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Travel Italy on a Budget

Italy has long been one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe — and, indeed, the world! And, with its fantastic local food and wine, unbeatable history and great vibe, it’s not exactly hard to see why.

Like much of Western Europe, however, Italy isn’t particularly cheap. But backpackers and budget travellers will find that, thanks to affordable hostels in Italy and good public transport links, this fantastic destination is more accessible than you might think.

Hostels in Italy

From major destinations like Rome, to smaller (but no less exciting) cities such as Perugia and Bologna, hostels offer cheap dorm beds and private rooms.

As a result of its popularity on the backpacking trail, hostels in Florence are among some of the best in Europe and provide a great spot for travellers to take in this cultural paradise of a city.

Meanwhile, in one of the world’s most romantic destinations, a handful of Venice hostels offer a convenient budget alternative to the city’s fashionable – and very pricey – hotels.

Getting Around

Cheap flights regularly connect Italy’s major (and some smaller) airports with cities across Europe and beyond. Once there, good regional and national public transport networks make getting around on a budget simple.

Trains are the quickest way to travel, although fares are priced according to the speed of the service so fast inter-city trains are naturally more expensive than the regional ones.

Italy is so picturesque, however, that it’s never much of a hardship to move around the country – travellers can just kick back, relax and enjoy the spectacular views on offer.

Overnight services can be a good way to save money if substituted for a hostel bed. Sleeper cars can be just as expensive as a room, though, so it’s best just to book a regular seat and stretch out – these trains rarely fill up, so comfort shouldn’t be a big issue.

Budget Eats

Although Italy is home to some seriously chic restaurants – and some amazing gourmet cuisine – eating out on a budget is also possible, as the country is packed with great value trattorie. These small (and often family-run) eateries are typically frequented by locals rather than tourists, meaning the price stays low and the quality high.

Italy is also the home to that inimitable backpacking staple – the pizza! Pizzerias all across the country serve this inexpensive fare, or a slice can be picked up over the counter for even less. Head to Naples for the best offerings as the city lies at the heart of the pizza’s creation – and still features some of its best pizzerias.

Another thing to keep in mind when traveling through Italy is the aperitivi; this is where smart bars and cafés include complimentary snacks (from olives to ham, cheese and mini-pizzas) with the purchase of a drink during Happy Hour. This gem of a custom means even the fashionable piazzas of Rome and Milan are not necessarily beyond the budget traveler’s reach!

And, if eating out still proves beyond your means, Italy always has plenty of other options. It’s one of the best countries to find cheap, fresh local produce (including wine) and there are markets scattered all across the country providing the perfect ingredients for a picnic.