Officially the term "vaporetto" refers to flat-decked single level vessels, but it is often used to mean various kinds of water buses.
You will travel by vaporetto if you want to go to some islands (part of Venice) or when you are tired after a day's sightseeing. This way you can rest your feet.
One single ride on these water buses costs around 7 euros and it will be valid for 75 minutes. You can change boat several times with the same ticket. There are also some kinds of travel cards to save money. Tickets and travel cards can be bought at the booths near almost every vaporetto stops. Tickets and travel cards must be validated before boarding.
Vaporetti (plural of vaporetto) are run by the ACTV company.
From our hotel near St Mark's Square to the airport, we took a water taxi!
The 'driver' took it steady (as he had to) until he got around to Cannaregio and then he let the boat roar and bounce across the water to the airport.
Okay it's expensive ---but it is always an exciting way to end our stays in such a wonderful city.
The ship stopped at Venice for the day and we purchased an idependent package which included transfers from the port to the city centre. We were transferred by a chartered motor boat to San Marco Canal where we disembarked and began our Venetian adventures.
Motoscafi - Water taxis are most practical for a comfortable and fast trip between the Marco Polo airport and the hotels as long as these are on a canal accessible to the motoscafi taxis. They are mostly used for this aim at an official price of 100 € (2010) as long as you take them directly at the pier of the airport or reserve them 24 hours in advance by phone with a company like Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia or others.
Hotels and travel agents ask a commission which can be excessive.
On the Grand Canal you will often see water taxis with 8 - 10 passengers organized for groups.
The skippers of the Venetian water taxis keep their boats in perfect condition inside as well as outside (photo 1 & 2). I have seen on the net that such second hand water taxis, reach prices of 30.000 - 70.000 €.They are about 9,20 m long and about 2,20 m wide. The hulls are, it seemed to me, made in composite material glassfiber/polyester resin (vetroresina) but parts are also made or decorated with mahogany wood. The hulls have to be very solid to resist the shocks of the waves when going at high speed through the Laguna between the airport and Venice (photo 3).
We used Consorzio Motoscafi from and back to the airport.
Their taxi arrived at our hotel pontoon exactly on time as reserved by ourselves by phone 24 hours in advance. Return price to the airport was 90€ (100€ - 10% discount).
No tips. You don't tip a skipper of a Venetian water taxi.
Of course all this has not much sense if your hotel is not located on a canal accessible to water taxis.
Normally I travel from Marco Polo airport to Venice by bus or Waterbus. This time, as there were 10 of us travelling, we decided that the Water Taxi was the way to travel! Normally, as a solo traveller, this would be way out of my budget! (Although I had been lucky enough to experience a free water taxi ride from Sant' Erasmo to Fondamente Nova a few years ago
As I was in Venice a few weeks prior to this trip, I made enquiries at the Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia - water taxi desk in Marco Polo Airport. The man on reception was very helpful, he advised booking online, and gave me a 10% discount card.
The site was quite easy to use. Our return trip was 270 Euros (27 Euros each, which was about £23)
I booked this online, and received a receipt, and instructions of where to meet etc. As there were 10 of us, we'd been advised to bring small cases only, as space would be limited.
I made a few 'phone calls, before booking, and the staff were very helpful.
On arrival at Marco Polo, I checked at the desk in arrivals, that our taxi was arranged, then we walked to the quayside, where our craft was waiting for us. Boarding it caused some hilarity amongst my friends, but the driver, assisted us, and loaded our luggage.
Speeding across the lagoon was to provide even more laughs, as we bumped across the waves - I think the more Patsy screamed, the faster our driver went!
We entered a canal at the northern end of Venice, and as we got nearer to the Grand Canal, the taxi stopped, and the driver instructed us to pull back part of the roof, so we could stand up and enjoy the next part of our trip, as we entered the Grand Canal, and made our way to the landing stage by the Scalzi bridge, near to our hotel. A magical way to arrive, for me, who'd been to Venice a few times, and for my friends who it was their first time.
On our return, the hotel 'phoned the company to check that we would be picked up at the allotted time, to get us back to Marco Polo in time for our flight.
This time, our driver wasn't as friendly, and there was quite a strong smell of fumes from the engine seeping into the cabin. I was sat at the back outside, so I wasn't as aware of this.
Company address - Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia San Marco 4179 - 30124 - Venezia
Water taxis and private boats give you the best flexibility of exploring the Venice waterways at your own pace and leisure, and can come with a guide to brief you about the history and architecture of Venice.
However, this will cost a lot of money, and will be worthwhile only if you are travelling in a big group or budget does not concern you at all. Perhaps you might know a good friend in Venice who can take you for a ride on his or her private boat.
If not, you should opt for taking the valporetto (water buses) which are much cheaper.
There were a lot of nice boats to look at in Venice. I'd rather look at boats than buildings. My mom (Barb) told my grandmother that I wanted to ride in a gondola. I don't remember saying that, and it was so expensive that we didn't do it. But I WOULD have liked to ride in one of the little motor boats which grandma said were water taxis. I didn't tell my grandmother that until we were ready to go to the airport, which we could have done by water taxi. But we had to take an extremely early flight, and not only would the water taxi have taken longer than a regular taxi, but it would cost around €100 which is way too expensive.
We took my parents to Venice for their first ever visit in Sep 2007, and we wanted them to have a fabulous first impression of this amazing place. We flew in to Marco Polo airport, and decided to splash out and catch a water taxi directly to our hotel. We had always really loved the look of the gorgeous wooden boats they use, but had never caught one before.
Upon arrival, we followed the signs from the airport terminal to the dock - about a 5 minute walk. Here we found the Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia, who run a water taxi service. We spoke to the man who was taking bookings and told him where we wanted to get the taxi to - our B&B was conveniently located close to a tiny canal.
About 10 minutes later, a taxi arrived for us. We passed the luggage down, and then clambered in, and we were away. Mum and I sat on the back seat in the open air, whilst the boys sat inside. We motored across the water, and couldn't see much initially (it was 9pm and dark), but after a little while the lights of Venice appeared and before we knew it we were on the Grand Canal!!
What an experience - we stood up at the back as we cruised down the canal, enjoying every moment of this fabulous 'taxi' ride.
Because our return flight was a red-eye we couldn't use the vaporetti to get to the airport. We had to take a water taxi. Something we hadn't anticipated. Very expensive but a beautiful ride through the canals of Venice at night. We call it our "gondola ride" because we never took one. The water taxi brought us directly to the airport.
Besides walking through the maze like streets and over the many canal bridges, the best way to explore Venice by the water taxis. Gondolas are more expensive. But water taxis get you easily from point to point and island to island.
Have a watery experience when in Venice.
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