The Alilaguna is a method of transfer from Marco Polo airport to Venice by water bus. Although there has been a service from the mainland to Venice since the 1930’s it was only as recent as 1999 that the companies amalgamated forming one company. They initially started with four boats but now have 34 boats. They are easily distinguishable from the Actv water buses as they are brightly coloured with yellow paint and a white roof.
The two main Alilaguna water bus routes to and from the airport are the blue line which skirts the island of Murano and the Orange line which heads down the Grand Canal both lines are destined to reach Piazza San Marco and the blue line will go on to the Cruise ship terminal via Guidecca island. They do not stop at all the water bus stops but zig zag down the route dropping passengers at the main stops for example Rialto and St. Marks square. In total there are five lines all designated by colour the three remaining lines serve the other islands in the Lagoon for example Lido, Murano, Burano and Torcello some of which are only seasonal. There is approximately a 10 minute walk to reach the water landing stage from the airport.
You can buy your tickets from the ticket office either inside the airport where there is usually a queue of passengers just having landed at the airport or you can walk straight down to the landing stage and buy your ticket. There are also ticket offices near the water bus landing stages in Venice.
You can pre buy your tickets on line which works out cheaper than waiting to buy them when you arrive in Venice. Print off a voucher and take it to the ticket Kiosk where they will give you your ticket for your journey. Most people seem to take the blue that will take you to Piazza San Marco. Both Lines take approximately one hour to reach Piazza San Marco, Venice.
Prices of Tickets.
Single journey Euro 15 or Euro 13 if bought on line.
Return journey E27 or Euro 25 if bought on line.
Children under the age of six are carried free.
After obtaining our return tickets we boarded the orange line which would whisk us across the lagoon towards Venice and down the Grand Canal to our stop at Rialto. You step into the boat from the Quayside in the centre of the boat where the driver sits. The driver will clip your ticket to show that it has been validated. He will then direct you to sit either at the front of the boat or towards the rear. At some of the stops there are automatic ticket machines where you have to pass the ticket through the machine which will then open a barrier for you to enter the landing stage. Inside the boat it can become extremely hot and while there are windows that open down the side, when the boat passes a water taxi that speed across the lagoon you are more than likely to get splashed from the wash of the speeding taxi.
There is a designated lane which both the Alilaguna water buses and the water taxis use, the water taxi obviously being much faster as they speed across the lagoon to Venice and will take you right up to the door of your hotel if it has its own landing stage but bearing in mind this comes at a hefty price in excess of Euro 100. You are permitted to take one suitcase and one piece of hand luggage. Additional suitcases are charged at Euro 3 a piece.
The boat gently pulls away from the quay side and then starts to speed quite quickly across the lagoon slowing down when passing water taxis or other water buses to reduce the wash from each other that causes a lot of rocking of the boat. The boats also slowdown in parts where the route comes quite close to the small islands this is to prevent damage to the island by the wash from the boat.
Once we had crossed the lagoon we stopped at one bus stop no one got on or off but once we turned into the Grand Canal some passengers alighted at the various bus stops. We approached the Rialto Bridge and once through it came to our stop. It was quite easy to get in and out of the boat but the boat does tend to rock about a bit and it is quite easy to lose your footing.
It is a lovely way to arrive in Venice and although not the cheapest way to arrive it is quite fast in comparison to the Train or Bus journey to Venice which terminates in the northern part of Venice then you still have to catch one of the local water buses and then walk to your hotel.
Would I recommend using the Alilaguna?
Yes I would recommend it as it is a good introduction to what you are about to see throughout the Venetian islands and an easy way to get used to getting on and off the boats. You also get to see Venice from a distance and it is quite exciting as you get nearer.
You can visit the Alilaguna web site where you can gather all the information regarding time tables and price of tickets. You can also pre buy your tickets which are marginally cheaper as Venice is quite an expensive city so if you can save yourself a couple of quid why not?