Master the Art of Transportation in Venice, Italy
Transportation is unique in Venice. You can get most anywhere by walking. You get to other islands by boat. There are boat stations sprinkled along the island edges. For newbies, it's daunting to figure out which boats are which. Once you become an expert at spotting your mode of transportation, navigating Venice will be easy. We recommend using vaporettos for lovely daytime and nighttime rides through the Grand Canal and around the major islands.
Gondolas aren't really meant for transportation anymore. It's more of a tourist gimmick. You choose where you get on by walking to the gondola and you can choose the route. Rates are set by the city of Venice: €80 for 40 minutes and 20-minute increments are €40. After 7 p.m., it is €100 for 40 minutes and €50 for an additional 20 minutes. Four people can split this cost and share a boat.
The ever elusive traghetto was operating the first time I visited Venice, but was sadly not operating when I returned in summer of 2016. A traghetto is essentially a larger boat that resembles a gondola and is used to transport larger groups across the Grand Canal for €2 per ride. It will give you a gondola like experience for a fraction of the cost.
The Vaporetto or water bus is a form of public transportation. There are private companies too but ACTV is the official city run service which is fairly priced and reliable. If you buy the tourist package from the city, the fares are decent and these water buses will take you to neighboring islands like Murano and Burano.
Your most important mode of transporation are the vaporettos. Stations like this one line the outermost rim of the islands. Be sure to keep a map handy. Most stations are very close to each other and with the pass, it's easy to go vaporetto hopping.
Taxis are small little private boats that are efficient and speedy. A trip can range from €40 to €120, depending on where you want to go. While they offer convenience and privacy, this is your priciest option.