The title seems too good to be true, right? Only spending $210 dollars for 5 days? NOOO WAY! Not even possible. Actually, it is. Keep reading and I will prove it.
In August I left America with my husband, sister, and friend to travel Italy and Switzerland for 2 weeks. I found roundtrip tickets from Salt Lake City to Venice for $350, so of course I had to go! We arrived at the airport in Venice and soon took a bus into the city. We had until about 3:30pm to explore before we left on a train to spend our first night in Switzerland (post coming soon about Switzerland).
Venice was timeless. Even from above the city looked so dreamy and I couldn’t wait to explore it. Seeing the dream-like canals of Venice for the first time is pure magic. Especially when you’ve been bombarded with romantic movies and Instagram photos of Venice for as long as you can remember.
We only had two days in Venice, we knew we were cutting it close. Could we really get to know the city in just two days? So from the moment we arrived, until the moment we left, we didn’t let one second go to waste. One thing I would recommend is to put down your map and just wander. What I learned and loved most about Venice is that it’s small enough you can walk almost all of it in one day. Take time for the big, popular sites, but know that the smaller canals off of the main tourist trail are perfect for wandering.
The old, pastel-colored buildings, the gondolas, and the bridges were incredible. You just can’t compare it with any other place in the world. The only challenge for us was spending a lot of time in small pathways, pushing through so many tourists..especially because we carried our backpacks with us for the first day. Our plan was to leave it at the luggage drop-off in the train station, but the line was crazy long. Plus, why not save a little money, right?…Wrong. We realized that first day that it would be worth the money to drop our bags off and explore the city without carrying anything. So that’s exactly what we did our last day of the trip when we came back to Venice for the day before flying out. Despite that, I do think that Venice is worth making a trip to!
Our time in Venice included wandering the timelessly beautiful canals on foot, roaming the city’s quiet alleyways and colorful corners, eating plenty of pizza, and of course stopping for gelato often. Because you can’t go a day in Italy without at least one gelato. Or at least I can’t.
So, quick recap of our 2 days in Venice:
|Day 1- Venice||Bus from airport to Venice||8|
|Day 2- Venice||Bus from Venice to airport||8|
|Bag drop off||7|
After spending 3 nights in Switzerland we made our way down to the Amalfi Coast. Oh, FYI our main source of transportation was via trains. I did a lot of research and found that not only would trains be the cheapest, but the most desirable mode of transportation. We bought a two-country Eurail select pass which we bought here. Along the journey down to the Amalfi Coast we stopped in Milan for about 5 hours. Milan is one of Italy’s main cities, financial center, and likewise one of the great fashion capitals of the world. Those things add up to marvelous high-end shopping and fashionable nightlife, which was fun to see, but honestly wouldn’t have done us much good if we were to have stayed longer than a few days. We enjoyed our short time in Milan where we explored the famous DUOMO, Royal Palace of Milan, Sforza Castle, and tasted the best food out of all the trip. I tried Italy’s famous risotto and fell in love.
|Subway to and from the train station||2.60|
Once we got back to the train station it was nighttime, which was perfect because we were boarding our night train. Honestly, going in I had heard horror stories of the overnight trains in Europe, but truly, if you’re trying to save money and travel to far places, overnight trains are the way to go. We wouldn’t have visited the Amalfi Coast if it wasn’t for overnight trains because time is valuable and we wanted to be outside sightseeing during the day instead of on a train. Plus, let’s talk about being cost effective. Not only do you not have to pay for a hotel, but we only had to pay $8/person to reserve a seat. We rode the overnight trains to and from the Amalfi Coast.
We stopped in Naples, Italy where we had about an hour break before catching our next train to Salerno where we would be staying for 2 nights. We bought a famous sfogliatella in a pastry shop near the train station for breakfast along with bread & Biscoff spread we had bought in Switzerland. Once arrive in Salerno we walked to our airBNB to drop our bags off and change for the day ahead. Our airBNB was adorable with 2 big bedrooms, 3 beds, 1 full kitchen, 1 full bathroom, and 1 walk out balcony.
The Amalfi Coast of Italy has long been recognized as the glamorous playground for the rich and famous. So when I had the idea of adding a 3 day Amalfi Coast vacay at the end of our two week Europe trip, I played around with ideas on how we could afford it. I thought it may be too far out of our league (our apartment doesn’t come with a money tree, sadly), but just like everywhere else I’ve traveled to, there’s ALWAYS a way to travel affordably.
The first day we caught a Sita Bus from Salerno to Amalfi for $2.40 one way. The second day we rode the TraVelMar boat for $12 one way. There’s definitely pros and cons to choosing your mode of transportation while at the Amalfi coast.
- An adventure! No matter which seat you choose, you’re sure to get scared by racing around the corners and coming centimeters to hitting a car.
- Cheapest way around the Amalfi Coast.
- You can hop on and off at any village along the coast
- The “local” way. Our experience showed that most Italians take the buses.
- Windy, crowded, and no AC. If you hop on the bus from Salerno or Sorrento it’s probable you’ll find a seat, but after each stop the bus gets more crowded and people start filling up the aisles. Some are standing for a half hour or more.
- Fresh air and incredible views! Being able to watch each coastal village come and go was a site I hope to always remember. The different colors and shapes of the villages from afar was breathtaking.
- Fastest public option. The boats travel twice as fast as the bus.
Amalfi, Ravello, & Positano
It’s hard not to fall in love with these three beautiful towns. Amalfi and Positano are tiny villages along the seaboard, famous for pastel – colored buildings built into the hillside, traditional Italian flair, and all around beauty. Ravello is a town perched on the cliffs above Amalfi famous for its views and gardens. All are destinations where you go to relax, eat, drink and be merry. There isn’t much in the sightseeing department because well, the whole town is a landmark on it’s own. You visit to admire the beauty, the architecture, and relax. And if that doesn’t sell you, well, then there is always the food. Amalfi has some of the freshest seafood in all of Italy, so be sure to take advantage of the the daily catch. So come here with a big smile on your face, a hungry tummy, and be ready to enjoy the views.
|Where: Amalfi Coast||Activity:||Cost-Euros|
|Day 1 Naples, Salerno, Amalfi, & Ravelllo||Overnight Trains (2)||16|
|Roundtrip Sita bus to Amalfi||4.80|
|Roundtrip Sita bus to Ravello||4.80|
|Day 2 Salerno, Positano|
|Roundtrip TraVelMar Boat to Positano||24|
|Day 3 Salerno|
|Grand total||176.20 converted to USD $210|
Proof that you can travel around Italy affordably and enjoyably. If you have any questions comment below and I’d love to offer more insights and suggestions!