December 20, 2017

5 Ways to see Venice by Boat

Venice and boats go together like peanut butter and jelly, like hot dogs and mustard, like diamonds and pearls, and there is a very good reason for that. Venice is not just one beautiful city – it’s actually 117 separate little islands, all connected by an impressive 400 bridges. So water plays a huge part in Venice’s past, and its present. It is often said that the best way to see Venice is by boat, and there are a wide range of crafts to choose from. Not all of them are suitable for a tour around the city, however, so pick wisely!


The Italian word ‘traghetto’ translates as ferry, but in Italy it is much more than just a means of getting from A to B. These boats are famous, and they are always crowded. It might be because they are relatively inexpensive, or it could be that their crossing of the Grand Canal takes just a few minutes, but either way, they are a popular means of transport in this great city. These boats are a useful way of getting across Venice without needing to use one of the many bridges, and some people do prefer that.


A vaporetto (or, in the plural, vaporetti) are like water buses. These can be the best way to see the sights of Venice, but remember – you won’t get a personalized explanation of each famous landmark like you would on a more private Venice boat tour. The vaporetti are fantastic at giving you picture perfect moments as you cruise up and down the Grand Canal, however. Just be aware that this is not a relaxing way to travel thanks to the number of people these boats can hold – plus their luggage!


Yes, you really can hire a kayak and use your paddle power to explore the smaller, less busy areas of Venice’s canal system. There is no motor, which can suit some people down to the ground, and you can hire these kayaks for half days or full days. You might even choose to go on your own evening tour of the city. Make sure you have a map with you, and a guidebook, or you might not know what it is you are looking at.


Could there be a more iconic boat to be seen in Venice than the gondola? Much like the kayak, these small, narrow boats can be hired for a portion of the day, but the bonus is that you will have a gondolier with you to steer you through the tricky areas, and to offer you information about what it is you are seeing, if you are lucky. Not all gondoliers will give you a tour, though, so don’t expect one when paying your money. The route that your gondola takes is down to you, not the gondolier, so do some research in advance otherwise you may not feel that you have had your money’s worth.

Guided Tour

Booking yourself onto a guided tour of Venice by boat is by far the best way to see the city. You don’t have to prepare anything in advance; you don’t have to know the route, or decide what it is you want to see – that’s the guide’s job. Instead, you can sit back and relax as you travel what might be the most famous waterways in the world, soaking up the atmosphere, and the history.

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  1. It’s mind-blowing!!

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