Things to know and ideas for your own excursion in the lagoon city
- Regular berth: Tagliamento Quay 103, 107-110
- Regular berth: Piave Quay 117 und 123
- Regular berth: Isonzo Quay 1-2
- Regular berth: San-Basilio-Quay 22
- Regular berth: Riva dei Sette Martiri Quay
- Harbour shuttle: used occasionally
- Taxis: Water taxis available in large numbers
- Buses: Well-organised route network with bus boats (Vaporetti)
- Car rental*: Sixt, Piazzale Roma
- Car rental*: Hertz, Piazzale Roma
- Car rental*: Avis, at the Tronchetto Pier
- Car rental*: Europcar, Piazzale Roma
- Car rental*: Budget, Piazzale Roma
- Post office: Merceria S. Salvador, 5016
- Tourist information: at the Cruise Terminal
- Banks and ATMs: Well spread throughout the lagoon city
- Cruise Ship Berths
The famous lagoon city of Venice attracts around 1.5 million cruise passengers annually, and (still) provides several berths close to the city. For example, most smaller cruise ships up to 40,000 GRT are currently allowed to call at the ferry and cruise port in the western district of Santa Croce via the Guidecca Canal. Up to a maximum size of 96,000 GRT, individual navigation permits are also granted. Larger ships and ferries are no longer allowed to use this route. Venice is scheduled as a port of departure and destination on many routes, and so the Stazione Marittima moorings always include a cruise terminal with tourist information booths, free wi-fi, toilets, an exchange office or cash machine, and facilities for storing luggage. Shuttle buses often run to the moorings a little further away. The individual berths are distributed among Tagliamento quay 103, 107-110, Piave quay 117 and 123, Isonzo quay 1-2 and the laterally deviating San Basilio quay 22. Small cruise ships and larger yachts also find a suitable place to stay in the east of the city at the Riva dei Sette Martiri quay.
- A new Cruise Port?
It is uncertain whether the existing berths will be preserved for cruise tourism. There are various approaches to ban the large cruisers from Venice, or at least to reduce shipping traffic, with the aim of preserving the city's buildings, which are worth protecting. In the future, parts of the port facilities of Marghera on the mainland could be converted into a cruise port, or even a completely new port could be created. Anchoring in the lagoon is also conceivable. In any case, passengers should then be able to arrive in Venice in smaller boats. With the right connections, they could also arrive by train or bus.
- Piazzale Roma
Transport hub in Venice is Piazzale Roma Square. Connected to the Grand Canal, the jetties of the public bus boats, the so-called Vaporetti, can be found in the north of the square. Above them, the Ponte della Costituzione pedestrian bridge connects to the nearby Venezia Santa Lucia terminal station. To the cruise port we head west. On this side there is a train station of the People-Mover. These are short railcars operated by steel rope, which visually resemble a magnetic levitation track and create a connection to the port facilities. A trip costs 1.50 euros per person. Tickets are available at one of the three stations. In Piazzale Roma itself, there is a large bus station, the final stop of the tram, taxis, car rental* vendors, parking and car parks. In the east of the square there is a jetty of the famous gondolas. Piazzale Roma is about one kilometer away from the berths of the cruise ships, which takes about 15 minutes per direction per pedes.
- Public Transport
In Venice, waterbuses, the so-called Vaporetto (Vaporetti), are used as public transport on several lines. The route network includes the urban area of Venice with the suburb of Mestre and also provides connections to the island of Murano and the offshore coastline Lido di Venezia, for example. Close to the cruise port you can find at the neighboring Tronchetto Pier (about 750 meters / 10 minutes’ walk) and at Piazzale Roma (about 1000 meters / 15 minutes’ walk), stops of waterbus lines 1 and 2. These are on identical routes via the Guidecca Canal and the Canale-Grande, with the bus boats of line 2 stopping only at the major stops and thus progressing much faster. In and to the suburbs of Mestre and Marghera on the mainland, there are also various city bus lines and trams on the way.
- Public Transport Tickets
Single tickets for the water buses are valid after validation for one trip with a maximum duration of 75 minutes and cost 7.50 euros. Day tickets are available for 24, 48 and 72 hours. They are also valid for the city buses and trams to/from/to Mestre and cost 20, 30 and 40 euros. Children under 6 are transported free of charge and one large piece of luggage is included in the price. Online, there is a surcharge of 3 euros per ticket*. Please note that all tickets must be validated at the readers at the landing stages before departure. This also applies to multi-day tickets when you start your journey again. The validity period of the respective ticket then begins with a beep. These ACTV tickets are not valid for water taxis, gondolas, Alilaguna boats, airport lines (e.g. AeroBus) and not for ATVO means of transport. A one-way ticket on the tram or city buses costs €1.50 each. These tickets are also valid for 75 minutes. The transfer from Marco Polo airport to the cruise port (Piazzale Roma) with the airport bus line 5, costs 8 euros each. "Online tickets" are usually sold as vouchers with a code. You enter this code in the ticket machine and a valid ticket is printed out. There is no need to queue at a sales booth.
- Alilaguna Water Buses
On the waterways of and around Venice, in addition to the ACTV boats, the Alilaguna bus boats also operate according to a fixed schedule on four different routes. The Alilaguna transport network serves the most important areas of the historic centre of Venice, the Lido, Murano and Marco Polo Airport. The cost of a one-way trip starts at 7 euros per person and varies depending on the route and line. With the day tickets on offer, boats on all lines may be used. A 24-hour ticket is available for 30 euros, a 48-hour ticket for 50 euros and a 72-hour ticket for 65 euros. For tickets purchased online, you receive an Alilaguna voucher, which is not recognised as a ticket and must be exchanged for a regular ticket before setting off.
- Water Taxi
If you want to get from A to B quickly and comfortably in Venice, you could think about taking one of the numerous water taxis. The so-called motoscafi are available almost everywhere, are much smaller than the water buses and can therefore also navigate the narrower canals. They still offer enough space for up to 10 passengers with a maximum of 12 pieces of luggage. However, the fares charged are on a high level and apply to up to 4 passengers with the same number of pieces of luggage. A surcharge of 10 euros is levied for the 5th passenger and 5 euros for the 5th suitcase/bag. A supplement of 10 euros is also charged for night journeys between 22:00-07:00. For example, you can plan on paying around 130 euros for a transfer from Marco Polo airport to the cruise port. It is generally advisable to clarify the expected costs before setting off. For a "normal" taxi, you will have to pay around 50 euros for this transfer.
- Hop On Hop Off Boat Tour
In Venice, the popular sightseeing tours are of course carried out on the city's waterways. The City Sightseeing boats make their rounds every day from 09:00-17:30 on two lines. Line A runs every 30 minutes all year round and stops at Ferrovia Compartimentale S. Lucia, Tronchetto, Stazione Marittima Terminal Crociere (cruise terminal), San Marco Giardinetti Reali (St Mark's Square), Lido SME Pontile ACTV (Lido de Venezia beaches), Murano Pontile Fornace Ferro and Zattere Incurabili. Line B boats, on the other hand, run hourly from April to October, using the Punta Sabbioni, Murano - Pontile Vetreria ElleGi, Torcello, Burano - Fondamenta del Pizzo and Punta Sabbioni piers. A 24-hour ticket costs 37 euros per person and a two-day ticket costs 52 euros. Children under 5 travel free of charge.
- Gondola Ride
Romantic, but not really cheap, is the ride on one of the numerous landmarks of the city. The black-painted wooden boats (Gondolas) have a standardised length of 10.85 metres and are 1.42 metres wide. They offer space for a maximum of 6 passengers and are steered by the so-called gondoliers through even the narrowest canals of the lagoon city. You can start a leisurely trip at one of the numerous landing stages marked "Servicio Gondole". Before setting off, you should discuss the expected costs with the gondolier. In most cases, the friendly gentlemen also understand English.
Fares are determined by the local authorities and are hardly negotiable. For example, during the day until 19:00, you should not pay more than 80 euros for a 30-minute journey. After 19:00, a surcharge of 20 euros is charged. Individual arrangements regarding the route and length of the ride are always possible. Prices are always per gondola for up to 6 people. For single travellers, offers for gondola rides at a price of 30 euros are interesting. The price here is for a 30-minute ride and per person. However, you are not travelling alone. Before the ride begins, the remaining seats in the boat are usually filled with other people. With the help of a Gondola ferry (Traghetto), you have the option of being ferried to the other side of the Canale Grande at various points. These traghettos have room for a total of 12 passengers and are operated by two gondoliers. The crossing takes only a few minutes and costs 2 euros each.
- Piazza San Marco and Piazzetta
On an excursion on their own, most cruise guests head for the heart of Venice, St Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco), which extends directly in front of the mighty St Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco). With a maximum width of 82 metres and a length of 175 metres, there is no other square in the city that is called a "piazza". It originated in the 9th century and was completely rebuilt. At ground level, you can take a break in one of the cafés and restaurants. Prices are high and feeding the countless pigeons is forbidden. To the side in front of the cathedral rises the freestanding St. Mark's Tower. The area between the tower and the waterfront is called Piazzetta San Marco. In front of the two large columns erected in honour of the city's patron saints, Mark (Marco) and Theodorus (Todaro), numerous gondoliers wait for their customers. St. Mark's Square is about 3 kilometres from the cruise port, which takes about 45 to 50 minutes on foot.
- St Mark's Cathedral
At the eastern end of Piazza San Marco, the impressive Basilica di San Marco stands on the foundations of a smaller predecessor building dating from 828, which was largely destroyed in the great fire of 976. In 1063, work began on the new building, which, after its completion in 1094, was constantly renovated, extended and embellished over the centuries. Since 1807, it has been the seat of the Venetian bishop, and today the cathedral is also known as the "Golden Basilica" because of its extensive and sometimes high-quality furnishings. Access is free of charge, except for some parts. Attention should be paid to appropriate clothing, i.e., knee and shoulder coverings. Photography and video recording are prohibited inside, and for security reasons, no bags, backpacks or similar items may be taken into the building. Free luggage storage is available at the north entrance to Piazzetta di Leoncini, in the Ateneo San Basso.
The Pala d'oro altarpiece can be visited for 2 euros per person, the Tesoro treasury for 3 euros and the in-house St Mark's Museum for 5 euros each. St Mark's Cathedral is open Monday to Saturday from 09:30-17:00, and Sundays from 14:00-17:00. In the winter months it is open until 16:00. During the high season in summer, there are often long queues. To avoid this, you can buy Tickets in advance for guided tours of the cathedral without queuing*.
- St. Mark's Tower
The associated bell tower rises a few metres in front of St Mark's Basilica. The first work on the construction of the free-standing Campanile di San Marco began as early as the 9th century. Completed in the 12th century, it served as a lighthouse until the 16th century and, with its 98.6 metres, is the tallest building in the city. On the morning of 14 July 1902, the tower suddenly collapsed due to improper construction work. Almost three quarters of a year later, reconstruction began and on 25 April 1912 (St Mark's Day) the original building was inaugurated. Today, the bell floor can be reached by lift and for a payment of 12 euros per person. From the top, you get an excellent view of the roofs of the city and the surrounding lagoon. It is open daily from 08:30-21:00 in summer and from 09:30-17:00 during the winter months from November to March.
- Doge's Palace
Right next to St Mark's Basilica is the former political centre of the Republic of Venice. From the 9th century onwards, the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) was the seat of the head of state for centuries, as well as the centre of justice, government and administration. After the palace burned down together with St Mark's Church in 976, it was quickly rebuilt and renovated and extended several times over the years. Since 1923, the building complex has been open to the public as a museum.
The main entrance, Porta del Frumento, is on the south side. This leads to the inner courtyard with toilets and a cloakroom where bags, backpacks and the like must be handed in. In the Doge's Palace you can visit the former private and official rooms of the Doge and various meeting rooms and halls. The columnless and 50-metre-long Sala del Maggior Consiglio is significant. It houses one of the largest paintings in the world, "Paradise" by Jacopo Tintoretto (205 square metres). From the palace, you can reach the former and adjacent prison via the rather famous Bridge of Sighs.
Admission to the Doge's Palace is daily from 08:30-19:00, shortened to 17:30 in winter. Regular tickets are sold as combination tickets and are valid not only for the Doge's Palace but also for the National Library, the National Archaeological Museum and the Correr Art Museum. They cost 25 euros each for adults. People over 65, children aged 6 to 14, and pupils and students up to the age of 25, pay 13 euros each. Audio guides can be rented in various languages and for 5 euros each.
Especially in the summer months, there are often long waits at the entrance to the palace, at least if you haven't purchased a slightly more expensive Ticket without waiting times* in advance. Except for the prison, the armory and the secret passages, the area is barrier-free and can be explored in about 2 to 3 hours.
- Bridge of Sighs
One of the most famous bridges in Venice is the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri). It was built between 1600 and 1603, spans the Rio di Palazzo canal and connects the Doge's Palace with the former prison cells of the Prigioni Nuove (New Prison). From there, the prisoners were transferred to the palace to see the judge, and after the verdict, they were also taken back to their small cells. The most famous prisoner was probably Giacomo Casanova, who is also said to be the only one who ever managed to escape. Inside the enclosed bridge construction run two paths, separated from each other by an opaque wall, which can be followed on a tour of the Doge's Palace. From the outside, the bridge is best viewed during a leisurely gondola ride, or from the Ponte della Paglia and Ponte della Canonica bridges not far away. The former is usually quite crowded due to its excellent location on the shore.
- Museums at St Mark's Square
The entrance to the Museo Correr is centrally located at the western end of Piazza San Marco. Through this entrance, during a visit to the exhibition of the Correr Art and Civic Museum, you can also reach the exhibition rooms of the Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico), the museum rooms of the National Library (Sale Monumentali delle Biblioteca Marciana) and some former quarters of the Austrian emperors. Open daily from 10:00-18:00 and shortened to 17:00 in winter from November to March. The regular tickets are combination tickets and valid for the three museums and the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale). A ticket costs 25 euros each for adults. People over 65 and children aged 6 to 14, as well as schoolchildren and students up to the age of 25, pay 13 euros each. Children under the age of 6 are admitted free of charge. Available audio guides can be borrowed at the ticket office for 5 euros each, or 8 euros for two.
- Royal Gardens
The densely built lagoon city has only a few green spaces. One of them is located near St. Mark's Square and almost directly at the entrance to the Canal Grande. This is the former Royal Gardens Giardini Reali, which were last extensively renovated from 2015 to 2019 and have since shone in new splendour. Here, you can find shady spots and often a free seat on one of the numerous park benches. The San Marco stop of the vaporetto bus boats is also located at the manageable park.
- Rialto Bridge
With an average clearance of 7.5 metres at normal water level and quite centrally located, the famous Ponte di Rialto spans the busy Canale Grande. Due to its central location, it is one of the most important bridges in Venice, with a length of 48 metres and a width of 22 metres. Like its wooden predecessors, it connects the districts of San Polo and San Marco. Today's Rialto Bridge with its two rows of shops, was built between 1588 and 1591 as a massive structure and is unfortunately not barrier-free to cross. It is about 2.7 kilometres away from the berths of the cruise ships and can therefore be reached in 35 to 40 minutes on foot.
- View over the Roofs of the City
The exclusive Fondaco dei Tedeschi department stores' is located directly on the Rialto Bridge. In addition to fine boutiques, the impressive building also offers a café/restaurant, clean toilets and access to the building's own roof terrace on the fourth floor. This is only accessible by prior reservation, free of charge, and offers an excellent panoramic view of Venice's rooftops. Reservations can be made up to 21 days in advance. Access to the panoramic terrace is daily from 10:00-18:30, every 15 minutes in groups and only for registered persons. The length of stay is therefore also limited to the booked time slot.
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection
In the south of the city and directly on the Canal Grande is the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. It was here that Peggy Guggenheim spent much of her life and created an exhibition for her considerable art collection of renowned artists. Her legacy has been continued since 1980 as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which can be visited Wednesday to Monday from 10:00-18:00 and for a fee of 15 euros per person. In addition to modern art, the not too large area also houses a souvenir shop and a café. You can be guided through the air-conditioned exhibition rooms with the help of an audio guide for 7 euros each. Photography without flash is permitted. The property is about 2.8 kilometres from the cruise port. It takes about 35 to 40 minutes to walk this distance. There are often long waits at the entrance, especially in summer, which you can avoid with a special ticket.
- Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Decorated with valuable works of art by the painter Jacopo Tintoretto, the former building of the confraternity Scuola Grande di San Rocco, founded in 1478 for charitable purposes, is today a real tourist magnet. All three halls of the Scuola were decorated by Tintoretto on the walls and ceilings with impressive paintings, some of them very large. The exhibition is open daily from 09:30-17:30 and the last admission is half an hour before closing time. Admission to the exhibition is possible after paying a fee of 10 euros per person. Persons under 26 and over 65 pay 8 euros each. Children under 18 and accompanied by a parent, enter the building free of charge.
- Leonardo da Vinci Museum
In Campo S. Rocco square, in addition to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the Chiesa di San Rocco church, there is also a well-ordered, interactive museum. This is the Leonardo da Vinci Museum, which deals with the ideas and life of the ingenious inventor. A whole series of impressive replicas are on display, most of which can be touched and tried out. The accompanying explanations are written in 6 languages, including German and English. Adults pay 8 euros per person for admission. Children over 6, students and pensioners pay 5 euros each. The museum is open all year round, daily from 10:30 to 18:00.
- Three Charming Islands
There are some beautiful islands in the Venice lagoon. Among the best known are Murano, Burano and Torcello. All of them can be reached exclusively by water with the public bus boats, the vaporetti, by taxi boat or by guided boat tour*. The production of glass has a long tradition on Murano and made the island world-famous. Today, you can watch the glassblowers at work and take a detour to the local glass museum in Palazzo Giustinian. On the former fishing island of Burano, the houses are picturesquely colourful and the cosy restaurants invite you to take a break. In the Museo del Merletto, you can learn about the history of the tradition of local lace embroidery and directly opposite is the leaning tower of Burano. The slightly inclined bell tower belongs to the church of St. Martin Vescovo, which dates back to the 17th century. On the neighbouring island of Torcello stands the oldest building in the entire region. Work on the construction of the Basilica of St. Maria Assunta was completed in 639.
If you already know Venice and want to spend a relaxing day on the beach, it is best to head for the long and offshore island of Lido di Venezia. The approximately 12-kilometre-long island separates the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea and has been the venue of the Venice International Film Festival every year since 1932. A vaporetto makes the crossing from St Mark's Square in about 10 to 15 minutes. The destination or disembarkation point is the Lido S.M.E. (Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta), which is served by the boats of lines 5.1, 5.2 and 10, for example. From there, you can walk about 800 metres across the island and reach the well-maintained beach section on the Adriatic Sea about 10 to 15 minutes later.
Access is usually via the local bars and restaurants, where you can also rent a sun lounger and umbrella for an average of 18 euros. Two sunbeds and an umbrella usually cost 25 euros. The use of showers and toilets is then free of charge, otherwise a fee of 1 euro is charged. The typically lined-up, small huts on Venice's beaches are called cabanas, which can sometimes be rented by the day if available and from 60 euros depending on the location. Free beach sections are rare, but it is often permitted to spread out your own beach towel* at a reasonable distance from the sunbeds and huts. If in doubt, just ask nicely.
- Excursion Portals and Excursion Providers
Via the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and entrance fees in Venice, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, you can realise a variety of excursions on your own.
A small selection of independent excursions for, in and around Venice,
can be found under Excursions on your own.
- Cruises and Special Offers
If you haven't booked an Adriatic cruise yet, but would like to get to know Venice in person and take excursions on your own, you'll find great offers from the major cruise operators in the German-speaking world. Aida*, Costa* and Tui Cruises - Mein Schiff* offer charming itineraries with their modern cruise ships, along with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite cruise line at fair conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. You can choose from a wide range of daily offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. The popular special offers are also attractive, with which you can travel particularly cheaply and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Museum opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Post Office opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:30-19:00, Saturday from 08:30-12:30
- Bank opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:30-13:00 and 14:00-16:00
- Tourist Info opening hours: Monday to Sunday, a few hours after the arrival of a cruise ship
- Shop opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00-19:00
- Country code: +39
- Water taxi: Tel. +39 041 240 6712 (Monday to Friday - Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia)
- Water taxi: Tel. +39 04 1 52 2 23 03 (weekends and holidays - Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia)
- General emergency call: Tel. 112
- Police: Tel. 113
- Ambulance: Tel. 118
- Fire department: Tel. 115
- Vaccination recommendation: Tropical Institute Italy
- Safety advice: Federal Foreign Office Italy
- Water buses: ACTV Venice
- Water buses: Alilaguna
- Bus timetables: ACTV Lines
- City map: Venice Map
- City map: Venice Map
- Climate table: Venice Climate
- Port occupancy: Cruise ships in Venice
- Port occupancy: Registered berths
- Official language: Italian
- Everyday language: Venetian
- Local currency: Euro, 1 EUR = 100 Cent
More port information on popular cruise destinations in the Mediterranean