Venice is a city like no other. It’s beautiful, enchanting and artistic in a way I just haven’t found in other cities. I could return over and over again.
Traveling to Venice means taking precautions to be a responsible traveler. I’ll have more on that below, but keep that in mind when planning your trip. Here’s how to spend 4 days in Venice on a budget!
How to Spend 4 Days in Venice on a Budget
Introduction to Venice
Official Language(s): Italian
Emergency phone number: 112
When to Go to Venice
September – October
September – October is about as off season as it gets in Venice, considering the city takes in roughly 20 million folks a year. The weather will be pleasant, a light jacket is all you’ll need.
Be warned, Venice floods just about always. It gets a little rainy in the fall, and it flooded twice while I was there. Nothing major, but you’ll need boots to traverse the main city area. Don’t sweat it, Venetians are used to this. Odds are, sidewalks will be dry by mid afternoon.
Where to Stay in Venice
Hotel A’la has all of the luxury feel without breaking the bank. If you book 90 days in advance, they typically give you a 20% discount. Book directly, and they throw in a little welcome gift basket to say thanks. Their service is unmatched too.
While Hotel A’la was 100% worth the price tag to me, some may need a hostel. I gotcha. Check out We_Crociferi. It’s about a 16 minute walk to St. Mark’s Square, and it’s located inside a former convent. How cool is that?!
How to Get Around in Venice
Venezia Unica Pass
For the most part, you can walk around Venice. Once you get the hang of the twists and turns of the city, it’s a delightful experience.
To get to and from the airport, however, you will need to take a shuttle. They depart from Piazzale Roma, and are pretty cheap for a one-way fare. You can pay at the shuttle, too.
For adventures outside of the city (more on that below) you can take a water taxi. Venice has a transportation pass that’ll take you just about anywhere. You can buy it online, or by one of the main docks.
Where to Eat in Venice
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Don’t mind me, just reliving my most irresponsible splurges. This is from Club del Doge in Venice. Insanely luxurious dining like I had never experienced before. And the food... oh my goodness, the food! So. Good.⠀ ⠀ Very expensive, especially considering its waterfront views, but I’m glad I did it. I’ll likely never pay that much for a meal again, but the experience and food was a memory I won’t soon forget. Hopefully someday I’ll be making the kind of cash where I can dine like that more often!⠀ ⠀ What are your thoughts on splurging on food when you’re traveling? Yay or nay?⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #travel #gltlove #glt #italy #venice #italyfoods #clubdeldoge #love #veniceatnight #dininginvenice #foodpics
Club del Doge
Ok, this is a very expensive recommendation, so if you go, go during lunch when it’s cheaper. If you’re unsure, check the menu and get familiar with the prices. Find out if it’s worth it to you. I know luxury dining isn’t for everyone, and usually I pass, but I loved Club del Doge. It was the best meal I had in Venice. The food was delicious, I savored every bite.
It’s located right on the Grand Canal and the space itself is gorgeous. And I’ve never had service like what they offer. There were at least 3 people attending to whatever I needed. I felt like a queen. It’s not something I could afford to do regularly, but every now and then, it’s nice to treat yourself.
Ai Mercanti has fantastic customer service, the waiter really took his time explaining what they offered and made sure we got what we wanted. If they’re offering it, get the fresh seafood. It was cooked to perfection. I could’ve eaten another serving.
Marchini Time originally drew me in the first time I was in Venice. I was on a tour (mentioned below) and the guide referenced the sweet smell from the bakery as we walked down an alley. It was enticing, but I ran out of time to check it out.
Luckily, during my second visit, I had more than enough time to seek out and dive into their delicious desserts. If the smell alone doesn’t draw you in, the taste sure will. It was fabulous.
Ristorante Da Ivo
Ristorante Da Ivo boasts the likes of George Clooney and Matt Damon as past customers. I see why. It’s a cute little restaurant overlooking a smaller canal. The food was great, and it just seemed like a fun environment from the start.
Day 1 of 4 Days in Venice
Find your hotel. I’m only semi-joking. Venice is not easily navigated, and sometimes it genuinely looks like Google Maps is playing a joke on you. Also, when it says it’ll take 22 minutes to get there from the train station… that’s only partially true. If you’re dragging your luggage, it’ll take almost twice as long.
I’m sorry, it’s worth it.
Day 2 of 4 Days in Venice
St. Mark’s Square
I know it’s a tourist cliche, but St. Mark’s Square is incredible. You can’t go to Venice without at least giving this Square it’s due. An easy way to see just about everything I’ll mention is to buy the St. Mark’s Square Pass. It won’t cover everything (you’ll need to pay extra for certain exhibits in the Basilica and the Campanile), but it’ll save you some cash and allow you to skip the line.
St. Mark’s Basilica
Let’s start with St. Mark’s Basilica. I walked inside and it took my breath away. It’s designed to make the most out of it’s interior; gilded mosaics. It’s so, so beautiful.
St. Mark’s Treasury
For a few extra euros, you can visit the St. Mark’s Treasury and see what ornate treasures have been kept for hundreds of years.
You can also walk around the altar and get a better view of the mosaics.
Doge’s Palace is another beautiful building, right next door. It’s quite the combination of buildings and will take a couple of hours to work through.
Every place has been preserved, meaning you can walk through the prison and see the jarring contrast between the prisoner’s cells and the duke’s rooms.
And finally, you can tour the armory and see how wars back then were won. It’s quite the extensive collection.
There’s a small cafe inside the courtyard where you can grab lunch. Or you can pop down the street to Cafe Florian, an 18th century staple. Remember, this is in the heart of Venice, so it will be more expensive.
Museo Correr is a smaller, opulent museum full of Venetian artwork dating back centuries. There’s no particular piece that caught my eye, I just enjoyed the whole design and feel of the museum itself.
St. Mark’s Campanile
A walk up St. Mark’s Campanile is the best way to get an amazing view of the city.
Ride a gondola
We’re really rolling with the tourist-y cliches today, aren’t we? Riding a gondola in Venice is, in my opinion, a must do. I’ve done so twice and loved it each time. It’s a really neat and special way of seeing the city that you just can’t get by traveling on foot.
There’s no shortage of gondola offers in Venice, but they can get expensive really fast. The service I booked included a tour(!) for less than what I saw advertised on the streets with other gondola rides (linked below).
The tour is a delight. A Venetian local will take you through the “hidden” areas of Venice. So, not St. Mark’s Square. The areas that are a little less tourist-y but still very beautiful and special. Along the way, you’ll learn the history of the city and get some recommendations for places to check out.
Afterward, it’s on to the gondola for a 30-45 minute ride. Sigh, I already wanna go again.
See a concert
A concert like the one I experienced is so inexpensive and I genuinely can’t believe it’s as cheap as it is! For roughly $40, you’re treated to the Interpreti Veneziani ensemble, an incredibly talented group of performers that’ll treat you to the Vivaldi concert of your life. Vivaldi was a Venetian, so it’s not just some random picking. The concert takes place in the beautiful Church of San Vidal. Seriously, go.
Day 3 of 4 Days in Venice
Murano, Burano and Torcello
It’ll take you a solid day (at least) to explore three delightful venetian islands; Murano, Burano and Torcello. Take the #12 water taxi and let’s go!
Murano will be your first stop. It’s a cute little island known for its spectacular glass blowing. I had so much fun wandering in and out of shops, leaving with more than I planned for. There are so many cute trinkets, ornaments and jewelry, it’s hard to leave empty-handed.
Santa Chiara Church
Probably the best part was finding the Santa Chiara Church. It’s a beautiful space that’s since been converted into a showroom and glass blowing demonstration. For €5, you can have a seat and watch an artist create a piece right before your eyes. Then walk around for a bit and try not buy everything on the floor.
Burano is next. Two things are immediately apparent; beautiful lace and colorful buildings.
You’d have a fun time just meandering down the streets looking at all of the vibrant colors. I sort of wanted to move in, I feel like I’d be happier if I lived around this kind of fun environment.
Osteria Al Fureghin
I stopped for lunch at Osteria Al Fureghin; a seafood restaurant right on the canal.
Museo del Merletto
Museo del Merletto is the lace museum where you can learn the history and effort behind the craft. I was more focused on getting the perfect lace souvenir, so I didn’t check it out.
Finally, you’ll arrive at Torcello. It’s so mysterious. Allegedly, only 10 people live here full-time, making it essentially abandoned. When I arrived, it was raining, which added to the abandoned/creepy vibe.
Church of Santa Fosca
You’ll pass a bridge, a few restaurants and even some hotels before arriving to the area with the most to see. The Church of Santa Fosca is small and free to enter.
Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta
Next door is the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, which features mosaics (I’m sensing a theme with Venice’s basilicas, no?). You’ll need cash to go inside, and to my knowledge, there’s nary an ATM on the island. So come prepared if you wish to step inside. I did not.
You’ll also find the Torcello Museum and sculpture garden.
A little further away are the docks.
There’s something so strange about walking around in an abandoned island. Part of me wants to stay the night in one of the hotels. But the other part of me wonders if that’s a horror movie waiting to happen.
Day 4 of 4 Days in Venice
Teatro La Fenice
Teatro La Fenice wasn’t always called La Fenice (“the phoenix”), but then again not every theater suffers two major fires. The guy responsible for the last one is still in jail, as far as I know. Luckily, the theater has been beautifully restored to its former glory. You can get tickets to a show, or do a self-guided tour like I did.
Think of the Gallerie dell’Accademia as a bit of a primer for a later attraction. While all of the artwork it houses is incredible in its own right, the works of Renaissance artist Tintoretto, are stunning. More on him in a bit.
Scala Contarini del Bovolo
Scala Contarini del Bovolo absolutely mesmerized me the first time I was in Venice. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to walk up the terrace, but I vowed during my next trip to right that wrong. Worth the wait.
Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Scuola Grande di San Rocco was the one place I missed. Know the closing times, folks. This is a museum whose walls were painted by Tintoretto. Apparently, he wanted the job so badly he kindasortalittlebit sabotaged the competition that would decide who would paint the place. It’s quite the story.
Know Before You Go
The city has been breaking under the strain of tourism. 20 million tourists in such a small, delicate city can be devastating. I’m not saying don’t visit, you should, but do so responsibly. Venice recently launched #EnjoyRespectVenezia campaign to encourage responsible tourism. Here are some quick tips to be a good Venetian tourist.
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