Are you looking for a Blog Post on visiting Venice in Italy on a budget? Yes! Then you are in the perfect place. Not commonly known as a budget destination, but let me tell you that it totally can be and I am going to show you how! Read on for all the juicy tips and tricks on how to enjoy your Venice Vacation on a budget.
Your eyes are not deceiving you! Yes, Phil and I just returned from a trip to Venice and our flights only cost us £5 per person each way. Talk about a bargain Venice vacation!
How on earth did we grab a deal so insanely fantastic? To be honest there is no secret formula here. I am ALWAYS on the look out for a good deal and this is how you are always going to be able to take advantage of the crazy cheap flights that are for sale. Always have an eagle eye out for sales and deals that crop up. You never know when you might be inspired. My curiosity and wanderlust is what presents these opportunities and with a deal that cheap it’s hard to say no. There were lots of other destinations for the same price but we fancied visiting Venice because it’s such a fantastic city. With a quick search of the accommodation in Venice that was available, we booked ourselves on to the cheapest flights to Venice we have ever purchased. To anywhere in fact.
We flew from Bristol in the UK to Venice one week after we paid for our flights with one of the UK’s largest budget airlines. (Hint: they’re Irish). The £5 flight deal was seat only so you are only allowed to take one small backpack that can fit underneath the seat in front of you. No wheeled carry on suitcases unless you pay to upgrade. As our trip was only 3 nights this was fine as a small bag fit all our clothes and there is plenty of legroom to store your bag.
We flew in off season in January so the flight was not full. There was space to put your bag in the overhead locker once on board anyway and this avoided us having to pay any fees.
We also did not have the luxury of having seats located next to each other as this would have incurred a £7 per person each way fee. A little silly considering that’s more than the cost of our flight and it’s only 2 hours long. But yet again, travelling in the off season meant we just swapped seats once the doors to the plane shut as there are plenty of seats spare. Phil had the entire row to himself on the way there so they definitely separate you on purpose in order to persuade you to pay.
You may think that Venice is an expensive city to visit and paying £5 for flights doesn’t make a difference once you get there. This blog post is going to give you all the information on why Venice does not have to be an expensive city to visit. You can absolutely have a budget get away to one of our favourite cities in Italy.
When to Travel to Venice?
Let’s start by saying that generally flights to Venice are not expensive. Earlier on in the year we thought of visiting Venice when we found flights for £40 per person return which seemed to be pretty standard. Obviously if you travel in peak season, during the school holidays it will cost more but once you are there you can still follow these tips to enjoy a budget friendly Venice trip.
Pick the right time of year to visit, in order to get a budget trip at its best price travel during the off season. You might think that visiting Venice in January doesn’t sound appealing but it was a fantastic opportunity to see Venice without the crowds of peak summer time. We have visited during the peak season before and the experiences are vastly different. For example visiting Venice in peak season saw huge queues of people waiting to get inside St Marks Basilica. This location is free of charge to visit and a huge tourist attraction located in St Marks Square. Visiting Venice during the off season sees no queues what so ever.
Many tour operators are offering discounts off sight seeing since there are fewer tourists so you really can grab yourselves huge discounts on exactly the same experiences you would see in peak season.
Where to Eat and Drink in Venice on a Budget?
Eat like a local in Venice
Cicchetti: One of our favourite budget tips for visiting Venice is experiencing it like a local. You may have heard of Cicchetti – it’s the Italian version of Spanish tapas. Small bites in local Osterias (bars) available from 1-2 Euros each, along with Ombra (house wine) for around 1 Euro per glass. Often located down alleyways away from the main tourist routes, these tiny bars are normally standing room only, no table service and you visit a few of them in one night. Like the equivalent of a UK pub crawl.
Osteria Al Portego
Our Favourite Osteria in Venice was Osteria Al Portego. We particularly liked their deliciously packed Cicchetti and 1 Euro red wine. Most people tend to visit around 6.30pm onwards and since they are standing room only if you want a place inside come early, otherwise you can spill on to the road outside where many locals gather.
We also visited Al Merca, which was a pleasant hole in the wall bar located on a large square with a few others. Serving 1.50 Euro Cicchetti and 3 Euro Aperol Spritz. The other one we visited was called Enoteca al Volto, hidden down an alley with the inside covered in beer mats this cute Osteria offers another stop on your Cicchetti tour of Venice.
There are so many Osterias that you can visit, some varying in price and quality but we found we kept coming back night after night to our favourite Al Portego. This one was recommended to us by our reception at our hotel and was only a 1 minute walk away. I would recommend asking your hotel reception if they have any favourites, mention you are wanting a local Cicchetti experience.
Buy drinks and snacks from the supermarket
Aperol Spritz mixes and beers cost around 1 Euro in the supermarkets in Venice. Coop are located close to Rialto Bridge and we found them the best value. A great place to get snacks for lunches on the go.
Takeaway Food in Venice
There are lots of places that offer take away dinners like pizza or fresh pasta. Our favourite was Crazy Pizza, conveniently located next door to our hotel offering freshly cooked pizzas for as little as 6 Euros. We enjoyed them so much we had one every night and the pizza guy would say hi as we walked past haha.
Top Travel Tip – Venice does not have much public seating, even saying that is generous. There are a few benches located on the water front by St Mark Square (3 or 4) but they are the only ones we can think of that allow you to sit on and eat. Opposite these seats there is a beautiful garden with lots of benches but you are not allowed to eat here. Lots of places will haves steps but if you are in St Marks Square you will find that the police will tell you off for sitting here. Remember this when you get your takeaway food as you will most likely have to eat it standing up.
Our Favourite Free Attractions in Venice
There are so many sights in Venice that you can see without having to spend a single penny. Below is a selection of our favourite ones including the best rooftop view in Venice and the most unique book store we have ever been to.
Fondaco Dei Tedeschi – if you are looking for the best FREE roof top view of Venice then head to the viewing platform on top of the Fondaco Dei Tedeschi mall. Located next to the Rialto Bridge, you head up the escalator top floor where you can access the viewing platform. You will be greeted with 360 degree views of Venice. During summer it gets busy so we heard you will need to book a 15 minute time slot but in winter there is no need.
St Marks Basilica – An absolute must visit when travelling to Venice. Located in St Marks Square this free Basilica is truly stunning and worth visiting. In winter there is no queue to enter but in summer it’s quite the opposite.
Libreria Acqua Alta – Located down the winding alleys is this unique book store that has found inventive ways to deal with the rising tides and floods that come to Venice. Books are stored in boats inside the store and if you head to the rear of the store you will find a beautiful staircase of vintage books that were ruined during the floods. It has become quite the photo opportunity and is so interesting to visit. Keep an eye out for the resident cats.
Rialto Bridge – A postcard staple for Venice, this bridge is located in prime position for sight seeing in Venice. Views are beautiful from every angle here and it’s worth taking your time exploring here.
Wander the alleys – Venice is a city that you come to explore on foot. Yes you can use the Vaporetto if your feet get tired but in order to truly explore all this city has to offer you need to walk down all of the winding alleys. You never know what bit of history you might stumble across.
St Marks Square – How can you come to Venice and not visit St Marks Square?! Steeped in history and the epicentre for so many beautiful sights. Come to soak in the atmosphere and revel in the beautiful architecture.
Bridge of Sighs – One of the most famous sights in Venice. You can walk across this bridge if you pay to access the Doges Palace but you can also see the outside from a bridge just opposite. This particular viewpoint is super popular and I recommend walking off the bridge and down to the canal side to avoid queueing for a photo, here you get the view point all to yourself.
Pont Dell’Accademia – This beautiful wooden bridge has some wonderful views of Venice and the Grand Canal. On the walk here you also pass a fantastic gondola viewpoint perfect for photos.
Budget Tip:Traghetti – this is something we didn’t get to experience but had read before we visited Venice. If travelling on the Gondolas is out of your budget (as it was ours at 80 Euros) there are actually the Traghetti that you can travel on. These are Gondolas that will just travel a short distance across the canal for a couple of euros. A mode of transport used by the locals and not as fancy as the touristic Gondolas. I’d love to know if anyone has actually done this – let me know in the comments below.
Day Trips From Venice
For the first two times that I visited Venice I never took any day trips as there is so much to see in Venice itself. But on this trip we decided to get a 1 Day Vaporetto ticket for 20 Euros and take a day trip to one of the most colourful places we have seen – the island of Burano.
Burano is a fishing village located about 40 minutes by Vaporetto from Venice. It is known for being super colourful as all of the houses are painted different bright colours. It’s a fantastic place to visit even in winter (especially because it’s not busy at all!) If you are looking for something a little different then head here.
We also decided to visit Murano which is included in the Vaporetto ticket. Murano is where the famous Venetian glass is blown. You can visit the factories and watch the glass get blown into weird and wonderful shapes. We didn’t spend too much time here as a few of the factories were closed but in summer it will be a lot busier.
Where to Stay When in Venice?
In the off season it is super easy to stay in the centre of Venice for a very reasonable price. For 3 nights in a very good 3* hotel, 5 minutes walk to St Marks Square and Rialto Bridge it only cost us £130 for the two of us. This included a buffet breakfast, a stunning traditional room and incredibly friendly staff. We honestly lucked out with this hotel. I’m sure if you travel here in peak season it wouldn’t be the same price and would be fully booked up. The reviews were the main reason we picked it. It was called Hotel Da Bruno – let me know if you end up visiting, it was fantastic.
How to Get to Venice from the Airport?
Once at Marco Polo airport you are able to use vending machines to purchase your tickets for the airport bus. This is the most budget friendly way to get to Venice city centre . There are two main bus providers – ATVO and ATCV. We chose to go with ATCV – the ATCV tickets cost 15 Euros return or 8 Euro one way. The journey takes just 20 minutes and you arrive at the main bus depot in Venice. They depart regularly (every 15 minutes or so and the bus line you want is number 5).
How to get Around Venice?
If you are planning on using the Vaporetto during your time in Venice you can add the airport bus on to your multi day ticket for a slight reduction. To be honest we only used the Vaporetto once for our trip to Murano and Burano, we walked everywhere else. Tickets can be brought from most of the Vaporetto stops and staff are helpful with directions. We found it easier going to Murano first and then going to Burano afterwards as the Vaporetto departure point for Murano is closer to St Marks Square than the one for Burano.
So there you have it, our budget tips for a 3 night vacation to Venice. If you have any more to add feel free to comment below.