Who doesn’t dream of travelling to Venice one day? The capital of the Veneto region is Italy’s tourist magnet and attracts many visitors every year.
Venice was a rich trading city in the Middle Ages, it is even said to have been one of the richest cities in the world. This is still evident today in the beautiful palaces.
But that is not the only thing that makes the city unique for visitors today. Its location is also unusual. A large part of the city is located in the lagoon off the mainland. The houses stand on huge logs in the middle of the water. There are no cars here, people travel on foot or by boat.
Tourist Venice is located around the Grand Canal in the districts of San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio, Castello, San Marco and Dorsoduro with the island of Giudecca. The lagoon islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello and the Lido di Venezia spit are also among the city’s popular tourist spots.
From an economic point of view, tourism is the main source of income for the city. The number of visitors has grown steadily in recent years and the streets have filled up. For the city, the burden grew to the point of pain – overcrowded streets, huge amounts of rubbish, overcrowded canals and boats in addition to the gigantic cruise ships that unload their passengers in the middle of the city every day. Initial measures are being taken to address this problem and to control tourism again.
About 8 kilometres from Venice is the Venice-Tessera “Marco Polo” airport. From there you can go to the city by boat or by road. There are water taxis and water buses that are popular.
Another airport served by low-cost airlines is in Treviso.
The railway stations Venezia S.L. and Mestre are served by many long-distance trains. In addition, there is the city railway station Santa Lucia, which has a connection to the mainland with a 5-kilometre-long bridge. It is located directly on the Grand Canal. The long-distance and regional trains of the Italian domestic traffic and night trains from Germany and Austria arrive here.
Local and national buses stop at Piazzale Roma. Buses operated by tourist operators go as far as Tronchetto Park Island.
The old town of Venice is car-free. Those arriving by car must park their car on the mainland. Garages are available for a fee at Piazzale Roma or on Tronchetto. These are close to the centre, but are also quite expensive.
If you park a little outside, you can find cheaper parking spaces and then take the train to Venice.
For long-term parkers, it is worth using the parking spaces near the airport and then taking the free shuttle to the boat dock at the airport.
There is a cruise terminal in Venice. There are ferry connections to Greece, Croatia and Slovenia.
On the way in …
By car, train
In the historic centre there is no possibility to travel by car, train, bus or bicycle.
Cycling is not allowed in the streets and squares of Venice’s old town. Violators may be fined. However, cycling is a good way to explore some of the islands of the Venetian lagoon, for example Lido, Pellestrina and Sant’Erasmo.
The historic centre can be explored very well on foot. There are about 400 bridges with stairs in the city, leading over the numerous canals.
On the water
Transport in Venice takes place on the water. Vaporetti (regular waterbuses), water taxis, private boats and gondolas operate here.
The cheapest way to get around is on the vaporetto lines, which connect all the main towns. Here you can buy single and day tickets. For more than 3 trips a day, the day ticket for tourists (Tourist-Travel-Card: Biglietto Turistico a Tempo) is worthwhile.
Water taxis allow for a customised tour, but are also much more expensive.
A little less known are the traghettos, a kind of gondola ferry that crosses the Grand Canal. The ride is very shaky due to the waves, but also inexpensive. There are 5 places between the train station and St Mark’s Square where a traghetto crosses the canal.
List of the different gondola ferries:
Santa Sofia – Mercato di Rialto
from 1.10. to 31.3. from 7.30 – 18.30
from 1.4. to 30.9. from 7.30 – 19.00
San Tomà – Sant’Angelo
from 1.10. to 31.3. from 7.30 – 18.30
from 1.4. to 30.9. from 7.30 – 19.00
Santa Maria del Giglio – San Gregorio
from 1.10. to 31.3. from 9.00 a.m. – 5.00
from 1. 4. to 30.9. from 9.00 – 18.00
Riva del Carbon – Riva del Vin
from Monday to Friday, from 9.00 – 12.00
Punta della Dogana – Calle Vallaresso
from Monday to Thursday, from 9.00 – 12.30
The traghettos do not run on public holidays, 25 and 26 December, 1 January and 15 August; on 24 and 31 December the service will end at 13:00.
A ride on the typical gondola in Venice seems romantic. However, you should be aware that they often travel a predetermined route in a long line. The prices for about 30 minutes are around 80,-€ and only in rare cases you use the gondola alone. Mostly 6 people are transported at the same time.
Aqua alta is the name given to the floods that occur in Venice. Since December 2007, there has been a siren warning system that can be heard throughout the city. To be prepared for the water level, you should listen to the following:
- a height of 110 cm above normal level – one tone
- a height of 120 cm above normal level – one tone + one higher tone
- a height of 130 cm above the normal stand – one tone + two higher tones
- a height of 140 cm above the normal stand – one tone + three higher tones
From a height of 95 cm above normal level, the water buses will gradually stop running. From 140 cm, no vaporetto will operate.
In the city, footbridges are set up from 110 cm water height, on which one can move. From 140 cm, these have to be dismantled again, as there is a danger that they will float away.
It is advisable to get rubber boots at Acqua alta.
The City of Venice levies a tourist tax on tourist overnight stays. The tax is payable by all (non-residents) staying in a hotel, hotel or non-hotel establishment in the city of Venice for the first 5 consecutive days of stay.
The price varies according to the season (high season from 1 February to 31 December; low season from 1 to 31 January) and the location, type and classification of the accommodation facility.
Excursion tips for Venice
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