The Venice transportation system can be confusing.
Updated: August 2019. When I first started planning our three days in Venice, figuring out the Venice transportation system was a little overwhelming. Getting around Venice seemed needlessly confusing. I had no idea how to get from the Venice airport to Venice, how to buy ACTV tickets, deciding whether or not I needed a vaporetto pass, and navigating to the Venice train station. To save you the hassle, I’ve put together this concise and helpful Venice transportation guide. You have lots of things to plan for your upcoming Italy travels, so this is one less thing that you’ll need to worry about.
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Getting Around Venice: Buying ACTV Tickets
You’ve reached the Venice Marco Polo airport and collected your bags. Now what? Walk out towards the main hallway from the baggage collection area and turn left. Walk almost as far as you can go, and go to the booth on the left hand side at the very end. This is where you can purchase your bus ticket to Venice, along with your ACTV ticket to ride the vaporetto (water taxi) in Venice. You might find it easier to purchase your bus ticket to Venice in advance so save yourself some time.
We were in Venice for 3 days, so we purchased the ACTV 3 day ticket (72 hours) and airport transfer bus (1 way) for €46. Since Justin was under 30 years old, he was able to take advance of the youth discount card called the Rolling Venice card. By purchasing the Rolling Venice card for €6, his ACTV 3 day ticket and bus transfer was only €28. There are other benefits and advantages to buying the Rolling Venice card, such as museum discounts.
There are other options for riding the water taxis, such as purchasing a ticket valid for 75 minutes (€7,50). This should only be used if you have a limited amount of time in the city. Otherwise, here are transit ticket prices by day. You’ll most likely be using the vaporetto fairly often, so I recommend purchasing a transit ticket according to the amount of time you’ll be in the city:
- ACTV 1 Day Ticket – €20
- ACTV 2 Day Ticket – €30
- ACTV 3 Day Ticket – €40
- ACTV 7 Day Ticket – €60
How to Get from Marco Polo Airport to Venice
It’s very easy to get from the Venice Marco Polo Airport to Venice. Once you have your Venice card / ACTV tickets / vaporetto pass, as well as your Venice airport transfer, you can be on your way. Take the Line 5 Aerobus, which you catch just outside the arrival lounge (exit B). There’s lots of room to bring your luggage onto the bus with you, plenty of places to sit, and the Venice airport transfer bus runs regularly.
You can catch a bus every 20 minutes from 8:20am to 10:20pm. The buses also have free Wi-Fi. If you happen to be traveling from Venice to the Venice airport, you catch the bus from Piazzale Roma from 8:50am to 10:50pm. There are buses outside of these time slots, but you’ll have to consult the official schedule for additional times. The first trip from Marco Polo airport starts at 5:20am, and the last bus operates at 1:20am (12:50am from October to March).
It takes about 20 minutes to reach the main bus terminal at Piazzale Roma. As you can see, getting from Venice Marco Polo Airport to Venice is simple and you’ll be there in no time. where you can ride the vaporetto to your hotel or accommodation. You’ll already have your Venice vaporetto tickets for your entire visit to Venice, so it’ll be a total breeze from here on out.
Transportation in Venice: The Vaporetto
With your 3 day ACTV tickets, or however long your Venice vaporetto tickets last, you can use the vaporetti as much as you’d like within that particular time frame. It starts from the first moment that you scan it before boarding a vaporetto. At each taxi stop, you’ll see a white electronic card reader. This is where you need to tap your card each time before boarding. Hold your card close until you hear a beep. Don’t forget to do this. There are hefty fines for those who forget to scan their cards or don’t pay at all. Also, don’t tap your card on any green machines that you see, as these aren’t the proper ones to use before boarding a vaporetto.
Venice Vaporetto Map and Getting Around Venice
There are several transit lines that take you around the perimeter of the islands, through the Grand Canal and towards the smaller neighboring islands of Lido, Murano, and Burano. It’s a good idea to consult the route map. Become very familiar with this map. Some vaporetti go in one direction, and some go in the opposite direction. Make sure you get on the right one!
You might have to transfer to another line to get to certain destinations, like Burano and Murano. All of these transfers are completely included in the price of your transit card, as you have an unlimited amount of rides within those 72 hours.
Enjoy the ride. This is the cheapest boat ride in town, and you’ll be able to see some very interesting sights while drifting along the water. I highly recommend that you take a vaporetto ride down the Grand Canal just to check it out. Seeing Venice by boat offers a different perspective of the city that’s entirely unique to anywhere else that I’ve ever visited.
Gondola Ride in Venice
It was our first time in Venice and we just had to take a gondola ride. Some people don’t think it’s worth it for the money, but you have to decide for yourself if you think it’s worth it. We were traveling there as a couple, and it’s a romantic thing to do. I think it was definitely worth doing as it was a fun experience to share together. Plus, I think if it’s your first time in Venice, you should indulge in those classic, bucket list types of activities.
Sunset Serenade Gondola Ride
I recommend reserving your gondola ride ahead of time for the least amount of stress. Justin and I took a sunset serenade gondola ride for the most romantic journey. You could choose from one of two times (6:30pm and 7:30pm), and you’ll experience riding the gondola together as the sun goes down. Furthermore, you’ll be serenaded by an Italian singer and musician as you glide along the canals. It was a very magical experience that I highly recommend.
Regular Gondola Ride Without Music
If you’re looking for a typical gondola ride without musicians at any time of the day, you’ll save a little bit of money by doing so. Please note that both the regular gondola ride and the one at sunset are both shared experiences. Up to 6 people can fit in one gondola, so you’ll be experiencing the journey with a few strangers in tow (unless you are traveling with a larger group).
Private Gondola Ride
It is possible to book a private gondola ride for a couple (and up to 6 people). If you want a private experience or you have a larger group, you could save money by booking an entire gondola to yourselves.
Booking a Gondola on the Spot
If you’re doing this in the moment and didn’t book a gondola in advance, don’t worry. You can negotiate to ride a gondola on the spot at a number of places in Venice. The rates tend to start around 80 Euros, climbing to 100 Euros after 7:00pm. Up to 6 people can sit inside a gondola. You can haggle with the gondoliers for the amount of time in the gondola, the price, and whether or not you’d like music or singing with your ride.
Cheapest Gondola Ride: Traghetti
If you’re interested in riding a gondola for much cheaper (and much less time), you can ride one of the public gondolas called traghetti. These are used to shuttle people across the Grand Canal where there aren’t bridges to cross, and cost only €2. The trip is very short, but it’s a cheap way to experience a gondola.
Walking in Venice
Most of the time, you won’t need any transportation in Venice at all. Simply use your own two feet. Getting around Venice is a breeze when you walk around and explore it on your own. Walk around, get lost, and explore the alleyways, bridges, and canals. I highly recommend getting lost in Venice. I mean, you won’t actually be lost because there’s only a limited amount of places to walk. After all, you’re on an island! But, it’s the best way to see the hidden and quieter areas around Venice that you won’t find in any guide. It’s Venice transportation at its finest: when you don’t take any real transportation at all.
Where to Stay in Venice
We loved spending each night at our apartment in the Dorsoduro district. It’s a quiet neighborhood where you can easily walk to area attractions or take the vaporetto all over the city. Justin and I spent three nights at our spectacular apartment that even had its own balcony overlooking a peaceful courtyard. Learn more about our experiences at the apartment, book your stay there (highly recommended!), or check out more reviews by fellow travelers.
Leaving By Train and the Venice Train Station
At the end of our glorious three days in Venice, it was sadly time to go. We bid the city farewell and ventured by train to Florence. We purchased our high speed train tickets ahead of time. You can purchase train tickets in Italy up to 6 months in advance of your travel. I recommend buying them as soon as possible to get the best price. Also, it’s possible that they will sell out.
To get to the Venice train station, take the vaporetto to the Ferrovia stop. Then, you’ll see the Venezia Santa Lucia station where you’ll catch your train out of town. This will be the last water taxi in Venice that you’ll wake before leaving the city. The Venice transportation system is one thing that makes the city so unique. You won’t find anywhere else in the world quite like it.
Justin and I were sad to leave Venice as we really loved it there so much. We’ll have to return to Venice someday in the future. Until then, we’re very happy with the wonderful memories we made in this unique and beautiful island city.
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