New in 2024:
Venice Public Transportation
Getting Around Venice
For the most part, transportation within Venice consists of a sturdy pair of rubber-soled shoes or Birkenstocks. Walking distances are short, although they'll often seem much longer since you're bound to get lost whenever you venture off the well-marked central pedestrian routes.
Still, there are times when you'll want to take to the water, so here's how to cruise the canali without bruising your pocketbook:
The public boats called vaporetti and motoscafi run almost constantly during the day and evening, and you'll seldom have to wait more than a few minutes for one to come along. (See our Venice Vaporetto Water Buses article for an introduction to the city's aquatic transit system.)
The water bus that you're likely to use most often is the No. 1, the local that stops 13 times between the Piazzale Roma and the Piazza San Marco. (For details on boat routes, see our easy-to-print vaporetto routes article and the ACTV Web site.)
The standard waterbus fare is a painfully steep 9,50 euro. However, if you plan on traveling extensively by public transportation, you can save money with 24- to 72-hour tourist travel pass from ACTV, the Venice transit authority.
There's also a "tourist" version of Venezia Unica, another local transportation and discount pass, for visitors who can tolerate its Byzantine pricing scheme.
Another option is the "frequent users" version of the Venezia Unica pass for residents, students, and visitors who are planning to stay a while. This card offers big discounts on public-transportation fares, and it can be a good value if you're staying in Venice for several weeks or longer and expect to use public transportation frequently, or if you plan to return to Venice soon.
For help in choosing a discount card, see "Which Venice transportation pass do I need?"
The sleek, wood-trimmed water taxis of Venice are priced for the limousine crowd, with extra fees for radio-dispatched service, trips after 10 p.m., and Sunday travel.
Aquatic cabs don't have meters, so know what you're paying before the skipper casts off. Climbing in and out of water taxis can be tricky if the tide is unusually low or there's a gap between the boat and the pier. See "A Warning about Water Taxis" for details.
The gondolas of Venice are beautiful but expensive. Gondoliers often demand more money for less than the officially allotted time, so read our Gondolas article before you're taken for a ride.
With only a handful of bridges crossing the Grand Canal's four-kilometer length, Venetians rely on gondola ferries called traghetti as shortcuts at strategic points along the canal.
Follow the "Traghetto" signs down to the water, where you'll pay a couple of euros to reach the other side. See our Traghetto article for more information.
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