Venice, Italy, is one destination on most buckets lists. There’s nothing like gliding along the stunning canals of Venice in a gondola to see the sights and experience this unique culture.
However, while this may be considered a must-do when visiting Venice, the bad news is that it has also turned out to be more expensive than many visitors expect. The good news is that with the current strength of the dollar, the price has come down.
Last year at this time, an hour-long sunset gondola ride would have run about €150 which is more than $200 U.S. Currently you can get the same experience for around $165.
To save even more, instead of choosing the popular sunset ride, pick an earlier ride that runs for a shorter amount of time. For instance, you can take a 40-minute ride before 7 p.m. for around $90.
These better deals are based on the current value of the U.S. dollar. Gondola fares are standard and set officially and cannot go any lower than that set rate. However, those rates can be raised so it is still worth your while to shop around for the best deal.
A standard gondola ride lasts for 40 minutes. If you try to negotiate a lower fare, the result will be a shorter ride.
Things to Know Before You Book
As with any experience overseas, it’s important to know what you’ll be getting for your money as many times expectations are based on preconceived ideas that are not necessarily accurate.
For instance, if you’re looking for a romantic gondola ride with a singing gondolier, it is a good idea to make that clear when booking. For while some gondoliers sing, it is not a requirement of the job.
Others offer all kinds of information much like a tour guide, while other gondoliers just row along the narrow canals to your destination.
Speaking of destination, that’s another thing to talk about before you pay. If you have a particular destination in mind, discuss it with the gondolier to be sure they go to that particular place. And if you’re looking for a quiet ride, stick to the quiet back canals instead of the busy Grand Canal.
With all this in mind, it is also important to note that not all gondoliers speak English, either.
Even with the increased value of the dollar, if you still can’t afford a gondola ride, Venice’s vaporetti (water buses) are a form of public transportation that offer an affordable option for getting around the city.