Are you dreaming of an Italian getaway? Italy can be expensive if you visit the popular hotspots. But what if I told you that you can experience the beauty of Italy without draining your bank account? It’s true, Italy doesn’t have to be expensive! There are so many incredible places that are really affordable. For example, Sicily with its sun-soaked shores, or Umbria with its enchanting countryside. So add these cheap places to visit in Italy to your travel plans. These towns and regions are the best alternatives to expensive places like Lake Como & the Amalfi Coast. Now, get ready to explore Italy on a budget.
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Tips for traveling Italy on a budget:
– Travel during the shoulder season or winter time. It will be less expensive for accommodation and you will have fewer crowds around.
– The South of Italy is generally cheaper than the North. Palermo is actually the cheapest city in Italy.
– Avoid touristy destinations and choose some from these hidden gems in Italy as they will be cheaper to visit.
– Search for cheap hotels in Italy here.
1. Sicily, Italy
Instead of Capri
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, located at the southern tip of Italy. It is not the first place you think of when coming to Italy. While most first-time visitors flock to Rome, Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Milan, Sicily is a more affordable and quieter escape from all the tourists. It also still has the same quintessential Italy vibes especially if you visit Taormina, Ortigia, or Scopello.
Sicily is a massive island so one mistake to avoid when visiting is not allocating enough time here. You really need at least one week. When I visited, I focused on Eastern Sicily and hit spots like Taormina, Ortigia, Ragusa Ibla, and Modica. I wasn’t even able to touch the other side of the island during my 7 day stay as there was so much to see just on the Eastern side. Renting a car was also essential to see the smaller towns.
Hotels on average are €118 for a hotel for 2 but you can find much cheaper. I stayed in Taormina for only €55 a night with the nicest host.
Another plus to visiting Sicily is that the weather is wonderful even in October! I visited in October and had weather of 29C/84F. Imagine swimming in the turquoise sparkling seas and sunbathing in the incredibly warm weather. If you’re looking for cheap places to visit in Italy, this is it!
💶 Daily Budget (per person): €102 (€33 on meals, €10 on transport & €118 for a hotel for 2)
✈️ How to Get There: Fly into the Catania or Palermo Airport. Renting a car is recommended if you are visiting smaller towns. Otherwise, you can visit the bigger towns by public transport.
☀️ Best time to Visit: Shoulder season is best so anywhere from April to May and September to October. The weather will still be great as it’s one of the warmest places to visit in Italy. Summer is the busiest and hottest time.
🏨 Where to stay: It depends on which side of the island you’d like to explore. I explored the Eastern side and had 2-3 bases. These were the places I chose for my trip: Taormina Affordable Hotel | This Ragusa Ibla hotel has the most incredible view ever!
📖 Read my full guide on Taormina, Sicily, and my Sicily 10 Days Itinerary
2. Puglia, Italy
Instead of the Amalfi Coast
Puglia has to be my personal favorite region in all of Italy. It’s known for its pretty beaches, round stone houses called trulli, and yummy food like pasta and olive oil. You should visit Puglia because it’s not too crowded, and it’s a cheap place to visit in Italy. You can see the trulli houses in Alberobello, explore the historic town of Lecce, and enjoy the sunny beaches in places like Polignano a Mare. Don’t miss trying the delicious local food and experiencing the friendly culture of Puglia. It’s a great place for a holiday that won’t break the bank.
💶 Daily Budget (per person): €117 (€33 on meals, €11 on local transport & €146 for a hotel for 2)
✈️ How to Get There: The closest airport is Bari Airport or Brindisi Airport. Public transport is slim in Puglia so it’s recommended to drive (rent a car here) especially if you want to explore neighboring towns.
☀️ Best time to Visit: The best time to visit Puglia is Spring or early Summer. Peak summer can get quite hot with it situated in the boot of Italy but still nice if you really want to visit during this time.
🏨 Where to stay: You can read my full guide on where to stay in Puglia here. I would definitely recommend staying in a Masseria (farm stay) or trullo home which is a unique accommodation in Puglia. The best option would be to stay at one that is both a farm stay with trullo homes. I’d definitely reommend Agriturismo Masseria Aprile.
3. Cilento Coast
Instead of the Amalfi Coast
Photo by Gianpaolo Antonucci
Not many people know the Cilento Coast. It is a true hidden gem and where the Italians choose to vacation. It has strong similarities to the Amalfi Coast but at a way more affordable price tag. Start your visit at Agropol, the gateway to the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park. Other must-visit places include Castellabate with its medieval feel, Licosa, a place where you can rent a boat and enjoy the waters, Acciaroli, a great beach, and Paestrum, which holds a beautiful archaeological park. If you want a cheap alternative to the Amalfi Coast, the Cilento Coast is as close as you can get.
💶 Daily Budget (per person): €70 (€30 on meals, €10 on local transport & €80 for a hotel for 2)
✈️ How to Get There: To get here you can take a train from Naples or Salerno. There is limited transport so you might want to rent a car if possible. Otherwise, there is a bus that will take you from town to town.
☀️ Best time to Visit: Visiting in summer is a great t. me to go to the Cilento Coast. June & September are also good months.
🏨 Where to stay: Residenza D’epoca Tamara is a highly rated hotel located in Castellabate.
Instead of Tuscany
The Umbria region is much less explored than Tuscany and they both highly resemble each other. In both Umbria and Tuscany, you can take in the beauty of the countryside at a relaxed pace. Umbria stands out as one of Italy’s prime destinations for slow travelers. It is known as the Green Heart of Italy as it is unspoiled by humans. Additionally, Umbria is way more affordable. According to BudgetYourTrip.com, a trip to Tuscany is €152 while Umbria is €113.
There are so many stunning hilltop towns in Umbria and my favorites were definitely Orvieto and Todi. The great thing about visiting here is you can enjoy so many cool experiences like visiting a winery, truffle hunting, or taking a cooking class.
💶 Daily Budget (per person): €113 (€33 on meals, €11 on local transport & €146 for a hotel for 2)
✈️ How to Get There: To reach Umbria, you can either fly to Perugia’s San Francesco d’Assisi Airport or the Florence Airport. The Perugia Airport is of course much closer but not all cities fly to it leaving others to arrive in Florence. From Florence, you can get to Umbria in around 2 hours.
☀️ Best time to Visit: Spring or Autumn are great times to visit Umbria.
🏨 Where to stay: I stayed in the most unique hotels during my visit to Umbria. The standout place for me was this castle hotel in the countryside which costs €130 a night.
5. Lake Maggiore
Instead of Lake Como
Photo by Kir Shu
Lake Maggiore is a great place to visit because it’s often more affordable than Lake Como. You can enjoy the same stunning views and beautiful nature as Lake Como at a fraction of the cost. One of the best things to do at Lake Maggiore is to take a boat trip to the Borromean Islands, where you can explore beautiful gardens and historic palaces. Another must-visit spot is the town of Stresa, with its lovely promenade and charming cafes. You can also take a cable car ride to the top of Mottarone Mountain for breathtaking panoramic views of the lake and the Alps. So, if you’re looking for cheap places in Italy with plenty of beauty and adventure, Lake Maggiore is the place to go!
💶 Daily Budget (per person): €94 (€39 on meals, €12 on local transport & €86 for a hotel for 2)
✈️ How to Get There: Getting to Lake Maggiore is easy. You can fly to Milan Malpensa Airport, which is the nearest major international airport. From there, it’s about a 45-minute drive to the lake. Alternatively, you can take a train to Stresa, one of the main towns on Lake Maggiore, from Milan or other nearby cities.
☀️ Best time to Visit: The best time to visit Lake Maggiore is during the spring and summer months, from May to September. This is when the weather is warm and perfect for outdoor activities. It’s also the time when the gardens and flowers on the Borromean Islands are in full bloom.
🏨 Where to stay: Stresa is a popular town with many hotels to choose from. Mid-range choices include Hotel La Palma while budget-friendly places include Hotel Milan. You can also find charming lakeside bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals in other towns around the lake.
Instead of Rome
Bologna is the foodie capital of Italy! So, instead of heading to Rome like most tourists do, try spending some time in this wonderful city. Located in the Emilia-Romagna region, you’ve got to come here if you love good food and the best part is it’s affordable. You can enjoy a tigelle sandwich, custom to the region for under €10. You can try them at 051 Zerocinquantuno. Other amazing local food here is tagliatelle and tortellini which you can get without spending too much. You can explore the city’s historic architecture, like the two famous towers, Asinelli and Garisenda, and stroll through the charming streets of the old town. Don’t forget to visit Piazza Maggiore, a big square where you can relax and sit at one of the many cafes. Don’t miss the “secret” window to the canal located on Via Piella. It’s actually not so secret anymore as you’ll find many people waiting to see it and take a photo here.
💶 Daily Budget (per person): €147 (€41 on meals, €20 on local transport & €173 for a hotel for 2)
✈️ How to Get There: You can fly to Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport, which is well-connected to many European cities. From the airport, you can take a short bus or taxi ride to the city center. Alternatively, you can also reach Bologna by train from major Italian cities like Milan, Florence, and Rome.
☀️ Best time to Visit: The best time to explore Bologna is during the spring and early fall, from April to June and September to October. During these months, the weather is mild, and there are fewer tourists.
🏨 Where to stay: Hotel Cavour is a central yet affordable option to stay.
Instead of Venice
Verona is a wonderful city to explore, and it’s often more affordable than Venice. The best part is that you can enjoy the atmosphere and history of Verona without the high Venice price tags. Verona is famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and you can visit Juliet’s balcony and the romantic Casa di Giulietta. The city is also known for its stunning Arena di Verona, an ancient Roman amphitheater where you can catch open-air opera performances. You can eat delicious Italian food in Verona’s cozy trattorias, and it won’t cost you as much as in Venice. Plus, Verona is less crowded, so you can take your time exploring attractions like Piazza delle Erbe and Castelvecchio. Don’t miss heading to Re Teodorico where you can admire the views at sunset with an apertivo,
💶 Daily Budget (per person): €168 (€54 on meals, €7 on local transport & €214 for a hotel for 2)
✈️ How to Get There: You can fly into Verona Villafranca Airport, which is just a short distance from the city center. From the airport, you can take a taxi or a shuttle bus to get to Verona’s heart. Additionally, Verona is well-connected by train, making it easy to reach from Venice, Milan, and other Italian cities.
☀️ Best time to Visit: The best time to visit Verona is in the spring and early summer, from April to June, and in the early fall, from September to October.
🏨 Where to stay: B&B Quo Vadis Arena is an affordable option to stay very close to the Arena (you can see it from the window).