When it comes to driving in Venice, how does it work?
As I suspect you will already know by now, Venice is a city built on more than 100 islands, connected by bridges and divided by a host of pretty impressive canals.
The Lagoon city is an intricate tangle of narrow alleys and small squares and the best way to move around is on foot, by vaporetto (water bus) or with a water taxi.
Anybody that has had the chance to see even just a picture or a short video of Venice at least once knows all the above, but many newcomers can’t seem to get their head around it, and repeatedly ask themselves: are there cars in Venice?
Driving in Venice
When it comes to visiting Venice this is one question I often get asked and it’s usually due to the misconception that cars don’t exist in Venice.
To kick off this guide I would like to start by answering the following question:
Are there cars in Venice?
Quick Answer: No, there are no cars moving around Venice but on arrival you can park your car/motorbike/camper van in Venice historic centre.
In other words, Venice is a car-free city, but it is possible to reach the city by car or motorbike. What you can’t do is move around by car or with a motorbike (because there are no roads) and the only ways to get around Venice (other than on foot) are by vaporetto (water bus) and water taxi. I hope this distinction makes sense.
This answer now leads me to another popular question worth answering:
Can you visit Venice by car?
Yes, you can visit Venice by car, but you can only get as far as the historic centre of Venice in your vehicle. This ultimately means that you’ll have to park your car in Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto, which are the two main car parking sites of the city.
Alternatively you can park in Mestre, Marghera or in the surrounding area (Punta Sabbioni or Fusina) where it’s cheaper and from there you can get public transport such as the train, water bus and land bus to get to Venice.
One having arrived in Venice you then have the freedom to move around on foot, by water bus, or by water taxi. For most visitors, walking is the most rewarding way to explore the city and this is why I usually suggest specific footwear, but you can see my guide on what to wear in Venice for more ideas on how to dress while here.
Renting a car in Venice
Whether Venice is the first stop of your road trip in Veneto or Italy or you simply like the freedom of driving a car during your trip, you can 100% rent a car in Venice.
You have 3 options when it comes to hiring a car in Venice:
💡 Local Tip: for travellers who want to move around the best solution is to rent a car from the airport where prices are usually cheaper.
It is worth renting a car in Venice?
Yes, rent a car in Venice if you’re planning to visit more places in the Veneto region, other places in northern Italy or even other parts of the country!
For anyone on their way to Venice and thinking of renting a car while here…
This is what I recommend that you do:
Why do I suggest that you rent a car in Venice before or after your stay in the city?
Firstly, because you can’t actually move around Venice by car and secondly because parking in Venice is expensive when you weigh up all the costs.
Yes, you can save money by parking in Mestre or other locations of Venice mainland, but that means getting on the train or bus to reach Venice.
It simply makes much more sense to visit Venice first or after your road trip/holidays. Be sure to read this guide on how to get from Marco Polo airport to Venice and how to get from Treviso airport to Venice if you’ll be arriving to the Venice by air.
Where to park in Venice?
Take it from me, finding parking in Venice is not an easy task.
There are no free parking spaces and therefore you need to park your car or motorbike in one of the garages located near the train and bus station.
See the map below which illustrates where to park in Venice:
A positive side of parking in Venice is that you’re close to your car and can walk or get a vaporetto to reach more places in the city. The negative side is that it is pricey.
So let’s take a look now at where you can park in Venice historic centre and in the mainland. This way you’ll be able to make an informed decision based on your travel plans and ideally save yourself some money along the way.
That way, you can treat yourself to a gelato or some Venetian street food instead.
The Tronchetto car park is located in the Isola Nuova, a small artificial island in Venice at the ‘access point’ of the city.
The island is close to Piazzale Roma and here you can find:
- Car parks
- A tourist terminal
- Vaporetto connections
These are designed for you to reach the tourist attractions in Venice such as San Marco and Rialto (by water bus line 2 during the day and line N during the night).
From the Tronchetto island you can get to Piazzale Roma in just 4 minutes by People Mover, a rapid shuttle service via land funicular.
In addition, there are ferries that could transport your car or motorbike if you’re planning to visit the Venice Lido.
Like with all car parks in Venice, there are limited spaces so I highly recommend that you book your slot online and in as far in as advance as possible.
From the official website you can check the rates, save money by booking in advance and, more than anything, guarantee that you will find a spot upon your arrival.
Piazzale Roma is the closest point where you can park to the city’s main attractions. Unfortunately, parking here it’s complicated and you can probably find a car park space in one of the few garages located near the bus station.
The largest car park is the Autorimessa Comunale, with its 2044 car spaces and 300 motorcycle spaces (distributed over 6 floors, with 10 parking rooms and 2 terraces).
Another city’s garage is the Garage San Marco, where you have an electric car you can charge it.
A few meters away from the garages, there are a few vaporetto stops that will allow you to easily get all around the city, as well as the islands of the lagoon.
The garages are open 24/7 and the daily rates depend on the vehicle size and type. Book your car parking spot in advance at the Autorimessa Comunale here.
You can save money by booking the ‘single 24h rate’ online (payment by credit card) by midnight of the day before the arrival date.
Book your car parking space in advance at the Garage San Marco here.
Parking in Mestre is a valid alternative to parking in Venice and will make you save money too. Car parks in Mestre are not only affordable, but even well-connected via public transport to Venice city centre.
You can either get a train, bus or tram to get to the Lagoon city in a matter of minutes and at any time during the day.
There are several car parks near Venezia Mestre train station that don’t cost much and have a lot of space.
The most popular is the Parcheggio Saba Venezia Mestre, but you can find plenty of other options in the area.
You can walk to Venice Mestre station and get to Venice Santa Lucia, the terminal station of Venice, by train in under 10 minutes. Other car parking can be found in Corso del Popolo, Ca’ Marcello, via Torino and Piazzale Candiani.
Tips for driving in Venice
Driving in Venice FAQs
Driving in Venice
Before travelling to the Lagoon city, many tourists ask themselves if there are cars in Venice? And wonder if there are no cars, how do people move around?
In Venice, canals are like normal roads in any other city in the world.
Residents get around Venice mainly on foot, frequently by water bus and sometimes by water taxi. You can read more about getting around Venice here.
By reading this guide, you should know now that you can get to Venice by car and that there are a couple of dedicated car parking sites where you can leave your car.
All car parks are close to vaporetto stops so you can get on one at any time during the day and night to reach your hotel or attractions.
See my post on things to do in Venice to give you ideas on what to do while here.
📌 Like this article? Click to Pin it…
If you found this Venice travel guide helpful, feel free to buy me a virtual coffee here.
“Dear traveller! Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you click through and make a tour booking or reserve a hotel, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Your support means a lot to me and helps me to keep creating and maintaining the quality of this site for you.”