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Venice Travel Tips: Ferry Tricks, Budget Tips & Where To Stay!


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Roxi Messer



Welcome to one of the most enchanting cities in the world – Venice! Nestled in the northeastern part of Italy, this unique city is known for its picturesque canals, stunning architecture, and rich history. Each year, millions of visitors flock to Venice to experience its romantic charm and timeless beauty.


Venice is a city unlike any other, with its intricate network of canals and absence of cars. Instead of roads, Venetians rely on a system of waterways and boats to get around. This creates a truly magical atmosphere, where gondolas glide gracefully through the narrow canals, and water taxis whisk passengers away to their destinations.


One of the best ways to explore Venice is by taking advantage of the city’s ferry system. The vaporettos, as they are known locally, offer an affordable and convenient mode of transportation, allowing you to navigate the city’s waterways and visit its various islands.


In this article, we will share some invaluable tips on getting around Venice by ferry, including some tricks to make your journey even more enjoyable. We will also provide budget tips to help you make the most of your visit while not breaking the bank. Lastly, we will recommend some fantastic places to stay in Venice, ensuring a comfortable and memorable experience for your trip.


So grab your map and let’s dive into the wonders of Venice – the Floating City!


Getting Around by Ferry

Getting around Venice by ferry is not only a practical way to navigate the city, but it’s also an experience in itself. The vaporetto system is an extensive network of water buses that connect different parts of Venice and the surrounding islands.


When it comes to getting around Venice, the vaporetto is your best friend. These sleek and modern boats operate on various routes, making stops at designated piers along the Grand Canal and other major waterways. The fares for vaporettos are reasonable, and you can purchase tickets for single trips, day passes, or longer durations depending on your needs.


The vaporettos are operated by ACTV, the local transportation company. They run from early morning until late at night, with more limited services during the night. The frequency of the boats varies depending on the time of day, with more frequent departures during peak hours.


While aboard the vaporetto, you’ll have the opportunity to take in breathtaking views of Venice from the water. Be sure to secure a spot near the windows or on the outdoor deck to enjoy the passing scenery. You can marvel at the iconic Rialto Bridge, the historic palaces along the Grand Canal, and the bustling activity of everyday Venetian life.


It’s important to note that the vaporetto routes can get quite busy, especially during peak tourist season. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider traveling during off-peak hours or utilizing the less touristy routes. This will allow you to have a more relaxed and enjoyable ferry experience.


Another tip for getting around by ferry is to plan your routes in advance. Venice is made up of multiple islands, and each island has its own unique attractions. By studying the vaporetto map and understanding the different routes, you can efficiently navigate between popular destinations like St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the vibrant islands of Murano and Burano.


Lastly, be aware of the seating arrangement on the vaporettos. There are both interior and exterior seating options. If you prefer a more intimate and serene experience, opt for the outdoor seats, where you can feel the cool breeze and soak in the surroundings.


Now that you have a better understanding of getting around by ferry in Venice, let’s explore some useful tricks to enhance your ferry experience.


Ferry Tricks

While riding the vaporetto in Venice is a straightforward process, there are a few tricks and tips that can enhance your ferry experience and make your journey even more enjoyable:

  1. Timing is key: To avoid the crowds, try to take the vaporetto during off-peak hours. Early mornings and late evenings are generally less crowded, allowing you to have a more peaceful and serene experience. Additionally, consider using the vaporetto to reach popular attractions early in the morning before the day-trippers arrive.
  2. Know the routes: Familiarize yourself with the different vaporetto routes and schedules. Some routes are more popular with tourists, while others are frequented by locals. By understanding the routes, you can choose the most convenient and less crowded options.
  3. Validate your ticket: Before boarding the vaporetto, make sure to validate your ticket at one of the yellow validation machines. This applies to both single trip tickets and passes. Failure to validate your ticket may result in a fine if you’re caught by ticket inspectors.
  4. Hold onto your ticket: Keep your ticket in a safe place throughout your journey. Ticket inspectors occasionally check for valid tickets during random checks, and you’ll need to present a valid and validated ticket if asked.
  5. Be mindful of pickpockets: As with any crowded public transportation system, there is always a risk of pickpocketing. Keep your belongings close to you and be aware of your surroundings, particularly when the vaporetto is crowded.
  6. Consider alternate transportation options: While the vaporettos are a convenient way to get around, they are not the only means of transportation in Venice. Explore different options like water taxis, which can take you directly to your desired destination but at a higher cost. You can also consider walking or hiring a bike for shorter distances.
  7. Enjoy the scenic routes: Some vaporetto routes offer stunning views of Venice. Consider taking Line 2, which travels along the Grand Canal and provides a magnificent perspective of the city’s architectural wonders. Line 4.2 also offers a beautiful route that takes you to the islands of Murano and Burano.

By implementing these ferry tricks, you can make the most of your vaporetto experience and navigate Venice with ease.


Budget Tips

Venice is undeniably a popular tourist destination, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to enjoy all that it has to offer. With some smart planning and budget-conscious choices, you can experience Venice without draining your wallet:

  1. Eat like a local: Avoid the overpriced tourist traps and opt for authentic local cuisine. Wander away from the main tourist areas and explore the backstreets to find family-owned trattorias and osterias that offer delicious meals at affordable prices. Try the local specialties, such as cicchetti (small Venetian snacks) and seafood dishes.
  2. Pack a picnic: Take advantage of the beautiful outdoor spaces in Venice and enjoy a picnic along the canals or in one of the city’s parks. Visit the local markets to pick up fresh fruits, bread, cheese, olives, and other local delights to create your own budget-friendly meal.
  3. Free attractions: Venice is home to several stunning attractions that are free to visit. Stroll through the charming streets of the city, take pictures of the iconic Rialto Bridge, and visit the historic squares like St. Mark’s Square. Explore the local churches, such as Basilica di San Marco and the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, which offer free entry.
  4. Visit during the shoulder seasons: Venice can get extremely crowded and expensive during the peak tourist season. Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons, which are spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November). During these times, you can enjoy milder weather, cheaper accommodation rates, and fewer tourists.
  5. Use public transportation: Instead of relying on expensive water taxis or private gondolas, make use of the vaporetto system to get around. The vaporetto is much more affordable and offers the same magical experience of traversing the canals of Venice.
  6. Book in advance: If you plan to visit popular attractions or take part in specific activities, it’s advisable to book in advance. This will often give you access to discounted prices or special offers, helping you save money.
  7. Explore the islands: Take a break from the crowds of Venice and visit the nearby islands of Murano and Burano. Murano is famous for its glassblowing art, while Burano is known for its colorful houses and intricate lacework. These islands offer a unique and authentic experience, with fewer crowds and lower prices than the main city.

By implementing these budget tips, you can enjoy the beauty and charm of Venice without straining your finances. Remember, sometimes the best experiences are the ones that don’t cost a fortune!


Where to Stay in Venice

Choosing the right place to stay in Venice can greatly enhance your experience in the city. From luxurious hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts, there are accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here are some popular areas to consider when deciding where to stay in Venice:

  1. San Marco: Located in the heart of Venice, the San Marco district is home to some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. This area offers a vibrant atmosphere, with lively squares, upscale shopping boutiques, and a wide range of restaurants and cafes. San Marco is a great choice if you want to be in the midst of the action and have easy access to the main attractions, but keep in mind that prices can be steep here.
  2. Cannaregio: For a more local and authentic experience, consider staying in the Cannaregio district. This area is known for its charming canals, narrow streets, and historic buildings. It offers a quieter ambiance compared to San Marco, with a variety of local eateries, cozy wine bars, and boutique shops. Cannaregio is an excellent choice if you want to immerse yourself in the local Venetian lifestyle and explore the less touristy areas of the city.
  3. Dorsoduro: Situated on the opposite side of the Grand Canal from San Marco, Dorsoduro is a bohemian neighborhood with a lively art scene. It is home to the renowned Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Accademia Gallery, which houses a superb collection of Venetian art. Dorsoduro offers a mix of trendy bars, charming cafes, and stylish boutique hotels. This area appeals to art enthusiasts, students, and those seeking a more relaxed and residential atmosphere.
  4. Giudecca: If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the crowds, consider staying in Giudecca. This island, just a short vaporetto ride away from the main city, offers a tranquil retreat with breathtaking views of the Venice skyline. Here, you’ll find luxury hotels and converted historic buildings that offer a serene atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle.
  5. Castello: If you’re a history buff, consider staying in the Castello district. This area is home to the Arsenale, the historic shipyard of Venice, as well as many picturesque squares and churches. Castello offers a mix of grand palaces, traditional Venetian houses, and charming local restaurants. It’s a great choice for those looking for a quieter neighborhood with a touch of authenticity.

When choosing accommodation in Venice, it’s important to consider factors such as location, budget, and personal preferences. Whether you want to be in the heart of the city or prefer a more secluded area, there’s a perfect place to stay in Venice for every traveler.


With these recommendations, you’re ready to embark on your Venice adventure. Enjoy your stay in this magical city and create unforgettable memories!