Our guide to Venezia S. L. station explains what to look out for when using the station in the historic heart of Venice and how to connect to the water buses and the bus stations.
It isn't the station buildings at Venice S.Lucia that earned it a place on our list of Europe's awe inspiring stations
They're not the best example of the Art Deco inspired 'house' style that was applied to the majority of major Italian stations in the 1930s - that honour can be claimed by Firenze S.M.Novella.
What does give Venezia S.Lucia train station its wow factor is its location.
The views from the steps of a station don't get any better than this!
Arrive in the city by boat and you enter the historic heart of Venezia/Venice by its back doors, but if you take the train, your first clear sight of the city is the stunning vista over The Grand Canal.
Venice/Venezia has two main stations:
(1) Venezia Mestre is on the mainland and serves the modern part of the city
(2) Venezia Santa Lucia/Venice S. Lucia this station, which is located on the banks on the Grand Canal.
So if you’re visiting historic Venice/Venezia, specify when booking a ticket, that you want to travel to Venezia S. Lucia.
Also take care to select the right station when booking online.
If you have a ticket to Venezia Mestre it WON'T be valid for journeys to Venezia S. Lucia.
And that’s because Venezia Mestre is some distance from Venezia S. Lucia - it takes 8-15 minutes to travel between the two stations by train.
Virtually all* trains from destinations to the south and west, heading to Venezia S. Lucia call first at Venezia Mestre.
So if you’re heading to Venezia S. Lucia take care not to leave the train there.
*Some Frecce and IC trains to/from Venezia/Venice only call at Venezia Mestre; this particularly applies to express trains to/from Trieste and Udine.
If you want to take one of these trains to/from Venice you can make the transfer between Venezia Mestre and Venezia S. Lucia stations by Regionale train.
Though when doing so, make sure your ticket is valid for the journey between Venezia Mestre and Venezia S. Lucia; in other words specifically select S.Lucia station when booking online, or make if clear when using a ticket desk or agent, that you want to travel to Venezia S. Lucia.
Venezia S. Lucia station can be easily accessed by taking the water bus routes to the piers named 'Ferrovia' which are located immediately in front of the station.
A short flight of steps spans the front of the station building, but on the far left as you face the station, there is sloped strep-free access into the terminal building.
The station is a terminus, meaning that the main concourse has level access to the binari (platforms/tracks) which the trains depart from.
The number of stores and food/drink outlets at Venezia S.Lucia has increased in recent years, so you'll be able to pick up any travel essentials; or have a bite to eat between trains.
The small pizzeria at the terminal end of binario 1 was particularly good.
All of these outlets and stores are on the one level between the entrance and the trains.
Departing from Venezia St Lucia by train is always a memorable experience by daylight, particularly if you’re sat on the right, because then you will be sat on the opposite side of the train, to the road link bridge that connects the city to the mainland.
So from the right you can appreciate the views over the Venetian lagoon that stretch off into the distance.
You can find out which binario/platform your train will be departing from using the electronic indicators.
Make sure you're looking at ‘Partenze’ departures and not 'Arrivia' arrivals; it’s easy to confuse the two.
There are also paper departure 'Partenze' posters, which list all the trains in consecutive order; though they include trains only running on certain days of the week
If the electronic departure information is different to the paper departure posters, then ignore the posters and follow the info on the electronic screens!
Some Regionale trains depart from the open air platforms/binario, which are located to the left side of the main concourse (when facing the trains).
There is an exit, to the left of the main concourse that gives access to these platforms/binario.
Don’t forget to stamp your ticket before boarding any Regionale (REG or RGV) train
Accessing the exit and changing trains at Venezia S. Lucia by train is comparatively straightforward, because like most terminus stations, the platforms (binari), the concourse, the ticket office and exits are all on one level.
When exiting the station there is sloped access down to the pavement level, which can be used for wheeling suitcases; the slope is at the far right of the steps that lead down from the main exit.
When you leave the platforms/binari, you now need to negotiate the maze of shops to reach the main exit, but a breath-taking experience awaits you!
The station is located on the left bank of The Grand Canal, so as you exit the station there is a magnificent view of San Simeone Piccolo church on the opposite bank.
The 'Ferrovia' water bus stops on the Grand Canal are right by the station exit.
To the right, as you face The Grand Canal, are piers D and E - from where you can catch routes 1 and 2 down the Grand Canal towards San Marco.
Most of the most popular sights in historic Venezia/Venice can be easily reached from Santa Lucia station by water bus.
The water bus piers at Venezia. S. Lucia station are named 'Ferrovia' and they are immediately in front of the station.
To the right, as you face The Grand Canal, are piers D and E from where you can catch Routes 1 and 2 down the Grand Canal towards San Marco.
Route 1 stops at every pier on the canal, but route 2 skips some piers.
To the left are piers B and C which is where the water buses to Murano depart from.
Route 3 is the express water bus to Murano.
Long queues can build up at the ticket booths, but there are also ticket machines, hidden around the back of the ticket offices, which have good English translation, so are relatively easy to use.
So a tip is give the machines a try and only join the queue if you can't figure them out.
Rover tickets are available, including day tickets, which allow you to hop and off the water buses.
An element of Venice’s charm is the quest to locate the hotel you’re staying in - if you don’t want to resort to a water taxi.
However, this isn’t such fun after a long train journey, particularly if you have luggage.
So the hotels below are either on the same island, Cannaregio, on which Venezia Santa Lucia station is located - or on the opposite bank of The Grand Canal facing the station.
The area around the station is also the smartest part of Canaregio, but there are no 5*star hotels in this part of Venice.
Also there is no need to be concerned about staying a comparatively long distance from the heart of Venice - there’s few holiday experiences that are more fabulous than taking a water bus along the Grand Canal from/to your hotel.
Hotels within 5 min walk of Venezia Santa Lucia Station:
Worth knowing is that there are comparatively few Regionale train departures FROM Venezia S. Lucia between 09:00 and 12:00.
So ideally plan day trips to other towns and cities before you arrive at the station.
When departing before midday, the only viable option may be to take a more expensive AV (Frecce) train, but even for shorter distance trips, you will save money on those trains by booking in advance.
Exploring Veneto from Venezia/Venice by train:
Adding a couple of day trips by train is a great means of enhancing a stay in Venezia/Venice.
Venezia St, Lucia station is located on The Grand Canal and frequent water buses stop right outside.
Regionale Veloce/Regional trains link Venezia with:
In common with all other Regionale services in Italy the trains operate more frequently after midday than they do in the mornings.
Most of these routes have at least an hourly service AFTER 12:00 on Mon-Fr, but some routes have no departures between around 09:00 and noon.
All routes have a less frequent service at weekends.
So looking up the train times on the Trenitalia website is highly recommended; particularly if you want to set off from Venezia in the mornings on Mon-Fri - and any time at weekends.
If you want to spend a full day in Verona and don’t want to set off very early in the morning, it can be a good idea to take a Frecciarossa train from Venezia mid-morning; then return by Regionale Veloce train in the evening.
If you want to do this, then you can make big savings by booking the Frecce train online; at least a couple of days ahead.
Austrian rail operator OBB provides a bus service between Venezia/Venice and both Villach and Klagenfurt stations.
These buses depart from and arrive at Venezia Tronchetto bus station, which has its own water bus stop.
The water bus on route 2 can be the best option when making a transfer, because the pedestrian route from Venezia S. Lucia to Venezia Tronchetto is comparatively confusing.
Turn right from the station exit, walk along the Grand Canal and over the footbridge.
Ahead of you will be a bus station, but this is NOT Venezia Tronchetto, instead you have arrived at the Piazzale Roma bus station
To access Venezia Tronchetto you need to take a people mover, that resembles an over-ground Metro.
The stop for the people mover is located at the opposite side of Piazzale Roma, hidden out of sight, behind an apartment building; look for the easy to miss ‘People Mover’ sign on the side of the building.
If you want to travel from Venezia to Trieste by train, make sure you have the right ticket.
There are two routes:
(1) via Monfalcone (which is faster by 25 mins)
(2) via Treviso and Udine.
If you buy a ticket that isn’t for the route via Udine, it won’t be valid on those trains - so check the departure boards before boarding.
Don’t jump on a train to Trieste via Udine because it is the next to depart, - you may need to hang back for a train via Monfalcone.
This is one of more than 300 station guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.