Transportation in Venice

Due to its comfortable location in the Venetian lagoon, Venice is relatively easy to reach from all parts of Europe. Quite understandably, the most frequently used means of transportation in and around the ‘Queen of the Adriatic’ is water transport, represented by a striking diversity of vessels. Two first-class airports, Marco Polo Airport and Treviso Airport, cater to the needs of tourists arriving from remote countries. Fast and reliable railway connections make the romantic city easily accessible both from Italy and abroad. As one of the few entirely pedestrian cities worldwide, Venice enjoys complete freedom from cars, all which remain parked at the entrance of the city. From this point on, walking is the best way to explore the sights and attractions of this unique place.

Getting To

Venice occupies a picturesque lagoon in the northern end of the Italian Adriatic coast. Because of this reason, the city is best approached by ship or plane. The well-developed railway network and the proximity of Venice to the major cities in Northern Italy and Central Europe make train one of the preferred alternatives for arriving in the area.

The main Venetian port is Stazione Marittima in the western part of the islands. It welcomes cruise ships from all over the world and is connected to the transport network of the city through numberless water taxis and water buses, called vaporetti. Smaller vessels disembark at the secondary pier, San Basilio. Ferries, operated by Venetian or Greek companies, connect Venice, Croatia, Slovenia and Greece.

If you happen to come to Venice by plane, it will land either at Marco Polo Airport near the town of Mestre which is 6 kilometres from Venice, or at the Treviso Airport, which is situated approximately 30 kilometres north of the ‘City of Water’. Marco Polo is among the main transportation hubs in this part of Italy, handling a large number of domestic and international flights. From there you can reach Venice, Mestre, Padua, Treviso and other places around by a shuttle bus (fare: 3 EUR) to the Alilaguna water bus station. Then it takes between 30 and 80 minutes to reach San Marco by boat, depending on the route. Fares range from 6 to 12 EUR. Another opportunity for getting to the city is the fast water taxi, which can be hired for 100 EUR. Land taxis will take you as far as Piazzale Roma, the end point of any trip by car to Venice, for a sum between 30 and 40 EUR. For those who prefer low-cost carriers and land in Treviso, the most comfortable and cheapest way to reach Venice is by ATVO Eurobus (fare: 5 EUR one-way, 9 EUR return), whose buses are scheduled to match arrivals and departures.

If you fancy visiting the ‘Queen of the Adriatic’ by train, you can count on direct connections from Milan, Verona, Budapest, Ljubljana, Zagreb and many other destinations in the country and abroad. The main railway station is called Santa Lucia and is located in the historic centre of the city. There is another one, called Mestre, on the mainland within the suburb by the same name. Local trains operate between the two locations, taking the less than 10 minutes.

Undoubtedly the least appropriate way to arrive in Venice is by car. Within the city car traffic is not permitted, so you will have to leave your car in the biggest car park in Europe at the western edge of the city (fare: 28 EUR for 24 hours) and switch to another means of transport.

Due to understandable circumstances, land buses find relatively limited application in the transport system of Venice. Regular bus lines are available from Piazzale Roma to Mestre, Marghera, Chioggia and a couple of other suburbs on the mainland. Tickets can be bought from bus stops, newsstands, tobacconists and all shops that have the logo of the bus managing company: ACTV. Ordinary one-way tickets come up to 1.10 EUR if purchased prior to the trip. If you buy a ticket from the driver, its price tends to rise to 1.50 EUR. Buses run almost round the clock, including limited night service. Prices: – fare: , validity: Travel cards – fare: 14 – 31 EUR, validity: 12 – 72 hours Discount booklet – fare: 10 EUR, validity: 10 rides, only for land service Monthly cards for one area – fare: 28 EUR, validity 30 days Youth card – fare: 18 EUR, validity 72 hours, only for people between 14 and 29 years of age
Fare Type: Who? Price: Validity:
Discount booklet All 10 EUR 10 rides, only for land service
Monthly cards for one area All 28 EUR 30 days
Regular ticket All 1.10 EUR 60 minutes
Travel cards All 14 – 31 EUR 12 – 72 hours
Youth card between 14 and 29 years of age 18 EUR 72 hours
Water Bus
The most characteristic type of transport in Venice is by means of ‘water buses’, bearing the local name vaporetti. They constitute the larger part of the public transport network in the city and are considered the best way to get around. In spite of the varying routes and timetables, water buses are a pretty comfortable alternative to travel throughout Venice and the suburbs. Four waterways within the city are served by vaporetti – Canal Grande, Rio Nuovo, Canale di Cannaregio and Rio dell’Arsenale. Generally, the boats operate daily from 6am to 9pm, plus there are a limited number of night courses to some of the most romantic destinations. Tickets can be bought either in advance from the water-bus stops, or in the boat itself from the conductor. In the first case, they must be validated on the platforms before you get on board. The cost of a single ticket is around 6.50 EUR, but if you stay longer in Venice cards (like the Venice Card) are much more advantageous. They are available in variations for 12 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours and 7 days and allow unlimited use of public transport on the islands and on the mainland, as well as some extras, such as free entrance to a couple of museums and free use of public toilets.
Fare Type: Who? Price: Validity:
Monthly cards for one area All 28 EUR 30 days
Regular ticket All 6.50 EUR 60 minutes
Travel cards All 14 – 31 EUR 12 – 72 hours
Youth card between 14 and 29 years of age 18 EUR 72 hours
Water Taxi
In Venice, the ‘water taxis’ are enclosed motorboats called motoscafi. They are the fastest and most prestigious means of transport in the ‘City of Water’. The posh vessels are usually upholstered with leather and offer open-air seats, as well. Their capacity is between 10 and 15 passengers and the comfort is unrivalled. Prices are also unrivalled and a short trip along the Canal Grande comes up to around 40 EUR. There are taxi stands at some important locations in the city centre, as well as the Marco Polo Airport. Routes can be changed upon request so you can reach the door of your hotel. Bookings in advance are also available.
Gondolas have been the symbol of Venice for centuries. Most tourists try this type of journey regardless of the mind-boggling fares. The picturesquely ornamented boats driven by elegant gondoliers make sightseeing tours around the Canal Grande for up to six people and it is the best-known tourist attraction. Although the prices and length of rides are officially regulated by the local authorities, in most cases gondoliers do not follow the regulations and charge random rates for the service, far exceeding the official fares. It is best to negotiate the fare and length of ride in advance in order to avoid further problems. Another, much cheaper, alternative to feel the romance of Venice is called traghetto. This is the name of boats that were used as gondolas in the past, but are still in operation; however, they don’t offer comfort or extras. A short trip across the Canal Grande is likely to cost you only 0.50 EUR.
Fare Type: Who? Price: Validity:
Traghetto fare All 0.50 EUR one ride
Evening fare All 100 EUR 40 minutes
Official fare All 80 EUR 40 minutes