Venice is a very expensive city for tourists. Find out how you can visit this beautiful city on a budget.
Few cities in the world can boast the history of Venice. For centuries it has been a commercial power in Europe and in most of the western world. Today things are quite different but Venice is still an amazing place to visit.
There is one thing where Venice excels even today though: the prices. Venice is often considered one of the most expensive touristic cities in the world to visit. I’m pretty sure you heard stories of people who, for some reason, decided to drink a coffee in Saint Mark’s square and ended up paying a ridiculous amount of money.
But even if you avoid the most expensive places, it is quite obvious that visiting Venice on a budget can be difficult, although not impossible. In this article, I’ll give you some tips on how you can save money on your 2-4 days trip to Venice.
Visiting Venice on a budget
One of the most expensive things in Venice are the hotels. So if you want to save some money it’s best if you stay outside the city. I stayed in Marghera, a small village nearby Venice, and I spent half of what I would have spent in Venice. Another option would be staying in Mestre. You can find some great deals on Booking.com or on Trip.com.
When is the best season to visit Venice?
If possible avoid the high season like August, carnival, or any national holiday. It would also be a good idea to avoid the weekends: you’ll find fewer people and generally, the hotels are cheaper.
Once you have found cheap accommodation in Venice you’ll have to find a way to get to the city, since all the cheaper options are outside the city. If you rented a car you can park it in Piazzale Roma (in Venice), but it’s a bit expensive (at least 25€).
The best option would be to leave the car in Mestre at the Gregory parking, just a few meters from the train station. You’ll only spend 12€ for 24 hours (15€ on weekends and holidays). To get to Venice from the parking lot you can either take a bus or a train.
In any case, it will take you to Venice for a couple of Euros. For more info about transportation in Venice, check the ACTV website.
How to get around Venice on a budget
If your priority is visiting Venice on a budget you’ll have only one option to get around the town: walking.
Bicycles are not allowed in Venice and, as far as I know, this is the only city in the world that prohibits bicycles. But it actually makes sense: the roads are quite small and packed with people. Plus there are thousands of steps and small bridges so getting around by bike would be kind of a nightmare for both you and all other people you’ll meet.
Here’s a list of the free walking tours in Italy.
Obviously, there aren’t buses either. If you want to get around quickly and visit also some of the minor islands like Burano or Murano you’ll have to take a Vaporetto (basically a waterbus). You can buy two kinds of tickets: the first one is valid for a certain amount of time (60 mins for 7€) and the other one is valid for 24 hours.
The 24-hours Vaporetto ticket is quite expensive (20€) but it’s actually the best option since it will allow you to get around Venice and you can also use it to get on the bus to get back to Mestre. It will also allow you to see Venice from the grand canal which is a great experience.
A Gondola ride
If you really want to get on a Gondola be ready to spend quite a lot of money. You can pay up to 80€ for 40 minutes (100€ after 7:00 pm). One option to help you save some money would be to share the boat with other people (for a maximum of 6 people). Just one thing though, please avoid the gondoliers that sing “O sole Mio…” that has absolutely nothing to do with Venice.
Where to find budget restaurants in Venice
If you really want to save as much as possible just bring some food with you. If you want to try local food, avoid the most tourist places. Just walk around until you find a restaurant with decent prices. Another option would be to check for any good deals on Groupon. But please be sure to read what’s included and what’s not to avoid bad surprises.
It is possible to save money even when you eat out but you’ll have to spend some time searching for good places. I had breakfast (coffee, juice and two croissants) for just 6€…and not far from Saint Mark square.
As you can see you can visit Venice on a budget. The important thing is to plan ahead and be willing to sacrifice some comfort.
Here are more pictures of Venice and here are more pictures of Italy. Here are my tips for visiting Rome on a budget and here is a post about some of the things to see in Verona in 2 days.