The geography of Venice, a collection of islands in a shallow lagoon threaded with narrow canals and split down the middle by the Grand Canal, doesn’t always make for a simple, low-cost journey from airport to hotel. Road vehicles can cross the long bridge that connects Venice to the shore and can get as far as the Piazzale Roma, but after that you have to continue on foot or by water. Here’s the low-down on the various options open to you, whether you’re a backpacker or a high-roller.
On a budget
Express Bus & Walk
If your hotel is close to the Piazzale Roma then you can get there from Marco Polo airport for just €8 (or €15 return). There are two bus services that make the journey, a 15-20 minute express service from ATVO (look for the blue buses) or the number 5 stopping service from ACTV, the Venice public transport company that also runs the water buses (vaporettos). Avoid these yellow/orange buses, as the price is still €8 and it takes upwards of 45 minutes. The ATVO buses run every 30 minutes throughout the day.
Slow Bus & Waterbus Combined Ticket
If your accommodation is in a part of Venice with a water bus (vaporetto) stop close by, then this option might be worthwhile. You can get a combined ticket for the ACTV bus mentioned above, and a 90-minute vaporetto ticket for €14. Bear in mind this bus isn’t the express service.
Express Bus & Waterbus
If you’d like a quicker journey, you’ll be better off buying the bus ticket (€8) separately and using the blue ATVO express service. When you reach Piazzale Roma you can then get a single vaporetto ticket (€7.50). Or, if you’re planning to explore Venice’s outlying islands Murano and Burano (and we suggest you do!), and you also want to see more of the city than you might be able to reach by foot (those bridges take a lot out of you!), then you can get a multi-day vaporetto ticket (48 hours: €30, 72 hours: €40).
For €15 per person you can take the Alilaguna public transport service. Similar in appearance to the vaporettos, the Alilaguna service runs several lines directly from the airport and one from the cruise terminal to select stops around the city. As the stops are less common than the vaporetto stops, you might find you have more of a walk to your hotel from the stop. The boats start a little later and finish earlier than the ATVO express bus service, so if you’re arriving very early or very late, this might not be an option.
A little bit more
A shared water taxi is the mid-range option. For around €20 per person you can share a taxi with other travelers. For just two people this is one of the quicker ways into the city and works fine if your hotel is close to one of the water taxi stops. If that’s not the case you may find you’ll still need to walk some distance or switch to a vaporetto (see the waterbus info above). The larger your group, however, the closer to the cost of a private water taxi you come.
The Luxe Option
Who doesn’t dream of arriving in Venice like a movie star aboard a private Venetian launch? A private water taxi is around €150 and will take you right from the airport to your hotel’s water gate or canalside entrance, or as close as it’s possible to get. Though it’s pricey for a couple, for groups of 4+ it works out to a reasonable per-person cost.
We can work any option you like into your Venice itinerary and if you opt for the shared or exclusive water taxi we’ll make the reservations, so everything will be taken care of.
Charlie is head of marketing at JayWay Travel. A long-term Prague resident, his interests are cooking, eating out, cycling, skiing and of course, travel.