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The Venice Gondola is perhaps one of the instant images most people have when Venice is mentioned.
Although you will come across gondolas all over Venice, at least the parts frequented by tourists, the most popular base for departures is the waterfront at St Mark's Square in front of Doge's Palace.
As you roam around the streets of Venice you will come upon other points, typically where a pedestrian walking lane bridges a minor canal with one or two gondolas hoping to try and attract a passing tourist.
As a form of public transport, motorised water taxi boats have replaced gondolas long ago as a private means of getting from A to B.
Up to six people can share a gondola. The City of Venice sets official rates for gondola rides, typically a rate for 40 minutes, then additional increments of 20 minutes. At many points where gondolas are touting for business there is an official board stating a rate. The evening rate (7pm to 8am) is typically 25% more expensive than the day rate.
Seek out the official rates by all means, but do clarify in advance exactly how much the experience is going to cost. There are standard circuits used by the gondolas, with some of the most popular around St Mark's Square there can be traffic jams on the small canals with gondolas full of tourists.
If you have the confidence you can enquire about your own custom itinerary. If you don't like haggling there are plenty of pre-paid offerings like those linked at the banner below.
• A range of tickets available including private rides, serenades, with commentary and classic • Add on extras such as Venice walking tours, entrances to St Mark's, Doge's Palace, etc
Traghetti are similar to privately rented gondolas, but you'll pay only a nominal fee of a few euros to cross the Grand Canal at one of the half-dozen ferry points along the length of the Grand canal including Campo del Traghetto near St Mark's Square.
It's only a few brief minutes but you'll get the experience at a fraction of the price of a private gondola.
|St Mark's Square, Basilica & Doge's Palace Tours
Orientation of St Mark's Square plus tour of Basilica
See the best of Doge's Palace
See the best of Doge's Palace + St Mark's Basilica
2 Hour Walking Tour of 'hidden Venice' + St Marks with skip the line basilica tour
|Best Of Venice Tours
A selection of gondola ride opportunities in Venice
Tour the outer islands of Venice by boat
|Venice Shore Excursions From Cruise Ships Docked
A choice of Venice tours independent of the pricey ship offerings