Any idea on how long it would take to get from a hotel east of the Rialto Bridge in Venice to the Santa Lucia train station? Is the vaporetto the best way? and how much early should you arrive prior to the train departure time? so basically, if I have a 9 AM train, when should I leave the hotel?
OK there's the shuffle to the vaporetto stop (after you've checked out and this sometimes takes awhile). Say a 15 min shuffle. Shuffle faster/slower (you get the drift). The vaporettos leave o/a every 10 minutes. #1 stops at every stop so can take an hour. #2 is o/a a 1/2 hour. I always plan for the screw up factor (rush hour crowds, getting lost - again, "what do you mean you left your passport at the hotel?"). I am presuming here that you are taking a inter city train (say to Rome) and not some local milk run train and that you have reserved seats. Getting to the train station 20 minutes ahead of departure is plenty of time for you to locate your track and tottel on down the platform to where your car should stop. Never done this before, give yourself 40 minutes - why cut it close and be all anxious and sweaty - have coffee at the train station if everything goes like greased lighting. Seasoned travelers will probably laugh at this advice but I'm thinking that's not you. With my sister (aka "how slow can you walk?" I mean honestly - snails are faster) we left for a 11 a.m train at 9 (from the hotel).
Here is the vaporetto schedule:
thanks Marie. that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. If I knew what I was doing I wouldn't have asked the question! thanks again.
If you don't already have a ticket, be sure to allow enough time to buy it at the station. If you do have a ticket, I agree that planning to arrive 20 minutes before gives you some "fudge factor" time in case there's a problem. My cardinal rule for train newbies: don't be afraid to ask questions, but don't ask them of an obvious tourist! While trains are a new experience for most Americans, for Europeans they are as routine as driving to the mall. But, I've seen lost Americans only feel comfortable approaching other Americans - who don't necessarily know any more. Never waste time wandering around lost in a train station - ask for help. Here's a wonderful video showing you how it all works: http://tinyurl.com/ac82c92
The first answer was quite pessimisticly inaccurate. From 2 stops the San Marco side of Rialto the number 1 takes 21 minutes. From San Toma, a really long way towards S Marco the number 2 takes 15 minutes. From Rialto (you don't really say which is your nearest stop) the 2 is only 10 minutes. 10 to 15 minutes is plenty of time at Venezia Santa Lucia to get a Regionale, add at most 5 more minutes to find the right car on a Freccia or .Italo high speed train.