I need to explain something about gondola service in Venice!
The Gondola isn't a public transport, but a private traditional tour with "round trip" (alternative routes are almost impossible) , isn't different from Camel ride in Morocco, Elephant ride in India or ... roller coaster at Disneyland! but ISN'T like a taxi.
The price are high, 120 euro for 1 hour (discount for 1/2 hour it's possible to negotiate, but not too much).
About the "big gondole without any furniture" isn't gondola but another kind of boat, user: SELVA73 you really need a good optician!
It's really expensive, maybe not necessary but from the gondola you can admire Venice from a unique spot and if you can afford 120 euro you'll never forget the "ride"
Unique Suggestions: doesn't accept "free murano tour" from the people o the road, ask to your hotel info and tips!
I think gondoles are not useful for tourists just for waste the money. Well, they are beautiful but at the begining, there were a public transportation and now... is a expensive luxury attraction. The unique gondolas that are useful are the big ones in black and they are without any furniture, just for help people pass from a bay to another. But aren't so beautiful than the expensive ones, that's for sure.
Ah yes, the romance of a gondolier in his striped shirt and wide brimmed hat slowly rowing you around a near deserted canal near sunset. Lovely indeed, if you don't fall in the canal first when the gondolier tells you how much it's going to cost. I seem to remember being quoted 100 euro for half an hour.
Unique Suggestions: Vaporetto are like public buses, they get you from here to there efficiently and cheaply
I knew before going to Venice that I wouldn't be going on a gondola ride. At a going rate of 80 Euros for a 40-minute ride, it felt like the ultimate tourist trap. What I hadn't imagined, however, was how unromantic a gondola ride in Venice could be! I'm sure there are people out there who've had different experiences, but as we were walking around the city, we often saw long lines of gondolas following each other down the overcrowded canals - no exactly what I would call a romantic experience! And needless to say, none of the gondeliers were singing since you need to pay extra for that service. I never thought I would say this, but the gondola ride at the Las Vegas Venetian almost seems like a better deal!
Unique Suggestions: Since it doesn't seem like a romantic thing to do, if I were determined to on a gondola ride I would at least try to find other people willing to go with me (gondolas can seat up to six people) with whom I could split the cost of the ride. However, you do need to agree on the price before you go as some gondoliers might try to boost the price if they see a group coming.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to know what it feels like to ride in a gondola, you can take the traghetto across the Grand Canal for a mere 50 cents (see my transportation tip)!
I KEEP THINKING IF ONE DIDN'T ASSOCIATE RIDING A GONDOLA AND BEING IN VENICE.. ....WOULD GONDOLA RIDES STILL BE ROMANTIZED. .,,OR WOULD THEY BE WORTH THE MONEY???
Unique Suggestions: IF YOU GET ON ONE ..LOOK INTO THE EYES OF THE LOVED ONE AND NOT THINK OF HOW MUCH YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR THE TRIP..
Fun Alternatives: HAVE FUN ON THE OTHER BOATS THAT DON'T COST SO MUCH..
Most will over charge you and they lie to you about the trip and where the boat goes. You get a small canal and the ride is about 10-15 min. Don't believe me? Look at the people's faces as they are pulling back in - they are confused because they think they are taking a brief break. We asked and were told that we would be take by someone else through the Grand Canal....not true. I do not even think they are allowed to make an entire Grand Canal trip....and think about it, do you think they really want to work through it? Its a lot of work....but hey they do charge you around what that trip would cost, except you don't get it....lol. Was not funny at the time and I swore I was never going back to Venice. But in fact I am, so I can do the following:
Unique Suggestions: Find out the Italy / Italian policies before you go. Not sure where you could find this. But it’s worth it to at least make the following work. lol And if not, do this but don't ride or trust them lol.
Mess with them and pull out a Venice map and ask them exactly where you will be going. Pull out a pen and ask them to draw it for you. Ask exactly where the trip would be ending. Then maybe ask their name, and the name of their company. Ask what is their policy - such as if they are lying or if the service they provided is inaccurate or not acceptable. Then say you will be paying when you reach that end point, or once you get to the destination along the Grand Canal. That or get them back for me. Seriously ruined my day.
Fun Alternatives: Take the metro water bus along the grand canal and sit on the open back portion of the boat. Great pictures, less stressful, won't feel lied to or cheated, and will not leave a bad taste in your mouth........
I knew from this site that gondoliers are not the most frank when it comes to prices. On the waterfront by the Campanile at St Mark's, I asked what the price was for 50 mins. I was quoted 200 Euros. I laughed, and walked away. Within five paces two more gondoliers accosted me "No! he has got it wrong! 100 Euros!" I asked "What is the official rate?", but they just mumbled and went away. No gondolier I spoke to would state the official rate.
There is a very good free weely listings booklet issued by the Federation of Venice Hotel Concierges (get it fom any hotel) where the Society of Gondoliers has a page. It clearly states the Venice City Council regulation rate: 40 minutes ride 80 €, maximun 6 people per gondola
For each additional 20 minutes € 40 . Higher charges after 8.00 p.m. Visit the official Venice Tourist Board Site www.tourismovenezia.it (English version).
We were based near San Toma vaporetto stage, and there is a gondola station there. It is off the main tourist route, so we turned up, I said "Per favore, 80 euros for 40 minutes? " and we were away - no haggling, no outrageous try-on, and a very interesting trip on the Grande Canale and backwaters.
The other thing to do is to take a traghetto - these are gondolas which act like bridges. There are about 6 crossing points over the Grande Canale - and costs only 50 cents. Saves walking to either fixed bridge, or getting a vaporetto.
Lot of people, unfortunately, are victim of the so-called Gondola Scam, that is to say, they are charged much more than they should for a gondola ride. You might be interested in knowing that during the last police control in Venice (2006), approximately 10% of the gondola rides were illegal (...!). So now, few important things you should absolutely know. Gondolas are like taxis, which means they have an *official fare* that is set by the local authority.
The official fare (adjourned Jun 2007, there's been a huge increase wrt 2005...) is:
80.00 euro for the standard 40 minutes ride (max 6 persons) during day time [8am - 7pm]
100.00 euro for the standard 40 minutes ride (max 6 persons) during night time [7pm - 8am]
You can ask for a longer tour, in which case the fare increases as follows:
40.00 euro for each 20 additional minutes (day time) [8am - 7pm]
50.00 euro for each 20 additional minutes (night time) [7pm - 8am]
So, don't be trapped into the Gondola scam: before you ride, be sure that you are getting the proper fare. Of course, you pay the other extras (if you want, say, somebody playing while you ride), so in general just be sure beforehand that you are getting the standard fare.
Be sure they don't play the classic "day/night" trick, ie maybe charging you the night time fare even if it is day time, so check that too (remember daytime is 8am - 7pm, and night time is 7pm - 8am, so it doesn't matter whether it's dark or not!!) . Or the classic "route" trick, where they charge you more because you were asking for a specific route (you can let them drive you along, but in those 50 minutes you can also ask them for a personalized route, just like a taxi!).
Also, remember that by law PRICES HAVE TO BE EXPOSED, both at the gondola boot, and clearly visible on the gondola itself. If it is not the case, then the gondola owner is in trouble. So if he tries to squeeze more money out of you, you know what to do, ask for a police officer to come.
Unique Suggestions: If after the ride you think you have been charged more than the above without a reason, don't hesitate ABSOLUTELY NOT TO PAY, and ask for a police officer to come, you'll note how in this case the dishonest gondola owners will suddenly become much more reasonable and charge you what is due and not more! Remember what said above: the official fares (set by law each year) have in any case to be clearly exposed both on the gondola and on the boot.
Fun Alternatives: Take a "Traghetto", the cheap gondola rides from one side of the main canal (Canal Grande) to the other side. Quick, but so cheap, at least you'll have tried the experience.
Or take a public boat (esp. the number 1 line, that slowly rides thru the Canal Grande).
Taking a gondola ride was a must for us, and it was fun. But we were disappointed as our gondolier talked on his cell phone during the entire ride. We would have liked a little narrative on the area or history of gondolas.
Unique Suggestions: Ask up front if you will get any narrative on the ride.
Fun Alternatives: There is no alternative to a gondola ride in Venice. Just be sure you ask questions before you choose one.
Gondolas are one of the symbols of Venice and very poular with tourists. However, rides in them are extremely expensive. Gondoliers will try to charge you over 100 Euros for a ride that lasts less than an hour. You must haggle with them to get the price down to a reasonable level. This can be a challenge when your child keeps repeating "Daddy, I want to go on thegondola ride!" over and over again!
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