Florence - Budget Travel Guide

Photo by Rudy Balasko / Getty Images - Florence, Italy 

Photo by Rudy Balasko / Getty Images - Florence, Italy 

Florence is one of the top cities to visit in Italy. This northern-Italian beauty is filled with amazing 15th century architecture, delicious food and wine from the Tuscan region, and some of the most important works of art in the world. Florence is also a great city to visit if you are a fashion-lover. 

Although Florence is considered a very expensive city to visit, there are certainly ways to do so on a budget. Here are some of my tips for enjoying Florence without breaking the bank. 

Getting To Florence

Best time to visit:

The most popular months to visit Florence are April through June, but they are also the most expensive, and most crowded. You may be tempted to go in the mid-summer months of July and August, but I don’t recommend it. Not only is it super hot and humid, but most Italians leave for vacation in August. With so many places closed, you’ll be missing out on some of the best shops and restaurants, and the Florentine vibe that is worth experiencing.

In my opinion, September and October are the best months to visit. Although there are cheaper months, like January, September and October offer beautiful early-fall weather, and decent flight prices.
 

Best ways to get there - 

From the U.S.: 

My favorite site to search for flight fares is Momondo.com, as I usually find the cheapest fares there. Ever since I discovered it, I haven’t used many other flight search engines, but that’s just a preference. In addition to having cheaper fares, I like that it gives me suggestions on how to get a lower fare.

Here’s what I found for flights from New York to Florence’s main airport (FLR):

September:

 
Momondo.com - Don't forget to use a private window!  

Momondo.com - Don't forget to use a private window!  

 

October: 

 
Momondo.com - Don't forget to use a private window! 

Momondo.com - Don't forget to use a private window! 

 

Tip! I personally fly Delta for long flights, also a personal preference because I’m a SkyMiles Member. However if you’d like to get the lowest fare, you should consider airlines like Lufthansa and Iberia.

From Italy or other European cities:

When I was in Europe, my go-to site - even before Momondo, was always GoEuro.com. What I love about GoEuro is that it compares ways of getting to your destination - by air, train, or bus - based on the price and how long each method takes. The first time I visited Florence (from Rome), I had not yet discovered GoEuro, so I ended up paying €40 ($42.50) for a train ticket. The second time however, I was able to get a FlexiBus for €13! The only downside was that the bus ride took double the time (1.5 hrs by train; 3-3.5hrs by bus), but I was fine with that because I was able to save money.

 
 

Tip! If you’re traveling to Florence from another European city, I still recommend using GoEuro, and considering budget airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir, for flights under €100.

Tip! After checking GoEuro, if you decide to travel by air, double-check on Momondo to make sure you are getting the best fare.

Where to stay

AirbnbI love Airbnb, and have never had a bad experience booking accommodation through them. The prices are great, and you get to feel like a local.

The only downside to staying at an Airbnb in Florence is that most are located outside the city, in the Tuscan countryside. I was lucky, because my Airbnb came with a bike, and was right by Parco Delle Cascine, a gorgeous (and huge) park that leads straight into the city.

Hostels - Disregard the movie Hostel! I’ve stayed at a few hostels and have always had a good experience. It’s a great way to save money, and to meet other travelers - especially if you are traveling alone.

A lot of hostels even come with breakfast included, sell alcohol for cheap, and provide you with a ton of information and deals for things to do.

I recommend searching on HostelWorld.com, Hostels.com, or even on Airbnb for good hostels.

I’ve never stayed at a hostel in Florence, but I can recommend PLUS Florence, since I stayed at PLUS Berlin, and it was one of the best hostels I’ve experienced. PLUS hostels have a chic hotel vibe, but with the benefits of a hostel.

Hotels - Still prefer a traditional hotel but don’t want to pay a crazy amount? Check out Hotels.com which offers really great hotel prices, and Lastminute.com, which can be a bit pricier, but offers 10 - 15% off on many hotels.

What to do 

Museums - With art, sculptures, and beautiful renaissance architecture, Florence itself is a museum. Being called “The cradle of the Renaissance”, Florence is filled with amazing museums and some of the most famous art pieces and sculptures in the world.

Here are the top three to check out: (Click Museum names for admission fees and details) 

Palazzo Pitti (Pitti Palace): 

  • 15th century palace with beautiful architecture

  • Some of the most important italian families have lived there

  • Seven Museums within

  • A beautiful amphitheatre and famous Boboli gardens  

 
Photo by Alfred Molon - Palazzo Pitti

Photo by Alfred Molon - Palazzo Pitti

 

Gallerie degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery): 

  • Has some of the most important art of the renaissance era
  • Houses pieces by artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Sandro Botticelli

  • Famous Vasari Corridor which leads from Uffizi to Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo vecchio

 
Famous outside Uffizi Gallery 

Famous outside Uffizi Gallery 

 

Galleria dell’Academia (Academia Gallery): 

  • Known for one of the most famous statues in the world: Michelangelo’s David

  • Includes the Museum of Musical Instruments

  • Has amazing, 13th century gothic paintings

 
Photo by julof90/ Getty Images - Michelangelo's David 

Photo by julof90/ Getty Images - Michelangelo's David 

 

Tip! For the Uffizi Gallery and Galleria dell’Academia, be sure to get your tickets online, and show up early, since these are the most popular, and the lines are long.

Tip! Check museum hours and days; most museums are closed on Mondays, as well as some national holidays.

Outdoor Attractions (Free) -

Duomo and Florence Cathedral:  Main landmark in Florence; Beautiful Renaissance church. You can also go to the top and get a great view of the city! 

 
Duomo final.png
 

Ponte Vecchio - Famous bridge built in 1345, has many shops, and leads you to the center

 
Ponte Vecchio 

Ponte Vecchio 

 

Piazzale Michelangelo - Visit for a beautiful panoramic view of Florence

 
View from Piazzale Michelangelo 

View from Piazzale Michelangelo 

 

Where To Eat 

Unfortunately, I did not visit many restaurants while in Florence, but my friend Jennifer who studied abroad there has a few suggestions for y’all!

Yellow bar: Via del Proconsolo, 39r, - Reasonably priced, Vegetarian and Vegan friendly, and you can make your own pasta.

Osteria Il Gatto E la Volpe: Via Ghibellina, 151/r - Jennifer’s, and many people’s favorite in Florence, great table wine, authentic, and affordable.

Tijuana: Via Ghibellina, 156r - Delicious Mexican in case you’re not in the mood for Italian one day (strangely, that happens).

My Suggestion: Make sure you do/attend an Aperitivo or two - they are a huge part of Italian culture. An Aperitivo, or “apericena”, is a pre-dinner social event in which you have drinks (traditionally wine or Aperol Spritz), along with a selection of appetizers (antipasti). Many places offer a buffet of appetizers, with your first drink free, for as low as €7.

They are excellent if you’re eating on a budget. I’m that person that will grab 3 - 4 plates, and call it dinner - sorry, not sorry. 

Photo by Beatrice Mancini - Aperitivo 

Photo by Beatrice Mancini - Aperitivo 

Florence is an awe-inspiring city that is definitely worth visiting on your trip to Europe. 

Did you find this guide helpful or inspiring? Let me know. Been to Florence and have some other great budget tips? Share the wealth below.