Want to go on a gondola ride? Here’s everything you need to know!

    900 600 Venezia Autentica | Discover and Support the Authentic Venice

    Gondola Ride

    There are many reasons for which Venice is famous in the whole world, but few are as well known and evocative as the Venetian Gondolas.
    While we know that some are happy just to admire and take pictures of these beautiful Venetian boats, we also know that many visitors are thrilled to experience a gondola ride! In the following article, you will find some information about the Venetian Gondola, as well as some tips and hints for those of you looking for the best way to enjoy their gondola ride!

    What is a gondola?

    A Gondola is a traditional Venetian boat. It is one of several types of local rowing boats but by far the most renown.

    Like other Venetian boats, the gondola is handcrafted using several kinds of woods, has a flat bottom, and is rowed by pivoting a long wooden oar on a Venetian wooden oarlock. It is the only Venetian boat with the “fero da prova”, its typical bow ornament, and unlike most Venetian boats, it is asymmetric and is still used for work today – by gondoliers offering gondola tours in the canals of Venice.

    Most people think that gondolas are black. While all gondolas used for work are black, the boat is also used for sport and leisure. The former – over a hundred as of June 2018 – are painted in bright colors or keep the natural color of the wood.

    Gondolas are made by hand using 280 pieces of 8 different types of wood: oak, fir, cherry, larch, walnut, linden, mahogany, elm.

    The dimensions of a gondola can vary slightly, but on average they are 11 m long, 1,45 m wide, less than 1m deep, and have a total weight of 600 kg.

    If you’d like to know more about the most iconic Venetian boat, we’ve written an article dedicated to the Venetian Gondola.

    How does a gondola tour work?

    First, a gondolier helps you boarding his gondola. Then, you are invited to sit down on a comfortable double-armchair. The tour then starts and take you on a ride on the canals around your point of departure.

    Despite rowing, most gondoliers will also be capable and happy to give you some information about the fantastic scenery unraveling in front of you. After 25-30 minutes, your gondola ride end and you are taken back to your point of departure.

    How much does a gondola ride cost?

    Standard gondola rides in Venice have a fixed cost 80 euros for a private 25-30 minutes tour.

    At night, however, the cost of a gondola ride is 120 euros for a private 25-30 minutes tour. If you desire to stay longer, tell the gondolier and ask for the price before the start of the tour.

    Can I negotiate the price of my gondola ride?

    We’re sorry to tell you, but no, you can’t negotiate the price of a normal gondola ride. However, if you ask for a much longer tour, you might have the chance to discuss price and duration with the gondolier.

    Keep in mind, however, that gondoliers have plenty of work, and therefore don’t need to compromise much on their price, especially during the warmer season.

    How many people can take part in a gondola ride?

    A gondola ride can be enjoyed by 1 person up to a total of 6 passengers, plus the gondolier. Often, a gondolier will ask people to switch seats to best balance the gondola.

    In some rare cases, a gondolier might decline boarding 6 people if the total weight of the group could make navigation difficult and therefore put passengers at risk. Safety comes first!

    Where is the best place to start a gondola ride?

    That’s a tough question to answer! All of Venice is beautiful, and gondola rides are worth trying in every part of the city.

    Of course, if you want to see specific landmarks such as the Bridge of Sighs or the Rialto bridge, you should take a gondola in the stations next to these famous areas. At Saint Mark’s square, there is one station facing the basin and, on the opposite side, one on the Bacino Orseolo. At 3 minutes from the square, there is one more gondola station just in front of the Moise church.

    However, from April until October many visitors coming to Venice share the desire to take a ride on a gondola, especially around Saint Mark’s and the Rialto area. Several tour guides also bring their numerous groups to those touristy areas to make them board gondolas.

    As a consequence, at Saint Mark’s and Rialto you might have to wait in a queue for hours before getting on board, only to end up sitting on a “gondola train,” with gondolas in front of and behind you, all doing the same tour. For this reason, we recommend you to take a choose a gondola ride starting from a station that isn’t crowded.

    It will feel more private and exclusive, you won’t feel like part of a carousel of gondolas, and your gondolier will have more energy and passion during your ride.

    Below, a few Gondola Stations where you could get your gondola ride:
    Santa Sofia, San Toma, and Gondolas 4 all at Piazzale Roma, with its unique wheelchair friendly dock!

    Want more photos, videos, tips and stories from Venice, Italy?

    We're on a mission to make Venetian life and tourism better and to spread meaningful content about the authentic Venice far and wide. Try our email and see for yourself!

    Nice! Like us on Facebook to add daily goodness to your feed

    Oops! We're sorry, something went wrong. We'll fix it soon. In the mean time, you can like us on Facebook to add daily goodness to your feed

    Do Venetians ride gondolas?

    No. Commonly, the only occasion in their life in which Venetians might take a gondola ride is on their wedding day.

    However, Venetians regularly board a “gondola da traghetto,” or gondola ferry, to quickly cross the Canal Grande and save time. Such crossings are a shared ride, and last 30 to 40 seconds.

    Most Venetians who take the ferry do it standing, while the majority of visitors prefer to sit down.

    Why are gondola rides so expensive?

    It’s true, gondola rides in Venice are not cheap. The reason why gondola rides cost 80 euros for a private tour of 25-30 minutes is probably a simple matter of demand and offer.

    Venice is a city unlike any other in the world, visited by millions of people every year, a significant number of which desire to go on a gondola tour.

    There are, however, only 260-290 work gondolas in Venice, making it possible to set a high fixed price and barely see a drop in demand. That was our “economic” explanation.

    Read on to the next question for further considerations.

    Is it worth it to spend a minimum of 80 euros for a gondola ride?

    That is a question that only you can answer.

    Would you like to see Venice from the water, which is the way the city was meant to be seen, on the most famous and luxurious hand-made traditional Venetian boat, with soft pillows and golden decorations?

    Would you like to explore tiny little canals that cross this ancient city, while being rowed by an expert gondolier, one of the few hundred people in the entire world capable of rowing a gondola in such challenging spaces?

    If both your answers to these questions are affirmative, and 80 euros is a price that you can afford paying with no second thoughts, then yes, a gondola ride in Venice is worth its price.

    Gondolas and gondoliers in numbers:

    • Handmade with 280 pieces of wood.
    • 8 different type of woods: Oak, Fir, Cherry, Larch, Walnut, Linden, Mahogany, Elm.
    • 6 months for the making of a gondola
    • Final price of around 40.000 euros
    • Average dimensions: length: 11 m; width: 1,45 m; depth: 1m.
    • Weight: 600kg
    • 433 gondoliers
    • 160 substitute gondoliers
    • 280 work gondolas
    • 400+ gondolas in the Venetian Lagoon

    Don’t forget to check out our article about the Venetian gondola to find more information about this beautiful Venetian boat and discover some curiosities such as why they are traditionally black and why they are asymmetric!

    I'm visiting Venice. Why should I follow your recommendations?

    The way you visit Venice has an impact both on the quality of your experience and on Venice itself.  Chilling, exploring, shopping, eating and drinking where the locals do, can make a huge impact both on the memories you bring home and on the local economy and community.

    Liked this article? Don’t forget to share the love!  

    Tips and Inspiration to experience Venice

    More in Visiting Venice

    Want more photos, videos, tips and stories from Venice, Italy?

    We're on a mission to make Venetian life and tourism better and to spread meaningful content about the authentic Venice far and wide. Try our email and see for yourself!

    Nice! Like us on Facebook to add daily goodness to your feed

    Oops! We're sorry, something went wrong. We'll fix it soon. In the mean time, you can like us on Facebook to add daily goodness to your feed

    Suscribe to our newsletter

    Sign up for our updates! Never miss a thing!

    Nice! Like us on Facebook to add daily goodness to your feed

    Oops, we're sorry, something went wrong!

    Want more photos, videos, tips and stories from Venice, Italy?

    We're on a mission to make Venetian life and tourism better and to spread meaningful content about the authentic Venice far and wide. Try our email and see for yourself!

    Nice! Like us on Facebook to add daily goodness to your feed

    Oops! We're sorry, something went wrong. We'll fix it soon. In the mean time, you can like us on Facebook to add daily goodness to your feed

    Thanks for the love! Stay updated, follow us: