Gondola in Venice: All you need to know

Venice gondola ride is a quintessential way to experience the city build on the water.

If taking a gondola tour is on your bucket list – this is an article for you!

All important things that you should know to have the best experience possible.

And of course tips for a photo shoot in gondola!

How much cost the gondola ride and how long it take?

Venice gondola ride rates

Standard gondola ride rates are:

90 euro 9am to 7pm

110 euro from 7pm

Price is for the whole gondola private tour. Gondola can fit 5 passengers of every age.

The ride usually last about 25 minutes depending on traffic. Standard gondola tour finish same place it start.

You can have a custom route and the price will depend on how long it will take + how long it will take for the gondolier to get back to his station.

Where is the best place to take a gondola ride?

There are numerous main gondola stations in the city that are located on Grand Canal at most busy touristic areas and much more little temporary station spreaded all around on little canals of the city.

Main stations:

  • Gondola Station – S. Sofia
  • Gondola Traghetto di Riva del Vin or Riva del Carbon right in front of it
  • Gondola – Traghetto Santa Maria del Giglio
  • Gondola Bauer at Campo St Moise
  • Gondola traghetto Dogana – Vallaresso
  • Gondola Bacino Orseolo – Right in front of Hard rock caffe
  • Station Gondole Molo
  • Gondola station at Danieli hotel

Main station is where the gondolas being parked during the night. Gondoliers working at the same station always take turns on all the mini stations assigned to the station so all of them have equal amount of work.

At main stations you can alway find at least 6 gondoliers working at the same time and on little ones 1-3 gondoliers.

The route:

Each station has their predefined routes that can change depending the wether conditions.

Some routes will take most of the time on the grand canal, some mostly little canals, and other will be a mix of both.

Ask your gondolier about the route and what is included to avoid surprises.

Book or not to book?

If you want to have a gondola ride on most busy hours and start from a busy station you may want to book a voucher that will guaranty you a priority.

Or if you a solo traveler and want to split the cost you can purchase a voucher for a shared gondola ride.

But my personal opinion is if you are a group not more then 5 or a couple its not worth it!

Few minutes priority will cost you up to €50 euro extra.

Its better to show up at the station yourself and get the first gondola available. Or get on board on one of the smaller stations where booking is not even possible.

At gondolas san marco you can download for free a voucher to have a priority pass to book gondola with them.

Who are they? – Gondoliers

Few facts about gondoliers:

  • to become a gondolier you need study in special school and pass exams
  • school subjects among more common include foreign languages general history and history of art
  • there are about 600 gondoliers and only about 440 licences
  • some gondolier for years work as substitute for other gondoliers while waiting for their licence.
  • You can get your licence from the city waiting for more than 10 years or you can inherited it from your father. And yes you can also by the licence from another gondolier and the cost can go as high as 500,000 euro!
  • gondoliers are usually fun and extravert people that are open to answer your questions and tell you interesting facts about the city.

Photo-shoot in Gondola

Isn’t it beautiful? having a gondola photo shoot is in a bucket list of many people visiting Venice.

Lets talk about how to make this experience best possible and what to expect.

1. how many people?

For the photo-shoot in gondola the ideal number of participant is 2.

And I don’t recommend to have more that 3 adults or 2 adults +2 children there is simply not enough space.

2. Best time to take a gondola for photo-shoot

My favourite – is evening 2-3 hours before sunset. When the canals are not buisy with boats doing city maintenance or delivery.

3. What to wear for gondola photo-shoot?

When choosing an outfit for your gondola photo shoot test it by seating down on a deep low couch.

Better to avoid outfits that will fold not beautifully when seated or very tight short skirts.

4. What you can and can not do in gondola

Its important to understand that gondola ride is not “just for instagram” its a unique experience of traditional Venetian boat that in the past was at the service of wealthy families.

You definitely saw all the variation of photos in gondola: standing/laying down/in front/from the bridge etc.

All this may give you a wrong idea.

The truth is – moving on the gondola and getting off without gondoliers permission is not allowed.

Its important for your own safety!

Each gondolier is different and each ride and weather conditions are different.

One gondolier may let you try to row with him and another won’t feel comfortable with you changing sits while on the grand canal.

So remember: always ask what you can do and follow the instructions of your captain.

5. Choosing your gondola?

Gondoliers at the station are taking turns that permits everyone to have equal amount of rides. So when you arrive at the station you suppose to take a ride with a gondolier whose turn is now.

Of course you can ask politely for a specific gondola you desire or even offer a little extra pay for being able to choose. Its always a “human factor”.

When booking with the agency you absolutely can not choose. In some cases some stations would take a special booking when booking with them directly.

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