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Venice Transportation Advice May 2023

We had a lovely time in Venice, but wish to pass on some valuable lessons about transportation there.

1). Do not count on Alilaguna water buses to go to the airport. We bought tickets in advance, joined 10 other people at a stop on the morning of our last day and had not one, but two Alilaguna boats pass us by refusing to pick us up. This is the worst kind of delay to have when you have a flight to catch. One pulled in long enough to say he had to pick up a large group later and didn't have room for us. He promised another boat in 10 minutes. This was false. The next boat in 30 minutes zoom right on by - totally full - and did not even stop.

Our solution: take the next vaporetto to the Piazzale Roma and then catch an AirPort Express bus to the airport.
To Alilaguna's credit, they did give us a full refund to our credit card after I emailed a complaint and a photo of our tickets.

2). When flying out of Marco Polo Airport, allow AT LEAST 3 full hours (4 would be better) after arriving at the airport. We had no checked bags (saved us a line) and got our boarding passes from an electronic kiosk. But there was only one security line and it took more than 45 minutes to get through. That was only the first line. It turns out there is a second Passport Check line and it took more than a full hour! It snaked through the airport and moved at a snail's pace. Thank goodness we're early birds. By the time we got through passport check and found our gate they were already boarding.

We found the vaporettos very easy to use up and down the Grand Canal, and also for a day trip to Murano and Burano. The multi day pass was well worth getting.

Posted by
16888 posts

I am really glad you posted this and I hope lots of people with Venice plans read it.

I have often warned people about the problem with the Alilaguna when heading to the airport—-it does fill up. Last time we rode it we boarded the Orange line Rialto and that was the last stop it made, because it was full. They cannot allow people to stand, especially on the smaller boats. So it is OK to use it from the airport TO Venice, but I advise against it for going to the airport.

And as for the airport—-we had a bad experience ourselves there last September, with lines so long we very nearly missed our flight to London. Lines were so long for checking bags we re-packed for carry-on, as we had our boarding passes, and went straight to security. This re-packing meant discarding items that would not fit in our bags or were not allowed, including my husband’s hiking poles. 😔

Then we had trouble getting through the gates into the security area—-my husband’s boarding pass would not scan to open the gates. We tried and tried, and then of course the screen said it had already been used. Iit was 20 was minutes before a staff person came to the help desk in that area, and let him through. We made our plane only because it was delayed.

As a result, we have decided we will not use Venice airport ever again. It is so much nicer to arrive and depart by train, walking out of the station with that gorgeous view to greet us.

I think the airport is just too small and too poorly staffed to handle the number of people, even with the cruise ships docking elsewhere.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you both for sharing. We will be following your same routes in a little over a week and have tried to find accounts of real experiences!!!

Posted by
5140 posts

We have arrived at Venice airport several times in the evening, and found it almost deserted, no lines at Passport Control, and easy to catch the Alilaguna. Leaving from Venice airport is another story. Safe travels!

Posted by
12 posts

Yes, my story is about departing through Marco Polo. Like you, our arrival process was a breeze.

Posted by
3 posts

This information is Soooo helpful. We are flying into Naples but flying out of Venice
We will make sure we are earlier to the airport and note transportation to get there