Where to stay in Italy on a budget

Adam Jones | 17/04/2019
Agriturismo in Siena.
Opt for alternative lodging, like on a farm in Siena, for unique experiences.

When it comes to travel on a budget, Italy isn’t always the first place that comes to mind. With a little research, budget travel in Italy becomes a real possibility. Let’s explore your options for booking Italy as a holiday destination without breaking the bank.

Ditch the Package Tour

Traveling on a budget means thinking differently, applying a do-it-yourself mentality. The first step: avoid the package tour with its baked-in accommodation costs. Instead, consider booking a day tour for hard-to-reach locations so that you have a flexible schedule for your whole trip.

This flexibility will make it easier for you to explore and book low-cost accommodation. Where can you stay in Italy that will free up some savings? There are lots of great options — cheap hotels, hostels, agriturismo, monasteries, and even camping.

Affordable hotels in Italy

Cheap hotels in Italy are something you can find in every region at a variety of price points. One way to find more affordable accommodation is to choose a lesser-known nearby city over a more popular one. For example, you could choose to stay in the small canal city of Treviso instead of Venice. Or if you’re on the Amalfi Coast, stay in Sorrento instead of the more popular Salerno. To travel affordably, consider visiting cities and regions that are less famously touristy but equally beautiful.

Hostels in Italy

Hostels have been a way to travel the country without going overboard since the earliest days of backpacking. When it comes to youth hostels in Italy, there are hundreds of gorgeous options to choose from all over the country. 

Regular features of the hostel life include communal dinners, free breakfasts, and local sightseeing advice. In Naples, try the Hostel of the Sun, which has won awards for its comfortable housing. Not only does it overlook the bay, but it’s an easy ten-minute walk to the Piazza Trieste e Trento. 

Monasteries and religious housing 

Just like an ancient pilgrim, you may be able to budget your trip by staying in monasteries and other types of religious accommodation. With an abundance of religious buildings, Italy is one of the premier destinations in the world for this type of stay.

Websites such as Monastery Stays enable you to book directly with various local venues all around the country. Think sparser accommodation along the lines of hostels, but with a more historical and less party atmosphere. Most religious housing will also provide you with the option of attending their religious services, if that’s something you want to partake in during your visit.

Agriturismo: stay on a farm

There’s more to Italy than its great cities. Make sure you give yourself some time to explore Italy’s remarkable countryside. You’ll likely want to be in the rolling hills of wine country under the Tuscan sun, or perhaps lounging a beach on the Amalfi Coast. 

Agriturismo, very popular among Italians, gives you the option to stay directly in nature itself — whether it’s a hilltop vineyard or a fisherman’s hut near the sea.

Try Le Tore, situated on a hilltop with views of two different seas. Wander through the woods to the apple orchard, watch the staff as they can tomatoes and press fresh olive oil, then enjoy a lengthy meal under the stars. This remarkable agriturismo destination is on the cape of Punta della Campanella, which divides the Gulf of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno. You don’t have to stick to the farm — head on a day trip to Capri or Positano, then head back to the quiet hills at night.

Camping  and glamping

Last, but not least, the rise of agriturismo has had a secondary effect: more great places for camping and glamping. Thanks to Italy’s warm climate much of the year, this can be an attractive and fresh option to being in a new place. Pack your camping gear and set out by car or bicycle for a down-to-earth Italian holiday. There are many resources online that can help you map your perfect Italian camping adventure.

Tapping into the budget traveler network

Whether you’re a city traveler, or more inclined to explore the great outdoors, Italy’s budget accommodation options are abundant — it simply requires a little research. Once you tap into the budget traveler circuit, other travelers you meet will share their stories and tips for great places to stay along the way. And before you know it, you’ll have an affordable place to stay for every stop on your Italian itinerary.