Venice, despite being notoriously expensive, offers so many free things to do that will help you enjoy the city without a penny.
In this article, let us share with you 20 activities that won't cost you a penny, from soaking up the atmosphere in Piazza San Marco to wandering the quiet backstreets of Dorsoduro.
Let our free journey begin!
Free Things to Do in Venice: a list to inspire your travel
The city may be known for its high prices, but there are plenty of free things to do in Venice.
Whether you're a budget traveler or simply looking to save some money, there's no shortage of activities that won't cost you a penny.
From historic landmarks to hidden gems, here are 20 free things to do in Venice that you won't want to miss.
20. Explore the square in the heart of the city
Piazza San Marco, also known as St. Mark's Square, is the heart of Venice and one of the most famous landmarks in the city.
This public square is surrounded by historic buildings, including St. Mark's Basilica and the Palazzo Ducale, and is a great spot for people-watching and soaking up the atmosphere.
19. Admire the most ancient bridge of the city
The Rialto Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Venice, spanning the Grand Canal and connecting the districts of San Marco and San Polo.
While crossing the bridge is free, you can also take in the views of the canal and the surrounding architecture from the banks of the canal.
18. A free walking tour among the canals of Venice
While taking a gondola ride may be on many visitors' bucket lists, it can be an expensive experience.
Instead, a free walking tour will make you take in the sights and sounds of this unique city. Wander along the quieter canals, such as the Rio dei Mendicanti, for a more authentic experience.
17. Free things to do in Venice: Visit its fabulous churches
Venice is home to a number of beautiful churches that are free to visit or that requires a small offer.
These churches are not only impressive works of architecture but also offer a glimpse into the city's rich history and religious traditions.
16. Enjoy the free View from Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Among the fabulous free things to do in Venice, add Fondaco dei Tedeschi to your list.
It's a historic building that now serves as a department store and offers a free rooftop terrace with stunning views of the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge.
It's a great spot to take a break from the crowds and enjoy the views over a cup of coffee.
15. Explore the Islands of the Venetian Lagoon
While visiting the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello may require a boat trip, there are plenty of free things to do once you're there.
Take a stroll through the colorful streets of Burano, admire the glass-blowing demonstrations on Murano, or explore the ancient ruins on Torcello.
14. Visit the most famous Fish Market
The Rialto Market is a bustling hub of activity and a great spot to see the locals going about their daily lives. Here you could also see the Chiesa di San Giacometto, the oldest in Venice.
The fish market, in particular, is a fascinating place to explore, with a wide variety of seafood on offer and lively vendors shouting out their wares.
13. Wander the Streets of one of the most picturesque districts
Dorsoduro is a quiet and charming neighborhood that is often overlooked by tourists. Take a stroll through the narrow streets and admire the colorful buildings, or visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a modern art museum that is free for students and under 18s.
12. Admire the Architecture of Campo Santa Maria Formosa
Campo Santa Maria Formosa is a beautiful square that is home to several historic buildings, including the Church of Santa Maria Formosa.
Take a stroll through the square and admire the unique architecture and ornate facades.
11. Explore the Gardens of Venice
Venice may be a city of canals and narrow streets, but it also has some beautiful gardens and green spaces.
Visit the Giardini della Biennale, a park that is home to several pavilions and sculptures from the Venice Biennale, or take a stroll through the Parco delle Rimembranze, a quiet park with lovely views of the lagoon.
10. Walk Along the Zattere Promenade
The Zattere Promenade is a wide pedestrian walkway that runs along the Giudecca Canal and offers stunning views of the city. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade and stop for a gelato or coffee at one of the many cafes along the way.
9. Walk Across the most famous wooden bridge
The Ponte dell'Accademia is a beautiful wooden bridge that spans the Grand Canal and offers stunning views of the city. Take a leisurely walk across the bridge and stop to take photos or admire the views from the nearby benches.
8. Attend the Holy Mass in the most important Basilica
St. Mark's Basilica is one of the most famous landmarks in Venice, and attending a Holy Mass there is a unique and spiritual experience.
While there is no admission fee to enter the church for mass, visitors are asked to dress appropriately and be respectful of the religious ceremony. If you're interested in attending mass, be sure to check the schedule in advance.
7. The most popular free thing to do in Venice: a photo in front of its most romantic bridge
The Bridge of Sighs is a famous bridge that connects the Doge's Palace to the prison.
While there is an admission fee to visit the Palace, you can still see the bridge from the outside and imagine the prisoners' sighs as they crossed it on their way to their cells.
6. Stroll Around the Streets of the Jewish Ghetto
The historic Jewish Ghetto is one of the oldest and most historic Jewish neighborhoods in Europe. Take a stroll through the winding streets and alleys, and admire the unique architecture and cultural landmarks.
Strolling around this area is a unique and enriching experience that gives visitors a glimpse into the city's diverse cultural heritage
5. See the Campo San Polo
Campo San Polo is one of the largest public squares in Venice and is a great place to relax and people-watch.
Take a seat on one of the benches and soak in the atmosphere, or visit the nearby church of San Polo for a glimpse of its beautiful interior.
4. Take a Day Trip to the Beach
While Venice may not be known for its beaches, there are several nearby that are free to visit. Take a day trip to the Lido di Venezia, a long stretch of sand that is popular with locals and tourists alike, or head to the smaller beaches on the island of Pellestrina.
3. Visit the most curious bookshop
The Acqua Alta bookshop is a unique bookstore that is famous for its creative displays, including books stacked in gondolas and bathtubs. While the bookstore is a popular tourist attraction, it's also a great place to browse for books and escape the crowds for a little while.
2. See the Cimitero di San Michele
The Cimitero di San Michele is the cemetery island of Venice and is a unique and peaceful place to visit. Take a water taxi to the island and wander through the rows of graves, taking in the beautiful and ornate memorials.
1. Explore a majestic spiral staircase
The Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo is a beautiful Gothic palace that is famous for its spiral staircase, which offers panoramic views of the city.
While there is an admission fee to enter the palace, you can still admire its unique architecture and take photos from the outside.
With so many free things to do in Venice, you can explore the city without breaking the bank.
Whether you're interested in art, history, or simply taking in the beauty of the city, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
So pack your walking shoes and get ready to discover the best of Venice without spending a dime!