Survive Venice on a Budget - Grand Canal water bus

How to survive Venice on a budget

By on July 17, 2017

Venice is a stunning place, but crazy expensive. There are plenty of ways, however, to make your visit memorable without spending too much money. If you know where to stay, what to do and how to get around you can easily survive Venice on a budget!


There are various ways to make your way to this gorgeous city. Most people arrive at the airport – aeroporto di Venezia Marco Polo- which is located 12 km from the main island. There is an easy connection between the airport and the city as there are frequent busses (20 min) as well as water buses (1 hour) that go straight to Venice. For the ones arriving over land, Venice is also very well accessible by train. Especially station Venezia Mestre has a lot of international trains as well as excellent connections within Italy (from this train station it is only 10 minutes more to the station at the main island: Santa Lucia). Another option is to fly to a nearby airport such as Milan or Bergamo. From there you can take a three hour bus ride with Flixbus to Tronchetto for only 20 euros.


Spending the night in Venice is expensive. Therefore staying off the island is a more budget-friendly option. There are many cheap campsites that offer great facilities and easy access to the city (you can be there in less then 20 minutes). I can recommend Camping Fusina or Camping Rialto. Also, the area of Mestre is much cheaper and only 10 minutes by train to Venice. Thus, finding a place to stay in Mestre is a good option too.

However, if you really want to stay at the main island try to find accommodation in Dorsoduro. This is the student and arty part of Venice with more affordable places to stay. A good website to find cheap hotel rates is Hotwire. On this website good or even excellent hotels offer their unbooked rooms below their usual rate (you only find out which hotel it is after you booked though – in this way they keep their good name and standard/prices high).


One thing you should know about Venice: don’t bring your car. You cannot drive through the city and parking at the port (Tronchetto) is very expensive. So if you want to survive Venice on a budget either stay at one of the campsites and leave your car there or make sure you arrive by bus/train/waterbus.

The Venice People Mover tram is the public transit system in Venice and connects Tronchetto with Piazzale Roma, which is next to the train station. From there you can walk everywhere.

If you are not much of a walker, there is a solution for that too: the whole city is connected by water buses. For 20 euros per person you have a 24-hour unlimited pass. Check the connections and timetables here.


1. Sit down at the famous San Marco Square
Survive Venice on a Budget - St Marco Square

San Marco Square is the main square of Venice and is absolutely stunning. All signs in the city point you to this place. Go there, sit down and just look around (yes, this is free). The most beautiful building you see is the St Mark’s basilica completed in 1092 (!). The big tower is the Campanile, which I would recommend you to visit for sunset (12 euros per person, half price for students). This gives you a stunning view over the city.

2. Walk over the Rialto Bridge
Survive Venice on a Budget - Rialto Bridge

The world famous bridge over the Grand Canal dates back to 1591. When it was built nobody believed a single span bridge would last long, luckily they were wrong. Make sure you visit the bridge during the day – when the shops are still open – and when the evening falls.

3. Make a visit to Doge's Palace
Survive Venice on a Budget - Doge's Palace

Doge’s palace is the very symbol of Venice and located at the most perfect spot in the city (see #4). If you want to visit the museum, I recommend to purchase the Venezia Unica City Pass and visit the most amazing museums and churches of Venice for a really cheap price (starting at 27 euros for eight sites).

4. Admire the view of the San Marco Canal
Survive Venice on a Budget - view

Doge’s Palace is located at a stunning spot as it overlooks the San Marco canal, full of gondolas. In the distance you can see San Giorgio Maggiore. Go for a walk along this street and you will get some of the most beautiful views of Venice!

5. Explore Venice from a gondola
Survive Venice on a Budget - Doge's Palace

For many the number one thing to do in Venice, however, not an option for the ones on that want to survive Venice on a budget. Nevertheless, first things first: it is a cool experience and gives you the best view of the city (from the water). BUT, when you book a gondola ride in the city prices start at 80 euros. Therefore, if you want to do it make sure you book the gondola ride online prior to your trip.

6. Visit the surrounding islands
Survive Venice on a Budget - Burano

Very busy and touristy Venice is actually surrounded by less famous little islands. I visited Burano and it was stunning. This island is about one hour from Riva degli Schiavon (the main street from where the ferries leave, just around the corner of San Marco Square). Burano is honestly the most colourful place I have ever been. Every house has a different colour. Make sure to go off the main streets into the little alleys – you won’t find any other tourists there.

✦ Budget tip:
The last tip to survive Venice on a budget are the awesome wineries in the city, especially in the student area of Dorsoduro. Get yourself a bottle of red wine and find the best spot at one of the canals, sit down and have the most amazing view for the best price. No need to pay 10 euros for a glass of bad house wine!

  1. Reply


    September 22, 2017

    I like your tip of finding lodging off the island of Venice. My husband and I are planning a vacation to Venice soon. We’ll have to look into the housing and lodging off the island.

  2. Reply

    The Thrifty Campers

    July 31, 2017

    Thanks for sharing and providing tips. This will for sure come in handy one day?

  3. Reply

    Hops on the Road

    July 22, 2017

    Great tips on how to see Venice on the cheap. I made the mistake of buying a gondola ride when I arrived, very pricey, but I felt it was worth it. I hope to make it back to Venice soon, and I’ll remember some of these tips.

  4. Reply


    July 22, 2017

    Great overview explaining how to experience Venice on a budget! I was happy to learn that there is a part of the main island that has slightly cheaper accommodation. I went to Venice over a year ago and booked a spot on a gondola tour online (a couple days prior) like you have suggested here. It was definitely worthy it – I paid only $30 USD.

  5. Reply

    Off The Clock Nurse

    July 22, 2017

    This is perfect! I’m going to Venice in September! What online site did you use to book your gondola ride? I’m going by myself and I’m not sure if it would be weird to ride with other people or just take it myself!

  6. Reply


    July 22, 2017

    This is a great post. I am a huge fan of Italy in general, and I have been in many places. Have to admit that Venice was a hesitation last time I was in the north, because of the budget. Chose Verona instead. I don’t regret it a bit! It was one of the most amazing cities I visited. However, your post has some good tips that I will take in account next time I go to Italy. Venice is a must!

  7. Reply


    July 22, 2017

    People watching is my favourite free thing to do on city breaks! I will keep this article saved for when I finally get to Venice.

  8. Reply


    July 20, 2017

    These are great recommendations and the photos are stunning! Visiting Venice is on top of my list, this is a very useful post:), can’t wait to go there and explore its beauty.

  9. Reply


    July 20, 2017

    Who knew that Venice could be enjoyed on a budget without losing its charm? I love how you recommended the surrounding islands, Bruano really looks stunning!

  10. Reply


    July 19, 2017

    it is good to see this all place specially san macro canal

  11. Reply

    Oluwakemi Toluwalase

    July 19, 2017

    Great post. Thanks for sharing ☺

  12. Reply

    Living with Liddy

    July 18, 2017

    I have always wanted to go to Venice so I appreciate these tips!

  13. Reply


    July 18, 2017

    I love this article. It brings back many good memories. We also stayed in Mestre.

  14. Reply


    July 18, 2017

    Thanks for sharing, was considering going to Venice 🙂

  15. Reply

    Hayley Beth

    July 18, 2017

    Venice is on my list of places I have to go! These tips are brilliant!

  16. Reply

    Thomas Moers

    July 18, 2017

    This is so interesting! Thank you so much for sharing

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Born and raised in Amsterdam but always felt the urge to explore the world. Love to go out, meet new people and to discover whatever there is in life :) I just want everyone to be happy and therefore share my tips and tricks to explore the world!


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