How To Use Vaporetto In Venice: A Local’s Tips for Water Bus

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One of the best ways to get around Venice and see the sights is by using the Vaporetto. The Vaporetto is a water bus that travels through the city’s canals and the lagoon.

Think of the Vaporetto as a bus but on water. It has different bus lines and makes stops at various points in the city and the surrounding islands. Unlike a ferry, which goes back and forth between two points, the Vaporetto lets you hop on and off at different stops. This makes it a flexible and convenient way to explore Venice.

Whether you are a tourist wanting to see the famous sights along the Grand Canal or a local going about your day, public transportation doesn’t get any more memorable. It’s easy to use, and it gives you a unique view of the city from the water. So, read on for a comprehensive guide on the vaporetto so you can get the most out of it. 

Vaporetto Basics

What is a Vaporetto?

The Vaporetto is a water bus that serves Venice and its surrounding areas. ACTV, the local public transport authority, operates it. The Vaporetto is crucial for getting around, especially since Venice consists of numerous small islands. It’s like a bus, but it travels on water instead of roads. The Vaporetto has different routes and stops, making it easy to reach different parts of the city and the lagoon.

Vaporetto Stops

You can spot Vaporetto stops by their bright yellow color. They are floating platforms located along the canals in Venice city center as well as the outlying islands in the lagoon. Each stop has clear signs showing the routes and directions of the Vaporetto lines that stop there. This makes it easy to find the right line and direction for your journey. The stops are well-maintained and are an integral part of the city’s transport infrastructure.

vaporetto stop venice transport

Vaporetto Tickets

Buying a ticket for the Vaporetto is straightforward. The main ticket offices are at Santa Lucia Train Station (Ferrovia), Piazzale Roma, San Marco Giardino, and Rialto. However, there are ticket machines at most of the stops on the major routes for the vaporetto where you can get a quick ticket.

The ticket machines offer options in English and accept credit cards, making the process convenient for locals and tourists alike. There are different ticket options to suit your needs. 

self service ticket machines for vaporetto

You can also purchase tickets at all Tabaccherie ( Tobacco shops or small convenience stores) and edicole (newstands).

Vaporetto Ticket Prices

Ticket Type Price
75 Minute 9.50 €
24 Hour Pass 25 €
48 Hour Pass 35 €
72 Hour Pass 45 €
One Week 65 €
Rolling Venice (More info below) 27 €

75-Minute Ticket

The 75-minute ticket is perfect for short hops around the city. Priced at 9.50 €, it allows you to hop on and off the Vaporetto as many times as you like within a 75-minute window. But be cautious – the clock starts ticking the moment you validate your ticket. If you’re still on the Vaporetto after 75 minutes and a ticket inspector checks your ticket, you could face a fine. So, keep an eye on the time and plan your hops wisely.

Day Passes

If you’re planning to explore Venice extensively or visit the islands of Murano and Burano, the day passes are your best bet. They offer unlimited rides and the freedom to hop on and off as you please. The passes are available for 24, 48, and 72 hours, as well as a one-week option, with prices ranging from 25 € to 65 €. The clock starts as soon as you validate your pass for the first time.

Even if you’re only in Venice for a day, the 24-hour pass is highly recommended. It’s more cost-effective than buying multiple 75-minute tickets, especially if you’re planning to visit the outer islands.

Rolling Venice Card

For young travelers aged 6 to 29, the Rolling Venice Card is a fantastic option. Priced at 27 €, it lasts for 72 hours from the time of validation and offers not just discounted travel on the Vaporetto but also discounts to various cultural activities and museums. There’s even a version of the card that includes access to the Alilaguna water bus, providing transportation from the Venice Marco Polo Airport to Venice and back for a cost of 40 €. It’s an excellent way for young explorers to save money and enhance their Venice experience.

Using the Vaporetto

Navigating Venice by water is a unique experience, and the Vaporetto is your go-to mode of transportation. Here’s a simple guide to help you use the Vaporetto with ease.

Activating/Validating Tickets

Before you board, make sure to activate or validate your ticket. Look for the non-contact machines at the entrance of the floating stations. Simply place your ticket near the machine to validate it. This step is crucial to avoiding fines during your journey.

When the light turns green, you can pass through the turnstile and wait on the deck for the next bus. 

validate tickets here

Boarding and Riding

There are bus stops all along the major canals that look like docks with covers and bright yellow signs. This is where you will enter to wait for the next bus. Some people get mixed up and think that this entrance is for the boat itself, but it’s simply a waiting dock.

vaporetto stop

As the Vaporetto approaches, be ready for some movement. These boats can rock a bit as they dock. Once the Vaporetto is secure, board quickly and find a spot. During your ride, enjoy the unique views of Venice. You’ll see the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge, and other iconic sights from a new perspective.

Pay attention to the signs for the stops and direction. Each stop will have a vaporetto that goes in both directions stop there. The signs are easy to read with the stop where you are starting and an arrow pointing in the direction it goes. There are generally two entrances at major stops so one will go one way and the other will have vaporetti going the other way. You’ll know which one to get on based on the sign with the stops and directions of the bus. 

vaporetto line direction

Departing

When it’s time to leave the Vaporetto, exiting is easy. Just make your way to the exit and step off at your stop. Remember to be quick, as the Vaporetto only stops for a short time at each station.

Luggage

If you have small bags or luggage with you, don’t worry. You can bring them on board. However, be prepared to handle them yourself. The Vaporetto has designated spaces for luggage, but it’s up to you to place your bags there.

Alilaguna vs Vaporetto

Alilaguna is a private water bus company that provides services from Marco Polo Airport Venice Airport to various parts of Venice, including some hotels. It’s a convenient option if you’re coming straight from the airport with luggage. However, it’s important to note that Alilaguna tickets are not interchangeable with ACTV Vaporetto service tickets. You will need to purchase separate tickets if you plan to use both services during your stay.

alilaguna venice transport to Venice city center

Water Taxis vs Vaporetti

For a more private and direct mode of transportation, you might consider using a private water taxi boat. These are on-demand water taxis that can take you exactly where you need to go. While they offer a personalized and often faster service, they tend to be significantly more expensive than the Vaporetto. 

A water taxi can be a good option for larger groups or if you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, but for solo travelers or those on a budget, the Vaporetto or Alilaguna might be more practical choices.

water taxi at marco polo airport dock

Wrapping It Up

Whether you’re swiftly moving from one landmark to another with the 75-minute ticket or leisurely island-hopping with a day pass, the Vaporetto caters to your pace and preference.

It’s not just public transportation, either. It is a highlight of the trip when you are cruising down the Grand Canal and seeing the site from a different perspective. If you are able to do it as the sun sets then it becomes even more special. 

Sal Presti

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