By plane (and then into Venice), Venice
It is expensive (90 € in 2006, 100 € in 2010-2011) but good fun and if we compare with the money we all lost in the recent financial disaster, it is peanuts!
It can even be competitive with public transport if you are 4 persons or more. They can take up to 8-10 persons but then the prices are higher (125 - 135 €).
From the airport exit you can walk with your luggage trolley under a covered lane to the taxi embarkation area. It takes less than 10 minutes. Here I regret the old airport which was directly on the Laguna.
This is the moment to use my best Italian and to tell the guy that I'm coming from a poor European country and not from Beverly Hills. However I found that discussing the price was meaningless; I presume that the "water taxi skipper" is convinced that any tourist taking a water taxi is a rich man. It is even possible that they have fixed prices. They have indeed now fixed prices (100 € in 2010 see my new tip).
The first part of crossing the Laguna is at high speed. Good fun when you are crossing the waves left by a taxi coming in the opposite direction. Slow speed as soon as you arrive at the Fondamenta Nuove. The best is of course the trip on the Canal Grande.
Wonderful to see the sparkling eyes of Madame stepping out of the water taxi at the private pontoon of your hotel. At that magic moment she is not aware of what is going to be the bill of that hotel on the Canal.
No tips. You don't tip the captain of a Venetian water taxi.
Be careful that if you hire a water taxi through your hotel or a travel agent there is an additional charge. On our return trip to the airport we paid an additional charge of 10 € what I found correct as the water taxi had to come to our hotel at a precise hour.
But it has happened that excessive mark-ups have been charged by intermediaries, so ask for the price before booking.
Of course all this has not much sense if your hotel is not located on a canal accessible to water taxis.
In 2006 I wrote here a tip on the Mostoscafi (water taxis) from and to the airport of Marco Polo. The official prices (2010) are now well indicated at the office of the embarkation area. THE OFFICIAL PRICE IS 100 € TO THE CITY CENTER (1-5 persons, see my photo). Still valid in 2011 it seems.
At the airport exit take a luggage trolley (you need a 1€ or 50c coin) turn left following the sign water taxi and walk under a covered lane to the taxi embarkation area.
It takes about 8 minutes.
Leave your trolley (get your money back) in front of the small office of the MOTOSCAFI. An employee will ask what is your hotel and call a skipper to drive you to your hotel. He will tell you to pay the skipper at arrival: 100 € (no tips).
We never had to wait for a water taxi because there is a permanent movement of taxis coming and going to the centre of Venice.
The first part of crossing the Laguna is at high speed. Good fun when you are crossing the waves left by a taxi coming in the opposite direction (ref my video). Stay inside the cabin if you don't want to take a shower with the water of the Laguna.
Slow speed as soon as you arrive at the Fondamenta Nuove. Here you can stand up and film as you want (mind your head under the low bridges).
The motoscafi take the shortest way through the Canneregio or Castello areas to reach the Grand Canal in the neighbourhood of your hotel. It takes about 15 - 25 minutes to reach your hotel depending from its location.
Of course it has no sense to pay for a water taxi if your hotel is not located on a canal accessible to water taxis. So ask your hotel or a company of motoscafi.
We did the trip with a boat from the Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia. On arrival the skipper gave us a 10% discount coupon for the return trip which we had to book by ourselves 24 h in advance. We did so and phoned the company at 0039.0415222303 or 0039.0412406741 reserving a water taxi for the return. We had asked 12.30 H and exactly at that minute the taxi arrived at our hotel. We had to pay for the return only 90 €.
Shall I mention here that our hotel had asked 140 € for a water taxi to collect us on arrival at the airport! Avoid consequently reserving water taxis by your hotel or travel agencies, they take big commissions.
In day time there are enough mostoscafi waiting at the airport (most visitors use less expensive but lengthy and tiring means to reach the centre and their hotels).
For reliable, comfortable and relatively inexpensive transportation from Venice's Marco Polo Airport to the Piazzale Roma at the edge of the city, the ATVO bus is the way to go! The ATVO bus runs a non-stop route between these two points.
At the airport, purchase your ticket from the blue machines inside the airport near the baggage claim area, or just near there outside of the Arrivals Hall near the pickup point at the end of the walkway. Look for the bus marked "P.le Roma". You will need Euro bills to purchase your ticket. Remember to validate your ticket in the yellow machine near the bus stop. ** Be prepared to load your own luggage beneath the bus.** The ride to the Piazzale Roma is only about 20 minutes. Hence, buses run roughly every 30 minutes for most of the day.
Taking the ATVO bus back to the airport from the Piazzale Roma is somewhat trickier, only because so many buses arrive at any given time and finding the one marked for the airport is not always easy. We had to ask several drivers before we found the ATVO bus (I think it is painted green). (Area Bay D2.) Tickets may be purchased at the ATVO Terminal office across from the Piazzale Roma or from machine outside of the office.
NOTE: The price of the ATVO bus has jumped significantly since 2011 percentage-wise. Only last year the price was 3 Euro each way. Our 2011 price was 5 Euro each way, or with a return ticket of 9 Euros including baggage. This hefty price increase on top of the poor exchange rate will make an extra dent in your budget if traveling with family, but the alternative methods of transportation into town (with the exception of the city buses which are less expensive but makes stops) are quite a bit more expensive so all around this is a good choice.
Depending where you will stay in Venice, it might be cheaper to take the Alilaguna boat instead of bus and Vaporetto.
I stayed in Ca’Riccio, which is between Fondamenta Nuove and Rialto (easternmost Cannaregio), so walking distance from FN. It cost 6 Euro one way (as of May 2007). The bus to Piazza Roma and Vaporetto to Rialto would also have been 6 Euro (Bus 1 Euro, Vaporetto 5 Euro), but more distance to walk to my hotel.
Alilaguna embarkation point is 5 minutes walk from the airport (photo 2). After having bought the ticket, leave airport building and turn left – follow the signs water taxi and water bus. The one for water taxis (= the expensive option, photo 3) is just 100 m before Alilaguna.
Alilaguna has 3 lines running between airport and the city:
Blue: Murano, Fond. Nuove, San Marco = 45 min past the hour,
Brown: San Marco = 30 min. past the hour,
Red: Murano, Lido, Arsenale, San Marco, Zattere= 15 min past the hour;
Price: 6 Euro to Murano and Fond. Nuove; 12 Euro to San Marco. Ticket office is at the airport (photo 1). For transport from Venezia back to Marco Polo, you can buy the ticket at any of the vaporetto stops with sales booths.
The famous “stamp your ticket before boarding” rule does not apply for this boat, as there is no ticket stamping machine. The Alilaguna people on board will come along and stamp your ticket.
If you take this ride, make sure you will get a seat at the very front (whole seating is covered from what I saw), as then you have the best views. The windows can be opened, so you can take photos without the disturbing window. Haha, no, I didn’t take any, it was raining cats and dogs when I took this boat.
If you want to come by plane, depending where your “home airport” is and where you plan to stay, it might be a cheaper option to fly into Marco Polo and not into Treviso. Yes, I am serious about this ! Lufthansa seems to have decided to offer alternatives to Ryanair flights, and if you are flexible with days (what I was), you can get roundtrip tickets including taxes for 88 Euro from major German airports (mine was Frankfurt). As I planned to stay in Venezia anyhow (and not in Mestre or anywhere on the mainland), my costs to get there from my flat at home were 6 Euro (bus to Frankfurt airport) + 44 Euro (= half of the plane ticket) + 6 Euro (Alilaguna) = 56 Euro including taxes and all. Consider this, if you think about how much finally a Ryanair ticket (or any other cheap airline one) will be, adding the transport costs to the respective Ryanair airport and the costs of getting from Treviso airport (40 kms north of Marco Polo) into Venezia.
Maybe by now, also other major airlines follow Lufthansa's calculations.
Plus – leaving from Marco Polo airport, which is located directly at the northern part of the lagoon (if you look closely, you can see the airport in photo 3), will give you the benefit of a first class view of the lagoon. I even thought that our captain must have done this lap of honour just for us passengers ! There was no reason why we could not have head north after take off, but he flew a circle over the lagoon so give us these fantastic views. It was quite late, so the photos did not turn out better. Make sure, you book a seat in the right part of the plane (seats D-F).
On my latest trip to Venice I flew into Marco Polo airport, which is located 20 - 30 minutes drive from the centre of Venice.
To get into town, or should I say, onto the island, I caught an ATVO bus - the "blue" bus, which departs from outside the airport.
Buses depart around every 30 - 50 minutes, and the trip took only 20 minutes (as there was no traffic delays). You can buy a ticket from the driver when you board. A one-way trip cost 3 euro when I was there in May 2005.
The bus is non stop from the airport to Piazzale Roma, and from here it is only a few minute walk to the the train station. To return to the airport you can catch the bus from the place you were dropped off to in Piazzale Roma.
The best part of the bus trip is deriving across the long spit out to the island - that's when you have to pinch yourself and try not to smile to much - bella Venezia!!
So many tourist are just plain lost the moment they get out of the airport (like, well, most of other aiports...): where to go? what is the best transportation? Every time I see their faces, and it reminds me of all the times I have been in an airport and wondered why there are never clear enough signes or instructions on how to proceed from there.
From the Venice airport, the best (and cheapest) way to go to the city is just thru the bus ATVO. There is also a normal bus (orange) which is even cheaper, but the ATVO (blu) is the best one, as it offers space for your bags, and is comfortable and air-conditioned. Tickets are cheap (2.5 euros) and there are runs both directly to Venice, as well as to the very close railways station of Mestre.
Tickets can be bought either inside the airport (go to your left as soon as you get out of customs), or outside at the platform (there is an automatic machine).
Remember to stamp the ticket before you enter the bus!
There are three options to travel between the city centre of Venice and the Airport Marco Polo:
The most stylish option is probably by waterboat service which is provided by the private transportation company Alilaguna. A trip from the Airport to St Mark's Square takes about 70 mins and costs 10 Euro.
Special Express buses which are operated by ATVO take you for 3 Euro in 20 mins directly from the Airport to Piazzale Roma.
The local buses no. 5 of the ACTV company take you also in 20 mins to Piazzale Roma. The advantage of these buses is that you can use the tickets (e.g. 24 hour ticket) also on the vaporetti which belong to the same company. A single ticket is only 2 Euro.
Since Venice's Marco Polo airport is actually on the mainland, you'll still have to get from there out to the islands of Venice. We did this by taking Alilaguna, a private water bus service. They have two lines that make several stops around the lagoon (see the website, below, for their routes). You can buy tickets in the airport at the Alilaguna counter, then take their free shuttle bus from the airport to their dock nearby.
Being landlubbers, when we first arrived at the dock we thought the dock was the boat itself, and kept waiting for someone to drive it away! Boy did we feel dumb when we figured it out! What's my excuse, jetlag? In our defense, I can say we were not the only ones who thought that...!
A ticket is only about 10 Euro, which is quite cheap compared to taking a water taxi, which are eight to nine times more expensive. However, the Alilaguna boats are loud and slow. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half to get to various stops around Venice, compared to about a half hour in a water taxi. Both of Alilaguna's lines leave from the same floating dock
There are a few ways of getting from the airport to Venice; Water taxi (Expensive but quick) Bus or taxi ( 20 minutes) to Piazza Roma, then walk or catch a water bus.
I chose the 70 minute Alilaguna water bus service (12 euros return ticket 2005) as I liked the sound of the journey- the waterbus calls at Murano and Lido first, and it's much cheaper than water taxi
From the airport, follow the signs for the Alilaguna waterbus- it's a 7 minute flat walk.
At the quayside there is a cafe/bar. You purchase a ticket from the kiosk - the man who sold my ticket spoke very good english, and was very helpful - I'd just missed one water bus, but the next one was in 10 minutes. Time to enjoy the sunset, and pink haze over the water.
I was told that you have to validate your ticket before travelling, but found out that the conductor does this on the boat - by making a rip in the ticket! - (Check the procedure as it might be different when it's very busy, and inspectors can issue fines for non validated tickets)
The vaporetta soon filled with a mix of tourists and locals- many bearing bags bulging with brightly wrapped Christmas presents.
The journey passed quite quickly, and although it was too dark to see much, it was quite exciting to see the bright lights and Christmas decorations at each place we stopped at.
As we neared San Marco, there was even a fairground. (see my things to do tip)
I really enjoy arriving in a new place at night, especially by boat. This was even more special as within a few steps you are in the bustle of night time Saint Marks Piazzo.
In May 2005 I left Italy by plane from the Venice Airport Marco Polo, which is located about 12 km east of the city centre.
The Airport is very modern and consists of 2 terminals. It can be reached by both local buses, Express Fly buses, waterboats and taxis.
For more details about how to get to the Airport, please read my "To Venice Airport by public transportation" tip.
On my previous visits to Venice I've travelled to/from the airport by the Alilaguna waterbus service. This time I wanted to get there as quickly as possible as I was hoping to visit the Christmas Market in Santo Stefano. The quickest option would have been by water taxi, but far too expensive, so the bus was the way to go.
I purchased a tourist travel ticket for unlimited travel for 72 hours from the tourist info desk at Marco Polo airport for 30 euros. (Tickets are also available for 24, 36 and 48 hours). This gave me unlimited travel on the ACTV waterbuses (vaporettos), local buses and trains.
The No 5 bus was nearly ready to leave from outside the airport, so I just had time to validate my ticket at a nearby machine, and jump on board.
Just over 20 minutes later, I Jumped off the bus in Piazzale Roma and headed to the vaporetto stop at nearby Ferrovia - taking in the view over the Grand Canal, and the atmosphere!
My return journey wasn't as smooth running I'm afraid. Partly my own fault for lingering too long in Plazza San Marco, savouring my last few minutes, before dashing to get the vaporetto to Ca'd'Ora so I could get my case from my hotel, then get another vaporetto to P. Roma. These journeys seemed to take forever (It was Christmas, so there are often less vaporettos).
Once I got to P.Roma, I headed for the stop where the airport bus had stopped the day I arrived. There wasn't anything to indicate an airport bus stop. I realised that others were wandering around looking as lost and anxious as myself. I then spotted a sign D2 with a queue that looked promising. Eventually a bus stopped and the driver announced that it would be going to the airport. I checked it was Marco Polo, and not Treviso, and showed him my ticket - I'd had to purchase another travel ticket as my stay was longer than 72 hours.
Apparently this wasn't valid for this bus, and I was directed to their office across the other side of the bus station to purchase a ticket for 3 Euros. Luckily there wasn't a queue. Others had the same problem and there was a steady stream of passengers going to the ticket office.
Warning - It's quite a shock having to negotiate through moving traffic after having spent the last few days wandering around the traffic free streets of Venice!
I later realised that this bus was run by the ATVO company. (not ACTV which my ticket would have been valid for)
ATVO buses run every 30 mins to/ from the airport.
ACTV bus No 5 is cheaper - I think 1 Euro One way and roughly every 30 minutes too.
UPDATE- 2009 I purchased a return ticket (pic 4) for 5 Euros from the Tourist Info desk in the Arrivals Hall of MPA for the No 5 bus ACTV bus- This time I validated my ticket on board (pic 3). Setting off, we headed towards Mestre, then after leaving Mestre, headed towards an industrial area- I was wondering If I'd jumped onto the wrong bus, when I recognised that we were approaching the Ponte Libertie - Pheew.
On my return, a bus was waiting to depart for the airport - not an ACTV , but it was a direct service. It was 3 Euros- pay the driver, and he validated it.
Venice Marco Polo airport is located at Tessera, some 8km north of Venice on the edge of the lagoon. Its the main airport for scheduled flights and also the budget airline Go (now part of Easyjet). NEW from summer 2005 Jet 2 (another budget airline) will fly from Manchester as well as Leeds Bradford to Venice Marco Polo. From here its a 20 min coach jouney (co-incides with flights) - Venice Express is a new bus service from Venice airport to Piazzale Roma. It is a direct, non-stop coach style bus that runs every 20 minutes. Look for a large blue bus outside the Arrivals area, under the Venice Express sign and digital clock.
Alternatively take a water bus for the scenic way to arrive in Venice proper (airport ferries approx 10 euro and private water taxis horrendously expensive comparitively - check before you board).
The airport website gives lots of useful info regarding flight arrivals and departures etc..
Our visit in 2005 was the first time we had flown into Marco Polo. So here's my notes for water transfers to Venice: From Marco Polo Airpot ther is a free shuttle bus to the boat station - alternatively you can walk, will take about 5-10 mins and it is sheltered from the hot sun. Once there there are expensie motor boat taxis you can take if you have money to spare from the outset! Alternatively the Alilaguna boats run a service every 30 mins. There are the Rosa and Bleu lines which have slightly different routes but in the main they head to Murano first (Rosa line stops at Museo stop) then the Lido and then Venice itself. Ticket prices in 2005 were 10 euros each way or just 5 euros if staying on Murano as we were - and we were happy to have a short transfer time, as it can take up to 50 mins to arrive in Venice. Plenty of room for all the luggage too. Check the website link for more info.
Marco Polo airport is located in Tessera, 8km away from the center. It’s one of the busiest airports in Italy and there was a big line waiting for the security scanning after check in so be there early even if you use a domestic flight.
The airport is on the shore of the lagoon so you can reach Venice :
1)by watertaxi directly to your hotel. This is a fast and exciting way but it will cost you a lot (about €100,00)
2)by Alilaguna boat. It costs € 13,00 one way and goes to Piazza San Marco. If your hotel isn’t near the train station this option is ideal because you wont have to get into any vehicle with wheels during your stay in Venice at all! The Alilaguna pier is 8 minutes walk from the airport and depending on the location of your hotel you can take the line that suites you (the staff will help you choose between the Blue/Orange/Gold/Red lines).
3)by the express bus (ATVO) directly (in 25’) to Piazzale Roma which is next to the train station. You can buy the ticket (€ 4,00) at the counter of ATVO or at the ticket machines.
4)by local bus no.5 (ACTV) that also goes to Piazzale Roma but with some more stops on the way. You can buy the ticket (€ 2,50) from the bus driver. We took the bus in front of the arrival hall just after midnight and it took 25’ because there was no traffic. The first bus departs at 8.10am and the last one 00.20.
On our way back three days later early in the morning we reached the airport fast and easy too. The first bus departs from P.le Roma at about 5.00a and the last one at 20.40. Some tourists confuse ATVO and ACTV(that runs the vaporettos too) companies but no, you need different tickets/cards. If you buy a 12/24/36/48/72 hour card at the airport you can also use the vaporettos in Venice because they belong to ACTV too.
There is another airport further away from Venice at Treviso, used from some low cost aircompanies. There buses from there to Piazzale Roma too. Pic 1 shows a man cleaning front window of our plane before our departure!