Of course, one of the reasons we all go to Venice is to travel on their unique vaporetti transport system. Unless you are particularly flush with cash, you’ll want to do this in the easiest and most economical way possible. For a short weekend, a Vaporetti Day Pass is the answer.
Vaporetti Day Pass
The bad news is that there is no particularly cheap way of doing this. The vaporetti (water buses) provide a regular transport service through the main canals around the city. However, a single ride will cost €7 whether you take the boat for one stop or for a whole Grand Canal tour.
This is considerably cheaper than a ride on a Gondola (count on around €100 for that), but several vaporetti trips for 2 people will soon add up.
There aren’t many bridges across the Grand Canal. If you want to avoid walking and simply traverse the canal by boat, you will pay €2 for a 2-minute crossing on a Traghetto.
The cheapest solution is simply to travel everywhere by foot. This is perfectly possible, and probably the best way of really getting to know Venice. Provided you have a good map, you’ll find the city very compact. It never takes long to get from one place to another (as long as you don’t get lost…).
However, it would be a great pity to visit Venice without trying out their water buses. For a short 2-day visit, the solution is to purchase a City Day Pass. These cost €20 per person, and can be purchased online or when you arrive from one of the main Vaporetti stops, like Rialto.
Actually, there’s no great advantage to buying the pass online. The price is the same, and you will still have to queue at the kiosk to exchange your printed receipt for the actual electronic tickets.
Vaporetti Day Pass – Validation
The passes are valid for 24 hours from the moment you first use them. You have to wave them in front of the electronic reader before boarding your first vaporetto. Make sure you do this, otherwise they are not activated and you will pay a heavy fine if your ticket is checked by an inspector.
They do make frequent random inspections – even in the early hours at 6 am when you’d think they wouldn’t bother.
To get the best use out of your pass on a short visit, wait until late morning to validate your ticket. You will then be able to use the vaporetti for the rest of the day and the following morning.
The vaporetti travel in both directions, so you can travel either way from each vaporetti stop. They have a very easy-to-follow colored route map, and run between 5 am and 11 pm. Off-season you really need to wrap up, as some of these journeys can be quite bracing!
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