Parking in Venice
Should I park my car in Venice or on the mainland?
Of course it is much more pleasant to drive directly to Venice than Park and Ride by bus or train from the mainland. However, a parking garage in Venice costs between 20 and 30 euros every 24 hours started. If your stay in Venice is a few days long, the parking fees are 100 euros or more.
Parking advantage on the mainland: Parking in the district of Mestre (opposite the bridge to Venice) means that parking garages cost far less. There are several car parks in Mestre. The fee is between 4 and about 12 euros per day (in early 2018). Of course you can park your car somewhere on the roadside in Mestre. This is a risk, but you park for free. If you want to do that, you should look for a place a bit out of downtown. Near the train station of Mestre you will hardly find a free car park. Mestre is large (about 200,000 inhabitants).
Downside parking on the mainland: If you have a lot of luggage, you have a problem. After finding a parking space in Mestre, you have to carry your suitcases and bags to the nearest bus stop or train station. This is followed by a ride in one of the crowded buses, trams or trains across the long bridge to Venice. Arriving on the island in the old town, you have to either walk, rent a porter or take a waterbus (Vaporetto) to the hotel.
Of course you can also take a taxi from Mestre to Venice, but also the taxi prices in Venice are high. About 23 to 30 euros if you are lucky, some drivers want much more.
What are the alternatives?
You can leave the car in a city far away from Venice. For example, if you park in Padua, you can quickly and conveniently continue by train to Venice (about 30 minutes, local trains are under 5 euros one way). There are frequent regional trains as well as many Intercitys and Eurocitys direct to Santa Lucia Central Station on the island of Venice. Especially the local trains are cheap in Italy. From Venice Santa Lucia you can get to any place in the old town at least as fast as from the expensive parking garages. In Venice, you can not do anything with a car anyway.
You can book a hotel in Mestre and commute to Venice. Of course it is nice and romantic to stay on holiday right in the old town of Venice. Just keep in mind that you have to bring your luggage there. In addition, the hotels and apartments in Venice are expensive, a simple double room costs in the season almost everywhere 200 euros or more per night. For many tourists by car it is better to book a hotel in Mestre with a parking space. Make sure that the accomodation is near Mestre train station or not far from a tram stop or bus stop with frequent direct links to Venice. You can easily go by public transport to Venice every morning from Mestre. A ticket costs just 1.25 euros (train) or 1.50 (bus and tram) (prices summer 2018). The journey time by train is not more than 10 minutes. There are about 5 to 10 trains per hour in both directions, but the trains are usually overcrowded in the late morning between 10 am and noon. Tens of thousands of tourists want to go to Venice every morning!
Which car park in Venice should I take?
There are four parking garages in Venice. Three large parking garages are close to Piazzale Roma, another gigantic parking garage in Tronchetto. Piazzale Roma is a square after the long bridge to Venice. Here also all buses and trams arrive. A pedestrian bridge takes you to Santa Lucia train station and the old town in five minutes on foot. Tronchetto is in a port area, just over a kilometer from the old town.
The three car parks at the central Piazzale Roma are: Parcheggio Sant'Andrea, Garage San Marco and Autorimessa Comunale. The Parcheggio Sant'Andrea is for short-term parkers (up to 2 hours, for example, costs 7 euros). In other two car parks in the center of Venice, prices range from 26 to 30 euros per 24 hours. So you should be careful that you do not park, for example, 25 hours, otherwise you pay the high parking fee even for 2 days.
The fourth car park Tronchetto outside the old town is new and huge. The artificial island Tronchetto was built especially for this parking garage. Here the parking fee for a day (24 hours) is 21 euros. The water buses line 2 stop directly at the parking garage. Otherwise, you can go to Piazzale Roma (see above) every few minutes with a new super-modern driverless elevated train (People Mover). Of course you pay for the People Mover despite you have parking ticket, in Venice is nothing for free. The fare is 1.50 euro per person one way. The advantage of the parking garage Tronchetto is not only the lower parking fees but also the quick and easy access. Turn right after the long 4-lane Freedom-Bridge to Venice (signposted). The parking garage Tronchetto Venice also has rates for short term parking, but 3 hours already cost 11 euros. In Tronchetto there are also parking spaces for campers, buses and some other bigger vehicles. Of course, these parking with bigger vehicles costs more. Not all parking lots have a roof.
If you have a ticket for water buses (Vaporetti), parking in Tronchetto is not bad. You pay a little less for parking and can go directly into a vaporetto (water bus) line 2. This line goes for example to Piazzale Roma, train station (Santa Lucia), to the famous Rialto Bridge and to San Marco (St. Mark's Square, St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace etc.).
In addition, in Tronchetto there are, according to our impression, fewer queues than at the three more central parking garages. If the arrival is in the middle of the night, Tronchetto is not quite so well suited. The water buses also have night lines, but these do not leave very often. In Venice, there is generally not much going on at night.
An alternative exists if you have a lot of money. You can also take a water taxi from the parking garages or the main train station (see prices water taxi Venice) to your hotel. These water taxis are very expensive in Venice. With 50 euros you do not get far, even for 2 or 3 miles you pay much more.
Illegal Parking Venice: Almost every attempt to illegally park in Venice is very expensive and usually ends in towing the vehicle.
Porters: Those who can not or do not want to carry their suitcases and bags themselves can order a porter. These young, strong men usually have a handcart and government-fixed rates. The luggage service from Venice brings the luggage to the hotel. Porters in Venice, for example, wait in front of the station for customers. The service is not cheap, like almost everything in Venice. Always ask for the price before. As the owner of a wheeled suitcase, you should remember that in Venice you have to go up and down many bridges with steps. In addition, there are much older, uneven cobblestones.