Cities in the World Where you can go Punting or Ride a Gondola

Cities in the World Where you can go Punting or Ride a Gondola

For absolutely centuries, rivers have played an integral part in people’s lives, from agriculture and defence to transport and leisure. Although most of the world is less dependent on their waterways, rivers are still widely used for entertainment purposes, including laid back leisure pursuits, such as punting and gondola rides, both of which are great ways of sight-seeing.

Both gondolas and punts are small, flat-bottomed boats designed for navigating shallow water that are driven by one standing person, although gondolas are propelled by an oar and punts are propelled by long metal or wooden sticks. They were both originally used for transportation and trade purposes but nowadays primarily for leisure purposes and are both used around the world. There are many cities where you can go punting or ride a gondola so you can experience a traditional leisure activity and see the sights in style.

  • Cambridge (England)

Cambridge is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK for many reasons including its famous university buildings and beautiful nature. Punting down the River Cam, which runs through it is a great way to see as much of it as possible and is a leisure pursuit of both residents and tourists alike.


  • Christchurch (New Zealand)

Much like the UK, New Zealand also has a river named ‘Avon’, but unlike ours, they enjoy punt rides down theirs. Whilst punting down the Avon you can admire the Christchurch Botanical Gardens and their weeping willows.


  • Venice (Italy)

When you mention Venice, the first thing that people will think of is the gondolas. Venice was built around its canals and there used to be around eight thousand working gondolas. Nowadays, around 400 currently exist and all painted black as per Italian law and virtually all used for leisure purposes solely. Much like you could consider Cambridge the home of the punt, Venice is its Italian counterpart as the home of the gondola.


  • Pune (India)

The city of Pune in the West of India holds an annual regatta on the Mutha River where illuminated punts are used to form a night time display. The rest of the time it is a popular leisure activity, especially with the students of the College of Engineering.


  • Tübingen (Germany)

Although not strictly punts, people enjoy propelling similar boats called ‘stocherkahn’ down the River Neckar and, like a lot of countries where boating on shallow water is traditional, their local university students enjoy a jovial annual race.


  • Paris (France)

The River Seine may be the most well-known body of water in Paris, but tucked away in the east of the city is the beautiful Bois de Vincennes, a wood that houses four lakes. You can go punting on one of these lakes, Luc Daumesnil during June whilst watching the wildlife.


  • Kansas City, Missouri (USA)

Admittedly, the gondola rides in Kansas City are modelled on the ones in Venice, but they are a great way of exploring the city’s architecture. A dusk punt ride is also a welcome break from all the hustle and bustle of visiting America.


There are many other cities over the world where you can enjoy a similar boating experience, but nothing quite beats the good old traditional fun of punting in Cambridge.