Public transport in Venice | The public transport in the centre of Venice is completely on the water. Just like elsewhere by bus and train, the Vaporetto boats operate here.
The water buses of the local operating company ACTV have different routes, line numbers, fixed stops, a timetable and and the possibility to buy tickets in advance. The trip with the water buses is one of the most extraordinary experiences in Venice and replaces many a sightseeing tour.
What is the public transport in Venice?
The biggest city district of Venice is Mestre with its 200.000 inhabitants. It is located on the mainland and is connected to the tourist part of Venice by the almost 4 km long Ponte de la Libertà. Parallel to this runs the older railway bridge, which connects the two Venetian main stations of Mestre on the mainland and Santa Lucia on the island.
In Mestre, which has little in common with the tourist Venice, but is nevertheless home to many tourists, there is an extensive public transport system with bus and tram, which also belongs to the ACTV company of the city of Venice. All connections with the centre of the historic lagoon city end at the central station of Santa Lucia or at the bus station Piazzale Roma.
The typical Venice is, as already mentioned, completely car-free. There are only two ways to get around here – on foot or by Vaporetto, as the popular water buses are mostly called.
In addition to the suburb of Mestre, the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, as well as the Lido di Venezia strip of islands are also within the immediate catchment area of the city of Venice. Alternatively, take the very expensive water taxis.
Ticket prices of the ACTV
Here is a simple and concise overview of the main ticket prices of ACTV for a stay in Venice.
► Bus /Tram in Mestre – One-way ticket costs 1,50 €, buy a ticket in advance, validate at the entrance. Then 75 minutes travel time in one direction is allowed. The same applies to bus and tram journeys from Mestre to the centre of Venice.
► Train Mestre – Tickets at the station, also not much more expensive
► Waterbus – Single route 7,50 €, very expensive.
► My suggestion: Day or multi-day ticket for 24, 48 or 72 hours – The ticket costs 7,50 € / 20,00 € / 30,00 € or 40,00 € – and is valid for almost the entire range of bus/tram and water boat services of interest to tourists, including all islands and Lido. The duration of the ticket is counted from the first validation, so not per day. Read the ticket again each time you change. Very advantageous offer!
All-day or multi-day tickets, including all fees, can also be purchased online here in advance.
|Vaporetto / Public Transport
|75 minutes from validation
|24 hours from validation
|48 hours from validation
|72 hours from validation
|168 hours from validation
|Tickets with free cancellation
|Kids less than 6 years
|Public Transport +
single Airport transfer
|from 14,30 €
*All prices are subject to change and mostly include all fees. It always counts the current offer of the provider. The beginning of the ticket’s validity always starts with the first validation. The ticket can be used from any day, regardless of the calendar day specified at the time of booking.
Where can tickets be purchased on-site?
Ticket offices are located at the larger Vaporetto stations in Piazzale Roma (the bus station) and Ferrovia (railway station). If you can’t find a ticket office, contact the staff on the boat. Information on the location of sales points can also be found on the official ACTV website.
Please do not forget – tickets must always be validated. Appropriate machines can be found at every stop. Violation of this rule will result in considerable penalties.
Venice City Pass with Doge’s Palace and public transport
In a separate article, you will find everything about the advantages and booking possibilities of the Venice City Pass. The price of the City Pass also includes the use of public transport in the city of Venice for the chosen duration.
The validity of ACTV day and multi-day tickets
Here again a detailed summary of the validity of all purchased and booked ACTV tickets:
+ All Vaporetto lines within Venice
+ Trips to Murano and Burano and Torcello among others
+ Trips to Lido di Venezia
+ All trips from Punta Sabbioni to Venice and back
+ All bus and tram services to and from Mestre, except line 5
+ Travel by bus line 11 via Lido to Chioggia
Where are ACTV tickets NOT valid?
Single, day and multi-day ACTV tickets are not valid for the following transport connections:
► Travelling to the airport – The ATCV operates the bus line 5 between the Piazzale Roma bus station and Marco Polo Airport, where special fares apply. All important information is also under Airport Transfer. The use is also not valid for lines 16, 19, 21 and Casinò.
► Travel by all ATVO means of transport – ATVO, not to be confused with ATCV, operates a recommended express bus transfer service between the main airport of Venice -Marco Polo-, Mestre railway station and Piazzale Roma. The best way to get to Venice quickly! Here you can also book a combined ticket for public transport and a one-off airport transfer!
► Alilaguna – ACTV tickets are not valid for the regular services of the operator ALILAGUNA. The privately operated water transport is public and consists of a network of five boat lines that connect Marco Polo Airport and the Cruise Terminal with the city centre of Venice, the Lido, Murano and Punta Sabbioni. More detailed information can also be found under Airport Transfer or directly on the company’s website Alilaguna. This also applies to the purchase of tickets.
► Water taxis and gondolas – The ACTV tickets are also not valid for trips with water taxis or gondolas.
► ‘People Mover’ – This is a driverless cable car that connects Piazzale Roma with the car parks on the island of Tronchetto. The people mover is constantly moving back and forth. The journey takes only a few minutes. The cost is 1.50 per trip and person. Interesting for motorists who should always keep some change ready at the vending machines for this convenience. Read more in Parking in Venice.
► Hop-On Hop-Off Boat Tour – A separate sightseeing tour with boats that circumnavigates Venice and stops at the main sights of the city. A round trip that can be interrupted as often and for as long as you wish. Tickets for the Hop on Hop off boat tour are available for 24 and 48 hours. A somewhat time-consuming but also relaxed way to get to know Venice.
Public transport timetables in Venice
As there is no bus or car traffic anywhere in the tourist centre of Venice, public transport is equally important for locals and visitors. All means of transport, also bus and tram in Mestre, run from 6:00 a.m. at the latest until shortly before midnight. The frequencies are high and will definitely meet the needs of both locals and tourists. The ATCV timetable applies to the water buses. Important especially for visitors who want to get to know Venice by night.
At night the N2 bus line connects the centre of Venice with Mestre railway station every 30 minutes.
The Linea N Vaporetto runs every 30 minutes during the night – main stops are next to Piazzale Roma and the Santa Lucia S.ZACCARIA – CANALE GIUDECCA – CANAL GRANDE – LIDO S.M.E railway station
Although less often, but regularly during the night boats leave from the jetty Fondamente Nove to Murano and Burano, among others.
The waterbus lines 1 and 2
I would like to see everything from the point of view of a visitor to Venice. There, the most important lines are, of course, the number 1 and the number 2, both cream-coloured lines navigate the main artery of Venice, the Canal Grande.
Line 1 runs between the bus station Piazzale Roma and Lido di Venezia. It stops at every bus stop. This means that one sees many sightseeings, of course including the famous Rialto Bridge, but one does not get ahead that fast. From the bus or train station, there are almost 20 stops and the trip to St. Mark’s Square with St. Mark’s Cathedral and Doge’s Palace takes at least 45 minutes. From there, it goes straight to the Lido di Venezia.
One gets faster with line 2 through the Canal Grande. The water bus stops only a few times, including the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square, before continuing on a circular route to the island of Giudecca and then back to Piazzale Roma and Santa Lucia railway station.
Both lines run in both directions at the same time and you don’t need to look at the clock, the next water bus will arrive in 10 minutes at the latest.
Those who are not disturbed by the many local people and tourists on board can save a separate city tour on the Canal Grande with lines 1 and 2.
Lines 4.1. and 4.2. circumnavigate the island of Venice with numerous stops, with detours to the nearby islands of Murano and Giudecca.
Line 4.1. runs counterclockwise around the historical centre of Venice, line 4.2. clockwise around the lagoon city.
With the public Vaporetto to the islands
To the lagoon islands of Murano and Burano and Torcello, take line 12 from the main pier Fondamenta Nuove, north of Venice. The island of Murano can also be reached quickly from the station with line 3 or with the above-mentioned lines 4.1. and 4.2.
Important note: A visit to the most beautiful lagoon islands Murano, Burano and the almost uninhabited island Torcello are among the main attractions of a Venice trip. Nevertheless, for those who want to visit all the islands, I consider the trip with the public Vaporetti to be very time-consuming. The duration of the trip is often underestimated and for the real and typical Venice, there is often only a little time left for sightseeing.
For guests who want to experience as much as possible on the islands quickly and as much as possible, I rather suggest participating in an organized tour. Depending on what is on offer, 3 to 5 hours are sufficient to explore the three most interesting lagoon islands Murano, Burano and Torcello. In the 3 islands of the lagoon, there are some interesting offers for this – as for example a classic island tour. Prices of approximately 25 € are not much more expensive than day tickets for public transport.
A short conclusion
In any case, a trip with the Vaporetto, Venice’s ‘Water buses’, is reliable and entertaining. The line network is huge, the use is uncomplicated and all tickets can be booked stress-free at home. One gets very well organized. There are maps everywhere and there are also electronic boards with information about the arrival time of the next boat.
At first glance, day or multi-day tickets are expensive. But one gets everywhere and for tourists, it is recommendable to buy the 2 or 3-day ticket depending on the demand, as the single trip with a price of 7,50 is really very expensive. For those who do not want to be only on foot in Venice, maybe do not want to stay only one day in the lagoon city and get to know the lagoon islands, a multi-day ticket is in any case worthwhile.