Getting Into Venice
There are many flight options into Venice – I flew into Florence first – and took the train to Venice, before flying back to Amsterdam. If by plane – I recommend taking Easy Jet, which offer many direct and cheap flights from various destinations like London and Amsterdam into Venice. If you are already in Italy, like me at the time – then best to take the train to Venice. The railway network is excellent and cover almost all the major cities – and tickets are very affordable.
I took the evening Italo high speed train from Firenze SMN station in Florence to Santa Lucia train station in Venice. I arrived very late at night and was staying in central Venice. For that kind of itinerary I believe Santa Lucia is your best and safest option. The Venezia-Mestre is another option but I don’t recommend it for late evening arrival, especially if you are travelling solo like me, unless of course you are staying around the station. Santa Lucia gives direct access to the Grand Canal and you can then board the waterbus to the station closest to your hotel.
Italo – First Class Ticket
The Italo trains are comfortable and reasonably priced. I actually booked myself on first class because the tickets were heavily discounted when I booked. So do lookout for that. What’s great about first class?
- Lounge access at Firenze SMN station – my train was very, very delayed and I got to sit and have drinks and biscuits at the lounge while waiting for the train. You can go in and out the lounge, so if you want something heavy just walk out and have a meal at the various cafes/food outlets at the station.
- On the train itself, the seats are very comfortable and you have access to snacks and drinks. After a long day of walking couple with long train delay – I felt so relaxed on my 2 hour journey to Venice
Getting Around Venice (Including Airport Transfers)
Water Bus (Vaporetto)
If you arrive by train to Santa Lucia Station – it is quite straight forward to get on to the waters. Just walk out to the station and you will see the water bus stop.
You can buy your ticket in advance using the AVM Venezia Official app which you can download onto your mobile. You buy the ticket via the app itself using a credit card. A QR code is generated and once activated you can get it scanned when boarding the water bus. They have time limited ticket (1 day, 2 day tickets etc) which can be useful if you plan to spend a day or two in Venice and wanted to use the water bus to get around. You may or may not need it. I spent most of the time visiting the attractions that were very close to each other in central Venice and you can practically walk almost everywhere. You can see the timetables on the app too. Alternatively, you can buy the ticket via the Venezia Unica City Pass website – which was what I did. Once you made the purchase online you will get a PNR code. Just head over to the automatic ticketing machine before you board the bus, enter your PNR code, and you have your printed city pass. Super easy.
A 75-minute water bus ticket cost about EUR7.50. There is also 1, 2, and 7-day unlimited rides tickets starting from EUR20. Check out the following websites for routes and prices.
ACTV website: http://actv.avmspa.it/en
Venezia Unica website: https://www.veneziaunica.it
I booked the Alilaguna one way transfer when going to the Marco Polo Venice Airport online. You get a voucher that you need to print out and exchange for actual ticket at the ticketing office. I really like this service – it was punctual and what a scenic way to leave Venice! Highly recommended. You have other options like taking a bus to the airport etc but I think this experience is quite nice – especially when you disembark from the boat at the airport terminal. The one way price is about EUR14. You can book tickets online at the Venezia Unica website or directly with Alilaguna. Travel time from San Marco to the airport is about 75 minutes.
Alilaguna website: https://www.alilaguna.it/en
Time Limited Tickets
The Alilaguna line serves a few stations, you can also get a time limited pass that allows you to use the service to go to Murano Island for example.
Airport Bus Transfer
The ATVO express bus transfer is the cheapest and quickest transfer to/from the airport. It takes 20 minutes from Marco Polo Airport to Piazza Romale, where the main bus station is. And it cost EUR8 one way. So if you are pressed for time, this may be the a better option than taking the water bus. Although I think it all depends on where you’re staying and how much luggage you have to drag all the way to the bus station. I chose to stay near San Zaccaria so that I am close to the water bus stop to get to the airport.
Water taxi fare is quite expensive for a solo traveller like me. But if you are travelling in a group, the cost per person will probably work out fine. You can get a water taxi directly from the airport to most of the hotels on the island that have direct canal access and boat docking facilities.
A private water taxi ride costs about EUR200 per group (depending the boat/company). You can also opt for a shared water taxi – which can take slighly longer time wise, as the taxi will need to make several stops. The cost for a shared taxi is slightly more than EUR30 per person.
Coolest transport network
Venice transport system is an attraction by itself. I love the Alilaguna airport transfer – it felt like I was going on another tour as I leave this beautiful city. A water taxi ride would have been even better, but definitely not worth it if you are travelling solo. But what an elegant way to arrive at your hotel!
Check out also my other posts on Venice.