Venice water bus services (vaporetto services)

Route maps, ticketing, how to use for the first time visitor

Venice Water Bus Line 1 Pulling Into Landing Stage

Frequent services: Venice water bus Line 1 pulling into landing stage

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A vaporetto is another name for a water taxi or water bus in Venice, operated by ACTV, the public transport authority for Venice.

For the visitor to Venice you have 2 options to get around, walk or by water. If you don't want to walk, the water bus service is the affordable way to get around.


Water bus/vaporetti routes

The Grand Canal

Nearly all first-time visitors want to travel the Grand Canal. The three big magnets for tourists are along the Grand Canal.

At the western end of the Grand Canal is the arrival point for most visitors. Santa Lucia Railway Station and adjacent to it Piazzale Roma where the bus station and car parks are located. For those arriving by cruise ship the Piazzale Rome is also where the shuttle will deposit you.

Piazzale Roma is literally the end of the road of the causeway across from the mainland at Mestre.

From here you either walk or take a boat of some kind. This is far the busiest water bus area with many water bus lines each with their own small jetty, so make sure you are waiting at the right jetty and it's for the boat going the in the direction you want!

Venice water bus route map 2019

Venice water bus route map 2019

At the other end of the Grand Canal is St Mark's Square and about half way between, the Rialto Bridge, the other main two destinations for first time tourists to Venice.

Water bus routes 1 & 2 (vaporetti)

The workhorse route, the most busy and popular, is route number 1 that stops at every stop along the Grand Canal. Evening trips will be less busy, as well as atmospheric after dark.


These are the largest boats, leaving every ten minutes; even in winter there are five boats an hour most of the day.

The scheduled journey time between Santa Lucia Railway Station and St Mark's Square is about 45 minutes. There are 14 stops along the way. Number 1 ferry continues another 20 minutes across to Venice Lido Island.

There is also another express boat, route number 2 that does the journey between Santa Lucia Railway Station and St Mark's Square in a scheduled 30 minutes making only 5 stops including Rialto Bridge.


Though make sure the boat you get is travelling along the Grand Canal as this route is a circular route that loops around the south of Venice.

Venice Water Bus Vaporetto Route 4 / 5 Boat

Murano route: Venice water bus vaporetto route 4/5 boat

Venice Water Bus Vaporetto Route 12 Boat

Venice Lido: Venice water bus vaporetto Route 12 boat

Water bus routes 4 & 5 (motoscafi)

Using smaller boats, routes 4 and 5 circumnavigate the main island of Venice in each direction and do not go through the Grand Canal that splits the main island in two.


These boats are more protected from the elements than the vaporetti, also having space for wheelchairs.


Route number 4 just follows the coastline all around the island, hopping across and back from the island of Murano along the way.

Route 5 follows a near identical route around the island but doesn't make the short detour to Murano Island. instead it detours over to the Venice Lido.

Water bus route 12 (outer island route)

This route is your transport to the smaller outer islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello and is well travelled by tourists.


Route 12 departs from a terminus on the north shore of Venice called Fondamente Nove.

Most visitors will have to travel to Fondamente Nove using water bus routes 4 or 5.

Boats used are mid-size larger than the small water bus routes 4 and 5, but smaller than route 1. There are a minimum of two services an hour even in winter. Unlike the other boats, these have toilets.

Water bus routes to/from Venice Marco Polo Airport

The convenient water bus transport between Venice and Venice Airport are dealt with on our dedicated Venice airport transfers page.


Ticketing & fares

Tourist travelcards

The most economical solution for people who want to get around Venice and its surroundings on ACTV’s land and water public transport services. As well as the water Vaporetto services these tickets are also valid on the bus services in the local area which comes in very handy if you have saved money and chose your hotel in or around Mestre on the mainland.

ACTV Venice Public Transport Ticket Machine

ACTV Venice: public transport ticket machine

These cards are not valid for the water bus services that connect Venice and Venice Marco Polo Airport. However you can pay a supplement which will then cover the airport bus between Venice Airport and Piazzale Roma Bus Station in Venice.

You can buy tickets for 1, 2, 3 or 7 day durations. The tickets become valid on your first journey where you have to stamp your ticket in the machines provided just like most other Itailan city public transport systems. If caught on board with an unstamped ticket don't expect to be treated with any leniency just because you are a visitor.

Fares last checked February 2020

1 Day Travelcard - €20

2 Day Travelcard - €30

3 Day Travelcard - €40

7 Day Travelcard - €60

Optional €6 supplement to include one-way journey on Venice Airport bus. €12 return.

Single tickets & buying travelcards

1 Single Ticket On Venice Water Services (not airport) - €7:50- allows up to 75 minutes on water network from validation of ticket.

There are ticket machines at the major gateways to Venice including Santa Lucia Railway Station and Piazzale Roma bus station and car parks as well as Venice Marco Polo Airport.

Many hotels sell the tickets or if not should be able to tell you of a local outlet where you can.

You can also purchase on-line.

Venezia Unica City Pass tickets including travelcards - buy online

The Venezia Unica City Pass you can buy from the official Venice tourism web site for Venice. As well as purchasing the Travelcards above there is scope to purchase tickets to museums, parking etc.

Venezia Unica City Pass - full details

Venice water taxi services

Venice has a water taxi service just like a normal city car cab service but on water.


Licensed water taxis have a yellow stripe with a license number. Be very cautious in dealing with unlicensed taxi operators.


At major points throughout Venice including Santa Lucia Railway Station and Piazzale Roma the main gateways to Venice for most visitors there are organised taxi stations for water taxi services.


For a complete list of the city's 14 water taxi stations with linked fare tables from each, use the link below (which is in Italian, but you should be able to fathom out indicative costs).

Venice water taxi stations & fares

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