Venice on a Budget
Venice is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The legendary city—which is over 1200 years old—is famous for stunning architecture, historical monuments, and iconic gondola rides. Venice is in Northeastern Italy, and it’s home to iconic canals that have served as transportation routes for the last century. Venice was also a robust maritime republic, playing a significant role in Europe’s history.
Similarly, Venice is home to a unique blend of music, art, and culture reflected in its festivals, galleries, and museums. Although Venice can be a highly expensive attraction due to its worldwide fame and notoriety—you can enjoy the city’s rich heritage and culture without breaking the bank.
Here are the top 6 budget attractions in Venice, Italy:
1. Admire The Views From St. Mark’s Basilica
There isn’t a more iconic monument in Venice than St. Mark’s Basilica. And best of all, it’s completely free of charge to enter. However, there is a small fee to climb to the top for excellent panoramic city views. The city dedicated the landmark to the patron saint of Venice: St. Mark.
First built in the 9th century—although it’s been expanded and rebuilt several times—archeologists describe the landmark as one of the world’s most impressive pieces of Byzantine-inspired architecture. In addition, the building’s interior is as remarkable as its exterior; you’ll find glittering mosaics, precious artwork, and ornate marble flooring.
Address: P.za San Marco, 328, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
2. Take Pictures at The Rialto Bridge
Another incredibly iconic, free-to-visit attraction is the Rialto Bridge situated over the city’s Grand Canal. The Rialto Bridge is one of the city’s oldest bridges, dating back to 1591 when the city first completed it. Engineers built the bridge to replace an older wooden bridge prone to collapse and too narrow to handle the sheer scale of foot traffic.
The bridge offers a majestic view of the city, and it’s a popular spot for tourists seeking the perfect shot for social media. However, it’s wise to visit the bridge in the early mornings because it becomes busy in the afternoon. In addition, fantastic markets and shops surround the bridge—making it a hub of the bustling city and a great place to spend a couple of hours.
3. Marvel at Doge’s Palace
Doge’s Palace, also called Palazzo Ducale, is a stunning palace located in the heart of Venice. The city built the palace in the 14th century when it served as the residence of Doge, Venice’s chief magistrate. The palace is one of Europe’s finest examples of Gothic architecture—with its series of chambers, the Bridge of Sighs, and the Senate Hall.
Doge’s Palace also includes the Great Council Hall, formerly the largest room in Europe that was used as a meeting place for the Republic’s governing body. Today, the stunning palace is open to thousands of tourists yearly who want to learn the legal and political history of Venice. And here’s the best news: Doge’s Palace is free to enter.
Address: P.za San Marco, 1, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
4. Walk Around Piazza San Marco
Located in the heart of Venice, Piazza San Marco (often called St. Marks’ Square) is one of the world’s most famous and most beautiful public squares. Various iconic landmarks—including the Doge's Palace, the Bell Tower, the Procuratie Vecchie, and Nuove—surround Piazza San Marco. The stunning architecture in the square often blows tourists away, and you’ll find many exquisite restaurants, cafes, and bars near the square.
In addition, Piazza San Marco is a cultural hub. As a result, you can find many free events and festivals throughout the year. These include parades, concerts, and theatrical performances. Be sure to buy some of your favorite Italian food, sit on the benches, and watch the thousands of people wander through the square marveling at the beauty; it’s a people-watching paradise and completely free to visit.
Address: P.za San Marco, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy
5. Visit The Peggy Guggenheim Collection
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is an art museum established by the American art collector—Peggy Guggenheim—in 1949. The museum showcases her incredible personal art collection, including some of the most influential people from the 20th century, such as Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, and Marc Chagall.
Art experts regard the collection as one of the world’s most influential art displays, making it an absolute must-see for any art enthusiast. The museum also includes educational programs and temporary exhibits that provide a deeper understanding of modern art. Although the museum isn’t free to enter, tickets only cost around $20, making it one of the more affordable attractions in Venice.
Address: Dorsoduro, 701-704, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy
6. Check Out the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, commonly known as the Frari Church, is a popular Gothic-style church located in the heart of Venice. Dating back to the 14th century, the church is the final resting place of many prominent Venetian artists, including Titian.
Likewise, the church has an incredible interior with a high nave, gorgeous altar places, and elaborate choir stalls. The stained glass windows, which allow natural light to blaze through the church, are also a sight to behold. The church is free to enter, and it’s a must-see for any budget traveler with a fascination for art, beauty and history.
Address: San Polo, 3072, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy
Venice: A Fantastic City for All Budgets
Venice is a city that caters to all budgets and tastes. Of course, you could spend thousands of dollars here quickly and easily but keep in mind that the city’s top attractions are absolutely free.
If you choose affordable accommodation and budget food options, visiting Venice—one of the world’s most iconic destinations—doesn’t need to be costly at all.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.