Big cities like Rome, Milan and Venice might be the obvious weekend trip destinations, but if you are planning budget-friendly weekend getaways in Italy, these seven are the best destinations. The cities and the microstate San Marino are located all around the country, so you will find a great location wherever you want to go.
While the cities on this list do have touristic features, most of them do not have a focus on tourism. Therefore venturing through the streets will allow you a glimpse of the real Italy without large crowds. Something that is perfect if you want to go on vacation while practicing social distancing.
I absolutely love Italy and it just might be my favorite country in Europe. There are so many rather unknown cities in Italy that will take your breath away and that will make you want to return there again and again. I genuinely believe that these hidden gems are the perfect weekend getaways in Italy. While exploring them you can find anything from medieval architecture to incredible viewpoints with the added bonus of amazing Italian food.
Visit one of these seven places and I am sure you will love it!
The Best Weekend Getaways in Italy
When traveling in Europe, I particularly love the less-known towns or neighbors of big cities, as they feature more treasures to explore and are not overrun by tourists. One of those examples is Bergamo in Italy, which is an hour away from famous Milan. Oftentimes it is often overlooked by visitors coming to Italy.
Thanks to its airport right in town (often referred as Milan-Bergamo) frequented by various low-cost carriers, Bergamo is a perfect budget-friendly weekend getaway in Italy. Flights are usually cheap, and the airport has a direct bus connection with the town center, available for less than 3 Euro.
Contributed by Chris from Punta Cana Travel Blog
Why visit Montepulciano?
The best things to do in Montepulciano
The town itself is famous for its unique cuisine and delicious ice cream. Moreover, it offers world-renowned wine. You can taste excellent wine in lots of wineries, restaurants, and shops in town. The most famous local wine is Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Furthermore, it’s a city for fans of Twilight Saga. In Montepulciano, the movie Twilight: New Moon was shoot. So, it is worth recognizing film locations during the walk.
The Montepulciano center is built on top of a hill, about 600 meters above sea level. When you enter the cobblestone alleys of the old town, you can feel as if you have stepped back in time.
Strolling in main streets, it is worth paying attention to the palaces and tenement houses from the 15th and 16th centuries. In small shops, you can buy fresh local products, including cold cuts, cheese, truffles, olive oil, and, above all, wine.
The capital of Puglia, one of Italy’s up and coming regions to visit, Bari is an easy and budget friendly getaway from many cities in Europe. You can fly straight into Bari and head straight to its bustling port famous for some of the best seafood restaurants in the country. Thanks to its position on the Adriatic Sea, Bari has an abundance of fresh seafood and you can also visit some of Italy’s best beaches. Polignano a Mare, famous for its Cala Porto beach with dramatic limestone cliffs overlooking impossibly azure blue waters, is just a 30 minute drive away.
For a culture fix, head to Castelo Normanno-Svevo. This imposing 12th century Norman fort is home to several art and archaeological exhibits. Bari is home to many interesting archeological finds and you can view some of the best at the San Sabino cathedral museum. Or visit the Basilica San Nicola where Saint Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, is said to be buried. Afterwards, take a stroll through the old town and historic Murat and simply soak up the atmosphere of the city.
In the evenings take a stroll along Bari’s romantic lungomare or seaside promenade or if you like to party then you have the pick of the city’s renowned nightclubs and bars. Don’t stay up too late though. One of the best things to do in Bari is watch the fishermen bring in their catch at the pretty Porto Vecchia in the mornings.
Explored by Katy Clarke from Untold Italy
Matera is a hidden gem located in southern Italy, known for its fascinating architecture and ancient Sassi cave dwellings you can call home for the weekend. In 2019 it was named the European Capital of Culture by the EU and is recognized as the third-oldest continually lived in city in the world.
Best budget friendly things to do in Matera
- Explore and get lost in the tiny medieval stone streets throughout the old city.
- Stay in an authentic cave dwelling in the Sassi di Matera through Airbnb.
- Grocery shop like the locals do and buy fresh ingredients to make a romantic Italian dinner back at your accommodation
- Hike to the Palaeolithic caves across the La Gravina ravine and enjoy the panoramic view of Sassi di Matera.
- Enjoy cocktails and people watch outside of Monkey Drink House
How to get to Matera
The easiest way to get to Matera is by flying to the Bari International Airport. From there you can either take a 1.5 hour bus to Matera (€6 one way) or rent a car, which is a 45 minute drive.
Suggested by Cecily from Groovy Mashed Potatoes
Sorrento is one of the best weekend getaways in Italy. It has charm, it has style and it has wonderful landscapes!
How to get to Sorrento
It is likely, that you will enter Italy in Naples when you plan to visit Sorrento. Hereby it does not matter if you come by plane or with train.
If you come by plane, you should take a bus to get to Naples railway station. Exit the arrival terminal and look for a bus with the Alibus logo; the ride from the airport to the central station costs 5€.
Once you get to the Naples railway station, you should take the train to Sorrento. For a one-way ticket you’ll have to pay around 5 euros and in less than an hour you will reach the magnificent city of Sorrento!
Where to stay in Sorrento
Eating in Sorrento
Speaking about food, I want you to know that eating outside at a restaurant might be pretty expensive, especially if you go to the touristy area of the city. Depending on the restaurant, a meal might cost you more than 20 € per person.
If you travel on a tight budget, you should consider buying food at the supermarket and cooking it yourself. Your budget will be very happy if you choose to do so!
Things to do in Sorrento
The great news about Sorrento is that it is extremely beautiful and you don’t have to pay money to enjoy its amazing landscape!
There are many beautiful and interesting things which you can do for little or no money. Let me give you some ideas:
- Chiesa di San Francesco – one of the most beautiful churches of the area and the place where many British and local couples get married
- Baths of Regina Giovanna one of the most dramatic pools of the area
- Hike in the Sorrento area if you are looking for a different experience and memorable landscapes
- Put on your swimming suit and hit the beach for a relaxing day at the sea
- Visit Sorrento Market and buy fresh fruits and vegetables
It might look expensive at first sight but with careful planning, you can visit Sorrento in Italy on a budget! You will have a really great time there and if you follow the suggestions above, you’ll also have enough money to explore other beautiful cities in Italy. Here are the best cities in Italy to visit during your holiday. They are amazing and unique!
Suggested by World Wide Travel Tips
As one of the best Italian cities on the coast, Cagliari is the perfect holiday destination for those looking for amazing beaches, perfect sun, good food, and friendly people! The town of Cagliari is the capital city of Sardinia, a beautiful island located on the Mediterranean Sea.
And even if Cagliari is one of the best cruise ports in the Mediterranean, the place is not as touristy as Rome or Milan. But hey, this is a very good thing because it is less expensive than the big attractions of Italy. A weekend getaway to Cagliari is the best opportunity to get in touch with local cuisine and to admire the beauty of the place!
Visiting a foreign country might seem very complicated in our days – especially if you have a very tight budget. But you don’t have to worry! I will give you some tips on how to enjoy the beauty of the place without spending a lot of money!
Where to stay in Cagliari
A very important element which influences your budget is the price of accommodation. It might vary from a few dozens of dollars per night to a few hundred. And if we are speaking about a few nights, the price difference is vast.
So, if you are looking for a budget getaway in Cagliari Italy it is best to go with hotels and AirBnBs which are not located right next to the sea or in the centre of the city. These are usually more expensive. As always you pay more for the same facilities just because the location is better!
Getting around in Cagliari
Another great way to spare some money is to use public transport and not rent a car or take the taxi. Public transport is really affordable and reliable! It is true that you have to stick to a schedule, but I don’t see this as a major problem. After all you are on holiday. You don’t have to hurry!
Eating in Cagliari
And there is also the food! I would say that after accommodation, food is the second factor which might have a serious impact over your budget!
The best way to spare some money is to go to the supermarket and buy food to cook it on your own. For as little as 10 USD you can buy enough ingredients for at least 2 meals when you visit Cagliari Italy.
Things to do in Cagliari
There are a lot of things you can do in Cagliari including visiting the Bastion Saint Remy, the13th century Roman Cathedral or the medieval Torre dell’Elefante. If you want to visit a museum during your weekend getaway in Italy, you can explore the collections of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale. Alternative you can relax at marvelous beaches like Calamosra Beach or Poetto.
Submitted by World Wide Travel Tips
San Marino Weekend Trip
A great getaway in Italy is the tiny micro-country of San Marino. The oldest country in the world boasts breathtaking views of the Italian countryside while being home to an impressive castle. Traveling to San Marino is a must for anyone visiting Italy. Located three hours south of Venice, or two hours away from Bologna, it’s easy to get there.
Visit Ristorante Il Beccafico for a delicious meal. Hand-tossed, fire grilled pizza with local wine overlooking the countryside? What’s not to love? If you still have time to explore, visit the National Museum, the Basilica de San Marino, or for something a bit different – the Torture Museum.
If you’re able to stay in San Marino, then I recommend staying at the Hotel Cesare. They’re located at the top of the mountain, and have a patio overlooking the hillside. Many hotels are located at the bottom of the mountain which means you’d miss out on the views.
Suggested by Pam from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Short Trips and Weekend Getaways in Italy
Did these budget-friendly weekend getaway destinations in Italy inspire you to plan a weekend away? Let me know which one you’ll explore first!