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Where in Italy to do a good, cheap walking/hiking trip?

Good value for food and accommodations would be ideal. We want to do this as a pretty much full on very scenic walking / hiking trip, going through nice terrain, hills, exotic villages, and towns for the duration. Not terribly touristy, but student budget accommodations would be a must. Since it will be the winter, going south would be a major plus too, as would cheap transport from Rome.
13 years ago, November 1st 2009 No: 1 Msg: #91640  
N Posts: 1
My friend and I are landing in Rome at the end of December, staying in Italy for 12 days - probably leaving Rome right when we arrive. First and foremost, we want this to be a tight budget trip, with a lot of value for money and some hostel availability, and we do not plan to be visiting any museums, churches, etc. Good value for food and accommodations would be ideal. We want to do this as a pretty much full on very scenic walking / hiking trip, going through nice terrain, hills, exotic villages, and towns for the duration. Not terribly touristy, but student budget accommodations would be a must. Since it will be the winter, going south would be a major plus too, as would cheap transport from Rome.

So basically, cheap, warm, exotic, and adventurous. I do realize that it will be winter there, and not exactly \"warm\"... but I mean it in a relative sense 😊

Right now, we\'re looking at the Amalfi coast area. It seems to have what we\'re looking for. But I would love to hear everyone else\'s opinions, and suggestions for other regions/towns/cities!

Thanks for the replies!! Reply to this

13 years ago, November 6th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #92340  
B Posts: 277
Hello Phil, sorry to say this but I think you are asking for the impossible. If you are on a really tight budget you shouldn't go to Italy, it is not a cheap country. In addition you are going to Italy over New Year, which in itself means that prices will be high as this is holiday season. Good value in Italy is probably hard to come by in the area you mention (Amalfi coast) and the time of year doesn't help. Be aware that winter time may mean VERY bad weather, flooding, landslides etc. But you may be lucky of course, and have sunny days also but I wouldn't count on it. Therefore I don't think you should plan for a hiking trip, but rather for visiting churches, archaelogical sites and museums which will be weather independent and leave time for hiking if the weather is nice one day. Maybe your best bet is to spend time in Rome, there are many parks which are free, and walking in the city is a nice experience and doesn't cost anyting. Think the churches are free to visit, but I am not sure, it is some time since I did it. Pompeii is definitely worth the trip and there is plenty of walking at the site. Villa Adriana outside Rome and Tivoli are nice places to visit, for half a day and easy to get to by public transport. Whether it is within your budget I can't judge. If you are going south of Napoli don't take the Circumvesuviana train, because you will see nothing as it runs mostly in tunnels. Choose a bus instead. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Enjoy your trip Italy is wonderful. Reply to this

13 years ago, November 7th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #92561  
Hey Phil ,Greek Gal knows what she is talking about! Italy is not a budget country. That being said it many parts of it are stunningly beautiful. The Ligurian coast is where the Cingue Terre is located. Five small villages connected by a walking trail that sit perched on the cliffs overlooking the Ligurian sea. Breath taking (truly in spots the trail is rather steep) Good Luck. Reply to this

13 years ago, November 11th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #93106  
Hi Phil,
With an enduring love for Italy I clicked on this forum thinking it might give me fodder for my next vacation there but found the responses you'd gotten so far quite discouraging, so I thought I'd add my two cents to give you some hope and some potentially helpful information! Going over New Year's you will want to give some consideration to where you will be on the busiest holiday days and book accommodation ahead of time; and true, Italy is not Indonesia in terms of prices. But I doubt you expected it to be so and being on a student budget definitely does not preclude vacationing in Europe! In fact, in my experience (always traveling on a 'student' budget whether I have been a student or not!) Italy is one of the cheaper countries in western Europe to travel. And it's all relative to what you are used to paying and your expectations....living in Canada at the moment, I was shocked at the price of food here, so I think you will be pleasantly surprised in that aspect, plus the Canadian dollar is rather strong at the moment!

I'm not really sure what all the talk about horrible weather is about; I lived in Italy over winter and never had exceptionally bad weather or long stretches of it, though you will definitely want to take warm clothes and possibly pack an umbrella if you are planning on being outdoors, rain or shine! (Also lots of old Italian buildings aren't heated to the same degree you may be used to; I was always freezing in my apartment, so take layers so you will be comfortable no matter what the heating is like!) If you want to go to the Amalfi Coast, I know I stayed in a hostel in Atrani a number of years back, very basic, but student cheap ;-) You could also take in Naples for some excellent food and do a daytrip by ferry to Capri or Ischia, and Pompeii is quite fascinating too, if you don't want to spend all the time around Amalfi and Sorrento.

Other ideas would be to go to Puglia (Apulia), the 'heel' of the boot, which is going pretty far south, so you get the maximum of non-Canadian winter weather ;-) There are night trains to both Brindisi and Bari, which would help you guys save on a night's accommodation each way from/to Rome and there are a number of interesting places in Puglia, like Otranto, Ostuni, Gallipoli, Lecce, and the funky trulli houses of Alberobello (http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/alberobello.html). I assume you have or will have a guidebook to look into things more and find potential hostels? If you're just going a couple of weeks you could also check some budget guides out like Lonely Planet or Let's Go Italy from the library and save yourself a bit of dough on the guidebook too!

Or you could hit a bit of the Amalfi Coast and continue down the west side of the peninsula to Calabria with more great seaside towns and spicy food! If you really wanted you could even get down to Sicily, which is an interesting experience and great food, can hike around Taormina and climb the volcano Etna. You can get down by train and once again try a night train to save on some accommodation on the way down.

Another great spot is the region of Le Marche. This is northeast of Rome, not south, but I personally think it's a fabulous spot....the landscape is just like Tuscany -- which is probably the best known area for biking and walking tours -- but without all the tourists (and corresponding high prices) and with better beaches! The city of Urbino is great for poking around, as well as seaside towns like Fermo and San Benedetto del Tronto.

The Cinque Terre are beautiful and lend themselves nicely to hiking between towns but I'm not sure if the weather is the best for it that time of year and when I was there anyway there was only a hostel in one of the 5 towns.

Looking for cheap accommodations make sure to compare what you find in guidebooks with what you can find on hostel booking sites online like www.hostels.com and look for the hostel's real webpage to book before you book online if you are so inclined, as often there are price discrepancies between the booking site prices and the direct website prices. It really varies from place to place how you get it cheapest but the more you shop around the better deal you will get!

Another tip for you to stay on a student budget is to pay attention to the meal options. Breakfasts are small, usually cappuccino and cornetto or in Naples the lovely sfogliatelle (you must try if you go!) but it's cheap and a nice cultural experience in a local cafe. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day and is probably cheaper to go out to eat for lunch than dinner if you are limiting yourself to eating out to one meal a day. Look for a tavola calda and trattoria for cheaper options than a 'restaurante' (usually) and keep in mind that many hostels have kitchens for you to cook in and that just going to a supermarket or local deli or pastry shop can be exquisitely rewarding in a culinary sense, so you don't have to just eat out to enjoy the delicious cheeses, smoked meats, sausages, antipasti, baked goods, olives, and wines of Italy! And don't forget the gelato ;-)

If you have any questions, feel free to mail me.

Buon viaggio! Reply to this

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