Venice is remarkably cheap for sightseeing. Its canals, bridges, architecture and lanes, can be explored and admired totally free. And contrary to popular belief holiday practicalities such as eating, sleeping, shopping and travelling can also be done on a budget!
Yes you all know I like to travel for cheap. I do not like parting with my hard earned cash, and here in the City of Love, I made no exception!
You can however do a lot of things very cheaply in Venice!
I found a lot of restaurants with Pizzas and Pasta dishes for 7 or 8 Euros… It was the drinks with the meals that bash the price up. A glass of wine or beer with the meals could be up to 9 Euros. It did vary though. Some places had glasses of Prosecco for 4 Euros (same price as a bottle of water). As always I tried not to drink with my meal to cut the cost a little.
Highly touristed areas like Rialto and the Piazza San Marco are packed with expensive restaurants. If you walk the back streets towards Ca’ D; Oro you will find a lot cheaper, places, where the locals eat. Everybody was raving about a small place call Dal Moro. A small fresh pasta take away shop. Unfortunately it was closed the whole of September due to renovations. So we just peered in the window with our sad, hungry faces!
Gelato is pretty cheap and definitely one of my highlights of Venice! The ice cream stalls are everywhere! My favourite was Gelateria Ca’D’Oro. Just along the main street my McDonalds. (You will see the McDonalds, It is the only one in that area and there are signs for it every where). For 2.50 Euros you could have two scoops of one of their amazing home made flavours. I was loving the Strawberry with White chocolate mixed with Vanilla Custard flavour! Three times a day is not too much is it? We made the mistake of tasting the Eggnog flavour… YUCK!
Tip: Picnic. Little groceries and delicatessen shops are filled with fresh meats, cheese and breads. Best of all, it comes at a fraction of the cost for a sit-down restaurant meal.
I was worried about getting on the scales after my Italian food fest, but I actually dropped 3lbs in 3 days. It must have been all the walking I did! I need to invest in a pedometer! I must walk miles on these trips!
There are amazing pop up type bars in Venice serving smoothies and cocktails. Frulala tempted me in with free tasters of amazing cocktails and had me perched at the bar all night. 7 Euros for an amazing smoothie cocktail was not too bad, considering two got me drunk! The home made Sangria is also a must!
Wandering the streets of Venice is sight seeing in itself. I could get lost of hours and wander the markets and boutique shops. Exploring back streets and bridges.
There is a white 1930s car park building in Piazzale Roma, the city’s bus terminus. By taking a lift to the top floor you can enjoy the view over Venice. It doesn’t compare with the more central viewpoints of the campanili of San Marco and San Giorgio Maggiore, but it is free. At entrance-level, the building houses a tourist information office where you can pick up a free Venice magazine and what’s-on guide.
Rialto Bridge and the Piazza San Marco are great to people watch and view the magnificent buildings and artwork. The social, religious and political centre of Venice, it is home to St Mark’s Church. It is considered one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture (artistic products of the Eastern Roman Empire). The church is home too four original bronze horses stolen from Egypt and brought to Rome by the Venetians in 800AD then brought to Constantinople, then to Venice by crusaders, then to Paris by Napoleon, and finally back to Venice when Napoleon was defeated. Super well travelled ponies! It is renowned worldwide for its priceless treasures and fascinating secret places. It is free to get into!
Venice is filled with historic churches and free museums. There is one practically everywhere you go. There are so many it would be crazy for me to list them all so just wander…
Other cool things to do include:
Bell tower of St. Mark (Campanile di San Marco), (San Marco Square). closes at 9pm. The current tower dates from 1912 and is an exact replica of the previous tower which collapsed in 1902. The top of the tower offers great views of Venice and the lagoon. (8 Euros).
San Giacomo di Rialto. Possibly the oldest church in Venice built around 421. Most recognized for its 15th century clock above the entrance of the church. It is also recognized for the red pillars and beautiful gold accents around the church itself.
Tip: Allow time to walk aimlessly. Take a free walking tours or just wander. You will find some beautiful places.
For the cheapest and most fun option… WALK! I am a fan of walking rather than taking transport. Just ask my travel companions! It does not always turn out well however! ‘Two miles up the road’ is not always two miles up the road in 34 Degree heat! But it does lend to some good sight seeing and finding cool places! (Venice wasn’t 34 degrees… It was a glorious 22 Degrees, except for the last day when in RAINED!)
Because Venice is on a lagoon, once at the bus terminal of Piazzale Roma (a 20-30 min bus / train ride from Marco Polo Airport for 8 Euros one way), you can either travel by boat or foot. The easiest way to get around, other than walking is on the vaporetti (water buses). They run up and down the grand canal and cost 7.50 Euros per trip.
You can take a private water taxi from the airport straight to Venice, James Bond style… for 100 Euros… I declined this offer. It did look very cool though!
Now here is the bit that costs the most…
I Airbnb ed it this time around. It worked out a bit cheaper than a hotel for us! To get a free £13 worth of Airbnb credit Click Here (I get it too!)
Staying in the Ca’D’Oro area rather than Piazza San Marco is a lot cheaper and only an extra ten minutes walk from the main tourist area. With rooms as cheap as £40 it was not as bad as I had imagined! If you want to be super cheap you can CAMP at Plus Jolly Camping, just outside the city. £9 each for 3 people sharing is definitely the cheapest way to experience Venice!
Gratzie – Thank you
Italian terms for ‘free of charge': ingresso libero (free entrance), gratuito, gratis. Ridotto means at a reduced price. There is so much to experience in this beautiful city with out spending a fortune!