I took a flight on easyJet to Venice from Rome. From what I read/think, easyJet is possibly one of the better budget airlines in Europe. My experience turns out that the quality & efficiency of service is better than what we see in budget airlines around Asia. The seats are designed for Europeans, and that means they are more spacious that what we get in Asia (e.g. Jetstar, AirAsia, etc). And the fares are also generally cheaper than what we pay for budget airlines in Asia as well!
From Marco Polo Airport, the cheapest way to get into Venice is probably by the ATVO bus service. It costs €6 one way and €11 for a round trip. When you leave the terminal, just look out or ask around for the bus that goes to Piazzale Roma. Do grab the tiny booklet so you can have a reference of the bus timings to plan for your return trip. The bus frequency is 20 minutes, so you do need to take that into consideration to plan when you should head for the bus terminal when you are leaving Venice.
When I was in Venice, I stayed in San Geremia Hotel. It's a pretty budget hotel that €25 per night. My room had a mix of double decker beds as well as single beds. There is even a toilet in the room, so there's no worry about sharing the toilet with 20 other people. The cheaper dorm rooms are either for 5 or 6 to stay. For such a price, I have no complaints. The location is about 15 minutes walk away from Piazzale Roma bus terminal and 5 minutes away from the nearest vaporetti stop. I've also noticed that the souvenir shop just 2 doors away from the hotel have some of the best prices for souvenirs in Venice.
Some of my personal experiences:
- It takes just about 2 hours to walk from almost one end to the other end (e.g. from Piazzale Roma to slightly further than San Marco's Square). This means you just need a maximum of 3 days to enjoy Venice. The water bus/taxi services are there if you feel lazy, but they are pretty expensive. The vaporetti (water bus) costs €7 per ride.
- If you take the vaporetti, make sure you purchase your ticket at the vaporetti stop. If there isn't any ticketing counter there, do search for their staff on board the vaporetti to pay for the fare. You have to be very pro-active about paying the fare, otherwise you may be fined €44 if caught without a ticket. Your ride may cost €51 in the end instead of just €7. I've witnessed a group of visitors (probably about 7 of them) pleading with the bus conductor saying that they were not approached by anybody who is selling the tickets. You cannot wait for the ticketing guy to come to you.
- Public toilets cost €1.50 per entry.
Here are my recommended activities:
- See Rialto bridge: There are tons of souvenir shops around the area and surprisingly, some of the shops on Rialto bridge do give competitive prices for some souvenirs compared to other parts of Venice.
- Take the gondola ride: That's provided you have set aside a budget for it. If you do not wish to pay the high rates, you can consider a shared gondola ride that lasts 35 minutes and costs €28. Tickets are available at a ticketing station along the shore next to San Marco's Square.
- Go for the island tour (Burano, Murano & Torcello). It takes 4 hours and costs €17 if you book at least 1 day in advance. I can't remember exactly what's the normal price, but I suspect it's €19. You get to see beautiful glass wares in Murano, lace products and beautifully painted houses in Burano. If you take the afternoon tour, you might even catch the sunset view when you return back to the main islands.
- Eat spaghetti al nero di seppia (spaghetti with cuttlefish black ink sauce). It's delicious, although not all restaurants do it so well. Surprisingly, many of my friends in Singapore keep saying it's squid ink. Guess we have all been misled in Singapore or they replace cuttlefish ink with squid ink over here in Singapore.
- Visit Piazza San Marco:
- Visit Basilica di San Marco: Free entry. Bags are not allowed and have to be deposited at a location about 50m away. Guides say that the queues are infamously long, but it was not too bad for me when I visited in it in late October which is no longer the high peak season.
- See Campanile di San Marco: if you have the time and budget (money), you may wish to go up to the top.
- If you have time to spare, you may wish to visit Doge's Palace and Museo Correr. There is a combined ticket that costs €16 and includes entry into 4 museums in San Marco's Square.
Recommended Guide: http://wikitravel.org/en/Venice