Known for its historical charms and a large number of canals, Venice is one of the most visited cities in Europe. Millions of people visit the city each year. With such a vast amount of tourism, something that you are likely calculating in when planning your Venice trip cost is that the city is expensive to visit. But is Venice expensive?
Over the years, I have visited several cities across Europe, and I have always found that if you take the time, you can actually do them more cheaply than anticipated. I went to Venice in November of 2019 to find out for myself whether Venice was as expensive as everyone claims.
First of all, visiting Venice in low season will not only reduce the number of people visiting but will also reduce prices in Venice.
The answer to the question “Is Venice expensive to visit?” is yes. Venice can be expensive! But it also offers plenty of ways of visiting the city in a more budget-friendly way that will also see you immersing yourself with Venice culture more wholeheartedly.
Generally speaking, the closer you are to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), the heftier the price tag. You can remember this rule of thumb for literally almost every category when calculating your Venice trip cost!
Back in time, Venice was not just a bigger city in the Veneto region but actually was a major trading city. Today, you can still find many cultural aspects that are unique to Venice. It is often when you embrace these, that you will end up paying lower prices.
Venice Trip Cost Guide
Accommodation Prices in Venice
Venice has a variety of accommodation available. There are luxury hotels, dormitory hostels and plenty of bed and breakfasts. The areas of Rialto and Cannaregio offer cheaper alternatives for accommodation and are often walking distance from one of Venice’s main attractions.
While it is possible to get a room sometimes for around 50€, you will have to expect to pay something closer to 80€ – 100€ per night. Especially if you are planning to stay in a hotel within Venice – even more if you are planning to reside in the San Marco area. A cheaper option if you are planning to stay in a hotel is to have a look outside the city’s lagoon area and stay in Mestre – a commune that is part of Venice but is on the mainland. Mestre is connected to Venice by bus and train and hotel prices there are a bit more budget-friendly at around 40€ – 80€ a night.
Another budget-friendly option is to choose one of Venice’s hostels to avoid paying Venice prices. Again, the prices can vary depending on the area. Choosing to stay in Mestre is the cheapest option at around 10€ – 15€ a night for a shared room in a dorm. Large scale dormitories are not as widely available within the lagoon area of Venice, but it is possible to find a dorm bed for around 20€ a night, and a private room in a Bed and Breakfast can be as little as 30€ – 50€.
Airbnb also offers cheaper options for you to keep your trip to Venice cost low. It is possible to get a private room for about 30€ – 50€ a night in the areas of Rialto and Cannaregio – both of which are actually not far from the main tourist sites in Venice. Click here to browse Airbnb options in Venice.
Transportation Prices in Venice
How expensive is Venice in terms of transportation? When calculating prices in Venice, transportation thankfully is one of the easier options. It really is dependent on a couple of things:
- Where you are staying
- How much you like walking
If you do not mind walking, then you can really save money during your trip to Venice. When I visited Venice, I actually spent the 15€ on airport transport and other than that did not pay any extra transportation costs as I stayed in the Cannaregio area and walked everywhere. It was a lot of walking, but it is definitely possible, and there are so many great places in Venice to stop for a coffee or some food to keep you going! However, I fully understand that this way of exploring is not everyone’s idea of a great time. There are also some options should you prefer to have some form of transport to rely on.
The inner city – i.e. the ‘Venice’ that tourists visit – has no roads, cars, buses, trains or trams. Public transport is solely operated by water-based crafts also known ‘vaporettos.‘ These boats will take you around the city and its surrounding islands.
If you are staying in Venice for a few days, and are planning to make some day trips during your time there, then it is worth considering to purchase one of the multi-day tickets from ACTV. These multi-day tickets allow you unlimited use of the vaporettos for a specified number of days from €8,50 – €20 per day depending on the length of your trip.
If you are under 29, then you are especially lucky as you can purchase a bundle deal for 28€ that will include your three-day vaporetto ticket as well as a ‘Rolling Venice’ card. The card offers discounted prices for many of Venice’s attractions and museums and is available for anyone between six and twenty-nine years of age.
The one cost you will have to consider if you are arriving by plane, is your transportation from the airport. If you are arriving at Marco Polo — which is just across the lagoon from Venice – there are several options. The cheapest would be the bus taking you to Piazzale Roma for 8€ (single journey) or 15€ (return) – click here to book it in advance. Keep in mind that there is no way for the bus to go any closer than Piazzale Roma and that you will have to make your way to your accommodation from there.
As an alternative to the bus, The blue Alilaguna line offers another convenient method from the airport to several Venice locations. Stopping at several stops within the main lagoon – such as Fondamente Nove in Cannaregio and the area of San Marco – it is a cheap way to make it to your accommodation for 15€ per trip. If your budget allows it, there are also shared water taxis that will take you directly to your hotel.
If you are staying in Mestre, bus journeys can be purchased for as little as 1,50€ per journey. A ticket on the train can be pre-booked for around the same price but usually costs around 8€ – 10€.
Finally, if you’re planning on arriving to Venice by train from a nearby city such as Milan or Florence, it’s best to book tickets in advance to get the best fares – you can click here to browse train routes and availability.
Food Prices in Venice
Food prices in Venice can differ significantly in Venice. Breakfast in the area of San Marco might cost you double the amount than it would in Rialto. It is definitely possible to eat ‘on the cheap’ in Venice. The best thing is to follow the locals. Venice is full of bustling cafes with locals queuing for their espressos. Often these places will offer great meal deals such as an omelette, a coffee and a glass of fresh juice for 7,50€.
A one-course meal in a mid-range restaurant will cost around 15€-20€ and drinks usually are around the 5€ mark upwards. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, be sure to find yourself a bacaro – a traditional bar that’s seen as a ‘pit stop’. There are hundreds of these across the city, and often you will find one nestled up a side street even in the most expensive places. In a bacaro you will find some great deals for a midday snack. The selection can differ, but expect a variety of cooked meats, smoked or fried fish, seafood, bruschetta, and salads. My partner and I both had a drink and a selection of six different foods for 10€ each.
Something to definitely try are the Venetian ‘cicchettis’. You can see these as Venetian tapas consisting of bits of bread with cooked meat or fish and they are served at many bars and bacaros across the city. Venetians eat these as a snack before dinner to accompany their drink. Normally one of these will cost around 3€ a piece, but sometimes places will offer you discounted prices if you are ordering two or more.
Just like lunch, prices paid for dinner can vary. Prices in a mid-range restaurant are similar to the ones mentioned above, but many restaurants will offer set deals such as pasta and a drink for 15€.
Activities Prices in Venice
When calculating the cost of activities in Venice, include the average cost for museum entry fees, walking tours, historic site entry, and any free sites as well.
The Doge’s Palace was the residence of the Doge or “Duke” of Venice, who ruled as the chief magistrate and leader of the Republic of Venice for centuries – it is here that you will get to see the famous ‘Bridge of Sighs’ which used to link the prison to the palace. Tickets to visit the palace cost 25€ but also include Museo Correr (another one on the Venice ‘must do’ list), Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana – you can book priority admission tickets in advance here.
If museums are something you really enjoy, then you can actually go for a Museum Pass. For only 35€, it gives you entry to eleven museums, including the ones mentioned above.
Another one of the sites to see is the Peggy Guggenheim collection – a museum showcasing art by Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Alexander Calder.
Venice has such a selection of things to do, and the same goes for tours. There are food tours, wine tours, walking tours, museum tours – you name it. Most of these tours will be around the 25€ – 50€ mark. The Doge palace has a famous “Secret Itinerary” tour for 28€ which let you see bits of the castle that is not open to regular visitors.
While tours are a great option to get a full scope of the cities history, it is also possible to organise your own day trips from Venice, which can really lower your Venice trip cost. The islands are full of cultural heritage – Mazzorbo has a winery and Burano is known for its colourful houses and handmade lace.
These are only two of the many islands and be assured: each island surrounding Venice will have something special going for it. To get to the islands, you can use your ACTV day ticket, so the trip is already included at no extra cost! Tours to islands are available for around 25€ – 45€, although these tours will often require you to also purchase an ACTV ticket separately. Click here to view island tour options in Venice.
However, Venice is a city where you could easily not spend any additional money on activities and just focus on nothing in particular. It is a great city to just get lost in: Explore the Rialto Fishmarket, walk along with the many boroughs, have a coffee with a local and walk along the grand canal. Walk through the park that is nestled along the shores of Castello. The possibilities seem almost endless.
Entertainment Prices in Venice
There is a vast selection of different kinds of bars in Venice. On average you can expect to pay 5€ for a beer, glass of house wine, prosecco or an Aperol Spritz. The side streets often offer you ‘hidden gems’ where you can find lower prices and likely sit with several locals. Most bars do provide some snacks with your drink, such as a bowl of olives, nuts, or potato chips.
Depending on the time of year, Venice often will have a festival on. Examples are the Venice Biennale of Art – a yearly art exhibition – or the Venice carnival running in February. Both are ticketed, but tickets for the Biennale of Art are around 35€, and the carnival has several free and many paid events.
If you are a lover of theatre, be sure to visit the Teatro La Fenice – an opera house founded back in 1792. The prices are dependent on what show you go see but will be anything from 30€ – 200€.
Is Venice Expensive? Average Venice Trip Cost
So, let us get to the verdict – how expensive is Venice? Below you can find an average of what you should be expecting to spend per person per day in Venice. This is a minimum and assuming that you’re splitting the costs between two people and plan to stay a bit outside of the city centre
Accommodation: 20-30€ / night
Transportation: 5-15€ / day
Food: 20€ / day
Activities: 20€ / day
Entertainment: 10€ / day
All in all, expect your Venice trip cost to be a minimum of 75€ to 95€ per person per day.
This also doesn’t include any pre-trip expenses such as flights or travel insurance. World Nomads is a popular option for travellers looking for travel insurance – click here to get a quote from World Nomads.
These figures are for guidance. This is what I would recommend planning into your budget if you are trying to figure out the least amount you can spend in Venice. Prices in Venice can vary, and some days you might spend more, and others you might pay less, particularly if splurging on some activity or entertainment costs.
In the end, my partner and I ended up spending an average of 85€ per person per day because we stayed in an Airbnb apartment with some locals that gave us excellent advice on where to eat cheaply. We also did not have any transportation costs as within the city, we walked everywhere.
Venice is a beautiful city and truly one of a kind. I am so happy that I got to visit Venice and soak in its charms. Is Venice expensive to visit? Yes and no. Overall, prices in Venice might be higher than in other European cities but visiting Venice does not have to be extortionate. Hopefully, this overview has helped you answer any questions you had while calculating your trip to Venice cost.
Are you planning to visit Venice? Are you wondering is Venice expensive? Let us know in the comments!