Getting around a different country can be stressful as you try to figure out the best way to do it. This is only exacerbated in a country like Italy, where there is so much for you to see and do spread across hundreds of miles. To help you figure out the best way for you to travel around Italy, we’ve come up with this complete guide going over the popular ways to get around Italy.
What is the Best Way to Travel Around Italy?
For us, the best way to travel around Italy is hands down by renting a car. If you rent a car, you’ll have the ultimate freedom to go anywhere that you want, anytime you want to go. And you’ll be able to visit charming, off-the-beaten-path towns for a more authentic experience. But if renting a car is not something you want to do, don’t sweat it! You can also easily get around Italy by train, plane, or boat, or if you want to get creative, a Vespa!
So if you’re trying to figure out the best way to travel around Italy, keep reading to learn about the most popular methods of transportation!
Getting Around Italy by Car
If you want to have as much freedom as possible to travel around Italy, then nothing is better than renting a car once you arrive. Rental cars in Italy not only provide you with the ultimate freedom to explore entirely on your time, but they’re also super affordable! If you’ve rented a car elsewhere in the world, such as the United States, for example, you’ll be surprised at how much cheaper it is to rent in Italy.
Once you arrive in Italy, you can rent your car right from the airport. Depending on when you travel and which company you rent from, you’ll find prices for as little as $10 per day! At that price, it can almost be silly not to rent a car. All you’ll need to pay for besides the rental price is any added rental insurance you choose to purchase as well as the highway tolls and of course the gas to get you to wherever you want to go.
The beauty of renting a car to travel around Italy is, as alluded to above, the sheer freedom that it affords you. Want to go on a road trip through Tuscany? No problem. Staying in Rome and want to make a day trip to Pompeii and then swing over to the Amalfi Coast afterward for a night in Positano? Not an issue. The ability to go anywhere you want, any time you want, is what really makes renting a car the best way to travel around Italy.
But it is not the only way to do so. Let’s take a look at a few other options.
Getting Around Italy by Train
If you’d prefer not to rent a car and know that you’ll be visiting only the more popular places in Italy, then traveling by train is one of the best options. The destinations and routes that traveling by train offers you are limited by the existing tracks, but luckily train routes are prevalent in Italy. You can get to all of the country’s major cities by just hopping from train to train.
Not only are trains one of the most common ways of traveling in Italy, but they are also often the fastest as well. With many high-speed train routes connecting major cities — like Rome to Naples, for example — you can go from place to place faster than anything else. This trip from Rome to Naples can take up to three hours by car. But on the high-speed train, it’s barely over an hour and ten minutes.
Traveling by train does add up over the course of a trip, so if you’re going to be there for an extended amount of time, consider getting a Eurail Global Pass. Though expensive, these passes give you unlimited travel via train for a certain length of time. And since they are designated for all of Europe and not just Italy, they are especially great for those that are planning a bigger European adventure than just Italy!
Getting Around Italy by Plane
Although Italy is much smaller than some countries (like the United States), it’s still more than large enough to facilitate traveling by air from one side to the other. You can drive from Sicily to the North of Italy in about 15 hours, but that’s still a significant amount of time. That’s where domestic flights within Italy come into play.
One such example is going from Milan to Naples or vice versa. Situated close to the country’s northern border, Milan is about as far away from Naples as you can get. Driving there would take about 8 hours, not including any stops. But instead, you could hop aboard the flight from Ryanair and make it in just over an hour. Quite the time savings!
The trick to getting around Italy by plane is finding direct flights from one place to the other as it’s often faster to travel by car or train than to have to deal with connecting flights. For example, if you want to fly from Florence to Naples, you’d likely need to connect in Rome unless you charter a private plane and fly direct. In instances like these, it’s usually better to take a train (which would be around 3 and a half hours) or to make the 5-hour drive and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Nonetheless, flying around Italy is really great for is cutting down on travel time and using it as a stepping stone from one place to another.
Getting Around Italy by Boat
One way to get around certain areas of Italy is a little less conventional than some of the others, and that’s to travel by boat. With almost 5,000 miles of coastline and many more rivers and lakes throughout the country, getting around Italy by boat is actually more viable than you might think!
The biggest thing to keep in mind when it comes to traveling by boat is that you are, of course, limited to where you can travel. While Venice is nicknamed the Floating City and almost requires travel via boat to get to and get around, many other major cities are landlocked, and boat travel is not possible. For example, you aren’t going to find any boat trips from Venice to Rome! But if you plan your trip well or you’re staying along the coast, traveling by boat can be a great option.
One of the best ways to take advantage of traveling by boat is to stay along the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. Known for its many picturesque beaches and quaint coastal towns, the Amalfi Coast is an amazing place to visit and one you could easily make a trip out of. And if you’re staying at any of the cities along the coast, it’s easy to go from one place to another via boat or ferry at a super affordable rate.
So if you’re staying somewhere that boat travel is viable, then you should certainly consider it for your trip. Not only is it a unique experience compared to renting a car or riding a bus, but sometimes you’ll get views from a boat that you just couldn’t get anyplace else.
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Getting Around Italy on a Vespa
If you’re in for an authentic Italian experience, then there is no better way to get around Italy than on the famous scooter, the Vespa. These Italian marvels are known worldwide for their design, reliability, and enjoyment since they were created way back in 1946. While we don’t think you’ll want to ride a Vespa cross-country from Milan to Naples like the example mentioned above, there is no better way to travel through the Italian countryside or to explore a city.
If you’ve never ridden a scooter or a motorcycle before, we recommend going on a Vespa tour to get you situated. Any of the major tours offered throughout the country will include a lesson at the start to teach you how to ride. And once you get the hang of it, riding a Vespa will be as easy as riding a bike — literally!
Just imagine hopping on an authentic Vespa in downtown Florence and riding along some old cobblestone streets on your way out of the city. As you exit the city limits and zoom out towards the breathtaking countryside and rolling hills of Tuscany, the wind is in your hair, and the roads will take you anywhere you want to go. The perfect day.
There is no more authentic Italian experience than riding a Vespa around Italy. So if you get the chance, take it! It’ll be an experience that you’ll never forget.