How to See Venice on a Budget

First, a huge thanks to Octavia for featuring me on her blog! I’m a huge sucker for medieval cities and castles, so when I first stumbled upon her post about Nuremberg, Germany, I was all set to pack my bags and go there (possibly forever). Then I found that she’s actually got a whole section on Ruins and Fortifications and was over the moon. Anyway, I’m glad to be here!

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Venice is a city known for its charming, historical, and romantic streets, canals, and sights. Despite the Euro’s recent exchange rate drop, Italy—and especially the more well-known cities of Italy—aren’t normally considered a budget travel destination. However, Venice is definitely a bucketlist place, and with a little prior planning, it’s entirely feasible to stick to a budget. Here are some ideas for how to ease your financial burden while still getting as much as you can out of your trip:

Get to Venice

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Unless you’re coming from somewhere in Europe, you’ll likely find that your cheapest option isn’t flying directly into Venice. Instead, it may be cheaper to fly into a larger city like London, Paris, or Rome and then take a budget flight to Venice from there. Most budget flights go into Treviso Airport, which is about 16 miles outside the city, but you can easily get a bus into the city from the airport.

Take a Walking Tour

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These days, many cities—including Venice—offer free walking tours, and these can be great for the budget traveler. Although not technically free (usually you’ll pay a tip based on how much you can afford and how much you think the tour was worth), you get to decide exactly how much you pay, and you don’t have to pay upfront for a tour that might later turn out to be a bit lackluster. You generally won’t go inside most of the sights along the way, but walking tours can be helpful when you’ve just arrived in a city and are trying to get your bearings, and they also often offer interesting bits of history and trivia that you might not already know.

See the Canals

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Of course, the iconic canals and gondolas are half the reason most people come to Venice, but even an hour’s ride in a gondola is going to set you back a pretty sizeable chunk of change. Rather than fork over more than you would pay for a budget flight out of the city, use the cheap traghetti to cross the Grand Canal or grab a ticket for the vaporetti, or water buses, to travel along the canals. Choose your ticket wisely depending on how many trips you plan to take—a single vaporetto ticket will cost you $9, but you can get a week’s ticket for $61. Still seems a bit expensive? That $61 is less than most places will charge for a 40-minute gondola ride, and you’ll have the same view!

Check out the Churches

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Italy is, of course, a very religious country, and every city has countless churches. You don’t have to be religious to find churches interesting either—they’re fascinating from an artistic or architectural perspective as well! Some of the churches in Venice are free, including the popular St. Mark’s Basilica (although you’ll have to pay to go into the museum or bell tower), and some of the smaller churches even have free exhibitions. But many of the churches charge an entry fee. If you plan to visit a lot of the more famous churches, it may be worth buying the Chorus Pass online. The same goes for museums—if you plan to visit a lot of them, you may want to grab a museum pass.

Hit the Beach

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Although you might be captivated by the city, there are some nearby beaches that can offer a good time away. It can be nice to get away for a while and, hey, tanning on a beach or swimming in the sea are both free options to kill an afternoon. One of the local favorites is Alberoni, all the way at the end of the Lido beaches. But honestly, you’re relaxing on a beach on the Adriatic—you really can’t go wrong wherever you are!

Eat Great Food

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Everyone knows the Italians make some great food, but restaurant prices—especially in touristic areas—are often sky-high, even at lunchtime. But there are definitely some budget restaurant options in the city where you can get your fill of pizza and pasta, especially if you stick to the dish of the day. And Venice is a city full of cafés where you can not only grab a delicious espresso but also usually get pastries or paninis—just know that it usually costs more to sit in a restaurant rather than standing at the counter!

If these options still aren’t cheap enough for you and you decide you want to have a picnic, choose your spot carefully. Many Italians frown on picnicking in public spaces outside of parks, and depending on where you are, you might find yourself shooed away mid-meal.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

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One of the most expensive things when you travel is your accommodations, especially during the peak tourist season. Venice has its share of high-end and expensive hotels, but you can also find some cheaper hotel options that will often be just as comfortable. Still a little pricey? Check out hostels—these days, they’re not just for single backpackers who are willing to stay in cramped dorms; instead, you can often book private rooms as well. Don’t worry about dorms, though: you’ll be so beat after wandering around gawking at buildings all day that you’ll sleep like the dead.

Look for places that offer free WiFi and (if possible) complimentary breakfast. Just be sure that you’ve got a VPN set up before you connect to the WiFi in your accommodation, as hackers like to target travelers and steal their personal information! A VPN will give you a more secure connection and block these types of attacks.

Although Venice gets a reputation for being an expensive city in an expensive country, it’s entirely possible to visit the city on a budget and still have just as much fun exploring. Wander around on foot and you’re sure to see plenty of interesting cityscapes and scenes of daily life; everything else, from the mouth-watering food to interesting museums, is just extra. There’s a reason Venice is considered one of the most impressive and charming cities in the world, and you’re sure to find plenty of reason to return!

Author Bio

Hi, my name is Jess Signet. My parents were travelers since before I was born. Even in the womb, I was able to travel all over the place! Boy, did things NOT change as I grew older!
Knowing there’s more to the world than the bubble I live in made me want to travel even further. Traveling is my drug and I’m addicted. (Please, no intervention!)

One Response

  1. BarePockets

    Thank you, Jess. Great article!

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