Headed to one of the world’s biggest parties this weekend? Here are 10 ways to rest assured that even if you get lost in Venice — as you can and should — your wallet will still be intact.
Carnevale Venezia 2016 comes to its grand finale on Sunday, February 10. The world-renowned festival itself is said to come from the Italian words “carne” (meat) and “levare” (to remove or withdraw). In former times, Venetians went all out partying and feasting just before the somber fasting of meat during the long period of Lent.
Today, Carnevale is still a huge occasion to have a bit of fantasy and fun. Here are ten tips for travelers headed to Venice on a budget this year or any year for Carnival.
Venice Hotels: 5 Budget accommodations with canal views1. Masquerade for Free
In the old days, masks disguised the city’s citizens, hiding the identity, social status, and even sex of the wearer. Traditionally, they were crafted from paper mâché or leather. Original masks and costumes can be pricey; make-up artists around the city offer face-painting for less.
Lido is a great place to set up your home base during Carnevale if you want to save on accommodations. “We paid just €70 for a 3-star hotel for three people with a nice street view — affordable especially during high season,” says Maria, a UK resident. If you stay at this beach island, you can easily get to Venice and back by boat.3. Take the Local Ferry for Canal Crossing
Instead of shelling out €80 for a 30-minute gondola ride, Jayne Seddon of Venice Events recommends doing as the locals do: taking the Traghetto, a ferry across the Grand Canal, for €4. Jayne also suggests eating at the pasticcerie (cake shops), where you can order an affordable cappuccino and a fritelle, the popular local snack.
Traveling with little ones? Don’t let that be an excuse to join in on the fun. Kids can participate in the 7th International Kids Carnival. Until February 7, there will be workshops, competitions, and crafts, so your young ones can party too. The best part? All the activities are free.5. Head to Rialto Market
For the freshest seafood sold at local prices, visit Rialto Market early in the morning. You’ll find fishermen with their catch, hustling the way they have for centuries. Even if you’re not there to shop, just observing local market life is an experience in itself.6. Have a Free Art Lesson
Observe how Venetian artisans manufacture Murano glass in the New Arte Fuga (Via Giudecca, 13), a Lume Glass Factory. You can watch them skillfully creating glass art when you download a coupon for freebies and discounts at New Arte Fuga here.7. Island-hop with Interactive Apps
See Murano, Burano and Torcello for just €20 per person.Take the four-hour boat tour of three islands in Venice—guides can speak English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian.
In Burano, check out the recently reopened Scala Contarini del Bovolo. Movie buffs will recognize the magnificently arched spiral staircase from Orson Welles’ 1952 film, Othello. Use this interactive guide app from Artplace Museum. Isola di Burano, a unique and colorful city, was recently listed in New York Times’ 52 Places to See in 2016.8. Know Your Stuff
Read Detourism, the local online magazine with text in English. Its publishers say their idea of “de-tourism” is to enable visitors to travel the city slowly and experience a more authentic Venice. From the canal cruises to the backstreets, you can read and uncover hidden stories.9. Do a Pub Crawl “Venetian style”
The folks at Venice Events organize fantastic Venetian bar hops. You come in costume, then meander through the labyrinth of the city’s small alleyways and squares. The pub crawl goes to four local barcari (bars), and €45 per person includes wine, aperitivi, and insights from your guide.10. Party at The Arsenal
An old shipyard, called The Arsenal, now on its second edition of “Nights at The Arsenal” is the new hottest place for night owls to party. Pyrotechnics, theater magic and thumping dance floors are energized with live music by international DJs.
While each event at the Arsenal has an entrance fee, you can get a better deal online when you purchase the digital ADA ticket (“All Day Access)” for discounts, private entrances and a pass to all events for just €50 a head.
Special thanks to Venice Events for help with this article. www.venice-carnival-italy.com
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With its stone walls carved with elaborate arabesques and Islamic calligraphy, meticulously laid out gardens, bubbling fountains and ramparts with sweeping views of Granada and beyond—the Alhambra palace and fortress complex is easily Granada’s most famous monument.
So it’s not surprising that sometimes the lines go on for days and ticketing technicalities can be somewhat head-scratching. And not to mention: Only a limited number of tickets are available each day, so advance planning is strongly recommended.
Here’s our best advice on how to see this UNESCO World Heritage site without wasting any valuable tapas time waiting to get in.
Related: Search affordable hotels in Granada1. Reserve your tickets in advance
Book your Alhambra tickets as far ahead as you can. The tickets are booked either for morning (8:30 am – 2 pm), or afternoon (2 pm – 6 pm) from October 15 – March 14, and 2 pm – 8 pm the rest of the year.
Note: Keep in mind that when you book your ticket you have to reserve a specific time to visit the Nasrid Palace, and if you’re late, you won’t get to see it.2. Pick up your reserved tickets ahead of time
Grab the tickets you booked over the phone or online in a La Caixa cash machine before your visit, using the credit card you used to book the tickets. Doing this lets you skip the ticket collection line at the on-site ticket office.
If you haven’t purchased your tickets before you arrived in Granada, book them a day or so before your palace visit at the Alhambra ticket office in Granada’s city center (Calle Reyes Católicos, 40). You can pay cash or credit. Just be advised that you’ll have to use a Visa or MasterCard with a pin—one with a chip is ideal.
However you pick up your Alhambra tickets, you must collect them at least one hour before you’re scheduled to visit the Nasrid Palace.3. Day-of ticket Alhambra purchase? Rise with the sun… and run!
If you must wait until the day-of your visit to buy, don’t plan on sleeping in. Throw back an extra strong café solo first thing and show up at the ticket office before it opens at 8:30 am to avoid the line and have the best chance of snagging a ticket.
Go to a person—it’s impossible to negotiate with the unsympathetic automated terminals. Of course waiting ‘til the last minute will cost you at least 10% more in entry fees, if you get in at all.4. Visit the Alhambra during the off-season
Of course, you could just make your life easier by planning your visit during the off-season (between November and early March). That said, Granada’s most famous monument is popular all year long, even during the off season, so reservations (or early mornings!) are still a good idea.5.Watch out for third-party websites
There are a lot of third-party websites selling expensive Alhambra tour packages. Search around for Alhambra tickets on the web, and you’re certain to come across agencies ready to sell you tickets and tours at inflated prices. You don’t need them.
The easiest and cheapest way to get Alhambra tickets is through the official Alhambra website, powered by ticketmaster: www.alhambra-tickets.es or buy calling +34 958 92 60 31.
For more details about purchasing tickets or visiting the Alhambra, visit this page on their official website.
The post Granada: How to buy Alhambra tickets, even at the last minute appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.