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Travellers Guide to Venice on a Budget

Tuesday 22nd November 2011

Arguably Europe's most spectacular city, Venice should be on everyone's "Must see" list. But can you see it on a backpackers budget?

The best way to explore Venice is on foot. It’s one of the most incredible and unique cities in the world and you don’t need a huge amount of money to enjoy it. It is also not large, so is easily manageable on foot. The only thing you might want to bear in mind is that even with a map, it is a maze of alleys and "vicolos", so prepare to get lost!

Save money by staying in one of the cheap central Venice hotels and you’ll have all the more to spend on the Murano glass and on the delicious gelato ice cream. Accommodation is even cheaper on the mainland at Mestre, but you really need to stay in the city itself overnight to get the full benefit. Once darkness falls, you will have the city to yourself at most times of the year.

The cheapest way to eat in Venice is at the huge Billa store, but of course, it’s not the most fun. You could get a takeaway pizza from Arte della Pizza for around €6 and admire the city from the comfort of your bench, or head to the Taverna del Campiello Remer where you can enjoy an epic all-you-can-eat feast for €20. Exploring the less well known islands in the lagoon such as Burano means you may come across some great local eateries that are fantastic value for money.

Venice is one of those cities where you don't have to spend a lot to visit attractions - you get the gist just from wandering around. It’s free to hang out in the Piazza San Marco, but watch out for those pigeons. You can sit and admire the St Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace and Torre dell’Orologio for hours. Gondolas will empty your bank account, but you can recreate the effect with the many water taxis serving the island.

For a drink with a view you need the Skyline Bar – the clue’s in the name. Try Adidos if you’re looking for a bar with impeccable casual yet elegant design, and if you want the best Mojito on the island. Naranzaria is a great bar with a top selection of fine wines – many of them produced by co-owner Brandino Brandolini. The Venice Film Festival in September is a great time to visit the city; you might even catch sight of Angelina and Brad. The Carnival of Venice is even better though – starting 40 days before Easter and ending on Shrove Tuesday it’s when everyone dons their Venetian masks and celebrates the island in the streets. Just make sure you have booked your accommodation well in advance!