Getting St. Mark’s Basilica tickets is easier than you may think.
When you think of over-tourism, Venice is probably one of the cities your mind travels to. This is a place that probably gets more tourists than it can actually manage. Whether they stay for a day or for a week, chances are the first place they will go to is St. Mark’s Square, or Piazza San Marco, as it is called in Italian, where they find some of the most iconic attractions in town – Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica and St. Mark’s Bell Tower, among others.
Like all other churches in Italy, St. Mark’s Basilica is free to visit. However, for a small fee you will be able to skip the line at the entrance, which is actually quite convenient if you have limited time in Venice. Continue reading to discover how to get St. Mark’s Basilica tickets – I will outline all available options, including those that don’t involve paying – and how to plan your visit and make the most of it.
Why You Must Visit St. Mark’s Basilica When In Venice
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, Venice is the most unique city in the world. The only city in Italy that gets more visitors than Venice is Rome, but keep in mind that Rome is much larger!
St. Mark’s Basilica is one of the most important tourist attractions in town. Although a Basilica stood in this exact spot already in the 9th century, the current church was built in the 11th century, in Byzantine style, to be the private chapel of Venice’ Doge. At that time Venice was a major connecting point between east and west and this obviously shows in the design of the building.
Inside the church there are the remains of St. Mark’s. Stolen in the 9th century, they were found in Egypt, and then smuggled back to Venice.
The marvelous mosaics inside the basilica date back to more than 800 years ago – the best time to fully appreciate them is when the church is actually illuminated (from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm on weekdays and during mass on Sundays and holidays). You’ll also be able to see all sorts of treasures and paintings inside.
Visiting St. Mark’s Basilica is free. So why should you get St. Mark’s Basilica ticket? Because this is the most popular attraction in town, and if you go unprepared you may have to stand in line to get in – which is a real nuisance if you are in Venice for just a short time. You can get skip-the-line tours with tickets to St. Mark’s Basilica here.
Continue reading for more useful tips on visiting St. Mark’s Basilica.
How To Get St. Mark’s Basilica Tickets
There are several ways of getting St. Mark’s Basilica tickets, depending on whether you want a budget friendly solution or a more in depth visit.
Way N. 1: Make reservations via the official website
This is the official website of St. Mark’s Basilica. Between 1 April and 2 November each year, you can book your St. Mark’s Basilica tickets there. It’s the most budget friendly option as it costs just €3. Children up to 5 years old go in for free, but must be added to your reservation. You don’t even have to print the voucher – just show the confirmation you get via email. Reservations can be made up to 10 minutes before the intended time of the visit.
Way N. 2: Go on a guided tour
Guided tours are great. All if you have to do is finding a date and time that is suitable for you, make your bookings, and show up at the meeting point. Someone else will worry about getting the tickets; a guide will help you dodge the crowds and will shower you with interesting information about the place you are visiting.
Tours of St. Mark’s Basilica start at only €4 – if you opt for the one with the audioguide. Otherwise, they cost €32 or more. Depending on what they include, they last one hour or more. They can be booked on on 3rd party booking sites that have flexible cancellation policies and great customer service, with someone available 24/7 to answer your questions.
Way N. 3: Visit at night
For an exclusive way of visiting St. Mark’s Basilica, without the crowds, join a night tour. Groups are smaller and tours a bit more expensive, but if you want to have the church to yourself they are definitely great!
The tour starts at 9:00 pm and costs €89. You can book it here.
Way N. 4: Go to mass
If you are religious, attending mass at St. Mark’s is a once in a lifetime experience. You can’t really explore the church during the service, but if you attend the earliest one you can stay along afterwards to browse the church as you wish.
And here is another tip: most people visit St. Mark’s Square and the Basilica in the morning, so if you go there around lunch time (after 1:00 pm) chances are there will be less people.
Other Useful Information For Visiting St. Mark’s Basilica
Book in advance
Although visiting St. Mark’s Basilica is free, you are much better off making advanced reservation. Even the official website of the Basilica says so!
How to get to St. Mark’s Basilica
St. Mark’s Basilica is located in Piazza San Marco. You really can’t miss that but just in case, these are the vaporetti that go there:
From Piazzale Roma and Santa Lucia Railway Station: Lines 1, 2 and 51.
From Lido di Venezia: Lines 1 and 52.
The Basilica is open to visitors Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and on Sundays / national holidays from 2:00 to 4:30 or 5:00 pm, depending on the season. You can’t explore the church during mass, but you’ll be allowed to sit and listen to the service.
The Bell Tower is open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm in the winter season (October 1 to March 31) and from 8:30 am to 9:00 pm in the summer season.
Mass takes place every day at 8:30 am; 10:00 am; and 6:45 pm. On Sundays, there is an extra service at 12:00 pm.
Prices for St. Mark’s Basilica tickets
The Basilica is free to visit. Reservations via the official site cost €3.
St. Mark’s Bell Tower tickets cost €8 for adults, €6 for visitors between 6 and 18 years of age.
Everyone visiting St. Mark’s Basilica will have to go through security checks. Don’t bring any bulky items as that will slow down the security process. If you do, you’ll be asked to deposit them at the deposit in Ateneo San Basso, located in Piazzetta dei Leoncini, right in front of the Gate of Flowers.
Photography inside St. Mark’s Basilica
You aren’t allowed to take photos or to film inside the church.
Accessibility of St. Mark’s Basilica
St. Mark’s Basilica is accessible to wheelchair users and people with disabilities. Guide dogs are allowed.
Dress modestly when visiting St. Mark’s Basilica: this is a place of worship. Cover your shoulders, chest and knees.
Other attractions near St. Mark’s Basilica
Nearby places to visit include Doge’s Palace and all the St. Mark’s Museums, such as Correr Museum and the Archeology Museum. Go up St. Mark’s Bell Tower for stunning views of the city.
If you are planning a trip to Italy, these other posts may be useful:
- How To Get Doge Palace Tickets And Skip The Line
- 17 Incredible Things To Do In Venice
- The Best Tips For Visiting Venice
- 17 Reasons To Visit Italy As Soon As Possible
- 37 Unmissable, Fun And Cheap Things To Do In Rome
- The Perfect Itinerary For 3 Days In Rome
- 13 Fantastic Day Trips From Milan
- A Great Itinerary For A Summer Week In Trentino
- 5 Short But Rewarding Hikes In The Dolomites Of Trentino
- 67 Extremely Useful Travel Tips For Italy
- What To Do And What To Avoid When Planning A Trip To Italy