How To Visit Venice On A Budget

Venice is often referred to as “the sinking city” – a statement which is true, but there is also no major rush to visit before it’s too late, Venice has been sinking for the last 1,000 years.

However, at the time they built the city, there was no such thing as global warming or tourists, so they never prepared for raising water levels and the 20 million visitors that would crowd the small islands some 1,000 years later …

But they are working on it, since Venice needs to be saved – it’s beautiful, unique – and also a money-making gem.

Venice has in a way become a victim of its own popularity, it’s such a beautiful and unique place, but it comes at a price – a high one…

Before I went there I had heard about the exorbitant prices, the crazy amount of tourists and the feeling that nobody lives there anymore – like a ghost town …

Well – you know us, we stopped blindly believing in what we read online a long time ago.

You realize that people online love to exaggerate, and even if they were right about some things, there is always a way to get around those things and still have a great time …

Here is a list of things we did to save money while at the same time making the most out of our visit to Venice:

  • We avoided the expensive hotels by staying at a cheaper one in Padova, a town 20 minutes away from Venice, using our InterRail passes to take a free train to Venice for the day.
  • We avoided the big tourist crowds by starting early in the morning – at this time the streets were close to empty, and you could enjoy the melancholic alleys and quietness of the town – alone.
  • We came here before the big tourist season, and the locals hadn’t fled the town, the kids were still playing football in the squares – the town was vibrant and alive with Italian flare.
  • We avoided the expensive Gondolas and Vaporettos by simply walking – it’s about compromising, and the Gondolas didn’t seem to be worth 79 Euro for ONLY an hour…
  • We avoided the expensive food by eating away from the touristy areas – a full-sized pizza for only 3 Euro was what we had for lunch.
  • A cappuccino at St Marco’s square costs a whopping 9 Euro, while a few blocks away it costs 2.5 Euro.
  • An ice cream went from 2.20 Euro to 1.10 closer to the train station 5 minutes away.

You get the idea – it’s only expensive if you can’t be bothered to look around – so take that time, do a bit of research since Venice really can be enjoyed by anyone on any budget – as long as you make a bit of an effort!

Share your thoughts - have you been to Venice? What did you think of the prices?

29 Responses to How To Visit Venice On A Budget

  1. nuni sura anterdja July 24, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    there are some hostels in the city actually. it was more expensive than some hostel in other cities tho :) (21 eur per night). and if you share the 80 eur for the gondola with 4 friends, it was worthy :). and they have a 4 eur hot chocolate that you don’t usually found in other cities *slurp*. 

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 25, 2011 at 7:01 am #

      Yeah we found many hostels in Venice, but we thought they were all overpriced, and staying in Padova was great as you got to experience two cities at once, so to speak ;)

      Never heard about the hot chocolate, sounds yummy.

  2. Sandra July 24, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Oh I dream of visiting Venice, thanks for sharing these tips!

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      you’re welcome Sandra – hope you get to visit Venice soon! :)

  3. Linda July 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I must admit that I was lucky in that I wasn’t on a budge the one time I visited Venice, and I can honestly say that, having stayed in a 5 star hotel etc it wasn’t at all worth it, except for being on the Grand Canal I suppose, but even then I think a backwater would have been far more interesting.  Like almost anywhere, you really don’t need to pay inflated prices to enjoy the vibe.  I live in a tourist area, but no-one local would be caught dead drinking coffee or snacking in the main parts, so you see real life more if you live cheaper, in fact.

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 25, 2011 at 7:03 am #

      That’s true, locals often keep to other areas where you find better prices, so the best is usually to go where the locals go – the only difficulty is to find out where they actually go… ;)

  4. Jodi July 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Thanks for the heads up! I’ll be heading there soon, so I’m taking notes =)

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

      No problem Jodi, hope you have a fun time, and take some wonderful photos :)

  5. Anonymous July 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    I will get to visit one day. Great post! :)

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

      thanks :) Venice really is a must-visit place – loved our time there! :)

  6. Caruso July 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Sorry to be the net grammar police, but please, for the sake of not perpetuating the preconceptions that blogs are the Wal-Mart of writing, it’s “losing” not “loosing.”

  7. Matthew Karsten July 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    I agree. All it takes is some exploration to find the cheap stuff.

    Can’t wait to see Venice some day.

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 25, 2011 at 7:04 am #

      Venice is fun to explore as there are so many back streets and little gems found along the way. It’s a very special city, definitely recommend a visit!

  8. Anonymous July 25, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    We decided in advance that Venice would be our ‘splash out a little’ place and so we have booked a room almost right on the Grand Canal, not an expensive place but certainly higher than our budget for the rest of the trip. Hoping that the Grand Canal at sunrise and St Mark’s after the tour buses have left will make it worth it. Also very much looking forward to wandering the back streets for food and art.

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 25, 2011 at 6:59 am #

      Venice is incredible in the early morning hours before the crowds of tourists come, it’s quiet, peaceful and very melancholic, it will definitely be worth being out on the streets early.

      Make sure to check out the mask making shop “Casanova mask”, the guy in the shop makes the real Venetian masks (not the fake ones you’ll see on the streets) in papier-mache. 
      He’s really excited to tell you all about his masks, the mask making and its history.

      • Anonymous July 25, 2011 at 7:06 am #

        Thank you so much for the advice about the mask shop – I have already
        decided that a genuine venetian mask will be my one ‘special’ souvenir
        (usually we stick to just taking photos home when we travel) but have been
        very concerned about how to tell whether or not I’m getting sucked in to a
        tourist trap. I’ll be sure to check him out.

  9. Jeremy Branham July 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Amen on the gondolas!!  I have to admit Venice is not one of my favorite cities.  It is ridiculously expensive and I enjoyed walking the backstreets and getting lost more than anything else that I did there.  While Venice seems very touristy, getting away from the tourists can give you a more authentic feel with locals.  Best of all this experience is free and cheap – and I have found these create some of your best memories.  That is definitely the case for me and Venice.

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      I agree, walking the streets and getting lost is definitely the best thing to do in Venice, it brings you closer to the actual rhythm of the city, the locals plus, like you said, it’s free.
      I also liked feeding the pigeons, I’ve never seen such tame pigeons before!

  10. Sheryll July 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    Thank you for the tips! We’re planning on visiting Venice on our trip and will definitely be using these tips. Gotta save those dolla dolla bills whenever you can!

  11. Anonymous July 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    Nice tips. What I always do in Venice is buy a water ferry day pass for around 10$ if I remember correctly. I just sit on the ferry all day enjoy the views.

    • Sofia - As We Travel July 26, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

      Thanks for adding your tip, great way to spend a few hours in Venice!

  12. Luci and Mike July 27, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    Love the ideas to go on the cheap!  thanks for sharing.

  13. Drew Freels July 28, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Just went last month and had a wonderful time!  I was amazed at how many locals were about and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as we anticipated.  Here’s my shots from there on my photography site. http://drewfreels.com/places/vicenza-venice-italy/

  14. Gerldine Parrinello July 29, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    can’t wait to visit the city in few weeks (5 exactly from now) !!!

  15. Erica Kuschel August 5, 2011 at 3:37 am #

    79 euro for the gondola ride?! I don’t think I could even justify that if on a true vacation. Thanks for the tips for sure.

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