Why I didn’t ride the gondolas in Venice!

Venice gondolas

Why I didn’t ride the gondolas in Venice.

Hello fellow budget hunters,

This is a post about a controversial topic. I went to Venice this summer, and I didn’t go in a gondola. Guess what? I don’t even regret it, like so many people assumed I would.

This is not going to persuade you that my opinion is the right one, as I wrote in my Traveller v Tourist debate post. If you want to be a tourist go for it, if you want to be a ‘traveller’ go for it. But, I want to run through my personal reasoning for not riding the gondolas.

gondolas Venice


Now, this probably doesn’t surprise anyone… I am famously cheap. I don’t like spending more than £40 for a night in a hotel/airbnb. So the cost of a gondola ride was always going to be a sticking point. But I was surprised at the cost, they are 80 euros for 40 minutes, but this rises to 100 euros after 7 pm. There is also no guarantee on the length of time of the journey, with gondoliers varying the length of the trip as they please.

While we were there, it was part of a longer trip where 80 euros was food for a day and a half. So it didn’t seem worth the money.


Many people claim the reason they go on the gondolas is to see different views. Venice is so beautiful, there are so many amazing views regardless of where you’re sat. You can see everything as you walk around, from all the bridges, especially the most beautiful bridge. None of these views are any different from what you can see as a pedestrian. My favourite views were from the Water bus at sunset.

We got many different views up the Main Canal, while we were using the waterbuses and walking around. Many of the views from the gondolas would probably be from a different perspective, but I think personally we made the right choice with views.

gondolas Venice

Bucket List

For many people, the gondolas are part of their bucket list. But, for me it never really was. It looked a bit uncomfortable and I just never felt like riding around the canals surrounded by tourists. I wanted to see them, especially the infamous singing ones. However, I never really wanted to go on a ride in a gondola.

TIP: If gondolas are out of your budget, but you still really want to ride on one, consider a traghetto (fun fact:  more than one traghetto are traghetti). These are long gondolas manned by two gondoliers and for 2 euros you can use them to go across the grand canal. There are a couple of them along the Grand Canal and they can be very helpful for cutting across when a bridge can’t be found – saving you lots of walking. The locals actually use them too, and can do so for free! These gondolas are not made for sitting, so stand like the locals and enjoy the quick but fun trip across the grand canal.   

gondolas Venice


This is the whole other reason I was put off the gondola rides. It was never going to be that romantic ride along the canals for just the two of us.

In July, it was never going to be romantic. There would always be crowds of tour groups everywhere along the different canals and our romantic moment (with the gondolier ) would be captured in hundreds of pictures! I dread to think about the amount of pictures I did photobomb there!!

gondolas Venice

I hope you respect my reasons,

Until next time,

The Great Ambini

x x x

I wrote so many other posts about Italy here :-


gondola venice

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5 Replies to “Why I didn’t ride the gondolas in Venice!”

  1. We’d probably make the same choice. Most every place we visit we skip something we think would be high priority because it’s just not worth the cost. I’d much rather enjoy the atmosphere on my own then blow my budget and have to go home early. Plus so many of these experiences just end up feeling so touristy and not authentic. Great point of view!

  2. I completely agree that they aren’t worth it. I was there as a kid and we did take one as a family, thinking we would be going down the grand canal. Oh no! You end up going down the back streets!! No views at all…

  3. I loved reading your perspective on this! There are so many times I travel to a destination and have people telling me you ‘have to do this’ and you ‘can’t miss this’ and sometimes it’s stuff I genuinely am not that keen on. It’s refreshing to see people following their own path and enjoying their travels the way they think is best!

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