Venice is an inspiring and beautiful city, but visiting it can be expensive! Nevertheless it doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to enjoy the magical city. Here are some great tips on when to visit, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around on a budget, helping you save on overpriced items so you don’t have to renounce great experiences!
1. Off season. For mild weather and lower price, plan on visiting Venice during the months of September and October. Carnival is a great period to visit, but may bring higher hotel prices.
2. From the airport. The most affordable way to arrive from Marco Polo airport in Venice is by bus. You can also purchase a roundtrip bus ticket for €11 ($12). A round trip ticket from Venice Treviso airport will cost €18 ($20).
3. Vaporetto. Water buses will cost around €7.50 ($9) for a one way trip. A 24-hour ticket is €20 ($22) and a 3-day pass is €25 ($28). Line 2 travels the Grand Canal, making fewer stops than Line 1, so is usually less crowded; it then loops round to Giudecca, giving you a scenic tour.
4. Walk. With no cars on the island, Venice is the perfect city to explore by foot! You’ll save money on water taxis and buses while getting a taste of local life.
Gondolas. A gondola ride along Venice’s canals is at the top of many travel bucket lists. A gondola ride can be very romantic. A typical ride costs €90 ($99) during the day, expect closer to €140 ($153) at night. Check out Welcome to Venice Tour & Gondola Ride. For €60 ($66) per adult, you’ll get a 2 hour walking tour plus a 30 minute gondola ride.
6. Multiple–day water transit pass. Options include about $24 for 12 hours of unlimited rides, $26 for 24 hours, and $33 for 36 hours.
7. Crowd. Let’s face it, Venice can be very crowded, and if you feel like the crowds are too much, take a break from it all at the Giardinetti Reali, or Royal Gardens.
8. Hostels. Expect to pay around €30-50 ($33-55) per night for a dorm room on the island. The best value accommodations are just outside the city at the camping grounds. These dorms will cost around €10-15 ($11-17) per night.
9. Cities and Islands nearby. Try a peninsula near Venice called Punta Sabbioni. The ferry ride to Venice is about 30 minutes. You can also try the island Lido, a 5-10 minute ferry ride to Venice, or Mestre, a city northwest of Venice.
10. Budget hotels. Cheap hotels in Venice start at €70 ($77) per night, €130 ($142) in the city center.
11. Family run B&B. Skip the large hotels and opt for a family owned bed & breakfast for a cozy and budget friendly stay. Try 3749 Ponte Chiodo for around €60 ($66) or rent your own apartment through AirBnb, that will cost from €92 ($100).
12. Venice Card. If you plan on visiting Venice’s many museums try Hello Venezia’s Venice Card for free and discounted admission to churches, museums and temporary exhibits. It will cost around €40 ($44) (30+ years old).
13. Piazza San Marco. This is the most famous piazza in Venice. Enter St. Mark’s Basilica which is filled with amazing mosaics, domes, statues, and the High Altar that supposedly contains some of the saint’s remains. The line to enter can look intimidating, but it moves extremely fast. Don’t let this prevent you from seeing the interior!
14. Doge’s Palace. It is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice in northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. The facade features beautiful arches and pink and white marble.
15. Lido. Lido is an island between Venice and the sea that has a beach on where you can relax.
16. Murano island. Murano island is home to the glass blowers of the famous Murano glass. Walk around its canals to find interesting glass displays and glass shops.
17. Campanile di San Marco. Built in 1912, this tower is actually a replica of the original Bell Tower of St. Mark. For €8 ($9), you can climb up and get a great view of the city.
18. Burano. Another one of the islands around Venice is Burano, which is known for its colorful buildings. Legend has it, when the fishermen would return home from sea, they couldn’t identify their homes through the fog so they each painted their homes a different, bright color. Wander the streets, and admire the many art galleries and shops along the way.
Food and drinks
Eating in Venice is quite expensive. It’s better to eat out lunch rather than dinner with lunch menus costing about €18 ($20). If you go out for dinner, expect to pay between €40-50 ($44-55) for a meal with drinks. You can cook for a week for around €60 ($66) if you shop at the local farmer’s markets.
19. Food markets. Venice has great markets where you can buy some delicious food. Try fish Rialto market in the morning! Also try I Tre Mercanti – food gallery that can be found just a little distance from St. Marco’s Square. The specialty here is Italian dishes but the great part is the number of regional specialties from around Italy.
20. Don’t eat at Piazza San Marco. This is the area with the most tourists, so the prices are much more expensive. Avoid eating here!
21. Drinking. Drinking is incredibly cheap. A glass of prosecco, which is a local speciality, or a spritz (a mix of prosecco and Aperol or Campari) costs no more than €2.50 ($3) in any bar. Go north to Canareggio, a peaceful, local district, and do a mini bar-crawl along Fondamenta degli Ormesini, stopping at the highly-rated Caffe Dodo and Al Timon.
22. Cicchetti is a form of Venetian tapas, inexpensive snacks served all day in bars around the city. Try Al Merca, Campo Cesare Battisti, San Polo 213; Cantina Do Spade, Calle Do Spade 19, San Polo 30125; or All’Arco, Calle Arco, San Polo 436, lunchtime only.
23. Pizza. Pizza or sandwiches can be purchased for less than €5 ($6) from most restaurants with a take-away window. Try Antico Forno Pizza (970 Sestiere San Polo). There are many options to choose from and it’s seriously delicious!
24. Step away from the popular piazzas. If you’re looking for an authentic food, step away from the main attractions! Most restaurants there are overpriced and serve low quality foods.
25. Also try!
– Spritz. This traditional, bright orange Venetian drink is made with prosecco wine, bitter liqueur and sparkling mineral water, adorned with an orange and an olive. The typical cost is between €2-3 ($5).
– Bellini. These originated at Harry’s Bar in Venice! But don’t buy one there because it’ll cost you about €18 ($20).
– Gelato. The average price for one scoop of delicious gelato is €1.50 ($3). Do try to look for interesting gourmet flavors: the ricotta, honey and sesame seed flavor, cherry or tiramisu.
Note. Stay away from menus written in multiple languages with lots of pictures and head to a trattoria or osteria (medium-low priced restaurants with local dishes). If you’re on a tight budget, try making your main meal lunch – you’ll find lots of great mid-day (and multiple course!) specials around the city. Try Tattoria Ca’ d’Oro alla Vedova, Al Nono Risorto and La Zucca.
Total cost for 3 days trip: around €400 + flight tickets
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This article was written by Olga Feoktistova.