Padova (Padua), Italy. And how we saved Big Bucks on Airbnb using it as a base in the Veneto region.

Padova (Padua), Italy. And how we saved Big Bucks (on Airbnb) using it as a base in the Veneto region

One of the things we always have to do when planning our time in Europe is juggling between Schengen and non-Schengen zones. When it became apparent in March that we wouldn’t have to go back to Canada for the summer, we decided that we would spend most of the summer (May to July) in Croatia. That meant planning another month (April) within the Schengen zone*.

* for those unfamiliar with the rules, I’ll break that all down at the bottom of this post.
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We had a couple of scenarios.

1)  I thought of maybe dividing the month of April between Regensburg (Germany. We love Germany) and Verona (Italy). Looking at Airbnb we were surprised at some of the prices we saw: the average nightly stay in Regensburg came out to about $100 CAD/night (about $80 US). Verona was even more expensive, averaging $120 CAD/night (about $95 US). Overall, for a month that came to total rent of slightly over $3000 CAD (about $2350 US). That’s way over our budget.
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2) So then I decided to look at choosing one location for a month. I’ve mentioned this before: we usually stay somewhere a month because rates on Airbnb are usually much cheaper on a monthly basis. In most cases, you’ll actually pay approximately the same staying somewhere for a month (28 days as defined by Airbnb) as you would staying somewhere for 2 weeks on a nightly basis. This is not always the case depending on the owner or the market (in Cape Town for example there was barely a discount staying somewhere a month) but in most markets this is what we’ve found.

So I looked at monthly rates. In both Regensburg and Verona I found nice apartments within the $2300-2500 range CAD ($1800-$1950 US). Closer to our range but still expensive (by the way, an apartment in Venice is in the $5000 CAD/month range. Ouch).
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3) I researched cities within the Veneto region, less popular tourist places that are stops on the major train routes. And that’s when I first heard of Padova (or Padua, the anglicized version of the name). Padova is actually a popular spot among Italian tourists and has many highlights including: Saint Anthony’s Cathedral (a cathedral visited by millions of Catholic pilgrims every year), the Pretto della Valle (Europe’s biggest square), and the UNESCO Heritage site botanical gardens (the first botanical gardens in the world). It has a lot more sites in its old historic center. I’ll include some photos below as well as some informative links for those interested in visiting Padova.

padova map.

Prices in Padova were much more in our price range and I found 2 apartments that are great value in different ways.

1) Because of an accidental double-booking in the 2nd apartment that I’ll cover (below), we spent 3 nights in this fabulous apartment. It’s one of the nicest apartments we’ve ever stayed in and Nicoletta (the host) is a warm, wonderful lady. It’s also right next to the historic center. For $106 CAD (about $85 US) it was a great value. Nicoletta might also give you a good deal on a longer term stay if you ask.

2) The 2nd apartment is very different: situated next to the train station (3 min walk) it is not luxurious, is a bit quirky, and does not look great from the outside.But it is a great value dollar wise at $1361 CAD all-inclusive for 28 days. That’s $1065 US. It’s next to a gym (which we’ve joined for a month) and is an INCREDIBLE base to explore neighboring cities (you can get to Venice in 30 min, Verona in 40 min, and Bologna in 1 ½ hrs. We even went to Rome in 3 hours). It’s nice to get off the train and walk 3 min to the apartment. Eloisa, the host, even gave us a tour of the historic center. Plus she gave us bikes that we could use to explore the town.

I recommend both apartments above.

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So I went from: a) over $3,000 CAD/month that I would have paid splitting the month between Regensburg and Verona, to b) $2300-$2500 CAD if I had chosen either Regensburg or Verona as bases for a full month, to c) $1361 CAD by choosing a smaller, less-popular city nearby.

The point is that you can save money on Airbnb by 1) booking an apartment for a month (ie 28 days min) and 2) staying away from very touristy places.

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In the end, Padova has been a great base: just the right size, well-located, and not jam-packed with tourists (and we would see a lot in Verona, Bologna, Venice and Rome).

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If the cost savings are not enough to convince you, have a look at these photos of Padova (I also have a pretty cool video at the bottom).

palazzo del podesta, padova (padua) italy

Above: Palazzo del Podesta, in the historic center                                                 Below: just steps away is the Palazzo della Ragione

Palazzo della ragione exterior, padova (padua)

Palazzo della ragione, padova (padua)

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Below: Cafee Pedrocchi, the most famous cafe in Padova.

Padova (padua), city center

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Below: Saint Anthony’s Cathedral. Just fantastic. Unfortunately they don’t allow you to take photos inside.

basilica of st anthony, padova (padua)

basilica of st anthony, padova (padua) Italy

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Below: Prato della Valle, the largest square in Europe.

prato della valle, padova (padua), Italy
prato della valle, padova (padua), Italy 2

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Below: Saint Anthony’s from the Botanical Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Saint anthony's basilica from the botanical gardens, padova (padua)

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Below: Views of  the basilica of Santa Giustina (yet another church in this small town).

basilica of santa giustina, padova (padua)

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This is the first video I’ve done on my new GoPro. Love it, now if only I could figure out Premiere Elements for the editing. Still, you should enjoy this short video:

* Credit to Lissette for coming up with the song. Thought it was so fitting…
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Can anyone recommend a simple ,user friendly editing program? As I told someone yesterday, I felt like putting my head through our glass table working with Premiere Elements 9.

 

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Practical information

On Schengen Zone: for non-EU nationals the rule is that you are allowed 90 days within a 180 day period, that period starting when you first enter. Croatia is for now outside the Schengen Zone and has it’s own rules (although they also allow 90 days for visitors from Canada, the US, and the EU). In our case, since we want to spent May, June, and July in Croatia it means we can’t go in the country too early because it would also mean leaving earlier. And since we arrived in the Schengen Zone in late January, we still have until late April to stay within the zone. By maximizing our time within the Schengen Zone, it allows us to enter Croatia at a later date (note though that once we’ve left the Schengen Zone in late April – having done our 90 days – we cannot enter the zone again for at least another 90 days).
Countries within the Schengen Zone.

Airbnb. You now get a $35 US credit off your first Airbnb stay if you sign up using our link. Just click on the icon below.

bbqboy-airbnb35

Padova information

Tourist office: Padova has a tourist information office at the train station which we’ve found very useful. They also have one in the middle of the historic center, close to the Palazzo della Ragione. Their website.

Getting around in Padova: Padova has one tram line which passes right by the train station (every 10 minutes) and will take you to all the main sites in the historic center. There’s a booth to buy tickets for trams and buses right where you step out of the train station.

Map of Padova: HERE.

Detailed Tourist Information: Wikitravel has a detailed page on Padova.

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Comments

  1. Padova is really lovely! I’ve been there once:)
    Tanja (the Red phone box travels) recently posted…An Afternoon in Bratislava, a photo diaryMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Really! Yes, you’re not far away are you? We’ll be heading to Croatia at the end of the week 🙂

  2. Great job on your first goPro video. We’ve never had the opportunity to stay for a whole month on AirBnb…we usually stay one week and move onto someplace else. We stopped in Padova once and had dinner…great town.
    Corinne recently posted…Celebrating World Heritage With Our Top Ten UNESCO SitesMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      A 2nd person that’s been to Padova – surprising! Thanks Corinne, I wanted to do lots of things with that video but ended up changing my plans – was just too complicated.

  3. Enjoyed the bike ride through town. Now I”m gonna have that song stuck in my head, which is fine 😉 Love reading about how you guys make your plans.
    Paula recently posted…Swing like Tarzan – Thrill seeking on Costa Rica’s Arenal VolcanoMy Profile

  4. Beautiful photos!
    How do you like Italy in general?
    Soon I’ll be around Milan and in Venice 🙂
    If you’re there in mid May, let me know 🙂

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Hi Tom! We’re leaving in 2 days for Croatia unfortunately. Has been a good time in Northern Italy though. Italy’s a funny place, many things I like, some that I don’t which I’ve written about before. But so many incredible cities and so much history, quite amazing.

      • In General, I love Italy – it’s a bit chaotic, vibrant, a bit loud but still full of rich history and beautiful architecture. What places are you going to visit in Croatia? I know that it’s one of your favorite countries.

        • Frank (bbqboy) says:

          You’ve described Italy very well – I actually wrote a post on the things we didn’t like about Italy. It still drives us crazy sometimes. But we always end up coming back, as you say, because of the history and architecture. There are so many beautiful cities in Italy and we were blown away on this trip seeing Verona, Bologna, Rome (and re-visiting Venice).

  5. Hey, cute video, nice one for a first go! We’ve just bought our first GoPro too (dodgy video also coming shortly) and are also a bit clueless about editing, so if you find out any good tips, I’d love to hear them! Never heard of Padova before, but it looks like the ideal longer term base, and if it’s popular with Italians for holidays it must be good, right! Looking forward to your thoughts on Verona too.
    Heather Cole recently posted…Things to do in ParatyMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      HA! I thought of you Heather when passing by Juliet’s House and seeing all the tourists rubbing the statue’s tit. Honestly, what a pile of shit. Gives you a great perspective of the thought process of the average traveller. Anyway, Verona is for another post. But I was telling Lissette about your post as we were standing there under the balcony looking at the signage in front of the museum.

      Yes, I’ll be using Go Pro mostly for towers and hiking. I didn’t have an attachment for the bike so there I was biking through town, holding the camera in one hand 🙂 I’ve asked a few people about editing programs, if I get a good answer I’ll let you know.

      • Just as well we’re all not average travellers hey 😉 I heard you have a thing about towers, at least if you have a GoPro Lissette can enjoy her vino in peace in the squares below and watch it all on video once you’re done, two birds, one stone and all that! 😉 Good biking skills by the way!
        Heather Cole recently posted…Pousada do Sandi – a colonial mansion stayMy Profile

        • Frank (bbqboy) says:

          Exactly! She stopped climbing towers about 6 months ago. Drinking vino while the men are climbing towers? Sounds like you’re in the same sisterhood 🙂

  6. Is Airbnb paying you?

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      No, unless someone signs up to Airbnb using my link in which case I make a commission. But nobody has so far.

      But they should pay me, right? The fact is that every night of 2016 (so far) we’ve stayed in Airbnb apartments. No hotel stays. And a lot of other full-time travellers do the same, along with ‘regular’ travellers who increasingly use it for vacation. So if I write about money-saving tips or specific apartments on Airbnb it’s because I know there’s a segment of the travel market that’s really interested in that kind of information.

  7. Padua is a great choice for a base in northern Italy! More neat stuff close by – Swiss-influenced Bassano del Grappa, the walled city of Castelfranco Veneto, and Palladio’s Villa di Maser, which has its own on-site winery.

    As for a video editing program, Windows Live Movie Maker is free and fairly simple. You can’t do a lot with it and saving often is a necessity, but again – free.
    Polly recently posted…Templo MayorMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thank you Polly, I’ll look into it. I remember now on an old computer that I used to have it and actually used it a few times.

      Thanks for mentioning the other towns nearby. There’s also Chioggia (which they call a mini-Venice) and then there are the very nearby spa towns of Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terme. Lots to see in the area unfortunately there’s never enough time…

  8. Hi Frank,
    I’m also just starting to make videos with a GoPro. I used the GoPro Studio to put together my first two videos and found it fairly easy to figure out. Have you tried it?
    Rhonda Krause recently posted…Wormsloe Historic Site- Enjoying History and Nature in SavannahMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Hey thanks Rhonda! I’ll try that.

      The problem I have with Premier Elements is with fundamental stuff like speeding parts of the video up or eliminating the audio on the video. I’ve never felt as much of an f*ing idiot as I do with PE, even when I follow the guide or watch tutorial videos online I can’t seem to get the same options.

  9. Love the video – perfect song! Padua looks and sounds like a great place to base yourselves to explore the area. We were just in Venice for 4 nights but as it was our first time there, we wanted to stay right in Venice. Would like to see Padua eventually.
    Travels and Tipples recently posted…It’s Not All Black and WhiteMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Totally understand Patricia, it was what we did our first time in Venice as well. Did you enjoy it? We went back for a day trip and I forgot what a maze it is getting from the train station to Saint Marc’s Square. Always beautiful though…
      But for the next time, there’s lots of things to see in the region. We actually ran out of time…

  10. Padova looks like a lovely city, as pretty as many other, more famous Italian cities but much less crowded.

    And as a scientist, I just can’t help but mention Galileo Galilei, who was born in Padova 🙂
    Agnieszka (Wandering Owls) recently posted…Easter Wandering part 1 – Ben WyvisMy Profile

  11. Phenomenal pictures as always Frank and great tips on using Airbnb to score some amazing monthly rental deals. We’ve been looking at ways to travel for extended periods of time and didn’t realize it was this easy. And staying at each location monthly allows you to take it easy, see more, and take in the sights and sounds at a comfortable pace. These apartment deals you’re finding are incredible – even cheaper than a month’s rent in the suburbs of Seattle!
    Hung Thai recently posted…Where for art thou selfie stick? Expectations vs. Reality in Verona, ItalyMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      As I mentioned to someone else, we’ve stayed every night of the year in an Airbnb apartment. It’s made the way we travel so much easier, I don’t now how we would have done it 10 years ago.

  12. Frank staying in Padova has paid off, not only financialy but it is such a charming city. My grandparents were from the North of Italy so it is a region very close to my heart. Your Gopro video is good and the Mambo Italiano song is very catchy It will stay in my head for ages now. I have not tried airbnb yet, but might give it a go on my trip to Paris and Amsterdam in October. Interesting to learn more about the Shengen zome since I don’t really know much about it. Thanks for a great post Frank.
    Gilda Baxter recently posted…Sensational SeychellesMy Profile

  13. You’re talking to the converted here Frank. We love Airbnb and are prepared to stay out of town for a cheaper rate. You saved a heap and Padua looks great. I’ve heard the name but knew nothing more.
    budget jan recently posted…Piazza Navona and the Tale of Three FountainsMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Thanks Jan, I know you are good travelling on a budget 🙂 It’s been a great base, have seen a lot in the area.

  14. Good call staying away from the BIG tourist hotspots. We try to do it every now and then but you gotta have good transport links or you’re a bit stuffed. It looks like Padova was a good base for the region. We haven’t been to Italy for years but, looking at your photos, it seems like we should make the effort to re-visit.
    Mark Bennetts recently posted…Travel Shot | The Pyramid of Tirana, AlbaniaMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      There’s some beautiful places around: we visited Venice, Verona and Bologna. But in the end we’re glad to have stayed in Padova because there are SO many tourists in those other places (plus the cost).

  15. Padova looks like a lovely place to base yourself. And both apartments look great – especially the first one.
    Dana Carmel recently posted…Introducing The Broad in L.A.My Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      That first one is the equivalent of a 5 star hotel, no kidding. And the host was one of the nicest people we’ve met. Would recommend to anyone.

  16. now there’s a song in “kiss Me Kate”

    I’ve come to wife it wealthily in Padua!

    Or something along those lines! Glad you found a place, great rate!
    Andrew recently posted…Foto Friday – That’s Me! At Halong BayMy Profile

  17. Looks like you’re having a whole lot of fun with the new toy 🙂 . The video looks great and the song does fit! The first place looks awesome. You lucked out. I am having mixed feelings about AirBnB again.. A love hate relationship that l will write about at some point. It does work well for you as it saves a crap load of money renting for the month versus daily, l would definitely do the same in your case. The city is quite beautiful..we might be making our way there come July when we visit his mom in Rome. We are letting her pick a week itinerary of places she want to go..no suggestions from us, so l will be curious to see if it includes that. Starting point Bologna only requirement 🙂 .
    Kemkem recently posted…Toji Temple in Kyoto, Japan – A PostcardMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Bologna is great! And you’ve got Verona, Ravenna, Venice, Florence, Siena, Cortona…so many beautiful places in the area.
      Look forward to reading your thoughts on Airbnb. We sometimes had issues last year (our first year using it) but have gotten better – part of that is just getting better at choosing apartments, arranging meeting points, etc. Have had 2 no-so-great experiences where we didn’t like an apartment, but 95% of the time it’s been nothing but good.

  18. Great video and loved the music too, great choice! We have been thinking about investing in a GoPro so will be interesting to see how you get on. We have not used Airbnb but does seem a great way to cut costs and and will certainly look into it in the future, thanks for the information.
    Paul and Carole recently posted…Our stay at the Secret Garden Beach Resort, Bangrak, Koh SamuiMy Profile

    • Frank (bbqboy) says:

      Hi Paul/Carole – so far love it. Have to get used to the different accessories. But the video quality great as is the width of the lens. Also pretty easy to use (so far)

  19. Great video with the GoPro…I’m loving the music!
    Valerie Price recently posted…An Inside Look At The Cell Block HotelMy Profile

  20. Great overview and strategies for Schengen visa and Airbnb. And the photos are awesome too!
    Gaz recently posted…Mike Spencer Bown – 193 countriesMy Profile

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