Getting Around, Venice Travel, Transport and Car Rental
(Venice, Veneto, Italy)
Venice, Italy is a relatively easy city to get around. The centre is fairly compact and most of the sights are within walking distance of one another. Much of Venice is pedestrianised and if you are in the city centre, the quickest way to get around the city is by foot, using the antique pavements and the many bridges. When walking around Venice it is advisable to take a good map showing street names and these are available at most newsstands. Of course, the other main method of transport in Venice, Italy is the famous water-buses on the Grand Canal, which are a quite unforgettable experience.
Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) / Arriving by Air
Venice is served by one of Italy's busiest airports, Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)
, handling a large number of international and domestic flights.
Venice VCE Airports Guide
There are several places where you are able to hire a car in Venice. Many car rental agencies are available and there is a particularly good selection at the airport and at the Piazzale Roma. Travelling by car provides a very convenient way to travel around the mainland and outside of the city centre. In Italy, people drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left. Venice is situated on the east-west A4 autostrada and this connects with many of Italy's major cities, including Brescia, Milan, Padua, Turin and Verona. You will need to pay to park or garage your car when it is not in use and several large parking areas are available.
Public transport in Venice consists mainly of water-buses, which are an essential way to travel to some of the main attractions. The all purpose 'vaporetti' water-buses provide an interesting and memorable way to travel to some areas of the city. Various travel cards are available for periods of one day or longer and these can prove a cost-effective method of travel if you intend to use the water-buses regularly. Canals served by the water-buses are the Grand Canal, the Rio Nuovo, the Canale di Cannaregio and Rio dell'Arsenale. There are many different routes (lines), with most running daily from around 06:00 to 21:00. A limited night service is also available, which can prove a magical and beautiful time to travel around the canals. Timetables and routes are posted at every landing stage and there are ticket booths at all stops, which is often much easier than buying the ticket on the boat itself.
Enclosed 'motoscafi' motorboat taxis are more sleek and faster than the water-taxis. However, they are also more expensive. Holding up to 15 passengers, these boats can be easily caught from stands at the stations in the city centre. When using the water-taxis, always agree on the fare before your journey starts and look out for any additional charges for luggage and late hours. Avoid private boats touting for business as these can be very expensive and unreliable.
When you picture Venice, a romantic image of a gondola slowly navigating the canals immediately comes to mind. It is simply something that you must do and the best time to take a trip is either late in the afternoon or early evening, when the Grand Canal is at its most quiet. Although there used to be around 10,000 gondolas operating a few years ago, with modern public transport now readily available, there are only about 400 still operating, specifically for the tourists. It is always worth agreeing the fare and total time before departing. Also, the journey can be even more enjoyable if you ask to travel around some of the scenic, smaller canals, which tend to be less crowded.
Retired gondolas (traghettos) can be a really useful way to travel across the Grand Canal at various points. They provide a quick and cheap way to cross, are the shortest gondola trip available and can save a considerable amount of walking.
One of the best ways to spend a day in the beautiful city of Venice is to bring or hire your own boat. The tourist information centre will be pleased to help you locate a boat for the day and many also come with an experienced chauffeur.
Buses run regularly from Piazzale Roma (Venice's bus terminus) to Mestre, Chioggia, Marghera, La Malcontenta and also many other mainland destinations. Regional buses to Padua leave every 30 minutes and less frequently to other destinations. City buses are cheap and tickets must be purchased prior to travel and they can be bought at newsstands, bars, tobacconists and many other shops displaying the bus company logo.
Travelling by taxi in Venice may be very convenient, but it can also be very expensive. The meters start at a fixed charge and there are extra charges for luggage, journeys to the airport and also trips taken between 22:00 to 07:00, at the weekends and also on public holidays. Always take official taxis from the ranks and in nearby towns the taxi ranks can usually be found in the main piazzas.
With good rail connections to every major city in Italy and Europe, travelling by train is a fast and effective way to journey outside the city. The Stazione Ferroviaria Santa Lucia is the terminus for trains from Paris
, Munich, Innsbruck, Vienna, Geneva, Zürich and many other European cities. Some other trains, including those from Santa Lucia, stop at the nearby Stazione Ferroviaria Venezia-Mestre, which is only a further 10 minutes by train to Venice. Tickets can be purchased at the station booth and must then be validated in the machine on the platform before boarding.
The Venice Simplon-Orient Express runs between London and Venice from March to November. It also stops at Paris, Düsseldorf, Cologne
, Zürich, St. Anton, Innsbruck and Verona. This is an expensive way to travel, but is also very luxurious. The price of a return trip is more reasonable, as this also includes the outward flight to Venice.