Marco Polo, Venice’s main airport, is 10 km (6.5 miles) north of the city. It is served by many European airlines, including British Airways and low-cost carriers easyJet and Jet2, as well as the national carrier Alitalia. London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris are also transport hubs for Venice. From the US, Delta Airlines flies direct from New York, and American Airlines flies direct from Philadelphia.
The most exciting way to reach Venice from the airport is by water. The public Alilaguna water bus (vaporetto) leaves every 15 minutes and takes about an hour. Tickets (€15) are available at the nearby quayside. A water taxi (motoscafo) takes about half the time but will cost around €110. The cheaper option is to take a bus to Piazzale Roma. The direct ATVO Airport bus (€8) and the ACTV public bus No. 5 (€8) leave every 30 minutes. There is a ticket office in the arrivals hall.
Charter flights and low-cost airline Ryanair fly into Antonio Canova Airport at Treviso, which is 40 km (29 miles) north-west of Venice. To reach Venice from here, take an ATVO Airport Bus to Piazzale Roma (€10), which takes around 50 minutes, or the public bus No. 6 (€1.30) to Treviso station and then continue by train.
Ferries and cruise ships from Greece and Croatia dock at the Venezia Terminal Passeggeri near Tronchetto or the San Basilio terminal in western Dorsoduro.
The main train operators in Italy are state-owned Alitalia and private Italo. Stazione Venezia Santa Lucia is the terminus for trains from the major European cities. Passengers from London need to change in Paris or Ostend. Vaporetti connect with all parts of the city from here. Be careful not to get out at Venezia Mestre, the stop before Venice itself. The Venice Simplon-Orient- Express from London is a romantic, albeit very costly, way to arrive.
Long-distance and international coaches such as Eurolines arrive at Tronchetto, which is four minutes from Piazzale Roma on the People Mover railway shuttle (€1.50).
Visitors from EEA/EU countries will need a valid driving licence and credit card to hire a car. Other-wise an International Driving Licence is necessary. Those driving their own car should bring vehicle registration papers and full insurance cover. Italians drive on the right. Since no cars are allowed in Venice, they must be left in one of the large car parks on the outskirts or at the airport. Car parks nearest the city, on Tronchetto or at Piazzale Roma, are more expensive than those at Fusina and San Giuliano near Mestre. Car hire firms such as Europcar and Maggiore are available at Piazzale Roma and the airport However, it is easy to travel around the Veneto by public transport, except for Venetian Villas. Padua, Vicenza and Verona are all easily accessible on a day-trip by train or bus.
Vaporetti cross and travel the length of the Grand Canal, and are the equivalent of buses in Venice. The most useful route, Line No. 1, makes a leisurely journey (45 minutes) down the Grand Canal from Piazzale Roma to San Marco. Line No. 2 is the Canal’s faster route; and Line 12, from Fondamente Nuove, serves the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. The service is run by ACTV, and tickets are available at boarding points, bars and tobacconists. There is a flat one-way fare (€7.50), no matter how far you travel. Validate your ticket on the electronic reader before boarding to avoid a hefty fine; you must then start your journey within one hour. Be aware that the stops serve both direc-tions. Most lines run from 5am until midnight, and there is a limited night service. You can buy an ACTV travel card for 1, 2, 3 or 7 days, which you can also load on to the Venezia Unica City Pass. The pass can be bought online on the Venezia Unica website.
There are 16 water-taxi ranks from where sleek motor boats (motoscafi), operated by Consorzio Venezia Taxi, Consorzio Motoscafi and Cooperativa Taxi Serenissima, provide the fastest (but not cheapest) way of getting around. Luggage and waiting cost extra.
Easily recognizable gondoliers await business at the numerous gondola ranks. Official rates are €80 for 40 minutes by day, and €100 by night, but establish a price before setting out. Gondolas can take up to six passengers. Traghetti, gondola ferries with an oarsman at each end, cross the Grand Canal (€2) at eight points in daylight. Most residents travel standing up.
Bicycles are banned from the centre, but you can hire a bike for trips on the Lido and Pellestrina, and for excursions out of Venice. Veloce arrange customized excursions.
Venice is a compact city – crossing from north to south only takes around 45 minutes – and, aided by the excellent network of vaporetti, which also travel to the outlying islands, it’s easy to see the main sights on foot.
It is also a city where getting lost in the tangle of alleyways (calli) is part of the attraction. Arming yourself with a detailed street map will help you get around, as will the frequent yellow signs on the walls indicating the direction of the main sights. The etiquette of walking is to keep to the right and to keep moving on bridges or in the narrowest alleyways. Once you are out of the San Marco and Rialto districts, however, the flow of tourists becomes much less. The alleyways open out into numerous squares (campi) with benches and cafés.
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