How to use Venice public transport - how to use the water bus in Venice

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Hi! Welcome to Complete City Guides!

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My name is Patrick, I'm originally from Sydney (Australia) but grew up in England (my second home) - and I love exploring cities (and writing about it!)

I work online in marketing, which gives me the opportunity to travel around the world full time.

So while I am away, I keep this blog updated with full travel info. I tend to stay in a city for a few months at a time, to really get to know it - then I write guides on it.

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How to use Venice public transport - how to use the water bus in Venice

Once you are in Venice there are really two main ways to get around: Walk or take a boat.

Want to know how to get to Venice from the airport? See details here on how to get from the Airport to City Center.

Walking

Everywhere within the main Venice island is walkable. It might take 20-30 minutes (even longer if you are going from the top of Venice (near the train station) to the south east corner), however it is always a nice walk. At night time it can be a little frustrating to be walking down a lot of back streets, trying to find where to go. However Venice really is a city that you can just get lost in and enjoy walking around.

You should definitely use your phone's GPS / Satellite Navigation. In some back streets there is not a good GPS signal, so you should have a rough route planned out in your head. If you get really lost, just walk until you find the big main canal, or the lagoon. You'll work it out eventually, and Italians are generally helpful and will try and help you if you ask them.

Major tourist attractions (e.g. the train station (Ferrovia), Bus station (Piazzale Roma), Piazza San Marco, Rialto) are often sign-posted with arrows. Often these will look like graffiti (the words can be spray painted on a building). You should trust these directions!

The boat options

You have several boat options, all variying in different prices and durations.

Gondola Rides

Price: €80 for 30 minutes, €100 after 7pm. Prices are per boat, so if there is a big group of you then it'll work out cheaper per person
Gondolier rider
Man running a Gondolier boat

The classic Venice way to travel! They are used exclusively by tourists. You can sometimes negociate (maybe €10 less). But remember that you pay per boat, so if there is a big group then it is cheaper per person.

You can find them everywhere in the backstreets of Venice, plus quite a few piers on the main Grand Canal.

Traghetto - cheap transport from one side of the Grand Canal to the other side

Price: €2. Duration: 90 seconds

This is a cheaper version of the Gondola rides. If you want to save money, or don't really care about spending 30+ minutes on a boat ride then this is for you. However, by the time you have taken a couple of photos and selfies you will already be at the end your journey. The ride takes about 1 or 2 minutes.

They are used by residents to get from one side of the river to the other. There are 7 Traghetto piers along the Grand Canal, and they are quite easy to spot.

Tourists tend to sit (if it isn't crowded - at night time it is generally less busy), and residents and locals will stand. If it is busy then you might have problems if you sit and/or have suitcases or bags.

There is a good guide on using Traghettos here.

They are worth doing, as they are really cheap. Just wait until you need to get to the other side of the river, then you have a good excuse to spend a couple of euros.

Pay the man (we haven't seen any women Traghetto workers!) when you get on. We have found from experience that they have change, but prefer it if you give them the exact change.

The boats will go backwards. So get on, walk to the other end of the boat, and sit facing the man who you paid. Then you will be facing forwards.

Info: Locals pay less! They pay just 70 euro cents!

Vaporetti - Water bus

Price: €7.50 for 75 minutes. 24 hours €20. 48 hours € 30. Other pricing options available

This is the normal water bus. For one trip they are really expensive! But, they are good for 2 reasons:

  • Start at one end of the Grand Canal and take 30+ minutes to go up or down it! A €7.50 ticket will last 75 minutes and you can get on/off as often as you like. Just remember to validate your ticket correctly!
  • Get a 24 hour day pass, and explore the nearby islands of Murano (5 minutes away) and Burano (20 minutes away). It is easy to organise by yourself, you don't need to book a proper tour group. both islands are fun to explore on foot!

Not every pier has a ticket machine, but all the main ones do. Some have ticket boothes, where you can speak to someone.

Remember to validate your ticket (every time you get on the water boat).

Water Taxis

Price: starts at €13, then €1.80 per minute of travel.

These are another option, however they are rarely used by tourists. Just get walking! If you do insist on getting a water taxi, read here for details.

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About Me

I'm an Australian who has lived in Europe for most of my life. I work online, travelling with my laptop, working online and exploring cities for months at a time.

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