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How to Take a Gondola Ride in Venice

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This post will provide helpful information about how to enjoy a gondola ride in Venice. 

We include tips on costs, how to get tickets, as well as discounts.


Overview

One of the most common sights in Venice are the gondolas floating down the canals. 

These beautiful boats are a popular way for visitors to get around the city, and there are less than 300 in operation.

Here are answers for a few of the more common questions people ask about riding gondolas in Venice:


How much does a gondola ride cost?

A Gondola floats down the canals of Venice. Image source: Pixabay user Ruth Archer.

Depending on whether you get tickets for a public or private service, you can expect gondola ride costs to range from €25 - €125 or more per person.

Private gondola rides are usually much more expensive, ranging from €75 - €170, and this is largely due to the supply and demand of the service. 

However, if you don’t mind riding with other people, you can usually save quite a bit of money.

Check our discount section for more details on how to get the best deal on gondola rides.


How long does a gondola ride last?

Each service is different, but you can usually expect a professional gondola ride to last for between 30-60 minutes. 

The longer the ride, the more you can expect to pay for tickets.


Where do gondola rides begin?

One of the most common and popular spots to find gondolas is at St. Mark’s Square.

However, there are also gondola stations near Ponte di Rialto, Ponte della Costituzione, and many other locations along the canals.

If you want to make sure you know exactly where to go, consider purchasing tickets for a gondola ride ahead of time.

These companies usually tell you exactly where to go!

There are gondola stations all along the edge of the canals in Venice, so you can usually get on at just about any point.


Will I have to wait for a gondola ride?

During the busy season from April - October, there are usually a lot of tourists visiting who want to ride the gondolas. 

Unfortunately, since the number of boats is always limited, that means you might have to wait for this activity. Some have reported waiting for hours!

Thankfully, there is one way to avoid waiting, and that’s to buy timed tickets well ahead of your trip to Venice. 

Check our section on gondola rides for more details about these options.


Public Gondola Rides in Venice

There are several companies offering public gondola rides in Venice. 

These services are open to everyone, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be sharing the gondola with other tourists in the area.

Public gondola rides near the Rialto Bridge. Image Source: Pixabay user Gerhard Bogner.

The advantage of this option is that it’s much more affordable than private gondola rides. Tickets range from €25 - €45 per person. 

That said, the experience might not be as quiet and personal as it might be otherwise.


Gray Line Venice

This is one of the most well-known and trusted tour companies in the world, and they’re currently working with one of the gondola operators in Venice to provide public gondola rides.

While on this gondola ride, you can expect to see a variety of notable landmarks including the Teatro La Fenice, the Salute Church, and many other locations along the Grand Canal.

This gondola ride runs for approximately 30 minutes, which is pretty standard for this type of service.


Bucintoro Viaggi

If you’re looking for a public gondola ride that includes a bit more than just a trip down the canal, this company offers a service which includes an onboard musician who performs serenades for the riders.

They also offer a more traditional service which includes views of historic sites such as Rialto Bridge, Teatro La Fenice, Campo San Luca, Campo Manin, and many other important locations.

Each gondola ride lasts for approximately 30 minutes, and they only allow a maximum of 6 people per outing.

Public Gondola Ride w/ Serenade

Public Gondola Ride


Additional Public Gondola Rides

While we’ve listed some of the more well-known services above, there are so many public gondola rides offered in Venice that we couldn’t possibly list them all. 

If you’re looking for other options that you can book ahead of time, consider one of the following:

Grand Canal Gondola Ride w/App Commentary

Grand Canal Gondola Ride w/ Live Commentary

Sunset Gondola Tour


Private Gondola Rides

If you’d rather not share a gondola with someone you don’t know, you can also get a private ride with space for 4-5 people for €75 - €125 on average. 

There are also several private gondola rides that cost well over €150, but these outings typically include additional activities.

Although more expensive, if you’re planning to ride the gondola with 4 other people, the cost could actually come to about €20 - €25 per person, which is technically less than a public gondola ride!


Fabarest

This company offers private gondola rides with prices that fluctuate based on the subjects and locations covered. 

Their most affordable option is actually an off-the-beaten-path ride that will take you past some of the lesser known landmarks in the city.

Alternatively, you can also take their traditional tour which covers the more popular sites like Rialto Bridge, Santa Maria della Salute, and more.

Unlike some competitors, their prices are per person, so you won’t be able to save money by inviting as many guests as possible. 

Fabarest gondola rides tend to last about 20-30 minutes on average.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Private Gondola Ride

Private Grand Canal Gondola Ride


Bucintoro Viaggi

In addition to their public gondola rides, this company also offers private services which cover the same ground. 

This is basically the same ride they offer to everyone, but you’ll be able to enjoy it either alone or with loved ones instead of random people that you don’t know.

This service runs for approximately 30 minutes, and one ticket is good for up to 5 passengers, which means you’ll actually be paying less per person than you would for their public gondola rides.

As with most of these outings, you can expect this one to cover a lot of notable sites along the Grand Canal.


Gondolieri Travel

If you’re looking for more of a variety of gondola rides in Venice, this company offers one of the widest ranges of services in the city. 

Their best options are of course private outings, but like many other competitors, they only charge one price for up to 5 people.

While one of their gondola rides covers sites from St. Mark’s to the Rialto Bridge, another is more focused on attractions such as the Bridge of Sighs and other off-the-beaten-path locations.

For those who want a more romantic experience, they also offer a private gondola ride with a bottle of Prosecco for no additional cost!

Rialto Bridge Private Gondola Ride

Bridge of Sighs Private Gondola Ride

Private Gondola Ride w/ Prosecco


Discounts

Since gondola rides in Venice can be expensive, it makes sense to find a way to save money on this activity. 

Thankfully, there are several different ways to get a much better deal, including tourist passes, combo packages and more.


1. Venice City Pass

If you’re planning to enjoy a variety of activities in Venice, you might want to consider getting a Venice City Pass

This service is provided by Turbo Pass, a company that is well-known for their discount passes around the world. They even offer a Rome tourist pass similar to this one!

The Venice City Pass is available in 3 different forms: the Starter Pass, the Classic Pass, and the Complete Pass. 

Both the Classic and Complete Pass include a gondola ride from Bucintoro Viaggi, with prices ranging from €105 - €120 for adults.

Each pass is valid for 7 days, so you’ll have plenty of time to get as much use out of it as possible.

Here are a few of the other popular attractions and activities included with this pass:

  • Doge’s Palace
  • Museum Correr
  • Museum Ebraico
  • Teatro La Fenice Tour
  • Leonardo Da Vinci Museum
  • National Museum of Archaeology
  • Murano, Burano, and Torcello Island Tours
  • And more!

Depending on how you use this pass, you could save 50% or more off ticket prices for everything included. 

You can also combine this service with a 24 - 72 hour transport pass for buses, trams, and vaporettos in Venice, Lido, Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

Purchase the Venice City Pass or learn more.


2. The Venice Pass

In addition to the services offered by Turbo Pass, this digital pass is also available, and it covers the costs of a few specific activities including the following:

  • Grand Canal Gondola Ride
  • St. Mark’s Basilica Tickets
  • Doge’s Palace Tickets
  • Venice: Past and Present Tour
  • Welcome to Venice Audio Tour
  • 10% discount on additional activities

The additional 10% discount is available on pretty much any attraction or activity you can find on Tiqets, which includes the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, the Natural History Museum and more.

Prices


3. Combo Packages

If you’re only visiting for a day or you only have time for a few activities in Venice, there are some companies that offer 2-3 activities for one low price. 

These combo deals can be an excellent way to save money on tickets for both a gondola ride and other popular services or attractions in the area.

Gondola Ride + Walking Tour + Food Tastings

  • €70/Adults (6 and up) | €35/Children
  • Availability: Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday
  • Duration: 70-80 minutes
  • Hours: 6:30 pm
  • Purchase tickets or learn more.

Gondola Ride + Venice Walking Tour

Gondola Ride + Food and Wine Tour

Gondola Ride + St. Mark’s Basilica + Walking Tour

Gondola Ride + Serenade + Romantic Dinner

Gondola Ride + St. Mark’s Campanile

Gondola Ride + Doge’s Palace


4. Discount Sites

If you’re not interested in saving money by combining multiple activities either through a combo package or tourist pass, you can always check discount sites such as Groupon to see if they have any deals on gondola rides.

Several of the more popular gondola companies in Venice offer their services through these websites, and these sites usually offer additional coupon codes for an extra 10% - 20% off, allowing you to save even more!


5. Come With a Group

Gondolas can safely and comfortably hold between 5-6 people, and many companies offer private gondola rides in Venice with one flat price for an entire group.

Although the sticker price for these services is usually over €120, if you’re paying that price for a group of 5 people, that would be less costly (€24 per person) than most public or shared gondola rides.

If you’re already planning to enjoy a gondola ride with multiple people, avoid the public or shared options and look for a reasonably priced private ride instead. 

Who knows? You might even save some money this way!


6. Concession Prices

Sadly, most gondola services in Venice do not offer any discounted rates for students or seniors, and a lot of them are not accessible for disabled visitors.

As a matter of fact, they usually don’t even offer discounted rates for children unless they are under 6!

Although this is a common way to save money on other activities, it’s simply not typically an option when it comes to a majority of gondola rides in Venice.


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About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: September 5th, 2022
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