Venice is a unique city, unlike any other in the world. It is an elegant, sophisticated, and, more often than not, expensive destination. Yet, it is possible to backpack in Venice and experience the city on a budget. You can always use our interactive Venice map to plan your best route and see our Venice itineraries for inspiration. In this guide, we’ll share our best tips & tricks on enjoying Venice without spending a fortune.
Venice is excellent for backpackers because airplane or bus tickets are usually quite affordable. You can quickly get to historic Venice from the airport or the bus station. To move around the city, you can walk to most places or use public transport called vaporetto. Buying one of the Venice passes is best if you want to save up. These offer great discounts on transportation and include other sweet deals as a bonus. Buying a single ticket each time will cost you.
Another great way to save a ton of money is to come during the low season. In Venice, you can encounter Acqua Alta, the high tide flooding many Venice streets. It lasts only a few hours but may inconvenience the city’s guests. The prices are much more pleasant during this time. In addition, some annual Venice events, like the Venice Carnival, can make your trip pricey.
There are two options. You can either stay on the mainland or the island. Both options have some pros and cons. The accommodation cost in Mestre or one of the surrounding islands like Giudecca is much more attractive. You can still get to the city by public transport, but you’ll need a city pass and stick to a specific schedule. Even if it’s a hostel or a cheap Airbnb, staying in the city is still costly. Yet, you can walk to all of the best Venice attractions and not care about public transport. But backpackers are always up for a challenge, right?
Getting a bite in Venice doesn’t have to break the bank. Skip the street food vendors and opt for a cicchetti in one of the city’s bacari. Bacari is like a bar, usually filled with locals, where you can get small plates of food and a drink for cheap. You can find the best and most affordable bacari in Cannaregio, especially around the Venice Ghetto. Choosing a takeaway option is best as each restaurant charges a fee (coperto) for sitting down. Even if you only wanted to have a cup of coffee. By the way, the coffee in Venice is quite expensive, so think of it as a luxurious experience rather than a regular coffee break. You can check Venice coffee houses if you decide to splurge and drink coffee like a Venetian. If you are staying at a place with a kitchen, head to the Rialto Market. You will find fresh and local food there, including juicy vegetables, fruit, and delicious seafood. You can later cook an extraordinary meal at home. Order tap water at restaurants and never buy water in the store. There are water fountains all over the city. Take your water bottle and refill it when necessary. If you travel to Venice during the high season, gelato is a must. The right price is about 1.5 euros per cone; otherwise, it pays off to look for another spot.
Venice is a destination where you’ll find gorgeous churches and exciting museums. Venice churches are much more than a place of worship. They are also art galleries with masterpieces by the most notable Venetian artists and sculptors. Venice museums are all about history, art, and science. There are so many options that everyone will find a theme they like. Some places, like St Mark’s Basilica or the Doge’s Palace, are a must during your visit to Venice. Some sites offer free entry, some charge a fee, and usually, there are long lines of people in front of them. The best way to avoid this is to book your visit in advance and use a pass which helps you save on tickets to most Venice churches and museums. Students under 26 also get a discount, so bring your student card. Some Venice museums make an exception during specific annual events and offer free guided tours.
Who doesn’t want to take a picture on the colorful Burano streets or ride a gondola? These experiences make Venice a unique travel destination. And they tend to be expensive. If you are a backpacker or simply on a budget, remember that sharing is caring. For instance, you can share the cost of a gondola ride with up to five others! You can also look out for one of the free walking tours, which will take you around Venice and maybe even the surrounding islands. Just remember to tip your guide at least a few euros. If you want to make your Venice trip genuinely memorable, cut out a place in your budget for creating a Venetian mask or a glass-making class.