Taking a Gondola Ride in Venice
Taking a gondola ride in Venice is probably on every bucket list. Venice is famous for its winding canals and romantic gondolas, but there are a few things you should think about before getting on board.
What is a Gondola?
Venetian gondolas are iconic in the city Venice, and have been used as a form of transport for a long time. They used to be an essential part of getting around the Venice's canals, especially if you were wealthy, but now most people get around using the much larger water buses (vaporetti).
Gondolas are long, flat boats that gondoliers steer through the canals using a single oar. They weigh about 600 kg, and they are hand made in special workshops called squeri. There is only about 500 gondolas left that you can take a ride on, but it is still one of the most beautiful and iconic ways to see the city.
What to expect on a Gondola ride
Venetian gondola rides are world famous, but there are a few things that you should expect (or not expect) when you are setting out to have one of the most atmospheric nights of your life:
- Expect to spend money- If nothing else, you should keep in mind that this will cost you a bit of money, so you should plan for it in your budget. The prices gondola rides are standardized throughout the city and the starting price is €80 for 40 minutes (and this will go up if you want to go for longer or later in the day). Make sure you know what you are paying before you get on.
Expect to direct your gondoliers- the gondoliers are officially licensed and know what they are doing, but if you are wanting to take romantic pictures and enjoy the quiet back streets of Venice, you should ask your gondoliere to take you there before you get on. Going down the Grand Canal will probably not get you the experience you are hoping for. Usually you can negotiate where you want to go, but if you want to make sure you will go down backstreets, find a side canal where the taxis and water buses do not have signs, rather than somewhere like Rialto Bridge.
- Expect your gondoliere to be dressed up, but not to sing- Like the prices, the uniforms for gondoliers are standardized (with the classic striped shirt and black pants). What you should not expect is for your gondoliere to sing. Some will, and some will for a price, and some will even explain some of the history of the places you are passing-but this should not be a given in your mind.