Venice, Italy

Venice is considered the most romantic city in the world.  It’s filled with so much history, canals, gondolas, and winding streets to get lost in.  Venice is so beautiful, fun, and the perfect place to explore.  The city is very expensive, but you can make it very affordable.

MUST GO TO PLACES

Activities – Most attractions will cost around 12-20 EUR to enter.  Guided tours may offer a discount if you reserve multiple excursions with them.  City cards are also good investments if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing.  This card offers many discounts to museums, tours, and attractions.  Wine tours will cost 60-80 EUR.  A suggested daily budget is 40-80 EUR (50-90 USD).

Transportation – Venice is the city for walking.  Unless you’re taking water taxis or floating buses, you’ll spend your time walking.  You can take a traghetto (a gondola) for 2 EUR.  If you need to reach a place further away, you can take the floating buses or the vaporetto, which will cost 7-8 EUR for a one way and one hour ticket.  A one day ticket will cost 20 EUR and a 7 day pass will cost 60 EUR.

  • Piazza San Marco – This is the most famous piazza in Venice.  It’s typically crowded and occasionally floods.  It is defiantly a must place to visit.
  • Basilica San Marco – St. Mark’s Basilica is the third building on its spot on the Piazza San Marco.  It is filled with beautiful mosaics, domes, statues, and the High Altar that allegedly contains Saint Mark’s remains.
  • Doge’s Palace – This three story palace predates to the Renaissance.  It is home to beautiful arches, pink and white marble, and artworks from various famous artists.  It is located in St. Mark’s Square.  19 EUR is the price for admission and it is open from 8:30-7pm.  Hours vary in the winter time.
  • Gondola ride – Some say these are a tourist trap, but it is still a lot of fun!  It can be romantic, and if prices are too high, split the cost with someone else.  A typical ride cost around 90 EUR during the day; 140 EUR at night.
  • Lido – This is an island between Venice and the sea and it is the perfect place to escape the city and relax.
  • Visit the markets – Venice has amazing markets where you can buy delicious food at a fraction of the cost in restaurants.  For fresh fish, head to the fish market.  Go early to watch restaurant owners and older ladies pick fish for dinner.  There’s also an organic produce market on Mondays.
  • Peggy Guggenheim Collection – If you love art, this place is for you.  It is home to more than 200 artists.  Artists like Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, and other famous artists are featured here.  Admission is 15 EUR.
  • Campanile di San Marco – This tower was built in 1912 and is a replica of the original Bell Tower of St. Mark.  For 8 EUR, you can climb to the top for an amazing view of the city.
  • I Tre Mercanti – Food gallery found just around St. Marco’s Square.  The best Italian dishes can be found here.
  • Head to Burano – This town is known for its colorful block buildings.  Explore the streets and discover the art galleries and shops during your visit.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Dorm styled rooms are not that cheap here.  Camping grounds outside of the city are the cheapest accommodations available.  Dorms at the campground will cost around 10-20 EUR per night.  Staying in the city will cost around 20-50 EUR per night.  Most hostels provides WiFi and linens.  Websites like Hostel World offer a ton of discounts on rooms.

  • Hostel Colombo – Simple private & shared rooms with free Wi-Fi, plus a common room & optional breakfast.  Rooms start at 19 EUR per night.
  • Generator Hostel – Refurbished waterfront granary with stylish, rustic-chic rooms & dorms, plus a bar/TV lounge.  Large shared rooms start at 14 EUR per night.
  • Plus Camping Jolly – They offer a great budget alternative, with clean, comfortable bungalows, dorms, mobile homes and house tents that can accommodate two-to-five people.  They are located only 10 minutes from the town center!  8 EUR per night.
  • La Pescheria Backpackers – Located in a central and quiet & typically Venitian location, between Rialto and San Polo. The Hostels is just a few steps away from the Vaporetto (water bus) and fish market right in front of the Grand Canal.  Rooms start around 18-20 EUR per night.
  • SmartHoliday – Just 7-8 minute walk from Venezia Santa Lucia train station.  SmartHoliday is set in the heart of Cannaregio district of Venice, they are close to Rialto and St. Mark Square.  Rooms start at 20 EUR per night.
  • Camping Rialto – Different amenities have different rates.  Tents range around 14 EUR and that is the cheapest option.

BARS & RESTAURANTS

Eating in Venice can get expensive.  And staying gluten free in any part of Italy is no easy task.  It’s better to eat out during lunch rather than dinner.  Lunch tabs run around 20 EUR.  Dinner will cost around 35-60 EUR and that may include a drink.  Budget most of your money for food.  You can also save a lot of money of you go to discount grocery stores like Eurospin, In’s Mercato, LD Market, Lidl or Penny Market.  Local farmer’s markets will also save you money too and you’re guaranteed fresh food there.  A week’s worth of groceries will cost around 60-70 EUR.

  • Trattoria da Romano – Located on Burano, the typical lagoon dishes are gluten free.  Enjoy a meal here in its charming environment.
  • La Bitta – A small restaurant that has many gluten free options and an amazing meat menu.
  • Antico Martini – One of the oldest restaurants in Venice.  They are famous for their fegato alla veneziana (traditional Venetian-style liver) and for its menu based on fish.
  • La Zucca – Famous for its Venetian delicacies, fish, and meat options.  This is a local favorite.  The pumpkin soup is a must try!
  • Acquastanca – A stylish restaurant that’s famous for its outstanding fish dishes.  It’s located in the Murano Island.
  • Al Gazebo –  The seafood risotto is gluten free must get.  The meals are very affordable, starting at 13 EUR.
  • Agli Scalzi – Meals here run around 10-15 EUR.  The gluten free pizza and spaghetti and delicious.  They do not have gluten free bread but they will bring gluten free crackers.
  • Pizzeria Ae Oche Santa Lucia – They have many different gluten free pizza options.  Meals run around 10-15 EUR.
  • Ristorante Pizzeria Malibran – Delicious pizza in a cute square.  A quaint place for some delicious pizza.
  • Frary’s – Mediterranean styled restaurant with a gluten free menu.  They claim to be the only place in Venice where you can get gluten free frittelle – a cake that is only available in the city around Carnaval.  They also offer a gluten free beer along with a wide selection of wines.
  • Osteria la Patatina – The staff is so extremely knowledgeable of gluten free options.  The risotto is very good.
  • San Polo – Best place for a lunch.  They offer gluten free crackers and many other options.  The tortellini and margarita pizza are delicious.  They even offer gluten free tiramisu for dessert.  Gluten free beer is offered in the lager style!
  • Ostaria Antico Dolo – All gluten free options are made from scratch to guarantee it is 100% gluten free.  The vongole & mussels is wonderful and gluten free bread is available to dunk in the sauce.

MONEY SAVING TIPS

  • Avoid eating at Piazza San Marco – This area attracts mostly tourists, hence making this area a lot more expensive.
  • Pack a picnic – There are a ton of markets around the city.  Fill a basket up with some veggies fruit, cheese, and some wine.  This will cut meal costs in half.
  • Walk around and explore – Venice is so amazingly beautiful and you can spend so much time walking through the streets, seeing old buildings, churches, artists, and people watching.
  • Venezia Unica Pass – This pass will save you lots of money if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing and going to museums, tours, and other attractions.  This will save you money rather than buying separate tickets.  Buy tickets online and pick out what you want to see ahead of time.  Prices cary depending on the attractions you want to see.
  • Drink tap water – Ask for tap water or you will automatically receive bottled water.  Bring a S’well or another portable bottle to fill up.  There are plenty of water fountains in the city.
  • Buy your own wine – You can buy a bottle of wine for 4 EUR.  Getting your own wine will save you a ton of money.  Sit in at one of the squares, have a glass of wine, and people watch.
  • Couchsurf – Places to stay is very expensive in Venice.  Couchsurfing is a way to stay with locals for free, and it is a great way to make a new friend to show you around the city.
  • Free walking tour – This is a great way to see the city and learn all the history in the city.  You also get to avoid missing any must-see attractions.  Venice Free Walking Tours has tours that show you what the city has to offer.  Booking in advance is required.

SPECIALITY EVENTS

  • Watch the Voga Longa – On May 23, a rowing marathon is held annually.  It was originated as a protest due to all the powered boats in the city waters.  In order to receive recognition, you have to row 20 miles in under 3.5 hours.
  • Venice Carnival – A ten day and night masquerade party in February before Lent.  This is a centuries old tradition.

Picture credit

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