Tourists visiting one of the most visited cities in the world, Venice are increasingly turning to smaller boats and barges to discover the canals that crisscross the Venetian city – and avoid the crowds.

Instead of arriving on a big cruise ship, many are opting to hire a small boat to cruise between Venice and Mantua through picturesque lagoon islands, visiting the Venetian port of Chioggia and the quiet villages along Bianca Canal.

LeBoat offers a diverse array of boating holidays in Venice where you can cruise on canals and rivers to intriguing cities and towns, following the ancient routes once frequented by Casanova and Lord Byron.

Venice, Uniworld

For beginners, the waters of the Fruili region, northeast from Venice, are less crowded and better suited to those with little boating experience. There are also plenty of moorings available in LeBoat’s base in Precenicco. You will pass the Sile, Piave, Livenza and Stella rivers, each with its own distinctive character.

When cruising in the Venetian Lagoon near Venice, small boat traffic can be very heavy and it is often recommended that you have some boating experience. Finding a place to park the boat in the lagoon can be an issue.

The convenience of a small boat in Venice allows you to cruise to Murano for its glassware and Burano for its lace and colourful houses.

For golf aficionados, there are a number of great golf clubs in Veneto where you can tee off at the Golf Club Villa Condulmer near Casale or the 18-hole course at Grado, one of the country’s best golf courses.

You can swim or relax in the warm sunshine on the beaches or take a dip in the waters of Friuli.

To the south of the Venetian lagoon, there is the protected nature reserve of the Po Delta and the nearby colourful villages. You can experience a private Italian cooking lesson, try glass blowing or simply savour some of the seafood restaurants along the canals.

Prices for LeBoat’s seven-night cruise of Venice and Friuli start from $2259 for sailings in April 2020. For more information call 1800 118 940.


European Waterways is offering a barge holiday cruising Italy’s canals and rivers to Venice, the islands of Venetian Lagoon, the Canal Bianco and the Po Valley to Mantua from March to October next year.

Its 20-passenger La Bella Vita with a crew of six will also include guided tours of Ferrara, Mantua and Chioggia to give passengers an insight into the cultures of the Renaissance, Roman, Etruscan and Byzantine which have influenced Italy’s regions for centuries.

Some of the highlights include a cruise on the Canal of the Orphans, dinner at a 17th century stately home Villa Ca’Zen and private visit to the wine cellars of Villa Widmann-Borletti.

Prices of a six-night cruise start from Euros3950 ($6396) per person based on double occupancy per cabin. For more information visit