Picture this. You’re taking in the beautiful and very unique views that Venice has to offer. You see other tourists doing the same from the comfort of their gondolas. The sun is beaming. There’s a light, crisp sea breeze blowing through your hair. It’s the perfect, relaxing way to wind down from a jam-packed touristy day you just had. You turn to your right to admire the Santa Maria della Salute Basilica, when all of a sudden, you see another gondola coming right towards you! You’re going 5 mph but it seems like they’re going 80…it’s like you’re in the movie Speed 2! The other boat is heading to slice your boat into two, but then time decides to be on your side. It narrowly misses your gondola by a couple of feet and you breathe out a sigh of relief. If your gondola was just a few seconds slower, you could have been swimming in the 16-feet deep Grand Canal.
Ok maybe I’m just being dramatic, but that really did happen. Maybe not in a Speed 2 type of manner, but it did happen! I really thought there was going to be a gondola crash that day. Fortunately, we were spared.
Prior to my trip when I was researching all things Venice, I read that gondola rides are very expensive and can cost around 80 Euros. An alternative if you’re on a budget is a traghetto, for about 2 Euros. The difference is that a traghetto is less private – you’ll be sharing the boat with up to 14 people.
Luckily, I happened to see a sign for a gondola ride – 20 Euros.
And it’s exactly how I imagined it would be – from the red-cushioned seats with cheesy, fuzzy heart-shaped backs, all the way to the gondolier wearing the striped shirt. (he was missing the hat and red scarf though).
For those of you who get sea sick, don’t worry. The boat ride was actually pretty smooth for the most part. There were a couple of times where it got a little rocky and I did feel like the gondola was going to capsize, but it didn’t. I even asked our gondolier how often that happens (just for my own peace of mind) and he said it has happened, but not very often.
The gondola ride lasted 30 minutes, but this also included the 10 minutes it took for them to get back to the pick up point. And since most gondolas seem to start off in the same area, there was a bit of traffic. So the bottom line is, don’t be deterred by the obscene pricing that your research might tell you. If you have 20 Euros to spare, the gondola ride is definitely worth it. After all, gondolas and Venice go hand in hand. You can’t leave without experiencing it!