Venice tips on how to save money on Venice transportation, sightseeing, eating, shopping and even taking a gondola ride...
There is lots of fun to be had in Venice without having to break the bank!
First of all let's talk about saving when getting into Venice all the way from the Stazione Marittima cruise terminal. There are more and less expensive ways of getting transported into the city: from the 120 euro water taxi ride to just walking and using the people mover for about 1 euro one way. Obviously, if you travel on a budget, the latter one would be most recommended.
As for many cruisers this visit to Venice may be the only one in their lifetimes, it is only natural you would want to make the most of the sightseeing. The great thing about this city is that it is like a museum in the open and just walking it's narrow streets and charming piazzas will satisfy you.
But we'll let you in on a little secret here: you can also see some museum-quality artwork without paying a dime. It may sound surprising but The Saint Mark's basilica is free to visit! That way you can enjoy its breathtaking mosaics some of which date back all the way down to the 12th ct. You would only need to pay a few euros if you wanted to see a little museum which is part of the church, too. Read about the best practices on visiting it in our article The Saint Mark's basilica.
Across the Grand Canal from St Mark's square, there is an impressive domed baroque church of Santa Maria della Salute. You can reach it by walking over the Accademia bridge and enjoy viewing the paintings of Tintoretto and Titian in it for free.
The Accademia bridge and the famous Rialto bridge are both perfect spots to take some great shots of the Grand Canal for free. The other option would be to take a water boat #1 down the Grand Canal but for that you would have to spend €7.50 per person.
If you get off the ship quite early and happen to be around the Rialto bridge (which is, by the way, under construction for most of the 2015 and 2016), pop by the Rialto market too! It's absolutely free to walk around and take in the colors, smells and textures of the wonderful food grown around Venice.
MONEY SAVING TIP: If you want to experience the Venice gondola ride but don't want to pay the brazen fee for it, find one of the traghetto stops along the Grand Canal and for only €2.50 pp have a short ride across the canal in a boat very similar to a gondola.
A visit to Venice wouldn't be complete without having a coffee in one of its famous cafes. Cafe Florian is our favourite and at the same time one of the oldest in the world. Having a drink in such a place always comes with a price but if you compromise on some things you can cross this place off your list for just a few euros.
MONEY SAVING TIP: If you don't care that much about listening to the orchestra outside on the terrace, go inside and turn right. There, you can sit at the very end of the bar (there's a few high stools) and have a plain espresso for about €2.50! Don't linger more than 10-15 minutes as this spot is intended for the quick, standing up cafeine fixes.
Hotels of Venice are spectacular too, and their guest books are like who-is-who lists of the world. Most of them are situated inside old Venetian palaces which gives their visitors the feeling of living like aristorcracy for a day or two. One such hotel is the famous Hotel Danieli on the Riva degli Schiavoni, a bit further down from the Bridge of Sighs and the San Zaccaria vaporetto station. Although a night in this hotel would set you back for some $1000, to walk into its foyer is free.
Walk through its revolving doors (don't go as a big group) into the foyer and ask the concierge or the security politely if it's ok for you to look around for a minute. Savour the air of pure luxury by looking at its gothic staircase and the ground floor bar behind the marble columns.
If you are staying out all day in Venice, and you should if you have only one day to visit Venice, you will get hungry. Dining in Venice can be a bit expensive, especially if you're looking beyond a typical tourist trap restaurant.
Eating in Mc Donald's or Hard Rock Cafe isn't a solution either, you have those at home.
MONEY SAVING TIP: If you want to stick with authentic Venetian food, go back to Rialto area and behind it find the bacaros, traditional osterias that mostly locals go to to socialise over a glass of wine and enjoy quick bites called chiccheti. The waiters may not be the most welcoming there, remember, this is not a touristy place, and maybe you'll have to eat standing up at the bar...but if you prepare yourself for this undoubtedly authentic experience, you may have some of the best and most fresh food in Venice.
If you are staying in Venice overnight, you might have time to venture to some of the islands of the lagoon. Apart from paying €7.50 for a one way vaporetto ticket, visiting Murano, Burano and the little island of San Michele is free!
If you take a vaporetto from the back of the island on which Piazza San Marco lies, the Fondamenta Nuova vaporetto station, San Michelle island will be the first stop, after only 5 minute ride. Get off and have a walk on this peaceful little piece of land which holds a cemetery where some of the famous names like Ezra Pund, Diaghliev and Stravinsky found its final rest. It is free to enter the premisses. Catch the next vaporetto and carry on with your journey to Murano to enjoy a walk with less crowds and free visits to many of its glass factories.
If you've been to Murano already, dedicate your afternoon to visiting the island of Burano. Take the LN vaporetto from Fondamenta Nuova station. Allow at least an hour just for the ride there but it will be so worth it to see the otherworldy charming and coulourful facades of the little village of Burano.
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