Should I rent a car in Venice?

Surely, when it comes to considering whether or not to get a hire car, it doesn’t get more obvious than Venice?

Do you need to rent a car in Venice?

Why? Why not? Ratings Notes Comments

Congestion | Fuel Prices | Parking | Buses | Trams | Metro | Trains | Walking | Cycling | Road trips

Welcome to Carornocar, where we provide answers to questions about whether or not it's worth renting a car when on holiday / vacation in 300 key destinations around the world. These questions typically boil down to three key areas:

First impressions

Would you hire a car in Venice?

Based on conversations with people who have visited, or who are thinking about visiting Venice, these are typical "first impressions" on the question of car hire: Typical initial reactions:
  • "Do we need a car in Venice"?
  • "Is it worth renting a car in Venice"?
  • "Should people hire a car in Venice"?
This gives us a starting point to look at the car and non-car options in Venice. Are general expectations here about right, or can we offer some surprise suggestions on reasons why you might be better off with or without a car? We've reviewed 300 cities around the world - exactly half of these are places where we do advise car hire, and the other half are places where we don't - so you'll get an honest answer each and every time!

For full details of how we review each city, please see our ratings guide.

Some key city data

Congestion in Venice

Should I avoid hiring a car in Venice because of congestion? High levels of congestion can be a serious irritation when you are trying to get around as a tourist. These congestion levels apply to the urban area, not the roads outside it.
  • Congestion rate = additional journey time percentage due to congestion (compared to periods when roads are empty).
  • Congestion data is for the city and suburbs, not for the area around it.
  • Ranking data is provided by Tom Tom Congestion index.
  • Estimates are made by Carornocar, for cities where no Tom Tom data is available.

Fuel prices in Venice

Should I avoid hiring a car in Venice because of fuel prices?
€€ / LITRE$ / GALLON£ / litreRelative SFO
€ 1.50$8.10£1.35215
  • Prices compared in $/litre in August 2017.
  • Conversion to € and £ are at mid-market rates.
  • Prices rounded to nearest 5c/p. The aim is to show a comparison between cities, rather than an exact price.
  • There will always be variations within the same city, and these are usually larger than variations at a national level, except for countries like the USA, where fuel prices vary from state to state.
  • "Relative SFO" = fuel price relative to San Francisco. We use this as it's an example of somewhere that has a relatively high fuel cost compared to other places in the USA, but a low cost compared to European prices.

Does Venice have a tram network?

Is it worth hiring a car in Venice, or are public transport options good enough? A tram network is a useful means of getting around a city. For small to medium sized cities, it's often the fastest way of moving through the city. In larger cities, trams may supplement more comprehensive underground or other rapid transit systems. Even if you do hire a car in Venice, staying near a busy public transport stop on the edge of town can be a good value option, as you'll often get free hotel parking, and you can easily commute into the centre.
n/aLight rail

Does Venice have a metro system?

Do I need a car in Venice or should I use the metro? Do I need to hire a car in Venice, or can I get around using the metro and other train or bus services? A metro system, also known as an underground, subway, rapid transit (or tube in London) can provide very fast local transport around a city, and often into the suburbs around it. For visitors, a metro system can be extremely useful for getting to major places of interest, and also for getting to and from hotels which are away from the centre.

Cycling Rates in Venice

A high cycling rate is a good indication of a city with a well balanced transport system. Cities with high levels of cycling are usually easy to walk around too, and you can also expect excellent public transport in most cases.
RankGlobal RankCycling RateNotes
  • Usually, cycle hire is an option to consider alongside local buses, trams and trains, but in some cases it might be the best means to get around for most or all of the time.

Road trips from Venice

Is an ideal place from which to start a road trip?
ROUND ITALYRome, Naples, Sorrento, Bari, Rimini, Mestre (Venice), Calalzo di Cadore (Cortina), Lake Garda, Milan, Rapallo (Cinque Terre), Pisa, Siena, Rome 2,604 3379
  • Any suggestion above may be for a sample one week road trip from Venice.
  • If no road trip is mentioned, this might just be because we haven't researched one yet.
  • Suggesting a road trip from Venice doesn't mean we do or don't think renting a car here is a good idea (compared to other options) - it's just a suggestion for where you might want to go if you do.
  • By "road trip", we mean renting a car from Venice, driving it around in a circuit, and then returning it to the same place, usually around one week later.

Well, actually, we happen to think that getting a hire car in Venice is an extremely good idea.

Why should you rent a car in Venice?

Venice rental basics

There's a lot more to renting a car than the cost of the hire alone, but it's a good place to start when trying to decide whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Venice.

How much will a week's car hire in Venice?

The table below looks at the lowest price we've found and then compares it with the costs of a typical one week's summer peak time car hire in Venice. The very cheapest economy cars are often only 2/3 door models, so we've also included a guide price for one week of peak time rental of a "reasonably" sized car - but nothing too large or too fancy, just a simple set of wheels to get a group of 4 or small family around in Venice.

Rental TypePrice (£)Price ($)Price €(€)
Off peak£67$8774 €
Peak£115$150127 €
Peak 4 door+£115$150127 €

Notes - Cheapest price is usually spring or autumn. Prices researched in June 2017 for November 2017 (off-peak) or March 2018 (southern hemisphere). Peak is based on a last minute summer booking in August 2017.

These are basic sample rental prices, with full-full fuel deals, but with no extras of any kind. (user guide).

These prices are NOT an offer of car rental in Venice, but merely an indication of guide prices for comparison.


Back to top Why not? Ratings Comments

General tips on car rental in Venice

Needless to say, the question of “Should I rent a car in Venice” is never about the historic centre, or any of the islands around the Lido, but when you start to look outside the city, you can start to make quite a strong case:

  1. Dolomites — quite simply there is so much more beyond Venice than canals and gondolas, and the Dolomites in particular are absolutely stunning. Whether you want to go hiking, skiing or climbing, a hire car is going to make everything much easier.
  2. National Parks — If you head up the A27 autopista to Ponte nelle Alpi, you will then find the Dolomiti Bellunesi national park on your left and the Dolomiti Friulane national park on your right. Further to the northwest, you can also visit the Pale di San Martino natural park.
  3. Slovenia – with a hire car, you can easily pop across into neighbouring Slovenia and explore the Triglav National Park. Given how bad public transport is at the top end of the Adriatic, continuing in to Croatia isn’t such a bad idea either – although one-way rentals will cost you.
  4. City tour — architecture pundits will also want to visit cities like Padua and Mantua. Mantua in particular has notable works by Alberti, and is rated as one of the most “liveable” cities in Italy.
    Although these can be done by train, a car gives the flexibility to enjoy the cities and landscapes and villages between them.
  5. Beaches — there are plenty of great beaches around Venice, and a hire car is good for getting around here to.
  6. Easy hire car access — Venice Marco Polo airport is a short ferry journey from the city, so it is easy to combine a trip into Venice itself with getting a hire car for the rest of your stay. Alternatively, hire cars are also available near to Santa Lucia station, or at Mestre station, the first mainland stop.
    Check about picking up in one place and dropping off somewhere else, it may well just be cheaper to pickup and drop-off your hire car at the airport.
  7. Plan B – Venice is one of those cities that everyone should visit at least once, but at the wrong time of year it can be quite literally overloaded with people, or sometimes Venice quite literally stinks! Whilst Venice is too good to miss, even if you are then heading on somewhere else, it is worth having other options available in case you get fed up after being there for a couple of days. In this respect, it is at least worth having a hire car as an option.

Will your Venice hotel have free parking?

We've compared hotel listings from 300 cities to see which places tend to have the most hotels with free parking. We've compared Venice here with the average, the highest and the lowest ratings.

173163811%LOWVERY LOWIf you actually want to stay in the historic centre of Venice, then simply use one of the large parking garages on the edge of the city, but this is pointless with a rental car. It's much more logical to see the city first, and then pick up a car once you are done.

For full details and notes see - free parking notes.

Why not? Venice without a car

Back to top Why? Ratings Comments

Then again, visiting Venice wirthout a car, even if you are planning on travelling well beyond the city limits, is hardly a problem either:

  1. Obvious isn’t it? Venice is a city of canals and narrow back streets. It goes without saying that as there is no room in Venice for cars, then if you are only planning on staying within the city itself, there is of course no need to even contemplate getting one.
  2. Getting around – Although a gondola ride will set you back a good few euros (haggle hard), getting around Venice is actually surprisingly easy, whether by water bus (vaporetto) or simply on foot. If it is gimmicks that you are after, you can evn take a ride on the Venice People Mover, which connects Tronchetto Island with Piazzale Roma.
  3. Lido – Venice isn’t just about the Grand Canal and St Mark’s Square, you may also want to get out and explore around the Lido. Many of these islands are also car free, so you are still best off without one.
  4. Central Train – any visitors arriving in Venice by train will appreciate that they are already in the heart of the city when they disembark at Santa Lucia station. Simply walk through the station concourse and you exit straight onto the Grand Canal. It doesn’t get better than that! For anyone with an interest in modern aswell as classical architecture, take a brief detour to the right and there you will see the highly controversial Constitution Bridge. This was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, altough its simple arch structure is a lot less flamboyant than many of this other works.
  5. Tour by train — you can easily visit nearby towns and cities by train, and you can also combine a visit to Venice with other major northern Italian city such as Milan and Florence. Those three cities make a nice triangle.
  6. Adriatic by boat or bus – you can take ferries to various points in Croatia from Venice, or you can take bus connections via Trieste. Although these are nothing like as convenient as having a hire car, you can at least travel along the coast in one direction, so you might get to see a lot more. Depending on your itinerary, you could head towards fantastic Dubrovnik via Split, or perhaps end up in the stunning Plitvice Lakes, and head out via the Croatian capital Zagreb.

Conclusionto enjoy the numerous attractions which are within the hinterland of Venice itself, a hire car is an extremely good idea.

Verdict — yes

Note — although Venice is not a major intercontinental hub airport, a good network of flights to Venice is available from across Europe. Some budget flights will use Venice Treviso airport, which is around 30 km to the north. If you are getting a hire car anyway, it won’t make that much difference which airport you are using, but for a short break in Venice itself without getting a hire car, it is much easier to use Marco Polo airport. The nearest major hub is Malpensa Airport outside Milan, from where regular trains are available to Venice, with a change in Milan Centrale.

What do we think? Our ratings:

Trains & trams
Buses & coaches
Boat trips

What do you think? Your ratings:

Trains & trams
Buses & coaches
Boat trips
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Venice Road Ratings

So, is it worth hiring a car in Venice?

Swingometer Scale (Relative)

Star Ratings (Absolute)

Do you need a car in Venice?
No way!

All images (C) 1999-2017, unless otherwise stated.




Venice car hire comments

Venice Car Hire Comments

  • Do you think you need a car in Venice?
  • In terms of value for money, do you think it's worth hiring a car in Venice?
  • Do you think visitors should rent a car in Venice?


This advice is based on a combination of visiting Venice and additional online research, including looking at maps, streetview, driving directions and public transport timings.

Venice was last visited by Carornocar in 2015. Updated research has been ongoing throughout 2017.

Have you driven in Venice?

If you have your own Venice car hire tips, or have suggestions on whether or not you need a car in Venice, please share them below.

When is it worth hiring a car in Venice?

Do you feel that car hire in Venice is good value for money, or do you think other options are better value? Would you answer the same, regardless of time of year? If you were visiting here for the first time, would you rent a car in Venice?


One thought on “Venice

  1. I don’t think your advice gets more silly than this!

    OF COURSE nobody should get a hire car in Venice – why on earth would you? I think to start suggesting excursions to the Dolomites or cities which are well inland is simply to miss the whole point about why people fly here in the first place!

    Maybe you have one or two tips which might be of interest to the second time visitor, but hiring a car first time round is totally daft.

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