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Home Italy Kayaking Tours Kayaking Venice and the Laguna

Kayaking Venice and the Laguna

June - October
8 days
Venice VCE


Explore the Real Venice

Venice has been dazzling visitors for centuries. The unique character of this water city is linked to the Adriatic Sea and defined by the Laguna (lagoon) that has sustained it for fifteen centuries. Our “Kayaking Venice” trip is an unparalleled journey into the heart of the city and explores some of the many facets and mysteries of the 212 square mile Venice Laguna.

NOTE: For 2018 "Venice and the Laguna" is available as a custom itinerary. See our newly scheduled trip "Venice and the Dolomites".

Photo: Crossing to the entrance of the Grand Canal

Discover the Secrets of the Venice Laguna

Some of the islands of the Venice lagoon are tiny while others hold farms, villages, and cathedrals. The islands were used to grow food, defend against invaders, provide respite for the elites of the city, and to isolate hazardous activities like the blazing furnaces of Venice’s famous glass craftsmen. Venice and its lagoon make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Photo: The hidden canal on abandoned Isola Poveglia

Ideal Craft with a Uniquely Venetian Perspective

Like the sleek fast gondolini, sea kayaks are ideally suited to exploring the shallow protected waters of the Laguna and we’ve designed a trip that vividly illustrates this special Venetian relationship with water. It encompasses sights and experiences quintessentially Venetian – gliding through canals, learning to paddle a gondola at a rowing club, and a private glass blowing demonstration. You’ll paddle the canals of Venice and explore the various sestieri (districts), each with its distinct character and special history. On this trip you will visit many islands – one featuring a 12th century monastery and another with a port dating back to Roman times, each with a colorful legacy and a storied history of the Most Serene Republic of Venice – La Serinissima.
Photo: Exploring the canals of the Castello sistiere

A Culinary Journey

As with all of our trips, we highlight cuisine as a window on culture. In Venice and all across the Laguna, you will dine on the freshest seafood prepared in a range of classic styles as well as a wide variety of tempting vegetable dishes fresh from the fields of farm islands like Sant’Erasmo. In towns, you’ll discover the supremely enjoyable tradition of Cicchetti e Prosecco – a small snack with a glass of wine that is a mainstay of daily life in Venice.
Photo: A cicchetti bar in the heart of the Cannaregio sistiere

A Venice Few Visitors Ever See

You will transit the Laguna by kayak and experience a Venice that very few visitors ever even see, each night staying at small, carefully selected boutique accommodations and dining in restaurants favored by the locals. Come join us for a unique exploration of Venice, the water city of the world, that forges a connection between the past and the vibrant present of this most romantic of cities.

Why kayak Venice?  Learn the story behind this award winning trip.
Photo: Paddling a back canal in the San Marco sistiere


Arrival in Venice

Transportation from the airport (VCE) or Venice’s Santa Lucia train station is provided to our boutique hotel in Compalto near the Via Lebertia Bridge that joins Venice to the mainland. We’ll have a welcome drink and an orientation for the paddling trip in the courtyard before enjoying dinner at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant. Extra luggage may be checked at the hotel until our return.
Overnight: Hotel Antica Fenice
Meals: Dinner

Canals of Chioggia

After breakfast, we’ll set off by van to Chioggia at the western end of the Venice Laguna. After checking into the hotel, we’ll explore ancient Chioggia by foot on our way to the kayaks. Since Roman times Chioggia has been known for fresh seafood and en route, we’ll visit the colorful fish market. In the kayaks, we will explore the canals and surrounding waters of Chioggia (known as the “Little Venice”).  Much of the day will devoted to polishing a specialized set of kayaking skill for the upcoming days in Venice. Paddling back into Chioggia in the afternoon there will be time to wander through the town and enjoy the beauty of this Venetian village that predates the great city itself. Tonight we’ll have dinner at a beautiful canal side restaurant.
Overnight: Hotel Grande Italia
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Remiera Pellestrina – San Pietro in Volta

After breakfast, we’ll set off paddling along the inside of the barrier island that separates the Laguna from the Adriatic Sea. Our first stop is a remiera (or rowing club) in the village of Pellestrina. The Remiera Pellestrina is composed of mostly former professional gondoliers who are devoted to preserving and perpetuating the art of Venetian rowing. We are welcomed as fellow paddlers and will receive instruction in classic rowing techniques before trying our hand at paddling a training gondola. We’ll also learn some of the special vocabulary the gondoliers use to communicate while paddling the narrow canals. Afterward, we’ll join the gondoliers for a lunch of fresh seafood in their clubhouse that contains trophies of past regattas as well as oars and forcole (oarlocks). Forcole are very personal, custom made, and sometimes collected as sculpture. We’ll return by boat to Chioggia where the skyline of Venice is more defined and holds the promise of tomorrow’s paddle.
Overnight: Hotel Grande Italia
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Lido – Malamocco – San Giorgio Maggiore – Venice

We cross one of the Laguna mouths to the Lido, the longest of the barrier islands. We set course to island hop our way, first passing the island of Poveglia, inhabited since 421 AD, which is supposedly one of the “most haunted places in the world” (we shan’t be stopping), and then in turn, the islands of San Spirito, San Clemente, and Santa Maria della Grazia before arriving at San Giorgio Maggiore. By special arrangement (we became honorary members), we will stay for the next three nights in the brand new waterfront guest rooms at Compagnia della Vela Venezia, a private yacht club located on the basin of the Grand Canal. Not only is this an outstanding location from which to explore Venice by kayak, it is one of the best locations for a visit to the city (the exclusive 5 star Hotel Cipriani is essentially next door). After checking in, we’ll go to the top of the island’s campanile (bell tower) for what is arguably the very best view of Venice. With Saint Mark’s Square directly opposite and the mouth of the Grand Canal in front of us, this is an ideal spot for an overview of our previous and next day’s paddling. After time for a shower and perhaps a glass of wine, we’ll take the vaporetto ferry (departures every 10 minutes) across to Piazza San Marco for dinner in Venice and a stroll along the waterfront Riva delgi Schiavioni.
Overnight: Compagnia della Vela Venezia
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Venice – The Grand Canal, Rialto, San Polo, Dorsodoro, and Giudecca

Today we’ll embark on the first day of a Venice city tour like no other. This part of the tour is orchestrated with beauty and safety in mind as we explore this water city by kayak. The kayaker’s view of Venice is at once both splendid and intimate and provides remarkable photographic opportunities. We’ll paddle the Grand Canal passing the palaces and great houses of Venice at its peak. Turning into side canals of the Rialto sestiere (district), we enter the heart of this water city where every turn offers a new view and interplay of light and water. Minute details are visible from a perspective that most visitors never see. Stopping the kayaks in a quiet campo (square), we continue to explore the city on foot, pausing for coffee or lunch before paddling on. Returning to Isola San Giorgio by way of Giudecca sestiere in the mid-afternoon, there will be time to relax, have a shower, and perhaps a glass of wine before catching the vaporetto ferry to Piazza San Marco and dinner in the city.
Overnight: Compagnia della Vela Venezia
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Venice – San Marco, Castello, and Cannaregio

Starting early we’ll cross to Piazza San Marco and paddle past the Palazzo Ducale as the morning light accents the byzantine inspired details of the Venetian Gothic façade. Entering the canals of the San Marco sestiere, we’ll pass the massive water doors of the palace and move into the world of hidden Venice. Our kayaks allow us access to places that most boats can’t go into. Beyond are the sestieri of Castello and Cannaregio where much of the full-time population of the city lives. While gliding silently through the canals, we will capture the sounds of everyday life surround us. Our pranzo or lunch stop will be in a locals’ osteria – well off the tourist track. There will be time to relax at the club on San Giorgio before we board the vaporetto to San Marco. Before dinner in a small restaurant in the Cannaregio district, we will visit the Doge Palace for a glimpse of the wealth and grandeur that was Venice at the height of the Serenissima.
Overnight: Compagnia della Vela Venezia
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Murano – Campalto

Crossing the Castello district of the city by canal we will pass the cemetery island of San Michele before reaching Murano, the famed home of Venetian glass. For centuries the furnaces that enabled this most noble of Venetian arts were considered far too dangerous to be housed in the city itself and were kept at a safe distance on Murano. After exploring Murano’s canals, we’ll stop for a demonstration of glass blowing in the Venetian style. In the afternoon, we’ll paddle the final leg of our Venetian odyssey, landing at Campalto and checking into our deluxe boutique hotel. In the evening, we’ll meet for the now familiar Cicchetti e Prosecco before a final celebratory dinner.
Overnight: Hotel Antica Fenice
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner


After breakfast at the hotel, we will arrange transfers to either the airport or the train station in the city. Arrivederci!
Overnight: N/A
Meals: Breakfast


Hotel Antica Fenice, Venezia Campalto

The Antico Fenice is a charming, family-run boutique hotel with an excellent restaurant located near the mainland end of the Via Liberta causeway to Venice. Its location provides easy access to Marco Polo airport (VCE).

Hotel Grande Italia, Chioggia

A classic 4 star hotel on the waterfront, the Grande Italia is simply the best place to stay in historic Chioggia. Beautifully appointed rooms, friendly staff, and an unbeatable location make this a perfect south Laguna base for us.

Compagnia della Vela Venezia, Venice

Located on San Giorgio Maggiore Island directly across the basin of the Grand Canal from Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square) the Compagnia della Vela Venezia is a private yacht club which has a brand new set of well appointed, contemporary styled rooms right on the water. Really one of the very best locations in all of Venice.


Croatia Kayaking Trip

Combine kayaking Venice with a kayak exploration of Croatia's Dalmatian Coast for an ultimate Adriatic paddling adventure.

Croatia Kayaking Trip 
At this time we do not offer any extensions for this trip but please feel free to call us about added travel options at 1-800-677-0877. We have spent a lot of time in and around the destinations we offer and are more than happy to share our experience.

Dates & Availability

Trip Length
09/25/2017 - 10/04/2017
09/25/2017 10/04/2017 10 days
For 2017
See "Venice and the Dolomites"
9/12/2018 - 09/21/2018
9/12/2018 09/21/2018 10 days
For 2018
See "Venice and the Dolomites"
NOTE: Trips showing as 'Available' have at least 4 places open. All prices are $USD unless otherwise stated.

What Is Included

  • All accommodations as specified in Itinerary
  • All meals as specified in Itinerary
  • Ground transportation and attraction entry fees
  • A personal vaporetto waterbus pass
  • Expedition sea kayaks and equipment including PFDs
  • Group safety equipment including medical kit, radios, and cell phones
  • Support boat and luggage transfers

What Is Not Included

  • Airfares
  • Meals other than specified in the trip itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Single supplement if applicable ($650 US)
  • Tipping of guides
  • Insurance of any kind (we strongly suggest that you purchase travel insurance that covers medical and evacuation as well as cancellations for medical reasons)
National Geographic Traveler
Awarded Best Tours in Europe 2014
Read more ...

Guest Review
"I have traveled to Venice on a few prior occasions, but the use of kayaks to see the city and the surrounding area may have left the most indelible impression on me.
I enjoyed so many aspects of this tour which allowed us to witness the life of the region from a most unique vantage point--in a kayak on the busy canals and back waterways of Venice. I particularly enjoyed the small group size, our interaction with the locals on two or three dinner occasions and our visits to Venetian eateries that few tourists find"
— Kirk Blackard, Arden NC
Kayaking Venice and the Laguna, 2014
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Total Deposit: $75000 USD
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