For romance in northern Italy, look no further than Verona. A stunning city with a reputation for art, opera and love; Verona is a jewel. We visited very briefly during a manic north Italy tour in 2010, but it remains one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to and given the chance, I wouldn’t hesitate to return.
In 2010 we were both VERY new to European travel and this trip was a massive learning curve. Looking back, some of our decisions seem strange and unnecessary now, and so although we have learned a lot since then, here’s our method at the time on a very small budget.
We actually flew into Parma due to cheap flights and hired a car from Hertz at the airport for our whole 10 day trip. Flights from London to Parma with Ryan Air were €56 each return, and the car hire cost us €238 including insurance, between three people. Because we hired a car I’m going to cost our transport as €11 per day per person including petrol.
Verona has an international airport connecting to many European destinations, including London Gatwick, and Ryan Air fly from Gatwick to Verona for as little as €27. At the time of our travel these flights weren’t available, so we ended up landing in Parma.
Verona is also well connected by train, so it’s easy to find domestic and international routes to the city, enhanced also because of the close proximity of Milan.
Hint – For longer trips where you are renting a car, consider buying a GPS or installing a good GPS app. Rental companies charge €13-€20 per day for a GPS, which would have been €130-€200 for our Italy trip alone. I paid €120 for a brand new TomTom (2010 remember) and it has saved me hundreds of euros over multiple trips.
We booked an apartment through Trip Advisor called B&B Abazia. It was strange but comfortable and had beautiful windows overlooking a florists, right next to the Adige River. There’s no hope of remembering what we paid, but the same apartment is available for around €53 a night at the moment so let’s go with that.
Our apartment was on Via S. Paolo, very close to the river and the central tourist area, which suited us as we didn’t have much time to explore. Central Verona isn’t huge, so anywhere within a mile of the Arena De Verona would be ideal.
There are Hostels in Verona, but after a cursory search I can’t recommend staying in any of them due to bad reviews and bed bugs. I also can’t find any prices due to awful websites. Go figure.
I would do a search on Airbnb and go from there. Currently you can get a private double room from around €45, and a whole apartment from around €65 per night on average.
Hotels are plentiful but can be quite expensive. For a double room close to the city centre expect to pay around €100 per night on average, but anything over €50 per night should get you something decent.
The Main area where you will spend most of your time is the centre city on the peninsula bordered by the river, with a few attractions outside of here but close by.
The Verona Arena is a fantastic Roman Amphitheatre built in the 1st century and still used today. Entrance only (not a show) is very cheap, around €3.50 and I seriously recommend you take an hour to check it out.
Verona is a UNESCO heritage site and with good reason. Much of the original city is still intact and can be seen often a few feet below street level just while walking around seeing sights and visiting shops. Chock-full of gorgeous architecture and bridges, you can easily spend a few hours just wandering the cobbled streets until you come across Juliet’s balcony. It was free when we were there but apparently now it’s €3 entry which might help thin the crowds that line the streets, composing love notes to stick to the wall outside. Saunter over to the bronze statue of Juliet underneath the balcony and rub her right breast for good luck with love. Which is actually quite weird come to think of it.
The stand out moment in Verona for all of us was dining at Ristoranté Redentoré to the incredible sound of a symphony being performed in the nearby Teatro Romano Di Verona, an ancient Roman Theatre set in lights on the hill. We splashed out on our first night in Italy and spent around €80 between three of us, which was well worth it.
Verona for one night:
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