Gondolas in Venice
9 of 10 pictures depicting Venice have a beautiful gondola in them. That is because, of course, gondolas have become a symbol of Venice.
“One does not go to Venice without getting on a ride with the gondola“, they say.
We’ll tell you everything we know about gondolas so that you can make an informed decision on whether to enrich yourself with this experience or not.
A short history of gondolas
Venice is a big lagoon with around 177 canals. Because of this, there was an obvious reason for inventing a means of transportation on the canals. Gondolas were introduced and they were specially designed to be suitable for the waters of Venice.
In the past, nobles went crazy with decorating their gondolas using precious stones. As a result, the practice soon became prohibited and afterwards, gondolas could only be painted in black.
So nowadays, if you only see black gondolas, you now know the reason why.
Find the spot in Venice where gondolas are made
You can even find a spot in Venice to see where the gondolas are assembled. Fun fact – gondolas are made of seven different types of wood and they also have some other distinctive characteristics: All are exactly 10.87m long (35ft 6ins) and 1.42m wide (4ft 6ins), and all have one side 24cm (10ins) wider than the other.
At the end of the article, you can find a picture of the place – it’s sure to grab your attention if you pass by it. The place is called Squero San Trovaso so that you can find it easier.
The cost of Gondola Rides
The prices for the gondolas are universal in Venice, but you may be able to negotiate the price a little bit. The gondolas have a maximum capacity of 6 people. Also, there are people who say that depending on demand, gondoliers may regard the official rates as a polite fiction.
During the daytime, the standard price for 40 minutes is 80 euros. Any additional time is taxed extra with 40 euros for 20 minutes.
During the night (after 7 pm), when the atmosphere is more romantic and everything starts to settle down, the prices are higher: the price for 40 minutes is 100 euros. Any additional time is taxed extra with 50 euros for 20 minutes.
Another thing that you should bear in mind when you prepare your budget for this experience is that the gondolier can’t stop exactly after 40 minutes. He needs to leave you in a gondola stand and you’ll have to pay for the additional minutes needed to get there.
Tip: What helps here is to communicate with the gondolier before getting in and discuss the details of your trip.
The gondoliers are licensed people and they wear a uniform. However, don’t necessarily expect them to describe you the area or to sing any serenades, as you may have heard. There are people who do this, but this should be discussed with them beforehand. And it may probably cost you more.
The tour guide also recommended a woman gondolier, who, by the way, sings for you. She can be found near the Jewish Ghetto.
What gondolas offer you
Romance has a friend in gondolas, so if you’re looking for the romantic side of Venice, a gondola ride definitely is for you.
The two main reasons for choosing it, in my opinion, are the following:
- It offers you a beautiful perspective on Venice – you will be able to see the buildings from a different angle (which is otherwise highly inaccessible)
- It’s so connected to what Venice is. It’s romantic, it’s cosy, it’s unique.
Some tips on choosing gondolas
The obvious tip is to try to share the gondola with other people. You should be confident in trying to speak to other tourists who are looking to take the gondola and split the price. However, if you’re looking for a more romantic ride, then you can go on your own.
Another thing to consider is the place where you are taking the gondola. There are very crowded areas, like the Grand Canal. But there are also some quiet areas. For example, our walking tour guide recommended the following pick up spots: Castello (as there are no taxis), Campo Santa Maria Formoso or the Jewish Quarter.
And like I said before, always discuss with the Gondolier how you expect your experience to be.
We decided not to go on a ride with the gondola. Our main reason for not doing this was that we thought that we could make better use of the +100 euros. And so we did. But more on that later!
However, we wanted to have the experience of crossing Venice by water, so we went for the cheapest alternative, which is the traghetto.
Traghetto, only 2 euros
Traghetto is similar to the gondola, but it is sailed by two men. It is used as a means of crossing the Grand Canal. The cost is 2 euros, one way and the trip lasts for one-two minutes. It’s the exact time needed to take a selfie and to enjoy the experience. You can search for the traghetto stations and see which is the most suitable one for you.
Taking the gondola or not…
In the end, the choice is yours. But if you really, really pictured yourself on a gondola ride, then you should go for it. I always say that you should not deprive yourself of the things that you can afford, especially if want them badly.
Personally, I didn’t mind passing on the gondola ride, since I went for a different version of Venice that I uploaded in my inner cloud.
If you want to read more on the origins of the gondolas, here’s a very interesting article.
Also, we’re looking forward to hearing about your Gondola experience in Venice, so feel free to share it with us!
Here is our selection of photos with Gondolas rides, Traghetto and how tourists enjoy their experience.