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The Venetian Canals: Is a Gondola Ride in Venice Worth It?

Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

Currently, the going rate for a gondola ride in Venice is €80 for 40 minutes. That’s craziness, right?

While a gondola ride is an iconic Venetian experience that most tourists don’t want to miss, it’s pricey. And that leaves so many people wondering the same question: “Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it? Is it really worth that amount of money, for such a short time?”

For us, the answer is a nonnegotiable, absolute no. A gondola ride in Venice is not worth its high price.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

But why?

Well, simply because there’s a better alternative, in our humble opinions.

While in Venice, we opted for a Venice Boat Tour & Tower Climb with Walks of Italy, which lasted two hours and cost €98.

Sure, the tour is a bit pricier than the normal gondola ride, but it’s also much longer and allows you to see much more of Venice by boat. The tour also comes with the bonuses of a knowledgeable guide and jaw-dropping bird’s-eye views of all the Venetian islands, from the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore.

In short, if you want to cruise the canals of Venice, this boat tour with Walks of Italy is the way to go! No, it’s not your typical, iconic gondola ride. But in the end, you do get more bang for your buck and a better experience to boot!

Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it? IMG_5645

Now, before you go thinking that this boat tour takes place on a giant boat, maxing out its capacity in giddy tourists, it’s not.

Aboard our boat, there were just six guests, not including our captain and tour guide. The group was small and intimate, leaving us plenty of space to move about the boat for the best views and camera angles, and to ask our guide any questions we had about Venice.

Walks of Italy actually caps its guest count at nine guests per boat, ensuring each group is cozy and personal.

Doesn’t this sound just as good, if not better, than your typical gondola ride already? We think yes!

Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

While cruising the dreamy Venetian canals, our guide entertained us with interesting facts and stories about Venice.

Between pointing out multi-million dollar hotels and homes where celebrities live(d), places where movies were shot, and of course, the real historical facts (like when Venice was a super important city for foreign and Venetian merchants alike), we learned a ton about Venice. Certainly a lot more than we would have on a gondola!

Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

After about 1.5 hours of cruising through the canals, I was on the brink of experiencing visual overload.

Everything, everywhere was so incredibly old, rustic, and simply stunning. I couldn’t believe it.

For a first-timer in Venice, this boat tour was the perfect introduction to such a grand city! And since this was the first thing we did in Venice, the amount of photos I took during the cruise was borderline ridiculous. But so necessary.

Is a gondola ride in Venice worth itIs a gondola ride in Venice worth it Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it

At the end of our canal tour, we visited an island across from Venice, to summit the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore. This is something special that you won’t get from a normal gondola ride, and it really was the cherry on top of our tour!

From the top, we gazed out over what seemed like hundreds of islands dotting the baby blue horizon. As you can imagine, the amount of “oooooohs” and “aaahhhhhhs” emanating from the bell tower were absolutely warranted.

These views really are the best in all of Venice.

Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it? Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

After experiencing such a lovely way of seeing Venice, we can’t imagine doing it any other way. Sometimes, the touristy, iconic experiences, such as a gondola ride in Venice, are so overrated. We feel that this is one of those times.

When we reached the shore again, just outside of Piazza San Marco, we felt that we’d seen a lot more of Venice than we would’ve on a normal gondola ride, and we’d definitely learned more, too.

Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

When you visit Venice, hopefully you won’t have to wonder that oh, so typical question: Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

We’ll take quantity and quality over touristy and overrated any time. For us, a Venice Boat Tour & Tower Climb with Walks of Italy wins over a gondola ride every time.

What do you think? Have you been to Venice before? Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it? 

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Is a gondola ride in Venice worth it?

*This post contains affiliate links, which means when you make a purchase through a link on this website, we will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help keep Travel Alphas up and running, and we thank you for your support!

Travel Alphas experienced this Venice Boat Tour & Tower Climb as guests of Walks of Italy, but as always, all opinions are our own.


Maddy Cornelius

Maddy is the co-founder and editor of Travel Alphas. Mint tea, handmade pasta, gelato, and red wine are among her favorite treats. New York City, Budapest, Bali, and Florence are a few of her most-loved destinations.

  • Ciare @ TallGirlBigWorld

    I can’t believe this was your first trip to Venice! So glad you enjoyed it :) And I totally agree, the gondola rides are not worth the price. I was only there for 2 days when I visited, so I opted not to take any sort of tour. Maybe in the future though!
    -Claire
    tallgirlbigworld.com

    July 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm Reply
    • Maddy & Mauricio

      Thanks for your comment. I would definitely recommend it. I think Venice is best explored by boat because there are some canals you just can’t get to on foot.

      August 7, 2016 at 3:59 pm Reply
  • Mikéla

    Wish I had known that when I went! I just did the regular gondola ride. It was fun, but a longer time would have been better for sure!

    July 27, 2016 at 2:34 pm Reply
    • Maddy & Mauricio

      Longer is always better when it comes to the canals of Venice! ;)

      August 7, 2016 at 3:57 pm Reply
  • Lauren

    When I went with a friend we didn’t do the ride at all! From what I remember (I could be wrong too much wine) we took a bunch of water taxis and convinced ourselves that was good enough.

    If only we had known about the boat tour then! Sounds absolutely perfect. Two hours is the ideal amount of time to take it all in AND local guides are a necessity in travel.

    Looks like you’re having a ton of fun 😉

    July 28, 2016 at 4:06 pm Reply
    • Maddy & Mauricio

      As long as you experience Venice on its canals and not just on foot, I think you’re good to go!

      Probably having too much fun! ;)

      August 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm Reply
  • Hung Thai

    Agreed. Our gondola ride was actually great because of the old man who sang for us, but the guys who rowed the boat were entirely rude, talking and being absolutely unprofessional. They were so arrogant and didn’t think we were worthy of such a ride… I’m a paying customer, dudes!

    July 29, 2016 at 6:07 pm Reply
    • Maddy & Mauricio

      I’ve heard about loads of bad experiences just like this… What a bummer!

      August 7, 2016 at 3:55 pm Reply
  • Miriam londonkitchendiaries.com

    Venice is such a beautiful city! Your Venice boat tour sounds like a fantastic alternative to a Gondola ride!

    August 1, 2016 at 2:43 am Reply
    • Maddy & Mauricio

      It really is a great alternative. Wouldn’t do it any other way!

      August 7, 2016 at 3:54 pm Reply
  • lisa.

    I live in Venice and I think it is absolutely worth taking a gondola ride!!! There are many palaces on narrow canals that are only accessible by gondola, Thats the way Venice was meant to be seen…..How can anyone come to Venice and not go on a gondola ride??!!!

    January 2, 2017 at 3:16 am Reply
    • Maddy & Mauricio

      In our opinion, a gondola ride is pretty expensive for how short it is. Venice is definitely meant to be seen by its canals, but for us, that didn’t necessarily mean we had to pay for a gondola ride. Instead, we opted for a much longer canal experience, which we detailed above, where we also learned some history of the city. Thanks for your input!

      January 2, 2017 at 9:20 am Reply

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