If you’re heading to Venice, chances are you already know that it’s known as the city of water, and for good reason. Venice is located on a group of 118 islands connected by over 400 bridges and separated by countless canals. So, if you’re traveling to this lovely northeastern city in Italy, be forewarned: a car will only get you so far.
To give you an idea of how water-based Venice is, ambulances, school buses, and delivery of stock to restaurants is all done by boat.
In fact, Venice has very strict transportation rules, and all motorised transport is required to stop at the Piazzale Roma bus terminal, located on the north-western periphery of Venice Island.
Which might leave you asking how to get from Marco Polo Airport to Venice. Don’t worry, in this post, I’ll explain exactly how to do it.
How to get to Venice from the airport
Having delivered the unusual news that cars are a no-go within Venice, how about some good news? Fortunately, there are many ways to get to Venice from the airport, so you’re not going to be short on options. Just keep in mind that, given the nature of Venice, i.e. it’s an extraordinary city floating on water that the world and his wife want to visit, it’s more expensive than most other places to get to and around. But you already knew that Venice wasn’t going to be cheap, right?
Getting from Venice Airport by water
By private water taxi (speed boat)
Often referred to as the limousines of Venice, this is by far the best way to get to Venice from the airport, IMO.
Not only will a private water taxi take you directly to your accommodation, but it is also likely to be able to manoeuver the city’s narrow canals and bring you as close to your hotel door as you’re going to get. That means you won’t have to lug your luggage around. It’s definitely the fastest and most convenient option to get to your final destination in Venice.
How to do it: I’d recommend booking in advance. You can book tickets online here.
Approximate cost: Prices are around €200 for your group (up to 6 people).
Approximate travel time: The journey should take around 25 to 30 minutes. And because your ride is private, there’s no waiting around for other’s to get themselves onboard.
By shared water taxi
Don’t want to part with €200 before you arrive in Venice? Why not get to Venice in a shared water taxi? It’s the same as the private speed boat option above but by agreeing to share the ride with strangers you’ll get a much cheaper rate. In short, it’s a fast and less expensive way to get to Venice while still giving you the authentic experience of arriving by water.
This is also an ideal option because using a shared water taxi or boat helps protect Venice from excessive traffic. It’s just like carpooling.
How to do it: You can book a shared water taxi here.
Approximate cost: Taking a shared water taxi in Venice costs between €25 and €35 euros per person.
Approximate travel time: The length of this journey varies, and could take anywhere from 50 to 100 minutes depending on the stops your ride makes as well as some lingering waiting for other passengers at the airport (up to 40 minutes at most). This may or may not be faster than going first by car/bus to Piazzale Roma, depending on where your hotel is situated. But it’s definitely a better experience.
By Vaporetto (water bus)
The most common and affordable way of getting around Venice is local water buses, known as vaporetto. They’re just like regular buses, running to a set route and schedule, except they’re on water. If you’re truly ready to visit the floating city in all its glory, then jump right into (or onto) the water on arrival. To do this, you’ll want to take a vaporetto, or water bus, to Venice.
How to do it: Buy your ticket from the Alilaguna counter inside of the airport. The ticket sales staff will be able to point the way from there. Otherwise, you can book online in advance here.
The Vaporetto from Marco Polo Airport to Venice is operated by Alilaguna, which has three lines that travel from the airport (blue, orange and red). Pick the line that will stop closest to your hotel. You can find the Alilaguna route map here.
Approximate cost: A one-way ticket from the airport to Venice costs from €15 one-way.
Approximate travel time: The water buses generally leave once per hour and the total journey time, from the airport to Venice, is around 75 minutes.
Getting from Venice Airport by land
As mentioned above, all cars and buses can only go as far as Piazzale Roma. I have a section below on how to get from Piazzale Roma to your hotel – I recommend working out your full airport to hotel route, time and cost before deciding which is the best way for you to get to Venice from the airport.
If you’re a taxi from the airport kind of person, Venice has you covered and this is one of the most convenient ways to get to Venice if you aren’t taking a private water taxi.
How to do it: There are usually plenty of taxis waiting outside the airport, as soon as you exit the arrivals terminal. The taxis are white and have a taxi sign. As in most places around the world, the taxis in Venice are available 24/7.
Approximate cost: There is no fixed fare, as taxis charge you on the meter, but it should cost you around €40-€50. You will pay more if there is more traffic. Make sure you have cash on you as most taxis in Venice don’t accept credit cards, and check that the driver has reset the meter before you set off.
Approximate travel time: In light traffic, the journey should take about 20 minutes, though this will depend on the time of day. Keep in mind this time is only to Piazzale Roma. See below on travelling from there.
Is there Uber in Venice? I can answer this one very quickly and definitively – no, Uber does not operate in or near Venice.
By private transfer
I’ll be honest, I have a general dislike of taxi drivers. If I ever get ripped off in a new city, 9/10 times it’s by taxi drivers. Whether it’s taking the long route when I’m on the meter or simply upping the price because I’m a tourist, taxis have become my least favourite form of transport. I’m not saying that’s true in Venice but if I’m travelling by road into Venice, I personally opt for a private transfer, price agreed and booked in advance online.
How to do it: You can book a private transfer in advance here.
Approximate cost: A private transfer will cost you around €60, fixed price.
Approximate travel time: The travel time is the same for taxis (about 20 minutes depending on traffic) minus any airport taxi queues.
By airport bus
Getting to your destination by the Venice airport bus, ATVO, while not the most glamours option, wins for being fast, cheap and easy.
The airport bus will drop you at Piazzale Roma (see below). The bus stop is located immediately outside the airport arrivals hall.
How to do it: Once again, due to the crowds in Venice, I recommend booking your ticket in advance here.
Approximate cost: A one-way ticket costs €8.
Approximate travel time: The express bus takes about 20 minutes from the airport to Piazzale Roma depending on traffic going in and out of the island. But factor in some extra time for loading the bus/waiting for it to fill up/the fact that Deborah is on the bus but her husband, Derek, has just popped to the gents.
You can get from Marco Polo airport to Venice by train, but it’s not really a recommended option. This is because first you’ll have to take a bus from Marco Polo Airport to Mestre Train Station, and from there you’ll need to take a train to the Venice train station, which is called Santa Lucia. And even then you’ll probably have to hop on a vaporetto to your hotel.
Although this route is quite inexpensive, it’s certainly not your best option.
That being said, taking the train from Venice Santa Lucia to elsewhere in Italy, like to the Prosecco region, just an hour away, is a wonderful way to travel.
By public bus
For similar reasons as above, taking the public bus from the airport into Venice isn’t a recommended option. As well as taking longer and some of the buses leaving only from Mestre, there is no space for luggage.
Getting from Pizzale Roma to your Hotel
All of the above ‘by land’ options for getting from Marco Polo airport to Venice mean you get dropped off in Piazzale Roma, in the northwest of Venice Island.
That leaves most tourists wondering – how to get from Piazzale Roma to your hotel. The two main options are:
Get to your hotel by foot – The is is only possible if your hotel is on Venice Island (skip to the next section if you’re staying somewhere like Lido). Even if you can theoretically walk to your hotel, you should definitely check a map and the specific route before you commit to this way of getting to Venice from the airport. The reason – that rather large body of water known as the Grand Canal that carves up Venice island means you may need to walk out of your way to find a bridge that will let you cross.
I have walked from Santa Lucia train station (near Piazzale Roma) to my hotel more than once but my hotel is usually in Cannareggio, a location I pick because of its good connection options. Even then, it’s not the beautiful stroll you might imagine. Think: humidity (in summer), oppressive crowds and dragging your wheelie case over cobbles and bridges. Unless you’re very close to Piazzale Roma or are training for an Ironman competition, I’d think twice about walking to your hotel. Don’t even think about it if you’re visiting at the same time that acqua alta is in town.
Get to your hotel by private water taxi – you can take a private water taxi anywhere in Venice. It’s definitely going to be your quickest and least crowded option. The price will depend on the location of your hotel. To give you an idea on price, €70 is a basic starting price even for a short trip. (Feel free to sit down and have a stiff glass of Prosecco after that news)
Get to your hotel by vaporetto – Your better option for travelling from Piazzale Roma is to hop on a vaporetto (water bus) to take you to the stop closest to your hotel.
Getting around Venice by Vaporetto (water bus)
The ACTV vaporetto is Venice’s water bus system that travels along the city’s many canals, around the lagoon and even to the outer islands including Murano and Burano Islands, and Lido Beach.
Vaporetto are the least expensive option for getting around Venice (private water taxis also exist), but just remember that they can also be quite crowded depending on the day, season and route. There are more than 22 routes, including night routes, and you can check out the timetable for each on the vaporetto website.
All tickets cost the same, regardless of where you’re going. You can buy them in Venice at the many machines but if you want to grab some in advance, you can also buy them here. If you’re going to be traveling a lot by vaporetto and you’re looking to save money, consider buying a vaporetto travel pass.
These vaporettos shouldn’t be confused with the vaporettos which operate from the airport into Venice, they’re operated by a separate company, Alilaguna. You will need to book separate tickets for each of these water bus companies. From the airport to Venice with Alilaguno then the separate one to get around Venice with ACTV.
One of the advantages of using the ACTV is that you can buy a Venice Public Transport Travel Card, for 24, 48 72 hours or more, which include the local buses and vaporetto water buses.
Sightseeing city pass: my tip is to grab a city sightseeing pass and add a travel card to your booking – one easy, money saving purchase. You can check out the Venice City Pass with Transport here.
Getting from Venice to Marco Polo Airport
It should come as no surprise that all of the above can be repeated in reverse when you leave the city.
Often you will receive a discount if you buy a round-trip ticket, so consider your plans for returning to the airport before/when you arrive in Venice.
Useful Venice Information
Closest Airport to Venice: Marco Polo Airport
The closest airport to Venice is Marco Polo International Airport, which is located in the area called Mestre. The airport is on Venice mainland, about 13 kilometres from ‘Venice centre’.
Getting from Treviso Airport to Venice
Many low-cost airlines use Treviso as an alternative landing point than Venice and it’s pretty easy to travel from Treviso Airport to Venice, by airport bus (approximately 40 minutes to Piazzale Roma). But before you hope on the bus, I’d recommend spending some time in Treviso – it is the birthplace of tiramisu, after all. You can find out more what to do in Treviso here.
Map of Venice
Want a quick idea of the layout of Venice and the main islands, check out my map on this page.
Top things to do in Venice
Check out some of my Venice posts over on my main blog Indiana Jo for inspiration;
Visiting the Prosecco wine region (1hr from Venice)
While you’re in Venice, did you know that you can go wine tasting in northern Italy’s Prosecco vineyards?
The Prosecco region is located just an hour away from Venice by direct train so makes for a great day trip or overnight stay. Once you arrive you can take your time strolling amongst the beautiful rolling vineyards, exploring the wineries and drinking some of the country’s highest quality Prosecco, all with the help of one of our dedicated Prosecco drivers. Tours are private and start at €250 for your group (up to 8 people).
Where to Stay in Venice
Want tips on where to stay in Venice? Check out my guide here.
Here for some Prosecco? Check out our Prosecco guides
So, that’s my guide to getting to Venice from the airport. Got any questions or other tips to share, let me know in the comments below.