Gig Harbor Gondola Tours: Not Only in Venice!

Gondolas are the most iconic images of Venice, Italy. And, a gondola ride through Venice’s canals is probably high on many travelers bucket lists.

What if you didn’t have to travel to Venice? What if all you had to do was visit the small town of Gig Harbor, WA?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Thinking of going to Gig Harbor, WA? Trip Advisor is my go-to source for travel and hotel reviews, but there are plenty of ways to get the local scoop. Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor I Hotels.com I Travelocity.com.

Gig Harbor Gondola Rides

Gondolier Synco, the owner of Gig Harbor Gondola, is wearing a red and white striped shirt and straw hat with a red ribbon dangling off the edge. From our meeting spot at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard, he leads us to Nelly, his authentic Venetian gondola. The black 36-foot boat is one of 26 authentic Venetian gondolas in the U.S. And, Gig Harbor Gondola is the only place to ride a gondola in Washington State.

The ride on Nelly includes a tour of Gig Harbor, Gig Harbor history, quiet time to enjoy the beauty of Gig Harbor, and Italian songs. It also includes a locally prepared snack box with an assortment of cheeses, meats, fruits and chocolates. Guests may also bring a beverage of their choosing to enjoy while out on the water.

Gig Harbor Gondola Rides:

  • 60-minute ride is $85 for two people
  • 90-minute ride is $115 for two people
  • Each additional person is $20 and goes up to six passengers
  • Children 5 and under are free
  • Blankets provided on board
  • For reservations call 253.432.0052 or email [email protected]

December Gig Harbor Gondola Rides:

  • Bring a hot beverage of your choice and cozy up while seeing all the holidays lights in the harbor – How romantic is that!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rls4fXYosPk

Gig Harbor Gondola

Would I recommend Gig Harbor Gondola? Sì!

Synco has such a strong passion for being a gondolier that his enthusiasm will ensure you have an enjoyable experience. If you want a romantic date out on the water, he will be the silent rower in the background. If you want a more chatty experience, he will tell you stories about his life as a gondolier. (It’s not every day you meet someone that knew they wanted to “Venetian-style row for the rest of their life.”) To top it off, Synco serenades you with a couple of Italian songs.

Also, Gig Harbor is one of the most beautiful harbors I’ve seen in Washington State and certain areas in the harbor have a breathtaking Mt. Rainier view. Plus, the harbor itself is very protected with a no wake zone for incoming and outgoing boats which means being out on the water is a very pleasant experience.

We have guides on the best things to do in Gig Harbor as well as what to eat in Gig Harbor while you’re there, so it’s much more than just a place to enjoy a scenic gondola ride!

Thinking of going to Gig Harbor, WA? Trip Advisor is my go-to source for travel and hotel reviews, but there are plenty of ways to get the local scoop. Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor I Hotels.com I Travelocity.com.

Gig Harbor Gondola Cool Facts & Tips

Cool Fact: In the 16th-century a law was created that required all gondolas to be painted black. Their embellishments are a curly tail, multi-pronged prow and a pair of seahorses.

Cool Fact: The banana-shaped gondola in use today is credited to Tramontin, a 19th-century boat builder.

Cool Fact: In Venice, there are a little over 400 gondolas in service.

Cool Fact: There are seventeen locations in the U.S. that offer gondola rides. Find the list here.

Tip: If you’d like some wine, beer or other beverages for your gondola ride stop by The Harbor General Store  (they also have local kombucha on tap). The store is a one-minute walk from Gig Harbor Gondola’s meeting spot at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. Let Synco know and he will provide cups and napkins.

Tip: Parking is along the street.

Hotel Tips:

Nearest Airport: SeaTac International Airport, which is a 1.35-hour drive. The Airporter Shuttle has service to and from The Inn at Gig Harbor.

Pin This Guide to Gondola Rides in Gig Harbor, WA

103 thoughts on “Gig Harbor Gondola Tours: Not Only in Venice!”

  1. Gondola rides in Venice must rank as one of the top romantic fantasies of people. But after having experienced the Gondola ride in Venice, I do feel it is an overrated experience. This option does look cool . When we were in Macau, Gondola rides were available at the Venetian too, albeit on an artificial canal πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Vyjay, I’ve heard mixed reviews of the gondola rides in Venice too. Sorry to hear that it wasn’t all you dreamed. I have nothing to compare the ride I took too, and Gig Harbor is so beautiful, I don’t know how anyone could really be disappointed.

      Reply
  2. How did I not know that there were gondola rides just down in GH? I’m thinking we may have to jaunt down for lunch and a boat ride, because that’s just awesome.

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    • I didn’t realize that either, and was surprised at how many US states have gondola rides. Although, not all of them have a authentic Venetian gondola, which I think makes Gig Harbor Gondola state out.

      Reply
  3. This is very nice. What a gorgeous setting for a ride. There are many places here in Southern California that offer gondola rides. A lot of them take places during sunset.

    Reply
    • Ruth, California is where Synco learned to row gondola-style. πŸ™‚ I would love to do a gondola ride at sunset. Very romantic.

      Reply
  4. I’d love to go on a gondola ride here! I’ve been in Venice, and of course it’s great. But it’s a bit crowded, and Gig Harbor looks much quieter and more relaxing. Cool post!

    Reply
    • Kaylene, Gig Harbor will definitely not be crowded. Synco has one gondola for now, but he has future plans to get a second one. Thanks for commenting.

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  5. I had NO idea! What an interesting opportunity! Love it so much. I have not been to Gig Harbor, but it is definitely on the list now. I’m going to share because I bet lots of my readers have no idea you can have this experience in the states either!

    Reply
    • Natalie, Yes share! There are quite a few places on the list, even Indiana! (which is where I grew up) I think it’s a great idea and I really think Synco’s passion for gondola is amazing. I didn’t even know it was a “thing.”

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  6. While there are many places where you can ride a gondola (including in Las Vegas!), you’ll have to agree with me that nothing beats a gondola ride in Venice.

    Reply
    • Anda, I was surprised by how many places you can ride a gondola. Although, some are not authentic gondolas. I was told the ones in Vegas are shorter than a real gondola. Not sure if that is true tho. I haven’t taken Venice off my bucket list.

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    • Liz, Thanks! I think it’s very impressive he had an authentic gondola shipped over here. Such passion for the art of gondola!

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    • Beth, The past few summers have been super warm and super dry. When we had weeks of endless sunshine I said in true PacNW spirit, “All I want is some rain.” I hope you get to visit Gig Harbor. It’s such a charming town.

      Reply
  7. In my hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand there are gondolas along the Avon River – although much less elaborate than these Venetian style gondolas. We referred to them as “punters” or people “going for a punt” as the Christchurch Gondola referred to the lift which took passengers to the top of the hills for views across the city. So I was very confused when people talked about “gondolas” in Venice – expecting to see lifts or cable cars everywhere!

    Reply
    • Juliette, I had the same thought about the gondola your ride up the mountainside and the gondola your ride in the water. Gotta love language and its many meanings. Thanks for sharing the information about punters in New Zealand, as I’d never heard of that before. I’d love to visit New Zealand one day. It looks like such a beautiful country.

      Reply
  8. Seriously, how do you keep finding this cool and fun stuff? The gondolier even wears the correct (or I assume) outfit! That is so “fitting”. πŸ˜‰ Keep on sharing all these clever travel stories please.

    Reply
    • Melody, Sometimes I saw the same thing to myself. πŸ™‚ I think Venitian gondoliers wear black and white, but I’m not 100% certain. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks so much for cheering me on!

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    • Carol, Thanks so much for commenting. Venice does seem like the ideal place to take a gondola ride, and I hope to go one day, but Gig Harbor is a great alternative.

      Reply
  9. Wow I never knew gondola rides existed outside of Venice and the wannabe at the Palazzo in Las Vegas. When my husband and I went to Venice we opted not to take the gondola ride because it seemed too touristy and not worth the price. This cute little gem however seems so worth it! Great tips thank you.

    Reply
  10. It’s cool that you can ride in a gondola in Washington, but I’m sure it doesn’t have the same significance. I did a gondola ride in Venice a few years ago and while the boat and singing gondolier was charming, the best part was getting to see Venice from the canals. As you went through, it was incredible to see how the buidlings and houses went right up to the waters.

    Reply
    • Brianna, I haven’t been to Venice yet, but it sure looks like it creates its own atmosphere and romance because it is so distinctive. How interesting it would be to live there be surrounded by water.

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  11. What fun, and looks very authentic! I do have to get to Venice to experience the real deal though; so far my gondola experience is limited to the Venetian in Vegas (it was great). I’m happy to hear that you get serenaded on this trip too! I didn’t realise you could take gondola rides outside of Venice/fake Venice πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Emily, Fake Venice-love that. πŸ™‚ I was surprised by how many placed were on the list. I heard that the Las Vegas gondolas were shortened. Not sure if that is true or not. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell when you go to Venice and experience the “real deal.”

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  12. I’ve always wanted to travel in a Gondola in Venice, but it’s so expensive I don’t know if I could justify it! This one is WA looks amazing, with beautiful natural scenery all around, if I’m ever in the area I will be booking this straight away, as the prices for 2 people are amazing compared to Venice.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Emma, I agree the price was very reasonable, and Gig Harbor is such a pleasant harbor to take a gondola ride in. I hope you get to go one day soon!

      Reply
  13. A Gondola ride in America?!?! I never would have expected that! I checked your list of locations and there is actually a place to ride a Gondola in my home state of Indiana so I might have to check that out one of these days. Thanks!

    Reply
    • EG, I have family roots in Indiana and lived there for 7 years. I was surprised to see that on the list too. Although, the price was a lot more than I expected. If you go, let me know what you think.

      Reply
  14. You know I have never been on a gondola, not for any reason. It just hasn’t happened for me yet. But it is nice to know about Gig Harbor and what they have to offer in terms of gondalas. Thanks for the article.

    Reply
    • Anthony, That was my first ride and I really liked it. I included a link in the post that listed all the other places in the US to ride a gondola. Not sure if you live in the US, but it’s a handy list if you do.

      Reply
    • Anthony, That was my first ride and I really liked it. I included a link in the post that listed all the other places in the US to ride a gondola. Not sure if you live in the US, but it’s a handy list if you do.

      Reply
  15. Very nice post Lara πŸ˜€ I’ve never been in Gig Harbor but since I’m italian πŸ™‚ I went many times to Venice, and for sure I took a gondola ride!! I saw many “copies” in US, for example in Las Vegas or in this case in Gig Harbor, and they look exactly the same…same gondola, same dresses and it’s as expensive as Italy. It’s not properly the same romantic atmosphere that you can only have in Venice, but for those people who can’t affor a long journey is awesome πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Stefano, Thanks so much for commenting. The Gig Harbor gondola was brought over from Venice and is an authentic Venetian gondola. Of course, the atmosphere is different, but I agree, it is a great way to get a taste of the experience if you can’t afford to travel to Venice.

      Reply
    • Fairytale Studios, I was surprised by that list too. It makes a gondola ride a little more affordable and hopefully closer to home.

      Reply
  16. In all honesty, I would prefer to go on a gondola ride here, than in Venice. The natural setting looks way prettier.
    The romance of Venice is overrated in any case, just another mass tourism site.

    Reply
    • Jitaditya, Thanks so much for commenting. I didn’t realize how much of a lifestyle gondola is. Such an interesting passion to have!

      Reply
  17. Ive never properly been in a gondola before. I actually lived in Seattle for a year (long time ago), but gondola rides are NOT the first thing that comes to mind when anyone (?) thinks of Washington, haha. What a unique experience! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Eksanul, I was so surprised when I heard that Gig Harbor had a gondola ride too. I would never have expected it in Washington either. Makes for a fun Gig Harbor experience.

      Reply
  18. Gondola rides do sound awesome wherever they are present. India has a similar experience with the shikara rides of Kashmir. Have you tried it out??

    Reply
  19. I had no idea you can ride a gondola outside Venice. What a cool idea! I love it that Synco actually takes the gondolier role very seriously and actually sings to his customers, the same as the gondoliers in Venice. I have been to Venice but never taken a gondola, as they were too expensive and I was alone. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Joanna, Synco has such passion for being a gondolier, and that made the ride all the more enjoyable. It’s great to see people doing what they love. I think I’d forgo the gondola ride in Venice too if I was alone. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. Interesting post! Was just in Venice and did the gondola ride for the experience, but it is expensive! Glad to know that you have gondola rides in WA too and in much affordable price. Would you know if there are other places where gondola rides exist? The Venetian hotels have, but that looks crazy.

    Reply
    • Monica, I heard it is really expensive in Venice. Did you think it was worth it? There is a link in the post to other places in the US. http://www.gondolagreg.com/ On the right side he lists all the places you can go in the US. There were some places I didn’t expect like Indiana and Nebraska, and one in Ontario, Canada.

      Reply
  21. A gondola ride in Washington – super cool and something I never would have guessed. Sounds much more affordable than the gondola rides in Venice. I just couldn’t justify it when we were there. I love the idea of having wine and a picnic on this one!

    Reply

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