What does a trip to Italy cost? We break it down for you
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 seven separate times now. It is a fantastic country to travel around and keeps pulling me 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, walking through the countryside, skiing on sunny slopes, or drinking bottle after bottle of fantastic wine.
We find travel costs in Italy to be 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 and coffee. To make things simple all prices will be quoted in Euros as all expenses in the country will be billed as such.
What’s A Trip to Italy Cost?
Transport in Italy
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.
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 Sicilly rather than covering vast distances in the country where transport costs can add up over time.
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 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 the 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, 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|
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.
|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.
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.
|Rome||€1.50 or €7.00 Daily|
|Milan||€2.00 or €7.00 Daily|
|Naples||€1.50 or €4.50 Daily|
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 about 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. 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. The average fuel price in Italy is around €1.60 a liter or €6.00 a gallon. 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.
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 €100 a week!
|Car Type||Weekly Rental Price|
|Economy||€130 – €200|
|Standard||€250 – €300|
|Full Size||€250 – €400|
|Van||€400 – €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.
- RentalCars.com: Provides comparisons for car rentals in Italy.
- AutoEurope: I can often find deals here for car rentals in Europe.
- Discover Car Hire: Searches rental car prices around the globe.
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.
|Rome > Catania (Sicily)||€40 – €60|
|Rome > Milan||€40 – €50|
|Rome > Sardinia||€75 – €100+|
|Milan > Palermo (Sicily)||€30 – €60|
Cost of Accommodation in Italy
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, the 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 €10-25 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 €200+ a night. Hotels vary a lot in price point, but budget hotels start around €50 and continue up to €80 a night.
If you’d like a decent corporate hotel like a Marriott or Hilton to expect to pay €80 – €200 a night. The hotel rate will depend on the hotel level and location. For a luxury boutique hotel, rates average from €150 – €300 a night. For luxury accommodation in Italy expect to €300 – €500 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. This is due to the demand from Italian vacationers and not just international tourists.
|Hostel||€10 – €25|
|Airbnb||€40 – €200|
|Mid Range||€80 – €200|
|Boutique||€150 – €300|
|Luxury||€300 – €500|
Food Cost in Italy
Food costs are a bit of a mixed bag in Italy they can be 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 to 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 food.
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. Outside of hotels, it can be difficult to find a generous breakfast serving.
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 tips 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 price point you’re paying the tourist price. We once saw a cappuccino for €12 at Cafe Florian in the center of Venice!
|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 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’s 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 €10 – €20. Then, there is always cheaper wine that can be had for a couple euros.
Cost of Activities in Italy
Activities in Italy, for the most part, are reasonably priced. However, it all depends on when and where. For example, a gondola ride 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.
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.
Popular Activities/Tours in Italy
|Gondola Ride in Venice||€80 for half-hour|
|Vatican Tour||€60 – €100|
|Tuscany Sightseeing Tour||€60|
|Superski Dolomiti Ski Lift Pass||€55|
Miscellaneous Expenses in Italy
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 at scoring a deal.
We like to use Google Flights and Skyscanner’s open search feature to find good deals to Italy. From North America to Milan we’ve paid anywhere from €650-€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 is expensive when abroad, so make sure you have travel insurance in case 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. World Nomads provides good short term coverage. While SafetyWing is perfect for digital nomads. See our full review here!
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.
That’s if you’re staying in cheap accommodation, 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 per day.
Total Two Week Trip Cost
|Backpacker||€600 – €1,000|
|Basic||€1,000 – €2,000|
|Mid Range||€2,000 – €4,000|
Money-Saving Tips For Italy
Take the subway and bus
The best way to get around cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence are with the local buses and metros.
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 and 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 they’re often stocked with tons of beautiful Italians products; most Italians eat at home anyways!
Drink Tap Water
The 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 the 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 have to get to some smaller destinations in Italy we’ve used 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.
Travel During the Offseason
Italy is amazing at any time of the year. In my opinion, traveling in Italy particularly shrines in the offseason. I don’t like crowds or high prices and that’s why I love traveling between September and May.
Plan and Pack for Italy
Book a Tour!
Sometimes it’s nice when others do all the travel planning!
Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. We recommend picking up a Lonely Planet to get you through the wireless nights.
Please consider purchasing a travel water bottle before your trip! We hate to see one time use plastic bottles ending up in the ocean. The tap water is so good here – seriously please don’t be one of those tourist that buys plastic water bottles in Italy. It’s a waste of money and plastic!
Remember that Italy uses both the “Type L ” Italian adapter and the Europlug. Many adapters are interchangeable, so make sure you find a good one like the one I have to keep you charged.