Venice's vaporetti (singular - vaporetto), or water buses, are the public transportation of Venice. Vaporetti take visitors along the main canals, to the islands, and around the lagoon. Although often crowded, they are by far the least expensive way to get around (other than walking). If you're visiting Venice, sooner or later you'll probably find yourself on a vaporetto.
In 2013 the single vaporetto fare is 7 euro (good for one hour from the time it's stamped) but if you plan to spend much time on the vaporetto system, it's wise to buy a travel card that can be bought at any vaporetto ticket office or online through Veniezia Unica. Travelcards are good for both water and land transport in the Venice area (land services on the Lido and in Mestre). Here are prices as of May 2013:
- 18 € - 12-hour travelcard
- 20 € - 24-hour travelcard
- 25 € - 36-hour travelcard
- 30 € - 48-hour travelcard
- 35 € - 72-hour travelcard
- 50 € - 7 days
- 18 € - 3-day youth card, ages 14 - 29
- Venice City Pass - Includes free and reduced admissions and transportation.
The price of a ticket or travelcard includes one piece of luggage up to 150 cm (total sum of its three dimensions). The ticket or travelcard must be validated (stamped) upon first use. Hours start when the card is validated (not when it's bought) so it can be bought ahead of time. Be sure to validate it in the machine before boarding the water bus.
Venice's Grand Canal is its main thoroughfare. The number 1 vaporetto route runs up and down the Grand Canal, stopping in each of the six sestiere or neighborhoods (see Venice Sestiere Map) as well as the Lido, so it's a good way to see Venice. Although it's pretty crowded during the day, an evening on the number 1 vaporetto can be scenic and romantic. JoAnn Locktov recommends taking the number 1 in the evening when the lights are on (see Tips for Eating in Venice).
Other routes most commonly used by tourists are:
- Number 2: Also runs on the Grand Canal and connects the Tronchetto with the train station, Piazzale Roma, Lido, and Guidecca.
- Route N: Night bus, follows the number 2 route but skips the Giardini stop.
- Routes 4.1 and 4.2: Go around the outside of Venice, serving the train station, Piazzale Roma, and Guidecca and going to Murano Island from Fondamente Nove.
- Route 12: Goes to Murano and Burano Islands from Fondamente Nove. See Visiting Venice's Islands
Alilaguna lines serve the Venice airport and are not included in the above tickets or travelcards (except the Venice Card). More about Venice - Marco Polo Airport Transportation on Europe Travel.
More information, timetables and an interactive map are available on the ACTV web site.
Venice Vaporetto Maps
Venice Vaporetto Maps that can be downloaded and printed are available in three sizes. See Vap Map Pocket Venice Vaporetto Guide on Living Venice blog.
Hop-On, Hop-Off Water Bus
Many Italian cities have a hop-on, hop-off bus that takes tourists to stops near the top sights. In June 2012, Venice started Vaporetto dell'Arte tourist water bus service with commentary about Venice and 8 stops along the Grand Canal starting from the train station every half hour during the day. The 24-hour pass costs 25 euro (or 10 euro if you have a valid transportation pass) with discounts for seniors and children. Note that this service has been suspended as of October, 2013.
Gondola Rides in Venice
Taking a gondola ride is a much more upscale way to get around Venice. Find out more about gondola services with our Tips for Taking a Gondola Ride in Venice.