You can’t go to Venice without going on the water.
Well you can, but it will take you forever to get anywhere.
The classic means of transport is of course the gondola. They take a fair while to arrive at their destination as well, unless of course you’re James Bond (chase scene here).
I’d definitely shop around for one you like.
Somewhere there is one that has been made just for you.
Of course they don’t come cheap. A forty minute daytime ride was 80€ when I was there in 2020, which rose to 100€ after 7pm (current prices here).
You could share the boat with up to six other people, but that kind of defeats the point.
This helpful website recommends avoiding the main gondola stations like the one by the Rialto Bridge as the traffic on the Grand Canal can get quite congested, which eats into your time.
I was visiting by myself, so I saved the experience for another time.
And anyway, I’m more of a vaporetto kind of guy.
These little ferries are great for getting you around town quickly and efficiently.
I bought a 7 day card for 60€ as soon as arrived as I was planning to visit a lot of the outlying islands, but there are other options. A single trip was 7.50€ in 2020.
My favourite things on the water though were the classic wooden speedboats, particularly the mahogany Rivas.
Which are truly things of great beauty.
You could hire one to take you directly to Venice from the airport, which surely has to be the best way to arrive.
That won’t come cheap of course but other water taxi services have sharing options.
In the background of this pic by the way is Squero di San Trovaso, a gondola boatyard (squero) that has been in continuous operation since the 17th century. Here’s my review of the excellent cichetti bar opposite this pictureseque spot. You can find it on my map.
There are boats everywhere you go in Venice.
All doing different jobs (click on the pics to expand).
Next, some of the little things I couldn’t fit in anywhere else…