Top Tips and Tricks for Traveling to Italy on a Budget

Visiting Italy doesn’t mean you have to drain your wallet. In fact, with the right tips and tricks, you can have an amazing time in Italy on a budget. From wandering the charming streets of Florence to lounging on the Amalfi Coast, learn my hacks to master the art of budget travel in Italy.

I’ve traveled to Italy a countless number of times, often alone as a solo traveler on a budget. So in this post, I’ll help you discover how find affordable yet beautiful accommodation, eat all the best food, and explore hidden gems that won’t cost you a fortune.

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Can Italy be done on a budget?

Absolutely, Italy can be explored on a budget. In fact, any place in the world can be visited on a budget if you travel smartly. Generally, Italy is reasonably priced. We’ll discuss my best tips in this blog post but in a nutshell, you’ll want to consider traveling during the off-peak season to benefit from lower accommodation and airfare costs. You should also think about exploring lesser-known destinations in Italy, away from the tourist hotspots. Opting for budget-friendly accommodations such as hostels or Airbnbs, utilizing public transport, and eating street food or local markets for meals are excellent ways to manage expenses.

What is the average cost of a trip to Italy?

According to Budget Your Trip, the average daily budget for Italy is €166 staying in mid-range hotels and inclusive of food. If you stay in hostels and budget hotels, the backpacking Italy budget would be around €66 a day more or less. If you stay in luxury hotels, this price jumps to €420 a day.

A week-long journey in Italy typically costs €461 for a solo traveler and €922 for two people. This budget covers lodging, meals, local transportation, and sightseeing activities.

See the table below for a comparison of the Italy trip cost for daily, weekly, and monthly visits.

daily trip cost€66€166€420
weekly trip cost€462€1,162€2,940
monthly trip cost€1,980€4,980€14,700

Top Tips for Traveling to Italy on a Budget

1. Travel off-peak season

Believe it or not, this photo above is October on the Amalfi Coast! The sun was shining and there were much fewer tourists around.

Traveling during the shoulder season brings in many benefits: cheaper prices, fewer crowds, and more. It’s not to say that everything will be perfect though as we did come across a rainy day or two during our October trip to Amalfi Coast. But this definitely speaks to the fact that you can visit expensive places like the Amalfi Coast on a budget.

Shoulder season in Italy is from April to June and September to October months. During these periods, the weather is still pleasant and crowds are slimmer. You’ll find the best deals on hotels and flights too.

Summer months should be avoided for larger cities in Italy as they can be very expensive since it’s high season. That is most certainly true especially if you stay in the city center.

2. Stay outside of the tourist area

This hotel with the most impeccable view of Ravello, a town on the Amalfi Coast cost me only €100 a night!

It was a really unique find of mine. Want to know how? I just searched for hotels on outside of the main tourist areas of Positano, Capri, and Amalfi. I came across a town on the Amalfi Coast called Scala. This town is literally unknown to tourists despite its prime spot on the Amalfi Coast. There was not too much to the town but it gave me access to the beautiful Ravenna, which was either a 30-minute walk or a 10-minute bus ride. I could also easily take the bus to Amalfi and from Amalfi, I could take a ferry to any of the coastal towns.

Do you think it was worth it? Well, when other hotels in Positano were €300+ and I found this steal for €100 a night, you gotta believe it was worth it. The view on the private balcony was breathtaking and showed views of Ravello.

So, my budget hack here is to stay in lesser-known towns that have easy access to the main tourist towns. You’ll save so much money. Just about everywhere you go, will have a place you can stay more affordably. Just be sure to do your research ahead. For example, if you visit Cinque Terre, you could stay in nearby La Spezia.

I shared this hack with my followers on Instagram and the video got 9 million views! So check out the video which gives details on some other towns you can stay affordably on the Amalfi Coast.

3. Visit cheaper destinations in Italy

Skip the tourist hotspots! Venture to Italy’s off-the-beaten-path destinations and you’ll save money. To be honest, I almost prefer visiting those undiscovered towns that no one knows about. It feels amazing to discover a unique place and have it all to myself. I would say this is my knack for things.

Not only that, the Southern Italy is a lot more affordable than the Northern Italy. You’ll find so many cheap places in Italy to visit including Sicily, Puglia, the Cilento Coast, and more.

Puglia is one of my utmost favorite regions in Italy. The average daily cost to visit here is  €117 a day (€33 for meals, €11 on local transport & €146 for a hotel for 2). You can take a road trip through Puglia enjoying so many beautiful places like Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Locorotondo, or Martina Franca.

4. Take public transport

Public transport in Italy is a cost-effective way for budget travelers to explore all the country has to offer. From well-connected train networks to extensive bus services, navigating Italy’s public transportation system is relatively straightforward.

Trains, operated by Trenitalia and Italo, are popular train companies that connect major cities and towns. Transportation costs for the train is around €5-€20, while high-speed trains may range from €30-€70 for longer distances.

You can save even more money by taking buses but might have to take longer journeys as it’s slower. Buses are typically priced at €1.50-€3 and intercity services averaging €5-€20.

In big cities like Rome, Milan, and Naples. you can luckily take the metro system instead of expensive cabs or renting a car. Metro and tram rides typically cost €1.50-€2.i

5. Save on food by eating street food or visiting the supermarket

Eating on the cheap in Italy shouldn’t be too hard as there are so many markets, quick service meals, and street food at affordable prices. The great thing about Italy is that there’s a plethora of local delis known as Salumeria. One of my favorite things to do is stopping in these delicatessens to have a custom-made fresh panini made for me. They are also super affordable. You can also get fresh meats and cheeses here to make your own delicious aperitivo!

If you fancy a guide to food in Naples or the best food to try in Italy including the best street foods be sure to check my other posts!

6. Fly on budget airlines

The cost to fly to Italy will be one of your highest expenses along with the cost of accommodations. Flying on budget airlines is a great way to significantly reduce your travel expenses when exploring Italy on a budget.

With several low-cost carriers operating within the country, such as Ryanair, easyJet, and Wizz Air, travelers can find affordable options for domestic and international flights.

While budget airlines may have fewer amenities compared to full-service carriers, they offer competitive prices, especially if you book well in advance.

By choosing budget airlines, you can stretch your travel budget further and allocate more funds towards experiencing the sights, cuisine, and culture of Italy.

In addition, you can use Google Flights or Skyscanner to discover the cheapest options for flights with flexible searches offering you the best way to find a cheaper deal.

7. Stay in hostels or Airbnbs

My next tip is to save money by staying in a hostel or a shared Airbnb. Many Airbnb’s let you stay in a private room within a larger home with other guests or the owner making it more affordable. Also, staying in a hostel doesn’t mean staying in a dump! There are so many nice trendy ones these days and they make a good way to meet people too especially if you’re a solo traveler.

The Airbnb featured in this photo is made for solo travelers. Only one person is allowed to stay here and it has the dreamiest view of the Florence Duomo, one of the most iconic landmarks in Italy. I absolutely loved my stay here and at the time I only paid around €100 a night to stay here.

8. Do free walking tours

Most major Italian cities have free walking tours. You just need to google xxx city free walking tour to come across them. Now these tours do operate on tips only so you do need to tip. The whole reason the tours are free is to not limit the audience. You pay what you can reasonably afford.

9. Explore free attractions

Another tip to travel Italy on a budget is to explore all the free attractions. So many famous attractions in Italy have free admission. Take Rome for example, you can see the magnificent Trevi Fountain and St. Peter’s Basilica without paying for entrance. There are so many stunning churches around Italy that you can visit at no fee.

However, when it comes to paid tourist attractions. you can save money by getting a Go City Pass. It’s available in Rome but there could be similar programs in other cities so it’s worth checking. Here you pay one fee and get access to hundreds of attractions.

10. Utilize Student Discounts

Utilizing student discounts is a savvy way to save money while exploring Italy’s attractions. Many museums, galleries, historical sites, and even transportation services offer discounted rates for students with valid student IDs.

For example, iconic attractions like the Colosseum in Rome, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and the Vatican Museums in Vatican City often provide reduced admission fees for students.

Additionally, students can benefit from discounted rates on public transportation passes, such as the Roma Pass in Rome or the Firenze Card in Florence. To qualify for these discounts, students typically need to present a valid student ID card issued by their educational institution, along with their passport or another form of identification.

Taking advantage of these student discounts can make exploring Italy more affordable and accessible for budget-conscious travelers.

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