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How To Get Around Venice: A Complete Guide to Using Water Transport in Venice

How To Get Around Venice: A Complete Guide to Using Water Transport in Venice

Venice is the world’s only pedestrianised city, but with no land transport, the only way to get around is by water.

This may seem complicated for a first-timer to Venice as there are so many different kinds of boats to choose from.

When planning my Venice holiday, I know it became quite confusing which boat to take from the airport, which boat went around the city and how to visit the lagoon islands.

For this reason, I have detailed Venice’s different modes of water transport to help you navigate the city during your trip and decide which one will be right for your requirements. This will take any difficulty away when visiting Venice.

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How to get from Marco Polo airport to your hotel

Private Water Taxi 

Step aboard your vessel and be dropped off directly at your hotel.  Costs for the privilege can vary, so plan on paying around €150 for the boat per way.  

A private taxi is ok if you are in a group, but if not, then this is an expensive option. You can pre-book, pick up from the airport dock or get your hotel to make prior arrangements for you.

Venice Shuttle / Shared Water Taxi

This is a quick option costing around €30 per person each way. You will share with up to 7 other people who, in turn, will be dropped at their respective hotels.

Pre-book a return journey, and prices will be slightly less. I booked a water taxi transfer and found the service to be good, although you may have to wait up to 45 minutes in the airport terminal for the arrival of other passengers before you can leave.

Once aboard, I was taken to my Hotel Nani Mochenigo Palace in a manner akin to a movie star!

Alilaguna Public Waterbus

The waterbus has a service connecting the Marco Polo Airport terminal to the centre of Venice.

It is the cheapest option at €15 each way, but also the busiest and the longest.  You can pre-book your ticket or, for a few euros more, buy a ticket aboard the boat.

You need to know which water bus stop to alight from nearest your hotel.

These methods of water transport all depart from the airport dock. It is a ten-minute walk from the terminal building to the dock by a covered walkway.

Water-taxi signs will show you the way, and remember that while there are luggage trolleys at the airport when you arrive in Venice, there won’t be any.

venice watercraft

How to get around Venice by Water Transport?

Vaporetto / ACTV Water Bus

A Vaporetto is a quick, easy and reliable service costing around €9 for a single journey anywhere around Venice. The ticket is valid for 75 minutes after purchase.  

Buy your ticket from the kiosk at your water stop, validate your ticket before embarking and off you go. You can also buy tickets outside the train station, by Rialto and near St Mark’s Square.

If you plan to use the service more than once, then tickets for one day, two days, three days, and seven days are all available at reasonable prices starting at €25.

For an affordable tour of the Grand Canal using Venice’s water transport, hop aboard the No 1 Vaporetto (Linea Uno) that leaves from the Piazzale Roma every 10 minutes during the day, with a slightly longer wait at night.  

The ticket price of €8.00 takes you along the Grand Canal, passing beneath the Rialto Bridge and enjoying stunning views.

There is only standing room outside, but it’s the place to be to experience Venice’s sights and sounds.

Should I travel around Venice by gondola?

In Venice, it seems like a gondola ride is on everyone’s bucket list.  Prices are set at €80 a boat for a 40-minute daytime ride and then €100 in the evening.

This might explain one of the interesting facts about Venice – that being a gondolier is one of the best-paid jobs you can have in the city!

You can barter with the gondoliers for lower prices, but it could mean that you will have less time aboard the gondola.

Share with others, and your cost per head will be reduced, but let’s be real here, who wants to share a romantic gondola ride with strangers? If you require a longer journey, then prices will increase accordingly.

Some of your time on Venice’s waterways may be taken up in a “gondola traffic jam” with multiple vessels all lined up trying to get down the narrow canals.

Venice gondolas also travel along the Grand Canal, which is extremely busy with boats of every size and description but is a great place to be for sightseeing.

How to cross the Grand Canal in Venice

Head to a Traghetto stop, and you will pay around €4 to be ferried across the Grand canal.

Traghettos are ferry gondolas without decoration, rowed by two oarsmen, one at the front and one at the back.

They cross the canal at seven different points between the train station and St. Marks Square and are a great form of cheap and easy water transport in Venice.

How to travel to the Islands of Murano and Burano?

To get to Burano from Venice, you must catch the number 12 Vaporetto from Fondamenta Nove. A one-way ticket takes around 45 minutes.

Another option is to take a Vaporetto to Murano, where you could join a glass factory tour.

Afterwards, wander along the main street towards the lighthouse and catch the number 12 to Burano. If you want to visit all three islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello, then buy a day ticket.

Murano, Venice

How to find water tour operators in Venice?

Sightseeing boats operate around Venice, allowing you to see its magnificence from the water without the crowds associated with the public water buses.

rooftop view of grand canal venice

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Annie H

Saturday 14th of August 2021

Fascinating. I've never been to Venice, but did wonder about how you would get around there. Now I know!