Now I don’t need to explain that Venezia is built “on water” and that there are no busses for transport within the city, but boats. Venezia’s “busses” are the vaporettos; their names derive from the times when they were still running with “steam”. Vaporettos are operated by ACTV; the lines are divided into city-centre routes (travelling along Canal Grance), city-circular routes (travelling around the main islands) and lagoon routes (to the other islands, such as Burano, Lido, etc). The network is marvellous and brings you to any place at the lagoon without much waiting when switching lines.
It definitely pays to buy a travel card, but it depends what your plans are and how long you will be in the city.
ACTV travel cards/passes are issued according to the hour, the maximum one you can get is the 72-hour pass for 30 Euro. Now this is 3 days, and it is only valid for the vaporettos (no other service, such as toilets or museum entries).
Now the Venice Card is another option, if you stay longer than 3 days. It is issued by Venezia tourism board, and available as blue (transport + toilets) and orange (transport + toilets + museums) for 12 or 48 hours or 7 days.
ACTV has recently changed the website, so when looking up timetables, you end up one search button, you’ll end up on Hellovenezia website and can download the full timetable (57 pages, 1,5 MB). Even if it is all in Italian, it is very easy to understand.
One word about the tickets: they need to be stamped just prior to the first vaporetto ride. Ticket machines are yellow (see photo 1) and available at each vaporetto stop.
Oh, and in case, an external Eurodisney tourist comes along and reads this: make sure you understand that vaporettos are not an Eurodisney transport medium but mainly used by locals, so please don’t block the exits and disturb the marinaio from doing his job, when the boat approaches a stop :-)
People who have yet to visit Venice make the assumtion that you have to use boats all the time. Most people living here don't. On the main Islands it is often as quick to walk as to chugg along at 5 knots. So the routes along the Grand Canal are largely for visitors, after about 08:00 until the evening commuter rush.
Otherwise there are two main reasons for using Vaporetti.
Firstly there are places you cannot walk to, if you wish to go to any of the islands away from the main grouping.
Secondly they can be a lazy way to kick back and get your bearings.
They can be expensive, when people see €6 per trip nerves are shocked. There are tourist tickets but if you are staying more the 3 days the cheapest is to buy the CarteVenezia. The ACTV office at the bus station sells these for €40 boats and buses, or €26 boats only. These last for three years, the first month travel free, after that €1 per trip. You will need a photo.
Public transport in Venice is done by waterbus, the vaporetto. There are several passes for tourists, we chose the 72 hour pass. For 30 Euro each this is a very good deal.
Even though this pass is dated, you still have to stamp it before you use it for the first time. From this minute on it's valid for 72 hours, on all vaporetto lines.
Together with the pass we were given a map for the lines. The basics were really easy to see, but the fine print on some of the lines was impossible to read without a magnifying glass.( I hadn't packed one, so we guessed)
In Venice we used the vaporetti to get to our hotel from the train station and to get around the city.
It's funny. For our trips to Rome and Florence we researched extensively how to get to our hotels and around the two cities. But for some reason we thought it would be easy to hop on the vaporetto...without a map...and get to our hotel. Not so. First there are some stops with two docks depending on the direction you are headed. When we bought our ticket we asked the cashier which boat we needed for our stop, she told us the name of the line we wanted and pointed to the correct dock. We got on the boat along with everyone else from our train. Simple enough right? No, it was still confusing. But fortunately someone on the boat offered to let us look at her map. We found our stop on the map and it looked good and everything was fine. Or so we thought. Well at some point we realized we must have passed the stop so we asked someone if we were close. To make a long story short we were supposed to switch lines somewhere but it wouldn't have mattered because the second line wasn't running that day. We had to get back on the boat. Go back the way we came. Get off on a different stop and walk a littler farther than we expected to get to our hotel.
So my biggest piece of advice is to make sure you have a map of the line before you arrive. It's not like some subways where you can sort of make your way as you go along.
Once you figure it out though it's simple enough. However we noticed that some boats would ignore some stops or simply stop before the end of the line. You really have to pay attention.
Our second day in Venice the boats went on strike.
Whenever you arrive in Venice it's definately clear to you that the best way to see and explore Venice is just hiking your way around. But (of course) the best way to see the Canal Grande (Grand Canal) and the lagoon of Venice is by boat. While you can hire a water taxi, the slower but much cheaper vaporetto is a very good choice.
Ever since 1881 there a organized ways of public transport over the water. But it still lasted a long period untill it was trully a professional orgaisation. Because of the building of important roads (such as the Marghera flyover and the San Giuliano junction) obliged the city to increase its services and the resources used. The "Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano" (A.C.T.V.) - the Venice Public Transport Company - was founded and began operating on 1 October 1978.
Travelling by vaporetto is very easy. In every map of the city you can buy the lines (and therefore routes) of the vaporetto are shown. Besides that we saw maps depicting the directions all boats were heading at the boat stops. Finally we can tell that once you're inside the vaporetto there are also maps of the slops that particular boat you're on is making. It can't be easier!
We used the famous line number one a lot. One reason for this was the fact that our B&B was close to the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) and therefore near the vaporetto stop right there. But another reason was that the vaporetto is an easy way to admire all the amazing mansions, olsd palazzo's (Palaces) and other beautiful buildings that overlook the Canal Grande.
This is probably one of the huge advantages of the internet. At home we surfed to the ACTV homepage (see below) and could read all about the sorts of tickets that were available and how to get a hold of it. We decided to buy a ACTV ticket for public transport for one week for about €30.- per person. But we were not able to do it via the internet as we read that we needed to order such a ticket at least 48 hours in advance, and we were only 12 hours in advance ...
It wasn't a huge problem as we found out in Venice that we were able to buy the ticket at the ticket booths at the docks, main boat stations and one of the many authorized sellers like tabacconists', newspaper stores and some cafés. But do remeber to stamp the ticket in the yellow machine before getting on the vaporetto. Tickets are not sold on board of boats and some tourists learned that the hard way. If you find yourself on board without a ticket, inform the ACTV crew immediately so as to avoid paying a fine and receiving some hars words!
* One way ticket;
* Return ticket;
* 24-hours ticket;
* One week ticket.
Currently the ACTV owns 120 waterborne vessels, every year carrying approximately 180 million passengers and producing 500,000 navigation "movement hours". We were also part of their statistics as we used the vaporetto quite often. Especially to get to the islands in the lagoon. We ended up at the glassmaking island of Murano, the island of Burano with its painted houses, the long stretching island of Lido with the awe inspiring Excelsior Hotel and finally the historical Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore with its overwhelming chiesa (church).
There are 20 vaporetto lines, but do keep in mind that some of these lines only operate during the summer time. Like we told earlier ... do buy an ACTV ticket in advance. This card is designed to save money and time, because we could avoid the queu in front of the ticket offices. For only €22.- per person we made it past all those places! And we seldom had to wait more than a few minutes for one to come along.
The lines we used:
* Number 1: Explore the Canal Grande;
* Number 6: To get to Murano and Burano;
* Number 11: To get to Lido;
* Number 82: To get to Isola di Giorgio Maggiore.
They are ugly long and fat, but the Vaporettos (or Water Bus) does the job. Venice is a confusing city full of twisty narrow passages and every walk is a long one. The Vaporetto to the rescue! You can go all the way from the Train Station to the other side of Venice in 20 minutes and the views are fantastic! In fact I would recommend a photo safari and just go for a ride on the back.
Tickets can be purchased for 24 hours or more and are well worth the price. You can explore the outer islands and be back in 2 hours.
A couple of things to remember:
• You must validate tickets before use. Look for a yellow stamping machine near the walkway that leads to the floating platform.
• If you're at a Vaporetto stop without a ticket counter, buy a ticket from the conductor as soon as you board to avoid a fine!
*** Please feel free to add this to your "Custom Travel Guide" and print it off before you go! ***
Once you get to Plaza Roma (near the train station) you can buy tickets for the vaporetti. The vaporetti is actually the 'bus' in Venice and the schedule is quite full (about every 7 minutes). A ticket costs 3,50 euro but with luggage it costs 5 euro. However, a 24 hr ticket (including luggage) it costs 10,50 euro.
^ ^ ^ Don't forget: 4 more useful photo's to see in this tip!
For schedules, click on the link below.
And for a vaporetti city map, click here
While you can hire private water taxis or gondolas, it makes the most sense to take the public boats around the city if you need something faster than your feet. Even this is not inexpensive, but it's certainly less expensive than taxis or gondolas and it is very convenient.
You can purchase one way tickets for 3.50 Euro or 24 hour passes for 22 Euro or other various periods for different amounts.
Upon arriving in Venice you will need to arrange your transportation. There are basic two types of public transportation. One the Vaporetti, sort of like a bus on the water, and two the water taxis. The vaporetti is very inexpensive and has stops through out Venice and the surrounding Islands. The Vaporetti's circle Venice in opposite directions. When you get to the loading station for the Vaporetti there is a diagram above with the directions of the boats and the stops they stop at.
In the busy summer it is advisable that you buy your Vaporetti tickets ahead, on-line. There are numerous passes available at different reduced prices. Once you get to Venice you pick up your pass at the ticket office that you designate.
Vaporettos are the cheapest way to get around Venice. These big noisy water buses navigate the main lagoons and Grand Canal on regular schedules. They also take you to the islands outside of old Venice; Lido, Murano, Burano, etc.
Buy your ticket from the offices located near the Vaporetto stops. On all my trips, I've never been asked for a ticket, but buy one anyway because it's the right thing to do! You can also purchase day passes and week long passes.
When your feet wear out and you need a break, just hop on one of the vaporettos for a tour of some of the parts of Venice you might not normally see. At night, a trip down the Grand Canal, looking in the lit up windows of the grand villas is a very "other worldly" experience!
Vaporetto is the way of travelling in Venice.
Take the 82 to go to Piazza de San Marco from the railway station. When you exit the station there should be a vaporetto 82 stop to your right.
It is expensive when compared to other cities buses and can be confusing in the beginning.
The number 1 and 82 line take you through the Grand Canal within the interior of Venice. The number 1 runs throughout the year while the number 82 runs only during high season. The number 1 is slower because it has more stops than the 82. The number 41 and 42 are useful because they take you all over the place: to Murano island and several stops on the exterior of Venice and a few spots on the island of Giudecca right across from Venice. These are the four lines I used during my 3 day stay in Venice. One morning I woke up before 6am and walked to the Fondamenta Nuove stop (it took about 15 minutes for me to walk there), took the 41 or 42 line and went around the whole island, got off at the Ferrovia stop and started walking towards the I Friari church. It was great! Barely anyone on the vaporetto, blue sunny morning sky, tranquil atmosphere, plenty of opportunities to take nice pictures.
Venice is really a city to explore walking, everything is close enaugh. But in case you get really tired or you want to go to some island such Lido, Burano, Murano or Torcello you need to use a Vaporetto, they are boat that works like bus in a normal city where the streets are not water.
One ticket cost 6.5 euros and will be good for 75 minutes. In this amount of time you can change boat several times. You can buy the tickets at the booths by almost every vaporetto stop.
As the tickets are quite expensice, in case you are staying in Venice several days and you are planning to use the vaporetto a lot, you should consider to buy a tourist travel card, check here for more info http://www.actv.it/en/movinginvenice/movinginvenice.
In case you are a residente of Veneto or are a foreign but plan to visit here frequently, there is a better option for you, you can apply for a Carta Venezia, it will cost you 20 euros if you are from Veneto, 40 in all other case and it will grant you 5 years of cheap vaporetto tickets, one ticket will cost you 1,20 euros instead of 6,5 WORTH IT!
The vaporetto ride daytime and nighttime (usually the night time ones have different names!!) you can check the timetables here http://www.hellovenezia.com/jsp/en/index/index.jsp, be aware that the time you are ask to write is not the time you want to start your journey but the time you want to be at the destination.