Forget about buses, trains and cabs, Venice transport revolves around the 177 canals that meander between its Gothic buildings and historic public squares. Here’s some essential tips.
RIDE A VAPORETTO
Although you can walk around most of Venice, some parts are accessible only – or certainly more quickly – via one of the water buses called ‘vaporettos’.
Vaporettos are Venice’s main mode of transportation and perfect for crossing the wider canals or when your legs have had enough. Affordable and reliable, vaporettos offer wonderfully scenic rides to major points of interest including the Rialto and Fondamente Nove.
A single ride is €7.50 so if you’re staying for a few days, it might be worth investing in an unlimited vaporetto pass.
Stroll around: Salizada San Moisè, a street lined with luxury boutiques near Piazza San Marco.
TRAVERSE THE GRAND CANAL IN A TRAGHETTI
Walking or taking a vaporetto around the Grand Canal is ideal for sightseeing but if you’re in a hurry to get from one place to another, a traghetto is your best bet.
Popular among locals, traghetti are gondola-styled vessels that run from about 9am to 6pm each day. There are multiple launching points around the Grand Canal, including from Campo San Marcuola and the Rialto. A traghetto ride costs €2 and is a great way to embrace the Venetian culture.
Don’t miss: The Rialto Market which has market stalls selling local food and regional specialties overlooking the Grand Canal.
SPLURGE ON A GONDOLA
Yes it’s a cliche, but it’s one so good you just have to give it a go! Despite their romantic appeal, gondolas aren’t only for honeymooners. The traditional flat-bottomed boats offer a practical solution to gaining access to the narrowest canals, revealing parts of Venice other forms of water transport can’t reach. This alone is worth the €80 it typically costs for a 40-minute ride.
And upgrading to a singing gondolier is what we call a worthwhile travel splurge.
Don’t miss: Snapping a photo on the Ponte di Rialto, built in 1588.
CAPTAIN YOUR OWN BOAT
This is definitely one for the more adventurous and courageous travellers. Piloting a boat around Venice is akin to driving a car through a museum of priceless artefacts.
Fortunately, hired boats aren’t allowed in the most trafficked areas such as the Grand Canal and historic city centre waterways. Skilled captains do have the freedom to traverse the sprawling Venetian Lagoon reaching islands other travellers might never see.
Drop-in: Campo Santo Marina for traditional Venetian restaurants.
BE MINDFUL OF FLOODING
A big part of Venice’s charm is also becoming a major concern as the rising water levels threaten to one day consume the city.
It’s a while away yet but already, Venice occasionally experiences extreme cases of flooding known as ‘acqua alta’. Caused by the combination of high tides and low atmospheric pressure, the flooding affects most areas tourists tend to congregate.
Don’t miss: A drink at one of the alfresco bars in the leafy Campo Santa Margherita.
Yes, when all is said and done, Venice is a fabulous place to get lost in if your navigation goes haywire. It’s actually a dream destination for walking. It’s flat, has many charming alleyways to chance upon and its streets are well signposted.
Every corner reveals yet another inspiring piece of architecture or fascinating attraction to steal your attention – or distract it.
It’s also one of the safest cities in the world.
Be sure to pack or download a local map and be mindful of prominent landmarks. St Mark’s Square is generally considered the central meeting point in this incredible place.
Orient yourself to that and you should be right!
Cruise or fly into Venice – Time to call our Cruise and Travel Solution Specialists on 1300 657 948? Go on pick up the phone and you’ll soon be on your way!
For additional inspiration view this month’s Travel Megastore Magazine here >>>