Is a Venice Gondola Ride Worth it? Riding the Canals of Venice, Italy.


One of the most popular tourist attractions in Venice, Italy is the ability to take a gondola ride around the canals of Venice. It’s not a cheap experience, with rides costing upwards of 80€ ($93 USD) for 30 minutes. Having been to Venice before, and not having experienced the rides, I wasn’t going to miss out on this experience. Was it all worth it? We outlay our experience riding a Venice Gondola here…

This post is one chapter on our trip to Malta, Italy and Germany. This trip was enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status and credited to Alaska Mileage Plan and Air Canada’s Aeroplan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Activity: Is a Venice Gondola Ride Worth It? Riding the Canals of Venice, Italy.

We started the day with breakfast on the patio of the Westin Regina Europa. Today we had lots of gondoliers singing. It was very sunny and warm without a umbrella.

Getting to the Gondola:

We headed up town for a little shopping. MrsWT73 wanted to take a look inside H&M. I’d always wanted to do a gondola ride in Venice so we set out to explore options.

Firstly, getting a gondola ride requires locating a gondola post. It’s not like hailing a cab from anywhere, or picking one up at random; the gondola’s have set departure and return posts.

We tried to get a gondola ride by the post near the Westin Regina Europa hotel, but they were lined up about 30 passengers deep. They were also scheduled to be off for lunch until 2 PM. As a result, we headed up town to Al Merca for a little snack to let the lines subside.

Chichetti at Al Merca
Al Merca Wine Bar: Over 30 Wines available by the Glass

Taking stock of the situation, we meandered back over the Rialto Bridge to Al Mecra, a counter based wine and chichetti bar that served over 30 wines by the glass. A quick fill up on prosciutto and a few glasses of Pinot Grigio.

Chichetti Local Snacks
Decoding Venice’s Street Signs

After a snack fill, we meandered over calle gondolieri and queued up for a gondola ride. The rides are still posted at a flat rate of 80€ ($93 USD) for 30 minutes. I didn’t try one on my last visit in another life and had always regretted it. Despite being a bit on the expensive side, I wasn’t going to miss it this time around.


The Sights from a Venice Gondola Ride:

We were assigned our private gondola just for two along with our gondolieri. Before we knew it, we were off floating down the canals of Venice.

Quiet Shady Canals

The ride itself was peaceful, and completely quiet except for the water rowing noises at times. At other times, it was busier and louder as you heard the sounds of Venice all around you.

Peaceful Floating
Passing under Venice’s Street Bridges

Floating the Grand Canale:

Our route took us up to the Grand Canale just south of the Rialto bridge. As always, the canal was a hive of activity and felt like one of the busiest waterways in the world. It felt like we were returning to one of the busy highway waterways of the world. A busy highway that seemed exceptionally posh.

Views of the Rialto Bridge
A Waterway View of the Grand Canal
Floating towards luxury hotels
Our Gondolier for Today

The views on the Grande Canale from the water were truly impressive. It was much nicer to take in the sights from a slow moving gondola than the smelly and fumy vaporetto ferry; the local public rapid transit.

Shoreline Views off the Grand Canale
Aman Resorts in Venice
Floating Buildings in Venice

Out gondolier took us past the Aman Hotel where George and Amal Clooney got married. He was pretty excited that I knew about the existence of the property.

An Aman Hotel in Venice
Gondolier Views

The route took us back towards the canal area and back into quiet again. Our gondolier driver had a quick cigarette vape while we were on the grand canal – something I noticed a lot of the other gondolier drivers doing at one point or another. I would have thought that these guys would have been the athletic non smoker types having to huff and puff a boat around all day but I guess not. This isn’t a criticism but more of a personal observation.

A Trojan Horse Marked our Gondola
The Rialto Bridge

Returning to the Canals:

Our float would have us returning to the quiet canals, where we started our ride.

Returning Under Venice’s Bridges

There was a small pile up as they queued us to disembark all the gondoliers on this circular route.

Shady Canals
Gondola Traffic Jams

The 80€ fee (plus tips) is steep, but of all the tourist attractions, tickets, entrance fees I have spent money on around the world, a gondola ride is one of the most memorable things that I’ve always wanted to do since I could remember.

The experience of gliding along on a gondola, through quiet and busy, underneath bridges while people snap photographs of you from the busy canals above. It was truly a clichéd but magical experience.

A Last Look at St Mark’s Square:

We headed though San Marco’s square in our last hours of our stay in Venice. It was another beautiful fall day.

Tunnel Passage Ways Near St Mark’s Square
Piazza San Marco
St Mark’s Square
Among the most beautiful squares in Europe

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Venice. It’s probably among the more expensive destinations that I’ve had the experience to visit, but at the same time its completely unique in almost every way. I was happy we got the experience for the gondola ride. The Westin Europa Venice was pretty good to us overall. A last closing view from the Ponte Accademia Bridge today before we left the city.

Last Views at the Ponte Accademia

Was a Gondola Ride in Venice Worth it?

A Venice Gondola Ride has to be one of the most popular and clichéd tourist attractions. It’s expense of 80€ if off putting to many. Despite this, it is one of the most interesting and calming tourist attractions. There is nothing like getting a different perspective of the city known for its charming walkways from the perspective of the water ways.

If you’ve visited Venice, did you take a gondola ride and did you find it worthwhile?

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