Bicyling in Venice, Italy
In central Venice, riding or even pushing a bike is
illegal--but you're free to cycle on the Lido di Venezia, Venice's island
ABOVE: A clueless bicylist poses while a passerby
documents his crime.
Most visitors to Venice
know that the city's historic center or centro storico is car-free.
But it's important to emphasize that bicycles are also forbidden.
If you ride, push, or carry a bike through the
streets of central Venice, you'll be risking a 100-euro fine.
There is one exception: You can push or carry your bike between
the Venezia Santa Lucia railroad station
and the Piazzale Roma via the Ponte di
Costituzione or Calatrava Bridge. This is handy if, for example, you arrive in
central Venice by train and want to park your bike at the Piazzale Roma.
Bringing a bicycle to Venice:
For a trouble-free visit, choose one of these options:
Stay at a hotel in Mestre or
Marghera, on the Venetian mainland, and commute to the city center by train,
tram, or bus.
Check our Mestre-Marghera hotel listings
to find hotels with parking, or use the 800-spot
AVM Bici Park Mestre
at the Venezia Mestre railroad station. It's open Monday through Saturday
from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Cycle on the 4-km/2.5-mile causeway from Mestre to Venice's
Piazzale Roma (at the edge of the historic center) and park your bicycle in
one of the 100 secure boxes at the Municipal Garage.
Click here for details
You'll find a number of convenient
hotels by the Piazzale Roma,
close to the
Bici Park Venezia on Level -1 of the
Autoremissa Comunale parking garage.
From the Piazzale Roma, it's easy to reach the sights by
public water bus (including
the popular Linea 1 vaporetto, which
zigzags up the Grand Canal to the Rialto Bridge,
the Piazza San Marco, and beyond.)
Stay at a hotel on Venice's island beach resort, the
Lido di Venezia, which you can reach by the
Venice-Lido car ferry or by
from Chioggia at the southern
end of the Venetian Lagoon.
If you're coming from Chioggia, you have two
options: Take the Linea 11 public water bus all the way from Chioggia to the
Lido, or (for more scenery) take the Linea 11 water bus from Chioggia to
Pellestrina and cycle the remaining distance to the Lido. (This route
involves a short ferry crossing at Alberoni, south of the Lido.)
Click here and scroll to download a map and timetable for the Linea 11 water bus,
this page about the bicycle route.
Alternatively, you can reach
the Lido via the Linea 14 motonave or public water bus from Punta Sabbioni
at the northern end of the Venetian Lagoon.
Click here and scroll to download a map and timetable for Linea 14.
On Linea 11 and Linea 14 water buses, bicycles
are transported at the captain's discretion (based on how many passengers
and bicycles are competing for space on the boat). This is likely to be more
of a problem on Linea 11, since Linea 14 uses double-deck vessels that carry
up to 1,200 passengers.
More photos and facts:
ABOVE: In central Venice, bicyclists are even less welcome than
pigeons. (And unlike pigeons, illegal cyclists can be smacked with 100-euro
ABOVE: If you see a bicycle in central
Venice, it probably belongs to a child. (Local kids can get away with using
bicycles, tricyles, roller skates, hoverboards, and other wheeled
ABOVE: Riding a unicycle, with or without training wheels, is a
risky workaround for Venice's "no bicycles" policy.
ABOVE: It's okay to push your bike from the
Piazzale Roma to the
Venezia Santa Lucia railroad station
(or vice versa). But don't get on the bike, or the police are likely to pounce.
Tip: If you arrive on a folding bicycle and have a bag for it,
you can take the bike (in its bag) on local water buses upon payment of a second
ABOVE: On Venice's island beach resort, the
Lido di Venezia, it's legal to ride bikes. You can hire standard bikes,
tandems, and quadricycles from Venice
Bike Rental, which is 400 meters from the
Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta
waterbus stop (shown above).
Venice transportation index
About the author:
Durant Imboden has
written about Venice, Italy since 1996.
He covered Venice and European travel at About.com for 4-1/2 years before launching
Europe for Visitors (including
Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl
Imboden in 2001.
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