Venice: Tips for a Gondola Ride

May 14, 2013 by


You can’t go to Venice without riding in a gondola. It’s been romanticized by charming stories and dreamy movies and after all, it is the quintessential way to see the “sinking city.”

But, it can be quite expensive! Venice has become the tourist capital of Italy, and where tourists flock, prices soar. Here are a few tips for you to enjoy a memorable gondola ride, without sinking your budget.

1) Know the rates: Gondola rides are governed by Venetian authority, and gondoliers are licensed. That said, the official rates should be 80€ for 40 minutes, and an additional 40€ for each additional 20 minutes. Evening rides are wonderful, but they cost 100€ for 40 minutes and 50€ for each additional 20 minutes. For those wanting to save money, hop on before 7 pm.

2) Know where you’re going: Most gondoliers will take you on a loop ride, ending where you started. If you prefer, you can request a drop off in another area, say, closer to your hotel. Many will be willing if you firmly, but politely request.

3) Bring a bottle of wine and dinner on the boat! Eating is expensive in Venice. Save money and make your gondola ride that much more romantic by turning it into a picnic gondola. Purchase pizza and tiramisu to go, a bottle of wine (ask for cups), and violà! Most gondoliers don’t mind, but always ask first, and maybe bring a beer for a tip.

4) Share the boat: The prices are per boat, not per person. The more people you have, the less expensive. They can fit up to 6 people. You can easily find other couples or small families willing to share with you, if you’re the outgoing type. Or board the gondolas with an organized tour company which can be as cheap as 59€ (with singing!).

It truly is an unforgettable experience and you’ll see some things from the side canals that you wouldn’t otherwise experience. But for those who don’t want to fork out the Euros, or would prefer to save money for a fancy dinner, check out the Vaporetto or the Traghetto, two more budget friendly water touring options.

Photo Source: Dan Ives

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