Private and Shared Water Taxis

It’s always a quandary.

How should we get to Venice from the airport? Motor coach and vaporetto combination? (Convenient, reasonable, only mildly cumbersome.) Alilaguna waterbus? (Slower, slightly more expensive, handy.) Water taxi? (Expensive, private, faster…glamour.)

Private Service

While it represents the antithesis of sustainable travel, the private water taxi is still a luxury that can sometimes come in awfully handy, especially if there’s a few of you who can split the cost. What’s important is to make sure you get the going rate, and that you arrive where you’ve paid them to take you.

Private water taxis are available for hire at all principal stops, at glamorous fares of €55 and up for four people and one main piece of luggage each. The fare for transport from the airport to Venice center destination starts at €95, there may be an additional charge for side canal locations and early morning departures. Confirm price and drop-off points in town prior to departure.

If you reserve a taxi, make sure you’re on time, or understand their policy if you’re delayed. If a taxi has to wait for you, you’ll be charged for the time.

Private and Shared Service to and from the Airport and Cruise Port

VeniceLink.png

VeniceLink.com, run by the private Alilaguna water bus service, offers some convenient options that might help making those decisions a bit easier…and you can book online in advance. For example:

  • They offer competitive price for a private water taxi to and from the airport, cruise port, Piazzale Roma, train station, Lido, and Hilton transfers, and more.
  • They also offer the AirportLink shared taxi option for even less (€27 per person one way, €50 round trip. There is a two person minimum), as long as you are willing ride along as passengers with different origins or destinations are picked up or dropped off. That’s about the same price as the one-hour Alilaguna bus from the airport direct to San Marco.
  • You can also book your slightly discounted Alilaguna waterbus tickets for transfers from Marco Polo airport online, for one-way or round trip.

(You’ll see that VeniceLink also offers three-island excursions, which are frankly not recommended. It’s impossible to take in all these islands in one day; even if you insist, you’re better off buying a vaporetto pass and do it on your own time. It’s much cheaper, and you won’t have anybody rushing you back on the boat.)

If you support sustainable travel…

Venice’s smaller canals were designed for the much tamer rowed boats (or is that vice-versa?), the main mode of transport from when the city was constructed until after World War II. While the private water taxi (or motoscafo) is comfortable, glamourous, and convenient, its relatively massive size and powerful inboard-outboard motor wreak havoc on the smaller rii not only above water level with the damage caused by the incessant wave motion, but also below it: the vaccuum created by the rotary blades sucks up the canal floor, the pressure of the resulting propulsion pummels the walls of the canals and the infrastructure they contain.

Traffic in these smaller canals has increased in recent years, as every hotel that can manage it has installed a water entrance, so in demand by tourists. The lodgings like the draw, are not particularly worried about the canals; the tourist knows only of the hype and is blissfully ignorant of any problems that taxis plying the smaller canals cause.

I’d never suggest not to take a water taxi as a transportation option. You might, however, consider having your taxi avoid traversing the smaller canals of the city. If you can walk only a bit to the nearest stop on the Grand Canal, your taxi will be happy to collect you there, for example. That, and at least in the city itself, ask that your driver slow down. (If the driver’s going the speed limit, you’ll see no wake at all).

The tourist desire is Venice’s desire, so if we have travelers that take the initiative, Venice will thank you, and who knows? You could start a trend…