When you picture yourself visiting Venice, do you imagine yourself floating down the Grand Canal on a cloudless day in a gondola? A Venice gondola ride is the quintessential traveler experience, but understanding the best options in terms of cost, location, and time of day or season can be confusing. This guide will give you all the information you need to have a safe and enjoyable gondola experience on any budget.
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Gondola rides are an immensely popular service in Venice, and depending on your temperament, you might prefer a certain type of route. Traffic on the Grand Canal can become hectic, which can be a problem if you thrive in calm. It’s not difficult to find gondolas in Venice. You just need to make sure to select one in a place you’ll be comfortable traversing through. We enjoy routes along the inner canals in particular. You can easily find gondola piers throughout Venice. For the inner canals, there are some nice options near Campo Santa Maria Formosa, and Guglie Bridge, for example. If you are using the Prontopia for help from a friendly Local with your arrival to Venice, along the way consider asking them to point out options for gondola piers nearby to your lodging.
There is a standard, official fare for gondola rides in Venice: 80€ for a 40-minute ride before 7:00 pm, and 100€ for a 40-minute ride after 7:00 pm. An additional 20 minutes for daytime rides costs another 40€ and evening 50€. These fares are set by the city of Venice and should be honored by gondoliers, who only accept payment in cash typically. Nevertheless, be sure to confirm the cost and the time with the gondolier before beginning the ride.
Limit Your Party Size
A typical gondola can hold up to six people. If traveling with a larger party, you will have to take turns. Split your party into two or more groups and take multiple rides. If you are only 1 or 2 people and traveling on a budget, consider using Kishare is an app for Venice that allows you to share a gondola with other travelers.
As the captain of your ship, the gondolier deserves your gratitude. Standing while rowing for multiple shifts a day can be taxing. Do your part by paying attention to anything they have to tell you and thanking them for the experience. Also, don’t expect or insist that the gondolier sing. Some gondoliers enjoy singing, while others may tell you tales of Venice or about life as a gondolier. If you absolutely dream of a singing gondolier, there are musical gondolier experiences that you can book in advance. Above all, listen, as surely it will be interesting. Lately there is a sad alienation between gondoliers and travelers who spend the entire ride taking selfies or videoing the experience on smart phones, without interacting with the gondolier, or each other. You will greatly miss out on the beauty of this experience if you do not unplug. Take one or two group shots or special photos, and otherwise put the smartphones away and truly be present during the ride.
The expectations of gondola passengers are common sense. You should stay seated, avoid eating and drinking, and pay attention to any safety instructions. For the sake of you and your party, it’s imperative to adhere to any and all rules that are given. If you’re booking your gondola ride in advance, you should research the company’s rules for passengers on their website or by calling them.
Losing yourself in the moment is one of the best parts of riding a gondola. When you’re taking in the gorgeous Venetian scenery and hearing the ripples of water beneath the boat, it’s enough to feel completely at peace. Embrace the joys of the gondola as you’re experiencing them.
Riding a gondola in Venice is a profound pleasure that you’ll love experiencing. It’s easy to find one in Venice and the experience is one you won’t soon forget. Remember to follow all the rules and treat the gondolier with respect, and you’ll have a truly magical time on the canals.
Venice can be a difficult city to navigate. For a stress free and easy time getting where you need to go, request help from a friendly Local on Prontopia, your Local Connection in Venice.
Photo credit: Bea Photo Stories, Prontopia