Gondola Rides in Venice: Tips for an Unforgettable Experience

Thousands of people come to Venice every year to experience one of the world’s most unique cities. Spread over 118 small islands, you can explore Venice on foot, strolling over the several bridges that wind through the historic streets. But, if you come to this beautiful Italian gem, you must enjoy one of the most meaningful activities the city is known for —a gondola ride. A gondola ride in Venice allows you to appreciate the city’s breathtaking architecture from the water as you slowly traverse the narrow canals.

It is certainly a very romantic thing to do as a couple, but equally as meaningful with friends and family.

No matter who you’re with, taking a gondola ride in Venice can be a bit intimidating. As there are always a few unknowns, we’ve come up with some handy tips that can help you make the most of your Venetian gondola adventure.

This quintessential Venice activity will be one of your favorite memories from your Italian adventure. Photo credit: Jack Ward

How much does a gondola ride cost?

The prices of gondola rides depend on several factors, mainly: the time of the day, the duration, and whether it’s a private ride or not.

Other services, such as a singer during the gondola ride, will incur an additional cost. (Although if you’re lucky, your gondolier may spontaneously break into song if he or she is in a good mood!).

The Rialto Bridge is the oldest bridge of four bridges that span the Grand Canal. Photo credit: Damiano Baschiera

Where are the gondola stations?

Finding the Gondola stations is not difficult as they are located in the main points of the city. However, some main ones are:

  • Stazio di San Tomà
  • Stazio dell’Accademia
  • Stazio di Santa Maria del Giglio
  • Stazio di Bacino Orseolo a San Marco
  • Stazio di Bacino San Marco Danieli
  • Stazione Dogana Ca’ Vallaresso

If you haven’t planned your gondola ride in advance, you can do so directly at the stations (always check the prices beforehand to avoid being ripped off).

gondolas in the water floating under a bridge that connects two buildings
Legend says that if a couple kisses under the Bridge of Sighs they will stay together forever. Photo credit: Soroush Karimi

Where to book a gondola ride in Venice

There are numerous online platforms that are the best options to book your excursion, especially in summer. Additionally, most hotels will be able to help you make a reservation.

Another option would be to sign up for a tour that offers a gondola ride along with other activities, such as a Venice walking tour that includes a gondola ride or a tour of St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and a gondola ride. Starting with a walking tour is a great way to learn about the city’s top landmarks on foot before taking a relaxing ride around the canal.

Different types of boats in a large canal with buildings on either side
Taking a gondola ride around the canal gives you a different perspective of just how beautiful Venice really is.

Do you tip the gondoliers?

Tipping the gondoliers is at your discretion and satisfaction. That is, it is not obligatory, but it is always welcome. You may consider tipping them if they provide you with great service. The recommended percentage can be 10% of the cost of the service or more if you wish.

Make the most of your gondola ride:

  • In case you are alone or with a small group, it’s ideal to share the excursion with other people to make it more affordable.
  • For a more pleasant and quiet tour, choose to do it early in the morning or the evening, as these are the hours when there are usually fewer tourists in the city, and you will not have to wait for the tour.
  • During high season, it is best to make reservations in advance online to avoid long waits.
  • Create a good connection with the gondolier, as you can learn many interesting things about the city from him.
group of people riding on a black gondola
Sure, it might be considered touristy, but taking a gondola ride really is a unique experience that you will remember forever.

Is taking a gondola ride worth it?

Well, that depends. For many people, taking a gondola ride is a tourist trap, not worth the money. But for others, living the experience of a gondola ride in Venice is a dream. So if this is your case, we strongly recommend you do it. It is a unique way to explore the many hidden treasures of Venice.

Join us → Local-led tours in Venice by expert storytellers
Photo of author
About the author

Yareli is a Dominican travel writer based in the beautiful city of Lucca, Italy. Traveling and exploring every corner of Tuscany are her passions. She enjoys trying new flavors while traveling. As well as sharing her travel experiences through her blog Wandering and Tasting and Instagram @wanderingandtasting.

More by Yareli Parra

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up to get curated travel tips, inspiration, and travel deals by joining our community of Walkers.