The Best Free Things To Do In Venice
A little while ago, I asked some lovely bloggers if they’d like to contribute some content over here whilst I was swamped with Love Island shiz. Luckily for me, the gorgeous Amy, who I’m a huge fan of stepped in and here’s a lovely lil post from her on a city I’m DYING to visit… VENICE.
Venice is a lot of things; it’s scenic, it’s clean, there’s heaps to do and it’s different to anywhere else you’ll ever visit in the most beautiful way. You know what it’s not though? It’s not cheap, a fact first made clear to me when we literally couldn’t afford any of the hotels there (which ended up being a huge plus because our air bnb was better than any hotel we could have wished for, but I digress). We arrived in Venice after a night in Pisa and three in Florence where we’d had a bit of a ‘woo it’s our honeymoon treat yo’self’ mentality and, well, spent most of our money. So we had to get by in Venice with a pretty strict budget, which resulted in us looking for cheap or free things to do. Seeing as Venice is a pricey place, I thought I’d put a little guide together of free things to do if you’re heading there on a budget too or even if you’re thinking about heading there but are put off by the price!
Yeah I know, original right? Generally you’ll do a lot of walking in Venice because it’s one of the easiest ways of getting around, plus it’s not a huge place so easily done on foot. However, rather than just walking from one place to the next, I’d recommend taking a walk off the beaten track early in the morning before all the tourists are out because that’s when Venice is at its best and you really see its charm (without approx fifty selfie sticks in the way).
St Mark’s Basilica :
Yep, one of Venice’s most famous landmarks is free entry and it’s definitely worth the queue (which is easily avoidable if you get there before it opens). The Basilica is absolutely stunning inside, I can’t tell you how many times I nearly tripped over my own feet while staring in awe at the golden ceiling. We visited a lot of churches in Italy, but none of them came close in beauty to this one.
Fondaco Dei Tedeschi:
This is a department store, but I’m not suggesting you go shopping. It has a free roof terrace with a stunning view over the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal, as well as the rest of Venice. It is advised to book a time slot, but we only booked an hour ahead on a weekday and were fine.
European Cultural Centre Exhibitions:
There are various free exhibitions across Venice by the European Cultural Centre; the actual centre is Palazzo Mora, but they exhibit elsewhere too. We stumbled across the architecture exhibition in Palazzo Mora itself then decided to visit a design one too. Both were super interesting and refreshingly modern in a sea of Italian renaissance, which although very good, can become a bit samey when you’ve looked at it for eight days straight.
Have an ice cream in Saint Mark’s Square
OK, so the ice cream isn’t technically free…but it’s also optional. One of the things that was recommended to us was to sit and have a drink at one of the cafes surrounding the square where, as well as the stunning view of the cathedral and bell tower, there are live orchestras playing for the customers. However a coffee can easily set you back 15 Euros, whereas you can just as easily buy an ice cream for 3 and find a step to perch on within earshot of an orchestra. Sneaky but effective. And if you really are skint, skip the ice cream and just perch.
Sunset on the water bus:
Again, the water bus isn’t free, but if you’re planning on using the water bus to get around anyway you’ll probably already have a pass. As well as allowing you to travel to the islands around Venice, you could also take a trip all the way round the edge of Venice then hop on a second bus taking you down the Grand Canal just in time for sunset. Just make sure you either bag a seat at the back, which is open, or remain standing in the outdoor area near the front so you get that dreamy view! Hopefully this has given you some inspo if you are going to Venice or maybe it’s made you reconsider it as a possibility you hadn’t before!