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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

Tips:

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.
 

Comments

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Durant Imboden

You could take the vaporetto (water bus), which is expensive and slow. Or you could hire a water taxi (there's a stand outside the station), which is much more expensive but faster. Unfortunately, the railroad station is a long way from the Piazza San Marco.

For more information on Venice transportation, including hotel directions, please see our main Web site at http://veniceforvisitors.com.

Beverly

Hello! We will be staying at the Molino Stucky Hilton on the island of Giudecca. We want to go to the island of Murano at some point. But looking at a map, it looks like it would be tricky to get from Giudecca to Murano! Would a water taxi be the best way to get there, and if so, any idea of the cost? Thank you SO much!

Durant Imboden

Just use public transportation. See our Murano guide at:

http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/murano_the_glass_island.htm

It includes a page on transportation options.

deedy

we are staying at HOTEL LA FENICE ET DES ARTISTES which is central but not directly off a dock. I have mobility issues and need assistance from the water taxi to the hotel. Does anyone know which company will provide this help? Also, should we take a land taxi to Piazzale Roma and THEN a private water taxi to hotel? Or a PRIVATE water taxi the whole way? I don't care how much it costs. I NEED the help. I have tried emailing the hotel to ask for a porter but they do not respond! ANY IDEAS??????

Rob Olmstead

We are cruising out of Venice in late July. The night we depart we have tickets to the Interpreti Veniziani. The concert finishes at 10:30pm and we need to be back on the boat by 11:00pm. I've been trying to check out different transportation options and it seems like a water taxi is our best option. We will need to catch the water taxi at the Accademia dock. I have two questions. 1) Do water taxis run that late? and 2) Should we book the water taxi before the concert? If so, can we use the number listed in your article, do they speak English? (No Italian here) Thanks your site is a great source of information.

Durant Imboden

Rob Olmstead: Water taxis run 24 hours a day, although you'll definitely want to make a reservation if you need one late at night. Try the water taxi drivers' cooperative:

http://www.motoscafivenezia.it/eng/

If you phone, you should get someone who speaks English, although there are no guarantees.

Brandon

Would you pre book and pay for a Private Water Taxi in advance from one of the providers such as Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia to take you from VCE to a downtown Venice hotel, or would you just purchase it when you arrive ? I don't want to pay for something and then not get the service. Basically, are these Private Water Taxis reliable, I'm thinking about also pre-purchasing the return trip too. Is it more expensive to purchase it at the airport, and would they ever sell out? I like to pre-plan, but not at the expense of not getting what I paid for, any risks?

Jane Belchior

Hello we are 3 older couples staying at Hotel Citta di Milano. For transport with heavy luggage from airport to hotel. I thought the water taxi would be the best, especially if it can drop us off at Campo de la Guerra on Rio de san Zulan. This way allows us the shortest walking as 1 couple is 70+. Or do you have another alternative. I thought of pre booking to assure a large enough taxi??? Thanks Jane from Canada

Tom

Are there any ADA water taxis? With bad knees can't jump.

Durant Imboden

Sanitrans might be a possibility. You'd have to check with them directly for rates and other information:

http://www.sanitrans.net/en/about-us/local-health-transportation.html

A better bet would be to stay a hotel that you can reach without resorting to a water taxi. See the hotel information at http://veniceforvisitors.com.

Eileen Goldsmith

My cruise ship will arriving the morning of the Regatta (Sept. 4). We will be at hotel on Calle Scaletta, Venezia. What is the best way to get to your hotel from the port. There
Will be 4 people w/ luggage. Approximately what would it cost. I am concerned because I heard there is no public transportation that day. Look forward to hearing from you.

Durant Imboden

I think you meant this for someone else (we aren't a hotel), but in any case, you'll find all kinds of transportation information and hotel directions at:

http://veniceforvisitors.com

Unfortunately, the Mestre railway station is a long way from the Piazza San Marco, with no direct connections. You might want to consider cancelling your existing hotel reservation and either staying in Mestre or at a hotel in Venice that's convenient to the cruise port. See:

Mestre and Marghera Hotels
http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/mestre/mestre-hotels.htm

or

Venice Cruise Terminal Hotels
http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/venice-cruise-terminal-hotels.htm

Durant Imboden

Please note: This post is titled "A warning about water taxis." If you want to know about hotels or transportation, see our Venice for Visitors site at:

http://veniceforvisitors.com

For forum-style tourist information, TripAdvisor is your friend.

Lisa Maria

Hello
We are arriving in Venice via train on Easter Sunday, we need a water taxi to Hotel Concordia. We were quoted 185euro for private water taxi and assistance with luggage at stop near hotel. Does this sound reasonable or is there a cheaper way?

alexiajack

Are there several actual changes amongst different water taxi corporations? Venice Water Taxi is 15 euros inexpensive online than Consortia Motoscafi. Scheduling a journey to Venice soon....

Durant Imboden

"Are there several actual changes amongst different water taxi corporations? Venice Water Taxi is 15 euros inexpensive online than Consortia Motoscafi. Scheduling a journey to Venice soon...."

Rates are set by law, so perhaps you're comparing apples and oranges? (Is it possible that one service is quoting the rate for the water taxi alone, while the other is quoting the rate for the water taxi plus a van transfer from the airport terminal to the airport water-taxi pier?)

su

we have plan with my friend go to Venice island about 15-20 persons would you please recommend a company Private boat for transfer from Tronchetto pier to San Marco pier on Venice Island on June 2016

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

I'm sorry, but we write exclusively for independent travelers, and we know nothing at all about renting boats for groups. Bucintoro Travel (do a Google Search) might be able to help you. Otherwise, a search on "Venice incoming services" might yield something.

Leslie Brodie

We will be arriving at Venice SL train station and staying at Hotel Casa Verado. Can a water taxi reach the Ponte della Canonica? Will we (ages 68 and 73) be able to get on and off the boat without much difficulty? Should we prebook it or just get it when we arrive? Thanks.

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Leslie Brodie: I'm not familiar with the Hotel Casa Verado. Why not check the hotel's Web site for directions? As for water taxis, whether you can get on or off the boat without difficulty depends on water levels. In summer, you should be OK. (In winter, the water levels are sometimes quite low, making it hard to get in or out of a water taxi unless you're at a floating pier.)

For advice on hiring water taxis, read our article at:

http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/water-taxis.htm

- di

Kishor

Do you suggest booking the taxi in advance online; or taxis are easily available at the airport on arrival. We will be arriving on Sep 5 Monday; and would be going to Hotel Rialto. We do not want to be stranded at the airport with the family of 4, for want of taxi.

Thanks,

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Kishor: Water taxis are easy to get at the airport. Just go to one of the Water Taxi desks in the arrivals hall. The clerk will take your money, give you a voucher, and send you to a numbered pier where a water taxi will be waiting.

Kathy

Hi there, I will be travelling with a party of 8 adults and one 15month old. We will arrive into Venice Sept 4 around 7/730AM and will need to get to our hotel near St.Marks Square, Antico Panada to drop off our luggage. I was told we wouldn't be able to check in until 1-2pm but would be able to drop off our luggage. I have decided a water taxi would be the best for our large group, which company would you suggest? Also, after we have dropped off our luggage where would you suggest we should go to rest or have some down time?

I'm also assuming it would be the best to take a water taxi from the hotel to the cruise port? What do you suggest?

We leave from the cruise port Sept 16 straight to the airport, what was the cheapest way for us to get there again? I recall a post about a tram/people mover or something? I can't find that info anymore.

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Kathy, see:

http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/water-taxis.htm

And:

http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/transportation-from-the-cruise-port.htm

With eight adults and a baby, you may need an oversize water taxi, but the Consorzio Motoscafi (linked in our water-taxi article) should be able to arrange that.

Rosemary Lynch

Do we need to tip the boat pilot or any of the helpers?

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