Transportation around Venice can be very expensive—and I’m not even talking about using water taxis, which have a pricing system (yikes!) of their own. I am talking about “public transportation,” which in Venice mostly means taking the “vaporetti” (water bus) up and down the Grand Canal.
A single trip on a vaporetto costs €6.50, whether you take the boat for one stop or for a whole Grand Canal tour. Fortunately, however, there is a system designed for tourists that will help you save some serious money.
Tourist Travel Cards
In the last few years ACTV (Venice’s bus and boat system) realized that they had to come up with a tourist transportation card, so they created seven different types of “tourist travel cards,” each valid for a different period of time.
Travel cards are available for 12 hours (€16), 24 hours (€18), 36 hours (€23), 48 hours (€28), 72 hours (€33), three-day youth card (for people between 18-29 years old – €18), and seven-day cards (€50). (Prices are accurate as of March 2010. Visit the ACTV website for current prices.)
With these travel cards you can hop on and off any vaporetto (including those to the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello) and on all buses travelling within the city of Venice (including to Mestre and Marco Polo Airport). These cards eliminate the need to queue every time to buy a ticket and to carry change with you.
The tickets are not exactly cheap, but considering you have unlimited use of the transport system, they are well worth it. Just think how much it would cost you if you wanted to visit Murano-Burano and Torcello and you had to pay for each single trip.
Where to buy Tourist transportation tickets
You can buy these transport passes at any vaporetto stop (there are usually ticket offices at the stops, otherwise you can buy on board and the almost always speaks English), in Piazzale Roma (in the ACTV ticket office), or in any tobacco shop that displays the “ACTV” sign.
Tip: Combine transportation and museums in one pass
In 2009, the Comune di Venezia introduced a combined card for transport and museums that can save you up to 25% on a variety of museum passes. The savings varies depending on the period (low season, high season, special events, etc.).
Unfortunately, the card can only be purchased online and must be purchased more than two days before your arrival date in Venice. So the earlier you book it, the greater the saving. For more information and to buy a card, visit http://www.veniceconnected.com.