When most people think of Venice, they think of gondola rides. And if you just think about them in the abstract, they sound like they’d be dreamy and romantic, right? That it’s absolutely one of those things you “have to” do when you’re in Venice, especially if you’re with a sweetheart. What most people don’t factor into their dream of a gondola ride in Venice are the crowds of people peering down at you from the city’s many bridges – which kind of ruin the whole intimate and romantic vibe – and the massive pile of cash you’re going to have to fork over in order to take even a short tour.
So – what do you do? Do you bite the bullet, hand over a big wad of money and try to ignore the gawkers, or do you forgo the whole experience? The answer depends largely on how much you’ll regret not doing it if you leave without hopping on a gondola. If you’ve dreamed of a gondola ride in Venice for ages, you’ve got to do it – no matter what it costs. If you’re on your honeymoon, you’ve kind of got to do it anyway, just because. For budget travelers who simply must ride in a gondola, gather a group together and split the cost – most gondolas can fit 6-7 people, and splitting the cost that many ways can really make it an affordable experience (even if it’s no longer romantic with such a crowd). As for the spectators on the bridges, you’ll just have to try to pretend they’re not there.
But if neither the two options laid out here – paying through the nose for a gondola ride or going without – sound acceptable, there is another way: take a gondola ride across the Grand Canal.
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The Grand Canal in Venice only has a few bridges crossing it, so people funnel into those bridges or they pay a few Euro to hop in a gondola (the canal-crossing gondolas are called “traghetti”) and get rowed across. Now, it’s a much shorter ride than you’d get if you paid for the full-on gondola tour, and you’ll probably end up in a gondola with more than just your sweetie by your side, but it’ll cost you a fraction of what a tour would cost you – and the gondolas themselves are exactly the same.
>> Before you go to Venice, be sure to check know the current official fares for gondola rides – it can save you lots of money!
>> You can still appreciate the beauty of these beautiful vessels without riding in one – check out these gorgeous pictures of Venice gondolas, and then get your own shots when you visit!
>> Don’t forget to check out the other things to do in Venice!