The Piazzale Roma
You will probably reach Venice through the road and bridges that cross the lagoon and lead to the Piazzale Roma, the main bus station of the city. Buses could take you to some of the main peripheral districts of Venice but that’s all. In the Piazzale Roma you can also rent a car, but bear in mind that they are really expensive and simply unable to drive you to any of the city’s major sites.
Near the Piazzale Roma, lies the Grand Canal, full of waterbus jetties, while on the other side of the canal is the Venezia Santa Lucia, who serves as the city’s central railway station.
Note that travelling all around Venice is not exactly cheap so be prepared to do some research in order to remain within the boundaries of your budget. You can find an orario with all the route-maps and transportation information that you will need in the headquarters of ACTV that is responsible for most of the fares, in the Piazzale Roma.
Waterbuses are the best way to get around the Grand Canal, the lagoon shores and islands. They include several types of vessels:
- The Vaporetti
Vaporetto was originally the small steamer boat that crossed Venice’s canals and finally ended up in describing any type of public ferry vessel, of varying sizes and features, such as the famous outdoor seats that are so popular among tourists. Remember though that waters outside the island are a bit rough and the route could prove a bit more adventurous and wet than you anticipated! Usually the Vaporetti are awfully crowded so make sure you follow carefully the crew’s instructions.
- The Motoscafi.
Motoscafi is a term describing the much faster and modern sea vessels.
- The Traghetti
The Traghetti are simple vessels operating only during the day at certain points along the Grand Canal. They are a cheap “gondola trip” alternative.
- Water taxis
The Venetian water taxi is a fast but rather costly means of transportation around the city. If money is not an issue for you, you can also use them for a private tour. You can find them in various sports in the Grand Canal and at the Marco Polo airport. If you want to get an idea of their official charges check their official website.
You can get your tickets from ticket kiosks that you can find all around the city. Always buy them before getting on board because otherwise things can get complicated.
Below are some typical ticket prices – they could change a bit from time to time, but not much.
- The Traghetto Ordinario that costs €3 allowing you to boat through the Grand Canal.
- 1 hour ticket – €6.50;
- 12 hours ticket – €16.00;
- 1 day ticket – €28.00;
- 36 hours ticket – €23.00;
- 2 days ticket – €28.00;
- 72 hours ticket – €33.00;
- 7 days ticket – €50.00;
Should you want to remain for much longer in the city, there are also other options. In case you have a Venice tourist card you can get some free rides and discounts.
The most popular Routes
Most routes are distinguished by numbers and are countless, so get a route – map as soon as possible and always double check your desired destination with a member of a crew. For instance, the routes 1 and 2 are really popular, because they cross the whole of the S-shaped Grand Canal. The only difference among them is that the 1 entails far more stops, while 2 is much faster. Route 3 is the faster connection between Piazzale Roma and Murano. At night the famous route “N” takes visitors at a fascinating boat ride along the Grand Canal.
Using the boats is surely unavoidable and the only way to truly get the feel of Venice’s unique character.
Strolling the City
As soon as get off the vessels, you can start exploring the city on foot. A short break visitor can actually go almost anywhere on foot, but it will prove kind of tiring at the end. Bear in mind that, because not all canals are navigable and dead-ends are more frequent than anywhere else, going from one place to another is not always so easy and straightforward – but don’t be disappointed, you can use all this time to admire Venice’s marvels.