When arriving in Venice, your first view of this magical city will remain in your mind for a long time. The least romantic or memorable but easiest, is by train (to Venice Santa Lucia station). In the nineteenth century a two mile long causeway was built from the mainland bringing the railway out to the lagoon islands of Venice; in the twentieth century a road was built alongside it and a large carpark constructed – there are no cars in Venice itself so it’s park and ride (vaporetto or gondola).
There is also arriving in Venice by bus, which comes across the causeway to Piazzale Roma, just across a bridge from Ferrovia, the railway station. As soon as you leave the station, you’re confronted by the chaos of vaporetto (water bus) coming and going on the Grand Canal. Step onto a vaporetto and within minutes you’re totally immersed in the light, architecture and mystery that is Venice as you head down the Grand Canal, past palaces and under the Rialto Bridge.
An equally popular and frankly nicer way to arrive is by plane – coming into Marco Polo airport and arriving in Venice either by fast ferry or water taxi (expensive), and seeing Venice as it should be seen: rising up ahead out of the waters of the lagoon. Alternately – and I think this was my favourite arrival – you can sail into the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea, either by ferry from Croatia as I did, or on one the enormous cruise ships which are really too big for the lagoon and the scale of the city, though I’m sure you get a nice view of the rooftops, domes, towers and roof terraces. Arriving by water is to see Venice for the first time as it was designed to be seen – rising majestically from the mysterious waters of the lagoon. Just glorious.