The first thing you will observe taking a vaporetto is that they are very crowded. Worst hours are in the morning going from Piazzale Roma to San Marco and even worse the returns from San Marco around 16 - 18 h. It can therefore be useful if you are at San Marco and have to go back to Piazzale Roma to take first a vaporetto in the opposite direction for one or two stops till Arsenal, for example, where the Linea 1 vaporetto is not crowded. You will have observed that at some stops there are one or two pontoons (sometimes more like at the Rialto or San Zaccaria). Look out that you are on the pontoon in the wanted direction. Indications are very clear.
The second thing you will observe is that on the main lines 1 and 2 (Grand Canal) there are two types of boats:
The "good" vaporetto's for sight seeing are those who have a dozen seats at the bow in front and on the side of the pilot cabin (photos 1, 2 & 3). If you get a seat there it is a wonderful experience. It is the best spot to film or take photos of the Grand Canal; you have to remain seated.
Behind the pilot cabin is a central space supposed for disembarking and embarking. In this central standing platform there are no handrails, you are supposed to keep your balance like the Venetians do. Behind is a large closed cabin where passengers should go and sit (if there is room to sit). At the stern of the boat are also some seats, in the open, also a good place for sight seeing.
The "bad" vaporetto's have no seats at the bow (photo 4).
The third type are smaller ones which you find on lines 41 & 42 to Murano. They are low on the water and not comfortable for sight seeing.
The third thing you will observe is that it takes time: 40 minutes from Piazzale Roma till San Marco Vallaresso by Linea 1 (30 min. by Linea 2 via Rialto). Frequency is 10 min. (most of the day) and they are well on time!
If you want to do something special with the vaporetto Linea 2 (replaced Linea 82 in 2011), embark at the third pontoon at San Zaccaria (facing the hotel Danieli *) direction Giudecca. Check well that you are on the right pontoon because in summer Linea 2 also continues to the Lido de Venezia.
The first stop is the island and church of San Giorgio Maggiore. Here you have the best views on Venice, visit the campanile; you'll never forget (photo 2). Then follow the various stops on the Giudecca canal; the boat is crisscrossing the canal. There are not much passengers on this part so that you might have a seat at the bow (photo 1).
You will see on the right the harbour with the huge cruise ships (photo 3), then reach Piazzale Roma, the station and finally be back on the Canal Grande. It is a long trip, 50 minutes from San Zaccaria till the Rialto, but it will be one of your best souvenirs of Venice.
* Even if I was rich enough I would not stay at the Danieli Hotel. This hotel has no terrace on the water but on the roof, it faces the very noisy pontoons of San Zaccaria (Linea 1 & 2 as well as larger boats like the one of linea 15 coming from Punta Sabbionni - photo 4). Furthermore the Riva degli Schiavoni is as crowded with tourists as Piazza San Marco. There are better, let say more romantic places in Venice.
We started the day trying to buy a BIGLIETTO 36 ORE at the pontoon Ca' d'Oro. The ticket office/ biglietteria should have been open from 8.10 till 15.00 h according to the information found on the website of the ACTV public transport but it was momentarily closed. Probably that the employee was drinking somewhere an espresso. So we went back on the main street Strada Nova where we got our tickets from a Tabachi authorized reseller. The price was the official one 23 € for 36 hours.
Before buying such ticket "most economical solution for people who want to get around Venice and its surroundings on Actv’s land and water services. They allow unlimited travel and can be used on all the services - both waterborne (except those of route Alilaguna, Clodia, Fusina) and on land - that provide urban services within the municipality ("Comune") of Venice (land services on the Lido and in Mestre)" calculate the number of hours you will use it.
Indeed the number of hours start at the moment you validate (obligatory) your ticket.
A 36 hour ticket is valid from validation on the first day for example at 9.00 h till 21.00 h of the next day.
Here are the prices. They are expensive but boats are much more expensive to run, at least in Venice, than metros (now compare with London Underground: about 30 £ for 7 days with nothing spectacular to see). In Venice you pay also for the views!
16,00 € - 12-HOUR TRAVELCARD
18,00 € - 24-HOUR TRAVELCARD
23,00 € - 36-HOUR TRAVELCARD
28,00 € - 48-HOUR TRAVELCARD
33,00 € - 72-HOUR TRAVELCARD
50,00 € - 7 DAYS TRAVELCARD
The validation machines have changed; in addition to the yellow print validating machine there is also an electronic machine (see my photo) on the pontoon in front of which travelers pass their electronic imob.venezia card. One has to hold the card close to the iMob electronic cardreader at the entrance to the vaporetto platform until a beep is heard.
The first vaporetto navigated on the Grand Canal in 1881 and raised protest from the gondoliers who went on strike for fear of this new competition for them in the public transport sector.
It's difficult to imagine now that once gondolas were the unopposed public transport.
Presently vaporetto's and water taxis account for 46% of the total water traffic (gondolas 4%). The main part of this traffic is for the 18 million tourists who provide Venice with 70% of its yearly income.
Tourists will have seen important changes in the waterborne routes over the last 20 years.
A number of tips here still refer to Linea 82 which does not exist anymore and is mostly replaced by Linea 2.
I remember that in the nineties there was a direct connection from Piazzale Roma over the Rio Novo reaching the Grand Canal at the Ca' Foscari and Palazzo Contarini. The boats wakes deteriorated so much the walls of the buildings along the Rio Novo that this direct line was stopped.
There was another direct line (N° 5 ?) which did join the Fundamenta Nove to San Marco passing through the Darsena of the military Arsenal area. It was impressive to have the Motoscafo pass under the Arsenal portico. This shortcut is not in use anymore and the present lines 41 & 42 make the grand tour around the St. Elena Island.
Venice's most frequent public means of transportation are the "Vaporetti".
That were driven, originally, with steam, therefore the name, "small steamship".
This small ship drives now with diesel engines.
The Vaporetto that drive regularly on the great channels are very big and quite slow, offer outside seats and many standing-rooms.
Those are for the tourists, the most favourable means of transportation in Venice.
One can reach all big islands in the lagoon with the Vaporetto.
Several lines serve the city area over the Canal Grande and over the Canale della Giudecca.
One can buy tickets at the landing places.
For the tourist, the most important Vaporetto lines are 1 (Piazzale Roma - Lido and back), and 82 (San Zaccaria - Canale della Giudecca - Tronchetto - Ferovia - San Marco, in the summer to the Lido and back), they drive over the Canal Grande, at each station holds, and one has much time of looking.
There are more lines, 41und 42, both until Murano, and 51 and 52, until Lido.
The line N drives in the night, hourly.
The ACTV (Azienda Cosorzio per il Trasporto di Venezia) is placed into the Piazzale Roma, is opened daily from 7.30 to 20.00 o'clock, and drives the boats in the city and the lagoon.
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 :-)
One of the many types of transportation which tourists often use to transit up and down the Grand Canal is the "Vaporetto". These boats are designed to carry large numbers of people and function much as buses would on land and they are usally full to the brim. The Vaporetti have designated, named station/stop along the canal, such as Ferrovia, Rialto, S. Marco, etc.
We did not have a great experience on our one vaparetto trip from San Marco to Ferrovia, the closest stop to our hotel. After standing in a long line just to buy tickets, we were caught in a virtual stampede to board the boat. Standing cheek-to-cheek, people had to hold on to anything higher or lower than themselves to remain upright. If you were unlucky enough to be near the sliding boarding gate such as we were, which alternated from side to side, not only did you get pushed by those leaving the boat, but the boat attendant constantly admonished you to move aside, but there was no place to go. He really became very angry with one man who simply ignored him and I thought there would be a fight, but thankfully it didn't go that far. To add to the discomfort, the ride was unmercifully long (45 minutes!?)because the vaporetto stopped at each and every station/stop!
Vaporetto tickets are good for 60 minutes and cost 6,50 Euros (2011 price). You can also purchase a 72-hour ticket for around 30 Euros or so. You might consider buying a monthly pass (abbonamento) for roughly 30 Euros if you are staying more than just a couple days. However, you will also need a passport-sized photo, a photocopy of your passport, and you must purchase an ID card (tessera) for 8 Euros. Tourists under the age of 30 may purchase a "Rolling Venice" card which gets you a 3-day travelcard for around 20 or so Euros which seems to be the best deal for the young!
Purchase these tickets at the ACTV ticket office located across from the Piazzale Roma (at the other end of the building from the People Mover).
Considering nearly every vaporetto I saw during our stay was packed to the gills and the cost is high if you are unable to get discounted tickets, I preferred walking as much as possible.
So, how do you get around in a city with no cars ? By boat of course....or vaporetto to be precise.
A vaporetto is Venice's equivalent of a bus. There are different numbered boats going to different places, some stopping at each stop, others offer a more 'express' option.
You need to buy a ticket before you board the vaporetto. Last time we were there (Oct 2004) it cost 3.50euro each (valid for 90minutes), plus there is usually an extra charge for luggage. If there is no ticket office at your boarding point, make sure you speak to the conductor straight away, else they may think you are trying to travel for free - and they are very strict.
Catching a vaporetto is one of those fabulous things that you have to experience in Venice. Jumping on the No 1 vaporetto gives you a tour of the Grand Canal, and is a great way to get a feel for the city!
Use of the waterbuses is extremely easy. When you arrive at Marco Polo Airport buy a Venice Pass. You can purchase them for a varying number of days and thus eliminate the trouble of paying each time you travel. You don't have to show them each time you board a boat but you had better have one. They are also good for bus transportation on other islands and for admission to some of the museums. They are also good for public restrooms which can be a plus. They can also be purchased in advance online at the website listed below. I did not choose to purchase in advance so I can't vouch for that aspect.
Having the Venice Pass allowed us to jump on and off the boats whenever we wanted and gave us the convienence of returning to our Bed & Breakfast without worrying about paying for another ride.
There are quite a few ways that you can get around in Venice. Besides walking and gondolas, there are the traghettos and vaporetti. Since there are only three bridges that cross over the Grand Canal, it is often useful to hop onto a traghetto at one of their strategically placed points (a vistor's map of Venice will highlight these points) to get across.
The vaporetti are the "water buses," their form of mass transit. You don't have to wait long for a vaporetti to come by, however, during tourist season, the boats can get rather crowded and you will have to wait for the next one. You can purchase point-to-point tickets, but I found the three day pass to be more useful. Since I was there three days, I purchased a 72-hour pass that provided me with unlimited rides on the vaporetti. This card also allowed for travel to Murano and Burano. You can buy the card at any of the vaporetto offices. However, do remember to validate it at the time stamp machine before you get on. This will save you a hefty fine should they discover you without a validated card.
With as much walking as I did, it was nice to hop onto the vaporetto when I got tired. It was also an easy way to get around from place to place. And one musn't miss the entire Grand Canal ride on the vaporetto!! (Be warned though, the workers are known to strike at any given time...fortunately, it doesn't last extremely long...usually only a couple of hours!
I bought a VENICEcard at Marco Polo Airport (details and rates at www.hellovenezia.com). My parents and siblings bought Venice Connected cards at the Rialto Vaporetto stop (details and rates at www.veniceconnected.com). For all intents and purposes, the cards' features are identical, although the cards themselves look very different. The most basic card offers you unrestricted transportation (Vaporetto + main Laguna Islands + Airport Bus) and access to restrooms. You can upgrade to include the Allilaguna faster service to the Laguna Islands and to the Airport, and/or reduced access to some museums and churches.
The VENICEcard is only available for 3 or 7 days. The Connected card can be bought for 12h, 1 day, 2, 3, and 7 days. The price for the cards is a bit steep, but you really can't do without. The cards do not cover the traghetto services (short gondola rides across the Grand Canal).
Before you leave, familiarize yourself a bit with the general shape of Venice. The Vaporetto (steam boat) service is clearly indicated on most maps. A helpful schematic map of the Vaporetto routes is available at www.hellovenezia.com.
the water buses (vaporetti) are the least expensive and the best way to get around venice. if you will be in venice more than one day i would highly recommend buying the 2 or 3 day "blue" card. for unlimited use of the water buses. single trip tickets run about 4 to 5 euro so if you plan to visit morano, borano, and the lido the "blue card" is the way to go. also it is a great way to go up and down the grand canal were the single ticket fares are most expensive. you can buy them at the tourist office at the venice train station.
The public transportation in the city centre of Venice consists of vaporetti (water buses).
The most famous line is #1 which serves a route along the Canale Grande.
In 2004 a single ticket was 3,50 EURO (excluding a trip on the Canale Grande), whereas a 24 hour card was 10,50 EURO.
Tickets can be bought from the ticket booths at the landing stations. They have to be stamped before boarding a vaporetto.
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.
Take the Vaparetto. IF your on a tight budget and you cant afford a gondola ride spend the day like we did. We rode all around on the Vaparetto. For 12 Euro you get a full 24 hours of ride time. We got to go to the Lido (the beach) St Marks Sq. and some other park as well as being dropped off right back by our hotel. We got some amazing pictures that we wouldnt have gotten otherwise. This is a great way to sight see for the cheap.