Is Italy an expensive country to travel around? Not at all! But it certainly isn’t a cheap destination either. What’s the average cost of a trip to Italy? We break down the basic expenses you can expect in Italy and what to expect on your trip to Italy.
We’ve been to Italy over ten separate times now. It is a fantastic country to travel around and keeps pulling us back. There’s nothing quite like sipping on a spritz on a quiet day in Venice (yes that does happen!), chowing down on delicious pizza in Naples, walking through the Tuscan countryside, skiing on sunny slopes, or drinking bottle after bottle of fantastic wine after a day out in the Dolomites.
We find travel costs in Italy to be pretty average as long as you plan your trip in advance and plan your trip strategically. Certain things are expensive in Italy while others offer tremendous value like wine, pizza, and coffee. To make things simple all prices will be quoted in Euros as all expenses in the country will be billed as such.
Trip to Italy Cost – Quick Points
- When is the Cheapest Time to Visit Italy? The cheapest times to visit Italy and get more for your money are March, April, May, October, and November.
- What are Some Cheap Activities in Italy? Hike in the country’s beautiful trails, such as the Cinque Terre coastal path and the Dolomites. Eat up all the local cuisine by visiting local markets and street vendors that offer affordable meals, such as pizza al taglio, arancini, and gelato. Italy also has many free attractions, such as the Trevi Fountain in Rome, the Pantheon, and the Piazza San Marco in Venice. Visitors can also attend local festivals throughout the year in many Italian towns and cities, which celebrate everything from wine to music, and are usually free to attend. Tourists can go on free walking tours, often offered in major cities, to explore and learn about the history and culture of cities, and many of these tours are free.
- Where is the Cheapest Destination in Italy? The north is more expensive than the south. Milan is more expensive than Rome. The Alps are more expensive than Sicilian beaches. In general, the further south you go in Italy, the cheaper it becomes (apart from the Amalfi Coast).
- Where is the Most Expensive Place to Visit in Italy? The popular destinatiosn you have probably seen photos of on Instagram or that are well known around the world, are among the most expensive. The Amalfi Cost (Positano), cortina d’ampezzo, Bellagio, Capri, Venice, Florence. You want to get cheaper in Italy, go for off the beaten path.
A note: How much a trip to Italy costs depends greatly on the time of year that you visit. If you plan to visit Italy during the summer, be prepared for high prices, crowds, and intense heat (so make sure your accommodation has AC).
How Much Does a Trip to Italy Cost?
Trip to Italy Cost: Transport
Aside from your flight to and from Italy, your transportation around Italy could be your main expense. Since international flights vary greatly we’ll keep those out of this article on travel costs in Italy.
Transportation costs can add up in large groups on public transport. A train ticket for €40 is not much, but for a family of four that will cost €160. Move every few days and you can easily tack another €1,000 on to your trip. Your transport cost all depends on how much you travel around the country and your group size.
If you stay in just one or two places during your trip your expenses will be much lower than if you visit 10 different places. It’s more affordable to explore regions like Lombardy, Tuscany, Umbria, or Sicily rather than covering vast distances in the country where transport costs can add up over time.
Trains in Italy
Italy’s train network is extremely efficient in the North and one of the easiest ways to get around the country. I traveled to Italy by train on my first visit and saw so much. Italo and Trenitalia are the two main rail systems in Italy, it’s best to check Italiarail for train schedules.
Fast trains are more expensive than slower regional trains (which can cost under €10). However, prices can still be reasonable with express trains and worth the extra time. For the main routes, you can expect to pay around €30 a ticket. Keep in mind, that this is based on availability so a last-minute ticket in peak summer can easily top €100. Book your train travel in advance you’ll get a much better deal than if you purchase your train ticket at the station.
If you have a Eurail Pass to get around Europe you’ll want to use it in Italy, though you will often have to pay €10 extra for a “seat reservation.” This can generally be done a day or two in advance so you can leave some flexibility in your travel plans.
|Milan – Rome||€40 – €60|
|Rome – Naples||(Local) €15 – €30 (Express) €40 – €50|
|Rome – Florence||€20 – €30|
|Venice – Milan||€20 – €30|
Buses in Italy
FlixBus is another great way to get around regions in Europe. FlixBus buses are cheap and clean with free WiFi. We’ve traveled between countries with FlixBus and found the ride very comfortable. Keep in mind they generally move much slower than the express trains between major destinations. However, if you’re looking to save a buck and they’re a great option.
Local buses are also a tremendous way to explore the smaller towns that are often not connected via the train system. We’ve used the local buses to explore fantastic countryside regions such as Tuscany and Umbria. Of course, a rental car makes things easier. Local bus fairs depend on the distance traveled but usually average between €1 – €5.
Italian Bus Fare Examples
|Milan – Rome||€15 – €30|
|Rome – Naples||€8 – €15|
|Rome – Florence||€10 – €15|
|Venice – Milan||€8 – €13|
The underground is a great way to get around when in city centers. Metro tickets usually cost between €1.50-€2.00 making it a much more economical way to get around cities compared to taxis or Ubers.
If you plan to explore a lot of the city sites most offer an unlimited daily pass that will save you money. To save even more money consider a three day or weekly pass that offers even greater savings.
If you plan on doing a ton of sightseeing in Rome, tourists can get a Roma Pass. Roma Pass gives unlimited access to the metro, buses, and the tramway in Rome for a period of time. For instance a Roma Pass for 72h costs €52.
|Rome||€1.50 or €7.00 Daily|
|Milan||€2.00 or €7.00 Daily|
|Naples||€1.50 or €4.50 Daily|
Car Rental in Italy
If you want to explore Italy on your own terms sometimes a car rental can be a great option. Car rentals can be had for as little as €40 a day. We’ve now rented cars on over half our trips to the country and they offer great flexibility. However, it’s not the cheapest for couples or solo travelers who will usually get much better value with public transport.
Car rentals can be a burden in the cities and most towns only allow locals to drive within town limits this is especially true for many of Italy’s small walled towns.
Renters will also have to be on the lookout for ZTL Zones. ZTL stands for “Zona a Traffico Limitato,” which is an Italian term that translates to “Limited Traffic Zone” in English. A ZTL zone is an area within a city or town where vehicle access is restricted or prohibited, usually to help control traffic and reduce air pollution.
You’ll find that major tourist cities like Florence, Milan, and Rome have ZTL Zones, typically in the main historic center where you’ll want to be. It’s not just major cities though, small cities like Lucca are completely within a ZTL Zone.
In a ZTL zone, there are typically signs that indicate the boundaries of the zone, and cameras or other enforcement methods may be used to monitor and enforce the restrictions. Vehicles that are not authorized to enter the ZTL zone may face fines or other penalties if they are caught driving within the restricted area. However, these signs are almost always in Italian, and if you don’t know what you are looking for you could miss it and end up being an embarrassed tourist in a tiny car in front of the Duomo.
That being said they always have public parking that’s often convenient and the towns are walkable. However, if a member of your group is mobility-impaired it’s best to go with a tour operator who can operate in the city/town.
Outside of the rental contract, there are some expenses to be made aware of such as fuel prices, toll roads, and parking. All three expenses can really add up as none of them are cheap in Italy, especially in the North or around the Amalfi Coast. The average fuel price in Italy is almost €2 a Liter. Toll roads can be as low €1.50 or as high as €10, and long drives you’ll often pass multiple tolls. On long-distance routes expect to spend around €20 – €30 on toll roads. Parking, in major cities in particular, can be over €25 a day.
Car Rental Averages
These are average prices for summer rentals booked three-four months in advance out of Rome. If you travel in the offseason rates are much lower with averages well under €150 a week!
|Car Type||Weekly Rental Price|
|Standard||€350 – €450|
|Full Size||€450 – €600|
|Van||€600 – €750|
Total Cost of Rental Car
This is just an average guess of what the total cost of a car rental for a week would cost in summer. It’s based on previous trips in which we have rented a car in Italy. It’s totally possible to go over or under these estimations.
Flights Around Italy
Ryanair and EasyJet are budget airlines that operate all over Europe. If you want to get from Northern Italy to Southern Italy hopping on a flight might be a good call for you.
When you book in advance you can generally get a good price on tickets. Though, one should always be wary of booking budget airlines. You’ll also have to pay for check bags that can often cost as much as the flight at around €30-€40.
|Rome > Catania (Sicily)||€40 – €60|
|Rome > Milan||€40 – €50|
|Rome > Sardinia||€75 – €100+|
|Milan > Palermo (Sicily)||€30 – €60|
Trip to Italy Cost: Accommodation
You can’t really talk about a trip to Italy cost break down without discussing accommodation. The good news is that you can get a really great deal on accommodation in Italy – even last minute! We’ve scored hotels in Venice during the holidays, Airbnbs in Rome, luxury hotels in Venice, and hostels in Sorrento at varying price points.
If you really really want to score a good deal in Italy you should travel during the offseason. In most places, this means almost anytime between late September and mid-May. Of course, this is excluding the holiday season. Holidays in Italy can be an expensive time as well as on-mountain accommodation in Italian ski towns.
If you are a solo traveler a hostel will be your cheapest option. You can find great hostels charging €15-€35 a bed. As a couple, we’ve stayed in some really great entire apartments on Airbnb for around €50-60 a night. Of course, you can find larger rentals for groups and families that go up to €250+ a night. Hotels vary a lot in price point, but budget hotels start around €50 and continue up to €100 a night.
If you’d like a decent corporate hotel like a Marriott or Hilton to expect to pay €100 – €200 a night. The hotel rate will depend on the hotel level, location, and of course – time of year. For a luxury boutique hotel, rates average from €300+ a night. For luxury accommodation in Italy expect to spend upwards of €500-€2000 a night for hotels like Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, or high-end boutique hotels.
If you are traveling between June and September expect prices to be higher, especially on the Amalfi Coast and beach destinations in August. This is due to the demand from Italian vacationers, not just international tourists. Italians take their vacations in August, along with everyone from abroad. This means high demand and low supply and insanely high prices.
|Hostel||€10 – €35|
|Airbnb||€40 – €200|
|Mid Range Hotel||€80 – €200|
|Boutique Hotel||€150 – €300|
|Luxury Hotel||€300 – €2000|
Trip to Italy Cost: Food
Dining in Italy
Food costs are a bit of a mixed bag in Italy. They can be extremely affordable or very expensive. You’ll find most Italians do not eat out except for special occasions or weekends with friends, where they will order multiple courses and wine. It’s a relaxed and fun experience, so they generally spend more than an everyday sort of meal. That culture translates into the prices and atmosphere of dining out in Italy.
Of course, this is changing in the main cities like Milan, Rome, Genoa, or Naples, where various restaurants are opening like poke bowls, ramen, burger, wraps, or vegan shops. However, if you want a classic Italian meal with wine, expect to pay anywhere from €20 – €50 per person. If you’re after a high-end meal, it can easily top €100 a person. However, in general, Italy is relatively affordable for extremely good food.
Breakfast in Italy
Italians love a light breakfast on the go. This is typically a pastry and a cappuccino or espresso, which can be had for under €4 euro at a coffee bar. Outside of hotels, it can be difficult to find a generous breakfast serving in Italy.
Lunch in Italy
For lunch, you can score a delicious panini sandwich while walking around the streets of Florence for €5, and it’s definitely possible to have famous Napolese pizza with wine for under €10.
Keep in Mind* You may not have to tip 20% for service in Italy, but more often than not, you will see a “Coperto” charge on your bill when you dine out. Coperto is a fee or cover charge that you will see at most Italian restaurants.
Coperto can range anywhere from €1.50-€4 per person. It’s a form of payment for your waiter and the bread on the table. You don’t have to tip for service on top of this, but it’s an important Italy travel tip to know, especially if you’re trying to eat on a budget.
Daily Food Costs
|Budget||€15 – €25|
|Average||€40 – €60|
|High End||€80 – €150|
Coffee Cost in Italy
The very best value in Italy comes in the form of coffee. Yes, you can get some of the best cappuccinos and espressos you’ve ever had in your life here in Italy. I’m not talking about Starbucks or Orange mocha frappuccinos, either. I’m talking about real, no bs coffee.
Espressos can be drunk at any time of the day in Italy. Typically at a quick stand-up bar for around €1 or after a meal. Cappuccinos are typically drunk before noon in Italy and can be found for €1.50 – €2.00. We’ve paid more and less for coffee, but if you’re getting much past €2.50, you’re paying the tourist price. We once saw a cappuccino for €12 at Cafe Florian in the center of Venice! Location, location, location!
|Espresso||€.80 – €1.50|
|Cappuccino||€1.50 – 2.00|
Cost of Alcohol in Italy
Unlike some countries where Alcohol is heavily taxed and expensive (looking at you, Australia, Norway, and Iceland), it’s actually very affordable to drink in Italy. I think if prices for a glass of wine were outrageous, the Italians would revolt.
When dining out, a glass of decent red wine will run you around €5, so if there are more than two or three of you, you may as well order a bottle for the table for €15. Beer and spirits are also affordable at around €5. It’s completely acceptable and encouraged to drink wine at lunch!
Of course, the sky is the limit with wine, but even a nice bottle of wine at a restaurant will set you back €30 – €40. If you really want to save money, head to the grocery store and grab a decent bottle of wine for €5 – €10. Then, there is always cheaper wine that can be had for a couple of euros.
Trip to Italy Cost: Activities
Activities in Italy, for the most part, are reasonably priced. However, it all depends on when and where. For example, for a gondola ride in Venice the price will set you back €80 for a quick 25-minute jaunt during the day.
One of the best things to do in Italy is to simply explore. Free activities can mean hiking in the Dolomites, exploring Florence on foot, or relaxing on a beach in Sicily.
Many notable churches are free to enter in Italy, but some of the larger ones will cost you a small entrance fee of €3-5. Sites like Pompeii, outside of Naples costs €11, (but it’s free on the first Sunday of the month). For museums, expect to pay between €10-20 entrance fee. If you choose to fill your vacation with a tour everyday, or many cooking classes, a guided Sistine Chapel tour, or you rent a private boat for the day in Capri your costs will skyrocket.
Or you can rent a bike in a city for around €10 a day which is one of our favorite ways to explore. For something more unique, rent a road bike to explore the Tuscan countryside for less than €50 a day.
We recommend choosing a few activities that you absolutely cannot miss out on, and plan in advance for those so you don’t go over your budget.
Popular Activities/Tours in Italy
Trip to Italy Cost: Miscellaneous Expenses
Flight to Italy
Like with most travel, your flight to Italy will be your number one expense. It’s best to book in advance if you know your travel dates. If you have flexibility with your schedule, you stand a greater chance of scoring a deal.
We like to use Google Flights and Skyscanner’s open search feature to find good deals in Italy. From North America to Milan or Rome, we’ve paid anywhere from €600-€1300 roundtrip.
Luggage for Italy
You’ll need to decide if you want a backpack or suitcase for your Italy trip. I personally like to travel with a hard shell suitcase for my clothes and use a carry-on backpack for my important electronics. See a few of our posts here for recommendations:
Travel Insurance for Italy
Healthcare can be expensive abroad, so make sure you have travel insurance if anything goes wrong. We don’t travel without travel insurance, and neither should you. You never know what can happen in a foreign country, and it’s best to be prepared. Heymondo provides good short-term coverage.
So, How Much Does a Trip to Italy Cost?
So how much spending money per day should you have in Italy? Asides from the pre-trip expenses like airfare, luggage, and any Italy packing list items you’ll want to buy I believe you can get by in Italy for under €50 a day, if you really want to stay on a budget that is.
That’s if you’re splitting cheap accommodation or staying in a hostel, not drinking much alcohol, cooking your meals and eating paninis, and not partaking in costly activities. If you want to travel on a more modest and comfortable budget I would plan on spending €100-€150 per day, per person
Average Cost of Trip to Italy (Per Person For 10 Day Trip)
|Backpacker||€600 – €1,200|
|Basic||€1,000 – €2,000|
|Mid Range||€2,000 – €4,000|
Money-Saving Tips For Italy
Stick to a Region
The less you travel around Italy, the more you will save. Transport can easily add quite a bit to your overall budget, so the less you move the more you will save. We recommend sticking to a region on your trip. It’s the reason we’ve been back to Italy 10 times now.
On each trip we hit a different part of the country. Last year it was the Amalfi Coast, followed by a separate 2-week trip to the Dolomites. This past year we stuck to the Lake District for a week and then moved to Tuscany. I know it can be tempting to try and see as much as you can with very little time, but we often find we have a much more enjoyable time by moving slower and delving deeper into one destination.
Plan in Advance
We aren’t plan in advance type of people, however if you’re visiting Italy, particularly in the summer or around the holidays planning ahead is imperative. Accommodations, car rentals, and activities book up. Not only will you get slim pickings the longer you wait to book, but you’ll be paying higher prices.
Take the Subway and Bus
The best way to get around cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence is with the local buses and metros. If you’re going long distances, look into taking the train.
Stay in Guesthouses
We’ve found really great deals in guesthouses and privately run Airbnbs while in Italy. You can see our top Airbnb tips if it’s your first-time booking.
Cook Your Own Food
If your accommodation has a kitchen then it’s best to make use of it. We save money this way when traveling around Italy. Grocery stores in Italy are amazing, with fresh produce, well-stocked, and one can easily cook an amazing meal with delicious Italian red wine for cheap.
The grocery store provides great value, especially on Italian food like pasta, prosciutto, and grapes. Don’t worry about eating local either as stores are often stocked with tons of beautiful Italian products; most Italians eat at home anyways!
Drink Tap Water
Tap water in Italy is perfectly fine to drink, so best not to waste money or plastic on one-time use water bottles. Get yourself a travel water bottle and keep refilling it!
Go on Free Walking Tours!
In big cities like Rome, Naples, and Milan you can often join in on a free walking tour for a few hours. Don’t forget to tip your guide at the end though!
When we go to some smaller destinations in Italy, we use BlaBlaCar. Or, if you are traveling with a group of three or more, it might be worth renting a car and splitting the car rental and fuel among yourselves.
When choosing a restaurant in Italy, the further away from the center of a piazza, or the heart of a historic center, the cheaper (and often better) the food will be. Also – be aware of that Coperto charge we mentioned previously.
Southern Italy is Cheaper than Northern Italy
It’s an unspoken Italy fact that the further south you go the cheaper it will be. Your money will go much further in Sicily, Campania, or Apulia than it will in Veneto, Trentino, or Lombardy.
Travel During the Offseason
When people ask how much a trip to Italy costs, it truly all depends on the season of travel. July and August are the most expensive times to travel around Italy. Italy is amazing at any time of the year and you don’t have to travel during peak summer to have a good time.
In my opinion, traveling in Italy, particularly shrines in the offseason. I don’t like crowds or high prices, so I love traveling between September and May.