How to get about in and around Venice.
This is probably the first introduction to the means of transport you will encounter taking you from Venice Marco Polo International airport to the centre of Venice. The journey takes approximately an hour with two main routes the first skirts the island of Venice terminating at St. Marks Square and is known as the blue line. The alternative line is the orange line which takes you down the length of the Grand Canal via Realto.
You can either buy your tickets on line prior to leaving home and are marginally cheaper than buying them once you arrive in Venice. It costs 15 Euro a single ticket. Print off your voucher and present it to the ticket office on arrival and they will issue you with your ticket.
Once you leave the boat your ticket then becomes invalid so make sure you get off at the right stop. The boats are quite fast but slow down when a taxi passes by usually ensuring that the boat gets a soaking from the wash left by the taxi. The boats leave roughly every hour.
In the height of summer there is an additional service from the airport via Murano.
In total there are five Alilaguna routes serving not only the airport but some of the other islands so make sure you get on the right coloured line. You are permitted to carry one suitcase and one piece of hand luggage. Additional luggage is charged at 3 Euros per piece.
This is the public water bus service which runs all over Venice and the surrounding islands. There are 22 different lines and three night services.The price for a single ticket on board or at the water bus stops is 7 Euros each this is much more expensive than the fares paid by the locals who can buy a booklet of 10 tickets for the same price. Children under 6 are carried free. The water buses are quite frequent and could be a cheaper and more economical means of travelling around Venice and the islands. They also offer 12, 24, 36, 48, 72 hour tickets or a 7 day ticket for the following prices 18, 20. 25, 30, 35 or 50 Euros respectively. It is quite a fast means of getting around Venice and to the outer islands. One of the best trips to make is of an evening where you can go up the Grand Canal to admire the sights for a fraction of the cost of a taxi.
This is the most expensive form of travel around Venice at approximately 110+ Euros from the airport to Venice and if your hotel has a landing stage the taxi will take you and your baggage right to the door of your hotel. Some companies who offer pre buy water taxi do not actually provide what you think you are going to get but instead bus you into the Piazza Roma and then a short water taxi ride to your hotel. To be honest although it is more exclusive and takes only approximately 40 minutes I think it is more fun to use the Alilaguna and certainly much cheaper. However if you want to arrive in style this is the way to do it.
You can also jump in a water taxi to take you to the other Islands such as Murano be warned the taxi’s do travel very fast.
The Gondola rides are available all over Venice and weave in and out of the smaller canals. This is a unique and interesting way of travelling and for some especially romantic. However it does come at a price in excess of 100 Euros. The gondolier does not always wear a hat although they will wear a striped T-shirt and do not always sing as you might imagine. These flat bottomed boats are the traditional form of transport around Venice and there were in the region of 8,000 plying the canals in the 18th Century. Today there are approximately 400 traversing the canals. Some of the Gondolas actually had a small cabin on board for the occupants to remain hidden and take around Venice discretely. A good example of this can be seen in the Doges palace the Gondola used by the Doge of Venice. The gondolas are made from 8 different types of wood and after training the gondolier receives his licence but has to be knowledgeable in the History of Venice, the canals and language skills. They are decorated with gold and have comfortable seating.
This is probably one of the most fun ways to cross the Grand Canal jostling places on the canal with water buses, water taxis, the Alilaguna and other Gondolas. The Traghetto is a gondola that usually carries locals and tourists from one point to the opposite side of the canal for an amazing price of 50 cents. It is painted black with no adornments on them at all as it is a working boat. You might find locals stand up for the journey but most sit down on the sides of the gondola. The traghetto are operated by two oarsmen instead of one used on the tourist Gondolas and cross the canal in minutes.
The easiest and best way of getting around Venice is on foot. You need to be pretty agile as there are lots of small and large bridges to cross that link the islands to one another. It is one of the most brilliant ways of exploring Venice and even if you get lost you will walk down small alley ways turn a corner and come across breath taking and stunning views. Venice can be a bit of a maze of streets and alleys leading into lovely little Piazzas with pavement cafes and garden restaurants. Venice is like pandoras box as every turn will bring another delightful sight. However it is easy to lose your bearings but carry on walking and look to the sky and you should see St.Marks Campanile so you can get your bearings once more. St. Marks Square or Piazza San Marco and Rialto are usually well sign posted.