Gondolas in Venice

Teddy takes a gondola ride

Don’t you dare say that the idea of a gondola ride through the canals of Venice sounds cliched or a tourist trap. Those things may (or may not) be true, but if you visit Venice without doing it, you will kick yourself!

The prices for gondola rides are fixed by the city, just as each gondolier must be licensed and registered, and in Teddy’s experience are generally adhered to. (Officially, rates are set by the Institiute for the conservation of the Gondola and for Gondolier’s Rights, City of Venice. Rates are applied according to the Regional Decree n° 291 23rd June 2006.)

That means a few things – first, there’s no point shopping around or asking for a discount, and secondly, you can be confident that you’re not being ripped off and that your gondolier will take good care of you. The good people of Venice know very well the value of these icons to their tourism value, and this regulation is helping to guarantee that.

If you feel like the price being asked is too much, consider this: your gondolier has studied hard to achieve and maintain his license; he buys, decorates and maintains his gondola himself (prices start around €20,000 for a new gondola unless it has been handed down from father to son); this is a physically demanding job, and he really is working hard for his money; most gondoliers actually live in Venice, which is one of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live.


A gondola awaits its next passengers

A gondola awaits its next passengers

When Teddy last visited the prices were:

  • €80 for 40 minutes during the day (max 6 people).
  • €40 for each additional 20 minutes during the day.
  • After 7pm the price rises to €100 for 40 minutes (max 6 people).
  • After 7pm each 20 minutes is an extra €50.

Your gondolier may list your options by destination rather than time, but it all usually works out the same. For example, from your departure point, he may only be able to reach inner canals and return within the first 40 minutes. He may then say that he can do those canals and the Rialto Bridge for €120. That’s just his way of saying that to include the Rialto bridge it will take extra time.

If you’re in Venice, it’s certainly a must-do. If you figure this will be your ONLY visit, then you can’t afford NOT to!


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