A warning about water taxis
ABOVE: A passenger boards a Venice water taxi with help from the pilot.
Most recent update: June, 2019
- For detailed advice on hiring water taxis, see our Venice Water Taxis article at Venice for Visitors.
- For instructions on how to take the moving sidewalk to to water taxis and and Alilaguna airport boats at VCE, see our step-by-step illustrated directions from the Venice Marco Polo Airport arrivals terminal to the boat piers.
- If you have questions about Venice travel in general, please go to Venice for Visitors, where you'll find hundreds of pages on topics that range from our No. 1 Venice Hotel Warning and Top 11 Tourist Mistakes to practical advice on where to stay, local transportation, and sightseeing.
Water 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.
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.
- 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.