Northern Italy on a Budget

The end of July this year saw my lovely boyfriend and I head out to Northern Italy. It was a trip we only planned two weeks before leaving, as we hadn’t found the right place and wanted our holiday to be outside the school’s summer holidays, to keep the cost down.

We found a lovely hotel package through Thomson, and stayed in the large resort of Lido di Jesolo, which is around an hour’s travel outside of Venice. The town is much larger than it seems on a map, and cycling from one end of the resort to the other would take around 3 hours. The main strip has plenty of restaurants, bars, shops and gelaterias.

We stayed at a lovely 4 storey hotel called Hotel Milton, which is set only a 2 minute walk from the beach, and has an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, gym area and a lovely list of cocktails.  We were very lucky with the weather, and temperatures were in the low thirties the whole week, which meant plenty of factor 50 for me, and time sat in thimg_20160715_201144.jpge shade. The staff at the hotel speak English, and are extremely helpful. It was a great base for us, and the room was kept clean and tidy every day which made coming back to rest after a long day of exploring bliss.

By booking through Thomson, we benefited from the excursions they arrange for holiday makers. On our trip, we had the option to visit either Venice, Verona & Lake Garda, try wine tasting at Treviso or head out to the mountains and explore the Dolomites and Cortina. Each trip was between €50-60 pp, and because we were only there for a week, we decided to book two trips, Venice and Cortina & the Dolomites. There are pros and cons to going on pre-arranged excursions like this; you can relax and let the guide take control knowing everything has been taken care of for you, you learn a lot from your guide who will be someone who knows the area, and you will probably be saving yourself some money. On the other hand, you are with a group of around 40 people each day, and are pretty much limited to going where the guide takes you. You do, of course, get time to go off and explore on your own, but this is only for about an hour or so, deepening on which trip you take, and no matter where you go, you’ll need more time than that to really get a feel for the place.

The first trip was Venice. We left at 13:30 and travel via coach and water taxi to arrive about an hour later. This was quick and easy, and the views from the water taxi as we pulled into Venice were amazing. Our guide took us into the Basilica of San Marco, telling us about the history of the islands and pointing out the amazing architecture all around. We the had the opportunity to book a gondola or water taxi which would take us along the Grande Canal. This was €18 pp, per trip, and we decided to go for the gondola tour. Well, you can’t really go all the way to Venice and not go on a gondola!

We were told the gondola tour would be about 30 mins, but it was really about 20. We were taken with 2 other couples on the trip. So, it’s cheaper to book the gondola through your guide, but you don’t get it to yourself, and share with four others. If you wanted one alone, you’d have to book the rest of the seats, which overall would be around €20 each. The tour is amazing, but the gondola driver’s all shout across to each other, laughing and joking, which makes it really unromantic, and no, ours didn’t sing – much to my boyfriends disappointment.

After this, we were given some time alone. We could pay €14 for a three course meal near the Grande Canal, or go off alone. We decided to do both, and went off to find a cute coffee shop where we had a quick coffee and admired the scenery, then we went back to have our meal which was lovely.

As the evening closed in, we sat outside a lovely café, enjoying a latte, listening to the live orchestra playing, then headed back to the water taxi to go back to the hotel. We arrived back at 11pm. This is a long, tiring trip which cost us €60pp, and around €36 to our preset meal and gondola trip.

We took the next day off, and stayed in Lido di Jesolo to get our energy back before the next trip out. We walked over to the Tropicaruim, and found a Serial Killer exhibition (not something for everyone, but we love that kind of thing). To do both was €30 pp, not cheap at all, and we didn’t really see very much, but the experience was good and it was something we knew we wanted to do.

Our trip to the Dolomites and Cortina was the next day, and we had an early start at 7:30am. The coach journey out to the mountains takes around three hours, however we had the most amazing coffee stop on the way there. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was a spectacular view and I’d love to go there again just to explore that area.

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Cortina itself was also a magical town. It’s little shops have handmade goods including Christmas ornaments, fabric and lace, paintings and other home decorations. On this trip, the extra was a cable car up to the top of one of the mountains, which was €18.50pp, and I would not recommend to anyone who has a fear of heights, but the view form the top might just be enough to persuade you to take the risk.

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I can’t write enough about how much I adore this entire area of Italy. The scenery is like nowhere else I’ve ever been. There is also plenty of snow in the winter, and it’s a great skiing spot. Not the cheapest town, but somewhere everyone needs to discover.

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Before heading back to Jesolo, we got back on the coach and drove about half an hour north, to Misurina. This was a smaller town, with air so clean and purifying, the government built a hospital there for children with breathing difficulties. Again, the view here is spectacular,  and there is a cafe by the beautiful lake. Musician is only 20 minutes outside Austrian boarder, and so was an ideal spot for me to have some apple strudel!

We only had limited time here, just less than an hour, but again there was plenty of exploring that could have been done. It will just have to wait until next time…

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Our last day in Jesolo was a day to relax and enjoy the beach before travelling back to London, Gatwick. The sand was silky soft, almost too hot to walk on in the afternoon but perfect for an evening walk after dinner. Our hotel also had a great deal, offering 15% off the bar tab for anyone paying in cash, which was a real lifesaver when money was low at the end of our holiday.

This is most definitely a trip to remember, and a part of Italy that I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a summer holiday that’s not over-priced. I’m sad to be back, but perhaps next time I’ll make it a two week holiday…

If you have any questions about my trip, or would like to know more, please let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading.

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9 thoughts on “Northern Italy on a Budget

  1. hagocblog says:

    Hey there…… This was a really impressive post. I totally loved it. Your writing literally made me feel that I was in the place all along. Awesome pictures … 🙂 🙂 🙂 … Keep writing more and more… I only hope in future I could visit those places too. This writing makes the northern Italy more charming and enchanted!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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