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Italy is one of the best Countries to backpack in Europe. Why? Firstly because there’s so many places to visit in Italy from iconic Cities to Hidden Villages and they’re all pretty easy to see. Secondly Italy is set up for backpackers and travellers with lots of Hostels, Free Walking Tours and Cheap Transport options. Thirdly, it really doesn’t cost that much to visit Italy, it’s much cheaper than many other Western European Countries and Italy can be travelled on a budget.
If you’re wondering how much does a trip to Italy cost? In this post I’m going to share costs of travelling around Italy and tips on how to travel Italy on a budget so you can backpack this amazing Country too!
Best Time of Year To Backpack Italy
Avoiding Summer (late June, July & August) is the best way to visit Italy cheaply. Summer brings the European School Holidays and not only do the prices of everything go up including a huge spike in accommodation, Italy becomes extremely hot, busy and not a nice time of year to visit.
In fact many locals will leave Italy or at least the major Cities in the Summer and escape somewhere cooler which also means you won’t get as much of a local experience.
I backpacked Italy for one week in September which was a great time to go as the crowds had died down but it was still warm. I’ve been to Rome in February and had the most beautiful Spring weekend there and I’ve been to Verona & Trentino in early June which was getting hot and felt like Summer but didn’t have huge crowds just yet!
Cheapest Way To Get To Italy
Flexibility is key here! Italy has airports in all it’s major Cities but they can really range in price depending on where you are coming from and the time of year. The good thing about Italy is that it is very small so you can often fly into one airport and get to the place you actually want to go by train or bus cheaper than flying directly into that airport.
I would suggest planning your backpacking Italy itinerary around the flight costs. I use Skyscanner to check and book my flights and get the best price. You can choose your departing airport, search ‘Italy’ and the whole month you want to travel in to work out the cheapest airport and dates to fly on.
As you can see below, London is a great airport to fly to Italy from and flights can start from €15.00 one way!
Tip: One of the best things about playing flight roulette on Skyscanner in Italy (aka flying into the cheapest airport) is that you may end up in a City you hadn’t thought about, for example Turin often comes up as one of the cheapest airports to fly into, Turin is not a well known place however you’ll be able to avoid the crowds there, if you look on a map of Italy it isn’t far from Milan, and is one of the best airports to fly into to visit the well known Clinique Terre!
Once you’re at the airport be sure to look out for Airport Buses and / or Public Buses to take you into the City rather than getting a taxi. The Airport bus for Verona and Rome are both €6.00 which gives you an indication of costs.
Travelling Around Italy on a Budget
Italy is known for it’s train travel and train is the best and fastest way to travel between the Cities and Towns of Italy.
I check prices and book my tickets in advance on the The Train Line. I’ve found that Trenitalia are one of the cheapest train companies to use in Italy especially if you are backpacking Northern Italy, however to search this company and others The Train Line is the best platform to use to make sure you are getting the best price.
Travelling around Italy by Bus may work out to be the cheapest way to travel in Italy if trains are showing as quite expensive. Buses do take longer of course but if you on a backpacking trip to Italy you may have more time to do this. The Train Line also searches Bus and Coach Travel in Italy.
Where To Stay in Italy on a Budget
Italy has plenty of hostels offering good value backpacker accommodation and if hostels aren’t your thing there are also plenty of Pensions and Guesthouses with private rooms so you don’t have to stay in expensive hotels.
Don’t expect these hostels and pensions to be really cheap though, accommodation will be what you spend most of your money on in Italy but you can expect good quality in return.
As in all Countries you pay for what you get. For example I’ve stayed in some cheap hostels for less than €20.00 a night however this has shown in the bad beds, lack of social areas and staff that don’t speak English as well, as opposed to hostels that cost around €25.00-35.00 a night which offer really good quality beds and bedrooms with a bar or social lounge and really good staff.
Hostels I’ve stayed in and would recommend in some of the major Cities are:
Rome: The RomeHello
Verona: The Hostello
Milan: Ostello Bello Grande
Venice: Generator Venice
If you’re working out costs for a trip to Italy for two people be sure to look at private rooms too as by the time you’ve paid for 2 hostel beds it may be just as much to get a private room somewhere.
Tip: Try to avoid the big and popular Cities on weekends, for example visiting Venice or Rome during the week will be cheaper than staying on a Friday and Saturday night.
Eating & Drinking in Italy on a Backpacker Budget
This is where you can really stick to a budget in Italy… or go crazy!
It’s surprisingly possible to eat inexpensively in Italy by eating in cheaper restaurants outside of the main tourist areas and by grabbing food like Pizza and Focaccia in takeaway shops and this is how I really travelled Italy on a budget a few years ago.
Here’s an idea of some costs of food in Italy:
Pizza Slice: Range from €2.00-€5.00
Ice Cream: Range from €2.50-€7.00
Beer / Glass of Wine / Aperol Spritz: Range from €3.00-€6.00
Pizza in a Restaurant: Range from €5.00-€15.00
Pasta Dish in Restaurant: Range from €8.00-€15.00
If you are spending 2 weeks in Italy or even longer you’ll probably get a bit bored of eating out all the time so be sure to check out the Supermarkets too. I found that hostels in Italy do have kitchens so you can make some meals yourself. Fruit is also very inexpensive, I recently bought 2 apples, 2 oranges, an avocado and a loaf of bread for €4.50! I also got a huge piece of delicious Focaccia in a Spar Supermarket for €1.50.
Tip: A lot of restaurants will add on a service charge so be aware of this to avoid unexpected costs.
Tip: Look out for breakfast and lunch deals on offer.
Top Tip: Just embrace the carbs! It’s the cheapest and most delicious way to travel Italy!
Insurance for Italy: Remember that you will need travel insurance to travel around Italy even if you are coming from the UK or a nearby European Country. I am insured with World Nomads and I really recommend them. You can get a quote here.
Cheap Things To Do in Italy
Free Walking Tours in Italy need to become your best friend! Not only are they cheap (they aren’t actually free as you pay a tip at the end if you enjoyed it) but you’ll get to learn a lot about the place you’re in and if you’re backpacking Italy alone they are a good way to meet fellow backpackers.
Walking in general is also the best way to see Italy including the big cities, smaller towns and rural areas as there are many popular hikes in Italy. Remember that Italy isn’t all about the cities!
The Churches and Basilica’s are generally free to enter and most museums in major cities will have a day of the week that they offer free entry so be sure to look into this.
In terms of visiting attractions in Italy, prioritising is key. Cities in Italy offer so much and if you pay to enter everywhere the costs will soon add up, instead deicide what you really want to visit and what you can see for free from the outside.
I hope this shows you that backpacking around Italy is a good idea and that you can visit Italy on a budget!
For more of my posts on Italy see:
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