The second instalment to the Venetian exploration over a cold weekend in the floating city. I thought I would share a couple of tips on exploring Venice without breaking the bank.
1. Use Waterbuses - Venice offers the option of taxis and vapaortetto - waterbuses. Taxis can be can be quite expensive and more so if you intend on using them as your main transportation. Waterbuses offer an inexpensive way to get around the city. Tip: Before you arrive in Venice download AVM Venezia official app(Android & iTunes). You can buy your tickets and have them to hand on your phone. You can buy 1, 2, 3 and 7-day tickets as well as buying tickets for 75 minutes for the waterbuses at 7.50 Euros. These work in a similar way as London's Oyster or Hong Kong's Octopus but use a barcode that you scan just before boarding the waterbus on the machines at the entrances of the stops. You can also buy multiple tickets on the apps you don't have to download several apps on other phones if travelling with others. We used my boyfriend's app to buy both our tickets, which meant we already had tickets from the moment we arrived as well as the occasion taxi. I will share tips on how to save money on the taxis in the next Venice post.
2. Explore on Foot - After your initial arrival into Venice, you have the option of getting around by the waterbuses or seeing Venice on foot. I have found opting for exploring on foot way better. You will see more of Venice than you will on the waterbuses. Venice is inter-connected by hundreds of bridges so this means you can see all those beautiful little gems hidden within the floating city that only your feet can get as some of the waterways are too narrow for the waterbuses. The only other mode of transportation that gets around these narrow waterways are Gondolas and smaller boats. That in itself would be a costly way to explore this small city via Gondola. So put on a comfortable pair of shoes, put the map away and let Venice reveal itself to you.
3. Avoid expensive private Gondola rides and take a group ride - If you want to see the city by Gondola, if you are a group then it works out a lot cheap as you can split costs. If you are a couple and don't mind sharing you can opt to ride the Gondola by sharing the ride with others. Most Gondola platforms around Venice offer group rides but may have to wait until they have enough people to get on the Gondolas. Also, note that the prices for Gondolas changes in the evening but the benefit is that there are less people on Grand Canal so a little peaceful riding.
4. Buy Local - Eating in Venice can be ridiculously expensive. This also doesn't guarantee you will have quality for the money you are spending. Cafes and restaurants near tourist hotspots like Rialto Bridge or San Marco Square are super expensive for what is on offer. Unless you are visiting a place that comes highly recommended, I would highly recommend finding places hidden within inner Venice as the quality seems better because they seem to try harder with food than those with access to free flowing foot traffic. I'ts also a lot cheaper. If exploring on foot also opt for taking away. There are supermarkets around the city offering an inexpensive option. You can have a quick shop and make your own lunches or breakfast instead of eating out. We booked Airbnb when we visited Venice so we opted to use the supermarket to buy food, which meant we made our own food and enough to keep us going for lunches. Also had access to Italian cafes serving great coffee right outside our apartment.
5. Stay Local - Don't feel you have to stay in the centre of Venice. We looked around for hotels but as this year has been filled with so much travel for work, I have found Airbnb a lot more appealing for my style of travel at the moment. I do switch between hotels and Airbnb though. Don't feel you have to stay near San Marco or Rialto Bridge to feel the essence of Venice. Venice is not so big that you have to stay so close to the hot spots. Our booking was for a place hidden deep in the alleys of Venice, it seemed that way when we walked to try and find it but after we found it and saw the view from one of our windows(image below with rooftops and the Campanile in the background) we realised just how close we still were to the sights. We were also a short walk to Libra Alta - the famous book shop. Rialto Bridge was also only about 30 minutes walk. The point is, don't feel you have to blow hundreds of Euros on an expensive hotel bill just so you can stay on the edge of the Grand Canal. Especially if you are going to spend most of your stay exploring. You can compare hotel prices in Venice on Booking.com, which also allows you to view them by map to see where they are located. You can also use Airbnb, whether rental the whole apartment or renting a room. You can save £30 via this Airbnb link when you sign up.
Exploring Venice needn't blow the bank balance, hopefully, the above tips offer an insight on how to explore Venice without spending a lot of many. A weekend in Venice in photos below.
My jacket is by Very(now on sale), belt is Versace and Bag is Celine. All linked below.
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