Average costs in Florence
Stay – Because Florence is such a busy city, prices for hotels and youth hostels can increase rapidly. For a youth hostel you pay between €20 and €30 per night, but book in advance. Because the cheaper hostels are quickly sold-out! A budget room can already be booked at €30 to €40 per night, but then you should definitely arrange your stay a few months in advance. Otherwise, prices will quickly rise to about €60 per night.
The prices of a single star hotel are very different. You’ll pay a minimum of €50, but prices quickly increase to €100 per night. Two stars start from +/- €60 per night and three stars have a basic price between €60 and €70.
Do you want something a bit more luxurious? For a four or five star hotel you spend around €250 to €500 per night.
Eat – A simple sandwich with tasty Italian ham or cheese costs between €5 and €10.
Are you going out for dinner? For a starter you should expect to pay between €8 and €15. A main course starts around €18 and a delicious dessert will cost you €7 to €15.
A nice bottle of Italian wine usually costs between €20 and €30. Don’t forget the ‘coperto’ either! A sort of mandatory tip that they charge everywhere. This is between €2 and €5 extra per person.
Transport – Florence is a fairly large city, but if you plan well, all the sights are close together and you can easily walk from one to the other. If you still want to take public transport, you need to pay €1.20 if you buy it in advance and €2 if you buy it on the bus. A 24 hour ticket costs €5, a pass for three days costs €12 and a ticket for 7 days costs you €18.
To get from the airport to your hotel you can book a shuttle bus from € 9 per person.
Excursions – Firenze or Florence has hundreds of museums that are worth a visit! Think of the phenomenal Galleria degli Uffizi or the breathtaking Galleria dell’Accademia. For €16 you can already buy a skip-the-line ticket (and believe me … It’s necessary!) for the Uffizi, and the same price also applies to the Galleria dell’Accademia. Be sure to climb the dome of the Duomo. If you can’t reserve tickets anymore (they are often sold out days in advance), you can get a tour for €35. If you are planning to visit many things in Florence, then I recommend buying the Firenze Card. For € 72 you can visit many museums, 72 hours long. Be sure to read this article if you want to know what you can not skip in Firenze.
Saving money in Florence
Avoid public transport – Public transport isn’t very expensive in Florence, but you really don’t need it… Most of the sights are very close together and can easily be reached on foot. The only place that requires some effort is the Piazzale Michelangelo and the surrounding sights (Giardini di Boboli, for example), but all the other museums and activities are very central to the city.
Buy a Firenze Card – Chances are you’ll want to visit a lot in Florence. If you’re there for three days or more, I recommend buying a Firenze Card. With this card you can visit 72 places for 72 hours for €72. It looks like a lot of money at first, but remember that the entrance fee is much more expensive if you visit all museums separately. When you visit the Uffizi and the Accademia Gallery you’re already at half of that amount… Moreover, you also get some extra benefits with this card.
Book in advance – Firenze is a very popular holiday destination. Hotels and flights are sold out quickly and therefore only the more expensive options remain. Plan your trip a little in advance and you can easily save hundreds of euros. Try to arrange entrance tickets and excursions in advance. These prices don’t change, but they do get sold out quickly… And it would be a shame to miss out on some things when you’re in this beautiful city!
Don’t eat out in the tourist areas – Avoid tourist squares and streets. Here, the food is often of a lesser quality, and you also pay a lot more. Don’t forget that there is always a ‘coperto’ on top of the normal fees. A small amount that is charged extra per person. Usually this is between €2 to €4.
Drink your coffee while standing – Are you a fan of coffee? Then you won’t complain in Italy! The tastiest espresso’s can be found everywhere in Florence, but did you know that it’s cheaper to drink your coffee while standing up? Instead of sitting down, you better stay at the bar. It usually saves €1 per coffee! And if you drink a lot of coffees… It will soon be a lot of euros!
Things to do in Florence
Be sure to read the article about all the sights in Florence as well.
The Uffizi – One of the most impressive museums I ever saw! In this art museum you’ll see paintings, sculptures, frescoes and just about anything you can think of. Many of these works come from the world’s greatest and most famous artists, so you can be sure that you have been impressed by this museum! Try to get a skip-the-line ticket, because the queues are sometimes very long…
Galleria dell’Accademia – The second most visited museum in Florence is the Galleria dell’Accademia, and there is really only one reason for that. This is the location of the David. One of the most famous works by Michelangelo. This museum is actually quite small, but you can also find a nice art collection. You mainly see sculptures, but a lot of attention is also paid to religious paintings.
The Cathedral of Florence – The cathedral of Florence consists of three parts. The cathedral itself with the impressive dome, the bell tower and the baptistry. All three of these components are very impressive. The exterior is phenomenally beautiful, but the inside of everything is at least as beautiful. Be sure to explore the dome as well, but don’t forget to reserve your tickets a few days in advance, otherwise you won’t be able to.
Palazzo Vecchio – It seems like Florence has only beautiful buildings! The Palazzo Vecchio doesn’t look very nice from the outside -in my opinion!- but the inside is just … WOW! All rooms are richly decorated with masterpieces, gold leaf and detailed carving. From the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio you also get a phenomenal panorama of Florence. You certainly shouldn’t skip this!
Ponte Vecchio – This old bridge still looks like it did many centuries ago. The charming building is now the place where you’ll find all the jewelers of Florence, but once you only found butchers here. Because there’s a secret corridor over the Ponte Vecchio where the wealthy Medici family walked, they demanded that all butchers (with their smelly offal) went elsewhere… This is truly one of the most beautiful things to do in Florence.
Boboli Gardens – Would you like to combine art with nature? Then go to the Boboli gardens! This large park is filled with nice smelling flowers and a lot of green, but you’ll also find some beautiful sculptures. From the top you get a very nice view over Florence.
Piazzale Michelangelo – For the best view of Florence you have to go to the Piazzale Michelangelo. It’s a tough climb, but the view from here is phenomenally beautiful. If you want to experience a beautiful sunset, you should definitely come here. It can get very busy, so come on time if you want a good spot!
Mercato centrale – Anyone that likes food and local markets should certainly not skip the Mercato Centrale. This covered market takes place every day and is a dream for all of your senses! Here you can also eat very tasty and cheap. On the second floor you even find a full floor with tens of restaurants! On the first floor you can find bakeries, butchers but also other nice gadgets are offered here.
Palazzo Medici Riccardi – If you can’t get enough of majestic palaces with lavishly decorated interiors, then you should also visit Palazzo Medici Riccardi. Long ago the influential Medici family lived here, and with their immeasurable wealth, they ensure that this building was also beautifully decorated. For me there were two highlights in this building: the room with the painted world maps and the golden room.
Basilica di Santa Croce – There are many beautiful churches, cathedrals and basilicas in Florence, but the Basilica di Santa Croce is really one of the most beautiful. This church appealed to me from the outside, but it’s even more beautiful inside. In the church itself you can find beautiful stained-glass windows and a beautiful courtyard.
What to avoid in Florence
Too many plans in too little time – There are more than a hundred museums in Florence. Visiting them all would be impossible, but even if you only visit a handful you’ll need a lot of time. In the two most famous museums, Gallerdia dell’Accademia and the Uffizi, you’ll need a few hours at least. There’s so much to see that deserves your attention, so don’t go too fast and enjoy!
Not planning anything in advance – Whether it concerns accommodations, flights or excursions: try to book everything a bit in advance. Hotels and flights are much cheaper if you book them at least a few weeks in advance. Excursions don’t matter much in price, but they do get sold out in no time… I have repeated this several times in this guide, but if you want to visit the dome of the Duomo you have to reserve it in advance, otherwise you’ll never get up there and in my opinion it’s one of the best things to do in Florence.
Wasting time with waiting in line – Firenze is extremely popular. As a result, the queues for many sights, museums and activities are often very long. Instead of waiting, you can often plan a visit at a fixed time, or buy a skip-the-line ticket for a small additional charge. Such a ticket doesn’t cost much more and is well worth the price! Buy your ticket online and save time.
No clothes that cover – You’ll undoubtedly visit some churches or religious places in Florence. They aren’t as strict as in Rome, but they still ask you to cover your knees and shoulders. Always take an extra piece of clothing with you when you explore this magical city.
Not wearing comfortable shoes – Fashionista’s pay attention: wearing high heels in Florence is a bad idea! The roads are filled with cobblestones, but also the great distances you travel on foot are much more pleasant with flat shoes. Wear comfortable footwear for a comfortable city trip.
Excursions to Florence