Friday, April 3, 2015

Hipmunk City Love -- Venice, Italy: How to Get Around on a Budget

If you have never been to the city known as the Bride of the Sea, one of the first things to do when preparing for your trip to Venice is learn the best ways of getting around the 117-island city that has no motor vehicles. The islands are connected by 177 canals and 409 bridges, so traveling by water and foot are the only choices. There are several options when it comes to water travel. Choose the right one, and you will be able to navigate the beautiful city for a price that fits your budget.


Gondolas may be the most recognized of Venice’s boats, but a gondola ride is actually more of a tourist trap than a reasonable method of getting you from one location to another. Gondola rides are expensive 40-minute fixed-rate cruises. That being said, gondolas are a part of Venice’s history and culture, and a trip to Venice wouldn’t be complete without a gondola ride. Rates are higher at night, so take a daytime trip to save money. You can also save money by sharing a ride; gondolas hold six people.

Photo by Little Mermaid At Sea via


The ferries called traghetti are large gondolas that hold up to 14 people. Unlike gondolas, traghetti are not decorated and do not have fancy chairs; most passengers ride a traghetto standing. Because they are basic and hold more people, traghetti rides are much less expensive than gondola rides. And even though the rides are much shorter than gondola rides, you still get the gondola experience at a much more budget-friendly price.


The most reasonably priced method of water travel is via vaporetto. Vaporetti are large water buses that are the main form of public transportation in Venice. There are different vaporetto lines, but like the gondolas, rates are fixed. They travel through the main canals, around the lagoon, and to the islands. Most lines run from 5:00 a.m. to midnight. Riding a vaporetto will save you money and let you feel like a local.
Photo by Cara Mason Rea via

Venezia Unica

You can save more money on public transportation in Venice by purchasing a city pass card called Venezia Unica. The card lets you ride the Vaporetti at residents’ rates, and it provides discounts at museums, churches, and other cultural attractions. The card can be purchased online in advance at the Venezia Unica website. A cool thing about the card is you can create your own according to your travel plans. You can choose the attractions that you plan to visit, and the services you plan to use, so you will not be paying for discounts at places you won’t visit.

Photo by At the end of the Rainbow via

Once you know how to get around in Venice, it will be easy to get to the city’s famous attractions like the Rialto Bridge, The Basilica di San Marco, and Doge’s Palace. Make sure to visit the city’s famous museums too; Museo Civico Correr, Ca' Rezzonico, and Galleria dell'Accademia are a few you won’t want to miss. There are several hotels in Venice that are conveniently located for visits to these attractions. The hotels can help arrange your transportation too. 

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

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