Best Ways to Get Around in Venice: Travel Guide (2024)

Have you ever thought about the countless ways to navigate the winding waterways of Venice? This city, with its labyrinthine network of canals and bridges, is a testament to human ingenuity and resilience. Built on more than 100 small islands, Venice is a marvel of urban planning unrivaled anywhere in the world. Over the centuries, Venetians have developed inventive ways to traverse this cosmopolitan city in the water, gliding seamlessly from one side of the lagoon to the other.

Explore with us the best ways to navigate Venice’s enchanting streets and water passages.

Two gondola riders on a canal at sunset.

Should you drive, take public transportation, or walk?

In Venice, the well-known question arises: should you drive, take public transport or simply explore the city on foot? Each option offers its own advantages and is tailored to different preferences and needs. If you arrive by land, you can use trains, buses, cars and streetcars to reach the city. Once you are in the canal city, however, the streets turn into narrow alleys and busy squares where cars are impractical. Public transport, including the iconic vaporetto (water bus) and water cabs, offer efficient and scenic routes along the canals, allowing you to navigate the city’s waterways with ease. Alternatively, you can explore the city on foot and discover the hidden gems in the labyrinthine streets. Depending on your itinerary, preferences and budget, each mode of transportation offers its own advantages, so you can tailor your trip to suit your needs.

Venetian water bus with many passengers traveling on the Grand Canal.

Venice Public Transportation

Water Bus (Vaporetto Boats)

The Vaporetto is Venice’s primary public water bus system, offering convenient and affordable transportation along the city’s waterways. Ideal for solo travelers or small groups, the Vaporetto provides access to major landmarks and neighborhoods, including popular destinations like St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge. With various ticket options available, including single rides and multi-day passes, it’s a cost-effective way to explore Venice’s iconic sights at your own pace.

Water Taxi

For those seeking a more luxurious and private mode of transportation, the water taxi offers a stylish and efficient way to navigate Venice’s canals. While pricier than the Vaporetto, water taxis provide personalized service, allowing you to travel directly to your desired destination without the hassle of multiple stops. Perfect for special occasions or group outings, a water taxi offers a touch of elegance and exclusivity as you glide through the Venetian lagoon to discover other islands or the cities picturesque waterways.

Gondola Ride

A gondola driver on a side canal in Venice.

A quintessential Venetian experience, a gondola ride offers a romantic and enchanting journey through the city’s historic canals. While it may be one of the more expensive transportation options, a gondola tour provides a unique perspective of Venice’s architecture and landmarks, complete with serenades by skilled gondoliers. Ideal for couples or small groups looking to indulge in a memorable and intimate excursion, this is a must-do activity for those seeking a taste of Venetian romance.


A budget-friendly alternative to the traditional gondola tour, a traghetto offers a quick and straightforward crossing of the Grand Canal. Operating similarly to a gondola but without the frills, traghetto boats transport passengers from one side of the canal to the other for a fraction of the cost. While lacking the elegance of a gondola, a traghetto ride provides an authentic Venetian experience and is perfect for travelers looking to save money without compromising on convenience.

Hop On Hop Off Boat

Travelers looking for flexibility and convenience, a hop-on hop-off boat tour offers the freedom to explore Venice’s attractions at your own pace. With designated stops at popular sights and attractions, including Murano and Burano islands, these guided tours provide informative commentary and unlimited access to the boat throughout the day. Ideal for families or large groups, a hop-on hop-off boat tour allows you to tailor your itinerary to your interests while enjoying panoramic views of Venice’s waterfront.

The exterior view of the Venice airport bus.

Bus and Train

While Venice’s historic center is largely pedestrian-friendly, buses and trains provide convenient transportation options for reaching nearby towns and attractions. Ideal for day trips or exploring the Veneto region, both offer reliable and affordable service to destinations such as Padua, Verona, and the Venetian Riviera. With frequent departures and easy connections, these land-based options are suitable for budget-conscious travelers or those looking to venture beyond Venice’s city limits.

Airport Transport

For travelers arriving or departing from Venice Marco Polo Airport, several transportation options are available to reach central Venice. From convenient shuttle buses and private transfers to the efficient Venice Airport Water Taxi, there are plenty of choices to suit different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, airport transport services offer seamless connections to Venice’s main attractions, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free journey from start to finish.

A couple handing hands and walking next to a canal in Venice.

Moving around Venice on foot

Visiting Venice on foot is not just a recommendation, it’s a quintessential experience that allows you to fully absorb the city’s enchanting ambiance. Picture yourself strolling along narrow alleyways (calli) and charming squares (campielli), each corner revealing a new aspect of Venice’s rich history and culture. Unlike many cities dominated by landmark attractions, Venice is an open-air museum, where every twist and turn presents an opportunity for discovery. While the Grand Canal serves as the city’s main artery, most of Venice’s treasures lie tucked away from its waters, accessible only by foot or private boat. Walking offers the freedom to wander at your own pace, uncovering hidden gems and picturesque courtyards that elude those confined to the waterways. Moreover, with Venice being entirely car-free and bike-free, walking is not only safe but also the most economical way to explore the city. So lace up your walking shoes, embrace the serendipity of getting a little lost, and embark on a journey of exploration through the narrow streets of Venice.

Some blue gondolas on the banks of a canal with a view of Venice.

Tickets for Public Transportation in Venice

Navigating the ticketing system for public transport in Venice can be a bit daunting, but fear not, we’re here to simplify it for you. The ACTV (Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano) is the main provider of public service in Venice, offering various ticket offices and options to suit different needs and durations of stay.

For those staying in Mestre, the mainland part of Venice, a one-way single ticket for bus or tram costs 1.50€ and allows for 75 minutes of travel in one direction. Similarly, train tickets from Mestre are available at the train station and are reasonably priced. However, when it comes to traveling within Venice’s intricate network of waterways, the cost can be a bit steep, with a single route on the waterbus (Vaporetto) priced at 7.50€.

To make the most of your travel budget, we recommend opting for a day or multi-day ticket. These tickets provide unlimited access to bus, tram, and water boat services, including all islands and Lido. For just 7.50€ for a 24-hour ticket, or 20€, 30€, or 40€ for 48, 72, or 168 hours respectively, you can explore Venice at your own pace without worrying about individual fares. The duration of these tickets is counted from the first validation, offering great flexibility for your itinerary. You can purchase these tickets online in advance, ensuring a hassle-free experience upon your arrival.

Additionally, for added convenience, there are options for tickets with free cancellation and packages that include single airport transfers, starting from 14.30€. Keep in mind that prices are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check the current offers before purchasing.

What is the best way to explore Venice?

When it comes to exploring Venice, there’s no better way to make the most of your time than with the Venice City Pass! This all-in-one ticket grants you access to the city’s most iconic sights, museums, and churches, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in Venice’s rich cultural heritage with just one convenient purchase. With priority entry to must-see attractions like the Doge’s Palace and behind-the-scenes tours of Teatro La Fenice, you’ll skip the lines and delve deeper into Venice’s fascinating history and art scene. Plus, you’ll have the option to book a visit to the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica, a true architectural masterpiece. But the perks don’t stop there – the Venice City Pass also includes a romantic gondola ride along the majestic Grand Canal, offering unparalleled views of Venice’s enchanting waterways and historic landmarks. For those looking to explore beyond central Venice the pass provides access to boat trips to the picturesque islands surrounding Venice, allowing you to discover hidden gems and scenic landscapes. With over 30 attractions to choose from and available for 1 to 7 days, the Venice City Pass offers unparalleled flexibility, ensuring that your visit to the “eternal city of love” is nothing short of unforgettable. So grab your pass, and let’s embark on a journey through Venice’s most beautiful canals, buildings, and bridges – the adventure of a lifetime awaits!

Basilica of Santa Maria in Venice with the turquoise canal and two gondolas in front of it

Tips and Hacks for Getting Around Venice

As you navigate the enchanting labyrinth of Venice, here are some handy tips and tricks to enhance your experience:

  1. Negotiate with Gondoliers: If you decide to indulge in a gondola ride, be sure to agree on a fee with the gondolier before setting off. Gondoliers often charge higher than the standard rates, so clarifying the price beforehand can help avoid any surprises.

  2. Extra Charges: Keep in mind that additional fees may apply if you request the gondolier to sing or perform during your ride. Be sure to discuss any additional services and associated costs upfront to avoid unexpected expenses.

  3. Licensed Water Taxis: When opting for a water taxi, ensure that it bears a yellow stripe with a license number. Boarding only licensed water taxis guarantees a safe and reliable journey through Venice’s intricate waterways.

  4. Best Views on Vaporetto: If you’re planning to explore Venice via Vaporetto, aim to secure front seats on Vaporetto line #1. This strategic seating choice ensures you’ll enjoy the best views of Venice’s iconic landmarks and picturesque canals during your journey.

disguised person with traditional Venetian carnival mask and costume in white.
  1. Traghetto Tradition: When crossing the Grand Canal on a traghetto, it’s traditional to stand up for the short journey. While not mandatory, embracing this custom adds a touch of authenticity to your Venetian experience.

  2. Vaporetto Day Passes: If you’re planning to spend more than a day in Venice, consider purchasing Vaporetto day passes. These convenient passes offer unlimited rides on Venice’s public water buses, allowing for hassle-free exploration of the city’s attractions and neighborhoods.

  3. Local Apps: To streamline your trip and access valuable information about Venice’s public transportation system, consider downloading local apps like MyPass Venezia or AVM Venezia Official. These apps provide real-time updates, route maps, and ticket purchasing options, making your Venetian adventure more convenient and enjoyable.

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