Public transportation in Venice

Planning a trip to city can be a bit overwhelming. Imagine trying to get around a city you have never been to before, and the city does not always have paved roads, or solid roads at all for that matter. This is the case with Venice. The city beloved for it canal system which gives the city a romantic beauty unique to itself. And even though exploring a city filled with canals and waterways may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Here is a complete guide to public transportation in Venice.


Public transportation in Venice

Venice is known for its canals and waterways that crisscross much of the city in place of paved roads, just as much as it is known for its long history, fascinating museums, and amazing architecture. This unique network of waterways makes Venice unlike any other place in the world, and a favorite destination of people visiting Italy.

But the canals raise an interesting question, just how are you supposed to get around in a city where many of the streets are made of water? The buses, taxis, ubers, and just plain walking that gets you around other cities you may visit will not always help you Venice.

In order to get around Venice, you need to utilize water transportation, and when it comes to Venice there is no shortage of options for water transportation. One may think of boats as being the only way to get around in a city made of water. But Venice has six unique forms of water transportation. They are:

  • Vaporettes
  • Alilagunas
  • Water Taxis
  • Gondolas
  • Hop On, Hop Off Boat
  • Traghetto

All six are different and have their own advantages. It is important to understand the differences between these modes of transportation to find one that best matches your budget, where you are going, and the overall experience you are after. For this article we will focus on the three most used modes of water transportation:

  • Vaporettos
  • Alilgunas
  • Water Taxis

The lesser known transportation modes are not without their positive though. Traghettos are delicate looking slim and low boat, that looks like a sleek gondola. At 2 euros per person to cross the Grand Canal, it is an affordable, albeit nerve-wracking ride. For this however, we will focus more on quicker motorized transportation, rather than the more ride-based, man-powered vehicles like Traghettos and Gondolas.

Alilagunas water transportation in Venice

All About ACTV Vaporettos

These are the most economically prudent and most popular form of water transportation in Venice. This ferry service shuttles locals and tourists to almost all parts of Venice.

These are the three main Vaporetto lines that a visitor to Venice will likely use:

Linee Centrocitta: This line is great for tourist as it connects the entire Grand Canal, as well as some surrounding inner canals. It is broken into two line:

Line 1:

  • Connects entire Grand Canal and Lido (seasonally)
  • Is perfect for visitors who have passes to museums, Chorus Circuit, or St. Mark’s City.
  • Stops at most major attractions, or within short walking distance of them.
  • Travels between Pizzale Rome and San Marco with 14 stops along the route.

Line 2:

  • Similar to Line 1, but with fewer stops for faster travel, so long as your stop is on the line.
  • Travels between Pizzale Roma and San Marco with 9 stops along the route.

Linee Giracitta: More popular with residents, this line runs from the outer islands to Venice and Murano.

Lines 5.1 and 5.2

  • Circle around Venice’s main landmarks.
  • Offer routes from Zattere and Dorsoduro.
  • Reach Lido via crossing Castello.

Lines 4.1 and 4.2

  • These are the best lines for travel to Murano.

Linee Lagunare: Best line for travel further into the Venetian Lagoon. This line transports people to the outer islands of Murano, Lido, Torcello, and Burano.

Line 12:

  • Best line for those who wish to explore Burano, Murano, and Torcello.
  • Full-day pass allows multiple trips between destinations.

Line 15:

  • Best route for travel between Punta Sabbioni and Venice.

Timings:

With tickets at 7 euros per one-way trip, the Vaporetto is one of the cheapest ways to get around Venice besides walking. The tickets are good for 60 minutes after purchase and can be exchanged for other rides, so long as they are going in the same direction.

There are plenty of places tickets can be bought. At the office in Pizzale Roma, at the boat docks, or directly from the conductor. Tickets bought on the docks need to be validated near the yellow box located on the dock.

Day passes are a great way to save money if you plan on using the Vaporetto more than three times in one day. the day pass allows for unlimited rides at a set price. For instance:

  • 1 Day: 20 euros
  • 2 Days: 30 euros
  • 3 Days: 40 euros
  • 7 Days: 60 euros
Vaporetto water transportation in Venice

Water Taxi in Venice

Sleek wooden boats zipping through canals are a common site in Venice. They are the infamous Venetian genteel water taxis, also referred to as a taxi acquei or motoscafi. They are a quick and comfortable way to get around Venice. But also, a very expensive way. It is ideal if you are in a hurry, or do not wish to have to move your luggage through a more crowded Vaporetto.

With a capacity of about 10, water taxis do start to make more sense economically if you are traveling in a group of at least 5. The price is generally 13 euros to get in and 1.80 euros for every additional minute

Things to Know Before Booking:

  • At an additional cost of 5 euros, passengers are can bring one item of luggage on board.
  • After the fifth, larger groups are required to pay an extra 10 euros per person.
  • There is a 10-euro fee for night travel between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM
  • There is a fee of 5.90 euros for travel on holidays and Sundays. However, people are not charged both fees for traveling on Sunday nights.
  • Exclusivity is not guaranteed, as the captain reserves the right to take on extra passengers if they are traveling in the same direction and there is space available on the boat to safely accommodate them.
  • There is an additional 6-euro charge for calling the taxi through an online portal.

Water Taxi transportation in Venice

Where to Find a Water Taxi:

The wooden boats, usually with a yellow or white stripe along the side, can be found near most tourist attractions. Including:

  • Rialto Bridge
  • St. Mark’s Square
  • Ferrovia Train Station
  • Piazzale Roma
  • Stazione Marittima
  • Tranchetto

When to Get a Water Taxi:

When to hail a water taxi depends mainly on two things, budget and how quick you need to get somewhere. Because of their high rates, water taxis are an expensive way to get around and Venice, and you do not want to blow you Venice budget on just getting around. However, water taxis are also the quickest way to get around. So, if you are, say running late for your flight at Marco Polo Airport, a water taxi will be your best bet.


All About Alilgunas

Also referred to as the Airport Ferry, the Alilguna shuttle is a private service that runs from Marco Polo Airport across the wide lagoon to Venice, Murano, and Lido. It is the most commonly used transportation method for to and from the airport due to it reasonable fares and frequent run times. At a cost of 10 euros to make the 1 hour and 15 minute trip, this is a favorite for tourists.

The Alilgunas run in four color-coded lines. The Blue Line, Orange Line, Red Line, and Green Line. All of them offer slightly different services, so you should research which option is best for you. But in general, the Blue Line for travel from the airport to many tourist attractions. The Orange Line is perfect for those staying along the Grand Canal. The Red Line is a summer seasonal route, only available from April to early November. And the Green Line is boat tour, not open for the public.

Know Before You Book Alilguna:

  • The Vaporetto and Alilguna tickets are not interchangeable.
  • Your luggage will be stowed away during transit.
  • Tickets do not have expiration dates.
  • There is a 15 euro one-way ticket option.
  • Each passenger is allowed one suitcase and one carry on, anything more is subject to a 3-euro fee.
Alilguna water transportation in Venice

Places to Buy Alilguna Tickets:

  • Online: this is the cheapest and easiest way.
  • At the Alilguna Counter located in Marco Polo Airport
  • Ticket Offices at: San Marco, San Luca Square, Venice Port, Tronchetto

As a reminder, if you do decide to purchase your tickets online, you will have to validate them at a ticket office near the Alilguna piers.


Venice is a favorite spot for tourists of Italy and the European Union. The city offers plenty of ways to get around its many canal and waterways. A little research and planning, and you will be skipping from one point to another lightning fast and without breaking the bank. From Vaporettes and Alilagunas, to the swift water-breaking water taxis, there is a way for you to get to where you need to go in Venice.


More Article

Have you been to Venice? If so, what public transportation do you use there? You are welcome to share your experience in the comments below.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Daniella, traveling is fun for me and I enjoy doing it a lot. When traveling and you have a good knowledge of the things that would be needed to have a good adventure you tend to enjoy your trip. Venice happens to be a very nice place and this means of transportation’s and how to get tickets for them which you have made easy for all here would make you enjoy our stay in Venice. Thanks for sharing .

  2. Those wayer taxis sounds pretty cool and sleek like you call them . I think i have said before that I have been to 8taly but only to Paris and will also love to visit Venice. My first encounter of the beautiful city was in a book by William Shakespeare. Transportation is not really like other cities here and it’s very ñice to see that the people are really leveraging on the water ways and canals. That’s very nice. That’s for this awesome post!

    • Hi Henderson,

      Yes, taxis are prevalent in Venice, and it’s definitely the best way to visit this beautiful floating city. I wish you to travel soon; maybe you should wait until the water level goes down as Venice is flooded. I am glad you enjoy the article! Thank you for the comment and I wish you a lovely day!

  3. This was another extremely useful post for anyone traveling to Venice. In the many visits I have made to the city, transportation has always been a bit confusing. I have stayed outside the city and made day trips only, so knowing how to get around the best way possible while seeing the sites can be a timesaver.

    The ACTV Vaporettos are the main means we have used successfully as they do stop in many areas of interest. The gondolas are also a favorite for my wife and guests we may have with us too, as it hearkens the romantic side of seeing the city.

    I have bookmarked this post and will pass it on for friends that may be in the area as I know they will appreciate the information on the best ways to get around the city. Many are there for the first time, and they do want to get the most out of their trip, of course.

     

    • Hi Dave,

      I am glad you found the post useful!

      It would be a great idea to share this article with your friends as it will undoubtedly help them get around Venice easily. Thank you for the comment, and I wish you a nice day.

  4. I am seriously looking forward to a Gondola ride in Venice because I believe that I read an insight about it that you wrote before and how there was songs as a story about Venice by the rider. I used to think that it was only a tourist attraction and not a means of transportation as well. That’s very good to know. If like to get on. Thank you for this nice post!

    • Hi John,

      That’s right, some Gondolas have a gondolier that sing a song to the passengers. An experience not to miss out:)

      Thank you for the comment and I wish you to travel to Venice soon.

  5. Hey thank you for the great post!  Venice is one of the cities my wife and me want to visit when we go to Italy!  I know you was saying the taxis cost a lot, but I feel like they would be one of the coolest ways of traveling because of the experience.  It’s not every day that you get to see a taxi that rides on water and not the road!  Would I be right to think that,or do you feel like the Vaporettos would be the best way to go for the experience?

    • Hi Jessie,

      I personally think that a boat ride is the best way to visit Venice as it enables you to cover many sites, thus saving you time. It’s also a unique experience not to miss!

      Let me know if you need help. I’ll be more than happy to assist!

      Thank you for the comment and I wish you a lovely day!

  6. Glad to read another article on your travel destination again. I love traveling especially Venice and my wife and I would love to visit her sometime. Venice gondola transportation is so widespread and you really have posted the most economical means of transport from sight to sight. I will definitely consider it thoroughly in case we decide to make this trip. I wonder if Christmas will have the same prices on tickets and the same lines for explorations and excursions. Thanks for your wonderful and travel theme.

    • What I can tell you is that prices are lower at Christmas time, but I am not sure about the attractions. Most of them will be closed because Italian will be celebrating the Chrismas holidays with their family at home:) But there are great hotels at a good price!

      Let me know if you need more help. I’ll be more than happy to assist!

      Thank you for the comment and I wish you a lovely day!

  7. Hi Daniella,thank you so much for this quick escape to Venicia. Venicia has been one of my dream city to visit. I am planning to visit with my family next year.Thanks again for the post ,because you tried your best to make it clear and informative like the different public transport,the price for tickets…Venicia is really  beautiful! What is the best time of the year to visit please?

    • Hi Eva,

      You are very welcome!

      As Italy has a Mediterranean climate, it’s pretty cold in the winter. The summer is the peak season. Not only it’s hot, humid, and crowded with tourists, but prices also go sky high. I personally prefer the spring and autumn seasons because the weather is fantastic, not too hot or too cold. Most attractions are open, prices are lower, and it’s quieter. In other words, the perfect time to travel:)

      I hope it helped. Please let me know if you need more info. I’ll be more than happy to assist.

      Thank you for the comment, and I wish you a lovely day!

  8. This is awesome information that has helped to put me more at ease. I am going to be visiting Italy in the summer of 2020 to visit my Cousins that live in Pietrasanta, up in the Tuscany area of Italy. After spending a week there I am going to travel by train to Venice, as it is the one city in Italy I really want to visit.

    It had dawned on me a couple of months ago that getting around Venice would be far more difficult when they have streets and walkways made of water. Though I know they have water taxis and gondolas, I had no clue of which modes of transportation were best to take and economical on a budget. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Robert,

      Tuscany is beautiful, and food is delicious:)

      Venice is also a walking town; it’s straightforward to get around on foot. But if you get tired or prefer to visit Venice by boat, then you better get familiar with transportation. I am glad you found the article useful. Let me know if you need more info. I’ll be happy to assist.

      Thank you for the comment, and I wish you a fantastic day!

  9. Hello Daniella, I love the feeling I get when I read about places like this and since I was very small I have heard a lot about Venice. I have a bucket list of which traveling around the world and someday I hope to explore these places. Water taxi would be a fun thing for me because I have a great love for the water. I will bookmark this post so I can make use of it again in a later time. Cheers.

    • Hi Bella,

      I am glad you enjoyed the reading:)

      Let me know if you need help. I’ll be happy to assist.

      Thank you for the comment and the bookmark. I wish you to travel around the world very soon!

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