It was a dream trip. 2 weeks travelling around visiting places that we've already dreamed of visiting to help celebrate Mark's birthday. So let me introduce our Italy itinerary. We've covered our time in Lake Garda and Verona but thought it would be good to detail how we managed to do this trip for under £800 each visiting 9 destinations in Italy (excluding food). It actually came in at around £725 excluding meal, drinks and our entrance to Pompeii and The Vatican. Pompeii and The Vatican were the only paid for attraction that we visited.
The beauty of Italy is that so much of the things to see are free. Some will require payment if you wish to go inside but if like us you want to see the iconic attractions like The Colosseum and Verona's arena then no payment will be required. I highly suggest paying the entrance for Pompeii and The Vatican (which of course includes the unmissable Sistine Chapel) as these are two things you won't want to miss. It cost us approximately 30 euros for both so it won't break the bank.
Most Italian cities are easily walkable so we walked everywhere during our stay. In total we did approximately 150 km of walking over 14 days.
Enough of my rambling let's get on to our Italy Itinerary and how we managed to create such an amazing adventure for less than £750.
We started planning this trip in January of this year, generally the earlier you book the better prices you get especially for flights. We travelled with Ryanair from East Midlands Airport to Milan and our flights out cost £140.33 for us both. We paid a little extra to enable us to put our luggage in the hold. On the way back we flew from Naples to East Midlands Airport and these flights cost us £191.29 for us both.
Day 1 & 2 Italy Itinerary
After our arrival into Milan we got 2 buses from the airport that took us to our accommodation at Lake Garda. The town we stayed in was Sirmione. My blog post on Sirmione. We stayed at the Hotel Villa Pagoda which was a beautiful location mere steps away from the lake. It also included access to their sister hotel's pool which was less than ten minutes walk away. The hotel was just a 15 minute walk from the town's historic centre. We stayed here for 2 nights and paid a total of 160 euros. We spent 2 days at Lake Garda and then moved on to Verona.
Day 3 Italy Itinerary
On day 3 we got the bus that runs between Lake Garda and Verona. It cost us a total of 5 euros each. Bargain! Our accommodation in Verona was just a 20-minute walk away from where the bus dropped us off. We stayed at the Romeo & Juliet Non-Hotel. Our accommodation in Verona cost us 84 euros. The location was a little sketchy but the apartment we stayed in was beautiful, it was located around the corner from the train station and a 5-minute bus ride from the historic centre. Bus fares were 1.30 euros each way so we spent 2.30 euros on bus fare there and back. Check out our Verona blog post to see what we did in Verona.
Day 4 Italy Itinerary
On day 4 we caught the train from Verona to Bologna. Italian trains are no-frills but very cheap and mostly punctual. Travelling from Verona to Bologna our next destination cost us 10.30 euros.
We stayed at the lovely Mercure Bologna Centro in Bologna which is right in the centre of Bologna with beautiful rooms. Our stay there cost us 72 euros. Bologna is a beautiful city and of course you have to go for Bolognese. Eating out is very cheap in Bologna - a large plate of Bolognese in a restaurant is around the 10 euro mark and a whole bottle of really good house wine is 20 euros so for 30 euros two can eat out. Bargain!
Day 5 Italy Itinerary
Day 5 we were up early and caught the train from Bologna to Florence for the very low price of 9.45 euros. Florence was high up on my list of destinations, all that art and iconic sculptures. And it didn't disappoint. We stayed at the Residenza D'Epoca San Jacopo which was ideally located but very basic. No TV but powerful air con which was needed in the 35 degree heat. For our room in Florence we paid 56 euros.
Day 6 Italy Itinerary
The next day it was time to head to Pisa. Yes that Pisa of leaning tower fame. We took the train to Pisa leaving from Florence and our train fare was the princely sum of 8.70 euros. We stayed at the Stazione 22 B&B which cost us 60.50 euros. Quick tip: when in Pisa you have to try their risotto. Iconic and delicious.
Day 7-9 Italy Itinerary
The longest journey so far was on day 7 where we took the train from Pisa to Rome. This was a 3 hour journey but cost-wise it only came in at 24.15 euros. In Rome, we were spending three days. While it is nice seeing lots of different places in Italy it was nice to be able to settle into Rome for three whole days. We stayed at Gio' Suites in Trastevere. Our room was stunning - big double bed, breakfast delivered to our door each morning, flat screen tv, air con and even a jacuzzi bath in our bathroom. We paid 207 euros for 3 nights. Trastevere is a lovely locality within Rome which is an easy walk from the historic centre and Vatican City.
There is so much to see in this beautiful city. Of all the places we visited Rome was my favourite. Vatican City was beautiful and the Sistine Chapel did not disappoint.
Day 10-11 Italy Itinerary
On day 10 we made our way to Naples. We took the train from Rome to Naples which cost us 12.65 euros each. Parts of Naples are rundown but next to the water is beautiful especially at night. The area is lined with lovely bars and restaurants overlooking the sea. Of course when in Naples, you have to do Pompeii. It really is worth a visit but don't underestimate how vast it is.
We stayed at B&B Annuziata Dream. The place itself is perfect - plenty of space, all the mod cons inc TV and jacuzzi bath but it was in a slightly ropey area whilst it didn't bother us you might want to be careful when selecting accommodation in Naples. We had 2 nights in Naples and paid 100 euros for both nights.
Day 12 Italy Itinerary
Procida is a beautiful spot. Full of brightly coloured houses, stunning Catholic churches and sitting right on the water. To get to Procida we took the ferry from Naples which cost approximately 15 euros. This also happened to be Mark's birthday so we went out for a beautiful meal in a restaurant high up and overlooking the water. There isn't a lot to do here so it is the perfect place to relax - enjoy some drinks overlooking the bright blue sea.
We stayed at the beautiful Procidabella which is nestled inside the tiny village full of tiny windy lanes but not far from the restaurants and bars of the coastal town. Our room cost us 77 euros for one night.
Day 13 Italy Itinerary
Day 13 saw us travel from Procida to Ravello. Now, this was our most challenging and most expensive trip of the two weeks. First of all we had to take the ferry from Procida to Naples. From Naples we took the train to Salerno where we entered the last stage of our journey. At Salerno station we took the bus to Ravello. And it was the scariest bus journey of my life. Ravello is very high up and you get there via tiny winding roads with practically no barrier and that drop is steep. Add to that motorbikes zooming by and I was on the edge of my seat the whole way. Don't let that put you off though as the views when you get there are well worth it.
We stayed at Al Borgo Torello - it was our most expensive form of accommodation at 110 euros but the location was stunning. The photo above was taken from our balcony. Our travel costs totalled 25 euros on day 13.
Day 14 Italy Itinerary
On our final full day we headed back to Naples. Transport costs came in at 20 euros and our stay Napoli Stazione B&B cost us 49 euros. We were located right next to the station which was perfect as the next day we needed to head off to the airport. The cost for the shuttle to Naples Airport came in at 3 euros.
So, there you have how we did 2 weeks in Italy with 10 destinations for under £800. Any questions? Ask away!