Coming to Venice
Venice is a well-connected, and therefore easy-to-reach city in the North-East of Italy. Venice has two airports. The major (and closer) airport is called Venezia Marco Polo. It is served by many major European airlines. In addition, since the summer of 2020, some US airlines have resumed direct flights to it. The other airport is called Venezia Treviso, and is really in the city of Treviso, about 40 minutes from Venice. Venezia Treviso has grown into a hub for low-cost airlines bringing people to the region. Further afield, both Verona and Florence (Firenze) have airports, but you would need to take a train to reach Venice.
Venice is also on Italy’s excellent high-speed railway network. You can reach Venice by train from Milan in 2h40m from Rome in 4h. Milan and Rome have major international airports. Another alternative is to drive to Venice, but long-term parking is a challenge. If you do drive, plan in advance. It is often more cost-effective to park on the mainland, in Mestre, or at Marco Polo Airport.
Reaching the City of Venice
Give yourself time to get into the city of Venice, which is called ‘Venezia’ in Italian. Very little in Venezia moves at more than 5km/h, so it will take a little while.
If You Arrive at Marco Polo Airport
There are 4 different routes to Venezia from the city’s major airport:
- The waterbus service: At the airport, follow directions to Water Transport. It is best to use the moving walkway to the dock from Arrivals in the terminal. After you come through customs, take an escalator or lift up one floor, and follow signs for water transport. At the dock, seek out the Alilaguna. A single ticket costs €15, a return €27. The ticket office is at the dock. There are 3 main lines – the Blue (Blu) line, the Orange (Arancio) line and the Red (Rossa) line. Details of these lines are available at https://www.alilaguna.it. Each brings you to a different part of the city, via a different route. Work out where you are staying, and take the right boat to the closest stop. Remember that Venezia has 432 bridges, so you’ll want to minimise the amount of distance that you need to pull and carry your luggage;
- The bus service by road: At the airport, follow directions to Bus Services, which is outside the arrival hall of the terminal. Take the No5 bus to Venezia. The buses leave every 20 minutes, and take about 25 minutes to arrive in Piazzale Roma in Venezia, which is near the Railway Station. You can purchase bus tickets at machines next to the bus stop outside the terminal. The current cost is €8 for a one-way ticket. And don’t forget to validate your ticket on the bus. Otherwise, you might be liable for a fine. This is a cheaper but less romantic way to arrive in Venezia. Details of this bus service are available at https://www.veneziaairport.it/en/transport/bus.html;
- The water taxi service: At the airport, follow directions to Water Transport. It is best to use the moving walkway to the dock from Arrivals in the terminal. After you come through customs, take an escalator or lift up one floor, and follow signs for water transport. At the start of the walkway, you will see desks at which to book and pay for the water taxi services, which are the sleek, fast motorboats that will propel you to Venezia in luxury, at speed, in about 25 minutes. The current charge is about €120. There are multiple companies running these water taxis. You can either turn up and take on, or pre-book them. One of these companies can be found at https://www.motoscafivenezia.com/it/. This is by far the most romantic way to arrive here. It can also be cost-effective, if you are a larger group;
- The taxi service by road: At the airport, follow directions for taxis. You will find the taxi rank directly outside of the airport’s arrivals hall, after you have come through customs. Road taxis will take you via the land route to Venezia in 15-20 minutes. You will arrive in Piazzale Roma in Venezia, which is near the Railway Station. The cost of a journey between the airport and Piazzale Roma is normally fixed at €40.
A May 2022 update:
Option 1, the waterbus service operated by Alilaguna is proving to be unreliable. Boats are often full, and you might be required to wait some time for the next one, especially at the starts and ends of the day. Therefore, if you want to be certain of your arrival times in Venice or at the airport, consider options 2 to 4.
If You Arrive at Treviso Airport
Catch the regular airport bus service from the airport to Venezia. It takes about 40 minutes to arrive in Piazzale Roma in Venezia, near the Railway Station.
If You Arrive at the Railway Station
Trains to Venezia take you across the lagoon and into the city directly. Make sure that you take the train to the end of the line, at Venezia Santa Lucia Station. Do not get off at Venezia Mestre (unless you are staying there).
Once You are in the City
Venezia is, in simple terms, a Medieval city. There are no roads and no cars. This leaves two ways of getting around. The first is to walk. The second is to use the ACTV water buses – called the Vaporetti. These water buses are quite regular, and generally run on time. However, the buses are limited to the larger waterways – the Grand Canal, Rio Cannaregio and the waterways around the outside of the city. So, most of the time, a waterbus will get you in the proximity of where you need to be, but you will still need to walk.
For visitors, the water buses can also be expensive. A single ticket for 75 minutes costs €7.50, valid from the time that you ‘stamp’ it at the start of the journey. Single- and multiple-day tickets cost more, but offer better value-for-money if you visit multiple places in the city. Details about the ACTV services are online at https://actv.avmspa.it/en. The website is not as usable as it could be, so if you have questions, do ask the staff in the ticket offices at the main boat stops. All of the staff speak English. Note also that the C&C’22 conference will provide delegates with multi-day ACTV travel passes for the duration of the conference.