Grand Canal
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Grand Canal: Tours & Tickets

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Top sights in Venice

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5 historical facts about the Grand Canal

Referred to as the heart and soul of Venice, the Grand Canal is the longest of the city's 120 canals. Stately homes of former merchants line its 2.5-mile, serpentine banks, reflecting centuries of wealth that have flowed into this majestic port city.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

The first settlers to arrive on the marshy islands of the lagoon were refugees fleeing from Huns and Visigoths after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD.

Here's to your health

Here's to your health

Venice built the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, with the hope that the Virgin Mary's intervention would rid the city of the Black Plague. "Salute" means "health" in Italian.

Bridging the gap

Bridging the gap

The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges that span the canal, and it was the only one until the 19th century. First made of wood, the newer stone version was erected in 1591.

It's what makes Venice Venice

It's what makes Venice Venice

The gondola was the original form of transport through the canals from the 12th century, until speed boats made their roaring debut eight centuries later.Venedigs Markenzeichen

Aging gracefully

Aging gracefully

Over 170 buildings along the canal reveal the ages of architectural influences on the city. The oldest is the 13th-century palazzo Ca' da Mosto in Venetian-Byzantine style.

Our insider tips

Getting around by bus and taxi

The "vaporetti" (water buses) cost €8.50 per ticket from the train station to Piazza San Marco and run every 10 minutes. The trip on Line 2 takes 20 - 30 minutes, and 45 minutes on Line 1. The "taxi acquei" (water taxi) costs €110 from the airport to a hotel, and, depending on the distance, between €40 - €70 within Venice itself.

Getting around by gondola

A typical ride lasts 40 minutes and costs about €80. Add another €40 per 20-minute increment thereafter. The price goes up after 7:00 pm to €100 and costs €50 for every 20 minutes thereafter. In the end, it is always wise to agree on the price with the gondelier before setting off.

Getting around by traghetto

This "water ferry" is a cheap alternative to traveling by gondola and costs €4 for a five-minute ride across the Grand Canal. The difference between a traghetto and gondola is that two people are rowing, and passengers generally stand for the short trip.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Depends on when your chosen gondolier wakes up! From 9AM onward is a good bet.
  • Is it expensive?
    Choose your fancy! You can compare gondola-ride and water taxi prices on our website.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Most definitely, unless you row your own boat. And would you really want to miss an Italian serenade?
  • How to get there
    By foot from the train station or Piazza San Marco.
  • Additional information
    Though the locals stand in a traghetto, find yourself a seat. The bobbing of the boat might bop you into the Canal!

What people are saying about Grand Canal

Overall rating
4.1 / 5
based on 8,229 reviews

This tour was awesome! The meeting point is easy to find, the guide was punctual and very informative. (Can't remember her name, she was the lady that speaks 4 languages including Italian, French, and English.) I don't normally like guided tours, I prefer doing my own thing, but I wanted to do this, to have a basic understanding on Venice itself as well as on the Venetian culture. This was the perfect experience for me, especially since our group was very small (7 of us all together). You have the option NOT TO take the boat ride back as well - which exactly what my choice was, since my hotel was right by St. Mark's.

I really enjoyed this, especially for the money! The normal gondola ride varies between €60-80 for the same amount of time! (Talk about daytime robbery, eh?!) I shared the ride with 2 couples and another solo person. It was a short +/- 10min walk -with a guide of course- from the meeting point to the gondoliers. We started off on the Grand Canal, then navigated into the smaller canals, and then back to the starting point. I loved how all gondoliers seem to know each other, regardless of their placement. Our guy was chatting to every single one who we passed. A whole different world. I really loved the vibe.

Giro suggestivo tra i canali più nascosti di Venezia, circondati da palazzi stupendi, in una città unica al mondo. Il giro comincia a pochi passi da San Marco e dura circa mezz'ora, prima tra i canali più stretti per poi sfociare nel grandioso Canal Grande con il ponte di Rialto a pochi metri. Il nostro gondoliere Mario è stato simpatico, professionale e gentilissimo. Un'esperienza che si ricorda tutta la vita

Venice: Traditional Shared Gondola Experience Reviewed by

The guide had very good English and was easy to understand, even over the noise of the boat's engine. She was obviously very knowledgeable and was able to explain clearly the points of interest. The tour was one hour and it passed very quickly. There were 10 of us but there was still room for all to stand and take photos.

Venice Grand Canal: One-Hour Boat Tour Reviewed by

Despite being a tourist trap event, compulsory for every first time visit to Venice, we enjoyed our quick excursion. The audio tour didn't add much to the experience because it seemed to be out of synch and repeated itself. It actually only had two specific pieces of information.

Venice: Grand Canal by Gondola with Commentary Reviewed by