The Coolest ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ Tourist Tours Ever

The Coolest ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ Tourist Tours Ever

Don’t worry about going in the front door. These exclusive behind-the-scenes tours mean you can explore torture chambers, touch beluga whales, dine with sumo wrestlers and glimpse royal rooms.

Secret Itinerary Tour, Doge’s Palace, Venice  

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Image: archer10

Go behind the scenes of this stunning Venetian Gothic palace, otherwise known as Palazzo Ducale, and immerse yourself in the old Republic of Venice!

This tour will take you through the palace gardens, the Pozzi detention cells, the Chamber of the Secret Chancellery, the Torture Chamber and the Chamber of the Inquisitors, amongst others.

Tickets: €20

Ceremony of the Keys, Tower of London 

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Image: Douglas Neiner

Every night for the past 700 years, the Tower of London has been locked up by the Yeoman Warders.

Attending the Ceremony of the Keys means you can be a secretive spectator in this long-standing tradition and learn about its importance in history from the 14th century to WWII to the present day.

Booking tickets well in advance is essential (plan this tour months ahead) and the doors open at 9.30pm every night. Be on time, otherwise you’ll be refused entry.

Tickets: £0, with a £1 booking fee per ticket   

Grappling Tokyo: Sensationally Sumo Experience, Tokyo 

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Image: Brian M. Chapman

Love sumo wrestling? Or just want to learn more about it?

This exclusive off-season tour, offered by the Palace Hotel Tokyo and Toki, allows you to go behind the scenes with real life sumo wrestlers.

You’ll get to visit the sumo stable, watch a sumo practise session, have lunch with the sumo wrestlers themselves, and even take a few photos with them!

Tickets: From ¥627,000

Viator Private Tour & Dining Experience, Taj Mahal & Agra Fort 

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Image: Chris Brown

This one is not strictly ‘behind the scenes’, but with the added advantages of a personal photographer, the option of a 5-course rooftop deck Indian lunch and an afternoon high tea, we just couldn’t pass it up!

A private guide will pick you up (and drop you off) at your hotel, treat you to lunch at the Gateway Hotel’s roof deck (with views) and take you on a richly detailed tour though the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.

The private photographer will also take some professional snaps of you inside the palace.

Which you’ll get to take home at the end of the day.

Tickets: From US$130-$200 depending on your preferences    

Private VIP Tour, SeaWorld Orlando 

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Image: Rich Jacques

On this 7-hour VIP tour, you’ll get to: Feed sea lions and stingrays, be first in line for any ride or show you want, dine in the underwater restaurant surrounded by sharks and most importantly, skip the queues.

If you can’t afford the cost of being a VIP, there are plenty of other tours available at SeaWorld, including a standard Behind-the-Scenes tour, as well as close-up tours with animals like dolphins, penguins, beluga whales and walruses.

Tickets: From US$299

Behind-the-Scenes Residence Tour, Palace of Versailles

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Image: ajagendorf25

The Palace of Versailles is crowded at the best of times, but on this special tour, you can scoot in a side door and have the rooms all to yourself.

The Private Residence tour takes you through spots off-limits to members of the public, including Louis XVI’s library, the royal opera house, the private game room (more exciting than it sounds) and the Hall of Mirrors.

Make sure you get your walking shoes on for this tour – it lasts the whole day (7 hours) and the cost is well worth it.

Tickets: €125