Tips For Your First Venetian Gondola Ride

No trip to Venice, Italy is complete without a romantic gondola ride down the canals. Everyone wants to cuddle up to a special someone, while a gondolier serenades the two of you, as you leisurely pole your way down canals. To have the best gondola ride ever, there are a couple of tips you should follow.

Tip #1: Cash

While the world may seem modern, gondola rides are still steeped in rich history. During the 1800s, gondolas were the primary mode of transportation, instead of a draw for tourists. Now, tourists flock towards the gondolas, and their gondoliers. If you want to pay with a credit card, it’s unlikely a gondoliere will have a machine. It’s always best to come armed with some cash, and then you can negotiate a fair price. Expect to pay around $100.

Tip #2: Pick Your Route

Most tourists who opt to go on a gondola ride, let their gondolier pick the route. That means you will be taken along the busy Grand Canal, and all of the other main canals trafficked by tourists. Ask your gondolier to choose a route that is not as busy, and to add a few canals that go in front of the main attractions. That way you will enjoy a quieter ride, and the beauty of empty canals. Some gondola companies offer specific routes and tours, with stops along the way. You may want to consider a specialized tour if you love architecture or food.

Tip #3: What’s Included

After negotiating a fair price, and where you want to go, it’s time to push off. Most rides include large cushions to recline on, some cozy blankets to wrap up in, and even a song or two. That depends on how happy your gondolier is that day. A gondola ride is expensive, and if you’re on a budget, consider asking some new friends from your hostel to split the cost with you. Most gondolas can accommodate six guests.

Tip #4: Enjoy The Ride

Everyone who goes to Venice, has a vision in their mind’s eye of what a gondola ride will be like. Don’t expect your gondolier to croon to you as you make your way down the canal. Most gondoliers do six or more of these tours a day, which can be a tad exhausting. Always be friendly to your gondolier, and that may win you a song. If that doesn’t work, just sit back and enjoy the views of floating palazzos, and well-dressed Venetians. It’s easy to imagine you have gone back in time.

It never hurts to learn a couple words of Italian, that way you can thank your gondolier in their native tongue, and say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye.’