Italy is one of our favorite destinations in Europe. There are so many amazing things to do – including sailing on Lake Como, visiting remains of Roman cities and amphitheaters where gladiators fought, and just kicking back with cocktails on stunning beaches. After visiting the country multiple times over the years we always get the same questions – is Italy expensive? How much does the average trip to Italy cost? Italy is a brilliant destination to travel to, whether you are a solo traveler or a family looking for a special holiday. But it is safe to say that the actual costs of visiting Italy vary depending on your travel style.
How Much Does It Cost to Visit Italy?
In this guide, we’ll break down the average trip to Italy cost and show you how, where possible, you make it more cost-effective. Italy is often associated with luxury – stunning villas, fine dining, archaeology, and the arts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tailor your trip to Italy to suit different budgets. Is Italy expensive? After all our trips to the different regions of Italy we are going to fill you in on how much a trip to Italy costs in 2023.
When we have visited Italy, we always rent a car. We love having the freedom to go off the beaten path and to stop whenever we like. You can check car rental comparisons here.
Airfare is the first bridge you’ll likely come to when booking a trip to Italy. The good news is that Italy has regular flights to all its major cities, so finding a round-trip ticket is neither problematic nor massively expensive if you visit from a nearby destination. The average budget traveler can find the best deals and cheap flights to Italy. This is simply because flight demand isn’t high – there are so many options when flying to Italy. The country has a staggering 77 airports and hosts dozens of airlines. One thing is for sure: you will always find flights to Italian cities, and the average price is low, so it won’t be one of your main trip costs.
Of course, airfare prices do vary depending on your departure date and destination. As a general rule, flights to Italy from Europe are the cheapest. Flights from the US to Italy are slightly more expensive due to budget-spiking transatlantic crossings and fewer charters. However, that doesn’t mean you are doomed for cheap flights.
The cheapest times of year to fly to Italy are out of season and in shoulder seasons. The shoulder seasons are March to May and September to October. The official ‘off-season’ is over winter, from November to February. You can also save money on flights by booking in advance, using VPNs to adjust your network, and using airline loyalty programs. There’s always a way to maximize budgeting opportunities. Another essential thing to consider for those flying from the US is value for money.
Can you take advantage of cheaper European flights by taking a longer holiday period? This way, you might spend more flying to Italy, but once there, you could add a few extra destinations cheaply. For instance, taking flights for as little as $15 to Germany, Greece, or Turkey.
- Return Flight Cost from Europe: $60 to 200
- Return Flight Cost from US: $400 to 7000
Accommodation in Italy Costs
Your next significant cost after airfare is accommodation. Accommodation is a double-edged sword when calculating your trip to Italy cost. In fact, looking at the price tag of a luxury Italy trip is likely what has got you questioning, ‘Is Italy expensive?’. The reality is that Italy does luxury, and it does it well. Like the south of France, Italy has a reputation for Riviera beauty and luxury hotels that attract A-list celebrities.
You can indeed find hotel rooms that cost tens of thousands a night. Of course, the flip side is also true; you can comfortably backpack it in a hostel dormitory for as little as $40 a night. There are a few factors to consider, so let’s take a closer look so you know what sways it so much.
Choosing Accommodation in Italy
The biggest decider in Italian accommodation is whether you want budget, mid-range, or luxury accommodation. With budget accommodation, you can choose dormitory-style accommodation, or B&B-style stays.
Most hotels offer a mid-range experience, with moderate prices and occasional luxuries like swimming pools that can hone your Italy itinerary and experience. Luxury hotels come in two categories: average luxury and celebrity-style luxury. You can pick up five-star hotel stays for €250 per night, but equally, some five-star hotels charge upwards of €1,000 per night – the real decider is location, hotel brand, and your hotel room choice. For the most part, most travelers pick the middle road with mid-range hotels, which average around €100 a night.
What to Consider When Booking a Trip to Italy
When considering what goes into accommodation pricing, consider location and time of year. Summer is the peak season, so you should avoid summer in Italy if you prioritize saving money. If you want a more affordable hotel room, look at shoulder season travel, where you find the same room up to 50% cheaper.
Location also plays a massive role in your trip budget. For instance, an entire apartment in an Italian city center versus a secluded VRBO property or hotel in the Tuscan countryside can vary greatly in price. If you can get out of touristy areas, like Rome city center or Venice, accommodation prices naturally fall.
Vacation rentals are also a great idea to save money, especially if you are flexible on location – rolling hills don’t always come at a sky-high price. If you are willing to stay remotely and in vacation rentals, it can save money on your Italy trip.
- Budget Hotels: $40-80 per night
- Mid-Range Hotels: $100 per night
- Luxury Hotels: $250 per night
- Vacation Rentals: $50 upwards per night
Transportation in Italy can be a make or break when calculating an Italy travel budget. The country is brilliantly connected by public transportation, with a train travel trend carried by low ticket prices and high-speed connections. If you want to save money, train travel is the way forward as long as you book in advance.
Booking up to a month in advance can give you access to fantastic train travel deals – great for budget travelers. Just be sure you purchase tickets for train travel, as Italy has notorious laws on fining fare hoppers. Trust us: skipping fares in Italy is not the way to go for budget travel.
Italy also has ferry and bus services, which are used far less frequently than the train travel routes. The ferries are most popular in areas like Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast, where many coastal towns are less accessible by road. You can typically book tickets in advance for ferries or take local, smaller shuttle boats on the day. Buses are simply less popular for comfort reasons.
We love renting cars when traveling in Italy. Check car rental prices here. We have found some great deals that work out to be cheaper than train travel if booked at the right time.
While the bus may be the holy grail for the budget traveler in most countries, in Italy, train travel usually rivals bus prices if you book in advance. And for the same cost, it makes sense that you’d want a faster and more comfortable journey. Buses are the budget option for last-minute public transport journeys – usually $2 per ticket for inner-city travel or around $35 for long-distance buses.
Finally, one of the most popular ways to get around Italy is by car rental. Car rentals can be really effective. If you are travelling in a group, for instance, as a family or group of friends. This can quickly rack up public transport costs and make spending an upfront fee (usually between $10 and $30 a day) more effective on a car rental plus any additional fuel costs.
If you plan on taking many day trips or staying remotely, a rental car can be a lifesaver. Remember any additional parking costs you might incur at your accommodation, and know that Italy has many toll roads.
If you stay in a city center where you can find most things within walking distance, you won’t need a car rental. You can always book private transfers from the airport if you travel at unsociable hours or head to the metro station or train station for a day trip.
- Transport Budget: $30 per day with a car rental
You can’t visit Italy without a solid food budget, and that’s from no fault of its own. Italy has one of the world’s most famous – and arguably delicious – cuisines. We’ve already got an entire guide dedicated to the top dishes you should try when you holiday in Italy. If you are in the stages of forming your Italy itinerary, just know food will undoubtedly make up a significant proportion of it. So, with all that said, what does a trip to Italy cost when discussing a food budget?
The average restaurant meal in a major city center is around $70 per person; this is more like $20-30 per person outside of popular areas. Takeaway dishes cost around $10-15. It is important to remember that the coperto (aka the extra cost for sitting down) is added onto most bills in centrally located restaurants and calculated per person.
It is customary to tip around 10%. However, the Italian tipping culture is much more relaxed than the tipping culture in the US. When questioning ‘Is Italy expensive?’, you need to consider whether, and if so, when and where you will eat out. We’d suggest dining out at least once just for the Italian food experience. However, a compromise for a week in Italy might be two sit-down meals, a food tour, and then takeaway or street food for lunch and cooking other meals at your accommodation.
Food is the number one reason people choose Italy, so try to set aside a generous budget. Think of it as cultural immersion or an investment in activities. Everyone deserves to experience fine dining on the Amalfi Coast with air conditioning and stunning ocean views – just set aside around $100 to comfortably budget. And if you can, find accommodation with kitchen facilities to cook your own meals and save money.
- Food Budget: $20 a day without sit-down restaurants or $100 a day with sit-down restaurants
Tours and Activities
Finally, what about tours and activities? It goes without saying that part of what makes Italy so fabulous is its array of things to do.
There are Roman ruins to tour, sunset cruises, and museum tours – and that’s not to mention the abovementioned food tours. Your trip to Italy cost will be massively dictated by your entertainment choices, but it shouldn’t be any other way. Adding to your Italy trip cost with lifelong memories is worthwhile. Just keep in mind your tour and activity expectations when planning a budget: will you tour the Amalfi Coast on your trip to Italy, or are you backpacking in Rome?
One thing to know about Italy is that it does luxury and ‘exclusive experiences’ really well. You need to evaluate what is on your to-do list. Is a gondola ride in Venice catching your eye, or are you looking at budget day trip destinations and museum entry fees? There’s no denying that a gondola ride is one of the best things to do in Venice, but if you want to splurge on special experiences, you will have to budget more.
We’d recommend narrowing down your ‘exclusive experiences’ to a select few if you want to keep to a reasonable budget. You can then bulk up your itinerary with low-cost and free tours and activities. For instance, the Vatican Museums, Colosseum, or a boat trip. You can also plan tourist attractions like stopping to see the Trevi Fountain, which costs nothing.
Independent Travel or Group Tour in Italy
When it comes to your itinerary in Italy, you have the option to book guided experiences and the option to travel solo. Traveling solo can cut your upfront costs, while guided experiences provide peace of mind. For instance, a day trip from Milan to Lake Como costs as little as $4 by public transportation, yet around $100 for a guided tour.
You could cut costs by taking the day trip or save stress and time by spending extra money on a guided day trip. As a side note, if you visit attractions rather than destinations, many attractions in Italy have options for self-guided audio tours when you actually enter. We’d recommend downloading audio tours if you are visiting solo as you’ll will gain a much better appreciation of the monuments you are visiting/
When considering guided tours, an important consideration is whether they are private. A group tour versus private tours vary massively in cost. So, if you’d like to save money but still have a guided experience, we’d suggest shopping for group tours. Keep in mind a single supplement for solo traveler visitors, though, which applies for both group and private excursions – frustrating, we know. You should always check specific policies per tour company.
- Tours and Activities Budget: $300 per week
Overall Trip Cost
With all that in mind, what is the total trip to Italy cost? What exactly should you budget? You see tons of average price statistics floating around and various Italy vacation packages, so it is essential to have a concrete number reflecting the ‘real’ cost of a holiday in Italy.
We’ve broken down the ‘big’ Italy budget into all the factors (airfare, food, tours, etc.), so let’s quickly review them before we give you our final figures.
Regarding flights, budget around $1000 return from Europe in shoulder seasons and $1500 from the US. You can find flights priced above and below these rates, but as a general rule, these are the average prices to expect.
Accommodation prices in Italy is pretty simple: the more stars, the more expensive the hotel. And the more central the location, the higher the fees. Budget approximately $60 per night for a central budget hotel, $100 for a mid range, and $250 for a luxury. Vacation rentals are anything upwards of $50 per night.
For the vast majority of people who go for mid-range hotels, $700 – $1000 is a reasonable rate to budget and expect for a week’s accommodation in Italy.
Transportation is tough to calculate because it massively depends on where you are staying. If you are staying in the city center, you should budget as little as $40 for a whole week on public transportation. You can walk to all the main tourist attractions, which costs nothing. Even if you go on a day trip or catch a local bus or tram, public transport should cost as little as $2-30. A $40 weekly transportation budget should allow you to take a day trip, use public transport for airport transfers, and get around occasionally by inner-city transport to take a break from walking.
If you hire a car, this price will increase. If you hire a car, budget around $30 daily for rental car fees, petrol, and parking. In a week, this totes up to $210.
For food, it does depend on your travel style. You can easily spend $20 a day on food if you just purchase takeaway or street food style meals for lunch and cook your own meals for breakfast and dinner. Whereas, if you want to eat out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you should budget $100 daily. To get the best of both worlds, we’d suggest a weekly budget of $300 or $400 if you want to try fancy cocktails and aperitifs. This should allow two days of dining out and five days of cooking meals and getting takeaway lunches.
Tours and Activities
For tours and activities, you should budget approximately $300 per week. This budget considers one guided tour of up to $100, one luxury experience of around $80, plus up to six standard $20 entry rates for tourist attractions. With $300, it is safe to say that you are comfortably within budget to enjoy a couple of significant bucket list experiences and get an excellent insight into the tourist attraction scene. You’ll be able to have at least two tourist attractions a day.
- Per-Day Budget: $240 if you fly from Europe and rent a car, and $295 if you fly from the US and rent a car
- Total Italy Trip Cost: $1660 if you fly from Europe and rent a car, and $2060 if you fly from the US and rent a car
Money Saving Tips
It is all well and good knowing the average trip to Italy cost. But what about learning how to reduce the average cost of an Italy trip? An average price is just that – an average. That doesn’t mean that you can’t reduce it further and make some serious reductions. Even a tiny compromise, like taking public transport, not private transfers, can significantly reduce the cost of visiting Italy.
This section will reveal the top tips and tricks for lowering Italy’s budget. Here’s how to save money on your trip to Italy.
1. Avoid Sit Down Restaurants or Cook at Home
A huge factor in your trip to Italy cost is sit-down restaurants. This might seem oddly specific, but it is a famously price-boosting thing in Italy. You instantly get charged more when you sit down at a city center restaurant. There’s even a name for this: the coperto. The coperto is a flat rate cover charge that is calculated on a per-person basis. But this is where it gets even more expensive – it is the same whether you order a drink and bread or a four-course meal. This means that if you want to sit down, you’ll have to pay an extra cost, even if you dined on a budget.
Not all restaurants and cafes have a coperto. However, a safe rule of thumb is that if you are in a ‘competitive’ area, like the center of Rome or Venice, you should expect an additional charge for sitting down. The coperto acts as insurance for the restaurant or café business, meaning no matter how much you spend, they will be compensated for not having an empty table for a different guest. It would help if you always aimed to buy takeaway food or street food in these busy areas. Or if you are desperate to dine sitting down, then head out of the city center and into quieter suburbs.
Similarly, you can save money by cooking at your accommodation. Self-catered accommodation with your only kitchen is a real travel hack for cutting costs and avoiding things like the coperto.
2. Travel in Shoulder Seasons
You don’t need us to tell you that traveling at different times of year bags you different prices. The peak season is notoriously bad for budget, no matter where you go. Peak season just means the time when the destination is deemed ‘most impressive’ by mass tourism. This is summer for Italy since it is primarily a beach holiday and al fresco dining destination. June to August is the peak season for Italy, when you will be competing amongst other tourists for everything from tickets to accommodation, and local vendors and business owners hike up the prices to meet the rise in demand.
If you want to play your Italy budgeting tactically, you could book to visit in winter. Contrary to popular belief, the country gets cold, especially in northern Italy. You can expect an average temperature of between – 5 degrees Celsius and 15 degrees Celsius, with southern Italy warmer than the north and its mountainous regions. This idea is excellent if you don’t care about beach days and want to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s in Italy. It is also the perfect time to visit museums and galleries, which are much more enjoyable without overheating.
However, you don’t need to go as extreme on budgeting as that if you still want beach days and warm weather of low to mid-twenties. The best way to budget while sticking as close to peak season is with shoulder seasons. March to May and September until October are the optimum seasons to experience Italy well and cheaply. These months have cheaper accommodations and tours, pleasant temperatures, and fewer crowds.
3. Take Local Transportation
Visiting Italy can get expensive if you constantly spend on private transfers and even a car rental- especially concerning petrol, toll roads, and parking fees. One really effective way to save money is with local transportation. Italy has a fabulous train system, with a train station in all major cities and most significant towns. In fact, tickets can be as little as $9 for a regional journey. Booking train tickets in advance can be a brilliant way to take day trips or an alternative to road-tripping or flying between cities.
Italy also has a fantastic ferry system and buses. You will be able to navigate the country by public transport. On the other hand, private transfers and taxis can get expensive. For instance, when booked in advance, a train ticket from Milan to Rome costs as little as $35. Milan to Rome by rental car costs a minimum of $104 for fuel. A private transfer from Milan to Rome costs as much as $190 one way.
Ironically, public transport is also often much quicker. Milan to Rome takes just over 3 hours by train, yet 5.5 hours by car. Snag the better deal and get there faster. Taking local transportation is one of the best ways to cut costs when visiting Italy.
4. Avoid Major Cities and Tourist Hotspots – Off the Beaten Path
This one might sting, but if you really want to save money on your Italy trip, avoid major cities and tourist hotspots. These cities and hotspots are like vampires for your Italy budget. Everything from food to accommodation and even water bottles get hiked up in price in these places.
If you aren’t too fussy about where you stay, think outside the box and get creative. Head off the tourist track, and you’ll find much more reasonable rates. And you’ll be pioneering more authentic and sustainable travel – a moral boost and a budgeting tip.
There is a small ‘but’ to this top tip. You can always stay outside of a major city. This way, you can take advantage of local transport and cheap rail prices for day trips into the city. You can benefit from the city’s tourist attractions without spending extra on accommodation and food.
5. Know Your Discounts
Lastly, you should know your discounts when trying to lower your trip to Italy. Simple things like a student ID or pensioner card can prove you are eligible for discounts. You should always carry some form of ID if you qualify for discounts, and similarly, do your research before entering an attraction or venue where you think you could be eligible. You could even learn a basic phrase in Italian that you can use to respectfully enquire about discounts. One example of an attraction you can save on with a student ID is the Vatican museums, which knock off approximately 7 euros ($7.42) if you display a student card. Every little helps, right?
Researching discounts and rates before you go is also a healthy practice when sticking to a budget and a great rule to live by if you are a budget traveler. Many museums have free days or cheaper times, while bars and restaurants might have happy hours. And you can adjust your visit to attractions and venues to get better deals. It is a win-win.
Trip to Italy Cost: FAQs
So, now you have an overview of a general trip to Italy cost, what do you think: is Italy expensive? As you can see, the average cost of a trip to Italy does vary depending on factors like travel style, when you travel, and where you go in Italy. Lots of small choices can massively impact your overall Italy budget.
Are you ready for some FAQs? These answers will give you the snapshot information you need to transform your trip for the better. Consider this section the cherry on top of your Italy budget planning.
How much is a trip to Italy for 7 days?
If you fly from Europe and rent a car, it costs approximately $1660 to travel to Italy for 7 days. If you fly from the US and rent a car, it costs around $2060.
Is Italy very expensive to visit?
Italy can be expensive if you opt for luxury hotels, private tours, fine dining, and popular peak-season areas. This is entirely down to travel style, though, and you can easily do Italy on a budget if you cook your own food, backpack, and take public transport. Small compromises and budgeting decisions go a long way in Italy.
What is the cheapest month to go to Italy?
The cheapest months to visit Italy are over winter, with November as the absolute cheapest. Most people visit Italy in the summer and use March to May and September to October as the slightly more affordable, yet still warm, shoulder season. If you visit between November and February, you can find the absolute cheapest prices to visit Italy.
How much does it cost to go to Italy for a weekend?
Visiting Italy for the weekend costs around $550 if you fly from Europe and $950 from the US. This budget factors in public transport costs, a budget of $100 for tourist attractions, flights, and mid-range accommodation in a city center location.
Now you have as accurate as possible an idea of what your trip to Italy will cost, you can answer the question for yourself: is Italy expensive? You can use some of our top tips to save money when visiting Italy. You don’t have to visit Italy for a luxury trip, although if you do, you will undoubtedly go to the right place. Italy is incredible – no matter your budget. With the right attitude, you can find some fantastic accommodation choices, tours, food, and flight deals.
Looking for more inspiration? Just check out these facts about Italy to make you smile. Or get some inspiration on hiking in the beautiful Cinque Terre region, which should already be on your bucket list.