Rent a Car for Travel in Venice

Known as the “Floating City”, Venice is a one-of-a-kind destination built across over 100 islands. While boats reign supreme, renting a car allows access to the mainland areas surrounding Venice to experience more of the magic and culture of the Venetian lagoon region.

Benefits of Renting a Car for Venice

Having your own set of wheels provides advantages for travelers in Venice:

Access Mainland Attractions

A rental car makes visiting sights on the mainland easy, like the colorful Burano and Murano islands, scenic vineyards, and Renaissance towns.

Flexibility to Explore

With a car you can visit attractions at your own pace instead of relying on water taxi or gondola schedules. Modify plans on the fly.

Visit Less Touristy Areas

Escape the crowded San Marco area to less touristy but equally as charming neighborhoods such as Cannaregio. Driving makes this easy.

Transport Purchases

Fill up on wine, glasswork, and other Made in Italy mementos. A car makes getting purchases home easy.

Potential Cost Savings

For longer stays, having a rental car could save money compared to paying individually for airport transfers, trains, water taxis, etc.

Booking Your Venice Rental Car

If you decide to rent a car in Venice, keep these tips in mind:

Pickup/Dropoff Location

Pick up your car at Marco Polo Airport or Tronchetto island parking to avoid driving directly into Venice’s maze of pedestrian streets.

Reserve Early

Book your rental car well in advance since inventory is limited. Last minute Venice rentals will be expensive.

Compare Rates

Search rental sites for best deals. Consider package deals that include GPS, toll passes, or other options for savings.

Choose Parking Carefully

Research parking costs and policies at your hotel or rental. Public parking in Venice is extremely limited and expensive.

Add Insurance

Verify insurance requirements for Italy. Consider added coverage as personal insurance may exclude international rentals.

Avoid Peak Times

Try to avoid picking up or dropping off your car during busy tourist seasons when rental locations will be swamped.

Navigating Venice by Car

Driving in and around Venice requires awareness and preparation:

Avoid Cars in Venice Proper

Once in Venice, park your car and get around by foot or boat. Only residents can drive in most areas.

Prepare for Narrow Roads

Streets on the mainland and islands are notoriously narrow. Smaller cars have an easier time navigating tight spaces.

Use Ferries as Bridges

Car ferries connect mainland Venice to nearby islands like Murano. Use ferries to “drive” between areas.

Watch for Pedestrians

Drive slowly, watch for pedestrians suddenly appearing from between buildings in towns and villages.

Get an International Driving Permit

Consider obtaining an IDP to pair with your native license for simplified police interactions if pulled over.

Let GPS Guide You

Navigation apps are invaluable for finding your way on Venice’s winding, tricky streets. Just don’t rely on GPS fully.

Top Mainland Day Trips from Venice

Having your own car makes visiting popular mainland destinations quick and convenient:

Murano and Burano

See world-famous glassmaking on Murano. Explore brightly colored homes on picture-perfect Burano.


Famous as the setting for Romeo and Juliet, Verona charms with medieval castles and ancient Roman ruins.


This elegant town contains masterpieces of 16th century architecture attributed to Andrea Palladio.


A lively university town with a historic center, the Basilica of St. Anthony, and Scrovegni Chapel filled with Giotto frescoes.


Enjoy wine and slow food in this quintessential northern Italian town lined with winding canals and arches.

Types of Rental Cars in Venice

Agencies in Venice offer a range of vehicles well-suited for navigating the region:


Great for solo travelers and pairs with good mileage to get around Venice economically. Examples: Fiat Panda, Ford Fiesta.


Decent trunk space and seating for 2-3 passengers while remaining compact for tight spaces. Examples: Renault Clio, Peugeot 208.

Mid-Size Sedan

Comfortable leg room and space for 3-5 passengers and luggage. Ideal for road trips outside Venice. Examples: VW Golf, Opel Astra.

Passenger Van

For groups and families with ample room for 5+ passengers and luggage. Mercedes Vito and VW Caravelle are popular.


When you want to cruise the Italian countryside in style. Leather seats, top safety ratings. Examples: Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series.

FAQ About Renting a Car in Venice

What documents do I need to rent a car in Italy?

You’ll need a valid driver’s license, passport, International Driving Permit, credit card, and possibly a travel insurance policy.

What side of the road do Italians drive on?

Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road in Italy, which is the same as North America and mainline Europe.

What automatic transmission options are there?

Automatics are less common but available in Venice, mainly for luxury or larger vehicles. Reserve early to guarantee an automatic car.

Is winter tire season something I need to consider?

Yes, winter tires are required by law in Italy from mid-November to mid-April. Rentals during this period will include proper winter tires.

How strict are Italian driving laws?

Driving rules are strictly enforced in Italy, including speed limits, alcohol impairment, and seat belt use. Fines are hefty. Drive carefully!

Can I drop off the rental car in another Italian city?

One-way rentals are allowed but expect higher rates. Check rental company policies for one-way fees and eligible drop-off cities.


While most Venice transportation happens on boats, having your own set of wheels allows easy access to popular mainland attractions and regions outside the city center. Reserve early, study driving laws, and rely on navigation apps to confidently cruise your Venetian escape!


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