Exploring Venice By Gondola

Looking for an easy, fun way to see the sights in Venice? As well as doing plenty of walking, I definitely recommend that you explore Venice by gondola!

Seeing Venice by Gondola on AprilJHarris.com

Why Explore Venice By Gondola?

Seeing Venice by gondola is one of the best ways to explore this amazing city. Without actually taking to the water, it’s difficult to really understand how Venice works. Because while many of us have come to look at Venice simply as a tourist attraction, this iconic city is home to over 260,000 people and has been a thriving centre of industry and the arts since 450 AD.

Venice By Gondola on AprilJHarris.com

The canals in Venice aren’t simply there to look pretty, they are one of the only ways to transport goods and travel long distances. Cars are not allowed in Venice, nor are bikes. One look at the narrow cobbled streets explains why. Most houses and hotels have doorways coming off the water so it’s easiest to travel to them by boat. Venetians even do their weekly shop using the waterways – that’s a supermarket just off the canal in the photograph above. Exploring Venice by Gondola means you can go off the beaten path and see what day to day life in Venice is really like.

Exploring Venice By Gondola Is Fun!

Venice By Gondola on AprilJHarris.com
We had a private gondola for an hour, which we had arranged in advance. We also booked an English speaking guide, a native Venetian who had lived there much of her life so the tour was extraordinary. It was fairly expensive (around US$350) but there were four of us so it was well worth the price of admission – especially when you consider that to take a gondola on the day it costs around US$85 for just just half an hour – without a guide. My husband, son and I did this years ago and although our gondolier spoke a bit of English the language barrier meant he really couldn’t share the kind of things our guide did on this occasion.

Venice By Gondola on AprilJHarris.com
That’s the Rialto Bridge in the distance in the photo above. Although it’s impressive on foot, there really is nothing like seeing this iconic sight from the Grand Canal itself.

Seeing Venice by Gondola on AprilJHarris.com
Although many of the buildings seem plain from the outside, it hasn’t always been this way. This is one of the only palazzos in Venice that has had its mosaics properly restored. Several hundred years ago all the buildings owned by the wealthy would have looked this way.

See Modern and Ancient Venice Side By Side

Seeing Venice by Gondola on AprilJHarris.com
Once the chief form of transportation in Venice, most gondolas are now used by visitors. Native Venetians will have their own boat or use water taxis, modern motor boats and also larger ferries that operate kind of like a bus service. However, as a tourist, seeing Venice by gondola is the best way I know to really get a feel for how this city functions – and particularly how it worked in days gone by. It’s also the best way to see Venice’s biggest attractions as well as some of the most beautiful architecture you can imagine.

Seeing Venice by Gondola on AprilJHarris.com
While it’s fascinating wandering the little back streets of this gorgeous city, being in a gondola means you can get places faster. Some gondolas are purely there for tourists to explore in, but many are working taxis or ferries in daily use by Venetians as well as visitors.

As well as The Grand Canal, there are hundreds of tiny little canals networking their way through Venice. Exploring them in a traditional gondola really is one of the best ways to experience this beautiful city and immerse yourself in its culture and history. With something different round every turn, seeing Venice by gondola is a not to be missed experience.

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A Day in Dublin

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1281 great articles for us.

April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.

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  1. Such a beautiful post, April! I have been longing to visit Venice. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip and loved seeing your photos.

  2. Wow. Great photos.
    Our youngest son and his girlfriend were in Venice around the same time as you. Seeing your photos and hearing your stories makes me really want to go there.

    • Thank you so much, Laureen! That’s such a coincidence that we were there around the same time as your son and his girlfriend! Venice really is an amazing place to visit – you should definitely add it to your travel list 🙂

  3. How absolutely amazing and fun woudl this be! Venice has been on my list for a good long while!

  4. Wow, this is beautiful! I love Venice, especially when you arrive by train and exit only to be greeted by the Grand Canal right in front of you! What a great splurge this must have been, I will have to consider it for when we finally take our son to Italia!

    • It really is an amazing place to visit, Mitch 🙂 I’m sure your son would love it. We took our son several years ago and then he went on his own with college – it’s one of his favourite places.

  5. I dream of a trip like this!! What an amazing way to see Venince, everything there looks so beautiful!!

  6. We did a gondola ride in Venice once, and it was so much fun. I’d love to go back.

  7. What a beautiful place! I hope to visit there someday, too. Lucky!

  8. Oh, I definitely want to do this one day! I agree on private tours with English-speaking guides. My friend and I used that service in Paris last year at the Louvre and Musee D’Orsay and it was worth every single penny. Thanks for sharing this post on Hearth and Soul Hop, April!


  9. Lovely city and nice clicks of Vence. amazing that there are no cars, enjoyed reading your post.

  10. I am going on my first trip to Europe next October. We are cruising but will have 2 days to explore Venice. I had to make sure that the cruise we picked made a stop there. I enjoyed looking at your pictures and learning a little about Venice from you!

  11. I’m kicking myself a bit that we never visited Venice while living in Europe. But at the time I don’t think we knew our days were numbered. Would you suggest going in winter to avoid crowds? I’ve heard it can get pretty manic.

    • Crowds can definitely be a problem in Venice, that is for sure, Pauline! I’ve visited in January, September and October, and bits of it are always crowded unfortunately. I do find the worst of the crowds round St Mark’s Square and the front by the lagoon, especially on the bridge by the Doge’s Palace (from where you can see The Bridge of Sighs) are from around 10am until about 4pm. Heading out first thing, or waiting a bit until later in the afternoon can help. The little side streets are so narrow that some of them seem to be crowded all the time. It’s not a great place for a fast walk, although we did try 😉
      I’d definitely recommend avoiding summer as I know it gets very hot, and I’d find it challenging with the crowds in that heat. I’d also avoid December/January/February though as we were so cold when we went in January. One good thing is that septic tanks were installed in Venice about 10- years ago so the city no longer has the smells it used to, even on warmer days 🙂
      Venice is only about a 2 hour flight from Gatwick, so quite quick to pop over if you are visiting the UK, so I hope you will be able to fit a visit in at some point 🙂


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