Gondola Ride in Venice – 5 Things You Need to Know

Gondolas on the grand canal in venice.

Looking to book the best gondola ride Venice has to offer? I’ve got all the tips for you here! You’ve seen the movies, you’ve heard the rumors, but now the time has come to head to Venice and jump on one of those fabulous gondola rides that everyone raves about! It wouldn’t seem so, but this boat ride requires so much research!

I’ve compared all the gondola rides out there and came up with the ultimate guide on how to buy your gondola ride in Venice! In this post you’ll find everything from prices, whether to book on-site or in advance, the best time to go on a ride, plus some combo tours and lots of useful tips in the last part of the post which I recommend reading! Currently, Venice gondola prices start at €90, but I will talk in more detail about all the prices in the post.

Gondola rides in Venice are so deeply rooted in the city’s history, and they were originally used by the upper classes to go around town, so it almost feels like a rite of passage to do this when you’re visiting! If you do decide to book your ticket from a reseller, I recommend doing so in advance, as Venice gets tourists from all around the world!

I’m guessing you’re all eager to start, so let’s get going!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

If you are here just to get your tickets, here are the best links to do so:

1. Prices & booking your gondola in advance

A couple on a gondola in Venice.

One of the most important things that you should know is that the Venetian gondola ride price is set by an official association. So the prices are standard and you can read all about it on this official website.

Here are the prices per gondola (capacity – max 5 people):

  • Day tour: 40 min – €90 (each additional 20 min – extra €40)
  • Night tour (from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m.): 40 min – €110 (each additional 20 min – extra €50)

NOTE: if you want a private tour, say, for 2 people, then you will need to pay full price of the whole gondola.

The 3 main booking options are the following:

  • Book ahead through a reputable reseller like GetYourGuide 
  • Book in advance through your hotel (you’ll probably pay another fee for their service)
  • Just head into one of the gondola stations (popular ones are Saint Mark’s Square and San Moisè church) – beware that they will quote a price much higher than the one set by authorities. My friend quotes as much as €140 per person for a group ride!
Gondolas on the canal in Venice, Italy.

If you are buying on the spot, I recommend agreeing on the ride time from the beginning (some gondoliers are known to finish the rides way too early), and then paying with cash. If you are going private, don’t worry about finding a gondola – there are so many and they’re super easy to find.

Many tourists choose to book their gondola ride in advance:

  1. If they are doing a group tour (to collect 5 people)
  2. If they are doing a private one but want to make sure they will get a good guide (by reviews, not a random one from the street)

If you feel the same, then check out this great gondola ride tour, it starts at €31 per person for a shared gondola and you can cancel at any time (as long as it’s 24h hours before) and still get a full refund.

Note that the whole activity can last 45 min, but in that timeframe, you also have a 15-minute walk introduction so the actual gondola ride is 30 min. This will be a shared gondola ride and it will also include an in-app commentary and free Wi-Fi to download the app at the station!

Each tour guide (meaning gondolier) takes the route that they consider best either on the Grand Canal or smaller canals. During this tour, you’ll start from St. Mark’s Square and you’ll go on the Grand Canal, where you’ll see attractions like Teatro La Fenice, Santa Maria della Salute, and Punta della Dogana!

TOUR PRICE: from €31

Book your gondola ride in Venice

2. What to expect on a gondola ride

Gondolas on the canal in venice, italy.

Now that we’ve seen how much a traditional Venetian boat ride costs and how you can secure your spot, let’s help you get an idea of what to expect on these Venice gondola rides!

You might’ve seen in the pictures how the gondoliers and boats look, they’re usually pretty long and black (although some also have different ornaments and colorful pillows or blankets)! All gondoliers wear the “uniform” which consists of a striped top, black pants, and closed-toe shoes (some may also wear a banded straw hat)!

Some things to know about the gondoliers are that:

  • Most of them may know a bit of English, German, or French
  • Don’t expect to hear any serenades from a gondolier or any stories like you would from tour guides, as it’s not mandatory it may or may not happen depending on the particular person
  • If you want to see a particular place they’ll probably ask for a fee (or not, but it’s worth asking)
  • Some may try to cut the trip short so it’s better to agree on the timing from the beginning, especially if you’re renting one directly from the gondola station

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3. How to save money with a shared ride

A group of gondolas on a canal in venice.

If you’re traveling solo or even with your friends or partner and want to spare a few euros then you might consider ditching the private tour and joining a shared gondola tour!

Shared tours are a great way to get a cheaper price! Remember, that standard prices are €90 and that Venetian gondolas can fit up to 5 people. So, if you manage to find other tourists, or better yet, come with your friends, then you can split the price between everyone!

True, it may not be a very romantic gondola ride, but if you’re on a super tight budget and really want to do this then why not!

PRO TIP: if you want to experience the ride on one of the canals, but don’t have the budget, try taking a traghetto. It is a local ferry across the Canale Grande. True, it’s only two or three minutes, but hey, it’s also just €2!

PRO TIP 2: maybe this one is not so much a money saver, but definitely outside of the box – consider taking a private taxi when in Venice! The views are the same and you will definitely feel like James Bond!

4. Best routes & times to take a gondola ride

Gondolas on the canal in Venice, Italy.

Although the busy Grand Canal is super picturesque and you can see the town’s main attractions and even pass under the historic Rialto Bridge, it can get so, so crowded! I mean sometimes they’re so many that gondoliers have to be super careful to not crash into the other gondolas or boats!

That’s why I would recommend taking a ride in a lesser-known neighborhood (so, not St. Marks on the Grand Canal)! Not only will your expert gondolier be much happier (as he won’t be stressed out to get you out of the crowds) but you’ll actually get to enjoy the ride!

You’ll get to experience Venice at a different pace and not have to worry whether you’ll actually get to see something instead of maneuvering around the other boats!

If you’re looking for some great spots that are far from Piazza San Marco and the other famous sites then consider looking in places like San Polo near Santa Sofia Church, Campo San Barnaba, and the Jewish Ghetto where the narrow canals are pretty free!

A group of people riding gondolas down a canal in Venice.

By the way, if you’re looking for some places to stay in those areas or near attractions like Piazzale Roma, then check out our post with the best boutique hotels in Venice! You’ll find so many fun options there!

Now, if you’ve got your heart set on taking your gondola ride in Venice on the Grand Canal and actually pass by the Rialto Bridge area and St. Mark’s Square, then I definitely recommend going super early in the morning. This is especially better if you’re traveling during the summer months (June, July, August) when it can get super hot.

Ideally, be at the gondola station at 9 a.m. as that’s when the gondoliers start taking rides. Alternatively, 20 minutes before sunset is a great time for fantastic pictures, but in this case you should definitely take your gondola from a less crowded spot as this is prime time and you will spend half of your ride time just trying to get out!

5. Best combo tours in Venice

large building with a bridge over a canal

Alright then, I’m guessing you’re looking to explore other attractions while you’re in Venice, right?

If so, then you might consider getting a combo tour which basically has the regular gondola ride plus entrance and tours of famous sites like the Doge’s Palace and the San Marco Basilica!

I’ve searched the web and found some incredible options with great prices that I think you’re going to love. So let’s check them out:

  • Doge’s Palace, Basilica, and gondola ride – in 3h you’ll get to experience Venice’s most incredible sites! This tour costs €135 and includes entry tickets to the beautiful Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica (also known as the Golden Basilica) plus a 30 min ride on the Grand Canal.
  • Walking tour and gondola ride – if you’d love to hear all about the history of Venice from a knowledgeable guide and explore all the hidden corners then book this combo walking tour and gondola ride that lasts around 3h and costs €65. This tour goes on the quiet canals but you’ll get to see the Grand Canal at St. Mark’s Basin.
  • Gondola ride & guided tour of St. Mark’s Basilica – this combo tour is great for those who have a shorter time in the city and only want to visit the Basilica! The whole activity lasts 1.5 hours and costs €95 and it includes a guided tour of the Church plus a gondola ride on the Grand Canal.
  • Doge’s Palace and gondola ride – join a tour of Doge’s Palace and learn so many interesting things about Venetian history! This activity can last up to 2h and it costs €120. After you admire the beautiful architecture of the Palace you can head to the Grand Canal and enjoy a nice 30 min gondola ride.

Important things you should know before your visit

A woman in a hat looking at gondolas in venice.

Well, now that we’ve learned so many things about how you can buy your gondola ride in Venice, what to expect from it, and how to save money plus a bunch more tips on the best routes to take and combo tours, I think we should move on to some practical information that I think everyone should know!

  • The price of the ride is set by an official association so you can’t negotiate it!
  • A Venetian gondola can hold up to 5 passengers plus the gondolier and that’s the maximum
  • Don’t take the first Venice gondola you see, especially if you’re near the Grand Canal (which is super busy). Explore the areas which aren’t so touristic and go on the smaller Venice canals
  • Before you climb aboard your Venetian gondola, make sure you ask the gondolier which route he wants to take and agree on the time, you can even chat with them a bit and see if he seems like a nice person
  • Go early in the morning to the gondola station, especially if you want a private gondola ride and a more romantic experience (they start taking clients at 9 a.m.)
  • If you didn’t book your gondola ride in Venice in advance then make sure you bring cash with you to pay as you can’t use your card
  • You can definitely take young kids on a gondola ride! Many families do this and the kids love every moment of it
🚣 Gondola ride price:€90
💲 Cheapest tickets:on-site
🤔 Best combo tour:Palace & Basilica Ride
⏰ When to visit:9 a.m.

FAQs about your gondola ride in Venice

Gondolas on a canal in Venice, Italy.

💰 How much does a gondola ride cost in Venice?

The standard price for gondola rides in Venice is €90 for a 40 min trip across the canals in the city during the day and €110 for a gondola ride at night.

💸 Do I need to tip my gondolier?

Tipping is not required or expected on a gondola ride, but if you feel like your gondolier went above and beyond to make your experience unforgettable, consider leaving a 5 – 10% tip.

🚣 Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

Although it is on a pricier side, a private ride (or shared if you want to spare some euros) is a great way to experience Venice. So, yes, I think it’s definitely so worth it!

⏰ How long does it take to ride the gondola in Venice?

The minimum time is 30 to 40 minutes but you can pay extra if you want a longer tour, usually you pay €40 for every 20 minutes extra.

🤔 How much does a gondola ride in Venice cost for 5 people?

It depends on where you’re getting your gondola ride from. If you’re buying it on-site, you’ll pay €90 for a gondola, so €18 per person.


Gondolas docked on the water in venice, italy.

Are you ready to admire the architectural beauty of palazzos from your own gondola ride, and visit the city’s incredible attractions?

I hope that this post offers you more light on how to book your gondola ride in Venice! You’ll find so much information on prices, which routes to take and even some combo tours for anyone who wants to visit other attractions as well!

There’s a lot of information to take in (guilty of charge) but trust me, it’s better to be informed, especially in such a touristic place like Venice!

If you need a bit of help choosing just one activity from the many options I gave you, here are my top 2 favorites:

  • Join a gondola ride on the Grand Canal – admire Venice’s beautiful attractions while on this small group tour that goes on the Grand Canal
  • Private gondola ride – choose your own route, take as many pictures as you want, enjoy your champagne if you want – this one is fully customizable!

Enjoy your holidays in one of the most romantic cities in Italy!

Safe travels,


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How to book the best gondola ride in venice, italy.

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