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All major airlines fly into Marco Polo Airport (airport code: VCE) - www.veniceairport.it. The airport, located 7 kilometres north of the city on the margin of the Venetian lagoon, has a new passenger terminal. When you leave the Baggage Claim and Customs hall, turn right for the money-exchange window if you need to buy euro, or use the Bancomat (ATM), where you're likely to get a better exchange rate. The main reseller of public transport tickets, HelloVenezia, which also issues passes which have been pre-ordered through the VeneziaUnica website, has a clearly identified desk located in the arrivals hall, just past and slightly to the right of the arrivals waiting area as you exit from baggage claim, where ACTV travel and VeniceCard products, including the Rolling VeniceCard, can also be picked up, if prepaid, or purchased for immediate use. Travel to the city and destinations on the mainland is available immediately outside the arrivals hall, on the ground level.
Note that check-in desks may be on either the ground or first
floor - check which by looking for your flight on the boards at the
entrance to the terminal. It is highly advisable to check-in
on-line if possible. You will then be able to go to 'bag-drop
only' and thus avoid the very long and disorganised queues waiting for check-in..
You can get to Venice from Marco Polo either by sea or by land.
WATER ROUTE TO VENICE
Water transfer into the historical center is a ten minute walk from the arrivals hall to the dock areas. Note that there is quite a walk - a little under 500 yards - (with baggage!) from the Arrivals Hall exit outside to your left through the airport grounds to the boat departure point. Yes they do provide, for most of the time, a long shelter covering but you occasionally end up crossing a road. At busy times there are porters who for a fee will load your baggage on a trolley and push it for you. It's certainly doable independently; just be prepared for the hike! If you are disabled, or have heavy luggage you can take a taxi round the airport roads. Sadly the shuttle bus has been discontinued. The luggage trolleys are self-service and require a one euro coin deposit, which can be recouped upon leaving the trolley at the dock area.
The ACTV water bus (vaporetto ferries) do not directly serve Marco Polo airport, but there are the following alternatives:
Alilaguna ferry to Venice: if you need to go to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) or a limited number of other locations in historic Venice, including the northern areas of Cannaregio, the Cruise ship terminal, or the Lido, you can purchase a Venice airport ferry ticket at the Alilaguna booth in the Arrivals area - www.alilaguna.it. Alilaguna fares for the 'normal' ferries, which take about 1 hour 20 minutes to reach San Marco via Murano Colonna and the Lido on the Blu line, or slightly less on the "Arancio" (Orange) line via the Grand Canal are:
Murano - € 8
All Venice stops/Lido/Stazione Marittima - € 15.
Note that Alilaguna is a private company, so ACTV passes cannot be used on Alilaguna boats or vice versa. Also, the routes changed in early 2011 so the "Rosso" (Red) line which previously arrived to Piazza San Marco now only goes as far as Lido, while the "Blu" line has increased its frequency, roughly doubling the number of runs.
It is possible to purchase both one-way and return tickets on line in advance, discounted at www.venicelink.com, if at least one week in advance, at www.veneziaunica.it/en. There are also discounted prices for groups of twenty people or more.
AirportLink: This is a recently introduced service provided by Alilaguna. It is NOT a private water taxi. It is an exclusive shared boat service from Venice Marco Polo Airport to the major point of interests in Venice centre.
The price is €27 per person. This is a shared launch and not an exclusive water taxi so a minimum of 2 passengers are required and the launch may wait for as much as 40 minutes to fill up. Nevertheless you can enjoy a water transfer across the lagoon to near to your hotel. But the launch may well be making stops at other traveller's destinations as it is a shared service. It is faster than the normal Alilaguna ferry once you have finally departed at a little more than the Alilaguna public lines' price. You reach central Venice in just 30 minutes!
Airport Link service is not a private water taxi, so it usually stops nearby to the hotels, one by one, depending on the ultimate destinations of your fellow travellers. If you need to reach the private pier of your hotel without intermediate stops, do consider a transfer by private water taxi.
Private Water Taxi to Venice: If you're loaded with luggage, or if you're traveling in a group, you may want to hire a private water taxi directly to your hotel or, if it does not have canal frontage, to the canal side closest to your hotel. These can be booked on arrival at the Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia desk in the Arrivals Hall at Marco Polo. The hire charge includes up to 4 passengers and all their luggage. Extra passengers up to the limit of the water taxi (12 or 16) carry a very small surcharge - the official rate is €1.60. Official water taxi fares are posted on the Venice City Hall website (Italian page with multilanguage links).
If the Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia desk is closed you can walk to the landing stage and hire a private water taxi directly there. There are usually several waiting to be hired. Beware: although all water taxis are metered, many drivers will pretend not to have a meter, and may ask extortionate prices. You should not have to pay more than €80 - 120 for the launch, depending on how far you are travelling. Note you should never be quoted a price per passenger. Be guided accordingly.
If you wish to book a private water taxi in advance of your arrival at Marco Polo, or for any other journey around the Venetian canals or lagoon, you can do so on the Consozio website - www.motoscafivenezia.it . This website states "The Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia was formed by the leading taxi operators in town and now has more than 100 Water Taxis at its disposal. All water taxis are radio linked to the central operations with a sophisticated GPS system, which enabling the fast location of all taxi boats thus reducing waiting times. The Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia consists of several small professional companies, offering a service covering the entire Venice lagoon 24 hours a day."
There is also the VeniceLink service which offers fixed-price transfers by water taxi: €99* one-way to/from Venice; €185* return trip. Transfers are also offered to/from the cruise port. For an additional €45, a "meet-and-greet" package is available, providing assistance with luggage. For further information, see Venice Link. Also for an additional €40, one can request a route "deviation" along the Grand Canal to enjoy the view on the way to the hotel.
(*as of 1st July 2013)
LAND ROUTE TO VENICE
Taxis: Land taxis are available right outside Marco Polo airport, to the left as you exit.
Buses: There are two very reasonably priced public bus options: ACTV local bus scheduled service No. 5 (www.actv.it), or ATVO direct coaches (www.atvo.it). Both take you to Piazzale Roma in around 20 - 25 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. Piazzale Roma is the end of the road in historic Venice as the remainder of the city is pedestrianised. From there you cans still take a land taxi or the people carries into Stazione Marittima Piazzale roma is at the western end of the Grand Canal nd has a landing stage for the ACTV water buses (vaporetti) which have severallines to take you around Venice, or over to the Lido or Murano. (For buses to Mestre, see below under Land Route to the Mainland.)
The ACTV n°5 bus runs every quarter hour most of the day, and takes 22-25 minutes to reach Piazzale Roma (or vice versa) with limited stops along the route. It is an easily accessible, low rise bus adapted to travel with baggage, including internal luggage racks and one low step to enter, almost at curb level. If purchased together with a Tourist travel card, the ticket costs an additional €4.00 one way, or €8.00 round trip/return; otherwise if purchased separately, it costs €6.00 one way or €11.00 round trip/return. It is also possible to purchase a one way Bus+Vaporetto ticket for the bus to Piazzale Roma and a one way vaporetto trip within a total of 90 minutes at a cost of €12.00.
The ATVO coach is a typical "Greyhound" style coach, with ample luggage storage out of sight under the raised passenger seating area, which requires four relatively high, steep steps up to the passenger compartment. It runs once every half hour most of the day, takes 20 minutes non-stop to Piazzale Roma, and is €6.00 one way or €11.00 round trip/return.
LAND ROUTE TO THE MAINLAND (MESTRE, etc.)
To reach Mestre and other destinations on the mainland, there are land taxis outside the airport directly on your left as you exit; and there are numerous ACTV and ATVO bus lines. Full fare information and schedules on www.actv.it and www.atvo.it, respectively. Any ACTV bus travel originating from or ending at Venice Marco Polo airport requires a separate, extra bus ticket as of June 2011.
Note that many low-cost airlines (such as Ryanair) use the Treviso airport, about 30 km north of Venice - www.trevisoairport.it. There is a regular ATVO coach service linking this airport with Mestre and Venice (Piazzale Roma). - see www.atvo.it for timetables. The journey from Treviso airport to Piazzale Roma takes around 40 minutes. Tickets cost €10.00 or €18.00 for a return ticket.
An ACTT bus - scheduled service No 6 - takes about 20 minutes to travel from Treviso airport to Treviso station and runs every half hour. There is then good train service to Mestre and to Santa Lucia station In Venice. See www.trenitalia.it for timetables.
Another option between Treviso airport and Venice is the slightly quicker bus service which uses the highway and has fewer stops, run by Barzi. It charges €10.00 or €18.00 for a return ticket. It goes to and from Tronchetto in Venice, opposite the People Mover which links Tronchetto to the Piazzale Roma. The People Mover is like an airport train with three stops; P. Roma, the cruise ship terminal and Tronchetto. It takes about three minutes at a nominal cost.
Leaving Venice for the Airports
It is important to remember that on Sundays and holidays, and early mornings and late nights, much public transportation in and around Venice operates on different time schedules. This is especially important when taking very early morning flights out of Marco Polo Venice Airport. The vaporetto (€7 per person single ride) to Piazzale Roma operates a slightly reduced night schedule from midnight to 5 a.m., but when you get to the bus terminal, the ACTV n°5 bus starts only at 4:40 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday at 5:40 a.m.; the ATVO coach begins only at 5:00 a.m. (every day), so then you may be forced to take a taxi to the airport at an additional cost in order to arrive on time for your flight. Alternatively, you may just want to pay the €100-120 for an early morning water taxi to the airport and walk with your bags to the departures terminal from the dock.
Trains arrive in Venice at Venezia Santa Lucia station. Some also stop short at the Mestre station on the mainland but for a €1.25 euro ticket you can take one of the very frequent trains across the causeway over the lagoon into Santa Lucia station. See www.trenitalia.it for timetables and the possibility to purchase advance tickets online. Some people have reported difficulties in the past paying for online purchases with non-Italian credit cards, but in 2011 the situation seems to have improved greatly. The main advantage to prepurchasing tickets for you departure from Venice is the possibility for discounted fares (sometimes as much as 60% off) but with some restrictions on modifications or cancellations. Normally there is no problem with purchasing full price tickets the day of departure at the Venice train stations or at one of the travel agencies throughout Venice which display the FFSS Trenitalia logo. There is a staffed left luggage office in the main Santa Lucia station, to the left leaving the train platforms, along platform n°1.
Immediately outside the station are the three separate "Ferrovia" ACTV landing stages where several different water bus lines call. These will carry visitors all round Venice, to Lido, and to the other islands of the Venetian lagoon. Tickets, including period passes valid for all ACTV water and urban land buses, can be bought at the ticket kiosks.
Private water taxis, which are expensive but have the advantage of taking visitors directly to their Hotel, or to the canalside nearest to the Hotel, are available from the private taxi jetty leaving the station to the left, just before the Scalzi Bridge. Water taxi drivers do not expect a tip in addition to the hiring charge.
By Cruise Ship
Almost all cruise liners dock in Stazione Marittima. Some cruise lines provide transport from there to Piazzale Roma, though very few nowadays, where water buses or private water taxis will carry visitors all over Venice, or land transport can carry them to the mainland. Otherwise land taxis can be hired to drive as far as Piazzale Roma, which is as far a wheeled traffic can go into Venice. If luggage is light then it is a walk of 500+ yards from Stazione Marittima to Piazzale Roma. There is also a People Mover monorail from Piazzale Roma to the dock gate and Tronchetto that can be useful if your ship is moored near the dock gates.
Some cruise liners moor along the Banchina del Porta Commerciale in the Giudecca Canal just outside the Stazione Marittima docks. This is often referred to as San Basilio and indeed is close to the San Basilio water bus landing stage. However if you do take a water bus to this landing stage you will have to walk across a small canal bridge and into the gates of Stazione Maritima. There are no land vehicles - coaches or taxis able to use this entrance as this part of Venice is pedestrianised. You will have to walk from the San Basilio landing stage and carry your own luggage for what may be a distance of several hundred metres. How ever you can still take a land taxi from Marco Polo or Piazzale Roma through the main entrance to Stazione Maritima and travel down to the moorings along the Giudecca Canal. This would avoid the need to carry luggage any great distance.
The Alilaguna Lineablu (blue line) ferry runs between Stazione Marittima and and other stops including Zattere, San Marco Giardinetti and eventually arriving to Marco Polo airport (total travel time between the two terminals about 1h40m though). The timetable and fares should be checked in advance on www.alilaguna.it as they do vary from time to time.
Venice Link offers a transfer from the cruise port to hotels in Venice for €60. For an additional €45 there is a "meet-and-greet" package that includes assistance with luggage. See Venice Link
Since Venice, with its unique topography, limits all automotive and rubber-wheeled vehicular traffic to a very small area of the city, arriving by car is often a serious problem. The main publicly accessible area with the bus terminals and parking garages is Piazzale Roma, though cars can arrive to the areas of Tronchetto, Santa Marta, and the Cruise Terminals (though these may sometimes require special passes). During high periods and special events, even reaching Piazzale Roma across the long Ponte della Libertà causeway can be a major headache. Parking fees for the garages around Piazzale Roma, when parking is available, can range from expensive to outrageous. There are a number of other alternatives for parking in outlying areas at greatly reduced costs and using public transportation to reach the center.
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