The Port of Venice: Transportation and Getting to Town from Venice Cruise Terminal 

"The Port of'll finally find the answers to your questions, learn how to make an informed decision and choose the means of Venice transportation that is right for you!"

Getting  from the Venice port to the center of Venice or St. Marks square seems to be the buzz of the dining room a few days before your Mediterranean cruise ship reaches the port.

In 2022 many things changed when it comes to ships docking in Venice: as you may know, the city of Venice has put a ban on all big cruiseships docking in the city and have displaced the dock to the industrial area of Marghera which is between Tronchetto and Mestre. Which adds to the confusion and insecurity.

That is why you might see lines of passengers waiting to book their shore excursion tours at any cost, thinking that is the only way of getting from the Marghera port of Venice to Saint Mark's square, from where all the main attractions are easy to reach.

On top of that, cruiselines can be quite secretive about giving you straightforward info on your transport options from Venice port to central Venice as it's in their highest interest to sell their own shore excursions and expensive shuttle boats.

And then, if this is your first visit ever, it gets even more confusing with all those different kinds of boats, both public and private:  vaporettos (water buses), Venice water taxis you catch by the canals, water taxis pre-booked online, and cruise line organized water shuttle boats.

GrandCanalIt always feels good to reach the Grand Canal - where historic Venice starts

Then again there are those who say they will just walk to Venice...and use the Venice people mover. By now, you're completely confused and have no idea what you're doing.

But now that you've found Mediterranean-cruise-ports-easy, you'll finally find the answers to your questions, learn how to make an informed decision and choose the means of Venice transportation that is right for you!

But before you even consider transportation options and choose your way to reach downtown from your cruise ship, here’s a few things to keep in mind...

Factors to take into account
when choosing transportation from the port of Venice

  • How long will your cruise ship stay in the port of Venice? - many Europe cruise ships that call to Venice will have an overnight in their itinerary. Also, not all ships necessarily arrive in Venice early in the morning so check the times of your arrival and departure and plan how many times you want/can to go downtown during your stay.
  • How long can you walk without getting tired? - In Venice, it's not just about walking from the port of Venice (later I will explain which part can be walked) to Piazza San Marco... remember you will walk a lot once you get there too! In other words, there's a lot of walking involved so choose wisely.
  • What is the timeframe you can stay out in the port of Venice and Piazza San Marco? - Do you have any arrangements or appointments that might limit your time on the day of your visit to Venice? Do you have a spa appointment? Have you arranged to meet one of your old friends in Venice at a specific time? Have you arranged one of the tours that have a meeting point in central Venice at a certain time? Take all of these into account when planning your day, means of travel and time it will take to reach Venice.
  • Do you have kids with you or not? - are your kids old enough to walk all the way to Venice (1 hour walk from Piazzale Roma) and then still walk for hours around the downtown Venice area? Or do they get tired easily and are better off taking water boat transportation straight from the port of Venice to Piazza San Marco area? What are their interests? Are you willing to pay for a shore excursion for them and will they appreciate it?
  • How much money would you like to spend/save? - the great thing about getting downtown Venice from the the Port of Venice is it can be done for all price ranges: from €0 (zero euros) by walking from Stazione Marittima Venice cruise terminal to Piazza San Marco all the way or spending one euro for the Venice people mover and walking the rest, to about €100 (taking a water taxi). Think about your priorities and choose the kind of transportation that suits you best.
  • What part of the day do you prefer to spend in town most? - if your cruise ship arrives in Venice early in the morning and doesn't depart until later the next day, you will have many options. Some people prefer to go out very early in the morning while it's still not busy, have lunch out, come back for an afternoon nap and then go back out at night for a romantic gondola ride. Others prefer to avoid morning crowds, have lunch on board, and then head out in the afternoon sightseeing and shopping and treat themselves with a nice dinner out. Every time of day in Venice is special and has its own little rituals: early morning espressos and cornettos con marmelata shoulder to shoulder with dressed up and perfumed shop assistants from luxury boutiques, before lunch aperitifs sitting at the bar inside Caffe Florian Venice, evening dinner in one of the authentic Venetian restaurants, night drinks at Harry's bar... so difficult to skip even one! What time of the day do you think you will enjoy in Venice most? How long can you stay out in the port in one go?

These are all the factors to consider that will help you in deciding which transport to take when getting from the Stazione Marittima Venice cruise terminal to Venice St. Mark's square.

How to get from the port of Venice to St. Mark's square

There are a few options when it comes to getting from the port of Venice to St. Mark's square:

Each one of them has its advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll tackle in these articles individually:

VeniceNeighbourhoodAll neighbourhoods of Venice are scenic - sometimes there's no need going all the way to Piazza San Marco

Taking a Cruise Ship Organized Water Bus 

There are two types of water bus shuttles your cruise line will organise to get you to Venice:

1. Most of the cruiselines will organize water boat shuttle transportation from the port of Venice (keep in mind ships now dock in the port of Marghera) to a point very close to St Marks squareThis is the quickest way of getting from the port of Marghera to the epicentre of Venetian tourist area. However, there is a charge for it: in summer of 2023 MSC cruiseline charged this service at 48 euros per person both ways.

2. The second cruiseline organised water shuttle is free. But it only takes you from the port of Margera into Stazione Marittima, the old port of Venice where cruise ships used to dock before 2022. They will drop you off at their terminal building and from there you will be free to find your own way into historical Venice (via Piazzale Roma, the first vaporetto stop on the Grand Canal).

Keep reading to find out your options from there onwards.

Or go with one of the rare, still operating tours made to cater to cruise guests and picking you up at the port...

Getting from Stazione Marittima Venice port to Piazzale Roma

Once you find yourself dropped off at Stazione Marittima, first you will have to walk to the central part of the port. It can be up to 10 minutes long walk. MSC dropped its passengers by terminal buildings 107-110, at the very far end of this building complex and we had to walk for some time...

StazioneMarittimaBuildingWalking along terminal buildings 107-110

You will know you are in the central part of the port of Venice by the cafe, shops and directions for public transport water buses by Alilaguna (which are not operational anymore).


From here you will have two options on how to reach Piazzale Roma, which is a square, a transport hub, the last point you can approach in a car, bus or taxi on the way to historical Venice.

  1. First, you can walk for about another 10-15 minutes to Piazzale Roma. Follow the signs for the port exit and turn right when you reach the road that connects Mestre and Venice.
  2. Follow the signs to People Mover train which connects Stazione Marittima to Piazzale Roma. Read more in my article on People Mover. You can use this little train to cut the trip short, expecially if it's a hot summer day.
PeopleMoverTicketsThere is a ticket machine for the People Mover
PeopleMoverPricePeople Mover price and working schedule

You are probably also considering taking some other means of transport you have read about on the internet:

  • Taking a taxi from Stazione Marittima to Piazzale Roma. Read more in my article Venice taxis.
  • Taking an Alilaguna Blu Line public water bus from inside the Stazione: unfortunately, as I have witnessed in summer of 2023, this service doesn't exist anymore. They moved the stop to the parking lot at Tronchetto as ships don't dock here anymore).
  • Taking a port bus from Stazione Marittima to Piazzale Roma: this service is available only on the days there is a Costa Cruiselines ship in town. Not sure if you can use it if you are not one of their passengers. I tried but they declined.

Once you reach the square of Piazzale Roma you have a couple of options on how to reach the historic Venice...

Taking Venice water taxi from Piazzale Roma to Piazza San Marco

VeniceWatertaxiYou will see water taxis on the Grand Canal

If money is not an issue, you can splash out and hire a water taxi for you and your group for the most personalized approach to Venice by water.

If you keep in mind that a water taxi can take 6-12 people at a time, it might not even be a bad idea when you split the cost.

Read more about using Venice waters taxi...

If you don't feel bartering about the price with water taxi drivers who don't really excell in English, you might as well book this one hour long water taxi ride from Piazzale Roma (Santa Lucia train station which is just one bridge away) all the way to Piazza San Marco:

Also, I have found a tour that will allow you an arranged pickup point and combines a ride with a water taxi and a walking tour!

See below...

Taking vaporetto from Piazzale Roma to San Marco

VaporettoMapYou will find vaporetto maps at every stop

When exit the People Mover building in Piazzale Roma and head towards the Grand Canal, you will see the first vaporetto stop on the canal, the Piazzale Roma stop

If you wish to cross the famous Calatrava bridge on the way to Santa Lucia train station, you may do so as at its bottom you will find yet another water bus/vaporetto stop on the Grand Canal- Ferrovia (Italian for railway)

Find out how to take vaporettos in my article How to use Venice vaporetto.

Walk from the port of Venice to downtown Venice 

Once you get to Piazzale Roma, walking becomes fun as everything around you is so exciting and wonderful: this is where historic Venice starts!

But before you decide to go into Piazza San Marco on foot, think of the time you will need to get there, and also think of how to get back in time so you don't miss the ship docked in the port of Marghera.



From PORT OF VENICE to Mediterranean cruise ports easy