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A warning about water taxis


Man boards water taxi in Venice, Italy

ABOVE: A passenger boards a Venice water taxi with help from the pilot.

Most recent update: June, 2019


Maggie of Maggieinvenice.com in a water taxiWater taxis are often the quickest and most convenient way to reach a hotel or vacation apartment in the historic center of Venice, especially if you're coming from the airport. They can be expensive (a ride from Venice Marco Polo Airport can easily set you back 120 euros or more), but because water taxis hold more passengers than a land taxi does, the cost per person  isn't too bad if you can split the fare with friends or a small group.

Venice hotel warning image

However, there are several caveats that you need to know about, especially if you've lost some of the spring from your step or if  you aren't used to small boats:

  • Depending on where the water taxi drops you off, you may need to stretch or jump across a large gap between the boat and the pier or fondamenta. The boat pilot will extend a hand to help you, but you may not be ready or able to make such a leap of faith.
  • If you arrive during a high tide, you may be required to step down a foot or more when disembarking. (This can be painful or even dangerous for people with bad knees.) At low tide, you may need to step up from the boat's gunwales to the pavement, or you may have to climb several mossy and potentially slippery stone steps along the edge of the canal.
  • The water-taxi pilot isn't allowed to leave his boat, so if your luggage is large or heavy, you may need to lift your bags from the fondamenta or pier into his waiting hands (and vice versa when you reach your destination).
  • You may have to walk a reasonable distance between the water-taxi landing and your hotel. Most hotels don't have private boat landings, and many canals aren't navigable by water taxis.
  • Finally, think twice before arranging a water taxi in advance through your local travel agent. We've had multiple reports of American and British travel agents charging 150 or 160 euros for a transfer between the airport and the city, which is at least 50 percent more than you'd pay at the water-taxi cooperative's desk in the arrivals area of Venice Marco Polo Airport.

For more information about taxi acquei, see our Venice Water Taxis article at Veniceforvisitors.com, where you'll also find detailed advice on less expensive types of Venice airport transportation and local transportation in Venice.

Please note:

  • This post is about water taxis. We welcome personal observations on that topic, but please don't use the comment form to ask for hotel directions, airport check-in times, cruise transportation, and other unrelated information. To research your trip to Venice, see our comprehensive Venice for Visitors site at Veniceforvisitors.com.


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How much should a land taxi cost from the Marcopolo airport to a hotel downtown in the historic area??

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

A land taxi can't get you to most hotels in the historic center. The end of the line for road traffic is the Piazzale Roma, which could be called the land gateway to Venice. The fare is in the 30-euro range, or about 10 times what you'd way to take the ATVO airport coach to the Piazzale Roma.

amanda robinson

I think your advice is excellent and i thank you for offering it. i can see that the water taxi is the most convenient and one just has to bite the bullet as they say on the cost!

Thanks again


We are planning to stay at The Hilton in Venice,before going on a cruise.Our cases will be heavy--2cases 23 Kg each.Is it practical to use a water taxi from airport to hotel and from hotel to port.

Durant Imboden

You shouldn't have a problem. Water-taxi drivers are used to dealing with heavy bags, and the boats have plenty of room.

A bigger concern would be airline rules. If your scale and the airline's scale aren't in agreement, you could find yourself having to take items from your bags to meet the airline's 23-Kg limit.


Any idea how long the current water taxi strike will last?

Durant Imboden

I wasn't aware of a water-taxi strike, but there is a strike of public transportation in Venice today. Fortunately, it will be over in a matter of hours (as is usually the case with Italian transportation strikes, which generally are for a scheduled period instead of a U.S.-style "until we negotiate a new contract").



We are staying in Venice for a couple of days after a cruise and were looking at hotels near St. Mark's Sq. Is this a reasonable location from the cruise port to the hotel, and the hotel to Marco Polo airport? Thanks for the advice!


Durant and Cheryl Imboden


The Piazza San Marco area can be convenient if you're departing from the main Marittima cruise terminal, since Alilaguna's Linea Blu airport boat runs from San Marco to Marittima. You can take Alilaguna from the airport to San Marco, and again (for about the fare) from San Marco to the cruise terminal.

If you've got much luggage (as cruisers typically do), I'd strongly reoommend counting bridges between your hotel and the San Marco waterbus stop before booking a room. Our Venice Hotel Maps page for the Alilaguna boat boat stop at San Marco will make it easy to find a suitable hotel:


Jack Gregg

Any idea how much to hire a water taxi for 2 or 3 hours to show us the sites, including some of the smaller canals and some open water? I saw the walking in Italy tour, but that was 800 euros for two hours for 8 people. I do not need a guide for that much.
You website is great!

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Jack Gregg: I couldn't tell you what it would cost to hire a water taxi for two to three hours, but I'd guess it would be hundreds of euros. In any case, it's unnecessary: Venice is a compact city, and you can easily get around on foot or with the occasional vaporetto (waterbus) ride.

Also, water taxis can't go in all of the canals (many smaller canals aren't accessible by water taxis, while others are reserved for gondolas at certain hours of the day).


Wij komen aan op de luchthaven zaterdagmiddag en willen onze cruisboot MSC bereiken ca 16:00 doch willen iets van Venetie zien via kanalentocht. 5 volwaasen en 4 kinderen plus 9 koffers. Welk transport adviseer je ons ?

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Lucas Leenders: I don't read Dutch, but I read German well enough to *think* I know what you're asking.

If your ship is leaving from Marittima (the main cruise basin), you can take the airport bus to Piazzale Roma in central Venice and catch the People Mover automated tram to the cruise port. That's the cheapest way to do it.

Alternatively, you could go by taxi directly to either the Marittima or San Basilio piers. (Each taxi will cost 40-45 euros.)


If you reserve your water taxi on line before you arrive it can save you 10 to 20 euro.(depending on the location you are going to) In Nov 2012 we rented an apartment in Dorsoduro and the taxi was able to drop us off at our door step. It was an amazing way to enter Venice for the first time. I went directly to the Motoscafi website and booked.

Edmund hunt

any idea how far a walk from the nearest taxi drop off to
San Marco 4065
San Marco
30135 Venice

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Edmund Hunt: The B&B would be your most reliable source of information, but this Google Map might help:



We are arriving at Venice Airport at night. If we caught a water taxi, would it be worth the cost in the dark? Or would we be better coming into Venice another way and saving the water taxi for the return trip in daylight? What would the simplest way be for three travellers to get to a city hotel?

Durant Imboden

Alison: There's no simple answer. It depends on the location of your hotel and the availability of other forms of transportation. (For example, if the hotel is within easy walking distance of the Piazzale Roma, you can take an airport bus. If it's near an Alilaguna airport-boat stop and you arrive at the airport during Alilaguna's hours of operation, the airport boat is another option.)


Planning a trip to Venice in August. What are the downside to staying in an hotel in the historic center. I am nervous about island hotels...

Durant Imboden

The only downside to a hotel in the historic center is that it might cost more than a hotel in Mestre or on the Lido, and (depending on location) it could be inconvenient if you have heavy luggage. See our "No. 1 Venice Hotel Warning" article:


The upside of staying in the historic center is that you'll be in Venice at night and early in the morning, when most of the daytrippers have gone or haven't yet arrived.

Dianne Eppler

Is there any real difference between different water taxi companies? Venice Water Taxi is 10 euros cheaper online than Consorzio Motoscafi. Thanks.

Durant Imboden

No difference that I'm aware of. We've only used the Consorzio.


Hello, travelling to Venice mid June and have booked a hotel where the stop is at Rialto. I'll be arriving by train and we will be 8 of us. 3 who Are 70+ and two kids. Please could you help advice the best way to get to our hotel.

I read your article about getting in and out of a private water taxi and just want to be sure I'm making the right choices keeping all the different ages in mind. Further is there a private taxi stop right in front of Santa Lucia without having to cross any bridges.

Any help will be very much appreciated.

Durant Imboden

The Rialto area isn't especially convenient to the train station, although you can get there by vaporetto, a.k.a. public water bus, or water taxi or on foot if you don't mind crossing a lot of bridges with luggage. (Both the vaporetto and water taxi options are expensive.)

If I were you, I'd cancel and book a hotel closer to the railroad station. See our Venice Hotel Guide at Veniceforvisitors.com:



My travel agent booked my train tickets- arrival and departure at Venice Mestre station, but my hotel is close to St Marks Square. What is the easiest/affordable way to get to my hotel? Any company I can pre-book my transfers with? Any suggestions will be useful. Thank you!

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