Europe travel photos and information at Travel Signposts How to get around Venice and the Lagoon by vaporetto (water bus), water taxi, gondola, car ferry, and best of all, walking
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Getting Around Venice

There are two main ways of getting around Venice: walking or using some kind of boat; you could swim, but I wouldn't recommend it!

Public Water Buses | Car Ferries | Water Taxis | Gondolas | Traghetto | Walking

and also see our quick guide:How to Reach Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square) from various locations around Venice and the Lagoon

Public Water Buses

Venice has water buses, known as Vaporetti and run by the ACTV, plying the Grand Canal and Lagoon making scheduled stops. They travel up and down the Grand Canal (boat lines 1 and 82) or in a circular line which also goes to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello (line 52).

There are actually three different types of public boats: vaporetto, motoscafo and motonave. These boats are used to reach all the main parts of the city, the main islands of the lagoon (Lido of Venice, Murano, Burano, Torcello, the Giudecca) and the mainland. However, it's not always faster to take the boat: from Rialto to San Marco takes 20 minutes by vaporetto but only five minutes to walk (provided you don't get lost...).


Routes

Here is a link to a page where you can download PDF files of the various routes travelled by the Actv water buses:

Public Transport Summary: Waterborne Routes Timetable


Tickets

You need to buy a ticket before getting on board, and you buy tickets from the ticket seller at the boat stop or at any tobacconist. You are supposed to validate your ticket in the yellow box-like stamping machines at the Vaporetto stop before you board the boat.

Some stops don't have a ticket seller, and in these cases you can pay immediately you get on board. A lot of people get on the boats without tickets, but they're probably locals with a monthly pass. If you haven't got one you have to buy a ticket for each ride or a round trip ticket. But daily and weekly "Tourist Passes" are also available.

The public boats function on an "honour" basis. In other words, there are no ticket collectors and they trust you to buy a ticket for each ride. However, there are occasional "spot checks" by inspectors, and if you don't have a ticket the fine is horrendous, and you still have to pay your fare.

Ticket prices for non-residents vary on the length of the ride.

ACTV water bus fares
Adult single:
One journey on the Venice network, excluding routes along the Grand Canal. Valid for 90 minutes.
€6.50

 

Special travel cards:
Available allowing unlimited use of all water bus lines (excluding the Alilaguna, Fusina, LineaBlu and Clodia services) and on the buses in Mestre and Lido. These cards entitle passengers to carry one item of luggage with them:

12 hour ticket valid for 12 hrs from the time of stamping

16.00

24 hour ticket valid for 24 hrs from the time of stamping.

18.00

36 hour ticket valid for 36 hrs from the time of stamping

23.00

48 hour ticket valid for 48 hrs from the time of stamping

28.00

72 hour ticket valid for 72 hrs from the time of stamping

33.00

7 days travel ticket valid for 7 days from the time of stamping.

50.00

3-day Young Persons Travel Card with a validity of 72 hours from the day and time of stamping. It is issued only upon presentation of the Rolling Venice Card issued by the Venice City Council.

18.00

Conference Card: it is valid from 1 to 8 days. The Card can be booked at the ACTV's Venice office at Calle Fuseri.

Reserved for company bookings only. Min. numbers from 80/100

For other fares, refer to http://www.hellovenezia.com/jsp/en/tariffe/index.jsp

Venice Connected

You can now buy your transport ticket on-line through the new Venice Connected website.  VeniceConnect travel ticket prices are based on your planned date of travel and vary depending on whether it’s Low/Medium season, Medium/High season or Peak period. Their colour-coded calendar will tell you which season you’ve selected.  The price difference between Low and Full Price can vary by up to 33%. 

When you select your date and the Transport option, you will be provided with a range of tickets starting from 12 hours to 7 days. 

The  VenicConnect logo symbol explains to you the conditions of use for the ticket.  To benefit from the on-line price savings, you’ll need to book at least 7 days in advance.  If you book 2 days in advance, you will be paying the Full Price, as if you were buying tickets on the spot.

  Low Med Peak Full
12-hour € 12.00 € 13.60 € 15.20 € 16.00
24-hour € 13.50 € 15.30 € 17.10 € 18.00
36-hour  € 17.25 € 19.55 € 21.85 € 23.00
48-hour € 21.00 € 23.80 € 26.60 € 28.00
72-hour € 24.75 € 28.05 € 28.05 € 33.00
7 days € 37.00 € 37.50 € 42.50 € 50.00

According to the Venetian city administration, the prices are based upon a calendar related to the sustainability index and vary according to the tourist flow.

How to get your tickets in Venice:

You have to collect the tickets for the services from one of the Venice Connected Points, by showing your PNR number attesting to the purchase of the service in question.

Transport includes the Actv lines:

  • navigation in and to Venice, the Lido of Venice, Murano, Burano and Torcello, Punta Sabbioni;
  • transport by road in Mestre and the Lido di Venezia up until Pellestrina.
  • The connection to the Marco Polo Airport is also included (without any surcharge) with bus no.5.

The following routes are excluded:

  • connections with Chioggia, Jesolo, and other places outside the municipal territory;
  • connection from and to Treviso Airport (Ryanair flights) served by Atvo lines;
  • the use of the ferry boat linking Venice/Tronchetto with the Lido of Venice.


Car Ferry fares for motor vehicles:

Vehicles carried are divided into 10 categories, to which different rates are applied, and fares also vary on the basis of the route involved. Vehicle fares include the driver (two persons for lorries with trailers), except for cyclists and drivers of motor-cycles of less than 50cc.

For further information about services you can telephone the ACTV Main Office (English service).


Water Taxis

The fastest, and most glamorous, way to get around Venice is by motoscafo (water taxi), especially the retro mahoghany-hulled ones. These boats are especially convenient when it rains, because you can sit inside their enclosed cabin.

But they are expensive: there is a minimum set charge of around €15, and the trip will only be a maximum of seven minutes; after that meter charges go up in 15 second increments. A brief trip along the Grand Canal will cost around €70-80 and on top of the basic fare there are surcharges for more than four passengers, luggage and travelling by night. The stratospheric prices are partly explained by the high cost of the motorboats themselves (the flashier traditional mahogany launches cost more than €100,000).

Beware, especially in Tronchetto (the artificial car park island), of unlicensed taxi drivers or car park attendants who quote "special" fares: they're not to be trusted (like touts the world over).

You can get a taxi at one of the water taxi ranks, or have the hotel call it for you. There are water taxi stands along the Canal Grande, at San Zaccaria near the ACTV landing station, at the airport, at the Fondamente Nuove, and at the main tourist spots. Often you'll be able to pay for the taxi at the hotel. Italian taxi drivers do not expect a tip.

Water Taxis (24 hr telephone number: (041) 522 2303) can be ordered by telephone but that costs you a minimum of €5. Official water taxis have a black registration number on a yellow background.

NB. You can't go everywhere in a water-taxi; they can't get into the the shallowest canals and if the tide is too high (most likely in November and December) the water-taxis can't get under the lowest bridges. And if the tide is too low (most likely in winter) some canals may not be accessible.


Gondolas

The famous Venetian gondola is indisputably the finest - and certainly the most expensive - way to move about the canals of Venice on romantic moonlit nights, and maybe during the day, but if you're susceptible to seasickness I'd give the Grand Canal in rush hour a miss and stick to the quieter backwaters. The best time for a gondola ride is in the evening when the waterways are no longer crowded with other boats. But even then they're not the most cost-effective or speedy way to get around, best to save them for aimless relaxation...

The official rate for a fifty-minute trip is €80 for a maximum of 6 people. From 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm the cost is €100. If you want to do anything special make sure you agree upon the new price beforehand. And singing is extra!

You can easily find a gondola at one of the many landing-places (for further information you can call the telephone numbers of the different landing-places).

See our Gondola page for more information


Traghetto

A gondola ride for 50 cents. All Venetians and commuters know all about this, most tourists don't: you can get on a gondola and cross the Canal Grande for just 50 Euro cents (€0.50).
If you just want to experience having a gondola trip, you can go to one of the seven (or eight) "traghetti" (ferries) working in Venice that will carry you from one side of the Grand Canal to the other: they're very popular with the Venetians. However, you've got to really know your stuff to be able to combine traghetto crossings, vaporetto crossings and intricate routes through the back streets and campi to reach your destination quickly and without getting lost!

There seems to be some question as to whether there are seven or eight traghetto crossings, but here are the eight I've heard of:

  • between Ferrovia (the S. Lucia station) and Fondamenta S.Simeon Piccolo
  • between S.Marcuola and Fontego dei Turchi
  • between S.Sofia (Ca'd'Oro) and Rialto fish market
  • between riva del Carbon and riva del Vin a Rialto
  • between S.Tomà and S.Angelo
  • between S.Samuele and S.Barnaba
  • between S.Maria del Giglio and calle del Traghetto in Dorsoduro
  • between la punta della Dogana de Mar and S.Marco - calle Vallaresso

The gondolas used here are slightly different to the others and are called "parada". And by the way, the Venetians ride the traghetti standing up...


Walking

The best way of getting around Venice is on foot. the city is not very big, and - provided you don't get lost, easier said than done - you can walk from one end to the other in an hour or so.

On land the only way to explore is by foot, through the narrow backstreets, winding alleys and diverse squares; Venice is a car-free (though not cart-free) zone. It's a commonly expressed opinion that the best way to experience Venice is to get lost, and there's a lot of truth in that, although when you need to get somewhere in a hurry you may not appreciate the ease with which this can be done; the directional signs can be somewhat confusing, to say the least. By the way, by law you can't use bicycles or rollerblades to get around in the city centre (once you get there you'll know why).

The numerous steps all over the city, especially those to access the many little bridges over the canals, are certainly not very appealing to anyone with mobility problems. But you can get a small map of the city from the offices of the Venice tourist board free of charge which points out the more suitable routes for people who have difficulty getting about. Also check out the web site of the Comune di Venezia which offers a lot of useful information on how to avoid various physical barriers to easy movement around the city (note: this now appears tob only in italian, so our link goes through Google translation).

Finally, one more warning:
- be very careful when you hear someone shout "ocio ae gambe" (trans.. "watch your legs"), it means that someone is arriving with a handcart at high speed, probably heavily loaded and therefore difficult to control and slow down...

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