Italy is an absolutely gorgeous country bursting with famous cities and landmarks. I still have a lot of the country to see, ten regions to be exact. That means ten regions where I still need to taste gelato. Incase you didn’t know I am a self-diagnosed gelato addict and amarena flavour is my weakness.
Whether you are a gelato addict or not, I believe everyone needs to visit Italy at least once. The problem is that Italy is not known as a cheap place to travel. However, there are ways to travel Italy on a budget. I have personally always done Italy on a budget and it’s not too difficult if you know what to do. So I have compiled my best tips on how to travel Italy on a budget for all you lovely people.
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Travel at the start or the end of the month to take advantage of free museum entries on the first or last Sunday of the month. If you do research you will find that many of the big museums, like the Uffizi in Florence or the Vatican museums in Rome have free entry on either the first or last Sunday of the month. But be warned the free entry attracts bigger crowds than normal, so be ready to fight your way through the crowds.
Book high-speed trains in advance.
Unlike other countries Italy has a very good railway system, which is actually cheap. You have two companies to choose from when travelling within Italy, trenitalia or Italo, which you choose depends on your destination. Well, and of course price too.
First of all is Trenitalia the national railway company. They have regional trains, which are cheap and run regularly. For example, Florence to Pisa takes 50 minutes to an hour depending on the train and it costs €8.10 one way.
Top tip: remember when travelling with regional trains you need to stamp your ticket before getting on the train. You will see green and white machines on the walls or pillars with trenitalia written on them. Pop your ticket in it to be stamped, otherwise you could get a fine.
Trenitalia also have high-speed and long distance trains between the big cities, such as Milan to Venice, Venice to Florence etc. The earlier you book these trains the cheaper your ticket is. My friend once got a ticket from Perugia to Milan for €9 and it is almost a 6 hour train ride, which is a fantastic price! However, the cheap tickets sell out fast so the price increases closer to the departure date, so the key is to book ASAP.
The other train company is Italo, which is private run. They only do high-speed long distance trains, so if you are travelling regionally you need to use Trenitalia. Their trains are nicer and more comfortable than Trenitalia’s, plus you get free Wi-Fi onboard. Like Trenitalia, the earlier you book the cheaper the ticket. For example Florence to Venice starts from €19 one way and Florence to Rome starts from €23.
Use blablacar as a cheaper form of travel. Incase you don’t know what blablacar is, it is a long distance ridesharing service. The site lets drivers with empty seats connect with people travelling in the same direction. It is often a lot cheaper to get a seat in a blablacar than getting the train or the bus. It can also be a great cultural/language exchange and you might just bag yourself a free tour guide for your next stop. At the very least you will probably get given tips on what to see/do and where to eat.
The car probably won’t look like this
Explore your accommodation options beyond hostels and hotels, and look at Airbnb too. Airbnb is becoming a more and more popular option, especially for those travelling in a group. It is a great alternative to hostels and hotels as you can really feel at home and get to live like a local. If you haven’t got an Airbnb account use my referral link and you will get £14 off your first booking, plus I will earn credit too.
So, if you are planning a trip to Italy take my tips into consideration and save yourself some euros that could be better spent on tasting every flavour of gelato.
Do you have any other tips for travelling Italy on a budget?