It's 'Fat Tuesday'--Farewell to Carnival!
Acqua alta strikes again...and again.

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 and Cheryl Imboden

No need to tip!

Sandra Wright

Do you advise prebooking a water taxi during Carnival, or do you believe they'll be readily available at the airport even then?

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Sandra Wright: I've never used a water taxi during Carnival, so I can't give you a definitive answer. It's certainly easy enough to prebook, though, if you'd rather be safe than sorry.

Mike

Hi. Is it advisable to take a water taxi in December? We're staying at the Danieli on the 2nd of December. Many thanks, Mike.

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Mike: The Hotel Danieli has its own water landing (and porters), so by all means take a water taxi if you prefer private transportation.

Jochen

Hi,

We're planning a stay at the San Clemente Palace hotel, which runs its own shuttle service from Piazza San Marco. However, the shuttle service stops running at 11pm and I was hoping you might be able to provide an indication of how much a regular water taxi would be if we needed a late night return to the hotel after 11pm?

Thanks in advance,
Jochen

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Jochen: 30 to 40 euros, maybe? That's a purely off-the-cuff guess. We'd suggest asking the Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia (in English, the Venice Water Taxi Cooperative), which has an e-mail address at info@motoscafivenezia.it and a Web site at https://www.motoscafivenezia.it/eng/.

Linda

I will be leaving Venice, in June, very early to catch a 6:55 AM flight at the Venice airport. My hotel is near the San Marco Square not on a canal. Will I be able to get a water taxi for 2 @ 4:30 am? What is the best way to do this?

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Linda:

See our Venice Water Taxis article at Venice for Visitors:

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

Your hotel reception can book a water taxi for you, too. (Just make sure you know what you're paying: The fare shouldn't be more than 110 or 120 euros.)

Renee

Is there a way to get to the airport in Venice by bus or less expensive options than 100 euros?

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

"Is there a way to get to the airport in Venice by bus or less expensive options than 100 euros?"

Sure. Just take the ATVO airport bus or Alilaguna water bus, depending on where you're staying. See our Venice for Visitors transportation index at:

http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/vi-transport.htm

Matej

I just wonder, why so much warnings about hiring unofficial (not licensed) water taxi. Where the real danger is here?
I do support official jobs always, so if I will not make mistake "by mistake", I will most certainly take the real one. But still - where is the danger?

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Matej: I haven't heard any warnings about unofficial water taxis, but I'd imagine that the local taxi industry (which has an effective monopoly) is worried about the possibility of an acquatic Uber or Lyft!

- di

Fiona Wilkie

Hello,
I'm considering attending a wedding with my 85 year old mother, for 3night in early June, she has recently had a knee replacement. She can walk short distances with a stick but most of our venues, excluding the hotel, this is located on the Grand Cansl, near to the railway station, are only accessible by the smaller water taxis.
Having read your comment, I wondered whether you would tell me if you think my mother would find moving around very difficult. Some of our journeys will be late evening.

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Ms. Wilkie: Venice is fairly walkable, if you don't mind footbridges (which usually have steps) or can avoid them. One strategy, in many parts of the city center, is to take the No. 1 vaporetto or public water bus to avoid bridges. In many cases, a vaporetto stop will give you access to a fairly good-size area where there are no bridges to cross. If you and your grandmother try this, be sure to buy ACTV Tourist Travel Cards, which allow unlimited travel on public transportation for one, two, three, or seven days, depending on the version that you've bought. See:

http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/venice-tourist-travel-cards.htm

Also see our article for disabled travelers and slow walkers:

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

Two other points:

1) If your grandmother has a bad knee, getting in and out of a water taxi may not be practical (depending on the water level at any given time). The public water bus, especially the No. 1 or 2. vaporetto (routes with flat floors), will be easier.

2) Except for bridges, Venice is nearly flat, with smooth paving stones. Walking isn't physically challenging, although crowds during peak season or on weekends can be a problem.

Elezon

Hello, it will be my first time in Venice,just wanna know the water taxi rate, ill be arriving in Venice airport by 23:30pm going to LaGare Hotel Venezia Mgallery Collection in Murano Island, thanks in advance!

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Elezon: To find out water-taxi rates to specific destinations, contact the Consorzio Motoscafi Venezia (the taxi pilots' cooperative), which has a Web site at:

https://www.motoscafivenezia.it/eng/

But if you're going to the La Gare hotel on Murano between April and October, you don't even need a water taxi. The seasonal Alilaguna Red Line airport boats stop right next to the hotel entrance, and the cost is far cheaper than a water taxi. Here's our directions page for the hotel at Venice for Visitors:

http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/directions/lagare-venezia.htm

Mary Judge

Hello we will be arriving in Venice 7 people staying at The Calton on the Grand Canal, would water taxi be able to stop outside this hotel ? Would taxi take 7 people plus luggage? Also small oxygen cylinder, March 2018 .

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Ms. Judge:

The water taxis carry up to 10 passengers and suitcases, and yes, the Carlton on the Grand Canal is accessible by water taxi. For more information, please see the water taxi operators' cooperative Web site:

https://www.motoscafivenezia.it/eng/

Susan Jakubiz

We are arriving in Venice by air at 11:30pm. The water taxis seem to stop running at 10Pm.Any suggestions that don't cost a fortune.

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

Ms. Jakubiz: Water taxis run 24/7. Book ahead on the official water-taxi Web site, and you should be fine.

https://www.motoscafivenezia.it/eng/

Lucille

Hi,
We are visiting Venice next month and we will be staying at Ca dell'arte Suite located Casselleria 5280, Castello, Venice, Italy, 30122.
Would like to ask your advice what is the best option to reach the hotel from Venezia Sta Lucia train station. Can we walk with our luggages in tow?

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

The Ca' dell' Arte Suite is a long, long way from the railroad station. You can walk there in half an hour or so (if you don't get lost), but the walk will require crossing many footbridges with steps and contending with crowds. The alternatives to walking would include the vaporetto (public water bus), which is expensive and often crowded, or a water taxi (which could easily set you back 100 euros or so, depending on the time of day).

Unless you have a non-cancellable reservation or are staying long enough to justify the hassle of getting to and from a distant hotel, I'd strongly urge you to cancel your reservation and rebook at a hotel closer to the station. This page on our main Venice for Visitors travel-planning site may be helpful. The links on the page will take you to "Venice Hotel Directions" pages that with step-by-step walking directions, maps, and links to Booking.com pages where you can check rates and (if you wish) make a reservation:

https://europeforvisitors.com/venice/directions/index-railroad-station.htm

Also, once you're on any featured hotel's Booking.com page, you can switch to map view and see all hotels, B&Bs, apartments, etc. within the surrounding area. This way, you'll have plenty of options even if you can't get a room at one of the hotels that we've featured in our Venice Hotel Directions.

BTW, Venice is one of the few cities in Europe where hotel location is critically important, just because it's a city where (in the words of Robert Benchley) the "streets are filled with water" and even a horrendously expensive water taxi won't get you to every hotel. As we state on our "No. 1 Venice Hotel Warning" page, don't pick a hotel that's inconvenient or expensive to reach--and don't be afraid to cancel if you've had second thoughts about a hotel's location. (Why suffer if you don't need to?)

https://europeforvisitors.com/venice/venice-warning.htm

Jogee Reynolds

I accidently booked at La Gare Hotel on Murano instead of Venice. What is the least expensive transportation that an get me to Murano from the airport.

John Rollason

The only hotel which is adjacent to Piazza San Marco is the Concordia - 4 star and actually overlooking or looking at the basilica from some rooms. The entrance is a 100 metre walk away from the pizza. Although the restaurant is not Michelin star qualiy, it is good enough, serves breakfast and the hotel is surrounded by eateries anyway.

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