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The island city of Venice is one of the world’s most beautiful places to visit – and it is also one of the best bases for exploring the fascinating north-east corner of Italy. Renting a car at Venice Marco Polo International Airport helps you get around nearby beaches and reach the city itself via a long causeway. It also helps you explore the Italian Lakes.
We’ve got a car hire pick-up location in the heart of Venice Airport so we can help you get on your way quickly and efficiently. Our office is easy to find, whether you’ve just arrived on a flight or you’re dropping off a car.
Our operation at Venice Airport features our famous best-price guarantee, so in the unlikely event that you find a hire car cheaper anywhere in the area, we’ll refund the difference in full.
If you rent a car at Venice Airport you’ll be able to drive to the fabulous city itself and tour less-crowded parts of the city on the mainland, including the Lido beaches. Venice also makes a great base to tour the wider Veneto region.
You’ll find that Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport stands on the mainland, five miles from the city. There’s a spectacular route to the old city, on the SS11. You’ll drive just above the lagoon on the Ponte della Liberta, the Freedom Bridge, and see the towers and spires of the islands appearing before you. You can park on the nearest island, Santa Croce or the man-made island of Tronchetto.
Back on the mainland, you’ll find the rest of the area has a comprehensive road system. It’s easy to reach anywhere in Italy’s gorgeous Veneto region, including the historic cities of Vicenza, Padua, and Treviso. And you’ll be able to drive or take car ferries directly to the Lido beaches.
The A57 motorway is right at the end of airport access road, the Raccordo Marco Polo. The A57 can whisk you to Palmanova and Portogruaro to the north-east or Padua to the southwest. Or take the A27 for a quick route north towards Treviso.
The roads of northern Italy are as safe and easy as most of the middle of Europe. And you’ll find that the driving rules are similar too. You’ll be limited to a top speed of 80mph on motorways (but 68mph in the wet) and 68mph on dual carriageways (55mph in the wet). In built-up areas the speed limit is 31mph.
The historic heart of Venice is one of the biggest attractions in the world. The surrounding lagoon has helped preserve the city like a charming museum of beautiful old buildings around a network of canals.
The other islands are worth exploring too and plenty of parts of the surrounding mainland. Further, afield Venice makes a great base to visit the other great sights of northeast Italy.
The Island of San Marco
Whether you arrive at Venice Airport for work or pleasure, it’s worth taking the short trip to the old city on the Island of San Marco. Park on the adjoining Santa Croce Island, and stroll across bridges to explore the maze of pedestrian walkways of the city. The highlight is St Mark’s Square, an open piazza with fabulous views across the water. It helps you capture the grandeur of this once-powerful Mediterranean imperial city.
Here you’ll be able to see Doge’s Palace, an impressively ornate home of the former ruler, and St Mark’s Basilica, an enormous church at the heart of the city. Take a gondola ride, to the instantly recognizable landmark of the Rialto Bridge, a delicately decorated footbridge over a canal.
It’s not all about the big sights, though: the whole of Venice is the sight. So take the time to wander the amazing back streets and quieter footpaths alongside canals.
Back on dry land
The city has spread onto the mainland and here you’ll find a different kind of Venice, without canals, gondolas, and famous attractions. Many visitors find this is a good place to stay during their visit: you can escape the crowds and high prices of the islands. The shops and restaurants are much more normal, and it’s much easier to park.
You can drive around the shore of the lagoon to get views of the islands in the middle. One of the best areas is the spit of land to the northeast of the Lido. Resorts like Lido di Jesolo and Cavallino have good beaches and make relaxed bases for visiting the area.
The Venice Lido is a long thin island where the Lagoon meets the Adriatic Sea. There are plenty of car ferries to help the locals who live and work on this seven-mile-long beach resort.
Exploring the wider Veneto
Head southwest to find Padua, one of the best of Italy’s little-known provincial treasures. It’s full of great old buildings and monuments but not crowds. Look out for the three-story medieval courthouse and the church with renaissance wall paintings by Giotto.
It’s a much further drive to the west to find the Italian Lakes but they’re worth it. There are three main lakes for tourists: historic Maggiore, sporty Garda, and glamorous Como. Explore the smaller lakes if you want to escape the crowds; Lakes Orta and Iseo are as beautiful as any sights in northern Italy.