Nice, Less Crowded and Cheaper Alternative to Venice – Padova
Italy is expensive and it is usually difficult to find good hotels at reasonable prices. There are however some exceptions if you just get your focus out of the main cities and start looking at towns bordering the big/main cities. Below are my few tips for traveling in Italy including accommodation alternative to Venice hotels.
For those intending to visit Venice, I would recommend to consider Padova as a base town and do day trips to Venice. First of all, it helps to avoid considerably high hotel rates in Venice and give a chance to relax a little bit in a more laid back Italian town after a heavy day of sight seeing in Venice. I stayed in a Padova hotel named Belludi 37 for four nights and I just loved it as the hotel had a very nice interior decoration, modern feeling and was close to most of Padova attractions. I paid 67 Euros for my room and it is a great deal for a hotel of that quality in Italy. Since there is no difference between a single occupancy and double occupancy in terms of the room prices in almost anywhere in Europe, this comes down to a even greater deal if you travel with someone else. I was offered a free room upgrade upon my arrival as there was a superior room available during my dates. There was also very nice breakfast at the hotel for 7 Euros a day offered in a very cozy breakfast room. If I did not take the hotel breakfast, my coffee consummation alone would be well above 7 Euros in Italy. I was even presented with a gift during check out so that I could also have the coffee I had every morning in Belludi 37 back at home. The amount of my coffee consumption may have caught their attention.
Long distance trains are quite pleasant in Italy but expensive as well. It is important to purchase the ticket well in advance to benefit from good online deals – otherwise nearly any train journey taking more than 2,5 hours will cost you around 75 Euros per leg for a second class seat. If you can catch a promotion, you will be able to get the same ticket for 44 Euros. Trenitalia has a very good English site and it is very easy to purchase your ticket there. You don`t even have to print your ticket in most cases and just showing the email on your phone or tablet will be sufficient. There is always the option of going with the Interrail or Eurorail pass but one should keep in mind that most high speed trains will require reservation, which is subject to an additional reservation fee even if you are a pass holder. According to the Interrail website, the reservation fee is currently set as 10 Euros per leg for Italian trains. For comparative purposes, I have recently used an Interrail pass in Portugal and the reservation fee was 5 Euros. As for the intra-regional trains, those are not too nice to travel in but who am I to complain coming from Turkey, which still has a long way to come near to any European country in relation to the quality of train travel. I have also considered taking an overnight train in Italy from Rome to Venice during my last visit to avoid the hotel cost but the reviews were not comforting enough in terms of the safety of overnight trains in Italy for a single women traveler. I have taken various overnight train journeys in Scandinavia and also in France but decided to avoid it in Italy at the expense of an extra night at a hotel. I was maybe being too cautious but I will never know. If you took one as a single women traveler, I would be interested to know how it went.
Wifi was available in all of the high speed trains that I took in Italy. You only had to subscribe for it and pay 0,01 Euro just for the journey. It was stated that this was a promotion as the service has just started but my visit was long after the announced deadline of the promotion and uninterrupted wifi service was still available at this symbolic fee.
Although it is the most common one, Trenitalia is not your only option for train travel in Italy. There are some private operators as well. I have not taken those alternative trains but I have seen them while waiting for my train and they looked at least nice as Trenitalia high speed trains. This site will give you more info on those other train operators that you can consider for your train journeys within Italy.
I am sure any single person reading this website has allot more to say about Italian food than me. So I will skip commenting on the food in Italy unless you would be interested in hearing about how an Italian apple tastes like. If you are on a budget, you will still do fine with pizza or pasta but if you want to avoid the carbs and get a meat/chicken/fish dish, you will probably pay at least 20 Euros per meal.