How to Explore Florence on a Budget


Are you planning a Florence trip but you do not want or cannot spend a fortune in Florence? Do not worry – Florence on a budget is quite easy.

When I visited Florence during my recent Tuscany road trip, I was ready to spend all my hard-earned money from blogging and indulge in the museums, good food, and more. I was not thinking of budgeting in Florence. However, I did end up spending almost nothing and had a blast! Florence with little money is possible!

Why did I not spend a lot of money in Florence? Well, the reason might surprise you: I did end up spending almost nothing because I traveled with my little doggy, and he was not allowed in many places. While Italy is extremely dog-friendly, Florence is not. I just could not visit most places. Given the number of tourists, I can somewhat understand. And while I was upset when it happened, it turned out that you can do many free things in Florence that are fun.

Florence skyline from Piazzele Michelangelo


Before talking about how to explore Florence on a budget, here are some quick travel tips.

Best Time to Visit Florence

If I have learned one thing, it is this: Italy is busy and crowded, and tourists cannot get enough of Italy. With an increase in tourists, so increase the prices for accommodations – drastically. So, if you visit during the shoulder season, you will do yourself a favor – and your budget, too. Come here in spring or fall to avoid the high costs of accommodation.

Where to Stay On a Budget

Of course, staying in the historical center of Florence is fun. However, since Florence is very walkable, you can also stay in Oltrarno, on the other side of the river. It just takes a few minutes to get to the historic center, but it is (much) cheaper.

Also, public transportation in the region is excellent. You can also stay in a place like Pistoia, a 30-minute train ride away, but trains run frequently, and tickets are quite cheap. It is not always the best option, but it can be if you pick good accommodations close to the train station.

Please Note: Florence charges a local city tax of 2– 5€ per person per night (it depends on the hotel category). The city tax is usually not included in your accommodation rate and needs to be paid extra at the hotel – children up to twelve years do not pay the tax.

How to Get Around Florence on a Shoestring

Sometimes, you have to spend a little fortune to discover sights and attractions in one destination. Whether it be for taxis/Uber or rental cars – but luckily, this should not be the problem in Florence.

Florence is rather small and many sights are close to each other. There are sightseeing buses and regular buses (which are not expensive btw), but you can walk to most places if you are fit and in the mood for walking.

Bike in Florence, how to get around in Florence for free

When I visited Florence, I did not use any public transportation (let alone taxis) to get from one sight to the other.

If you enjoy walking, you will not need to spend any money on transportation (pack light, so you can even walk from the train station to your hotel upon arrival). No bikes are needed in Florence!

How to Drink/Eat Cheaply

What would Italy and a trip to Florence be without the delicious food? Italy has, after all, one of the best cuisines in the world. So, let´s talk about cheap and affordable Italian food.

My guide told me that the restaurants in Oltrarno, on the other side of the river where the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens are located, are all good and are much cheaper. So, avoid the restaurants in the historic center. 

Italian food, bruschetta. Where to eat in Florence on a budget

Here are a few more ways to save money on food/drinks in Florence.

If you want a cappuccino or espresso, have it at the counter, and don’t order it at the table. Prices increase and can be twice as high if you sit down.

Also, many restaurants charge an extra fee – a “coperta,” which can be 1-3€. If you take your pizza to go, you can save that money.

Do aperativos: Several restaurants offer this kind of dinner. You buy one drink (which can be around 6-12€) and then have a buffet that comes with it. I did not try them, but my guide really recommended them – particularly at the restaurants in San Lorenzo Square, which have good offers (she mentioned the Kitch Deux as extra good).

Also, have your lunch at Via dei Neri Street (which is actually not in the Oltrarno area). You can get delicious sandwiches, the Florentine style, for 5-8€, and they will keep you full for a while. 

Picnic: Florence has some amazing squares and gardens. You could spend hours there. Buy your drinks and snacks in the supermarket, so you do not have to buy the more expensive drinks from the restaurants/cafes close by.

Free water: I just saw a few water fountains that provide fresh and clean drinking water. So, bring your water bottle and refill it here (I saw two fountains, one on my way to Michelangelo and one in the Rose Garden).

TIP: If you are looking for an itinerary, check out my Florence itinerary.


So, as mentioned, there are a lot of cheap or even free things to do in Florence.

Free Walking Tours in Florence

When in Florence, go on a free walking tour. I have done several walking tours all over the world, and I love them. And my free Florence walking tour was also amazing.

My guide in Florence gave some amazing tips, and I learned a lot about Florence – including some budget-friendly activities.

I recommend giving tips if you like the guide and tour. But it is a cheap and good alternative to paid tours. The tour I did took about 2.5 hours, and 20 people joined the tour. I ended up giving a 10€ tip as I thought it was appropriate since the group was rather big.

It always depends on how many people join the group and how part of the world I do the trip – if you are on a budget, you can give 5€-10€ per person.

Free Art in Florence

Piazza della Signoria and Loggia dei Lanza (Loggia della Signoria) are outdoor galleries showcasing Renaissance sculptures, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, and Giambologna. These are museum-quality pieces accessible for free.

Okay, seeing the original statue of Michelangelo is probably a one-of-a-kind experience. However, if you don’t visit the Accademia Gallery and pay for the entry, you will find several replicas in Florence that you can see… for free!

Florence Michelangelo David Statue

Florence Piazza della Signoria in one of the best places to go

And if you visit the Piazza Della Signoria, you will be impressed by the statues you see displayed all around the piazza. It is amazing what you can see! Since you will not have the explanations for each statue as you might have in museums, make sure to do prior research or keep your phone/info leaflets at the ready.

Statue in Florence_

Leonardo da Vinci Statue in Florence for free to visit

Free Churches in Florence

You can visit several of the stunning churches in Florence for free, and some come without the lines. Many of Florence’s churches, such as Santo Spirito, Orsanmichele, San Miniato al Monte, Basilica of Santa Trinita, Buonomini di San Martino, Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti, and Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, are free to enter.

These churches are not only places of worship but also house incredible art and architecture, including works by Michelangelo and Ghirlandaio.

Free churches and attractions in Florence to visit

There is the impressive Duomo at Piazza Del Duomo – you only pay if you want to climb the Duomo for a view (or visit the baptistery and/or the museum).

Florence on a budget tips, Arzo Travels

If you want to visit the Cathedral, Dome, Baptistery, Bell Tower, Crypt, or Museum, you can buy a ticket that costs 18€ and visit all of these attractions for one price. If you want to skip the lines for the – otherwise – free Duomo, you can check out tickets here.

  • The tickets are not “skip-the-lines,” though, and the museum is closed on the first Tuesday of each month.

Free Museums in Florence

On the first Sunday of each month, all state museums are free in Florence. This includes the popular Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Garden, and the Accademia.

  • Lines are long, so you are better off booking your trip to Florence off-season. 

Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is a medieval bridge that bursts with life – an attraction that is busy and interesting… and doesn’t cost a cent.

Florence Vecchio Bridge close-up_

Outdoor Markets in Florence

If you have visited other parts of Italy, you know how popular local markets are. Outdoor markets are a part of Italian life and culture, where locals buy fresh fruits, cheese, charming antiques, homemade soap, and practical housewares.

I stay away from markets because they are busy and crowded, but that is probably just me. Most other people love strolling the vibrant and busy markets, so it could be a fun past time that does not cost anything.

Check out the markets behind the Basilica of San Lorenzo – and don’t forget to haggle so it will be a budget-friendly activity in Florence.

Piazzale Michelangelo 

One of the best places to visit for (free) in Florence is the Piazzale Michelangelo.  

Piazzale Michelangelo is a famous square known for its breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi and built in 1869 during a major urban renewal project, the square is situated on a hill just south of the Arno River.

It offers one of the best vantage points for taking in the beauty of Florence, including landmarks like the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, and the Ponte Vecchio. 

Florence view from Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best things to see

The centerpiece of Piazzale Michelangelo is a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David, paying homage to the artist who left a significant mark on the city. The piazza is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, providing a picturesque setting, especially during sunrise or sunset.

Besides its stunning views, Piazzale Michelangelo is also a cultural spot, hosting concerts and events throughout the year. So, you can enjoy a wonderful few hours, listening to live street music (if you are lucky) and get a drink from a nearby restaurant for very little money. 

Though the square is on a hill, you can reach it on foot (about 10-15 minutes) and do not need to pay for a taxi/funicular, etc.

Garden in Florence / Rose Garden

Florence is home to beautiful gardens like Bardini Garden, Iris Garden, Giardino dell’Orticultura, and Parco Della Cascine. These gardens offer stunning floral displays and panoramic views of the city. Bardini Garden, for example, is especially beautiful and less crowded, offering a serene experience.

You probably cannot compare the Boboli Garden to the Rose Garden, but it is a beautiful garden that is free and lies below the Piazzale Michelangelo. So, with many flowers and plants – plus the views – it is a nice and free alternative to visit.

Rose Garden in Florence- things you can do in Florence on a budget

Florence Rose Garden with a view

San Miniato al Monte and its cemetery

If you make it to Piazzale Michelangelo, you will see a church in the background, which offers great views, too. Take a few extra steps and visit the San Miniato al Monte and its cemetery. San Miniato al Monte is your chance to see a working monastery, and behind it is a cemetery surrounding the entire church.

Budget travel tips for Florence, where to go and what to see on the cheap in Florence


As you can see, you can spend a few wonderful days in Florence on a budget – so, whether you were looking for free things to do or general budget tips, I hope this post has helped you plan your trip better (for general Italy travel tips click here).

Florence is amazing – I fell head over heels in love with Florence. It is such a stunning city – and the fact that you can discover Florence on a budget and have an amazing time makes this place even more special.

If you are looking for day trips from Florence, check out my guide on Florence’s best tours.

Safe Travels, Arzo

Pin It on Pinterest