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Millions of visitors pour into Venice each year, most of them funnelled through a pair of airports that are not geared to deal with such heavy traffic. Arriving by train and coach is painless - but driving into Venice is unmitigated hell in summer, and just plain expensive in winter
By air
If you are arriving by air, you'll touch down either at Treviso , 30km inland from Venice, or at Marco Polo airport, on the outskirts of Venice itself. The former is used chiefly by charter companies, some of which provide a bus link from the airport into Venice. An ATVO ( Azienda Trasporti Veneto Orientale ) bus service to Venice meets the twice-daily Ryanair flights as well. Otherwise, take the #6 bus from right outside the arrivals building into Treviso (30min), from where there are frequent bus and train connections to Venice. Tickets must be bought before you get onto the bus - the bar across the road sells them.

Most scheduled flights and some charters arrive at Marco Polo , around 7km north of Venice, on the edge of the lagoon. If you're on a package holiday the cost of transport to the city centre, either by land or by water, might already be covered. If it's not, the inexpensive alternatives are to take one of the hourly Alilaguna water-buses , which calls at Burano, the Lido, the Arsenale, and San Marco (L17,000/?8.75; journey time 1hr to San Marco), or one of the two road-going bus services to the terminal at Piazzale Roma: the ATVO coach, which departs every half-hour and takes around twenty minutes (L5000/?2.58), or the ACTV ( Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano ) bus #5, which is equally frequent, usually takes just five minutes longer (it's a local bus service, so it picks up and puts down passengers between the airport and Piazzale Roma), but costs just L1500/?0.78 (plus a small supplement for large pieces of luggage). The ticket office for both the water-buses and the land buses is in the arrivals hall; in addition to single tickets, you can also get ACTV passes here - a wise investment if you're staying more than a couple of days. Note that ACTV passes are not valid on the Alilaguna service nor on the ATVO bus, and that the airport ticket office will sell you a ticket for the ATVO rather than the ACTV bus unless you make clear your preference for il cinque .

The most luxurious means of getting into the city is to take a water-taxi , which gives you the best possible introduction to the city (the view from the taxi is far better than from the waterbus, to say nothing of the hedonistic buzz of arriving in Venice this way). The drivers tout for business in and around the arrivals hall, and will charge you in the region of L150,000/?77.47 to San Marco, for up to six people. Ordinary car-taxis are ranked outside the arrivals hall, and cost about L50,000/?25 to Piazzale Roma.



By road and rail
People arriving by car must leave their vehicle either on the mainland or try for the car parks of Venice itself - either at Piazzale Roma or at the ever-expanding Tronchetto , Europe's largest car park. Piazzale Roma is well connected with the main water-bus services, Tronchetto rather less so, though you won't have to wait more than thirty minutes for transport to the San Marco area. Prices at these two vary according to the time of year, the length of stay and the size of car, but it's never a cheap option (from about L40,000/?21 per day), and in summer the tailbacks can be horrendous. Best to use the open-air San Giuliano car park at Mestre or the one at Fusina ; both operate only in summer, at Easter and during the Carnevale, and ACTV buses connect both with central Venice.

Arriving by train, coach or bus , you simply get off at the end of the line. The Piazzale Roma bus station and Santa Lucia train station (not to be confused with Venezia Mestre, the last stop on the mainland) are just five minutes' walk from each other, at the top of the Canal Grande, and both are well served by vaporetto services to the core of the city. The left-luggage office at the train station charges L5000 per item per twelve hours; when things get frenetic, they open a separate office for larger pieces of luggage, also at the station. There are also lockers alongside platform 1, which cost L6000/?3 for six hours.

Arriving by train, coach or bus , you simply get off at the end of the line. The Piazzale Roma bus station and Santa Lucia train station (not to be confused with Venezia Mestre, the last stop on the mainland) are just five minutes' walk from each other, at the top of the Canal Grande, and both are well served by vaporetto services to the core of the city. The left-luggage office at the train station charges L5000 per item per twelve hours; when things get frenetic, they open a separate office for larger pieces of luggage, also at the station. There are also lockers alongside platform 1, which cost L6000/?3 for six hours.

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