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).
C is a familiar name in many European cities. It operates open-top sightseeing buses and local tours in European locations from Aalborg to Zürich.
In 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:
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?
For 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.
In 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:
If 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.)
City Sightseeing Venezia tours begin and end at a landing just around the corner from the Venezia Santa Lucia Railroad 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.)
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).
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.
The "hop on, hop off" tour nominally has seven stops, although some may not be in operation during your visit:
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.)
In this photo, you can see the City Sightseeing Venezia water bus cruising from the Lido di Venezia to the glassmaking island of Murano.
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