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City Sightseeing Venezia

The "hop on, hop off" tour-bus company now serves Venice by boat, with half a dozen stops (including the island of Murano).

Archived article

  • 2020 update: City Sightseeing is no longer operating in Venice.

City Sightseeing Venezia boat

ABOVE: A brand-new City Sightseeing Venezia tour boat waits for passengers near Venice's Santa Lucia Railway Station.

City Sightseeing is a familiar name in many European cities. It operates open-top sightseeing buses and local tours in European locations from Aalborg to Zürich.

City Sightseeing Venezia boatIn 2016, City Sightseeing introduced a "hop on, hop off" boat tour in Venice. Unlike its defunct predecessor, the city's poorly-conceived Vaporette dell'Arte, City Sightseeing Venezia offers an easy way to reach many of the areas that typical visitors want to see, with access from the Santa Lucia Railroad Station and the Marittima cruise terminals.

The "hop on, hop off" tour is available in one- and two-day versions:

  • A 24-hour ticket costs €20 for adults or €10 for children from ages 5 to 15. (Children under 5 travel free.)

  • A 48-hour ticket costs  €27 for adults or €13 for children from ages 5 to 15, with children under 5 free.

You can join the tour at any stop. Tickets are available on board, from red-shirted company staff near the main boat stops, or from the City Sightseeing Venezia office in the railroad station.

Is the tour worth the price?

Tourists on ACTV No 1 vaporettoFor about the same price as the City Sightseeing Venezia tour, you could buy a one- or two-day Tourist Travel Card from ACTV (Venice's transit agency) and ride frequent public water buses to locations throughout the city and the Venetian Lagoon.

City Sightseeing Venezia San Marco stopIn contrast, City Sightseeing Venezia has only half a dozen stops, although these do include the most popular tourist areas, and boats run only about once an hour from morning through mid-evening.

Still, touring with City Sightseeing Venezia does have several advantages over using public transportation:

  • City Sightseeing Venezia's boats are far less crowded than public water buses, which can be jammed with tourists at busy times. This is especially convenient if you have luggage with you. (City Sightseeing allows you to bring your bags on board. Small to medium-size"inoffensive" pets are also permitted.)

  • You don't need to figure out routes.

  • You can listen to a recorded commentary with headphones. (Several languages are available.)

  • City Sightseeing Venezia has a stop at the Marittima cruise basin, making it convenient if you're touring Venice from a cruise ship that's moored at Marittima.

  • City Sightseeing's water buses have free Wi-Fi.

Walking in VeniceIf you're on a budget, or if you simply like exploring, you can choose a third option: Walk around Venice on your own, as we do. Central Venice is only about twice the size of New York's Central Park, and as any local will tell you, walking is often the quickest way to get from point A to point B. (It's also the most interesting.)

More photos:

City Sightseeing Venezia boat at Venezia Santa Lucia Railroad Station

City Sightseeing Venezia tours begin and end at a landing just around the corner from the Venezia Santa Lucia Railroad Station.

City Sightseeing Venezia ticket office in Venice train station

You can pick up a brochure, ask questions, and buy tickets at an office inside the station. (The ticket office is next to the Freccia Club Trenitalia, facing the platforms near Track 14.)

City Sightseeing Venezia water bus

After you've bought your ticket, go through the station's side door. You'll see a sandwich sign and a portable gangway next to the water (and maybe the boat itself, as in this photo).

City Sightseeing Venezia water bus with crew

The boat is a large flat-bottomed water bus that accommodates wheelchairs and strollers. If you don't have a ticket, you can buy one from a City Sightseeing employee in a red shirt or jacket.

City Sightseeing Venezia stop at San Marco

The "hop on, hop off" tour nominally has seven stops, although some may not be in operation during your visit:

  • Santa Lucia (the railroad station)
  • Tronchetto (a parking island).
  • Stazione Marittima (the cruise basin used by large ships). Service on cruise days only.
  • San Marco (shown above; near the Piazza San Marco, Campanile, Basilica di San Marco, Doge's Palace, and upscale shopping)
  • Lido (Venice's beach resort)
  • Murano (the glassmaking island)
  • Zattere (near several important art museums and the Basilica di Santa Maria Salute)

City Sightseeing Venezia stop at Zattere

City Sightseeing's landing at Zattere is shared with several other boat operators. Boarding and disembarkation at this stop can be unnerving with a wheelchair when the Giudecca Canal is choppy, since the floating pontile or pontoon moves with the waves. (The crew will provide help if you need it.)

City Sightseeing Venezia boat in Venetian Lagoon

In this photo, you can see the City Sightseeing Venezia water bus cruising from the Lido di Venezia to the glassmaking island of Murano.

Also see:
Sightseeing and Tours Index
Transportation Index