Transportation in Venice is different to public transportation in most other cities. That’s due to the special location of Venice, which makes it impossible to get around in the city by anything other than boat. There are two different companies operating public boat services in Venice. Moreover, you can get around by either water taxi or with gondolas.
Transportation in Venice may be a little complicated, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is impossible to get around in the city without spending a fortune.
While Venice Marco Polo Airport is located on the mainland, the city also has a train station. At Venice Santa Lucia Station, you can arrive by train from several different cities in Italy. There are also some international connections to countries like Germany or Austria.
The most important means of transportation to get around in Venice are Vaporettos. These public water buses run on fixed schedules and have several stops along Canal Grande and at several other canals in the city. There are also several Vaporetto stops around the islands.
You may also reach other parts of Venice than the city center with Vaporetto services. The price for single journey tickets is just 1.50 Euro (~ 1.70 US-Dollar) making the Vaporetto services a relatively cheap way to get around in Venice. The same country, which operates Vaporettos in Venice is also operating buses and trams in Lido and Mestre as well as the people mover in Venice, so you may use your ticket for a combination of different services.
The second biggest operator of boat shuttles in Venice is Alilaguna. The company is connecting Venice Marco Polo Airport with Murano, Lido and the city center of Venice. You may also use the Alilaguna service to get from Venice to either Murano or Lido.
There is also an even more extensive route network in summer. If you are planning on getting from the city center of Venice to the airport or the other way round you should plan with approximately 60 to 90 minutes for the ride. You should also be aware of the high ticket prices for the Alilaguna airport services.
The most comfortable way to get around in Venice are without any doubt water taxis. However, the taxi services are also among the most expensive in the whole world. Prices for short rides start at 20 Euro (~ 22.5 US-Dollar), while normal rides from one island to another or a ride through Canal Grande can easily cost 50 Euro (~ 56 US-Dollar) and more. Transfers from the city center to the airport come start at 100 Euro (~ 112.50 US-Dollar) per way. Getting to one of the luxury resorts on the islands might be even a little more expensive than this. Be aware that there are several different operators and there’s no fixed price system, so you might get quoted a price to high.
Another useful means of transport in Venice might be Gondolas. However, gondolas are very expensive and so definitely not an ideal option when you are traveling on a budget. The biggest advantage of gondolas is that they fit the small canals, where water taxis and water buses can’t operate.
If you got a special destination, a gondola might indeed be the best means of transportation. As for the water taxis, it is worth noting that there are no fixed prices, so your negotiations skills are essential to get a good price!