I don’t know how you feel about it, but when I arrived the first time in Venice I was overwhelmed by the huge choice of transport possibilities to reach the lagoon. Research here, research there.
In the end, I decided that a little overview won’t hurt as Venice can be reached in different ways:
1. Arrival by plane
There are two airports that you can take into consideration in case your plan a holiday in Venice: Marco Polo (Venice/Mestre) and Canova (Treviso).
Arrived at the airport Marco Polo, you can choose between a vaporetto (waterbus), bringing you directly to Venice city center, and the bus nr. 5 (which stops at the bus terminal in Piazzale Roma in the western part of Venice) or nr. 15 (direction Mestre/Marghera and not Venice). The vaporetto connection “airport Marco Polo – Venice” is managed by Alilaguna, a private transportation company. All the other busses, the tram and the vaporetti are managed by the public carrier ACTV. It’s very important to distinguish between those two companies, as an Alilaguna ticket is not valid on an ACTV bus. (Children, under 6 years, are travelling for free on all Alilaguna and ACTV lines.) Apart from the city bus and the Alilaguna, you can also choose the regional bus ATVO to get from the airport (or the trainstation) to Venice/Mestre/Jesolo/…: a return journey for Venice (valid for 7 days from the moment of first validation) costs for example 15€ (single ride €8). A huge advantage of the ATVO bus is for sure the fact that the bus is only used by visitors while the ACTV city bus is also used by the residents and thus pretty full in the morning and in the afternoon (begin/end of work).
As you can see in the infographic, it takes at least 45 minutes to reach Venice by Alilaguna waterbus (well, everything is slower by ship), waiting time before the departure not included. The bus reaches Venice in about 20 minutes and arrives in Piazzale Roma (in the western part of Venice). In case you booked a hotel near the train station Santa Lucia the bus is definitely the better choice. If you stay in a hotel in the sestriere San Marco/Castello (means, the eastern part of Venice), Alilaguna is – in my opinion – the better choice.
Here you can find a terminal map of Marco Polo to better find your way around the airport and to the ticket offices/ticket machines.
From the airport Treviso Canova take the bus nr. 6 and get off at the last stop (train station Treviso Centrale): you can buy the ticket at the
ACCT MOM Mobilità di Marca (on the ground floor in the airport) for €1,30. From the trainstation Treviso Centrale take one of the regional trains directed to Venice/Mestre (there are automatic ticket machines “biglietteria” in the arrival hall). Total cost: about 5€. Another possibility would be a direct bus (ATVO, interregional bus) from Treviso Canova to Mestre and Venice. But it’s way more expensive: 10€ (return €18; valid for 10 days). You can purchase this ticket too in the airport (at the ATVO).
Find a terminal map of Treviso Canova here.
2. Arrival by train
The easiest and most comfortable way (without traffic jam) to reach Venice is definitely by train: you reach the laguna for € 1,60 (from Mestre). It’s also the best, fastest and cheapest choice in case you plan a day trip from Verona or Treviso. Unfortunately, there is no combined ticket for train-bus-vaporetto.
3. Arrival by car
For sure the most expensive way to travel as a day ticket costs € 20- 30. In case you stay overnight in Venice, ask the hotel if it’s a partner of one of the parking’s at Tronchetto (the artificial island in west of Venice) or Piazzale Roma to get a discount. Another possibility: leave your car in Mestre (for example in the Parcheggio Stazione right in front of the train station) and go by train (or bus).
Venezia Tronchetto Parking
Isola Nuova del Tronchetto
Opening hours: 24/24 h
Tariff: 24h … €21
San Marco Garage (Piazzale Roma)
Piazzale Roma 467/F
Opening hours: 24/24 h
Hotel Partner-Discount: www.garagesanmarco.it/it/partnership
Tariff: 12h … €26; 24h … €30
Autorimessa comunale (Piazzale Roma)
Santa Croce 496
Opening hours: 24/24 h
Tariff: only day tariff 24 h … €26/€29
Viale Stazione 10
Opening hours: 24/24 Std.
Mo – Fr: day tariff (till midnight) … €10
Sa, Su, festivities: day tariff (till midnight) … €14
Green Park S. R. L. – Parcheggio Auto
4. Arrival by Bus (and soon by tram)
Every day numerous buses (see infographic) go to Venice, and in case you’re thinking about taking an ACTV tourist travelcard to take the vaporetti (waterbuses), I have good news for you: the travelcard is also valid on the buses in Mestre/Lido. This means that taking a hotel in Mestre, and not in over-expensive Venice, is no problem as you will have the bus, the tram or the train (or all three of them) at your disposal. The only disadvantage that you should consider: a lot of people working in Venice (but living in Mestre and surroundings) use public transports to reach the laguna. This means that buses are rather crowded between 07.30 am and 09.30 am. In case you arrive in bigger groups you should definitely consider taking a hotel near the railway station to be able to take the train to the city center. The locals will be grateful!
Another tip: Mainly the buses nr. 6/7/8 coming from the suburbs (Mirano, Spinea, Chirignago, Zelarino, Marghera, Preganziol,…) are pretty crowded.
Attention: Bus tickets normally can’t be purchased on board (only in night buses between 8 pm and 7 am, and on Sundays or holidays, the ticket costs about €2,50 instead of €1,50)! Tickets are sold in local kiosks (normally closed for lunch between 12 am and 3 pm, except in airports and train stations) and at the automatic ticket machines in the train station of Mestre and in Piazzale Roma.
I’m trying to keep the prices up to date, but please always check online if the prices are still correct – ticket prices for public transport and parking change nearly every year!