The Grand Canal in Venice is one of the main attractions of Italy and, perhaps, the entire European continent. The city of Venice has long staved off the challenge of the sea and has remained as a strong metropolis despite the constant threat of erosion and the inordinate problem of flooding that it has experienced for centuries. The Venetians have turned their problem into a boon by making it the main draw of their city for tourism.
A visit to Venice will not be complete without a ride on a boat down the canals. These boats are long, ornate canoe-like vessels that are called gondolas. The people who man these boats are called gondoliers. The gondolas usually require only one gondolier to steer and operate. Instead of using an oar, a gondolier uses a long stick to push the boat along the length of the canal. The entire thing is done with the gondolier standing up on the back end of the boat. Gondoliers usually dress up in snazzy vintage costumes that really evoke the very romantic image that the city is known for. To complete the motif, most gondoliers also break out into song to put the passengers in the mood. Most people say that they truly feel that they've reached Venice once they hear their boat man belt out a classic Italian tune.
Here is how you can hire a canal boat in Venice.
- There are many tour operators who can easily arrange a gondola ride for you. Even from your home country, you can arrange your itinerary; your travel agent can definitely help with the logistics. Agencies usually have affiliate satellite establishments in tourist destinations, so they can easily assign the job to any gondolier in their fleet. Make sure that you get an accounting of how much this would cost you on top of your other tour expenses.
- Gondolas are hired water taxis in the city of Venice. Unfortunately, due to the booming tourism industry that city has always had, these short trips down the river are very expensive. You will probably only have to do this once during one of your holidays so it may be okay to splurge a bit. The cost may be hefty, but taking the gondola is certainly one of the landmark moments in any trip to Venice.
- There are bigger motorized boats that do the rounds around the canals of Venice. It may not be as glamorous as the movie scenes you see on the silver screen or TV, but it amounts to the same thing. You get to see the great sites along the canals and you get to save on a few bucks . If you're traveling with friends, taking a bigger boat will be excellent since a lot of gondolas can only seat three to five people.
There is a great novelty in traveling through the canals of Venice. It may be a bit expensive, but it may be one of the reasons why you've always wanted to go there in the first place, so why not enjoy the ride?