BY PLANE

From North America, the cheapest flights to Venice tend to route through Rome or Milan via Alitalia, though Swissair (via Zurich), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), KLM (via Amsterdam), and Air France (via Paris) usually offer cheap fares in low season (code-sharing with US carriers). If traveling in the peak spring and summer seasons, however, it’s worth considering far more convenient seasonal non-stop flights, which are often priced competitively (assuming you buy far enough in advance). Delta Airlines (www.delta.com) flies from Atlanta (late June–Aug) and New York-JFK (Apr–Sept); United Airlines (www.united.com) from Newark (June–late Sept); and American Airlines (www.aa.com) from Chicago and Philadelphia (May–Oct). For those already in Europe, numerous budget airlines serve Venice, offering rock-bottom prices. No-frills easyJet (www.easyjet.com) flies from Amsterdam, Berlin, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Paris, and Zurich; while Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) flies from Bristol, Barcelona, and London Southend, with many other flights routed through nearby Treviso (a 1-hr. bus ride to Venice).
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Flights land at the Aeroporto di Venezia Marco Polo, 7km (4 1/4 miles) north of the city on the mainland (www.veniceairport.it; tel. 041/2609260). There are several alternatives for getting into town. The cheapest is by bus, though this is not recommended if you have heavy luggage; buses can’t drive into Venice itself, so you’ll have to walk to or from the final stop, Piazzale Roma, to the nearby vaporetto (water bus) stop for the final connection to your hotel. It’s rare to find porters who’ll help with luggage, so pack light.

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The ATVO airport shuttle bus (www.atvo.it; tel. 0421/594672) runs between Piazzale Roma and the airport about every 20 minutes, costing 8 (15 roundtrip); the trip takes about 20 minutes. Buy tickets at the automatic ticket machines in the arrivals baggage hall, or the Public Transport ticket office (daily 8am–midnight). The local ACTV bus no. 5 (actv.avmspa.it; tel. 041/2424) also costs 8, also takes 20 minutes, and runs between two and four times an hour depending on the time of day; the best option here is to buy the combined ACTV and “Nave” ticket for 14 (valid for 90 min.), which includes your first vaporetto ride at a slight discount (the vaporetto is the seagoing streetcar of Venice, which goes to all parts of the city). Buy tickets at machines just outside the airport terminal.

It’s also possible to take a land taxi (www.radiotaxivenezia.com; tel. 041/5964) from the airport to Piazzale Roma (where you get the vaporetto) for about 40, but while this is more convenient and a bit faster (15 min.) than the bus, it still doesn’t take you to your hotel (unless it’s right by Piazzale Roma)—you are better off spending the extra euros on water transport.
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The most evocative and traditional way to arrive in Venice is by sea. For 15(14 online), the Cooperative San Marco/Alilaguna (www.alilaguna.it; tel. 041/2401701) operates a large motoscafo (shuttle boat) service from the airport boathouse (a short, covered walk from the terminal) with two primary routes. The Linea Blu (blue line) runs almost every 30 minutes from 6:15am to 12:30am, stopping at Murano (8) and the Lido before arriving, after about 1 hour and 30 minutes, in Piazza San Marco (this service continues on to the cruise ship terminal, the “Terminal Crociere”). The Linea Arancio (orange line) runs almost every 30 minutes from 7:45am to midnight, taking 1 hour and 15 minutes to arrive at San Marco, but gets there through the Grand Canal, which is much more spectacular and offers the possibility to get off at one of the stops along the way. This might be convenient to your hotel and could save you from having to take another means of transportation. If you arrive at Piazza San Marco and your hotel isn’t in the area, you’ll have to make a connection at the vaporetto launches. (If you’re booking a hotel in advance, ask for specific advice how to get there.)

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A good alternative is the Venice Shuttle (www.venicelink.com; daily 8am–10:30pm; minimum two people for reservations), a shared water taxi (they carry 6–eight people) that will whisk you directly from the airport to many hotels and most of the major locations in the city for 25€ to 32€ (add 6€ after 8pm). You must reserve online in advance.
A private water taxi (20–30 min. to/from the airport) is the most convenient option but costly—a trip to the city costs 110–120€ (discounted rates at www.venicelink.com) for up to four passengers with one bag each (10€ more for each extra person up to a maximum of 10, 5€ for each extra suitcase, and another 20€ for trips 10pm–7am). It’s worth considering if you’re pressed for time, have an early flight (taxis run 24 hr.), are carrying a lot of luggage (a Venice no-no), or can split the cost with a friend or two. It may be able to drop you off at the front (or side) door of your hotel or as close as it can maneuver given your hotel’s location (check with the hotel before arriving). Your taxi captain should be able to tell you before boarding just how close he can get you. Try Corsorzio Motoscafi Venezia (www.motoscafivenezia.it; tel. 041/5222303) or Venezia Taxi (www.veneziataxi.it; tel. 041/723112).

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BY TRAIN

Trains from Rome (3 3/4 hr.), Milan (2 1/2 hr.), Florence (2 hr.), and all over Europe arrive at the Stazione Venezia Santa Lucia. To get there, all must pass through (although not necessarily stop at) a station marked Venezia-Mestre. Don’t be confused: Mestre is a charmless industrial city that’s the last major stop on the mainland (some trains also stop at the next station, Venezia Porto Marghera, before continuing to Venice proper). Occasionally trains end in Mestre, in which case you’ll have to catch one of the frequent 10-minute shuttles connecting with Venice; it’s inconvenient, so when you book your ticket, confirm that the final destination is Venezia Santa Lucia.
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BY BUS

Although rail travel is more convenient and commonplace, Venice is serviced by long-distance buses from all over mainland Italy and some international cities. Most regional buses terminate at Piazzale Roma, where you’ll need to pick up vaporetto no. 1 or no. 2 to connect you with stops in the heart of Venice and along the Grand Canal. Eurolines (www.eurolines.eu) buses drop off on the adjacent island of Tronchetto, which is a much longer walk from the action. Buses stop at the Tronchetto People Mover station where a light railway whisks you to Piazzale Roma in just 3 minutes (1.50€ one-way), though you will mostly likely need onward transportation from there. Vaporetto line 2 does stop at Tronchetto (facing the water, boats depart left to the train station and Grand Canal, right to San Marco).
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BY CAR

The only wheels you’ll see in Venice are those attached to luggage. No cars are allowed, or more to the point, no cars could drive through the narrow streets and over the footbridges—even the police, fire department, and ambulance services use boats. You can drive across the Ponte della Libertà from Mestre to Venice, but you can go no farther than Piazzale Roma at the Venice end, where many garages eagerly await your euros (and in high season are often full). The Autorimessa Comunale garage (www.avmspa.it; tel. 041/2727301) charges 26€ for a 24-hour period (23.40€ on-line), while Garage San Marco (www.garagesanmarco.it; tel. 041/5232213) costs 32€ for 24 hours. From Piazzale Roma, you can catch vaporetti lines 1 and 2, which go down the Grand Canal to the train station and, eventually, Piazza San Marco. Cheaper (and in some cases free) parking is available on the adjacent island of Tronchetto (see “By Bus,” above), first right as you cross the Ponte della Libertà.
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.