Venice Water Buses
More vaporetto tips and warnings
These random bits of advice can help to make your waterbus travel more enjoyable:
Tip 1: Plan ahead to save money.
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 Tourist Travel Cards, which offer unlimited boat travel for periods of 12 hours to 7 days. For example, with a 12- to 24-hour card, you could:
Tip 2: Don't ride when you can walk.
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.
Note that we said up the Grand Canal. By taking the No. 1 vaporetto 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.
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.
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.
Other useful articles include Buying Vaporetto Tickets, ACTV Ticket Machines, "Which Venice transportation pass do I need?", ACTV Tourist Travel Cards, 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.
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:Vaporetto Water Buses - Introduction
Bottom photo copyright © Alistair Scott.
Copyright © 1996-2019 Durant and Cheryl Imboden. All rights reserved.