With its historical canals, gondolas, and winding streets, Venice is considered one of the most romantic and visited cities in the world. The city is almost always on everyone’s “must see” list – and judging by the crowds, people do a good job of crossing it off their list! I find Venice to beautiful, fun, and a great place to get lost in. However, the city is very expensive, especially on the main island. Luckily, Venice doesn’t need to cost a fortune, and there are a few ways to make this city budget friendly. You can use the tips in this guide to turn expensive Venice into a budget-friendly destination.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Venice
1. Enter Basilica San Marco
2. Take a Gondola ride
3. Tour the Doge’s Palace
4. See the Venice Carnival
5. Take a trip to Burano
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Visit the Piazza San Marco
This is the most famous piazza in Venice. It’s crowded, full of pigeons, and occasionally flooded, but despite the crowds, it’s a majestic place.
2. Go explore Lido
If you want to escape the city, Lido is an island between Venice and the sea that has a beach on where you can relax. Cabanas can also be rented.
3. Visit Murano Island
Close to Venice, nearby Murano island is the tourist trap home of the famous glass blowers of the famous Murano glass. Although the island is filled with expensive souvenirs (avoid buying anything on the island!), it can still be an educational and fun afternoon learning and watching how the glass is blown.
4. Visit the markets
Venice has great markets where you can buy some delicious food at a fraction of the cost than at the restaurants. The morning fish market is my favorite. Head there early to watch the restaurant owners pick their fish and stay for the old ladies picking their dinners. There is also an organic produce market on Mondays.
5. Explore the Peggy Guggenheim Collection
This is a massive, avant-garde collection of art, comprised of more than 200 artists. There are countless pieces by surrealists, abstract expressionists, and Italian futurists. In addition to works by Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, and various other big-name artists, the collection also includes local works. Admission is 15 EUR. It’s open daily (except Tuesdays) from 10am-6pm.
6. Climb the Campanile di San Marco
Built in 1912, this tower is actually a replica of the original Bell Tower of St. Mark. It is said that every last detail of the structure is a match. For 8 EUR, you can climb up through the inner workings and get a great view of the city.
7. Watch the Voga Longa
Held annually on May 23rd, this is a marathon rowing event. This tradition originated as a protest to the increasing amount of power boats throughout Venice waters. In order to receive recognition, you have to row 20 miles in under 3.5 hours.
8. I Tre Mercanti
This food gallery can be found just a stone’s skip away from St. Marco’s Square. The specialty here is Italian dishes but the cool part is the number of regional specialties from around Italy. It’s kind of like heaven.
9. Take a professional tour
If you want to get an in-depth look into the city, consider taking a tour from a company like Context Tours. They are not cheap but it will give you a deeper understanding of the place’s history. Take Walks also runs good tours too!