Visiting Rome, Italy on a Budget


Exploring the streets of Rome

Rome, Italy is truly magical city.  The food, history and culture here is captivating. You can have very rich experiences in Rome without having to be rich and sticking to a budget. We’d recommend spending at least 3 or 4 days in Rome and using this city as a stepping stone to visit some smaller cities in Italy. Here is our guide on visiting Rome, Italy on a budget.   

Note: This post is written based on a trip taken in June


What to do in Rome on a Budget


Take a Food Tour

This is by far our #1 Rome recommendation, especially for any food lover. We took the Eating Italy: Trastevere for Foodies food tour. Eating Europe is the company that puts on this food tour and they offer food tours in several countries.

Some of the Eating Italy Food Tour Stops

There are tons of different food tours to choose from in Rome with this company, but we recommend Eating Italy: Trastevere for Foodies. In our opinion, this tour is the best bang for your buck and our guide did a fantastic job.  We learned not only history about food but history about the city. 

Local market with visited on our Food Tour

We sampled food–some of the most delicious food we have ever tasted–from about 10 different mom/pop shops and restaurants. We likely would have never had walked into these places on our own. All the stops on the food tour were tucked away from the main drag and the staff only spoke Italian each. We even sampled some fresh food at a local outdoor market. This tour also took us off the main tourist path and showed us a more quaint side of Rome in the Trastevere neighborhood.  This food tour was definitely an authentic and untourist Italian experience!

See Why you Should take a Food Tour While Traveling.


Tour Vatican City 

Vatican City, Rome, Italy

The Vatican is the exclusive city-state that is the headquarters for the Catholic Church. This city is very impressive to see in real life. The many ancient Roman sculptures and Renaissance paintings, most famously Michelangeo’s ceiling painting, it houses are truly astounding.

The Vatican at Night

If you are going during peak time, try to book tickets to enter ASAP to avoid any stress about being able to go on a tour that works for your itinerary  We’d recommend taking one of the guided tours to make your experience more enriching. We booked a tour that worked for our itinerary through Viator.  

Viator Website

Tip: Dress conservatively to avoid being turned away from entering.


Tour the Colosseum and Roman Ruins

Colosseum

You can’t go to Rome and not see the Roman ruins.  The Colosseum and other Roman Ruins are exceedingly impressive.  To think they were built so long ago but stand so strong to this day is almost unbelievable. 

Colosseum

We’d recommend again seeing the Colosseum with a guide as well to enhance your experience by not only going into the Colosseum but to learn more about the ruins and history that helped shape Western Civilization. We booked a tour that worked for our itinerary through Viator.  

Roman Ruins

Trevi Fountain

Go here to see it and throw a coin in. Legend has it that one coin means you will return to Rome. Two coins into the fountain, you will return and fall in love. Three coins implies you will return, fall in love and marry. The coins in the fountain do go to charities so regardless of your fate you can contribute to a good cause. You really do not have to budget a large amount of time for this attraction. 

Forewarning: there are HEAPS of tourists and people taking pictures during any normal waking hours.  If we were to go back, we would probably take an early morning run to see this while most other tourists were still asleep. 


What to eat in Rome on a Budget

Pizza

This is a “duh” recommendation but could not go without talking about the greatness of real Italian pizza.  Fresh Italian pizza is simply unmatched.  We always say it is hard to mess up pizza, but it is hard to find pizza anywhere else in the world as delicious as the pizza in Italy.  


Gelato

Truly the best dessert (at least in our family).  Make it your goal to try as many different gelato spots as possible. We ate gelato almost twice a day everyday when we were in Italy. And the best part is that we lost weight on this Europe trip so we have coined this the “Gelato diet.” When in Rome! 


Local Meats & Cheeses 

Local meat and cheese shop on our Food Tour

We tried most of these on our Food tour and it was really fun to sample different meat and cheeses from various local shops. 

Tip: Bread brought to the table is not free. It is only a small charge but do not be surprised when you are charged for it at the end of your meal despite not asking for it.  It is like this in most European Countries but Italy is the first country we became aware of it. You can ask them to not give you the bread basket if you really don’t want it but it typically only costs 1-3 Euros.


Where to Stay in Rome on a Budget


Colors Hotel

This hotel is centrally located as it is west of the main city center and east of Vatican city.  We were able to walk everywhere we wanted within 10-40 minutes.  The rooms were simple (we booked private bath) but nice and we did not spend much time there. We mainly spent our time exploring the city, so it was perfect location for quick access to many places. And, as always, budget friendly.

Colors Hotel 


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Rome, Italy on a budget. If you are in Rome, make sure to pop over to Cinque Terre for some of the most impressive coastal views (see Cinque Terre, Italy Quick Guide post) and Venice to see the classic Italian river canals (see Venice, Italy Quick Guide). 

We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Anything you’d add to our guide on visiting Rome, Italy on a budget?  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


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Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Visiting Cinque Terre, Italy on a Budget


Vernazza, Cinque Terre Italy
Vernazza, Cinque Terre Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy is one of the most picturesque places in the world. When you see beautiful coast-line pictures from Italy, Cinque Terre is often where is pictured.  Colorful houses line the pristine coastline here. Cinque Terre literally means the five villages in Italian. Hiking trails (and trains) link these 5 villages (South to North: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare) and offer beautiful views of the coastline/sea. Although these coastal villages can be quite pricey, if planned correctly, you can visit Cinque Terrre on a budget. We would recommend spending at least 3 days in Cinque Terre if you want to do some hiking and relaxing. Here is our guide on visiting Cinque Terre, Italy on a budget.  

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if your purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!

Note: This blog post was written based on a trip taken in July


What to do in Cinque Terre


Hike along the Cinque Terre Coastline

Hiking trails link all 5 of the villages in Cinque Terre and are really the main attraction here.  The Sentiero Azzurro trail has 4 sections connecting these 5 villages.  

Hiking Views, Cinque Terre
Hiking Views, Cinque Terre

We hiked to Monterosso from Vernazza (2.2 miles one-way, 705 feet of elevation gain) and back as well as to Cornlgia from Vernazza (2.1 miles one-way, 501 feet of elevation gain) and back. Both hikes offered VERY pretty views.  If you have time, we would recommend doing both.  We actually did the hike to Corniglia from Vernazza twice because it was so pretty (and not to mention a great workout). 

Hiking View, Cinque Terre
Hiking View, Cinque Terre

These hikes both took several hours and involved a decent amount of elevation. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks. Alternatively, stop for a snack (we’d suggest fresh Italian gelato or pizza) in the town before turning around.  Another option is to take the train back so you do not have to hike both ways (a train runs back and front through the towns regularly throughout the day). The train is a great option if you are short on time too. Be mindful that these trails can be closed at times for repair – check prior to your trip in case you need to alter your plans. The trails linking the 2 most southern towns, Riomaggiore and Manarola, were closed during our visit due to erosion and need for repairs.

Tip: Hike earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat

Cornlgia, Cinque Terre
Cornlgia, Cinque Terre

Dine on the coastline

There are plenty of restaurants right on the coastline with awesome views. These places are more pricey than more inland places so you probably do not want to do this for every meal but we would highly recommend doing it for a splurge meal. See where to eat below.


Go to the beach to relax or swim

Beach in Vernazza, Cinque Terre
Beach in Vernazza, Cinque Terre

There is a beach in each town.  Whichever town you end up staying in, we would recommend going to that beach. Monterresso has the largest beach if you are looking for a big beach scene, but we liked relaxing by the quaint beach in Vernazza. 


Where/What to eat in Cinque Terre


Belforte in Vernazza

Right on the coastline with fresh seafood and spectacular views

Tip: Need a reservation, even for a weekday AND only cash is accepted


Fresh seafood

You are right on the Mediterranean Sea – take advantage of the seafood and how fresh it will be. We had a different type of fresh fish everyday and were not disappointed. 

You must also try Gelato and fresh Pizza while in Italy. See Rome, Italy Quick Guide for more information on these.


Where to stay in Cinque Terre


Stay in Vernazza

Vernazza, Cinque Terre
Vernazza, Cinque Terre

We found Vernazza to be the perfect spot to stay and unwind. It is in between some of the more busy villages and given its middle location, it is a good access point to go both directions up/down the coast.

Also, all the trails were open to the north and south from this location when we visited.  At the time we were there, the trails between the two most southern villages were closed (due to erosion) so we were glad to be in Vernazza where all the hiking trails were open.  

This Airbnb, Gianna Room Vernazza, was the perfect spot for us to unwind, had stellar views and was budget friendly.

Use this link to get up to $65 off your first Airbnb

Tip: Book your accommodations early if going in the summer. We were going in July and booked our accommodations in March and found very limited availability even this far in advance.  


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Cinque Terre on a budget. Make sure to visit Rome (see Rome, Italy Quick Guide) and Venice (see Venice, Italy Quick Guide) while in Italy as well.  Anything you’d add to our guide on visiting Cinque Terre, Italy on a budget? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.

Visiting Venice, Italy on a Budget


Venice, Italy Canal
Venice, Italy Canal

Venice–what a beautiful and romantic city!  The winding streets filled with trattorias, as well as the extensive canals filled with gondolas, make this city very unique and memorable.  And you can have an unforgettable experience visiting this city on a budget. We recommend spending at least one or two days in Venice. Here is our quick guide on Venice, Italy. 

Note: This guide is written on a trip taken in early July


What to do in Venice on a Budget


Go to Gondola Rowing School

Gondola School, Venice, Italy
Gondola School, Venice, Italy

We were looking to have a gondola experience in Venice different from the cliche. Participating in gondola rowing school, you not only ride in a gondola but you also learn how to row a gondola.  Rowing a gondola is a lot harder than you may expect and makes for a really unique experience. 

Budget Bonus: The price for a 90 minute lesson and ride at Row Venice is similar to what a 30 minute simple gondola ride would cost.  

Book far in advance. We were VERY lucky to book last minute while we were there.  We’d recommend trying to book at least 2 weeks in advance. 

Row Venice


Take a day trip to Murano and Burano 

Burano, Italy
Burano, Italy

Murano is an island famous for beautiful glass blowing while Burano is an island known for its colorful fisherman homes.  Both were highlights of our time in Venice. 

Colorful fisherman houes in Burano, Italy
Colorful fisherman houes in Burano, Italy

You can book a boat tour to these locations when you get to Venice. There are several different tours you can book right on the main drag along the water. 


Get lost Exploring the Iconic Sites 

San Marco Square at Night
San Marco Square at Night

Make sure you walk to the tourist highlights around San Marco square, across Rialto Bridge and to St. Mark’s Basilica while in Venice.  The architecture all around Venice is stunning and unique.  Even just walking around the winding streets affords hours of entertainment.  

Waterfront in Venice
Waterfront in Venice

With the winding nature of these streets, we got lost while exploring Venice and ended up on the residential side of the island.  Venice is not easy to navigate and you are bound to get lost at some point–embrace it as this is part of experiencing the city.  When we got lost, we got a taste of typical Venetian life we may not have otherwise gotten. Fortunately, we ran into a local who was kind to reorient us.

Venice, Italy
Venice, Italy

Where to Eat in Venice 


Trattoria da Bepi

A small trattoria (casual Italian restaurant) specializing in traditional Venetian food

There are lots of dining options but this was our favorite. It is located near but off of the main drag with a few outdoor and indoor tables. We enjoyed eating outside at this quaint Trattoria.  We had fresh seafood for dinner followed by some delicious tiramisu.

Trattoria Da Bepi 


Where to Stay in Venice on a Budget


Hotel Bernardi 

Canal near Hotel Bernardi
A canal near hotel Bernardi in Venice

We would recommend staying close to but a bit off of the main tourist drag.  We stayed at the Hotel Bernardi in Venice and highly recommend it.  This budget hotel is located just off of Venice’s main streets and has typical Venetian decor. This hotel is very close to Trattoria Da Bepi too!


We hope this guide helps you plan what to do on your trip to Venice on a Budget. Make sure to visit Rome (see Visiting Rome, Italy on a Budget) and Cinque Terre (Visiting Cinque Terre, Italy on a Budget) while in Italy as well.  Anything you’d add to our guide on visiting Venice, Italy on a Budget? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!


Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

Planning a multi-city trip to Europe? See our How to Plan Your First Europe Trip on a Budget guide for more tips on how to do this.