gondola venice (1)

The center of Venice city is a group of small islands that connected to the mainland by an artificial bridge spanning the sea. If you want to getting from the mainland to Venice you have to take a train or car. However, you should do not take a car from elsewhere to Venice because the parking fee here is very high and it is also difficult to find a parking spot in the peak season. So, how to get around Venice? Let’s explore 3 best ways on how to travel around Venice how to go around Venice including best way to get around Venice, best way to travel around Venice, cheapest way to get around Venice, cheapest way to travel around Venice to find out the answer!

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Grand Canal
gondola venice
Gondola, the symbol of Venice and Rialto bridge in background | how to get around venice
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Beautiful city of Venice
Aerial view of Venice, Italy1
Aerial view of Venice, Italy

Looking on the map can distinguish each area in Venice as below.

  • Mainland area: Including Favaro Veneto, Mestre–Carpenedo, Chirignago–Zelarino, Marghera.
  • Main Island: This is considered the center of Venice city.
  • Surrounding islands include (1): Murano, Burano and (2): Lido Island, Pellestrina.
Venice main island neighborhood map

Public transport in Venice is operated by the ACTV company, including water bus (vaporetto) and land bus (regular bus).

Waterbus vaporetti8-1024x697
Waterbus or vaporetto on Grand Canal

How to travel around Venice: Getting from the airport to the city

By Bus

If you getting to Venice by plane via Marco Polo Airport (located in (3) area on the map) from other European cities like Paris, Barcelona, or Athens, it will take about 30 minutes by bus with cost from 5 to 6 euros to getting to the town of Mestre (4), which is the town close to the city center and only takes a short train about 5 minutes to get into the center. Venice airport is very small, just a few steps, you have already come to the arrival hall, there are quite a lot of buses waiting at the door, which operating from 5:30am–6pm daily. Bus tickets can be bought directly from the driver.

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Mestre and main island of Venice
public bus in venice
Public bus in Venice

If you want to get directly to the city center (1), there are two types of buses running from the airport (remember to validate the ticket when getting on the bus):

  • ATVO “Venezia Express”: This bus runs directly from the airport to the last stop of Piazzale Roma for € 8/way and € 15/round trip. Buy your ticket at the ATVO ticketing counter at the baggage claim area at the airport, or the arrival hall, the ATVO staff stands at the airport arrival hall.
ATVO Venezia Express at Marco Polo Airport

Shared Marco Polo Airport (VCE) Transfers for Venice by ACTV Aerobus

  • ACTV Aerobus No. 5 (Line 5): This vehicle belongs to ACTV also runs to Piazzale Roma but will stop in some spots, runs daily from 4 am to 1 am next day and the fare as well as ATVO, but does not luxurious as ATVO’s bus. However, you can buy a combination of the “Aerobus + Nave” ticket for € 14, allowing you to get to the last stop and add a waterbus trip to your hotel. This waterbus ticket is valid within 90 minutes. In addition, if you already have an ACTV Travel Card, you can buy this ticket for a discount of only € 6/trip. Buy your ticket right at the airport’s arrival hall and see the bus schedule here: No. 5 timetable or here.
ACTV Aerobus Line 5

By waterbus

Vaporetto stop Piazzale Roma Venezia
Vaporetto (water bus) also stop at Piazzale Roma Venezia

Another option is to go directly from the airport to the city center by boat from Alilaguna pier. Buy tickets from the information desk right inside the airport, then look at the sign with the words “Vaporetto waterbus” to get to the pier. There are two types of buses: Public waterbus and rent private taxi called water taxis, whether you take public waterbus or rent a private boat, you have to come to this pier. Note that ACTV’s waterbus does not operate in Alilaguna, so ACTV’s Travel Card will not use for airport waterbus route. Alilaguna Pier has 3 main lines to get to the center of Venice:

Waterbus vaporetti8-1024x697
Waterbus or vaporetto on the Grand Canal | best way to get around venice

Venice ACTV Vaporetto and Bus Transports Tourist Ticket

  • Linea Blu or Blue Line: Airport – San Marco – Stazione Marittima
  • Linea Arancio or Orange Line: Airport – Rialto – San Marco.
  • Linea Rossa or Red Line: Airport – Lido Island – San Marco, this line usually operates from late April to early November.
| how to travel around venice

There are usually 2 main piers in the center that you need to pay attention to are at the Rialto Bridge and at San Macro Square, especially San Macro, which all 3 lines run through here. Ticket prices range from EUR 8-15 depending on the distance you want to go, if you buy tickets on the boat you will have to pay an additional fee. Usually one person can only bring 1 handbag and 1 suitcase, if bring more will charge EUR 3/item. If renting a private water taxi, the price is about EUR 100-120/way.

Waterbus Stop Rialto in Venice - ACTV Waterbus
Waterbus Stop at Rialto Bridge | best way to get around venice
venice travel blog venice bus boat
St Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica in the distance.

Take the train to Venice

If you take the train from another city in Italy to Venice will definitely go through this town of Mestre, you can go directly into the center without stopping at Venezia-Mestre station if you have booked hotel in the city, the last station is Santa Lucia (about 5-10 minutes from Mestre station by train). Note that when you booking train tickets online (via http://trenitalia.com) to find Venice, you search ‘Venezia’ (in Italian), It will appears.

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Mestre and main island of Venice | best way to get around venice

How to get around Venice center

Venice Water bus

To getting around the city, the easiest way is to walk, in addition, there is a very popular means of transportation is riding in the sea and through the canals by: ACTV Water bus, also known as Vaporetto (in addition, there are two types of waterbus is Motoscafo and Motonave), which works like a bus system on land. This type of water bus is very large which can accommodate up to 200 people.

Motoscafo | best way to get around venice

You can click here to see the waterbus schedule and daily routes. Using the Water bus is really necessary in some cases like if you want to getting to some islands outside the city, or want to go to some separate islands like Murano or Burano (will be mentioned below) or simply you want to getting around this beautiful city by boat and sightseeing.

murano island
Murano island | how to go around venice
Colourful houses on Burano Island.
Venice waterbus route map | how to go around venice

Overview of the water bus lines in Venice

Looking at the map, you can see that ACTV’s Water bus system is divided into more than 20 lines with different colors, intertwined between many points on the main island and the satellite islands. The routes of ACTV are always changing so you will have to update when you traveling to Venice, so get a free map at the airport for reference, finding the map in the center is a bit difficult and they often sell, not free. While using the map and watch the timetable above to catch exactly which waterbus you want to go. Some routes that you need to pay attention to because they relate directly to tourists:

  • Central route: Line 1 and line 2 with line 1 go back and forth 20 points between Piazzale Roma and Lido Island, suitable for those who want to go around the Grand Canal for sightseeing. Line 2 also runs from San Macro to the central pier. These routes are usually quite crowded during holidays and rush hours.
Water Bus Vaporetto Line 1
Line 2
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Grand Canal | how to get around venice
  • Seasonal route: Including lines 7, 10 and 18 operate from spring to the end of fall. Line 7 runs from San Zaccaria to several piers of Murano Island, Line 10 runs between Lido and Zattere islands via San Macro Giardinetti. Line 18 runs between Murano and Lido di Venieezia.
Line 7
Murano, near Venice, Italy
Murano island, near Venice, Italy | how to get around venice
  • The route running through satellite islands: Including lines 11, 12, 14, 15, .. with line 12 to Murano and Burano, line 14 to Lido.
Line 12
Line 15 | how to get around venice
Line 20
Burano island
Take a coolest picture in Burano Island | how to get around venice


Actually taking the water bus in Venice is easy, you can see many ACTV docks when you take a walk around the city. You only need to see the pier with the word “ACTV” on the yellow background to know this is a waterbus pier, but note that there are quite a lot of large pier, so you should carefully check which lines running that pier to choose the correct waterbus and choose your right direction.

Piazzale Roma Pier

You can buy tickets or ACTV Travel Cards at ACTV’s selling points or vending machines at big water bus piers. After buying a ticket, you validate the ticket at the green machines placed right at the pier, if you cannot buy the ticket when you get on the waterbus, you can buy tickets from the waterbus driver to avoid being fined.

Validating Vaporetto Ticket | how to get around venice

Water bus ticket price

The normal ticket for a waterbus ride is EUR 8, valid for 75 minutes (too expensive), with this ticket you can use one or two trips to get to your expected destination except the route to the airport. Children under 6 are free. Traveling in Venice by waterbus is very familiar to people in this country, you just need to step out of Santa Lucia station to see the pier with lots of waterbus already docked.

Vaporetto Tickets Counter

You should consider buying Travel Card that allows unlimited travel for a certain period of time, counting the exact time from the time you validate your card at automatic validate machines. In addition to some special routes, you can use your Travel Card to travel anywhere with waterbus, including the islands of Burano and Murano:

  • € 20,00 – 1 DAY TRAVELCARD
  • € 30,00 – 2 DAYS TRAVELCARD
  • € 40,00 – 3 DAYS TRAVELCARD
  • € 60,00 – 7 DAYS TRAVELCARD
  • Rolling card – € 22 in 3 days for those under 30 years old.
ACTV Ticket Machine | how to travel around venice

As for Rolling Card, please note that the price is € 22 for 3 days of traveling on all ACTV’s vehicles (including land bus and water bus) except for the airport route, if going to the airport in one way, round trip, the price respectively € 28 and € 34. This is similar to other travel cards.

the Venice trip
Enjoy the Venice trip by your own way
Splendid Venice - Starhotels Collezione
Splendid Venice – Starhotels Collezione | how to travel around venice

How to traveling in Venice and buying tickets, travel cards in reasonable way?

The waterbus travel experience in Venice with a 2-day itinerary, you should spend a day for walking, a day to buy Travel Card only going to the islands by waterbus to saving money. With Travel card you go to the islands from Murano – Burano – Lido and then return to the main island. You should choose Waterbus Line 3 that will run straight to Murano without stopping to pick up guests, after visiting Murano, you can catch the waterbus Line 12 to Burano, to Lido you take the Waterbus Line 14.

Line 3
Line 12 | how to travel around venice
Line 14
Burano, Venice | how to travel around venice

You should also try a night waterbus trip to see Venice, take the water bus Line 1 to get to Rialto to avoid the crowds during the day but run across the Rialto bridge and view the banks with restaurants, bars, brilliant and romantic shops. When taking the water bus also pay attention to your luggage because they only allow limited luggage, if you bring more you will have to buy more tickets.

rialto bridge venice
Rialto bridge, the most beautiful bridge in Venice | how to travel around venice
Grand Canal of Venice by night, Italy
View of Grand Canal in the night, seen from Rialto Bridge. | cheapest way to travel around venice

Experience Gondola in Venice

A typical means of transportation (also is the symbol of Venice) that you must try when coming to Venice is Gondola, a type of boat with boatmen who are handsome Italian guys who row boat while singing and have gone into many literary works and movies. However, not every guy can sing so you need to consider it before renting. Sailing with Gondola is really romantic for any couple, but the price is also extremely expensive, ranging from 80-100 Euros/hour. You can experience it at a cheaper cost by pairing with one or several other couples, or ask the hotel help to finds travelers who need to join the tour.

Gondolas Ride, Venice
Pick a boat – any boat! | cheapest way to travel around venice
gondola venice italy
Gondola boats

The starting price for renting a Gondola is € 80 for 40 minutes, adding 20 minutes paying an additional € 40. After 7 pm the price will increase to € 100 and each additional 20 minutes pay an additional € 50. Maximum of 6 people allowed on a Gondola. This is just the general price, in addition you can bargaining, or the price can be changed with additional costs like you ask the driver to sing a song for example!

Venice, Italy2
| cheapest way to travel around venice
The Back Streets of Venice
The symbol of Venice
Gondolier venice
Timeout of a Gondolier | best way to get around venice
venice at night
Venice at night | best way to get around venice

Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in and from, and to Venice you can refer to

San Giorgio Maggiore
San Giorgio Maggiore

Are you looking for more top things to do in Venice: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here: Venice travel blog — The fullest Venice city guide for a great trip to Venice on a budget for the first-timers.