Venice – this beautiful city, famous for it’s network of canals and gothic architecture is unfortunately also famous for being one of the more expensive cities in Europe to visit. It’s easier than you think however to plan a break on a budget, especially with cheap flights to the nearby town of Treviso.
Staying on the outskirts of Venice is generally much cheaper than staying in on the Grand Canal, however the city is small enough to walk around on foot so you won’t be far from the centre of the action. Some of the best budget accommodation can be found in guest houses where the owners pride themselves on providing cheap and clean rooms for as little as £18 a night. Alternatively you can stay in the mainland area of Mestre for a fraction of the cost of a Venice hotel but you may wish to consider transport costs in and out of the city.
Head to the markets for a bit of lunch if you are eating on a budget. There are a number of outdoor markets near Rialto that packed with fresh fruit and veg, delicious breads and pastries and seafood.
If you are eating out in the evening avoid the main tourist squares such as the Piazza San Marco. Here you may be charged by the restaurant just for sitting down, and you can be sure that they will also charge you heavily for the little bowl of bread left on the table. Instead look for the restaurants on the edge of the city, especially if there are locals dining. Try the Trattoria Alle Due Gondolette in the Sestiere Cannaregio for some outstanding local cuisine and seafood for around €12. Portions are big and there is no cover charge either.
Don’t forget that some of the finest pizza and calzone to be found can be purchased from the numerous street stalls around the city. Grab yourself a slice, sit down by the canal and watch the world go by. Even better when followed by some of Venice’s famous gelato!
By far the best and cheapest way to travel round Venice are the network of public transport boats known as Vaporetti. You can buy passes for the Vaporetti that are valid for from 12 hours to up to a week depending on how long you are staying. A 12 hour ticket is €16. Just remember to validate your ticket using the machine each time you get on and off the boat or you may be fined by the inspectors. The Vaporetti routes can take you all over the city, down the Grand Canal and even over to the island of Murano where you can watch glass-blowers creating some stunning works of art.
Seeing the Sights
The most wondrous sight in Venice is the Carnival which is celebrated all over the city during the month of February. There are events throughout the city and many of them are free – there’s no need to book one of the over-priced tours that are offered by so many agents. The official Venice website has a downloadable brochure of what’s going on during this special time from masked parades to music.
If you are thinking of visiting some of the famous tourist attractions, how about the Basilica di San Marco which is free? Many of the churches such as the Santa Maria della Salute are also open to visitors and host some amazing artwork and architecture.
Even if you’re a hopeless romantic, BlueTrips.co.uk recommends you avoid the gondolas like the plague. You can eat and drink for a couple of days on the cost.. Instead pop a little Vivaldi on your iPod when you’re cruising around on the Vaporetti and I promise you won’t miss out! If you enjoy taking a break near the water, why not have a look at Dongo on the shores of Lake Como, still in Italy?
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