earth. No wonder it’s one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. Thus, looking at the lights and their reflections, at the beauty of Venice under the night sky, we slowly drifted towards our hotel, Hotel Continental, to call it a day.

Summary of Venice hop on hop off tour

Here’s a summary of our Venice hop on hop off tour with roughly the time we spent at each of the stop during our tour:

Time

Itinerary

8:30am

Boarded the Vaperatto at Venice train station for onwards journey

8:30am – 9:30am

Sailing along the waters of Venice

9:30am – 11:30am

Stop 4 : St. Marks Square, Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs

12:00am – 2:30pm

Stop 5 : Exploring the streets and beach of Lido. Take away lunch at Lido before moving further

2:45pm – 4:30pm

Stop 6 : Murano

5:00pm – 6:00pm

Stop 7 : Academia Gallery, dessert by the side of the lagoon

6:30pm

Back to the Venice train station

 

Map of the Venice hop on hop off tour

Here’s a map of the Venice hop on hop off tour that we took, along with the stops / stations marked on the map and the route defined

Venice hop on hop off tour map

Timings of the boat

Here’s a timetable for the boat showing it’s time of arrival at different stops. So, all you need to do is once you get down at the stop, reach back there around one of the next slots when the boat is going to arrive back there. It’s pretty standard, just like how a bus hop on hop off trip works in most of the cities of Europe. Also, you ask for this voucher at the boat operator’s office, where you redeem your passes. So, you will always have the timetable at your disposal. Thus, you can space and time your stay at different stops accordingly.

Venice hop on hop off tour
Venice hop on hop off tour timetable

Tips on taking the Venice hop on hop off tour

  1. Many different agencies provide Venice hop on hop off tours. You can compare the pricing and other details, and choose one you want.
  2. The one we took – the Venice hop on hop off tour by Panoramic Tour – had an office right at the train station and the first stop was also at the train station itself and it definitely helped us since we were staying quiet close by.
  3. Make a rough estimate of the time you will like to spend at each destination and then accordingly plan your Venice hop on hop off timings. We did the same.
  4. We took a one day hop on hop off tour. So, we did have to compromise on a few destinations. If you have time, I will recommend you take two days pass and go for the Venice hop on hop off tour for two days.
  5. We had lunch at Lido during our Venice hop on hop off tour. It was a take away and the prices were very reasonable.
  6. It feels really cold and chilly once you are on the boat. Since there is no barrier to the winds. At least it was like that in the month of April when we visited. So, prepare accordingly. Winter jackets are a must.
  7. For your kid, you should layer them into multiple layers of clothing to protect from the piercing wind.
  8. You can carry a stroller along. Only every time you hop on and off a boat, you will have to on board it and then again take it off. Which might feel little cumbersome. Umbrella stroller or the really lightweight ones like this one or this one will come to your rescue.
  9. Carry a bottle of drinking water like this one with you so you can always refill it from nearby fountains and public water supplies.
  10. Keep the hop on hop off map always with you. So you can look into the timings are readjust your tour now and then as required.
  11. Also keep a tab on the last departure from your last stop. Your goal should be to return back at least by that time.

Venice | Italy | Europe | Hop on hop off | Lido | Murano | St Marks Square | Academia Gallery

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68 Responses

  1. Hi Neha.
    Very informative and engaging blog.
    I had been to Italy in April 2017. It was my first solo trip. Even though it was an awesome trip, i could not cover Venice in it and decided to do it in my next visit(as Italy is one of my fav destination). After reading your blog (this one and the other one about Murano), I feel i will do Venice more meaningfully. Loved the way you have articulated each destination on hop on hop off. It is good combination of information and experience.
    – Sonali

    • Thank you so much Sonali. Definitely, you can easily spend 4-5 days in Venice and the islands around it. It’s a beautiful region of Italy just like Tuscany and Amalfi

  2. […] in our journey as travelers. We did around 20 days trip to Europe covering Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice in Italy. And that was followed by visit to Engleberg and Mount Titlis, Lucerne, Grindelwald, […]

  3. […] very beautiful and enchanting days. They comprised of couple of days each in Rome, Florence and Venice. While we did feel, a couple of days is not enough to explore all that each of these places are to […]

  4. I think you miss a lot by not just walking around Venice, but if you’re only there for one day then Hop on Hop off looks like it covered most of it. Murano is beautiful! Did you manage to go into any of the studios demonstrating glass blowing?

    • We did go to a glass factory where they showed how the glass is moulded to form the different beautiful artifacts. And we did walk around Venice, on the previous day of this hop on hop off trip 🙂

  5. Good you went to Venice with a liberal thought, it is more exciting that the city didnt disappoint you as popular opinions(perhaps, those who feel that way had too much expectation). Venice is such a beautiful city I’d love to visit. The landscape is not of this world. Thanks for the tips, you always do it. Such a sincere heart!

    • Thank you Lydia. Venice is definitely a unique place. And we simply loved it’s landscape. On top of that there is always a festive vibe to the place and that helps create a memorable trip

  6. Venice really is one of those places that lives up to the hype. It’s so effortlessly gorgeous. I didn’t do any tours there, but it looks like you saw so much! I missed the glass works there, need to go back and head out to that island!

    • The islands around Venice are definitely a must visit Kristina. Each one is unique in it’s own way and has something unique to offer

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  8. chikonahoka

    I think they didn’t have this when I was in Venice many years ago. I would’ve loved this! I loved Venice, but that’s probably mainly because it is a marine city – like the primary streets and the transports are water-based, the only true one I’ve seen!

    • Hmm..I doubt that. I guess the boat hop on hop off is operational since a long time. Maybe you didn’t have information about it

  9. I love using a hop on hop off tour when I first arrive in a new city to really get a feel for where things are, and this one looks amazing for that exact purpose! Thanks so much for the details about each stop!!

    • Glad you liked it. It was such a joy walking around on lovely islands and then hopping on and off a boat to get onto the next one.

  10. I didn’t do hop-on-hop-off tour while in Venice but seems like a great idea for the next time. Keep exploring!

  11. youngbrokeandwandering

    Wow! The photos you posted on here are amazing. I love that you added the map of everything made it so helpful!

    • Thank you! The map will help people understand and relate better I guess

  12. This looks like a fantastic way to get the feel of a new city. The glass shop intrigues me and looks like somewhere I would stop along the way. It appears you can cover a lot of ground in one day by hopping on and off.

    • Thats right. You can cover a lot in a day by hopping on and off.

  13. PackYourBaguios

    I love hop on, hop off tours, but I’ve never done a boat one! Venice is high on my bucket list, so I’m saving this for later!

  14. Venice looks so enchanting in the pics. Hop on Hop off trips are the best and the quickest way to get around a city! I consulted Delhi tourism Hop on Hop Off bus services and gave them suggestions based on other international HOHO tours. I had consulted the Venice HOHO tour then! I feel nostalgic after reading your post! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Ambuj, it’s really interesting to know you did. Actually, we had a lot of takeaway from our Europe trip. Things that can be implemented back home in India. Maybe we should discuss sometimes 🙂

  15. Venice is really a dream destination but you are right many, including my husband claim it to be over rated. The hop on and off tour sounds great to roam around and have an actual feel of the place. Murano is one destination where I would love to spend whole day as I am big fan of glass and crystal work. Neha, very well written detailed post and your pictures are awesome too.

    • Thanks Suruchi. I really didn’t feel to be overrated. There is something about the place..that makes it unique in the entire world. And if there is any such place, it obviously will get hyped.

  16. Hop on and off tour sounds like a very efficient way to take the whole day! Seven stops are already good especially if those are the places to visit!! Lucky you you were able to go!!!

    • Thank you! Actually yes, hop on hop off was an excellent way to explore Venice

  17. Great to know about this tour. If I ever go back to Venice i’ll make sure to go for that tour. Seems to be the best way to go around and to some of the less easy reach places. Thanks for sharing

    • Thanks Nico, I am sure you will enjoy a hop on hop off canal tour in Venice

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