Brits flock to European city with £23 flights where wine is ‘cheaper than water’

A holidaymaker has visited a European city where "wine is cheaper than water" so long as you know where to drink. The cost of holidays has only been climbing in recent years so plenty of us are looking for destinations where we can save money – and a 69p glass of wine is right on the money.

Travel influencer Kacie Rose, @kacierose4, recently visited Venice and talked about its background. In the clip she noted that you might spot a series of cisterns and wells throughout the city that bring fresh water to the residents.

The tourist added that it was once extremely difficult to pipe water around the canal-based city and for that reason throughout history "wine was cheaper than water". However, anyone who has visited might argue that this is no longer the case – but it can be if you know where to look.

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While Venice is known for being extremely expensive – the sinking city can charge a premium for its gondolas and for food and drink on the main squares – there are a few holes in the wall that still serve bargain booze. One such hotspot is reportedly Bacareto de Lele.

Based in Fondamenta dei Tolentini, this little spot is often crowded, but for good reason. It sells sandwiches, wine, fresh deli meat and pastries at a cheap price. It specialises in local wines which keeps the cost down and as recently as March last year, on TripAdvisor, visitors said that "the wine is 80 cents for a glass of red or white. Sweet or dry. You can get meat, cheese and crackers for €1.60."

That means a glass costs as little as 69p per glass. Over on Restaurant Guru, Diane J said: "Sandwiches are €1 and wine costs between 70 cents to €2. I ordered a salami with funghi and a porchetta sandwich, along with a glass of white wine glera (Prosecco). I'm not a wine fan, but this was the best wine I've ever had in my life and it only cost €1."

In September, a tourist said: "Great little place to grab a snack, a light meal, and a glass of beer or wine, Simple and unpretentious! The price is also right!" However, do be aware that you’ll likely have to wait in line to buy your booze, but you’ll be alongside locals and university students so will likely enjoy the more authentic experience.

Another visitor from last year noted: "Unbelievable prices, paninis between €1 to €1.20 and wine ranging from 80c to €1. Had three panini's and a glass of wine for less than €5. You can eat outside either on the church stairs or next to the canal."

When looking for cheap wine you should also be aware that many Venetian shops and bars will sell wine by the "ombra" – this is a smaller glass than the usual 125ml, but it’s also very cheap. If you want to taste as many wines as possible rather than just drink as much booze as you can then asking for an ombra is the way to go.

Travellers also tend to recommend wine shop AL CANTON DEL VIN which has barrels of the stuff lining its walls. Those who want to buy bottles of delicious wine can do so here for a bargain price – some reviews say from as little as £2.17.

It’s not just wine that could keep your costs down on a trip to Venice though. Flights are now cheap as chips, with Skyscanner putting a return flight from the UK to Venice, Italy, as low as £23 with Ryanair.

Unfortunately, there are some new charges coming to Venice that will add to the price for tourists. The UNESCO-listed tourist hotspot will be charging day visitors a fee of €5 supposedly from spring 2024. The added cost will apply to anyone entering the city to explore without staying overnight.

However, those who are staying in a hotel, rental or Airbnb won’t escape the added costs as there is already a tourist tax applied to overnight visitors. A rate of between €1 and €5 per person per night already applies – how much you’re required to pay depends on the time of year and how long you stay. Children under 10 and the disabled are exempt from paying the tax while children aged 10 to 16 will have the cost reduced by 50%.

According to CityPass Venezia Unica: "The tax is payable by all those (non-residents) who stay overnight in a hotel, hotel or non-hotel facility in the City of Venice for the first five consecutive days of stay. The full rate is between 1 and 5 euros per person per night, and varies according to the time of year (high season from 1 February to 31 December; low season from 1 to 31 January) and the location, type and classification of the accommodation facility.

"With this small sum, you can contribute to the protection and safeguarding of Venice: the funds raised will help the city to improve the quality of the tourist offer (local public services, museums, events, hospitality …) and to finance maintenance, use and recovery of the cultural and environmental heritage of the Venetian territory."

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