How to Get Around Venice
One of the most amazing experiences in Italy is stepping out of the Santa Lucia train station and witnessing the beauty of Venice. It feels like stepping into the past, a time before cars, where the only way to travel was by boat along the ancient canals.
But now what? Venice transportation is unique and very different than navigating most cities’ public transport. This guide will explain all of your options for transport in Venice so that you’ll know what to do when you arrive.
How to Get to Your Hotel or Vacation Rental from the Airport
How do you get from Venice airport to city center? You’ve got several options once you land at the Marco Polo airport. This handy table will be helpful, but I’ve explained each option below.
Take the Bus
You can take the #5 Bus operated by ACTV from Marco Polo Airport to Piazzale Roma. This is the last part of Venice navigable by automobile. You’re on foot or by water from here. So you’ll need to walk, take a water taxi, or the Vaporetto (Venice public transport ferry or Venice water bus) to your final destination. The bus will cost €8/person and takes about 25 minutes. The bus comes around every 15 minutes.There are luggage racks in the seating area, so you’ll need to bring your bags on board.
You can also take the buses operated by ATVO. These leave every 30 minutes and have under bus luggage storage so you don’t need to worry about hauling luggage on board the bus. You can purchase tickets at the airport upon arrival. There will be machines to do this. Or you can purchase online before arrival if you’re confident about when you’ll be coming in.
Duration: 25 minutes
Take a Taxi
You can take a taxi from the airport to Piazzale Roma as well. Look for a white taxi. They will have a fixed fare of €40. This might be a better option if you have several people or a lot of luggage.
Duration: 20 minutes
Take a Venice Water Taxi
If you’re feeling fancy, or even just exhausted from your travels, you can take a Water Taxi directly to your lodging. It’s not the cheapest way to get around, but probably the most efficient. It will cost you around €30-120. Keep in mind that there may be delays due to the changing sea levels at the airport. This is a good option if you have a large group with lots of luggage. Also keep in mind that there may be an upcharge for extra luggage. Be sure to get a price before you get in the boat. My favorite way to book a Water Taxi in Venice is to do it in advance. You can book a shared water taxi for $38 USD/person here.
Cost: between €30-€120
Duration: 30 minutes
Take the Public Ferry or Alilaguna
Generally, the most cost-effective way to move long distances in Venice, the public ferry, known as the Alilaguna will cost you around €15 from Marco Polo Airport to Venice. But keep in mind that it will take around an hour and fifteen minutes and the boats only leave around once every hour, so it’s even longer and less frequent than the land bus.
If you’ve got time to kill and you really want to arrive by water in a more budget-friendly way than the water taxi, this could be a good option. Just look for the boats with the yellow bottoms and a metro-like station on the dock. It’s about a ten-minute walk from the Airport. You can purchase tickets in the arrivals area inside the airport. The blue, and orange lines both go to Venice, with different stops between. The Red line will only go to the islands of Lido and Murano (in case you’re staying there).
The decision on which option will be best for you may be largely based on what time you arrive. If your arrival to the airport is the middle of the night your only options may be a land taxi or a water taxi as the Alilaguna and the buses do not run all night. Also, pay attention to your flight out of Venice and make a plan for how you are getting to the airport.
Cost: between €15
Duration: 1 hour +
My recommendation for how to get from Marco Polo Airport to Venice is to take a Water Taxi.
Yes, it is the most expensive option (maybe), but if you are traveling in a large group (more than four), have a lot of luggage, or will need to make a lot of stop or line transfers on the Vaporetto to get to your specific hotel, it may be more cost-effective and definitely less time consuming than hauling your luggage around buses, ferries, and down the cobbled streets of Venice.
Note that this is actually the only option that will take you directly to your hotel or vacation rental. The bus and taxi will require you to transfer to the ferry, and the ferry will require you to walk from the station to your hotel. Depending on where your hotel is located, the Venice water taxi should be able to get you within steps of your destination.
Plus, what better way to begin your Venice vacation than arriving in style! Just be sure you add that into your budget and also think about your trip back to the airport. You can book a shared water taxi for $38 USD/person here, that way there will be no stressing once you arrive!
Marco Polo Airport Arrivals Map
However you decide to get to Venice, this map will help you know where to go once you arrive.
How to Get to Your Hotel or Vacation Rental from the Venice Train Station
If you are arriving in Venice by train, you will have similar options. First of all, be sure you book your train tickets to the Santa Lucia train station, NOT Mestre train station, which is not close to the Venice you’re looking for!
Once you arrive at Santa Lucia you can either take a water taxi, take the Vaporetto, or walk to your hotel.
It’s a reasonably small city, and if your hotel is not too far, the best way to get around Venice is actually to walk. You’ll be able to explore small alleyways, hidden shops, and ancient palazzos along the canals.
Venice Transport Options During Your Stay
Water Bus or Vaporetto
But there are definitely times you’ll want to get from place to place more quickly, or if you need to haul your luggage, and you definitely do want to see Venice by water.
The Vaporetto is Venice’s public transportation system. It runs all year, 24/7 and usually makes stops around every 10 minutes, so you won’t have to wait long.
You can find ticket machines outside the train station in Venice and outside of the larger Vaporetto stations. If you have cash you can purchase a ticket on board. One ticket is €7.50 and is good for 75 minutes, so you can hop on and off as needed. I prefer to buy a pass so I don’t have to worry about the time.
Purchasing this Vaporetto pass in advance is a great deal and means you don’t have to deal with the Venice water bus tickets each time you ride! You can customize and buy your pass ahead of time, head to the yellow ticket machines, enter your PNR code, and print your pass. They offer 1-day all the way up to a 7-day pass.
I personally used this during my last visit to Venice and it was affordable and simple to use.
Note: kids younger than 5 do not need a ticket to ride the Vaporetto.
Venice Vaporetto Map
Here is a Venice Vaporetto Map to help you navigate the canals. You can also download a PDF here.
Take a Gondola Ride
A trip to Venice is not complete without riding in a Gondola and getting that quintessential picture. The gondolas are a tradition as old as the city itself. They have been used in Venice since the 16th century and at the time it is estimated that there were around 10,000 gondolas on the canals. In 1562, a law was passed to regulate their appearance, requiring them all to be painted black. To this day, the gondolas of Venice are all black.
How much is a Gondola Ride in Venice?
The price of gondola rides are also regulated in Venice. They cost €80 for a 30 minute ride. Yes, it’s touristy and expensive, but it really is reliving a piece of history and I highly recommend it. If you need something more budget-friendly and you don’t mind sharing a gondola, you can book a shared ride for $30/person. Otherwise, look for any open Gondola and ask the Gondolier for a ride. If you’re lucky you might be serenaded!
Venice City Pass
You may also want to consider purchasing a Venice City Pass also called a Venice Card, which includes public transportation in Venice. You can customize and purchase your pass here. This makes getting around Venice simple and gives you options for museums and more.
I hope this has been helpful in teaching you how to get around Venice efficiently. However you decide to move around, be sure to take in the unique culture and architecture of this beautiful city.