Which country is cheaper, Italy or Spain?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
Should I visit Spain or Italy? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which country has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
We'll start with a quick overview, and below we will go into all of the details.
|Museums & Attractions|
|Culture & History|
Both Italy and Spain are popular travel destinations in Western Europe and because of their popularity, each country can be expensive to visit. In general, Spain is a bit more affordable than Italy, but deals can be found in both countries.
Both Italy and Spain have a lot to offer visitors. Each country has its own culture and history, which can be explored through the many sights, attractions, and destinations. Many visitors are drawn to the Roman history of Italy, but throughout Spain you can see Arabic influences, which make it an interesting and unique country to visit in Europe. Spain is also known for it's vibrant nightlife and lively festivals that attract crowds, while Italy has world renowned museums and archaeological sites. Spain also has a very diverse landscape that lets you experience several different climates all in one country.
Spain is a gorgeous, friendly, and diverse country. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Visitors also love the food, scuba diving and snorkeling, water sports, and beaches.
From the popular coastlines to the rugged interior, Spain is full of history, natural beauty, vibrant people, amazing cities, unique cuisines, and gorgeous views. While Madrid is the capital, it's by no means the main attraction of a country full of beaches, ancient castles, and cultural diversity. Barcelona is the hub of the Catalan region with its own unique culture, and the southern areas have a deep historic relationship with Moorish culture, too. Visitors will also find epic hikes, world-class food, vineyards and wineries, epic nightlife, famous art, natural wildlife, multiple coastlines, cultural dances and music, friendly smiles, and affordable prices.
Italy is a scenic, historical, and cultural country. You'll find world class beauty here as well. Other popular activities here include museums, adventure travel, national parks, and history and culture.
Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. This is no surprise considering it offers world-famous sights and attractions, delicious food, beautiful scenery, abundant history, and gorgeous architecture.
Below we will examine the differences and similarities between Spain and Italy. With this information, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Spain or Italy.
Spain offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The major cities of Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Granada, and others all have world-class museums that cover a variety of topics from history to art to science. Many of them are also family-friendly. In Barcelona, don't miss the Picasso museum dedicated to the famous artist. Casa Batllo is one of Gaudi's famous buildings and worth a tour along with Casa Vicens, too. MNAC is a great place to learn about the local Catalan art and history. And the Joan Miro museum is dedicated to the work and life of this famous artist. In Madrid, you can find plenty of historical places such as the Royal Palace and the National Archaeology Museum. If it's art you seek, make sure to visit the Prado, the Queen Sofia Arts Center, or the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, all of which have world-class art from Spain and Europe. In Valencia, kids will love the Oceanografic aquarium and the Bioparc zoo. In Seville, the Real Alcazar has fascinating architecture. and the Flemenco museum showcases Spain's most famous dance. This is just a small sample, as you'll find even more museums in Bilbao, Malaga, Granada, and other cities around the country, too.
Barcelona: Architecture and history all contribute to the city's impressive sights and museums. Famous landmarks include the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Casa Milà, and the Palace of Catalan Music.
Cadiz: As the oldest city in Europe, there are countless historic sights and monuments to see. Some of the most interesting historic sights include Catedral Nueva, the Arcos de los Blancos, Torre Tavira, and Museo de Cádiz.
Travelers visit Italy from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. The major cities offer a unique combination of art, history, and cultural museums that are unmatched anywhere else in the world. From the famous art museums in Florence and Venice to the historical center of Rome, it's hard to find another country that offers as many museums as Italy.
Rome: The historical sights around the city are among the most impressive in the world. Almost anywhere you look you'll find a notable landmark but some of the most famous include the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, and the Roman Forum.
Florence: Because of it's important role in the Renaissance, the city has many world-renowned museums that you can visit. Famous sights and landmarks include the Uffizi Gallery, the Duomo, and the Academy Gallery.
Venice: The many historic and famous landmarks in town include St. Mark's Basilica, St. Mark's Square, Doge's Palace, and the Rialto Bridge.
Both Spain and Italy offer similar levels of history and culture when visiting.
Spain has many famous historic and cultural sights and attractions worth visiting, and is one of the main reasons why poeple come here. The blending of cultures in this region of Europe along with the accessibility of historic sights and cultural traditions make this country an obvious place to visit for history lovers. A long period of Spain's history was influenced by the Moors from the south, and you can see it in the architecture, art, cuisine, and music. Furthermore, the Catalan region in the east has it's own cultural differences. The Roman empire also left its mark, as did visitors from the rest of Europe and northern Africa. Some of the best historic places to see in Spain include the Alhambra palace and fortress in Granada, the huge cathedrals of Seville, Barcelona, and Madrid, El Escorial palace outside of Madrid, Montserrat Monastery near Barcelona, amongst others. Some of the best historical sites are actually the smaller castles and fortresses that are left from the long conflict between the Spanish and Moors that dot the countryside in the southern regions. Furthermore, Spain has made unique contributions of music, theater, and culture to the world stage. Flamenco dancing and Paso Double are just two of the musical art forms that are worth seeing on a smaller, intimate stage during a visit. And don't miss the world-class cuisine, too.
For those interested in history, art, and culture, Italy is not to be missed. It's hard to find another country as proud of its heritage, culture, and history. In Italy, all of these are mixed together as the historical architecture and cuisine are constant reminders of the rich history and artistic contributions throughout the centuries. From the ancient Roman civilization up to the Renaissance to modern times, it's all on display here in the cities and the countryside.
You'll find a similar number of big city activities in both Spain and Italy.
As Spain has many big cities, visitors will find plenty to do. Madrid and Barcelona are the two largest cities and most popular places to visit. Both have world-class museums, historical attractions, cathedrals, parks, shopping, restaurants and cafes, markets, and unique culture. Some of the other cities in Spain should not be overlooked either, as they also offer plenty of big city activities, museums, and culture. Valencia, Seville, Alicante, and Cadiz are also large and full of terrific activities.
Italy has amazing and huge cities with tons of activities and things to do. With numerous world-famous cities, this country offers a special city vibe many times over. From the bustling streets of Rome and Milan to the historic centers of Florence, Venice, and Naples, visitors will find no shortage of sights, attractions, nightlife, restaurants, and museums to explore in the big cities of Italy.
You'll find a similar number of small towns and villages to explore in both Spain and Italy.
Because Spain offers so many small towns with a variety of charming activities, it attracts plenty of visitors for a good reason. A few of the most popular small towns to visit include Ronda with its dramatic cliffs, Besalu and it's bridge and castle-like gate, Cudillero on the northern coast, and Morella with its castle. All around Spain visitors can find small towns that once contained fortified cities, fishing villages, monasteries, and more. Bunol, near Valencia, is the location of the famous annual tomato fight. And Pamplona is home to the running of the bulls every year. Benasque in the Pyrenees sits in a valley and offers plenty of outdoor activities. And don't miss the famous hanging houses of Cuenca. Frigiliana is full of white-washed Andalucian houses, along with other nearby towns worth visiting. Every region of Spain offers something unique and special, so make sure you add some of these places to your itinerary.
Since Italy offers plenty of small towns and villages with a variety of activities, it attracts plenty of visitors, too. If quintessential small towns are what you seek, then you will find them here. Along the coastline as well as inland, Italy is home to numerous charming small towns with colorful buildings and gorgeous landscapes. Many of these towns offer great views of the surrounding countryside or coastlines, a maze-like selection of narrow alleyways, and quaint cafes to while away the afternoons.
There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at great restaurants in both Spain and Italy.
Dining out in Spain is an experience not to be missed. Tapas are perhaps the most famous Spanish culinary export. These small sharable dishes started as something to snack on while drinking, and have transformed into a style of meal all their own. Typical tapas dishes include potatoes, sausages, stewed meats, calamari, olives, cheese, and more. But tapas are not the only local foods you should try. Chirizo is a special type of smoked sausage, and jamón Iberico is a smoked ham with tons of flavor. Calamares (rings of squid) are also popular around the costal areas, and are cooked with a variety methods. Anchovies and other seafood are popular, too. Paella is also famous. The name comes from the wide pan that the rice dish is served in, usually with seafood or meat and a variety of spices for flavoring. Finally, while in Spain, taste the local olives, bread, cheese, and fruit as they are all usually fresh and delicious.
Madrid: The city has a mix of flavors that come from all of Spain. Local favorites include roast suckling pig, Spanish omelette, and meat and chickpea stew.
Barcelona: With easy access to fresh produce, there are many food markets around town. You'll also find great fresh local dishes at the many restaurants. Make sure you try the paella, croquettes, and Jamon Iberico.
Valencia: The city is famous as the birthplace of paella, which is one of Spain's most famous dishes. Beyond the paella, there are a number of other amazing traditional dishes. Fideuà is similar to paella but made with noodles instead of rice. All i pebre is an eel and potato dish and clóchinas are tiny local mussels. For dessert make sure you try the flan de calabaza, which is pumpkin flavored.
Almeria: The food is focused on local, fresh ingredients with many traditional recipes that have been passed down for centuries. Popular dishes change with the seasons because they rely so heavily on local produce. Particularly during the winter months you'll find hearty stews like patatas en ajopollo and gurullos con conejo, which is prepared with rabbit. Sardines are also popular year round.
Italy has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. The food here is world-famous, as you probably already know. In fact, the food is one of the main attractions. Pasta, pizza, seafood, and gelato are only just the beginning. Many regions of Italy have their own culinary specialties, too. So, be prepared to eat your way through this gourmet country.
Rome: Homemade pasta, fresh sauces, and fine wine all make the food scene among the best. Also make sure you try the gelato.
Milan: The city has a mix of traditional dishes combined with modernized, trendy restaurants. You can try a new dish by a groundbreaking chef, or sample a long running favorite like risotto alla Milanese.
Florence: Once you've worked up an appetite exploring museums and churches, you'll find many amazing local restaurants around town. Local dishes incorporate a lot of hearty vegetables and meats. Famous dishes include a Florentine steak dish, rabbit, and a bean bed and cabbage soup.
Sorrento: The food is world class and you'll find most Italian classics here including pizza, fine cheeses, and fresh seafood. Many visitors enjoy taking a pasta or pizza making class while they're in town. You'll also find Limoncello everywhere, made from the locally grown lemons, which are impressive in both their size and flavor. Also make sure you allow for plenty of stops at gelato shops.
Positano: Seafood is the obvious choice along the Amalfi Coast but Positano is also famous for its salami, chestnuts, cheese, and figs.
See also Make Your Own Pizza in Naples, Italy.
Both Spain and Italy are comparable when it comes to partying.
Spain offers plenty to do in the evening. Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Seville, Malaga, Valencia, and many other beach resort towns all have active nightlife scenes, each with their own personality. Barcelona is very popular with all types of bars and dance clubs for locals and travelers alike. Sidecar, Opium, and Pacha are some of the most popular places, and many more can be found in Raval, El Born, and the Gothic Quarter. In Madrid, check out Kapital, Barbara Ann, or Ochoymedio. Along the coast, the nightlife varies from family-friendly restaurants and theaters to more active dance clubs, pubs, and bars for singles and younger couples.
Madrid: Many tourists and international students hang out in the Huertas area, while Malasaña has a bohemian, hipster vibe with small clubs that play indie music. Chueca is a fun area that's known for being gay-friendly with many good bars. Finally, you'll find that the area around Avenida de Brasil is where famous DJs often perform.
Barcelona: The city offers an amazing nightlife at a much more affordable price than many places in Europe. There are beach parties, boat parties, and bars that stay packed late into the night. The city also hosts many street fiestas and music festivals.
Valencia: Dinner starts late, so you can expect the nightlife to pick up even later. During the summer there are all night terrace parties and year round you'll find nightclubs filled from evening to dawn. If all night raves aren't really your thing, you'll also find plenty of local bars where you can hang out with friends in a more relaxed setting. The nightlife scene really is varied enough that there's something for everyone.
Malaga: The city has some of the most active nightlife in Europe. There are plenty of opportunities to party in Malaga and you'll find the most vibrant nightlife in the Centro Historico.
Palma de Mallorca: Head to Magaluf and Palma for the most popular places.
Italy has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. The major cities of Rome, Milan, Florence, and Naples offer plenty of nightlife for every type of person. From bars and clubs to restaurants and theatre, the larger and even the smaller cities have plenty of options.
Rome: You'll find a huge concentration of bars and clubs in the Testaccio area. There are late night clubs with salsa dancing, merengue, and live DJ's spinning every type of music.
Milan: The city has a huge number of students and young professionals, which make it a fun place with an active nightlife. There are cocktail bars, trendy clubs, and relaxed pubs that you can chose from.
Spain tends to offer a wider variety of resorts than Italy.
For the ultimate resort vacation, Spain is a great choice. A holiday trip to Spain for many means a trip to one of the beach resorts along the southern coast, or in Ibiza or Majorca. Marbella, Cadiz, Valencia, Sitges, Alicante, and even Barcelona are all popular destinations with a variety of luxury hotels and resorts. Many are very family-friendly, and some are all-inclusive. Generically, the resorts offer terrific beaches and many are close to nearby towns, as well as some historical and cultural attractions. But no matter where you choose to go, the beach resorts in Spain are world-class and draw plenty of visitors every year. Also, keep in mind that Spain offers a handful of ski resorts open in the winter months, as well as some relaxing inland retreats outside of major cities and historical areas.
Almeria: Stretched along the coastline you'll find many high end resorts with pools and nice atmospheres. There are all inclusive resorts as well as family-friendly and romantic options to choose from.
Marbella: From luxury to family-friendly, this area has plenty of resorts to choose from. Popular resorts in the area include Marbella Club Hotel, Puente Romano Marbella, and Don Carlos Resort and Spa.
Italy has a handful of resorts to choose from. The coastal and beach areas host some nice resorts, especially in the south where the water is clear and blue. Otherwise, almost all of Italy is home to luxurious hotels featuring nice amenities.
Positano: The town has a number of luxury resorts including Le Sirenuse, Il San Pietro di Positano, and Hotel Le Agavi.
Portofino: Known for it's exclusive luxury, there are a number of high end resorts in the area. Popular options include Splendido, Sublimis Boutique Hotel, and Grand Hotel Miramare.
There's scuba diving or snorkeling available in both Spain and Italy.
Spain has a few good snorkeling spots. While the southern coast of the mainland provides plenty of great dive spots with clear waters and a good selection of marine life, the crown jewels of diving are in the Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands. Here you'll find even better opportunities to see marine wildlife in more ideal conditions. You can see barracuda, octopus, moray, a variety of large fish species, and more. Also, diving in the Canary islands can be done year-round, where as in the Mediterranean, only during the warmer months. If you're looking for a quicker trip, it's also possible to dive or snorkel off the Costa Brava coastline near Barcelona where a variety of interesting species can be found in the usually clear waters.
Marbella: There are more than 100 dive sights and endless snorkeling opportunities in the area. There are deep offshore reefs that you can explore as well as shallower wrecks and caves.
It's worth going snorkeling or scuba diving in Italy. In the southern regions of Italy, and in Sicily and Sardinia, scuba diving and snorkeling are popular because of the clear waters, gorgeous scenery, and easy accessibility. It's also popular to scuba dive in the central and northern areas around the Amalfi coast and Sorrento, as well as the coastline around Portofino (in Liguria) and some spots on the eastern Adriatic coastline.
For a relaxing beach holiday, both Spain and Italy are good choices.
Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Spain. The beaches in Spain are world-class, popular, and extensive. With a huge stretch of coastline on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, as well as famous islands such as Ibiza and Mallorca. The coastline of Andalusia and Valencia are perhaps the most visited, as tourists from all of Europe, and all of the world, come here for holiday beach vacations in Spain. Good food, sunny warm weather, wide sandy beaches, and family-friendly amenities are found up and down the coast. Some areas are more party-oriented, while others offer a calm, relaxing vibe, or family-friendly activities. Some of the best and most popular beach destinations in southern Spain include Tossa de Mar in Costa Brava, Puerto Banus near Marbella, Bogatell in Barcelona, Almunecar in Costa Tropical, and the beaches of Cadiz, amongst others. You can't go wrong with any of them.
Barcelona: The city features long sandy beaches where you can soak up the Mediterranean sun right in the heart of town. Popular beaches include Bogatell Beach, Barceloneta Beach, and Nova Icària.
Valencia: The city is surrounded by some of the best beaches in Spain. They're accessible but still largely undeveloped. They also have long stretches of sand and although they can get crowded during the summer months, they still have plenty of space. La Malvarrosa Beach is one of the most popular because of its proximity to the city. El Saler Beach is further out and popular with the locals and Port Saplaya is a colorful area with shopping and beaches.
Palma de Mallorca: The island is lined with sandy beaches and rocky coves, which have contributed to it becoming one of Europe's most popular beach destinations.
Almeria: Outside of town you'll find kilometers of stunning coastline and beaches. There are pristine natural beaches that still feel undiscovered with beautiful long stretches of sand. One of the biggest resort areas is Roquetas de Mar.
Marbella: The area boasts some of the best beaches in Europe. They are hubs of activity with lots of energy, and there are more than 18 miles of sandy beach in the area. Popular options include Guadalmina Beach, San Pedro de Alcántara Beach, and Nueva Andalucía Beach.
Italy is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. Many of the beaches along the coastline offer fantastic scenery and stunning beauty, but are actually not as great for swimming due to the rocks. But they still attract plenty of visitors. The southern regions and Sicily offer flatter beaches with more sand if you're looking for better swimming.
See also The Ultimate Amalfi Coast Travel Guide.
Italy often provides a better shopping experience than Spain.
Italy is a world class destination for shoppers. From Milan to Florence to Rome, this country offers some terrific fashion and shopping experiences. The big cities and the smaller towns can provide unique opportunities to find new clothes, fun souvenirs, and interesting crafts.
Rome: For the biggest brand names, head to Via del Corso, which is near the Spanish Steps. Popular items to buy include Italian ceramics, shoes, leather goods, and jewelry.
Milan: Famous as the fashion capital of Italy, shopping is the thing to do here. There are many streets that are lined with the biggest designers in fashion. Make sure you check out Via Monte Napoleone, Via Della Spiga, and Corso Buenos Aires.
Venice: There are many unique items that people purchase in town. Some of the most popular include Murano glass, Burano lace, Venetian masks, and local fabrics.
Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Spain. In Barcelona, visitors can find plenty of great areas with fashion boutiques, local arts and crafts, and souvenirs. Check out Portal De L'Angel in the Gothic Quarter, Paseo de Gràcia with its high-end stores, Avenida Diagonal for its diversity of shops, and the famous Boqueria Market where you'll find fresh food and other surprises. In Madrid, don't miss Gran Via, Calle Preciados, Calle de Fuencarral, or the historic El Rastro flea market where you can find plenty of hidden gems. Elsewhere in Spain, most beach resort areas have shopping streets, and the larger towns such as Valencia, Malaga, and Marbella have multiple shopping neighborhoods. In Granada and Seville, it's also possible to find those special local arts and craft shops for the perfect gift or souvenir.
Madrid: Gran Vía is a main thoroughfare in Madrid that is also popular for shopping. Calle Fuencarral is where you'll find the fashion shops and Calle Preciados is a fun pedestrian area to explore.
Barcelona: Head to Portal De L’Angel, Rambla de Catalunya, or Passeig De Gracia for some of the city's best shopping districts.
Marbella: This area attracts vacationers from around Europe and the shopping is some of the best in Europe.
Italy provides a more festive Christmas market atmosphere than Spain.
Italy has a lively atmosphere around its Christmas markets. Many of the smaller towns in northern Italy host Christmas markets in their central areas. A few of the best include Bolzano, Trento, Merano, Bressanone, and Arezzo. Florence also puts on a large market during the holidays. And in Milan, families and kids will love the Village of Wonders which offers plenty of activities, as well as a market in the heart of the city.
Spain is a good spot to see some Christmas markets. Despite weather that's warmer than most of Europe, this country still has strong Christmas traditions and therefore the major cities showcase decorations in public places along with Christmas festivals, markets, and shows during the holiday season. Malaga is on the southern coast, but still boats some terrific lights and decorations for the holidays. Madrid and Barcelona also have festivals and large public displays of lights along with some outdoor markets and performances. Seville, Granada, Bilbao, and other cities do the same. So, if you're in Spain for the holidays, don't miss the festivities.
While Spain and Italy both offer snow skiing, overall Italy has more to offer.
Italy is a well-known ski destination which attracts visitors from far and wide. In the northern mountainous areas of Italy visitors will find the Alps and the Dolomites. Here, a number of world-class ski resorts draw visitors from all over Europe and the rest of the world.
Locals like to visit Spain to take advantage of their winter sports. For many, it's surprising to hear that the interior mountains of Spain have a variety of ski areas. While they are not as high-quality as those in the Alps, they are still good and offer plenty of runs, and usually at a much lower price. Some of the best include Formigal and Candanchu in the Pyrenees, Pradollano near Granada in the Sierra Nevada range, and San Isidro near Leon. If you're in the area in the winter months, they are worth a visit.
Spain provides a better hiking experience than Italy.
People visit Spain specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. The Camino de Santiago is Spain's most famous hiking route. Also known as the Way of St. James, this historic 500 mile-long pilgrimage route stretches across the entire width of Spain and also has numerous secondary paths. Hikers come from around the world to trek the entire length or just a small portion of the trail which ends at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in the northwest. Additionally, you'll find plenty of other hiking opportunities in the Pyrenees mountains, the various national parks, or even in the Canary islands or Mallorca. Also, the Caminito del Rey has amazing trails along cliffs near Malaga. From Barcelona, it's easy to reach the base of Montserrat, where you can hike up to the monastery instead of taking the cable car, or hike on the higher up trails as well. Sierra Nevada national park, near Granada, also offers plenty of hiking trails that are close to a major city. And in the Costa Brava region up the coast from Barcelona, even more gorgeous trails have great views of the landscapes and Mediterranean Sea. Generally, no matter where you visit in this country, you can find some great trails.
Many people include a hike when visiting Italy. The northern regions around the Dolomites and the Alps offer plenty of hiking trails, as do some of the central inland areas where the terrain is higher and rugged. Plenty of coastal trails can be found with stunning views of the Mediterranean, too. Check out the trails around the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre, for example. Also, one of the most famous hikes is the historic walk along the Appian Way.
Cinque Terre: The five towns are part of Cinque Terre National Park and there are 120 kilometers of hiking trails in the park. Most people hike along the trails that follow the coastline and connect the towns. There are fees for the most popular stretch of trails which connect Monterosso to Vernazza and then go from Vernazza to Corniglia. All other hiking is free in the area.
Both Spain and Italy are good destinations for visiting national parks.
Many visitors go to Spain to see the national parks. With sixteen national parks and a variety of other natural parks and wilderness protection areas, visitors are offered a diverse set of natural destinations to explore. Some are in the mountains, some at the coast, and others are found in unique ecosystems. Some of the most popular include Cabañeros in the mountains of Toledo, Guadarrama near Madrid, and Illas Atlánticas de Galicia near A Coruna on the northern coast. Several national parks are found on the Canary Islands and make the trip there even more interesting if you have the time. In many of Spain's national parks, you'll find hiking, camping, horseback riding, adventure sports, and beautiful views.
Plenty of travelers enjoy the national parks of Italy. While not necessarily famous for its national parks, here you'll still find plenty of absolutely gorgeous regions to explore. From the Dolomites in the north to the beautiful stretches of coastline, Italy has plenty of park areas to explore. Don't miss Cinque Terre with its colorful villages and vineyards, or Gargano in the south with its clear waters and white cliffs.
Both Spain and Italy offer adventure travel opportunities for visitors.
Spain is an extremely popular destination for those interested in wildlife safaris and animal watching. From the mountains to the coastline, visitors can experience bungee jumping, mountain biking, paragliding, zip-lines, ropes courses, rock climbing, canyoning, whitewater rafting, and more. The coast also offers surfing, kite surfing, wind surfing, scuba diving, and boating. It's possible to find these activities all around the country, usually in the countryside not far from major cities.
Adventure travel experiences in Italy are quite popular with travelers. If thrills are what you're after, you can find a number of adventure sports here. From skiing in the north to scuba diving in the south, you can find it here. Visitors can also find plenty of hiking and paragliding in the mountains, as well as canyoning in many of the central regions of Italy.
Both Spain and Italy offer an similar amount of mountain activities for visitors.
Spain is a great destination for visiting the mountains. The Pyrenees are the largest mountain chain in the country, making a divide between Spain and France. Here you'll find epic views, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, ski resorts, and more. Elsewhere in Spain you can find plenty of other mountains, as the inland is quite varied. The Sierra Nevada mountains in the south are some of the most beautiful, and are also easily accessible. Across northern Andalusia, you can find even more mountains north of Seville and Cordoba, with several national parks and wilderness areas. In all of these places you'll find natural beauty, wildlife, horseback riding, hiking, camping, and even paragliding. And don't miss the Canary Islands, where you'll find even more great activities. Tenerife is the largest island and offers gorgeous mountain views, native wildlife, and an exotic, tropical atmosphere. Spain absolutely has some gorgeous mountains worth visiting.
Visiting the mountains in Italy is a very popular activity. While not known for mountains as much as some of its neighbors, this country has its fair share in the northern regions where you'll find the Alps and Dolomites. Plenty of mountain villages can be found here, along with winter skiing, summer hiking, scenic lakes, and more.
You can find a fairly equal amount of watersports in both Spain and Italy.
Spain is an extremely popular destination for those interested in watersports. With a huge length of coastline both on the southern Mediterranean shore and the northern Atlantic shore, water sports in all forms can be found here. Surfing is very popular on both coasts, as wake boarding, kite surfing, and wind surfing. It's also easy to rent kayaks or canoes both on the coastline or in the rivers and lakes of the interior. Scuba diving and snorkeling are popular along the coast, as well as in the Canary Islands and around Ibiza and Majorca. The beaches and clear waters of these island paradises attract plenty of water bound tourists for a good reason. If you're interested in doing more at the beach than just laying on the sand, Spain is the place for you.
Italy is a popular place to visit because of the wide range of watersports. As a coastal nation, it's no surprise that visitors can get out on the water here. From boating to surfing to fishing, it's quite easy to find plenty of activities. Scuba diving and snorkeling are especially popular in the southern regions of Italy where the water is clear and warm.
You can find a fairly equal amount of outdoor activities in both Spain and Italy.
Spain is an extremely popular destination for those interested in outdoor activities. Popular outdoor activities here include camping, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, and more. Canyoning is popular, especially in the Pyrenees. The Sierra de Guara is one of the most popular spots for this, located outside of Zaragoza. Or, try rock climbing in Andalucía where you'll find a variety of spots not far from Malaga, Cordoba, and Granada. For those looking for a hike, trails are everywhere and not just in the national parks. Of course, there's always the famous Camino de Santiago if you're looking for an adventure.
Outdoor activities in Italy are quite popular with travelers. Hiking, snow skiing, boating, kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, and more are all popular activities here. One of the main reasons is that the natural beauty is everywhere, and that most of the country's outdoor areas are so accessible to the larger cities.
Both Spain and Italy offer plenty of great road trip opportunities.
Taking a road trip through Spain is very good way to see the countryside and smaller destinations. The roads in Spain are efficient, quick, and well-maintained, making it easy to get around. If you don't have a car, it's also easy and often affordable to rent or hire one at the airport upon arrival. Many visitors take a road trip along the coastlines. The northern coastline in particular is very scenic with epic views and small towns The southern coastline is lined with beaches, more small towns, and larger cities. The Catalan coast north of Barcelona is especially beautiful with small towns, cliffs along the sea, and historical sites. The interior shouldn't be missed either, as you'll find national parks, castles and fortresses, and beautiful cities such as Granada, Ronda, Seville, and Toledo. And since Spain is not too large, the drives won't be too long between destinations.
Italy is a great place to take a road trip. If you're looking to drive through the countryside from city to city, or even just through the small towns, you'll find some great roads in Italy. Take a drive down the coast from Rome to see a diverse set of coastlines, towns, and historical sights. Or, drive through the mountains in the north interspersed with gorgeous lakes. And don't forget about Tuscany where you can explore the small towns among the vineyards and wineries.
Kids will enjoy a visit to either Spain or Italy.
As it has a large number of activities for kids, Spain is a very family-friendly destination. Beach vacations are one of the first things that come to mind for a family holiday or vacation to Spain. The Mediterranean coast has multiple beach resort towns such as those in Valencia or around Malaga and Marbella. Even Costa Brava and the areas around Barcelona are popular beach spots, too. But don't assume that the beaches are the only thing to see for families, as the big cities and mountains have plenty of activities as well. Madrid has kids tours of the Prado museum, the Mercado de San Miguel, a great zoo, the Warner Brothers Park, a railway museum, and a fantastic natural sciences museum. Barcelona offers the CosmoCaixa science museum, Montjuic and it's fun gondolas, the chocolate museum, a terrific aquarium, and plenty of interesting architecture. Kids also love all of the old castles and fortresses that dot the countryside, especially the Alhambra, the Castillo de Peñíscola, and the Royal Palace of Olite. Furthermore, plenty of cities have a mix of cultural and historical sites combined with modern family attractions such as amusement parks, water parks, and natural park areas. The mountains also have national parks with wide open spaces which are great for family hikes, bike rides, camping, and road trips. You can't go wrong with a family trip to Spain, as there's just so much to do.
See also The Ultimate Guide to Madrid.
Italy is one of the most popular family destinations. With plenty of diverse activities for children and adults, here you'll find large cities with famous attractions, beautiful beaches on stunning coastlines, small towns with great food. Plenty of amusement parks, outdoor activities, and water sports are also available.
With fun activities for couples, both Spain and Italy make for a good place to visit.
Spain makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. In addition to the historical centers of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Valencia which contain plenty of romantic attractions, couples and honeymooners also love Majorca and Ibiza for it's epic beaches, the southern coast of Spain for the beach resorts, and Costa Brava for its charming small towns with fantastic cuisine. Honeymooners could stay in one spot for a week, or spend their entire trip touring the highlights. Or, if you're just looking for a quick weekend getaway, any of the major cities or smaller towns offers plenty of charming activities. Andalucía is a popular destination because it combines the beaches with historic towns, mountain retreats, and fantastic food. The Asturias region on the northern coast is popular for many of the same reasons. No matter where you visit, it's easy to combine all of the best features of Spain into one terrific and romantic trip.
Marbella: The area has luxury resorts, nice beaches, water sports, golf, and water activities that are perfect for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend or a honeymoon.
See also Hostels for Solo Travellers, Female Travellers, & Couples in Madrid, Hostels & Campgrounds in Ibiza for Solo Travellers, Couples, and Groups, and Hostels in Pamplona for Backpackers, Solo Travellers, and Couples.
For those traveling as a couple, Italy has plenty to offer. Known for its romantic destinations, couples will have a hard time simply deciding which destination to choose first. From world-famous cities full of charm, romance, and cuisine to gorgeous beaches to small colorful towns, Italy has everything a couple would want for a honeymoon or a romantic getaway.
Florence: Art and history lovers will enjoy a visit to this truly beautiful city. Couples who enjoy museums, historic buildings, and world-renowned art, will find plenty to do in this city.
Venice: With its many truly unique romantic experiences, this city makes for a truly memorable honeymoon or romantic getaway. Ride a gondola, get lost in the city, and enjoy pasta and music around town to make the experience unlike any other.
Sorrento: This beautiful romantic destination is one of the world's top honeymoon areas. It's a small city that offers access to the many nearby destinations, so it makes a good base or gateway city for visiting places like Capri and the Blue Grotto as well as the Amalfi Coast. You can enjoy romantic hikes full of stunning views, explore by kayak, dine at romantic restaurants, or experience a one-of-a-kind farm tour. If you base yourself in Sorrento, you'll likely be doing a lot of day trips.
Positano: It is a picturesque coast town that is both romantic and fun. Wandering through the streets and sampling Italian food make this the perfect honeymoon getaway.
Cinque Terre: These stunning five Italian villages are perched precariously on the water's edge. They're surrounded by beautiful vineyards and connected by impressive hiking trails. This area is truly a dream honeymoon destination and it is sure to make a memorable vacation for any couple who enjoys exploring charming village.
Both Spain and Italy are popular destinations for backpackers.
Spain is a very popular country for backpackers and budget travelers. Affordable prices, easy transportation, and a wide array of budget accommodation make this country extremely popular for backpackers and budget travelers. Barcelona, Madrid, the costal cities, and small towns all have plenty of hostels, pensions, and guest houses. Barcelona is also known for its nightlife, attracting younger travelers on a budget, and plenty of places cater to them with low-cost accommodations with a party vibe. Also, a huge number of museums and cultural attractions have low-cost or free entry tickets, or provide discounts for anyone under 25. Affordable food is also found everywhere, whether at local restaurants, street vendors, or markets. Transportation is also easy, cheap, and efficient, and serves the entire country. Overall, prices in most spots in Spain tend to be a little more affordable than in the rest of Europe.
Madrid: The many hostels around town make it easy for backpackers to find affordable accommodation while also meeting other travelers.
Barcelona: There are many hostels around town, each with its own personality. Many of the hostels also organize activities or dinners for guests so it's easy to meet other travelers.
Malaga: From an endless supply of hostels to plenty of opportunities to meet other backpackers, this is a very backpacker friendly area.
Many backpackers frequent Italy. Plenty of affordable and budget-friendly options are available here which allow backpackers to spend less on a trip. From hostels to street food to free attractions, it's possible to explore the cities and countryside of Italy without breaking the bank.
Rome: Backpackers will find no shortage of hostels where they can stay, particularly near the main train station where accommodation is particularly cheap (but not always the best quality).
Florence: The city is part of a popular route through Italy, and you'll find many backpackers and students in town. There are also many hostels, so you should have no trouble meeting other young travelers.
Sorrento: Because its a small city with accessible transportation, you'll find a decent number of hostels that make it an affordable base for exploring the area. You can hit many nearby sights as day trips or use this as a first stop off point as you make your way along the coast.
Spain and Italy are both good destinations for students and younger travelers.
Spain is a good country to visit for students. Other than Barcelona and Madrid, the most popular cities for students include Granada, Seville, Valencia, and Bilbao. Here, you'll find large universities surrounded by student-friendly neighborhoods. Nightlife, bars, affordable restaurants, and fun activities can be found in all of these cities which cater to budget travelers and locals alike. Spain is a popular destination overall for study-abroad students and younger travelers.
Madrid: With several great universities, this city is popular with international and study abroad students. The city also has a diverse population and an active nightlife that appeals to students.
Barcelona: This is a popular study abroad destination and you'll find international students from around the world. It's a beautiful city with plenty to see and do.
Valencia: The city is young and vibrant with a lot of culture and beautiful neighborhoods. It's also well connected to the rest of Spain with a convenient central train station.
Italy is very popular with students. As the home of many study-abroad programs and major universities, students will feel right at home here. Plenty of academic and budget-travel options are available in the major cities as well as some of the smaller towns.
Rome: The city is a popular study abroad destination and you'll find plenty of international students here.
Milan: It is one of the more popular city's for international students in Italy. It is very livable with a lot of culture and a fun nightlife, so you're sure to have the experience of a lifetime.
Florence: Many students visit this city as part of a short term study abroad program, or for the entire length of their studies. The city is beautiful, and whether your focus is art, history, or culture, this city will not disappoint.
Venice: Because of its well-established reputation, this city attracts many international students for both semester and full length programs. There are many programs to choose between, and many students focus on the region's art, architecture, history, and language.
See also Hostels in Genoa for Solo Travellers, Backpackers, and Students, Affordable, Safe, and Quiet Hostels in Naples, Italy for Students and Backpackers, and Affordable and Safe Hostels in Milan for Backpackers and Students.
Both Spain and Italy offer a very good transportation system.
Spain has a great public transit system. High speed trains as well as local trains take visitors and residents around all of the cities in Spain fairly quickly. Once in a city, the local transit systems are excellent at reaching most places quickly. And if you choose to drive, you'll find a quality and efficient highway system, too. Buses can fill in the spots where trains don't go, and sometimes buses are a cheaper alternative to trains or flights between cities as well. The most popular airport connections are found in Madrid and Barcelona.
Is it easy to travel around Spain?
Visitors to Italy can move around easily with public transportation. Nationally, the major cities and smaller towns in Italy are connected with a terrific rail system, and high-speed trains connect major destinations. Furthermore, the cities have terrific public transit systems that include subways, trams, and buses. Getting around Italy is quite easy.
Is it easy to travel around Italy?
Spain and Italy are both modern and comfortable places to visit.
Spain is extremely comfortable for travelers as it is a modern destination with plenty of amenities. Luxury beach vacations and historical attractions in famous cities usually come to mind when people think of Spain. Rightly so, because this country is modern and offers a wide array of comfortable modes of travel and vacationing. It's easy to find budget-friendly accommodation, but even at the lowest prices, guests can still expect to find modern and comfortable amenities. The roads, trains, and public transit are also clean, safe, and can get visitors anywhere. The tourist infrastructure here is extensive, and anyone can travel comfortably here no matter their budget or price range.
Italy is a very comfortable and luxurious destination with plenty of hotels, restaurants, and activities. This is a country with a huge infrastructure for tourists and travelers. With a wide range of nice hotels and luxurious resorts, a great public transit network of high-speed trains, fine-dining and casual restaurants, nightlife, and modern conveniences, Italy can be extremely comfortable for travelers.
Spain and Italy are both quite touristy, seeing a large number of visitors every year.
Spain is very touristy. While Madrid and Barcelona are the most popular cities to visit, the beach resort areas in Andalucía and Valencia can also get touristy, especially in the busy summer months. Additionally, other cities such as Toledo, the towns in Catalonia, Granada, and Seville attract many visitors. The summer months are the most busy, and you can expect larger crowds in these destinations as well as at major tourist sites. In some places, entrance queues for museums or attractions can get quite long. The most popular places to visit in Madrid include the Prado museum, the Royal Palace, the Crystal Palace in Retiro park, and sometimes the football museum at the Real Madrid football stadium. In Barcelona, you can expect crowds at the Sagrada Família cathedral, Park Güell, the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc at night when it's lit up, and in the streets of the Gothic Quarter. Despite the crowds, it's never too chaotic or unmanageable, and Spain is absolutely worth the trip in any case.
Italy is a destination which hosts a huge number of visitors. This is one of the most visited countries in the world for tourists. Its major cities such as Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan host millions of visitors every year because of their world-famous attractions, cuisine, and history. Even some of the smaller towns and rural areas see plenty of tourists. Whether you're visiting the coastline or an inland region, it can be hard to escape other travelers.
Spain and Italy both offer a nice selection of activities for visitors. Many people usually spend more of their time in Spain than Italy.
The ideal length of time for a trip to Spain is 7-21 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Italy is 7-14 days.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Spain. Adventure travel is very popular here, too. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Italy. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.
Spain is a fun place to experience. In Spain, many people enjoy the museums, theater, and adventure travel that this destination offers. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Five days is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.
Italy is a fun place to experience. In Italy, many people enjoy the shopping, museums, and adventure travel that this destination offers. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Five days is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.
In Spain, many people enjoy the theater, adventure travel, and national parks that this diverse destination offers. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is often enough time to do most activities.
In Italy, many people enjoy the museums, adventure travel, and national parks that this historical destination offers. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is often enough time to do most activities.
In Spain, many people enjoy the theater, adventure travel, and national parks that this diverse destination offers. Plenty of people spend two weeks in the area when traveling. Adventure travel is very popular here, too. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. This would be the perfect place to spend two weeks, as it has just the right amount of activities.
In Italy, many people enjoy the museums, adventure travel, and national parks that this scenic destination offers. Plenty of people spend two weeks in the area when traveling. Most people come for the beaches. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. This would be the perfect place to spend two weeks, as it has just the right amount of activities.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Spain is €119, while the average daily cost in Italy is €132. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each country. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Spain and Italy in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Spain or Italy? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.
Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Spain:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Spain:
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Italy:
Also for Italy, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Prices for flights to both Italy and Spain change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.
Some typical examples of dining costs in Spain are as follows:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Spain.
For Italy, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
For Italy, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Spain are as follows:
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Spain are as follows:
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Italy's activities, tours, and tickets:
For Italy, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Spain:
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Spain:
Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Italy from other travelers:
Also in Italy, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
When comparing the travel costs between Spain and Italy, we can see that Italy is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.
Although the prices aren't dramatically different, the tourist dollar can stretch a bit further in Spain than in Italy. In particular, accommodation and food it is a bit cheaper in Spain. There is no shortage of budget accommodation, particularly hostels, throughout Spain, and affordable restaurants are plentiful as well. Even in Spain's most expensive cities, it's not hard to find a cheap place to stay or an affordable place to eat. In general, Spain's economy has kept prices a bit lower for visitors, so good deals are not hard to find. Because Italy remains one of the most popular countries to visit in not only Europe, but also the world, competition can drive prices up a bit more.
In Italy, the most popular cities and travel destinations tend to be the most expensive areas to. In particular, Venice is an expensive city for both food and accommodation. There are very few hostels in the city, so even if you're backpacking, you should be prepared to pay a bit more for accommodation. Coastal Italy can also be quite expensive, particularly during the summer months when cruise ships are most common.
In Spain, coastal cities and towns can actually be a bit more expensive to visit than the larger cities. The high demand for accommodation drive prices up, particularly during the peak times when most visitors visit.
Prices in both Spain and Italy are effected by the seasons. Travel during the fall and spring months if you want to save a little money. Prices inevitably climb during the peak summer months.
Travel slowly if you want to save some money and really soak up the countries. In both Spain and Italy, transportation between cities can be a bit expensive so if you Choose fewer places to visit and spend more time in those places you will save a good amount of money.
Stay flexible. If things aren't going like you'd planned, be willing to change your plans up a bit to save a little money.
Just wander. Take a day or two to just explore a city on foot. Soak up the atmosphere without rushing around and trying to see all of the sights and activities.
Look into all of your transportation options before you book tickets. In general, buses are cheaper than trains.
Stay in local accommodation instead of major chain hotels. Local hotels and hostels tend to be cheaper and have a bit more character.
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