Hiring a car in Venice

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Hiring a car in Venice

Pick up your hire car at Venice airport and fall in love with this most romantic and unique city.

60-second guide to Venice

in its own head...

"Come on, everyone knows this is the most beautiful, romantic city on the planet. How many others are built on water and can boast some of the most decorative architecture in the world?"

...but more realistically

Yes, Venice is certainly unique, beautiful and romantic. Everyone deserves to visit this city at least once.

The vibe

Once you've bobbed about the Venetian waterways on a gondola, pull up a chair in St Mark's Square, grab an espresso and watch the world go by.

The natives

The locals are used to visitors, expect a warm welcome.

The weather

Like most European cities, you can expect mild weather in the spring, heat in the summer and rain in autumn and winter.

The local speciality

Unsurprisingly, Venetian cuisine is based largely on fish. Try the local cuttlefish dishes, but beware of inflated prices in some restaurants.

The celebrity

Marco Polo, the 13th century explorer got the exploration bug from navigating around the Venetian canal system.

Did you know?

Amazingly, there are fewer than 20 plumbers throughout the whole city of Venice.

They say...

“With the world’s most artistic masterpieces per square kilometre, you’d think the city would take it easy, maybe rest on its laurels. But Venice refuses to retire from the inspiration business.” – Lonely Planet

5 to see in town...

1. St Mark's Square

San Marco Piazza is the most impressive square in Venice and the focal point of the city - not least for thousands of pigeons

Where to park:

Venice is built on water, so your hire car is going to be useful for getting out into the surrounding area, but not in the city itself. One place to leave your car before jumping on a water taxi or gondola is the six-storey, 2,300-space ASM garage at Piazzale Roma near the train station. It charges a flat fee of €24 for every 24 hours.

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2. Basilica dei Frari

The Frari is the grandest of the three gothic churches in Venice. Inside are some fine works of art, including Donatello's figure of St John the Baptist.

Where to park:

You'll need a water taxi to get here, though another place to leave your car in the city is the 3,500-space car park on the artificial island of Tronchetto, located on the right at the end of the Ponte della Liberta causeway. Fees start from €3 per hour or €20 a day.

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3. The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is pretty hard to avoid as it's the major route through the city. Take a boat up the waterway and check out the beautiful buildings that line its banks.

Where to park:

If you're coming in to Venice from mainland Italy, there's a car park opposite the rail station at Mestre which charges €6 a day on weekdays or €10 at weekends. From there you can catch a train to Venezia Santa Lucia, which faces the Grand Canal.

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4. Clock Tower

The clock tower in St Mark's Square is Venice's answer to a Rolex - it was built in the late 1400s to show off the city's wealth.

Where to park:

Another place to leave your hire car before hitting the water is the car park managed by the Italian Automobile Club at Punta Sabbioni on the Jesolo Lido. From here, ferries to Venice run every half an hour.

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5. Rialto Bridge

The Rialto is a spectacular way to cross the Grand Canal. The ornate stone structure is lined with shops so it's easy to get distracted while you're walking from one side to the other.

Where to park:

Yet another car park is that of the Marco Polo 2002, near the Marco Polo airport. Rates range from €2.50 for six hours to €27 for a week. From here the Alilaguna Orange line sails to Rialto in 54 minutes.

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and 4 to drive to...

1. The Dolomites

The north-eastern section of the Alps are a mecca for anyone who enjoys winter sports, while there are plenty of activities in the summer months to keep you occupied as well.

How to get there:

Take the A27 north once you are out of Venice. It takes about two and a half hours to get to the Dolomites.

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2. Padova

The nearby city of Padova was the setting for Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. Check out Giotto's famous frescoes at the Scrovegni Chapel, which is airlocked to preserve the ancient works.

How to get there:

Head out of Venice on the SR11, then onto the A4. It's a 50-minute journey to Padova.

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3. Verona

Verona's ancient arena is the city's answer to the Roman Colosseum and is well worth a visit, along with Juliet's balcony.

How to get there:

It's an hour and 30 minutes to Verona. Take the A4/E70 west once you've left Venice.

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4. Lake Garda

Italy's biggest lake is surrounded by pretty towns. The picturesque Gardone Riviera has an attractive waterfront promenade with some lovely beaches, which are perfect for paddling.

How to get there:

It should take around two hours to get to Lake Garda. Head west on the A4/E70 and head north on the SS45bis.

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