My Complete Guide to Gondola Rides in Venice | Solo Female Travel

A gondola ride in Venice is one of the most spectacular experiences you can have in Italy. To begin, what is the core of a gondola ride in Venice? Do you take a gondola ride because you are in Venice, or do you travel to Venice because of gondola rides?

I know, right. The gondola ride is the culprit here. That said, you need to know about the Venetian gondolas. Their fascinating history to love them even more. This article is the ultimate guide to a gondola ride in Venice and the interesting facts about it.

Gondola ride in Venice

Gondolas are a special kind of boat that originated in Venice. Venice, a city of lagoons, is divided by canals and connected by 400 bridges. This tremendous setup makes the gondola ride in Venice a must-do thing in Italy. A gondola’s proportions vary significantly, but they are normally 11 meters long, 1.45 meters wide, and less than one meter deep, with a total weight of 600 kilograms.

What makes the gondola ride in Venice so special?

The Venetian gondolas are special because they are handcrafted boats made of 8 types of wood- oak, fir, cherry, elm, walnut, linden, larch, and mahogany. They have sleek and stylish bodies made with 280 pieces of wood and a long wooden oar made of forcola, a Venetian oarlock.

A little bit of history 

The first impression of gondola rides in Venice emerged in 1094. At that time, people used gondola rides as the daily means of transport in the city divided by canals, implying there were thousands and thousands of gondoliers picking up and dropping people. 

But, now, with the introduction of waterbus and ferry, gondola rides in Venice have become a thing of amusement. Something ravishingly looked after by tourists. In the present, the natives look for gondolas for sports activities like rallies and wedding ceremonies. 

Types of gondola rides in Venice

Crowded gondola ride at Grand Canal

Grand Canal is the top attractive destination of Venice. It includes the large public square called St. Mark square and the Rialto bridge. These places are hallmark areas for tourists to take a gondola ride. They are usually crowded, with many rides happening at a time. 

Quiet gondola ride at San Polo

Nobody likes crowded rides, yet they go with it because it covers the hotspot of Venice. People whose target is to have a peace-stimulating gondola ride in Venice have to take the back canal route. The places in Venice for quite gondola rides are San Pola, Campo San Barnaba, and the Jewish Ghetto.

Romantic gondola ride at the bridge of sighs

The bridge of sighs is the romantic host of gondola rides in Venice. It got this fame through a movie where the beloved lovers have their first kiss in a gondola in front of the bridge of sighs. Following this tradition, travellers take their gondola ride to the bridge of sighs.

Music gondola ride in Venice

The music gondola ride is another fascinating feature of Venice. First things first, by default, gondoliers don’t sing songs in a ride. You have to book a special ride if you want a musical experience. That said, you can choose for a ride with the gondolier singing or a ride with a singer. You can also have a gondola ride with a singer and musical instruments like triumphant and violin. 

Is the gondola ride in Venice expensive?

There is a rumour spreading like a wildfire that the gondola ride in Venice is costly. Let me first clear the air of confusion here. You won’t be taking gondola rides to transport in Venice. Those golden old days were passed when the natives’ only mode of transportation was the gondola. 

Now, you have a cheaper alternative to carry you to places in Venice called Vaporetto. People mistake that in the city of canals, gondolas are your only choice of transportation. Nope. That said, a gondola ride in Venice is altogether a fancy lustrous experience Venice has to offer you.

The bottom line is don’t choose gondola rides for travelling in Venice. Vaporetto is available for that service. Book a gondola ride in Venice only when you want a gondola ride experience.

Cost of gondola ride in Venice

Who wouldn’t want a gondola ride in Venice? That makes it compulsive for me to answer the question regarding the gondola ride cost in Venice. Getting to the point straight, a gondola ride in Venice costs between 80 euros to 100 euros for a 30 to 40 minutes ride. 

Gondola rides after dark are just adorable, with the city light up in the wake of darkness glossed up with brightness. Passing through Venice in a gondola amidst this setup is incredibly romantic. So much of worship to tell you that gondola ride in Venice cost 40 euros extra after the dark. During the daytime, the cost is 80 euros, and from the evening to dark, it is 100 euros. 

Are there extra charges for extra ride time?

Yes, there are extra charges if you plan to prolong your gondola ride in Venice. The general set time for a gondola ride in Venice is 30 to 40 minutes. A 20-minute extension will set you back an additional 40 euros. If the extension is during the day, the fee is 40 euros. If the extension is after dark, it will be 50 euros. 

Cheaper gondola ride in Venice

I would say the gondola fare is okay for a ride or two. After all, every joy comes with a price. I don’t mind spending 100 euros on an unforgettable gondola ride in Venice. However, if you find them too expensive, I have happy news for you.

Instead of taking an individual gondola ride, you can go for a shared one. A gondola can take six passengers, including the gondolier. Imagine, if you go for a shared ride, the amount is divided amongst the five. That will cost 16 euros if you ride in the morning and 20 euros in the evening. How much cheaper from 80 to 16 and 100 to 20, just amazing!

The best time for a gondola ride in Venice

Since I have made a clear variation between the daytime and nighttime gondola ride cost in Venice, you might be wondering when to take your gondola ride. If you care for 20 euros that much, let me help you.

The mandatory gondola ride in Venice is un complainable at whichever time you take. In the morning, the lagoon is bright as the sun. If you seek the sun-dipped scenery of Venice, daytime works well.

In the evening, as people say, it is romantic. I will get to the romantic topic later because the concept of romanticism has become generic. Anyway, if you are looking for a cliché concept of romance, then a nighttime ride is for you.

My favourite gondola ride

My favourite time is when it has just begun to dark, and still, the fragrance of sunlight is roaming through Venice. Yes, the sunset timing. Without any preplan, I happened to take my gondola ride in Venice at this time. It was surreal!

If the morning ride is aesthetic and night romantic, I would say this was illusionary looking at Venice dipped in blended air of light and dark.

A solo traveller romance in Venice

Now coming to the romantic part, you can experience this feeling even if you are travelling alone. Time doesn’t matter. As a solo female traveller, I can say the gondola ride itself is a romantic trip. The calm water, vintage buildings, picturesque bridges, classy gondolier, the mellifluous Italian tune spreading from their mouth does romantic wonder.

You don’t need a partner sitting beside you to feel romantic. Not necessarily. If you take a quiet gondola ride in the back canals, which is supposed not to be a busy spot, you can feel romantic. Of course, it should be an individual ride, not a shared one.

The secret of gondola ride in Venice

The picture you create in your mind thinking of gondola rides in Venice is a bridge beneath the running water. In there, a flat and elongated boat with an elevated end and a tall man standing at the belt in a white and black striped shirt with a straw hat, holding a long oar.

Am I right? That’s the secret of the gondola ride in Venice. The flat body gives the experience of stroking through the water. As if you are sitting on the water and moving. With added thrill echoing from the melodic song of the gondolier. 

Are gondoliers in Venice trained?

Gondola rides in Venice are completely safe. The gondoliers aren’t untrained locals learning to row the boat by experience. The rule of thumb is that all the gondoliers must be licensed. Unless gondoliers have a license handed down by their guild for which they have to take a 400 hours class, they can’t come near the gondola. 

And speaking of the guild, there is only one organised body (guild) in Venice that provides license to the gondoliers, which were established one thousand years back. According to the guild, it is customary to wear a uniform. Yes, the gondoliers wear standard attire—black trousers with a shirt of horizontal stripes in black and white. It looks more like a sailor shirt. Sometimes, it is in the combination of blue and white, red and white. 

In earlier times, these colour variations denoted the area assigned to the gondolier. If the gondolier is wearing a blue and white shirt, then he covers the Rialto bridge. Likewise, the gondolier wearing a red and white shirt covers the back canal route to the Jewish ghetto. Now, this practice has vanished. 

Can you tip the gondolier? 

Well, that depends on your motive. Generally, Italians don’t expect tips even in the restaurant. Italy is unlike European countries in this attitude. However, if you felt at heart to tip a gondolier, nothing can stop you from showing your gratitude. Just go ahead with your decision. 

What to wear for a gondola ride in Venice?

With the craze around the gondola ride in Venice, no one stops to think about whether to take a picture or not. A picture in gondola ride is a mandatory thing to do in Venice. That gets us to the topic of outfit. What to wear in Italy for a gondola ride? What I am going to tell is purely my taste estimated from my experience. I have suggestions for four moods of outfits—bold, simple, casual, and cool.

  • Bold outfit– For a bold look, go to long gowns preferably in red, wine, or black colour. Match it with heels and bold red lipstick. If the gown has a slit, pose to reveal your leg for a bold picture in a gondola ride.
  • Casual outfit– For a casual one, pick a summer dress. Pair them with sneakers and a hat. Hope you get the picture of the summer look I am trying to tell you here. This look is perfect if you are taking a gondola ride in the daytime.
  • Cool outfit– For a casual and cool outfit, you can wear a jean or denim shorts with a backless top. You can turn around to show the back of the top while you are looking at a bridge. 
  • Simple outfit– Cool and simple are my type. I don’t feel comfortable wearing dresses sitting on a boat. Pants and shorts give me my comfort. For a simple one, match jeans with a top. Add a pleasant smile. That will do.

Can you ask a gondolier to take your photos?

Since you are all ready to take a picture, you may wonder if taking pictures is allowed in a gondola ride or is there an additional cost to pay for that. No, there isn’t any cost. You can take uncountable pictures.

If you want the gondolier’s help, no worries, he will nod yes to be your photographer. However, don’t make it difficult for him. Ask him when he is rowing in a straight path and not while he is keenly turning corners.

Honouring the tradition-Gondola rides! 

Apart from being the iconic beauty of Venice, I like gondola rides for their tradition that has survived through centuries. A quintessential tradition cherished with honour. No wonder it is a buzzing wonder for tourists. So, be a privileged person by taking part in this artistic tradition of Venice. 

Book your gondola ride now!

how to take a gondola ride in venice

Hope it was fun getting to know the wonderful facts behind the gondola ride. Rather than a thing of beauty and a go-to spot for a tourist, the gondola ride is a rich tradition of Venice. You sure can’t skip this Italian cultural activity. Book your gondola ride now. Have a charming gondola ride on your trip to Venice!


An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.

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