Venice is famous for gondolas, not kayaks, so why kayaking in Venice?
The answer is access, autonomy and ability.
Traffic in Venice is highly regulated, and most of the city canals are off limits for motorised vessels without a special authorisation. It is not possible for a non-resident to rent a motor boat and tour the city at one’s leisure.
The only way to gain full access to all the city’s waterways is by rowing or paddling. The traffic regulations are very permissive about rowed or paddled boats: they can go anywhere at any time, even against one-way traffic.
The only areas we cannot visit are the military areas around the Arsenale and in the lagoon.
There are many boating possibilities in Venice: gondolas, taxis, guided tours in motorboats and many others. Common for all of them is that you’re not in charge. You’re a passenger.
It is not so in kayak where you’re much more your own captain. If you want to stop a while to enjoy a particular sight, if you need to find that very special angle for a photograph, or if you want to see what’s down at the end of that canal over there, that’s all possible in kayak.
Freedom always has its limits, and we need to move about in safety and in accordance with local regulations, which is why there is always a guide with you. The guide from Venice Kayak is there to help you get safely to where you want to go, not to tell you where to go.
Few tourists are able to row Venetian style – voga alla veneta – in a traditional boat, but many know how to paddle a kayak, and even newcomers to kayaking can have a positive experience in a kayak. It has been said that you can get 99% of a forward stroke wrong and still move forward.
So, we kayak in Venice because we’re able to, and because it gives us more autonomy and wider access to the city’s waterways than any other means.