LivingTravelGondola rides in Venice

Gondola rides in Venice

The gondolas that navigate the busy Grand Canal and the smaller waterways of Venice are one of the most iconic images in the world. They are the symbol of history, tradition and romance in the city on the lagoon, and a gondola ride in Venice is among one of the most dream experiences for travelers.

So when you finally arrive in Venice and have the opportunity to get on one of their gondolas, of course you must go, right? It depends. While undeniably romantic and a one-of-a-kind experience, gondola rides can also be pricey, and are a disappointment to visitors at times.

Here are some tips to help you decide if a gondola ride is for you and how to make the most of your trip if you decide to take the plunge.

What is a Venetian gondola?

While gondolas were regularly used by Venetians, especially the upper classes, today vaporetti have become the main form of water transport in Venice. A few hundred years ago there were around 10,000 gondolas navigating the canals and the lagoon, but today, there are only around 500.

A gondola is a flat-bottomed wooden boat. It is 11 meters long, weighs 600 kg and is built by hand in special workshops called squeri, of which there are still some today. Gondoliers own and maintain their own boats, and crafts and careers are often passed down from father to son for generations.

Volume 90% Press the question mark shift to access a list of keyboard shortcuts Keyboard shortcuts play pause increase volume decrease volume search forward search backward toggle subtitles toggle full screen mute / activate try% SPACE ↑ ↓ → ← doFmeter0-9 Live00: 0000: 0001: 25

Watch Now: 8 Things You Should Know Before Taking A Gondola Ride

How much does a gondola ride cost?

Gondola rates are standard and officially set. As of this writing, the rates are € 80 for a day trip and € 100 for trips after 7pm. The rides last 40 minutes. If you want to extend your time on the water, you will pay € 40 for every additional 20 minutes on board, or € 50 after 7pm.

You can check the current gondola rates before booking. And keep in mind that if you book a gondola ride through a hotel or agency, there will likely be an additional fee.

The gondolas have capacity for six people. They can be shared without affecting the rate. So if you’re traveling alone or with someone else, you can find other travelers to carpool with. It is not that romantic but it will save you a few euros.

What to expect on a gondola ride

A gondola is like a luxury car. Although black is the official color, many are ornately decorated and have comfortable seats and blankets. You can walk around and find one that suits your taste.

Most gondoliers speak some English and perhaps a little German or French. They should wear black pants, a striped shirt, and dark closed shoes. They usually have a banded straw hat, but they don’t always wear it. In busier areas where they know the next tourist boat is waiting to deliver their money, gondoliers may try to shorten the trip rather than row the full 40 minutes. This is a good reason to choose a gondola away from the most congested areas (see below).

The image of a gondolier singing is more a product of Hollywood movies than reality. Singing is not a requirement for a gondolier and although some may sing, it is best not to expect it. Some gondoliers may offer tourist narration during the trip, but again, don’t expect it.

Gondoliers stand in line and use only one paddle, as this is the best way to row through the narrow canals of Venice. If you want to go to a particular place, be sure to discuss it with the gondolier before the trip. There may be an additional fee involved.

The gondolas do not have awnings or umbrellas, so on a hot summer day you will travel in full sun. While it costs more, at dusk or dusk, a gondola ride is romantic and beautiful. Cold temperatures and soft light in the early mornings are also the best time to drive.

Where to go on a gondola ride

Most people recommend taking a gondola ride down the quiet back canals rather than the crowded Grand Canal. Riding on canals outside the main tourist area allows you to see a different view of Venice and there will be no bumper gondolas. Good places to find gondolas away from the Grand Canal and St. Mark’s Square include the San Polo and Campo San Barnaba areas, and the Jewish ghetto.

Choose a gondola stop in the area you want to visit. If you want backwater canals, walk a few blocks to Main Street (and away from San Marco) to look for a gondolier. Our Venice sestiere map and information can help you choose which neighborhood you want to explore.

Is a gondola ride for you?

Gondolas allow you to see Venice from a completely different perspective and better appreciate how the city works with canals instead of streets. They are undeniably expensive and possibly overpriced. But there is only one Venice, and only one place in the world where you can ride a real gondola through the canals of a city that is more than 1200 years old. If you feel like you will regret not taking a gondola ride in Venice, then our advice is not to miss out on what can be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Now if all you really want to do is hop on a gondola, you can take a 2-minute traghetto through the Grand Canal. A traghetto is an empty gondola used to transport passengers back and forth across the canal. While it may not be that romantic, it is much cheaper and you have a great view of the Grand Canal.

Learn more about visiting Venice with our Venice Travel Guide.

Venice starts hybrid in the carnival

The Venice Carnival is world famous. This year the festival is taking place under special conditions. There is also something to see at home for those who are interested.

Storm in Italy: Highest alert due to flooding in Venice

Storms in Italy: Both the region around Naples and Venice are preparing for heavy rains, storms and floods. High warning levels apply.

Italy: Cruise ships banned in Venice from August 1st

Cruise ships will no longer be allowed to enter the lagoon city of Venice in the future. Italy hopes that this will prevent irreparable damage.

What to see in the Doge's Palace in Venice

The Doge's Palace, also known as the Palazzo Ducale, is one of the most famous buildings in Venice. Located in the great Piazza San Marco, the palace

Eat Small Venetian Plates on a Bacaro Your Guide to Eating Venetian "Tapas" on...

Feeling a bit famished before your fancy reservation for a late dinner in Venice? Not hungry enough to eat a