Five money saving things you should know about Venice

Before going to Venice I had been warned about the prices. Gondola rides cost € 80.00 for a boat, seating up to six people (so sharing is better cost-wise) and coffees in San Marco square can reach unimaginable prices. But it turns out that you can be a budget holidaymaker in Venice after all.

#1: Food.

Venice has some amazing food, but some places offer average dishes with big price tags. During my visit, I experienced both. The pizza I had at a restaurant on the Grand Canal, next to the Rialto Bridge, was one of the cheapest things on the menu, but while the food around us smelt delicious, ours was only okay. However, we discovered that we didn’t have to travel too far to find something different. Tucked away was Taverna Del Campiello Remerwhere during their happy hour (I’m not sure how long this lasts but we arrived at around 6.20pm) they served an all you can eat buffet of cicchetti- Venetian tapas- and a drink for €5.00. It was delicious and I was stuffed. After we finished eating, we took a drink outside and sat on the dock, from which you could see the Rialto Bridge. This was the experience we had been hoping for. We also had tasty, affordable lunches at Trattoria Ca’ D’oro alla Vedova (possibly the best meatballs I have ever tasted), Al Merca (small bread rolls stuffed with meats and cheeses) and Rossosapore (takeaway pizza slices). 

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#2: Gondolas.

As I’ve said, gondola rides could cost you  around  €80.00,  depending on how many people you share with. If you’re looking for a romantic ride around Venice then, in all honestly, I cannot make any suggestions, however if you’re like us and simply want a gondola experience, we found ours for  €2.00. Admittedly, it must have lasted for less than 2 minutes and simply took us from one side of the Grand Canal to the other, but it totally counts and we were very happy. There are a handful of these ports around the city and went to the one at Santa Sofia, near the Ca’ D’oro or Rialto Mercato vaporetto stops. 

Gondolas across Venice's Grand Canal

#3: Walking and transport.

The main island in Venice is actually not that big. We walked from the bus station at Piazzale Roma at the top to San Marco square at the bottom in about 45 minutes, more or less- I forget exactly but it can’t have been too long (depending on your point of view). The best way to see Venice is by meandering through the lanes and there are several bridges dotted around so if you don’t want to pay to use the ferry then you do have the choice of walking. Also San Marco square and the Rialto Bridge seemed to be very well signposted, so you can always find your way back to somewhere recognisable.
I should admit that I did get a 72 hour vaporetto pass for €35.00. Our hostel was on the island of Giudecca and the cost of using the ferry (€7.00) twice a day to get to and from the main island would have cost us more than getting a pass- so it is justifiable! Also, we were only there for a few days and we get lost very easily- although this is a good pastime in Venice as we discovered on our first night. If you do want to use the vaporetto frequently, a pass is a good way to go. It’s also cheaper than a standard gondola ride so you can get your sailing on the canals experience in a more practical way!

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#4: Student card.

I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but if you are a student, bring your student card and ask if concessions are available. Not everywhere offers discounts but we often found that museums and galleries did so we were able to save some pennies. You can get an international student ID but our standard ones were always accepted.

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 #5: Free walking tour.

Not only are these a backpacker’s best friend but the one we did in Venice with Free Tour Venice was particularly good. It lasted between 2.5-3 hours and our guide taught us a lot about Venetian history. She also helpfully told us about several places to eat well and cheaply (and pointed them out- we would never have found them otherwise, Venice is impossible to navigate without a very good map) and told us about the €2.00 gondola rides. My only regret is that we did this on our second day and not our first, it was a great way of getting an insight into the city. Although they are technically free, these tours work on tips. However, this means that you simply give what you can afford and what you think the tour was worth so they are available whatever your budget.

Italy Venice

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20 thoughts on “Five money saving things you should know about Venice

  1. I definitely agree that walking around Venice is one of the best ways to see the city. It’s so easy to get lost, and that’s one of the best ways to discover places here, especially in a city that is so touristy.

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    1. It is so easy to get lost, although I did find it was very easy to get un-lost again thanks to the very handy signs to Rialto and San Marco. The perfect combination of lost and not lost.

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  2. I’ve been in some cities of Italy but I haven’t been in Venice yet, I’m planning to go this year and I’ll use all of your advices, so thank you! That’s a very good post, and your blog is awesome, by the way.

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    1. Really enjoyed this post, I’m heading to Venice next week so will take your advice on board. Any suggestions of good areas/ hostels to stay in? 🙂

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      1. Thank you, I’m glad- I hope it proves useful!
        I stayed in a hostel called Generator. It was about £30 a night for a 16 bed dorm, so it was more than we were looking to pay and it was noisy being in such a big room. Also it is on Giudecca so we did have to buy a vaporetto pass as you can only get there by ferry. Having said that, I think it was actually a good price for Venice and it was a really nice hostel so I would still recommend it.
        I hope you have an amazing trip!

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  3. What a great guide to Venice! I wish I had thought about taking a free walking tour, even though I guess wandering around lost for 5 hours counts…right? Great tip about the “mini gondola ride” also. Did you try the gelato in Venice? It was my favorite out of (almost) all of the Italian cities!

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    1. Thank you! That’s the thing about Venice, you are guaranteed to get lost but you actually end up seeing loads that way!
      I certainly did have gelato- a definite high point 😛 Venice is amazing, although I do love Rome and am desperate to go to Florence!

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      1. Have to been to Sorrento or the Cinque Terre? Both are the most incredible places! I unfortunately did not have a great time in Florence, but that was mostly my fault haha! I recently wrote a post about Sorrento if you’re interested!

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      2. I’ve been to Sorrento (briefly) but not Cinque Terre, although I’ve seen pictures and it looks amazing!
        It’s a shame you didn’t have a great time in Florence- maybe second time lucky?
        I will check out your post about Sorrento!

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      3. I love hearing everyone else’s views on places they’ve been, a different perspective is always great. I had a random customer once tell me not to bother going to Pisa because it was boring and there was nothing to see, however I found it to be one of my favourite cities!

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      4. I agree! I guess everyone is looking for something different when they go to a place. Someone once told me they weren’t a massive fan of London, which I just couldn’t understand! But then I am a bit biased 😛

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      5. All of the sights were cool and stuff, People just drive like maniacs, and being from Canada, I’m not used to cars going the “wrong” way, and almost got ran over by a police officer =( haha. I really think I would enjoy a smaller English town or the countryside though!

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      6. Haha that’s true, I’d never want to drive in London- it looks terrifying. I have the same problem when I go anywhere else and the cars are going the “wrong” way 😛 I’d definitely recommend some of the other towns- Bath and Oxford are beautiful and less manic. The countryside is also really pretty and seaside towns are always good!

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