Italy,  Travel Tips

Marco Polo Airport to Venice via Water Transport

Guide from Marco Polo Airport to Venice using different water transport options

Did you know that the main airport in Venice isn’t located on the island? Venice airport, formally known as Marco Polo Airport is actually on the mainland of Venice. So how exactly does one get to the Venice archipelago? The cluster of islands that make up Venice is not difficult to reach, but the various modes of transportation available can become overwhelming.

Transport by water versus land is recommended and probably the most popular method. There are a few options varying in travel time and cost. The faster the journey, the pricier it is. While the slow and steady option wins the money-saving race.

How to choose? If you’ve got time, the Alilaguna option takes you on an hour long ride so you can soak in the surroundings. If you have a lot of luggage and want to get to your destination in half the time, you can pay a taxi for a short, private ride.

Water Transport Options to Venice:

Alilaguna

Public airport water buses connect Marco Polo airport to different stops on the Venice islands, distinguishable by bright yellow bottoms and ALILAGUNA labeled in large script.

Alilaguna airport water bus
Airport-specific water bus called Alilaguna (Red/Rossa line)

There are three lines that will take you on separate routes to different parts of Venice

  • Red/Rossa: only stops at Murano and Lido islands (only from April to September)
  • Blue/Blu: connects to Main Venice island, San Marco, Cruise terminal
  • Orange/Arancio: connects to Main Venice island, Rialto
  • Green/Verde: Murano, Burano, Torcello islands

Public transport ticket counter in arrivals area of Marco polo airport

Where to purchase

Online transactions will save you about a euro, but you are still required to exchange the voucher for the actual ticket.

The other option (my preference) is to purchase at the ticket counter in the Arrivals area. Note: Try to be patient if the wait seems long. The delay is often because the person behind the counter is not only selling tickets, but also helping to determine the cheapest and most convenient route for each individual’s journey. Feel free to ask questions when you get to the front of the line.

Optional Pro-tip: If you plan on utilizing the Venice travel card (link to blog post) for unlimited usage of Venice’s water and land buses, you should consider buying it here as all of your transport questions will be answered! If you are concerned about purchasing the card too far in advance, don’t worry the countdown will not begin until the card is activated (aka the first time it is scanned).

Remember that an Alilaguna ticket must be purchased to board the Alilaguna. A Venice travel card is not valid for airport transit.
Venice Airport bus Alilaguna
My ticket for the red line which goes to my stop in Murano, one of the islands surrounding Venice
Where to wait

After purchasing your Alilaguna ticket, it is a straight ten-minute walk to the dock outside of the airport.

  • Line up according to the colored Alilaguna line purchased and wait for the signal to board the boat. The departure time and other schedules are available here
  • You will need to validate your ticket in a small machine as you pass the gate before stepping on board.
Duration

From the airport it will take over an hour for the Alilaguna to reach Venice.

Cost

A one-way trip costs 15 Euro or round trip for 27 Euro. This is the cheaper of the water transport options.

Summary

Pros: Cheapest of the three water options

Cons: Less frequent departures, slower, stops may not be convenient, seating not reserved

Water Taxi (Taxi Acquei)

Private transport boats able to drop-off and pick up directly or very close to your accommodation dependent on width of the canal.

Note: licensed taxis will display their license number on a yellow placard (look for a black stripe too)

Venice water taxi parked at the airport dock

Where to Purchase

For bookings or taxi inquiries head to the Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia counter in the Arrivals area. If preferred, quotes and reservations are also available online with a quick search.

Where to Wait

Look for the taxi parked at your designated number along the same pier as the Alilaguna water buses.

Duration

From the airport it should take approximately thirty minutes to reach the outskirts of Venice (longer if you are heading towards San Marco Square).

Cost

This is the pricier option with rates averaging about 100 Euro or more depending on your drop off location.

It may be a good choice if you are traveling with a large group to split the cost or if you need to transport a lot of luggage on uncooperative cobble stoned streets and the abundance of bridges.

Summary

Pros: convenient pick-up and drop-off locations, private, fastest option

Cons: High cost

Venice Marco Polo Airport pier
Venice Marco Polo Airport pier

Note: If either the public ticket or taxi counters are closed, you can still purchase Alilaguna tickets outside at the pier or hire one of the waiting taxis. Remember that the taxi may charge a higher cost if you directly walk up to them, so you should also look into pre-booking a water taxi online the night prior to arrival for peace of mind.

Venice Shuttle/Airport Link

Shared transport service with specific stops at the hotels if private water access is available. Otherwise drop-off and pick-up will be at the nearest dock.

Where to Purchase

Book online to reserve spots for a minimum of two people. Tickets also available for purchase at airport Arrivals.

Cost

Varies from $25+ depending on where you reserve your ticket online.

Duration

30 minutes to Venice center. Arrival time to your destination will vary as the boat will modify its route to drop off individuals to the stop closest to the intended area

Note: Airport wait time 20-45 minutes for other passengers as it is a shared service.

Summary

Pros: Faster than Alilaguna, cheaper than water taxi, reserved time and seating

Cons: Slower than the water taxi, Idle airport wait time, passenger drop offs depend on location and route

Final Thoughts:
  • Always check if your hotel provides free airport shuttle service before booking airport transport
  • If you already know you are going to take a taxi, you can book online so you see the price or if you have the power of negotiation you can wait until you’re at the airport
  • Staying on Venice mainland (Mestre)? It is best to travel on land via the city’s public transportation ACTV bus or the ATVO shuttle bus. From the main drop-off area at Mestre Train Station, you can make your way to Venice island by bus, train, or tram.

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