Guide to Wheelchair Accessible Venice, Italy

Wheelchair user exploring Venice, Italy - an accessible destination for all
Wheelchair-user exploring Venice, Italy


Venice, a city of unparalleled beauty and cultural richness, welcomes visitors to its iconic canals and historic landmarks. Navigating the enchanting maze of waterways and cobblestone streets can be a challenge, but Venice has increasingly embraced accessibility to ensure that everyone can partake in its wonders.

In this comprehensive guide, we unravel everything you need for wheelchair accessible Venice, providing insights into accessible activities, tours, transportation, and essential information to make your visit worry-free. From the captivating Grand Canal to the charming St. Mark's Square, discover the accessible delights that Venice has to offer. Join us on a journey through the heart of this magical city, where accessibility opens the doors to an unforgettable experience for all.

Canal in Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy canal

Is Venice Suitable for Wheelchair Users?

Venice, for the most part, is suitable for people with limited mobility. Despite facing challenges with its unique terrain and excursions that may seem not adapted for people with reduced mobility, users of manual wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, mobility scooters, and electric scooters can visit Venice without much issue.

The city features ramps and accessibility that allow for seamless exploration and enjoyment regardless of the mode of mobility.

Venice has a network of narrow streets and canals, so the concept of traditional infrastructure and pavement may not be as widespread as in other cities. Many areas have pedestrian walkways, but they can be narrow and have uneven surfaces. Venice's streets and promenades are often made of stone or brick. Although these materials add to the charm of the city, they can pose difficulties for people with mobility problems or those who use wheelchairs to navigate. However, there are access ramps for easier maneuvering.

Wheelchair-user going over an accessible pathway in Venice, Italy
Accessible pathways in Venice

Accessibility of Public Transportation in Venice

Venice doesn't have any cars driving around the city. Travelers need to walk or roll around the streets, or utilize the canal system. Let's outline the options for getting around.


The primary means of public water transportation in Venice, vaporettos are boat-like buses navigating the canals, connecting different parts of the city. They function similarly to buses on land and are crucial for canal travel. Vaporettos are equipped to accommodate individuals with reduced mobility, featuring ramps for wheelchair access. It is recommended to inquire with operators about the availability of services and assistance for passengers with special needs.


Connecting Venice's Marco Polo Airport to the city center and other lagoon islands, Alilaguna is a convenient option for air travelers. These boats are equipped with ramps for wheelchair access. Additionally, Alilaguna provides extra assistance for passengers who require it, especially aiding with boarding and disembarking.

Vaporettos are an accessible way to get around the city of Venice
Wheelchair-user getting on a Vaporetto in Venice

Gondolas and Traghetto

Although not conventional public transportation, gondolas are iconic in Venice and used for tourist rides. Traghetti, larger gondolas ferrying passengers across the Grand Canal, offer a ferry service. Opting for Traghetti is suggested as they are more spacious and can accommodate accessibility needs. Gondolas, being traditionally small, are not designed for wheelchairs, but some gondoliers may offer assistance if arranged in advance.

Water Taxis

Water taxis in Venice are equipped with spacious areas for individuals with reduced mobility. They may have lift platforms and sufficient space. It is advisable to contact specific water taxi services for detailed information. The staff is trained to assist individuals with their needs during boarding, disembarking, and throughout the journey.

View the map below that outlines areas for people with reduced mobility. This map is from Visit Venice Italy. View the full PDF here.

This map highlights accessible areas by Vaporetto, motorboat, facilitated bridges, public toilets, and public transport stations. The areas that are white mean they are not accessible by public transportation.

Accessibility map of Venice - by Visit Venice Italy

Where to Stay in Venice

Hotels in Venice vary in style, size, and amenities like most places. From luxurious accommodations in historic palaces to more budget-friendly options and charming bed and breakfasts, the city offers a diverse range of accessible hotels.

Luxury hotels provide high-end amenities and personalized services, while boutique establishments offer a more intimate experience. Travelers can also find budget-friendly options like hostels.

Hotel Heureka is a wheelchair accessible hotel in Venice, Italy
Outdoor patio and garden at Hotel Heureka. An accessible hotel in Venice

Location, Venetian style, and accessibility considerations play a role in choosing a hotel. It's advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Reviews from fellow travelers can offer insights into the quality and services of specific hotels.

Due to accessibility being hit-or-miss in Venice (and Italy in general), we have compiled a list of the Top 5 Wheelchair Accessible Hotels in Venice.

How to Get to Your Hotel or Downtown from the Airport

There are two primary ways to do so. Alilaguna Water Bus or Water Taxis, the latter being a more expensive option but more convenient.

Alilaguna Water Bus

Alilaguna operates water buses connecting Venice Marco Polo Airport to different locations in Venice, including the city center. The journey provides a scenic route across the lagoon. You can board the Alilaguna at the airport dock, and it typically makes several stops, including ones in the city center. These boats are equipped with ramps for wheelchair access. Additionally, Alilaguna provides extra assistance for passengers who require it, especially aiding with boarding and disembarking.

Water Taxis

Water taxis are available at the airport and can take you directly to your desired destination in Venice. While more expensive than other options, water taxis offer a private and convenient mode of transportation. They can accommodate passengers with luggage and are faster than water buses.

Water taxis in Venice are equipped with spacious areas for individuals with reduced mobility. They may have lift platforms and sufficient space. It is advisable to contact specific water taxi services for detailed information and typically, you need to book in advance. You can find accessible taxis on Book Water Taxi Venice, but there are others available. Research to make sure you find the right one for you.

Water taxis in Venice, Italy
Boats on the canals of Venice

Wheelchair Accessible Things to Do in Venice

Below are the top things to do and see in Venice with accessibility information about them.

Plaza de San Marcos

The heart of Venice, surrounded by the Basilica of San Marco, the Campanile, and the Doge's Palace. Plaza San Marcos is accessible from various entry points, but be aware that ground levels may vary due to tides and weather conditions. Ramps have been installed at certain locations to facilitate access for individuals with reduced mobility.

Basilica of San Marco

Dating back to the 9th century, Basilica of San Marco is a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture with stunning mosaics and sacred art. There is also museum on the upper floor which is accessible via stair lift or elevator. The Basilica staff are trained and can provide assistance to individuals with reduced mobility as needed.

Basilica of San Marco is an accessible attraction in Venice
Basilica of San Marco

Doge's Palace

Doge's Palace, an epitome of Venetian splendor, invites you to step into the regal past of the Venetian Republic. This architectural marvel, adorned with Gothic grandeur, served as the residence of the Doge – the city's highest authority. Roam through lavish halls, witness the famed Bridge of Sighs, and delve into the chambers that once shaped Venetian politics.

The main entrance has steps, but there is a side entrance for wheelchair access with a ramp installed. Most of the areas are available for wheelchair users, however, according to their website, the inaccessible areas of the palace are "the secret itineraries, prisons and armoury." The palace features an elevator and accessible restrooms on the ground floor. Check out their official website for more information.

Rialto Bridge

The oldest and most famous of four bridges in Venice, Rialto Bridge is an elegant stone arched bridge that crosses the Grand Canal. Originally built in the late 16th century by Antonio da Ponte, it's Renaissance architecture style makes it a top attraction to visit for tourists.

While direct access to the upper level of the bridge may be challenging for individuals with reduced mobility, areas such as the docks nearby provide great views of the bridge. Temporary ramps have been installed on certain occasions for ease of access, though this is not a permanent feature.

Rialto Bridge in Venice.
Rialto Bridge stoned arch bridge on Grand Canal

Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is Venice's main waterway surrounded by impressive palaces and crossed by numerous bridges. Vaporettos, the main public water transport, have wheelchair-accessible entries. Another option is taking an adapted water taxi, where accessibility is available. Dock entrances have ramps for descending at the end of the journey.

One of the best museums in Venice, Accademia Gallery of Venice houses an impressive collection of Venetian art ranging from the 14th to the 18th centuries. This gallery showcases masterpieces by artists like Titian, Veronese, and Bellini.

The entrance on the right side of the museum features barrier-free access. Once inside, the museum has spacious areas and elevators for movement between the different levels. The museum encourages anyone with mobility limitations to ask a staff member the best route and methods of seeing the exhibitions.

St. Mark's Campanile is an accessible tower in Venice
St. Mark's Campanile

St. Mark's Campanile

St. Mark's Campanile is a bell tower offering panoramic views of Venice from St. Mark's Square. It was originally built as a watch tower to protect entry in the city. Now, it serves as a symbol of Venice and a must-visit tourist attraction.

The Campanile has good access at its entrance and an elevator for easy access to the observation platform at the top. The observation platform is spacious, providing a complete visual experience with panoramic views.

Ca' d'Oro

Sitting on the Grand Canal is Ca' d'Oro, a Gothic palace known for its golden facade and exceptional decoration. While the entrance may not be comfortable and accessible, the staff offers assistance for individuals with reduced mobility to enter. An elevator has been installed inside to access upper floors and fully enjoy the palace.

Murano Island

Famous for its blown glass creation, Murano Island offers glass workshops and a variety of unique shops that sell local handmade goods. Although there may be apparent accessibility challenges, individuals with reduced mobility can explore it without issues. Water transport can be used to reach the island. While the island has cobblestone streets, this is not a limitation for wheelchair users. Some places, like shops and workshops, may have architectural barriers, such as a step at the entrance, but others can be visited without difficulties.

colorful buildings in Burano Island near Venice
Colorful buildings of Burano Island

Burano Island

Known for its charming colorful buildings and lace, Burano Island is a picturesque place to explore for a few hours. It is quite small with a just a few main streets, but there are several side streets that are fun to go down. And, because it's a fishing island, visitors can find fresh seafood dishes at one of the delicious restaurants in town. You can reach the island by water transport without problems. Limitations may include cobblestone streets and some areas with steps. Wheelchair users can access from other points with ramps, and the streets are suitable for smooth wheel movement.

Mazzorbo Island

Known for its rich agriculture, visitors can explore the many vineyards and pear orchards on Mazzorbo Island. It is also rich in history. While the historical layout of the island may present obstacles, such as one or two steps at the entrances of places, there are various accessible locations with ramps, including restaurants or businesses. One can enjoy outdoor meals without the need to enter places, with spectacular views for memorable experiences.

Accessible Guided Tours in Venice

One of the best ways of optimizing your travel days in Venice is to opt for an accessible guided tour. You'll be able to see the highlights of the city while being with an expert guide that can provide unique and valuable information of what you're seeing. Additionally, assistance is available if needed, helping have peace-of-mind while exploring. Below are a few accessible tours to consider:

Doge's Palace in Venice is an accessible attraction
Doge's Palace in Venice

Dorsoduro District- Walking Tour

From gondolas to 16th-century plazas, explore Venice’s beauty and history on Dorsoduro District- Walking Tour. On this guided tour, you’ll be able to traverse Venice’s Dorsoduro District cobblestone streets and its most notable buildings with a guide trained to assist people with reduced mobility and vision. Each stop of your tour will be like exploring Renaissance era Venice with all the addition of modern luxuries. The guide can help you find an accessible restroom near every stop as well as help you maneuver the difficult navigate pathways. View the full itinerary.

Highlights of Venice - City Tour

Explore Venice’s unique architecture and history on this three-hour Highlights of Venice Tour. On this guided tour, you will get to see all of Venice’s iconic landmarks with a guide that has extensive experience assisting tourists with disabilities. View the full itinerary.

Rialto, Venice Walking Tour

From ancient waterways and architecture to hubs of modern culture, there is no better way to explore the Grand Canal's Rialto area than with SeeVenice's walking tour. This guided venture takes you over cobblestone streets, through gondola-laden canals, and inside some of the city's most renowned buildings.

All you need to bring is yourself and excitement to experience history first hand. Your guide is an experienced Venetian local with a passion for making the labyrinth that is Venice accessible to others. In addition to being trained to operate tours for people with reduced vision, your guide has designed accessible itineraries so that people with disabilities can experience the heart and soul of Venice without limits. View the full itinerary.

Rialto accessible tour for limited mobility in Venice.
Wheelchair-user on an accessible guided-tour of Rialto, Venice.

St Mark’s square & the Doge’s Palace Tour

Visit some of Venice’s most popular tourist attractions, St. Marks Square and the Doge Palace, to be transported back in time. St. Mark’s Square is the biggest public square in Venice and is home to government buildings and a breathtaking Italo-Byzantine basilica. Just a few steps away, the Doge Palace was built in Venetian Gothic style in 1340 and has intricate mosaics, gold leaf detailing, detailed paintings, floors, columns, and slabs in precious ancient marble.

The guide has extensive experience assisting people with disabilities and will ensure that all places visited are wheelchair accessible and can be navigated independently. View the full itinerary.

Wheelchair Rental Venice, Italy

There are various local companies and Italian based services available for visitors to hire a wheelchair. One of them is Accessible Venice. They have options for manual or electric wheelchairs, various types of scooters, and even beach chairs. If you need to rent an electric hoist, Accessible Venice provides those as well. Check our their official website for more details.

Other options:

Final Thoughts

How does an accessible trip to Venice, Italy sound? It truly is spectacular destination that beckons millions of travelers each year and, despite it's unique waterways and infrastructure, is quite accessible for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility.

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