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More waterbus tips and warnings

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From: Venice Water Buses

No 1 vaporetto on Grand Canal

ABOVE: On older vaporetti, look for seating in the bow.

These random bits of advice can help to make your waterbus travel more enjoyable:

Tip 1: Plan ahead to save money.

Venetian Lagoon with LN motonave

ACTV boat fares for visitors are outrageous: As a tourist, you'll pay about six times the resident rate for a single vaporetto ticket.

Fortunately, you can shrink the cost dramatically with ACTV Venezia Daily Passes and Multi-Day Tickets, which offer unlimited boat travel for periods of 24 hours to 7 days. For example, with a 24-hour Venezia Daily Pass, you could:

  • Plan a do-it-yourself lagoon islands tour of the San Michele island cemetery, the glassmaking center of Murano, the more remote islands of Burano and Torcello, and possibly the Lido, where you can walk down the main shopping street to a beach on the Adriatic Sea.

  • Catch a boat to the island church and bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore, followed by a short cruise down the Giudecca Canal on the No. 2 vaporetto.

  • Wrap up your day with a leisurely cruise up the Grand Canal on the No. 1 vaporetto (see Tip 3 below).

Tip 2: Don't ride when you can walk.

Calatrava Bridge in Venice

As we mentioned earlier in this article, Venice is a compact city, and walking across town can be faster than taking a water bus.

Use the vaporetti, motoscafi, and motonavi when you need them (for example, to reach islands in the Lagoon), but save time and money by walking whenever you can.

Tip 3: Cruise up the Grand Canal at night.

No 1 vaporetto at night

Note that we said up the Grand Canal.

By taking the No. 1 vaporetto up the canal from the Piazzale Roma to San Marco or San Zaccaria (or even to the Lido, if you don't mind taking another boat back), you'll avoid the hordes of daytrippers who head down the Grand Canal to the Ferrovia (railroad station), the buses at Piazzale Roma, and the Tronchetto parking garage at the end of the day.

The No. 1 water bus zigzags across the Grand Canal during the approximately 45-minute trip from the Piazzale Roma to San Marco.

It also goes under the Rialto Bridge and offers great nighttime views of ornate ceilings and chandeliers inside the historic palazzi that line both sides of the canal.

Tip 4: Know where to sit on the water bus.

No 2 vaporetto aft seating

No 2 vaporetto bow

Flat-decked vaporetti, such as the No. 1 and No. 2 lines, have sheltered outdoor seating areas in the stern (accessible through doors at the back of the passenger cabin) and--on older boats--in the bow.

These seats are great for sightseeing, and you'll have the best chance of nabbing them if you board at the waterbus line's starting point (such as the Piazzale Roma if you're cruising up the Grand Canal toward San Marco).

Tip 5: Minimize your luggage.

Man with dolly

On water buses, you're allowed to carry one piece of luggage with a combined length, width, and height of 150 cm (60 inches) or less.

For more baggage, or for a larger suitcase, you may need to pay a fare supplement. Ask the agent in the ticket booth or the sailor on the water bus as you board.

Tip 6: Read our other vaporetto articles.

Vaporetto on Grand Canal

For starters, see our guides to Vaporetto Routes and Vaporetto Fares.

Other useful articles include Buying Vaporetto Tickets, ACTV Ticket Machines, "Which Venice transportation pass do I need?", ACTV Travel Passes, the Venezia Unica pass for tourists (formerly VeniceConnected), and the Venezia Unica pass for long-term visitors and residents (formerly iMob/CartaVenezia).

Warning: Beware of pickpockets.

Passport in hip pocket

Venice has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, but during high season or at holiday periods, professional pickpockets and other thieves migrate to popular tourist destinations (including Venice).

To frustrate thieves, use common sense: Don't carry your passport or wallet in an easy-to-reach pocket, keep your purse where you can see it, and don't set down your tote or camera bag on a busy vaporetto where a crook might be lurking in the crowd.

Back to: Venice ACTV water buses


In this article:
Venice ACTV water buses (introduction)
ACTV boat types: vaporetto, motoscafo, motonave
Traveling by ACTV water bus
More waterbus tips and warnings


Also see:
Venice vaporetto routes
Venice vaporetto fares
Vaporetto Line 1 (Grand Canal)
Directory of ACTV and Alilaguna waterbus stops
How (and where) to buy vaporetto tickets
ACTV ticket machines
"Which Venice transportation pass do I need?"
ACTV 24-hour to 7-day travel passes
Venezia Unica Pass for tourists
Venezia Unica Pass for long-term visitors and residents

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.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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