Venice’s achingly romantic canals and High Renaissance aesthetics often come with a hefty price tag to match. But there are ways to visit one of Italy's most beautiful cities that won’t break your budget. Read on for our wallet-friendly tips.
View Artistic Treasures—for Free
Many of Venice’s most cherished works of art are on display to the public for little or no charge at the city’s churches. There's no entry fee at all for the most dazzling of them all—St. Mark’s Basilica. Admire glittering gold mosaics, frescoes by Titian and Tintoretto, and jeweled altarpieces at this and other standout basilicas such as Santa Maria della Salute and Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.
Cruise the Canals in a Water Taxi
In a city built on the water, the vaporetto is the Venetian answer to public transit. These public “water buses” dock at regular intervals along the Grand Canal and smaller waterways, so you can travel to major landmarks while enjoying a low-cost sightseeing cruise along the way.
Book a Combo Tour
Package tours may cost a bit more at the outset, but they often add up to significant savings versus booking attractions individually. Especially if you’re short on time, these “grand tours” can be a great way to experience Venice’s canals, churches, and mazelike backstreets in a single day and at a discount.
Share a Gondola
For many visitors, a ride in a traditional wooden gondola is a quintessential Venice experience. You can cross this off your bucket list without paying the hefty price tag of a private voyage by booking a shared ride. If you don't mind sitting next to a handful of other travelers, you can glide through the city’s legendary canals for less than half the price.
Fill Up on Cicchetti
As with other tourist hot spots, restaurants in Venice tend to be crowded and expensive. When dining out, save by eating like locals do at the backstreet enotecas that serve up cheap glasses of wine and simple but delicious Venetian tapas known as cicchetti. Get help finding your new favorite spot and ordering with confidence on a wine-and-cicchetti food tour.