So your trusty sneakers are nearly worn out after treading the narrow streets and alleys, how else will you discover Venice? If you are like the many visitors to Venice you will probably take the cheapest public transport option – the water buses, or vaporetti. Venice’s ‘vaporetto’ system is not too difficult to master – the most confusing part of the process is trying to fathom the route map which can definitely bring your IQ into question – well, it does look like pieces of coloured spaghetti thrown onto a map.
These vaporetti give a wonderful perspective to the city that walking just can’t render – to see the impressive palaces which line the Grand Canal, with the gorgeous and elaborate facades is a wonderful experience.
Buying a Ticket
Tickets are expensive, over 6 euro ($9.00 AUD) for a single ticket which is valid for an hour so you need to really think about what your usage will be (do you really need a ticket for each day you are in Venice, probably not?). It is also possible to have an all day ticket, or multiple days, and I would suggest if you are going to venture out to Murano or Burano, the local islands, you will definitely need to do this. To purchase a ticket the most cost effective way is to purchase it online before you start your tour to Venice. This is a much cheaper option, the official company is Venice Connected
But if you aren’t an organised traveller, or just forget to prepurchase, its also possible to buy just prior to boarding, although sometimes the lines can be long. You can use the machines or buy from ticket seller at the major stops ie., the train station, Rialto Bridge, St Mark’s Square.
Here are your options when buying your ticket in Venice
Buy from these machines or the ticket seller window
Don’t forget to validate your tickets before entering your vaporetto – fines are very heavy and they don’t accept ‘I’m just a poor tourist and I don’t understand’ – so be warned.
What is a traghetto? (Or is this the cheapest gondola ride in Venice?)
Can you spot the tourists?
Look for this sign to use the traghetto
Riding a traghetto is also a means of public transport that many local Venetians use everyday. The cost here is very low (around 60 cents) and definitely the cheapest way you are going to experience a gondola ride. You will notice that locals never sit down, which really does take quite a bit of practice – not for the faint-hearted.
What about the ‘real’ gondola?
Every tourist wants to experience something Venice is famous for – the romantic gondola ride. Of course, in the past all wealthy Venetians had their own gondola, but today you won’t find a self-respecting Venetian anywhere near a gondola – this is just for tourists. It can be a trap for the unwary, so do your homework and you will enjoy a wonderful, exciting and romantic experience. Fees are set by the city administration and are subject to change often so make sure you check the going rate with your hotel.
If you have always dreamed of being serenaded by an opera singer, or a musician while sitting back on red velvet cushions quietly exploring the tiny waterways of Venice – dreams can come true, at a price. Negotiate with your gondolier on: the route, the time and most importantly, the price and you’ll be over the moon with such a unique way to discover La Serenenissma.