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The 7 Best Venice Gondola Rides [2023 Reviews]

If you’re going to be in Venice, you absolutely have to take a gondola ride. Not only is it something that is so uniquely Venetian, but it is also the only way you’re going to see some of the most amazing parts of the city!

While it may be “touristy”, it’s just something that’s a must, just like seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

However, these rides can be a bit pricey, so to get the best bang for your buck we bring you the top Venice gondola rides available!

Best Gondola Tours In Venice

Venice: Private Gondola Ride Along Canal GrandeVenice: Grand Canal Private Gondola Ride and SerenadeVenice: Private Gondola Ride with Photo Shoot

Best Value Ride

Best Romantic Ride

Best Ride & Photo Shoot

editors choice
Venice: Private Gondola Ride along Canal Grande  Venice: Grand Canal Private Gondola Ride and Serenade Venice: Private Gondola Ride with Photo Shoot
Departure:Gondola station in front of Hotel BauerCampo Santo StefanoHotel pickup and drop-off included
Start:9:30 AM - 6:30 PM 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Duration:30 to 45 minutes30 minutes2 hours
Includes:Private gondola ride, inside information about VenicePrivate 30-minute gondola ride, live music with serenade, Skip-the-line accessEnglish-speaking tour, guide, private 30-minute gondola ride, professional photographer

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking


Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Venice Gondola Rides For 2023

  1. Best Value Ride: Venice Private Gondola Ride along Canal Grande
  2. Best Romantic Ride: Venice Grand Canal Private Gondola Ride and Serenade
  3. Best Ride: & Photo Shoot: Venice Private Gondola Ride with Photo Shoot
  4. Best Sightseeing Ride: Venice 1-Hour Gondola Ride on the Grand Canal with Guide
  5. Best Luxury Ride: Gondola + Gala Dinner in Venetian Palace
  6. Best Evening Ride: Venice Private Gondola Ride by Night
  7. Best Private Ride: Venice Private 45-Minute Gondola Ride

Venice Gondola Tour Reviews

1. Best Value Ride: Venice Private Gondola Ride Along Canal Grande

Venice: Private Gondola Ride along Canal Grande

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Departure: Meet at the gondola station in front of Hotel Bauer, just a 2-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square
  • Departure Time: 9:30 AM – 6:30 PM
  • Includes: Private gondola ride, inside information about Venice

Our first tour is one of the most well-rated excursions, consistently, and we can see why. The Venice: Private Gondola Ride Along Canal Grande lasts anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes but is easily one of the best experiences guests have in Venice!

With limited visitors, it’s not as crowded as it’s been in the past, for a more “authentic” experience as well! You’ll start off by meeting your guide at the gondola station in front of Hotel Bauer, which is just a few blocks from Mark’s Square.

The gondoliers are very kind, and really will teach you a lot about the city – even if you’re already well-versed in Venetian history! While there are various start options to choose from, we really like doing the ride around sunset or dusk.

The sun perfectly reflects off of the water, offering an even more romantic feel!

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After boarding an authentic gondola, where your gondolier will give you a very quick safety briefing and answer any questions you may have.

You will start by cruising down the Canal Grande – an infamous part of Italian history! Along the way, you’ll get to see all kinds of historic sights, including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, St. Mark’s Square, Fenice Opera House, Punta della Dogana, and much more.

We also thought it was pretty fun to pass under a shorter bridge, where you can see spots only reachable by gondola. With an included, free mobile app, it will offer commentary in your language as well as interesting stories of this area.

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


2. Best Romantic Ride: Venice Grand Canal Private Gondola Ride and Serenade

 Venice: Grand Canal Private Gondola Ride and Serenade

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Departure: Campo Santo Stefano
  • Departure Time: 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM
  • Includes: Private 30-minute gondola ride, live music with serenade, Skip-the-line access

Speaking of romance, our next tour really ramps it up with a full-blown serenade! If you like the idea of professional musicians singing famous Italian songs to you while you glide down the Grand Canal on an authentic gondola, then you’re in the right place!

The Venice: Grand Canal Private Gondola Ride and Serenade offers all that and more! Aside from enjoying some authentic Italian food, this may be the best 30 minutes you’ll spend in Venice and it’s hard not to take advantage of this tour more than once!

On this ride, you get the option of starting at either 10 am or 7 pm, though we recommend trying both! If you do decide on the 7 pm ride, you’ll experience twilight glimmering off of the calm canal waters which just amplifies this magical time.

This is the city’s most traditional mode of transport, and really offers insight into the lifestyle that Venetian locals lived back then.

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Sit back and enjoy being serenaded by professional musicians – from vocalists to guitarists to accordion players! While you listen to the beautiful music, you will be able to feel the fresh breeze and enjoy the incredible views of historical palaces, bridges, and more!

Glide under the infamous Accademia Bridge, which is one of just 4 bridges to cross the Grand Canal.

However, this one really stands out with its pure wood, modern construction! It’s used to quickly travel from San Marco to the cool Dorsoduro neighborhood.

There’s plenty of Byzantine and Rococo architecture to awe, and make mental notes to check them out more close-up later!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


3. Best Ride & Photo Shoot: Venice Private Gondola Ride with Photo Shoot

Venice: Private Gondola Ride with Photo Shoot

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off included
  • Departure Time: 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Includes: English-speaking tour, guide, private 30-minute gondola ride, professional photographer

Venice is already a memorable place that just demands to have photos taken of it. However, if you’re traveling with your significant other or even by yourself and would like professional photos to remember the trip, this is one of the best options out there!

The Venice: Private Gondola Ride with Photo Shoot is a bit longer than the other tours we’ve covered so far but the extra time is for more photo ops!

Lasting 2 hours, you’ll be lead by a tour escort which will take you not only through the most popular route, but to the more hidden spots of Venice not everyone gets to see.

All the while, you have a personal photographer with you to capture these moments so you can hang them on the wall and enjoy them for many years to come.

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Your guide will meet you at your hotel so you know exactly where to go, and as they are native Venetians they’ll show you all kinds of little nooks and crannies throughout your journey to the canal.

Say “goodbye” to selfies that don’t usually capture the timeless beauty of the canal and surrounding architecture that dates back hundreds of years.

Sail through charming little passageways and don’t worry about posing or anything like that. Your professional personal photographer will take care of everything for you.

Once you’re finished with the ride, your photographer will later send you your photo book through Dropbox so the quality isn’t affected. This makes it easy to print them out or share online or with family! They make great holiday cards and gifts, too!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


4. Best Sightseeing Ride: Venice 1-Hour Gondola Ride on the Grand Canal with Guide

Venice: 1-Hour Gondola Ride on the Grand Canal with Guide

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Departure: Santa Maria del Giglio gondola station, Campiello Traghetto 2467, next to Hotel Gritti Palace
  • Departure Time: 10:00 AM & 3:00 PM
  • Includes: 1-hour private gondola ride, personal guide

If you’re going along with a few more people, then this is the gondola tour for you. The Venice: 1-Hour Gondola Ride on the Grand Canal with Guide tour lets you bring up to 5 people along for the ride, so everyone can enjoy this incredible ride!

The guides make it such a fun time, telling funny anecdotes and providing history lessons while you take in the stunning views of the surrounding architecture.

The entire Canal Grande area is charming and quite enthralling, but once you learn more about its history, even more so! This is what we really enjoyed about this ride – that it was much more than just riding in a gondola (though that’s fun too!).

We love this tour for surprises among family members and friends! Even if you know someone who wouldn’t normally go on a canal ride on a gondola, this is such an incredible experience!

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The guides are so friendly, and most are locals so they know quite a bit of the island’s history, along with how canals were used for a significant mode of transportation.

Make sure to watch the surrounding architecture, such as Pass Ca Dario, Casanova’s home, Palazzo Grassi, Ca Bembo, Ca Rezzonico, Ca Pesaro, Rialto Bridge, Mozart’s home, Campo Manin, and much more!

They’ll teach you about the La Serenissima’s history, along with the Peggy Guggenheim Museum (another you should check out if you have the time!).

All of these sights are enthralling on their own, but with the added history lessons from the guide, you’ll really see them from a different perspective!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


5. Best Luxury Ride: Gondola + Gala Dinner in Venetian Palace

Gondola + Gala Dinner in Venetian Palace

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup in Venice islands or San Marco Square
  • Departure Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Includes: Tour escort, aperitif and dinner

Perhaps you’re looking for a gondola tour that’s a bit longer than most others. Or maybe you are on the hunt for a tour that is so typically Venetian, with a romantic twist. Either way, we recommend you check out the Gondola + Gala Dinner in Venetian Palace.

This 2.5-hour tour is the perfect date night activity, featuring a charming private gondola ride with an experienced local gondolier, aperetivo and dinner in a luxe location, along with a romantic tour.

If you want to do something really special for your significant other, this is really an incredible option. Start off by meeting in front of Museo Dell’Accademia, where you’ll meet your guide and board your private gondola.

Cruise around the cool canal, where you’ll be able to feel the breeze through your hair while you check out the palaces and other significant pieces of architecture on land.

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You’ll also see just how convenient this mode of transportation is, and how so much of the city is only accessible by these routes.

As you cruise, your guide will either let you talk amongst yourselves or you can all chat and learn about the city. Whatever works best for you.

You’ll see that opposite the canal, is one of the most important palaces in all of Venice. Hundreds of years ago, nobles would dance at elegant balls with walls hung with famous paintings and frescoes.

Today, it serves a much different purpose as it’s now a boutique hotel where you’ll get to spend a romantic evening with a glass of wine, delicious dinner, and incomparable views.

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


6. Best Evening Ride: Venice Private Gondola Ride by Night

Venice: Private Gondola Ride by Night

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Departure: Fondamenta Cossetti, 30135 Venice, Italy
  • Departure Time: 7:00 PM, 7:30 PM, 8:00 PM
  • Includes: Roughly 30-minute private gondola ride, all taxes, fees, and handling charges

If you have a full day planned but still want to experience a gondola tour, there are also night tours available! The Venice: Private Gondola Ride by Night is a great way to spend an evening before dinner or maybe grab an espresso or treat afterward.

Whether you go with your significant other or with friends, we’re sure you’ll love experiencing the Grand Canal at dusk. While Venice certainly is magical in the daylight, it offers a different, enchanting vibe once the sun sets.

The lights in the surrounding buildings turn on, glittering off the calm waters to create a real-life image that looks like a work of art come to life. This 30-minute gondola ride allows you to see the city as it was made so many years ago, with this traditional mode of transportation.

Your guide will tell you all about the city’s history, how the gondolas came to be, and the kind of lifestyle Venetians lived back in the day.

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Not only that, but you’ll learn how they’re still a crucial part of this famous city’s daily operations!

It’s interesting to see how some of the canal is so big – almost like the size of a river – while others are much smaller and pass under short bridges.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, there were easily over 10,000 gondolas operating regularly on the canals. Today, there are around 400 so you can imagine just how busy the waters used to be!

You’ll have a great time learning about each gondola’s symbolic significances, such as the 5 or 6 pettini or prongs, which refer to the districts of the city! The iron “S” is also meant to refer to the flow of the Canal Grande.

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


7. Best Private Ride: Venice Private 45-Minute Gondola Ride

Venice: Private 45-Minute Gondola Ride

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Departure: S. Moisè Gondola Pier on Calle Larga XXII Marzo
  • Departure Time: 9:00 AM – 5:45 PM
  • Includes: Private 45-minute gondola ride

Next up, we bring you the Venice: Private 45-Minute Gondola Ride. This ride fits up to 5 guests, where you’ll get to see parts of the city you wouldn’t get to without sailing through the Grand Canal.

Your experienced guide will navigate through the waters, teaching you all about the gondolas and their significance in Venetian history in just less than an hour!

Start out by meeting your guide just a few minutes away from St. Mark’s Square, where they’ll help you board the private gondola.

If you’re looking to just peacefully experience the calm waters of the canal, along with the beautiful architecture that surrounds it, this is the tour for you.

Not everyone is into gondola rides where the gondolier talks the entire time or where musicians serenade you onboard.

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Perhaps you’d like a romantic evening with a significant other where you just talk amongst yourselves.

This ride lets you check out significant buildings such as various palaces, and famous bridges in Venice such as Rialto Bridge. The Rialto Bridge was originally constructed towards the end of the 16th century, and is simply magnificent!

It’s quite robust, with intricate details that make it feel like you’re in a movie! As the oldest bridge that crosses the canal, it evokes that Renaissance spirit in every way.

Make sure to take note of places you see along the way that you’d like to explore more once you get back on land! This view of Venice definitely allows you to see things from a different perspective!

 

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


FAQ About Gondola Rides

  1. What is a gondola? A gondola is a narrow, flat-bottomed boat that originated in the 11th century. Gondola rides are a popular tourist activity in Venice and offer a unique way to see the city.
  2. How long does a gondola ride last? Gondola rides typically last between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the route and the tour chosen.
  3. How much does a gondola ride cost? The cost of a gondola ride in Venice varies, but expect to pay around 80 to 100 euros for a 40-minute ride. Prices are typicall higher during peak tourist season of April, May, June, September, and October.
  4. Can you negotiate the price of a gondola ride? Prices are set by the city and are the same for all operators. This avoids tourists from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous tour operators.
  5. Are gondola rides romantic? Yes! Riding in a gondola is considered to be romantic activity as they offer a unique and intimate way to see the city. Many couples choose to take a gondola ride as a special activity during their vacation or honeymoon while in Venice.
  6. Are gondola wheelchair accessible? Gondola rides are generally not wheelchair accessible since the boats are narrow and do not have room for a wheelchair. However, there are other boat tours available in Venice that are wheelchair accessible.
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The Private Gondola Ride along Canal Grande is our Editor's Choice for the best Venice gondola ride.

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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