Venice is renowned for its romantic canals, picturesque bridges, and stunning architecture. However, it’s also a city that can be quite expensive to explore. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to experience Venice on a budget without sacrificing its charm or beauty.
This blog post will share ten affordable activities travellers can enjoy in Venice. Our app showcases free things to do in the city, the prices of certain spots, and tips that come directly from our local spotters. With our app, you can experience Venice like a local and enjoy all the city has to offer without breaking the bank. So let’s dive in and discover Venice on a budget!
Imagina – Friendliest spot!
Price: Espresso – 1 Euro
“The friendliest spot for coffee or cocktails in lively Campo Santa Margherita is the Imagina Cafe. Once an actual art gallery, the space was cleverly turned into a coffee house.
Imagina is owned and operated by two charming gentlemen, Stefano and Domenico. whom you will find on site with their staff. This design oriented cafe is open seven days a week and filled with locals and tourists alike. Students clamour to organize graduation parties and events in this intimate, chic spot.
This is my favorite location for a light lunch on a spring day, people watching near the Ponte dei Pugni (fighting bridge) in Dorsoduro. The salads and sandwiches are always super fresh and served with a smile. The walls host an array of altering art works by both local and international artists.” – Stacy Gibboni
Campo Santa Maria Nova – Chilling by the marble
“On your path from Cannaregio district towards Castello district, heading to the San Giovanni e Paolo square, you will certainly get into Campo Santa Maria dei Miracoli. I like this charming small square, surrounded by typical Venetian buildings and a tiny piece of canal, which is also a Gondola stop, making it easy to imagine this spot as a very beautiful classical painting!
Sometimes I stop by, sit on one of the benches, enjoying the lovely sight offered by the magnificent back of the Santa Maria dei Miracoli church.
This church is one of my favourite ones in Venice, and from Campo Santa Maria Nova you can see its back, on the other side of the canal, and it is so beautiful you will just want to go there, turn around the corner and discover the rest of this marble masterpiece.” – Matteo Giarraffa
San Francesco del Deserto – A secret island
“San Francesco del Deserto is located near Burano and Torcello but has no daily connection with any public transport so to get there you need to book a private boat from one of the two islands.
It is this “disconnected” why it’s been inhabited by Franciscan priests since 1230. Like in many monasteries, they live their life there between prayers and agricultural activities but they also represent a shelter for those people who need to disconnect from their life for a period of time. They also guide some groups during the week to learn what their life is like, and show you around the islands.” – Annamaria Bergamo
Al Parlamento – Perfect at any time
Price: Spritz – 3 Euros
“In the middle of a residential zone between Guglie bridge and Tre Archi bridge, Al Parlamento is the perfect bar to stop for a coffee with a brioche in the morning, for lunch, for a spritz in the evening or for some drinks in the night. Basically at any time of the day.
Recently renovated, with a perfect union of black and wood, the interior gives you a nice welcoming and peaceful atmosphere. You can sit inside or on the numerous tables outside near the canal that leads directly to the lagoon.
Moreover in the night you can choose among a wide selection of cocktails to spend a nice evening with your friends while enjoying the football match on the HD TV or live jazz or blues music in the summer.” – Annamaria Bergamo
Campo de L’Albazia – Shutterbugs delight!
“Aesthetic glories, improbable architecture all tucked down an alleyway, off the beaten path of tour groups following flag bearing guides. Look up for aerial walkways connecting one building to another while simultaneously preventing them from falling into one another.
Campo de L’Abazia is one of my favorite “secret” spots. Located in the sestiere of Cannaregio. iIt is picture perfect. Visit this neighborhood for its local ambiance and lore.
You will know you have arrived by the brilliant condition of the Brunelleschi style herringbone pavement, ornately decorated well and peculiar, yet common perpendicular position of La Scuola and the church.” – Stacy Gibboni
Da Luca e Fred – Discovolante (ufo) rules
Price: Discovolante – 2 Euros
“Just a few steps from the Railway Station of Venice, just behind the Guglie bridge I discovered Da Luca e Fred and I immediately put on my Bacaro tour list.
With a few tables inside and outside in the crowded Strada Nuova, you can choose to eat something quick, maybe with an ombra (small glass of wine), or stay for a proper lunch. In this case you should go around midday not to miss out on the famous Risotto al nero di seppia (Risotto with squid ink) or the Seppie in nero con polenta (cuttlefish in black in sauce with polenta).
I like going for the Aperitif rite much better. You can choose among a vast variety of cicchetti, selection of panini (sandwiches) filled with cold cuts and cheese exposed on the counter by the entrance, meatballs, roast potatoes skewer (€ 1), fried fish skewer, fish salad, and arancini (stuffed rice balls, which are coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried).” – Annamaria Bergamo
Fondamenta delle Zattere – The way to relax
“Venice is well known for its narrow streets and its fascinating hidden corners. Little space, super-full paths. Nevertheless an exception does exist: Fondamenta delle Zattere, also simply called Zattere.
This street is very long and wide and looks at the Giudecca canal. It brushes almost the whole south side of the city. The name Zattere, ‘rafts’ in English, likely derives from the large wooden platforms that were utilized in the past to transport salt.
Walking through this way is pleasant and relaxing; in the morning the bright sunlight spreads and reflects in every direction like nowhere else in the city. In the last hours of the day, beautiful sunsets light up the horizon toward the mainland.
There are bars and restaurants all way long, perfect places to have dinner or a drink after work while enjoying an amazing view.” – Filippo Muraro
Parco Groggia – Theater, ruins and pool
“Hidden in the very northern corner of Venice’s Island, Parco Groggia is one of the few publicly accessible green areas of the city. I like coming here at spring when the weather starts to be nice, in order to spend some time breathing fresh air in a fascinating environment, reading a book on a bench, playing with dogs and children on the background.
It is also nice spending time here in autumn, as there are ancient ruins and headstones are spread all over the garden that create a peculiar and scenographic atmosphere.
This little park is surrounded (and somehow “protected”) by walls and buildings, and I feel this makes the whole place cozier. Another reason why I like this city corner is that it represents an important venue for the citizens of Cannaregio district.” – Matteo Giarraffa
San Michele Island – Venice cemetery
“As strange as it might sound, I like the quiet, peaceful and concentrated feeling you can find in cemeteries. San Michele island’s purpose has changed over the centuries: abbey, monastery, prison… it only started hosting the city’s monumental cemetery in the 19th century.
Beside its spiritual and pensive atmosphere, San Michele island is also interesting because of its architectural beauty and historic importance.Among the islands surrounding Venice’ main body, this is the closest of the ones in the northern lagoon, and you can clearly see it from Fondamente Nove, the long shore on the northern side of the city and from the Fondamenta Nove’ vaporetto stop.
One can hardly miss it, considering its beautiful “terracotta” walls and the cypresses framing it. It gives you the impression it’s a magical isolated garden rising from the water.” – Matteo Giarraffa
San Piero di Castello – Peaceful corner
“This detached, quiet church and its district are often ignored by foreign visitors nowadays, but San Piero di Castello used to be Venice’s main cathedral until the early 19th century, before the much more famous Basilica di San Marco took over its role. Located in San Pietro island, at one of the peripheral corners of the city, it’s somehow the symbolic heart of Sestiere di Castello, thanks to its history and the central role it has for the citizens.
Every year, between June and July, a very well known sagra (a little local festival) takes place here, with food trucks, concerts and a little market. I personally like this area because of its tranquillity, the silence all around, and the kind of sweet melancholy you can feel in the old, almost depopulated neighbourhoods.
The wide open space in front of the church invites you to spend some time there, sit on a bench or lie on the grass reading a book or observing the residents’ boats slowly floating or docking on the small wooden piers.” – Matteo Giarraffa