Nervous about arrival in Venice


Mar 25th, 2011, 11:38 AM
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Nervous about arrival in Venice

Trying to decide if we should fly or take train into Venice. We have been to Italy but not Venice and feel extremely nervous and confused about the vaporetto system. Seems like train arrival might be easier than the airport? All of our options are open as we are coming to Italy from England and would like to go to Florence and Venice. We have six nights for Italy we haven't booked transportation yet. Thanks!
lalax is offline  
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Mar 25th, 2011, 11:51 AM
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What about leaving Italy? I think leaving Venice by air on an early morning flight is the one to avoid. So I would fly to Venice, train to Florence, fly home from Florence/Pisa. Unless you splash out on a very expensive water taxi, you'll probably need the vaporetto whether you arrive at Venice by air or train.
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Mar 25th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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We've done both. Flying in meant a lllloooonnnngggg bus ride. Maybe it wasn't too long, but it seemed like forever.

The train is wonderful, as it takes you right into Venice. Get off the train, walk out of the station and BAM, Venice smacks you beautifully in the face! The vaporetto is very easy. When you exit the train station you'll see the vaporetto ticket booths in front of you--I think one to the left, one to the right. Just know which stop you need (all the hotels have this as standard information). Look at the sign and it will tell you what stops they cover. If you're still unsure, just ask the person who is holding the chain as you get on. If you're on the wrong one, get off and take the recommended one (your ticket is good on any).

One thing: We find Venice to be very walker-friendly. Once we bought a packet of vaporetto tickets (can't remember how many in a packet), but found we didn't need them all so, for us, it was less expensive to "pay as we go." Others might have a better recommendation.

Enjoy magical Venice!!
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Mar 25th, 2011, 12:13 PM
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We loved the vaporettos, don't feel confused, think of them as a bus system on the water. If you can read a schedule and get to the stop, you will be fine using them. We have always gone in and out of Venice by train, it is also easy, and there is nothing to compare to getting off the train and as said above, Venice smacks you beautifully. Enjoy.
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Mar 25th, 2011, 12:17 PM
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MelJ, did you fly in to Marco Polo airport or via RyanAir and Treviso?

lalax, arrival in Venice Marco Polo is a highlight of a visit. You can take, in ascending order of cost, a bus from the airport to the Piazzale Roma, a shuttle boat (the Alilaguna), or, for big bucks, a taxi. Viewing Venice from the air and then taking a boat in is the best. But arriving by train and coming out of the station to the view of the Grand Canal is pretty nice too. Here a link:

However, unless you spring for a taxi, you'll probably need/want to take a vaporetto to get to your hotel. Riding the vaporetto up the Grand Canal is another one of the iconic experiences of Venice. Here's a link from the same site about riding the vaporetto:
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Mar 25th, 2011, 12:21 PM
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Just meant to add, Venice is a very relaxing place. It's hard to get lost. Don't worry so much, you'll love it.
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Mar 25th, 2011, 12:23 PM
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The train is a fantastic way of getting into Venice. You walk out of the station and there it is, the Grand Canal in all its busy glory. The vaporetto stops are right in front of you. We visit Venice frequently and usually buy a pass which allows you unlimited travel. This allows us to ride around all over the place for pleasure as well as for 'business' - an evening trip out to the Lido and back is a beautiful way to see the sunset over the water. This depends on how long you're in Venice for - it probably isn't worth it if you only have a day there. Mostly Venice is about walking.

You can book your train tickets to Florence in advance at the station as well. Eurostar reservations include seat allocation but if you are travelling on a standard train make sure you make seat reservations as well. And make sure you validate your tickets at the little yellow reader at the entrance to the platform before you board. There's a stiff fine if you don't.

Have a look at the trenitalia website for advance bookings.
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Mar 25th, 2011, 12:25 PM
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In the vernacular of today's youth.."no problem"..a great walking city, also. To cross the canal, traghettos are also everywhere for a pittance of a fee. You will love the scene as you come to view the Grand Canal in front of the train station. You'll be on a vaproetto within minutes...easy to wheel your luggage on and off board. Relax and enjoy it.
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Mar 25th, 2011, 12:31 PM
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lalax - the good news is that while it may sound confusing the transportation system is not any harder than transport anywhere else.

I would suggest flying to Venice. Ryan Air, since you are in the Uk, usually flies into Treviso airport. Treviso is about an hour or so away from Venice. HOWEVER, Treviso is going to be closed form 1 June 2011 to 30 September for renovation. So even Ryan air will fly into Marco Polo between those dates.

When you arrive at Marco Polo, you can basically walk straight ou the front door after going through the arrivals hall. Get on a bus and about 20 minutes later get to Piazzale Roma, where you will transfer to the vaporetto.

Most lodging spots give pretty good directions for which vaporetto to get on and where to get off.

GO for it.
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Mar 25th, 2011, 01:30 PM
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Yes, be sure your hotel gives you really good directions, because there are no street numbers in Venice of the sort we are used to elsewhere. Houses/buildings have numbers but they are mostly numbered, IIRC, by when they were build, so 2 is not next to 1 and 3.

Otherwise, everything everyone writes above is correct, both the bus fans and the train fans. The Vaporetto is just like a bus but you have to validate your ticket when you get on or your pass when you begin to use it.
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Mar 25th, 2011, 02:32 PM
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kayd - that's what started this anxiety in the first place getting in and out of Venice seemed complicated
MelJ - thanks starting to relax, great info. How long is the bus ride and then the vaporetto? One of us has a motion sickness issue....yikes!
socaltravler - thanks
mimar - thanks for links - very helpful
mbloggs- very, very helpful thank you
tower - was worried about luggage on vaporetto, thanks
notbob- thanks for airport info we haven't booked anything yet
ackislander - thanks now we need to pick hotel

Thank you everybody - so thoughtful, detailed and most helpful!!
lalax is offline  
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Mar 25th, 2011, 05:52 PM
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Well there is no train IN Venice. So your choices for getting around the city are feet (possibly a mlle or more over a host of bridges with your luggage) or Vaporetto. (I guess you could use a water taxi but the charges are enormous unless you have a larger group.)
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Mar 25th, 2011, 06:03 PM
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Fly into Marco Polo. When you leave the terminal, take the Alilaguna to St. Marks Square. The ride into Venice is spectacular - one of my top travel memories! You can then get a vaporetto to the stop nearest your hotel. We had absolutely no trouble using the vaporetto system. Then take the train from Venice to Florence. Flying out of Florence is much easier than flying out of Venice.
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Mar 27th, 2011, 03:36 PM
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Mimar: We flew into Marco Polo (on Air France from CDG) and, though one poster mentioned it being only a 20 minute bus ride form the airport, both the DH and I would swear it took an hour After that we always arrived by train.

Lalax, your vaporetto ride length depends on how far your hotel is from your arrival point, but in any case, we're not talking about a long ride (this is for the motion sickness person traveling with you). Venice is really small (IMHO) and you can get on and off the vaporettos as frequently as you'd like so if someone feels a little queasy just get off at the upcoming stop and get back on after a rest. Really, though, you can walk most of Venice.
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Mar 27th, 2011, 04:23 PM
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Lalax, there was a thread about this a week or two ago - arrival in Venice is a common question. There is good advice here:
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Mar 28th, 2011, 06:46 AM
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MelJ, thanks - now all we have to do is select hotel!
Peter_S_Aus, thanks for link. I searched prior to posting...missed it!!
lalax is offline  
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Mar 31st, 2011, 03:32 PM
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I planned a trip for my family of 8 (my parents, my husband and young children, my brother & his wife) and we flew into Venice because of the ease of it. The airport was small and not at all crowded, at least when we arrived. We all walked abut 10 minutes to the water taxi stand. I had made previous arrangements so it was there waiting for us. It is expensive but because we were a large group the water taxi made sense. I knew we'd all be tired and since there were young children and my elderly parents involved I wanted us to get to our apartment asap. It felt like we were in our apartment watching gondolas go by in no time!

Regarding someone in your party with motion sickness - my mother has SEVERE motion sickness. She takes medication daily for her condition. I was extremely nervous about the water taxi (not to mention the plane, driving through Tuscany, etc, etc). She was totally fine on the water taxi ride! Can't explain it, maybe the beauty of Venice overwhelmed her senses!

I think arriving in Venice was one of the easiest international arrivals I've ever experienced! I only did it that one time but it was with 8 people so that's saying something. Have a wonderful trip!
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Mar 31st, 2011, 04:25 PM
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I'm going to throw a bit of a wet blanket on some of the optimism here. (Keep in mind, I love Venice and have been there several times.)

Arriving at Marco Polo: Your practical options are:
(a) to take the Alilaguna to San Marco, and then decide how to get to your hotel, probably via vaporetto. The Alilaguna is going to cost you about 13.5 euros, and takes about an hour to get to S.M. (Take a left outside the terminal door and walk the path for about 10 mins. You can buy your tix at the boat.) Then you're going to have to figure out which vaporetto stops close to your hotel. Then you're going to have to walk, with baggage, to the hotel. For a single trip, the vaporetto is, IMHO, quite expensive -- 6.5 euros. Buy a multi-day ticket if you can. All in all, and realistically, it's about 2 hours from the terminal to your hotel door, unless you get really lucky.
(b) to take a water taxi. It departs essentially from the same spot as the Alilaguna. For about 90 euros total, it will buzz you into Venice in about a half hour, and probably quite close to your hotel. It's a great way to get introduced to Venice. If it makes financial sense for you, it's the only way to go.

From the train station: You can pick up the vaporetto right outside the station. Again, you'll have to figure out which one goes close to your hotel, and then walk from the stop. (Negotiating several bridges with luggage is not one of the highlights of a trip to Venice.) And a word about the vaporetto: It is fun when you're relaxed and in full Venice mode. Not so much when it's at the end of a long day of travel and you're lugging baggage -- and the vaporetto is hot and crowded.

Yes, yes, I know. I'm a party pooper. Someone has to do the job.
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Mar 31st, 2011, 04:41 PM
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k9korps (Or is that Canine Corps) - you are not a party pooper.
The facts you have outlined above are correct - about 2 hours per Alilaguna, water taxi is desirable.

The shared water taxi is an option, though. It is cheaper - depending on the number of people in the party.
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Mar 31st, 2011, 05:09 PM
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I have recommended a water taxi (NOT the alilaguna) to several friends for a once-in-a-lifetime, first-time-in-Venice experience. I advised them to specify to go down the entire length of the Grand Canal to wherever the hotel is. It is expensive (around 90 euros), but it's the closest most of us will get to paradise in this life. After their trips, my friends advised "it was expensive, but so worth it."
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