World famous for its endless charm, beautiful architecture, and ingenious canals, Venice is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. It gets millions of visitors every year. With these numbers, one can expect prices to be vastly higher than those of other Italian cities.
Though there are numerous deals in Venice, don’t be surprised if a meal at an average restaurant runs you 15 to 20 euros. However, why is Venice so expensive? What specific reasons drive costs in Venice higher and higher? Read more to find out!
The Price Tag on a “Must-See” City
One of the main reasons driving up prices in the city is simply marketing. Venice frequently appears in articles listing the top 10 places you need to see before you die, romantic getaways, and more. People see the canals in documentaries, TV shows, and James Bond films and pine for a visit.
As a result of good PR, as many as 36 million tourists visit the city each year. Compare this with Rome, which gets about 9 million per year. As the demand for food, souvenirs, and gondola rides keeps growing, locals continue to raise prices steadily. They know that tourists will pay whatever prices are thrown their way. On top of that, Venice is a small city. Getting a room can be competitive, so property owners hike up the costs for the highest bidder.
Any restaurant or shop near big tourist areas like St. Mark’s Square will have higher prices than businesses on the other side of the island. They know people will pay for the convenience of having these things at arm’s reach.
Venice tourists are what marketing experts call a “captive market.” Essentially, they are “stuck” on the island. You may have experienced this phenomenon at concerts or sporting events, where concession prices are extremely high. If you leave the venue to find a cheaper snack or drink, you’ll miss out on the main attraction that you bought a ticket for in the first place!
In Venice, tourists can leave for the mainland to get cheaper meals and products, but they don’t want to leave the city because it’s what they traveled across the globe for! Ferry and train tickets add up in cost anyway. As a result, they deal with high prices because they have little choice.
A few logistic problems keep prices in Venice higher than in other cities, too. Since it’s built over a lagoon, the city’s only connection to the mainland is by boat or its one bridge. It has a port, but it has to share the waters with ferries and cruise ships. Though once a major trade center, Venice’s days as a shipping hub are long gone.
Everything sold in the shops and served in restaurants across the island has to be brought in from afar. These transportation costs drive up prices, and who has to bear this burden? The tourists who want to spend time in Venice! Sure, there’s a small local population who deals with the prices, too. However, they profit so heavily from tourism that it’s not as severe for them as it is for visitors.
Does Visiting Venice have to be expensive?
Most travel guides recommend budgeting at least 70 to 100 euros per day in Venice. If you’re a budget traveler, your jaw probably dropped reading that estimate. Is there any way to visit Venice for less? With a little planning and perseverance, you can make your dream trip on a budget without eating Burger King and sleeping on the streets!
You can save a lot on accommodations by doing your research. Though a small city, Venice has all kinds of places to sleep. Instead of a chain hotel near St. Mark’s Square, find a cheaper room on Booking or Airbnb.
Avoiding the peak season in summer is also crucial. Venice isn’t unbearably cold in the winter. Visit in January and spend much less than people visiting in July! You’ll also enjoy the smaller crowds coming in the winter.
Meals can get expensive, but deals are out there. Many restaurants have a special dish of the day on offer that costs much less than the regular menu. You can save between 5 and 10 euros doing this sometimes.
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