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Northern Italy by Train Itinerary: Where to Go + How to do it + Info

by Drifter Planet | Jan 29, 2020 | Italy , Most Popular Blog Posts

Northern Italy by Train Itinerary

An epic Northern Italy Itinerary that has everything – lakes, mountains, historical towns,

Italy has always been the centre of attention because of its beauty and culture. Year after year, it ranks in the top 10 as one of the most visited countries in the world . Italy is where you can really experience it all – the best food, beaches , mountains, canals, art, architecture, luxury cars, and history. Can you believe Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world?

Italy’s amazingness isn’t just due to its rich culture or fascinating history, or even the scenic beauty. It is more than that.

It is about experiencing the mediterranean climate, the joy of sitting on a chair along the street in one of the cafes while sipping espresso, tasting the simplicity of food that’s cooked with just 3-5 ingredients, seeing the locals communicate with energetic gestures and listening to the musical sound of Italian chatter. 

An outdoor restaurant in Tuscany, Italy

An outdoor restaurant in Tuscany, Italy – CC0 by Nina Evensen from Pixabay

If you look at the map of Italy, you will notice the country is shaped like a boot. It is surrounded by water on almost all sides, except the top of the boot. As you go down from the top of the boot to the toe, you will see how the landscape changes from mountains and alpine lakes, to vineyards, and to the beaches. 

Broadly speaking, the regions can be divided into the below sections, and in brackets are the most famous destinations of the regions so that you can get an idea – 

  • Northeast Italy, (the Dolomites, Trentino , Venice and Bologna) 
  • Northwest Italy, (Cinque Terre, Milan and the Alps)
  • Central Italy, (Tuscany region and Rome)
  • Southern Italy, (Naples, Puglia , Amalfi and Capri)
  • The islands – Sicily and Sardinia.

Each region of Italy offers something completely unique, and there is so much to experience in this incredibly exciting country. You don’t even need to go to the most popular destinations to enjoy the beauty of Italy. 

Beautiful village Tavon in Val di Non, Coredo, Italy

Beautiful village Tavon in Val di Non , Coredo, Italy

Even if you’re in one of the most unknown towns that doesn’t have a single person who speaks English, you will have an incredible time. Italians have a skill of communicating well with their exaggerated hand gestures, so language isn’t usually a barrier.

Moreover, almost all the towns have pretty streets and lovely town squares with something historic. Most of the city centre also have a free water fountain where you can fill up your bottles.

No doubt all the regions of Italy have something to offer, but the north of Italy is where you will find many of the country’s famous destinations and that’s what this post is all about. Yes, I’m talking about the Lake Como, the Renaissance city of Florence, the canals of Venice, Cinque Terre’s colorful coastline, the majestic Dolomites and the fashionable Milan. 

You can travel internally in the North of Italy in many ways but getting around by road is the best option to experience the natural beauty. 

In particular, getting around by rail is easy and convenient. You can sit back and relax as you gaze out from your window and see the beauty of the country. This is why rail holidays to Italy are super popular . They are relaxing, luxurious and can provide you a good value for money.

Another option is to arrive in Italy by air and rent a car from the airport. You can check and compare the car rental prices here from many different car rental companies.

Northern Italian Train Destinations + Itinerary

Northern Italy has an amazingly extensive train network that connect many of the country’s top destinations. We have made a train itinerary for you that can be shortened or lengthened based on your preferences. You can start this itinerary from top to bottom – Venice to Rome, or the other way round from Rome to Venice. 

The below map is just a very broad depiction of this route map. At this time Google Maps doesn’t let users create a route map with multiple train stops and this is why I have selected a driving map to give you a general idea.

We have mentioned 5 main parts of Northern Italy and optional destinations around those parts that are worth visiting. For instance, if you’re more into art or history and are super short of time, then you can just do Venice, Florence, and end your trip in Rome. However, we suggest you do a mix of both – the big cities and smaller towns so that you can experience Italy’s true natural beauty.

Here are some of the places that you can visit on a rail itinerary in this part of the country. 

Venice (Optional: Trento, Lago di Grada, Lago di Braies) – 3 – 4 Days

Grand Canal in Venice - Northern Italy by Train

Grand Canal in Venice – Northern Italy by Train – CCO via Pixabay

When thinking of Italy, Venice is always one of the first destinations that spring to mind. This floating city is known for its network of canals and bridges. Because of its geographical placement, it is the perfect way to start (or end) your Italy by train itinerary. You can explore the northeastern and northwestern parts of Italy very easily with your starting point as Venice. 

Being a major tourist destination, Venice is well connected by train routes. In fact, the easiest way to reach this city surrounded by water is by train, and you can take one from Austria, Slovenia or Germany. You can also arrive here on a ferry from Pula in Croatia . Or, you can just fly to Venice airport to start your Italy train trip. 

A bridge over a pretty canal in Venice, Italy

A bridge over a pretty canal in Venice, Italy – CCO – by travelspot via Pixabay

Forget about cars here – Venice is all about getting around via boat. There really is no place in the world quite like Venice, and it should definitely be added to any Italian travel itinerary. 

Besides the beautiful canals and gondolas, Venice is also known for many famous landmarks and attractions.  These include the Doges Palace, St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Rialto Bridge, the Campanile di San Marco, and many more. The buzz and energy experienced when walking around Venice is unlike any other city. After you spend around 2 days in Venice , then consider getting out to see the mountains.

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, Lake Braies in north Italy

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, North Italy – CC0 by vaiunruh via Pixabay

Venice can is a good starting point for you to see Italy’s mountains to see the Lake Grada or Lake Braies or the Dolomites. You can start off in Venice, head to Lake Grada (stations are Desenzano del Garda / Sirmione). If you have more time on your hands, then you can extend this part of your trip to experience the scenic towns around Lake Garda . Or go further up to Trentino.

If you’d like to see the Dolomites, then we suggest you take a train to Trento and consider going further up north to experience the Trentino region. You can include places like Val di Non , the spectacular lesser known Lake Tovel and also Alpe Cimbra . This part of Italy has some of the best lakes in Europe . We actually drove here from Venice with our rental car in 2018 and loved it.

Lake Como ( Optional Lake Orta & Milan) – 2 Days

The lovely Lake Como in Italy

The lovely Lake Como in Italy – CC0 – by EzPzPics via Pixabay

Italy has some amazing lakes and you can find the most famous ones in the north. These lakes are big, beautiful with the perfect alpine backdrops. They have been attracting travelers for many years.

Thanks to their stunning natural scenery, pretty lakeside towns, ancient villas, perfect gardens, and 19th-century hotels, a holiday along the Italian lakes is all about a luxurious and laid back experience. In the last part we spoke about Lake Grada and Lake Tovel, that are in Trentino region but here we will tell you how to visit Lake Como and Lake Orta.

Don’t let Italy’s more famous destinations like Rome and Venice make you leave out Lake Como in your itinerary. Lake Como (or Lago di Como) is awesome and it will make you fall in love with Italy.

Stay for a few days in one of the little towns along Lake Como and you wouldn’t want to leave. Remember the idyllic Naboo from Star Wars II Attack of the Clones ? It was filmed along Lake Como. 

Varenna, Lake Como, Northern Italy by Train itinerary

Varenna, Lake Como, Northern Italy by Train itinerary – CCO Image by travelspot via Pixabay

Lake Como is the most well known of the lakes in Italy. This enormous body of water is speckled with the most charming towns, speedboats, grand hotels, and phenomenal views. This far northern part of Italy is very close to Switzerland, so it offers a completely different atmosphere altogether. 

Lake Como has a shape of an inverted “Y”, so the legs are towards the south. The most scenic villages along Lake Como are up in the north because of the mountains.

Lake Orta, Italy by train

Lake Orta, Italy by train – CC0 by Fabio Valeggia via Pixabay

If you would like to experience the magnificent lakes, then taking a rail holiday is one of the best ways to do it. You can experience the Lake Como by taking a train to Como Nord Lago, Como Nord Borghi or Como San Giovanni . You can extend this part of your trip to also visit the Lake Orta by taking a train to Pettenasco .

Depending on your route, you may have to stop at Milan or change trains here. Why not stay for a day in Milan and experience the country’s fashion capital?

The Cinque Terre (Optional Turin) – 3 Days

The colorful houses of Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy

The colorful houses of Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy – CCO by heidi_ziller via Pixabay

The Cinque Terre is one of the most impressive coastal destinations in Italy. This stretch of scenic coastline is dotted with five of the most magnificent little towns in Italy. These are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Monterosso. Out of all these towns, Manarola is the one that you see on most of the pictures. 

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre – CC0 by Zotx via Pixabay

The Cinque Terre is best known for its beach, harbors, hiking trails, local wines, and perfect pastel-coloured villages. There are no cars in the Cinque Terre, and each town is connected via train. This makes rail travel the best way of reaching this area. If you are planning a railway itinerary in northern Italy, including a stop at the Cinque Terre is easy.

Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre - Northern Italy by train

Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre – Northern Italy by train – CC0 by Felix Wolf from Pixabay

From Milan or Como Nord Lago train stations, you can head to Turin. Either stay here or get on a train to Rapallo . From Rapallo, you can take a ferry to experience the Cinque Terre villages. Alternatively, you can also take a train from Rapallo to Monterosso .

Another option is to take a train directly from Germany to Cinque Terry by travel via the Rhine Gorge and Gotthard Pass to experience the best of Cinque Terre. 

Florence, Tuscany (Optional Umbria) 3 – 5 Days 

Sunset in Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Sunset in Florence, Tuscany, Italy – CC0 by Mark Gilder via Pixabay

Tuscany and Umbria are two Italian regions that cover some of the most attractive sights and points of interest in the country. Did you know that the Renaissance art movement started from Italy? It happened right here in Tuscany.

Both Tuscany and Umbria form a part of Italy is that’s very green. In fact, Umbria is also called the “green heart of Italy”, so you will get to experience the nature, the history and the art scene in Tuscany and Florence together.

The real beauty of this area is outside the cities and town – that’s where you will get the typical picture postcards style landscapes.

Tuscany's famous rolling hills - Italy by train

Tuscany’s famous rolling hills – Italy by train – CCO by monica_valladares from Pixabay

Nestled in the rolling green hills and scenic landscapes of these areas, you will find cities like Florence, Siena, Assisi, Pisa, and Perugia. Between the art, food, wine, history, and natural beauty – there are so many things to experience around here. 

Suggested: Visit Lecc e, the Florance of South Italy [Puglia]

These regions are conveniently located, being within easy reach of major cities. This makes a train journey around these regions very easy.  To experience this region by train, you need to arrive in either Perugia (for Umbria) or Florence (for Tuscany).

Tavernelle - Perugia - Umbria, Italy

Tavernelle – Perugia – Umbria, Italy

If you’re arriving here from the Monterosso or Rapallo train stations because you were visiting the Cinque Terre, then you can take a train directly to Lucca , make a quick side trip to see the leaning tower of Pisa and then head to Florence – a city where it all began.   To experience the best of Tuscany, you can stay for a few days in Florence and then take a train to Siena to explore the Chianti vineyards . You may want to read this Florence travel guide to gather more information about this legendary destination.  

If you have some time on your hand then you can visit Umbria right after Tuscany. From Siena, you can enter the Umbria region by taking a train to Perugia and head to Assisi and Spoleto from there. You can also make a trip to Lake Lucerne or visit Capri from Florence. If you don’t want to spend too much time in Tuscany, you can just visit Florence for a quick visit from Rome.

Rome (Optional Castel di Tora or Naples, Pompeii ) – 2 Days

The bejeweled Rome in Italy

The bejeweled Rome in Italy – CC0 by Nimrod Oren via Pixabay

Rome is Italy’s capital and most well-loved destination. This ancient city has so much going on, and any holiday to the country should definitely include a stop here. Every single thing in Rome has a history, even a bench along the street.

Rome is characterized by its world-famous landmarks and history , delicious cuisine, vibrant streets, and architectural beauty. Wherever you walk in this city, you will be faced with postcard-perfect scenes.  With its renowned museums, churches, Colosseum, Vatican City, piazzas, fountains, and more, Rome offers the ultimate Italian experience. Being the capital city, Rome is very well-connected and easy to travel to. 

Even the streets in Rome are lovely

Even the streets in Rome are lovely – CC0 by djedj via Pixabay

While in Rome, you can also easily visit the Vatican City. You don’t even have to make a day trip because it is right there.

Just 50 KMs away from Rome is the stunning Castel di Tora along the Turano Lake. It is a medieval village with lovely narrow streets and stunning viewpoints. The best part is that it next to the water. Include Castel di Tora in your itinerary if you have a little more time in Rome and you’d like to get away from the maddening crowds.

Rome is also a good starting point to see the Northern Italy if you want to start this itinerary from reverse, that is, from south to north. Start at Rome, head to Perugia, then Florence, then to Bologna and finally Venice. You can also alter this route by heading to the Cinque Terre villages at the end instead. Rome can be a part of many different kinds of train itineraries and you can also consider starting in Switzerland.

In case you want to take a peek at the gems of southern Italy, then you will be happy to know that they’re not far from Rome. It will take you just 3 hours to reach Naples and the Pompeii ruins.

Northern Italy Train Travel

The destinations above are some of the most popular stopping grounds in northern Italy. However, you can still customize your trip by adding stops at places like Milan, Bologna, San Gimignano, Verona, and Trentino.  Starting your trip in either Venice or Rome, and traveling between these destinations is easy to do. 

Final Thoughts about Northern Italy by Train Itinerary

If you are planning to explore Italy, then getting around by train is one of the best ways to do it. Italian rail holidays are convenient, and they offer fantastic views and experiences along the way. Traveling by train in Italy is quick and comfortable so it makes a lot of sense. The northern Italy is full of incredible places to visit and varied regions. Visiting some of the above mentioned destinations will give you an excellent taste of Italy that you will remember for life.

Did follow our Northern Italy itinerary?

Tag  @drifterplanet  on Instagram and hashtag it  #drifterplanet . We will be happy to share your journey with our audience.

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The Pragser Wildsee is stunning! Would love to visit it. So many other beautiful places in Northern Italy!

Oh wow, I had no idea that the train connections in northern Italy are well developed. I love traveling by train and haven’t seen these lakes yet 😏

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Hello Travelers!

Sonal of Drifter Planet

Namaste, Guten Tag! I'm Sonal from India, living in Germany and exploring Europe. I've been writing about my travels since 2015. I often travel alone (and sometimes with family of 3).

I love European city breaks, nature, adventure, hiking to viewpoints, Yoga, and road trips. I have a think for creating the most amazing travel itineraries and in-depth destination guides which will help you make the most of your trip.

Not sure where to start? Start with some of my most popular posts .

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Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by Drifter Planet

She Goes The Distance

The Perfect Northern Italy Itinerary: 5 Ideas For The Trip Of Your Dreams

The Perfect Northern Italy Itinerary: 5 Ideas For The Trip Of Your Dreams

Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by Michela

All of Italy’s regions offer something unique, and in this guide the spotlight is on the north. If you are having trouble narrowing down the top places to visit for you or you’re starting from scratch seeking inspiration, you’ll find the perfect northern Italy itinerary for you in this post, along with tips for visiting this part of the country.

I live in northern Italy, so the area not only has a special place in my heart, but I’ve also traveled all around it!

There is truly so much to do and see that one trip may not be enough, which is why I have curated 5 northern Italy itineraries that play to certain strengths: one for those who want to see the most famous locations, one for outdoor adventurers, one for city-lovers, one for couples, and one for foodies, so you experience a little bit of everything.

Hopefully all these options make clearer what is at the top of your northern Italy bucket list!

Some of these links are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure !

Creating The Perfect Northern Italy Itinerary

Before we get into the fun part (the destinations!), I must let you know all the practicalities of planning a northern Italy itinerary.

How Long Should A Northern Italy Itinerary Be?

The big question when planning a trip is always: how long you should spend in northern Italy?

Ideally, a robust northern Italy itinerary falls somewhere between 10 and 14 days.

If you have longer, great! You can go more off-the-beaten-path and deep dive into the culture, taking the slow travel route.

If you have less time and want to see a lot, plan out your transportation well and get ready for days jam-packed with things to do and breathtaking places to see!

I’ll be recommending the stops on the itineraries in a certain order, but not necessarily saying you should be spending one day here and two days there. That is up to you and the flexibility of your travel dates!

I will sprinkle in extra tips and suggestions based on my own experience (so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I have) and extra destinations as well, so you can play with how much extra time you have and be informed about other places in the area well-worth seeing.

Want specific help planning your northern Italy itinerary? Check out my trip planning services , where I give you a personalized itinerary with all the suggestions and tips specific to your desires and needs!

When is the best time to visit Northern Italy?

As a resident of northern Italy, I can share with certainty that the best time to visit is either June or September. In these two months you get the best weather, the very beginning or the tail end of the busy summer tourist season and, if you book ahead, you can get great deals on reservations for rental cars and accommodation.

For those adventure seekers and outdoor lovers, you may also enjoy traveling through the Italian Alps in winter during peak ski season , which is early December to late February.

Read my guides to Italy in Spring , Italy in Summer , Italy in Fall , and Italy in Winter to dive deeper into which season may be a better fit for you.

How To Get Around Northern Italy

Another necessary and important element of visiting northern Italy is knowing how you’ll get around. Northern Italy is the mostly well-connected by public transportation that can take you just about anywhere.

Northern Italy is, however, partially composed of the Italian Alps which presents a challenge for train travel. While you’ll easily be able to get from city to city and even town to town using regional trains, going through the mountains will mean there are less stops and train options, or there may just be no options at all.

I recommend for anyone visiting the Italian Alps either rent a car or plan to book a tour that handles transportation throughout the day’s activities.

Bus travel is also an option, but comes with its own challenges: one, understanding regional bus routes in a short period of time, and two, using coach buses means you’ll get dropped off in one spot and you don’t have much freedom to travel around.

Here’s a more in-depth look at how to get around northern Italy:

There are both national train lines and regional train lines, meaning you are well-connected between the major cities and there are also options to reach smaller towns. Trains are generally easy to navigate, so tourists shouldn’t be intimidated.

They aren’t as cheap as buses, but they’re less expensive than renting a car.

If you’re planning on taking a train around northern Italy, read all my Italy train travel tips so you know exactly how to prepare.

  • Mid-range price compared to bus and rental car travel
  • Well-connected between cities and towns (regional trains)
  • Can be less flexible

I use Omio for purchasing train tickets or go straight to the Trenitalia website .

Italy does not have a national bus line, so most buses are only regional or city. However, coach bus companies like Flixbus operate throughout the country and Europe, so you could travel between regions using their service.

Read about all of your options and how to navigate bus lines in my guide on buses in Italy .

Buses are usually the cheapest option for getting around , as Flixbus tickets are as low as $5. However, the travel time is the longest.

With regional buses you can typically reach small towns, while with Flixbus, you’ll mostly be limited to cities.

If you’re thinking of using regional or city buses, the real challenge is understanding the routes and planning your itinerary around the timetables.

I would only use the bus option if you are opting for a slow travel itinerary and have lots of time to spend in Italy, this way you save money but aren’t wasting half your vacation trying to figure out the buses.

Bus can also be a flexible and inexpensive option for airport transfer.

  • Can be super cheap & is overall less expensive
  • Least flexible
  • Takes time to understand routes of regional or city buses
  • Longest travel time

What’s more exciting than an Italy road trip ? It truly is the best way to visit the country and enjoy just how vastly different the landscapes are across the peninsula.

Renting a car in Italy is the most flexible yet most expensive option for traveling around northern Italy. If you’re hoping to visit many places that aren’t major cities or tourist spots, then I would absolutely recommend renting a car.

Any of these itineraries can be turned into a road trip itinerary – like I said, the country is best experienced by road trip!

  • Most flexible
  • Most comfortable
  • Most expensive
  • Have to get used to driving in Italy

5 Northern Italy Itineraries You Should Steal

The bucket list northern italy itinerary.

Wide canal on a sunny day lined with centuries old villas; The Grand Canal in Venice, North Italy

If you’re someone who’s embarking on their once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy, this itinerary is for you. Hit the 5 major areas on everyone’s northern Italy bucket list.

  • Cinque Terre

There is an airport in both Venice and Milan so you could start your itinerary in either place. Both these cities will be your home base on this itinerary.

Book your stay in Milan and spend time exploring the city, while using the next few days to visit Cinque Terre and Lake Como as day trips. Curious about more spots to hit? Discover more day trips from Mi lan to beef up your itinerary.

Then you’ll head to Venice, from which you can do a day trip to the Dolomites.

If you’re working with a 10 day northern Italy trip, you can make it simple by spending two days in each place, or do as I’m suggesting using Milan and Venice as your home bases to explore more with day trips.

Here are some in-depth guides to help you plan exactly what to do in each destination:

  • Milan in 24 hours
  • One Day Cinque Terre Itinerary
  • Lake Como in One Day: Varenna & Bellagio
  • 3 Day Dolomites Itinerary
  • Where to Stay in the Dolomites
  • Unique Things To Do in Venice

Check out this Google Maps Trip Planner with extra itinerary suggestions:

Explore the Italian Alps

train trips in northern italy

Outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with the Italian Alps. Whether you like hiking in the summer or skiing in the winter, the mountains are paradise.

The great thing is that even this itinerary is worthwhile for people who aren’t nature lovers but love the mountain landscape. You could engage in sports or you could visit to admire the views!

Here are the itinerary stops:

  • Western Alps: Courmayeur, Gran Paradiso National Park, Breuil-Cervinia
  • Central Alps : Lake Como, Bergamo, Val Brembana
  • Eastern Alps: Dolomites

This epic northern Italy itinerary begins in Valle D’Aosta, the smallest and most underrated of Italy’s regions. The entire area is made up of the Western Alps. You’ll find both French and Italian are spoken here because of how close the two countries are. But the true draw is the landscape!

Start as far west as possible in Courmayeur to visit Mont Blanc and the Val Ferret. Then explore Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso , the oldest national park in Italy, before heading north to the tiny town turned ski haven Breuil-Cervinia to see Monte Cervino – otherwise known as the Matterhorn !

Making your way from the Western Alps, you’ll cross Milan, Lake Como, and Bergamo in the Central Alps . Lake Como is a must stop also for mountain lovers: the peaks soaring above the lake are breathtaking. Dive deeper into the Val Brembana to the north of Bergamo to visit the villages of Branzi and Cornello dei Tasso.

Then head over to the Dolomites: the most unique of mountains with jagged grey peaks surrounded by the absolutely stunning valleys and green hills of Trentino Alto-Adige.

Check out the map to see this sample itinerary and extra suggestions on where to visit:

North Italy City-Breaks

Some travelers can’t get enough of a historic, bustling European city and Italy is rich with them.

From metropolitan Milan to the medieval hilltop city of Bergamo, the major cities in Italy all offer a different landscape to be explored.

The stops on this north Italy itinerary include:

You’ll probably start this itinerary in Milan, given that the most major airports are located just outside the city. However, if you’re flying from within Europe, you may want to consider flying into Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport, which is a hub for Ryanair flights.

Regardless, these two sister cities are only 40 minutes apart by car, but exhibit completely different landscapes. Milan is bustling, crowded, the energy is always high.

Bergamo is big in size, but quaint in spirit. Life moves just a little bit slower, especially up in Città Alta, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the medieval, historic old town that rests on a hilltop overlooking the more economic center, Città Bassa.

Head west to Turin , a financial and cultural hub like Milan, stylized by Baroque-style architecture and the famed Mole Antonelliana.

Head east and end your itinerary in Venice. There’s not much I need to explain as to why Venice is a good city-break: the uniqueness of its landscape and how it affects every aspect of life from transportation to food is crazy to experience in person.

Check out more in-depth locations for the perfect city-break itinerary to northern Italy on the map:

Most Romantic Places for Couples

Small side street in Verona Italy

It’s no secret Italy is one of the most romantic countries in the world to visit, so I’ve also curated a North Italy itinerary perfect for couples, whether on honeymoon, anniversary, or simply a romantic trip.

Between wine, fairytale villages, and intimate vistas, you’ll be feeling the Italian romance.

Here are some of the most romantic places in Italy :

  • Portovenere
  • Franciacorta

Portovenere is an underrated hidden gem on the coast of Liguria. From the views to the quiet harbor to the unreal swimming spots like Lord Byron’s Grotto and the untouched beaches of Palmeria Island , it’s a lover’s paradise and exudes Italian charm. Nearby Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure are a few extra stop ideas.

It’s no secret Lake Como is one of the most luxurious destinations in Italy and its exclusivity, plus the incredible views of villas and alpine peaks, makes it an intimate retreat. Make it easier to visit using my Lake Como budget tips , but don’t be afraid to indulge in visiting its most romantic places like Villa del Balbianello and the town of Bellagio .

The Tuscany of northern Italy? Franciacorta . Franciacorta is a territory between Bergamo and Brescia that produces sparkling wine or “spumante”, mostly Prosecco, Italy’s version of Champagne. If you love the idea of vineyard views on end and wine tasting with your partner, it must be added to your romantic itinerary.

Not far from Franciacorta is the region of Veneto, where the next half of the itinerary lies. Verona is the ultimate city of romance in Italy: the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, made up of rose-hued buildings and castles nestled over the Adige River.

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, but its small, cascading hillside towns make the atmosphere intimate. Visit Sirmione for its enchanting castle and Limone sul Garda for its quiet charm. Curious for more ideas? Read about all the best towns on Lake Garda .

Last stop for lovers: Venice! You can’t take a romantic trip to Italy without enjoying the swoon-worthy, picturesque atmosphere of Venice. Gondola ride for two?

Discover more specific destinations for loved-up travelers on the map:

A Foodie’s Northern Italy Itinerary

train trips in northern italy

Italian food is in a league of its own, but you’ll soon find out when visiting northern Italy that the traditional dishes are not pasta and pizza.

Instead, the meals are heartier, which reflect the lifestyle of the historic types of people living here: industrial workers or those living in the Alps having to face long winters.

People in northern Italy also love their local ingredients. Here are some foods to try in every region on this itinerary:

  • Truffles in Piemonte
  • Seafood, Focaccia, & Pesto in Liguria
  • Polenta in Bergamo
  • Spaghetti alla bolognese in Bologna

Starting in Piemonte, the speciality is one of the most expensive and luxurious foods in the world: truffles ! The best time to visit is in the fall, also when the White Truffle Festival takes place in Alba. I highly recommend booking a tour with a local guide for the unique experience of hunting for truffles and do a Barolo wine tasting.

Next stop is Liguria for fresh seafood, focaccia, and pesto ! You can pretty much walk into any bakery in Liguria and get an amazing piece of focaccia. I love simple focaccia, made with just oil, but the bread is so versatile that you’ll find many different versions. The other dish I ordered at every restaurant in Liguria: Trofie al Pesto.

After heading to the sea, return to the mountains around the area of Bergamo. Here you’ll find two specialties: polenta and pizzoccheri. Polenta is a versatile grain made plain, with cheese or as Polenta Contadina, made with cheese, spinach, and local sausage. Pizzoccheri are a mix of short buckwheat tagliatelle pasta, potatoes, cheese, and greens. It comes from Valtellina, a valley in Lombardy bordering Switzerland.

Your last stop on this itinerary is tapping into a bit of central Italy territory, but it is a must stop for foodies. Bologna is the origin of many Italian food favorites : Parmigiano Reggiano, Mortadella, Ragù Bolognese, Balsamic Vinegar and Lasagne. Arrive on an empty stomach and take a traditional food tour !

Check out the map with extra suggestions:

The SGTD Take

I could go on and on about all of the beautiful places to visit in northern Italy, but this post would then be at least 10,000 words. I highly suggest taking a look at the embedded maps to discover places worth adding to your itinerary based on the amount of time you have available.

Also take advantage of the linked posts within this article to discover individual destinations in depth and ultimately allow you to plan your trip better.

Northern Italy is a diverse landscape: mountains, sea, lakes, floating cities, metropolitan centers, food-rich countrysides. It’s hard to fit it all into one trip, but hopefully you’ve found the perfect itinerary for your trip to northern Italy or at least sparks of inspiration!

Which itinerary is on your bucket list? Leave a comment!

Italy Trip Planning Resources

  • Accommodation : For Italy, I mainly use Booking.com to search and book places to stay.
  • Booking flights : I like to search for flights through Skyscanner , but I also book direct depending on the airline.
  • Activities & experiences : For things to do that require a ticket, and for more unique trip activities, I use Musement .
  • Road trip : For renting a car, I get the best prices by comparing companies with AutoEurope . I then use ViaMichelin to estimate road trip costs and Autostrade.it to find gas stations/have live updates on traffic.
  • Transportation : Traveling by public transportation is a great way to see Italy. I use Trenitalia or Trainline to book tickets for trains and Flixbus for long-haul bus trips.
  • Accessories : I always travel with this portable charger to stay connected and with a universal adapter to accommodate Italy’s plug types.
  • Need help planning an itinerary? Fill out my form for a custom itinerary request !

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train trips in northern italy

If you head out on your adventure using one of these itineraries or have questions for curating a totally customized itinerary, share with me – I’d love to hear how your trip has gone or help you further plan your dream northern Italy itinerary !

train trips in northern italy

Michela is a travel writer and photographer living in northern Italy. She is passionate about helping people make the most of their travels by sharing advice gained from her personal experiences, off-the-beaten-path destinations and time-saving quick itineraries. Browse her top articles or have her help you plan your itinerary to your dream destination!

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train trips in northern italy

Hi Michela, I would love some suggestions on a 14 day itinerary to Northern Italy. We are coming from the West Coast of the US (California). This is our second trip. Our first trip we visited Rome, Florence, Bologna, Venice, Genoa/Cinque Terre. We would really like to visit Bologna and Florence again and have to add Verona for sure due to business (just 1 day business meeting). I’d also like to see Lake Como, Lake Guardia, Dolomites and Piedmont but know we can’t fit it all in and I’m ok with making another trip some day. I was thinking of flying into Rome due to convenience and cost and flying out of Milan mostly due to convenience. We are not opposed to flying in and or out of any airport as long as it makes sense. I would love to hear your suggestions for an itinerary and how long to spend in each place

train trips in northern italy

Those are all amazing places to visit! Since they are very concentrated in northern Italy, I would suggest flying roundtrip in and out of Milan. But if the price is better in Rome, you could always take a train to a major northern Italian city or find a cheap flight with RyanAir, for example.

As far as how long to spend in each place, here are my recommendations for a minimum amount of stay based on how much there is to do in each place (& my personal favorite spots!):

– Piedmont: at least 2 nights (Piedmont is a large region, so depending on how much you want to see, you could easily extend this a couple of nights) – Lake Como: at least 1 night – Bologna: at least 1 night – Florence: at least 2 nights – Verona: at least 1 night – Lake Garda: at least 1 night (or even a day trip from Verona & you stay in Verona 2 nights) – Dolomites: at least 2-3 nights

Planning the best order of visiting these places will depend on what airport you end up flying into, as well as what day your business meeting falls on! If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out again!

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The coast-hugging Cinque Terre Express.

10 of the best railway journeys in Italy

On train rides from Venice to Sicily, best book a window seat on these spectacular Italian trips

The Cinque Terre Express

One of Italy’s loveliest rail routes is the coast-hugging track along the Cinque Terre in Liguria. Called an express, it’s more of a gentle pootle above all five of the Unesco-listed seaside villages in this celebrated national park. Setting off from La Spezia, the route ends in Levanto. You can hop on and off for strolls along the labyrinthine lanes of colourful villages, such as Riomaggiore, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola – or stay put and drink in the sight of tiny village-crested bays and inlets, fronted by pristine thumbnail beaches. The Cinque Terre Train Card allows access to all hiking routes and unlimited train travel between the villages. One- to three-day options from €18.20 at cinqueterre.eu.com

The Circumetnea, Sicily

The Circumetnea railway links the Sicilean cities of Catania and Giarre/and goes around Mount Etna.

If you don’t fancy hiking Sicily’s most famous volcano, a thrilling alternative is the Ferrovia Circumetnea from Catania that encircles Etna’s base, ending its journey in Riposto. This dramatic journey sees you rattling across lava beds, past fields of prickly pears and little hamlets, then soaking up across Etna’s foothills views of its snow-capped, smoking peak. Constructed in 1898, it’s 110-km long and the whole route takes around three-and-a-half hours. Try to board one of the green or red vintage rolling stock that look like dinky vintage school buses – they were made by Fiat in the 1950s. Tickets cost €7.25 from circumetnea.it

The Bernina Express

The Bernina Express

Train buffs consider the legendary Unesco-listed Bernina Express route from Italian Tirano to St Moritz to be one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the world. The highest railway in Europe, it has spiral viaducts to get up the mountains. At times, the train clings to the mountainside thousands of feet up – and you’re rewarded head-swivelling with views across the Brusio viaduct, then there are waterfalls and glaciers, and up to the ear-popping peaks of the Italian and Swiss Alps. Autumn is pretty when the leaves change colour and begin to fall and winter, when the mountains are snow-draped. The Italian section of the Bernina Express starts from Tirano, which has links with trains from Milan. The four-hour train journey costs from £49. Panoramic carriage seats need to be booked in advance at rhb.ch

Reggio Calabria to Scilla

Reggio Calabria to Scilla it

It only takes 20 minutes, but if you have time to kill before catching the ferry to Sicily, the train ride from Reggio Calabria’s promenade-set Stazione Lido to the seaside town of Scilla is a delight. Leaving the rather ugly port area, you can expect glimpses of neat coves and sandy beaches, then little islets and fishing boats, and, on the approach towards the Strait of Messina, Mount Etna itself. Arriving at Scilla, spend time exploring this charming fishing village set on ochre-green cliffs. Highlights include its sprawling clifftop castle, broad sandy beach and excellent seafood restaurants. Tickets one way from £2.10 through Rail Europe

Trenino Verde, Sardinia

Trenino Verde, Sardinia

Sardinia’s dinky Trenino Verde (little green trains) trundle along narrow-gauge tracks across some of the island’s most stunning regions – all the way from the coast to the mountains. Don’t expect speed: tThese dedicated routes are famously slow as recounted by DH Lawrence in The Sea and Sardinia . But who needs to be in a rush when you have the chance to discover the wild heart of this extraordinary island? Pulled by a 1956 diesel locomotive, one of the most dazzling routes travels from Arbatax to Villagrande. Across the flats of Tortoli, you climb to mountainous Gennargentu national park. Daylong guided Trenino Verde train journeys including multiple stop-offs at points of interest and delicious food tastings cost from €55pp, sardegnatreninoverde.com

Little Trains of the Dolomites

Little Trains of the Dolomites it

The elegant vintage Renon narrow-gauge mountain railway is one of the oldest and steepest funicular railways in Europe. It chugs all the way to Collalbo, past undulating meadows and towering jagged mountain ranges. Join an escorted rail holiday and you get expert guidance around the mountainous rail routes. The trip includes a ride on line 700 between Mezzolombardo and Caldes, with spectacular views over Dolomiti castles and a dramatic ascent up one of Europe’s steepest tracks, the Mendola funicular railway. The nine-day Little Trains of the Dolomites tour runs in September and May from £1,499pp, including B&B accommodation and excursions, arenatravel.com

Rome to Siracuse

Noto, the capital of baroque stylethe street leading down at the famous town of Sicily – Noto, the capital of baroque style

Travel to Sicily by rail doesn’t sound easy and yet it’s one of the best direct long-haul Italian journeys around. Your train is shunted across the Strait of Messina via ferry while you can go up on deck for a breath of sea air. Kick off from Rome in your air-conditioned carriage for the 11-hour scenic ride to Naples and Salerno, then on to Taormina, Catania and Syracuse. Once in Sicily, coastal and mountain views turn to seascapes as well as glimpses of snow-dusted Mount Etna. Book in advance for super-economy tickets from £66.70 one way, second class at Rail Europe , links with Trenitalia

Venice to Florence

Venice to Florence

Ditch the car and link two of Italy’s top must-see cities by rail. It takes just over two hours to swap the canals of Venice for Florence’s meandering Arno. Travelling by train ensures a stress-free ride and some of the most gorgeous snapshots of the country along the way. En route you pass the exquisite Renaissance towns of Bologna, Prato and Ravenna, then through the mountains of Emilia-Romagna and alongside the vine-terraced hills of Tuscany. If you’re after a direct route, catch the high-speed Frecciarossa – but a more leisurely journey, admittedly with changes, ensures time to absorb those dreamy panoramas. Tickets from £26.50 one way, booked in advance from Rail Europe

Venice to Rome rail holiday

Venice to Rome rail holiday

A small-group rail holiday is a great way to take in Venice, Florence and Rome, staying in hotels along the way and experiencing local culture. Highlights include leisurely walks, museum visits and sipping an Aperol spritz in the quieter canal-side cafés of Venice; then a detour rail trip to Pisa. In Bologna, the focus is on food, with a tasting session of DOP meats, cheeses, wines and tortellini-making in the food markets of the Quadrilatero quarter, and in Florence and Rome, there’s plenty of time to explore the highlights of both these cities. A seven-day Venice to Rome by Railway tour costs from £1,498pp, including return flights, with responsibletravel.com

Rimini to Lecce

Follow Italy’s sparkling Adriatic by regional rail and you’ll be rewarded with dreamy sea views and glimpses of historic towns and small fishing villages. The line from Rimini down to Lecce is an absolute treat – and though it takes about six hours, you’ll shore up some unforgettable images. Swapping Rimini’s glitzy beach clubs for workaday Pesaro, the Frecciabianca stops at Ancona, Pescara and Foggia in Puglia. Occasionally, the track heads inland beneath the hills of Umbria and Tuscany, finally reaching dazzling baroque Lecce. Celebrate with a local pasticciotto and a spritz – almost as delightful as the journey itself. Tickets one way from £55.70, through Rail Europe or Trenitali

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Northern Italy Itinerary

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Discover the charm of the Northern Italy region with our carefully designed itineraries. From the romantic canals of Venice to the artistic wonders of Florence, the picturesque villages of Cinque Terre and trendy Milan, these five Northern Italy itineraries promise an unforgettable adventure for every traveller.

See our itineraries below, or get inspired by duration: 5 days - 7-days - 10 days - 14 days - South Italy

Tailor-made travel itineraries for Italy, created by local experts

Experience the hit TV show 'The White Lotus' in Sicily

8 days  / from 2646 USD

Experience the hit TV show 'The White Lotus' in Sicily

Stay in beautiful Taormina with gorgeous views of Mount Etna and discover Sicily, including famous filming locations. Go on exclusive wine tastings, discover the Greek theater in Taormina with a private guide, visit other Sicilian towns and enjoy the crystal clear water on this week-long trip.

Enchanting Italian Lakes

8 days  / from 3289 USD

Enchanting Italian Lakes

Experience the picturesque lakes of Northern Italy, including Lake Garda, Como, Lugano and Maggiore; explore the charming Borromean Islands – former favourites of Ernest Hemingway – and stroll the romantic streets of Verona and Milan. All of this, and much more, with this self-drive trip!

From Venice to Florence: A Grand Tour of Northern Italy

16 days  / from 3289 USD

From Venice to Florence: A Grand Tour of Northern Italy

From the atmospheric canals of Venice and the picturesque coastline of Cinque Terre, to the trendy designer boutiques of Milan and the Renaissance-infused streets of Florence, Northern Italy has plenty to offer. Experience it all with this comprehensive trip.

Florence: A Trip Back In Time

5 days  / from 1615 USD

Florence: A Trip Back In Time

Florence. A mere mention of the name conjures up grand images of Renaissance romance, awe-inspiring art and astonishing architecture. Come and see for yourself.

Eternal Rome for the Weekend

4 days  / from 1026 USD

Eternal Rome for the Weekend

Welcome to this whirlwind tour of Rome, also known as the Eternal City. Rome is one of the most photogenic cities on earth, so make sure you pack your camera.

Wine and food in Tuscany

6 days  / from 2700 USD

Wine and food in Tuscany

Stay at a beautiful hotel in San Gimignano, a medieval hill town half way between Florence and Siena. Tuscany is known for its wines and food and that's what you'll be exploring on this itinerary - several wine and food pairings await. All hand-picked by your local travel specialist.

Itinerary #1: From Venice to Florence: A Grand Tour of Northern Italy

Northern Italy has plenty to offer. Experience it all with this comprehensive 16-day Northern Italy trip .

The 16-day Italian adventure begins in Venice, where travellers are transferred to a hotel. On day two , a private guide leads a city tour, ending with a gondola ride.

Day three explores the Venetian lagoon, visiting Burano and Murano islands. Day four is a leisure day in Venice.

Day five involves a 3-hour journey to Milan , where travellers have free time to explore or engage in arranged activities. Day six includes a walking tour of Milan's historic sites.

Day seven takes travellers on a 1-hour train journey to Como . Day eight features a short ride to Lugano, Switzerland , renowned for its picturesque surroundings and mild climate.

Day nine offers a guided boat trip on Lake Como, providing stunning views. Day ten is a free day for leisure activities.

Day eleven involves a transfer to Cinque Terre , with the evening free to explore. Day twelve presents an extensive tour of Cinque Terre, visiting Riomaggiore, Monterosso, Vernazza, and Manarola.

Day thirteen is another leisure day at Cinque Terre. Day fourteen includes a visit to Pisa's famous Leaning Tower and Lucca's Renaissance wall before transferring to Florence.

Day fifteen features a private tour of Florence's iconic landmarks, including the Duomo, Piazza della Repubblica, and Ponte Vecchio.

On day sixteen , the tour concludes, and travellers are transferred to the airport for departure. Read more .

St Mark's Square from the Grand canal. Venice, Italy © volkova natalia/Shutterstock

St Mark's Square from the Grand Canal. Venice, Italy © volkova natalia/Shutterstock

Itinerary overview

Check this overview of the Northern Italy itinerary.

Interested? Don't miss the opportunity to book this trip now .

Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio in Milan © Shutterstock

Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio in Milan © Shutterstock

Itinerary #2: Supercars in the Heart of Northern Italy

Discover the world’s finest sports cars in the Italian cities of Bologna and Modena and see beautiful Venice and Florence as part of this luxury automotive 12-day Italian trip .

This 12-day Italian adventure begins in Venice with a private water taxi ride to the hotel. Enjoy a private walking tour of Venice and a gondola ride through its canals on day two .

On day three , take a train to Bologna with transfers included. Day four offers a visit to the Lamborghini factory and museum, witnessing the creation of renowned sports cars.

Embark on a small group Vespa tour to the hills outside Bologna on the fifth day . On day six , visit the Maserati Museum in Modena , with a private walking tour of the city and a wine tasting.

Day seven is a leisure day in Bologna. Day eight is dedicated to Ferrari, visiting the Enzo Ferrari House Museum , Maranello town, and enjoying a guided tour of the Ferrari factory and museum. Experience driving a Ferrari on the racetrack.

On day nine , visit the Pagani factory and have lunch in Castelvetro. In the afternoon, visit the Ducati Museum and Factory. Take a short train ride to Florence for a day of leisure on day ten .

On day eleven , enjoy a half-day walking tour of Florence with an English-speaking guide, visiting iconic landmarks and the Uffizi Gallery.

On day twelve , bid farewell to Italy as a private driver takes you to the airport for departure. Read more .

Bologna-italy-shutterstock_419143885

Bologna, Italy @ Shutterstock

Looking for a new experience? Book your trip now .

modena-italy-shutterstock_607173212

Modena, Italy @ Shutterstock

Itinerary #3: Enchanting Italian Lakes

Experience the picturesque lakes of Northern Italy, including Lake Garda, Como, Lugano and Maggiore and stroll the romantic streets of Verona and Milan with this self-drive Northern Italy itinerary .

This 8-day Italian adventure begins with a rental car pickup at Milan International Airport. On day one , you'll check into your hotel in Milan and have the day to explore at your leisure.

Day two starts with a tour of Milan's iconic sites, beginning at Castello Sforzesco. After the tour, you'll drive to Lake Garda , stopping at the picturesque resort of Sirmione en route.

Day three is dedicated to exploring the beautiful lakeside towns around Lake Garda, known for their Roman heritage and stunning landscapes.

Day four takes you to Verona , the city of Romeo and Juliet, for a fascinating city tour.

On day five , you'll enjoy a walking tour of Como, a charming town on the shores of Lake Como. You can then choose to catch a boat to Bellagio, another picturesque town on the lake.

Day six is all about exploring Lake Lugano, situated between Lake Como and Maggiore , and straddling the Swiss-Italian border. On day seven , you will explore Stresa, a serene town on Lake Maggiore, and the Borromean Islands, known for their beauty and history.

Day eight involves driving back to Milan International Airport to return your rental car and catch your departure flight. Read more .

Verona image during summer sunset © Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock

Verona image during summer sunset © Rudy Balasko/Shutterstock

Check this overview of the Northern Italy itinerary. 

Fascinated by the itinerary? Don't wait, book this trip now .

lake-maggiore-italy-shutterstock_577597000

Lake Maggiore, Italy @ Shutterstock

Itinerary #4: Romantic Venice

Indulge in a charming weekend getaway in Venice, a captivating city nestled in the heart of Northern Italy. This delightful 4-day trip offers a pleasant walking tour, immersing you in the rich history, art, and architecture of Venice.

Day one welcomes you as you arrive at Marco Polo International Airport and are transferred to your hotel, leaving the day free to explore Venice at your leisure.

On day two , embark on a private walking tour, beginning at the Saint Mark's area, where you'll delve into the historical significance of the powerful maritime empire of the Mediterranean. The tour includes iconic landmarks such as The Doges' Palace, St. Mark's Square, and the Basilica, each showcasing unparalleled beauty and historical importance.

Day three commences with a sumptuous breakfast, followed by a picturesque 30-minute gondola ride through Venice's waterways, allowing you to soak in the city's unique ambience. The afternoon is yours to explore at your own pace, culminating in a delightful three-course dinner at a centrally located restaurant (drinks not included).

Enjoy a free day on day four , allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Venice and discover its hidden gems.

As your journey comes to an end on day five , check out of your hotel after breakfast. A private transfer will take you to Marco Polo International Airport, leaving you with cherished memories and the desire to return to this mesmerizing destination once again. Read more .

Grand Canal, Venice, Italy © Apple Kullathida/Shutterstock

Grand Canal, Venice, Italy © Apple Kullathida/Shutterstock

Dreaming of exploring? Turn your dreams into reality and book this trip now .

Venice, Canal, Italy

Venice, Canal, Italy @ Shutterstock

Itinerary #5: Trieste - a combination of hiking and culture

Take this 5-day trip to Northern Italy and truly get to know the charming city of Trieste. This journey goes beyond simple sightseeing, offering a unique perspective from the locals' point of view.

Day one welcomes you in Trieste with a warm reception at the train station or airport, followed by a leisurely exploration of the city centre. Marvel at the historic streets and squares, the seafront, and the renowned Piazza Unità.

Day two takes you on a scenic journey to the Karst plateau. Hop on the iconic Opicina tram to ascend to the plateau. Embark on a picturesque walk with panoramic views of the city and sea, leading you to the splendid Miramare Castle Park.

On day three , embark on a discovery of the equestrian park of Lipica, an oasis of tranquillity and home to the elegant Lipizzan horses. After a guided tour and serene strolls in the estate, visit the valley of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes.

Day four begins with a trip to the Rosandra Valley Reserve. Walk along the ancient salt road, enjoying views of the Rosandra stream with its waterfall and natural pools.

Conclude your trip on day five with a visit to the awe-inspiring Grotta Gigante, the largest cave in the world. At the end of the visit, you will return to the city. From here, once you have recovered any luggage left at the deposit of your facility, you can continue your journey independently or return home. Read more .

Trieste-italy-shutterstock_1523485277

Trieste, Italy @ Shutterstock

Craving for adventure? Don't miss the opportunity to book this trip now .

fisherman-trieste-italy-shutterstock_619430114

Fisherman, Trieste, Italy @ Shutterstock

You might also want to browse our customisable Italy itineraries or talk to our local Italy experts .

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Northern Italy by train: 2-week itinerary

In this 2-week Northern Italy by train itinerary, you’ll visit the most beautiful cities and you’ll see some scenic landscapes in Northern Italy.

How do you get to Northern Italy?

If you don’t want to travel to Italy by car, there are two options: by train or by plane.

Taking the train to Italy

This Northern Italy itinerary starts in Milan and this city has several major train stations. Milan is very accessible by train from most European cities. You’ll probably arrive at either Milano Porta Garibaldi station or Milano Centrale station. Depending on where you’re traveling from, the journey can be quite long. For example, from Utrecht (The Netherlands) the journey takes about 12 to 14 hours and you have to change trains several times.

Depending on your departure station, you travel to Milan via Germany or France (with a transfer in Paris). Check Rail Europe for your travel schedule and to order international train tickets.

By airplane

Do you think the train journey is too long? Then you can always take a plane to Milan. From all over Europe, there are daily flights to Milan. Milan has several airports and a return ticket is usually not that expensive. Check Skyscanner to compare prices and book the cheapest plane ticket to Milan.

Northern Italy by train: the itinerary

Do you have about two weeks for your trip to Northern Italy by train? Then this is a great itinerary:

Day 1 to 4: Milan

Duomo in Milan

Milan is one of the largest cities in Italy and you can enjoy yourself here for a few days. Visit the impressive Duomo, view The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci, and discover the most impressive shopping street in Europe: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.

From Milan, you can also go on a couple of great day trips by train:

  • Bergamo : a beautiful old city center on a hill.
  • Lake Como : beautiful views, hiking trails, and beautiful villas.

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo

Where to stay in Milan

  • Hostel: Babila Hostel & Bistrot – cozy hostel in the center of Milan.
  • Hotel: B&B Hotel Milano Central Station – a beautiful hotel in a pleasant neighborhood, near Milan Central Station.

Day 5 to 7: Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre

From Milan, you travel by train to La Spezia in about three hours. There is not much to do in La Spezia itself, but it is the perfect base to visit the Cinque Terre National Park . This park consists of five beautiful small villages along an impressive coastline. You can visit the villages by train or go hiking between the villages.

Where to stay in La Spezia

  • Hostel: Grand Hostel Manin – great hostel with a communal kitchen.
  • Hotel: The Poet Hotel – modern decorated and cozy hotel.

Tip! If you’re short on time or can’t find affordable accommodation in the Cinque Terre region, it’s possible to check out Cinque Terre in one day. Check this article for tips: How to see Cinque Terre in one day? Itinerary & tips .

Day 8 and 9: Bologna

Bologna in Italy

From La Spezia, you take the train to Bologna (usually with a change in Parma or Florence). The train journey takes about three to four hours. Bologna is a pleasant student city with an impressive historic center full of towers. This is also one of the best cities to taste the best dishes of Italian cuisine.

Where to stay in Bologna

  • Hostel: Dopa Hostel – cozy hostel within walking distance of the city center.
  • Hotel: Hotel Metropolitan – in the city center with a beautiful roof terrace.

Day 10 to 14: Verona

View of Verona

The train journey between Bologna and Verona takes only 1.5 hours, so you’ll be in the city of Romeo and Juliet in no time. Verona has a beautiful historic city center. Here you’ll find one of the largest Roman amphitheaters in the world, which is still in use for concerts and operas. There are also many special frescoes in the city, for example in Piazza Delle Erbe and in Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore.

From Verona, you can go on some great day trips, for example:

  • Venice : one of the most impressive places in the world.
  • Padua : a pleasant university city with the largest square in Italy
  • Peschiera del Garda: go on beautiful walks along Lake Garda

Square with statues in Padua

Where to stay in Verona

  • Hostel: Posada Verona Hostel – modern furnished hostel, near the station.
  • Hotel: Hotel Milano – hotel with spa facilities next to the Verona Arena.

From Verona, you can easily continue your trip through Europe. You might even want to visit Austria or Germany! But you can also easily take the train to Milan (the journey takes about 2 hours) and travel back home from there.

Map: Northern Italy by train itinerary

Below you see a map with the destinations in Northern Italy that you can visit by train. The blue cities are great destinations to use as a base and the green places are nice to visit as a day trip.

About this Northern Italy by train itinerary

To create some tranquility in this Northern Italy by train itinerary, I chose to stay longer in some places and make day trips from there. This way, I had to travel less with all my luggage and I also liked to come “home” every now and then. If you don’t feel like relaxing a little during your trip, you can of course choose to stay shorter everywhere and add extra stops.

Do you have more time? Then you can also consider visiting these places:

  • Add Pisa and Florence between La Spezia and Bologna. This way you also visit two beautiful cities in Tuscany .
  • From Bologna, you can go on day trips to other places. I can recommend visiting Modena, Parma and Ravenna.

Traveling by train in Italy

Traveling by train in Italy

The train connections are good in Italy and trains run on a regular basis. Keep in mind that you are taking the right train at the right time. Your ticket is only valid for that train.

You can buy tickets at the station, at a machine or at the ticket office. You still have to validate this ticket before boarding the train, this is possible at one of the many machines. You can also buy an e-ticket via Omio .

Where to stay

At every destination in this itinerary, I’ve added some great options on where to stay. Are they no longer available or do you prefer something else? During my trip to Northern Italy (September 2020), I booked all my accommodations last minute and that was easy to do. I used Booking.com for hostels and hotel rooms and Airbnb for apartments. There was always plenty to choose from for a reasonable price via both platforms.

Want to read more about Italy?

Order one of these travel guides to get inspired:

DK Eyewitness Italy

DK Eyewitness Italy

Whether you want to explore the evocative ruins of the Roman empire, traverse Tuscany’s vineyard-cloaked hills, or simply sip espresso and watch the world go by, your DK Eyewitness travel guide makes sure you experience all that Italy has to offer.

Frommer’s Italy

Frommer's Italy

With helpful advice and honest recommendations from Frommer’s expert authors, you’ll walk among the ancient ruins of Pompeii, float along the canals of Venice, appreciate Renaissance masterworks in Florence, explore off-the-beaten-path Puglia and live  la dolce vita  in Rome―as well as discover timeless wonders such as the vineyards of Tuscany and cliff-top towns perched along the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre.

As I travel to Italy regularly, you can read more about a trip to Italy on this website. Check out these articles as well:

16 Most beautiful cities in Italy

  • Bucket list: these are the most beautiful places in Italy
  • The best things to do in Tuscany

Looking for more travel inspiration?  Sign up for my newsletter  for great travel stories and tips on the most beautiful destinations.

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Northern Italy by train itinerary

As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling . I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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The Ultimate Northern Italy Itinerary: Must-See Destinations

The Ultimate Northern Italy Itinerary: Must-See Destinations

  • Post author: angelo
  • Post published: November 4, 2023
  • Post category: Italy

When it comes to exploring Italy , each of its regions offers something unique and captivating. In this comprehensive northern Italy itinerary guide, we’ll cast a spotlight on the enchanting northern part of the country. Whether you’re struggling to narrow down your travel options or starting from scratch in search of inspiration, this post is designed to help you craft the perfect itinerary, complete with valuable tips for navigating this fascinating region.

As someone who visits northern Italy on a regular basis, this area holds a special place in my heart. Over time, I’ve had the privilege of traversing its picturesque landscapes, savouring its delectable cuisine, and immersing myself in its rich culture. There is so much to see and do in the North of Italy that a single trip for sure may not suffice. To address this delightful dilemma, I’ve curated five distinct northern Italy itineraries (plus a suggested itinerary at the end), each catering to different interests and preferences. These itineraries are tailored for those who wish to explore the most famous locations, outdoor enthusiasts, city lovers, couples seeking romance, and avid foodies. With these options, you can experience a bit of everything that northern Italy has to offer, making it easier to compile your northern Italy bucket list.

How long should a northern Italy itinerary be

Before delving into the itineraries, let’s address a crucial question that often plagues traveler’s: How long should a northern Italy itinerary be? Ideally, a robust northern Italy itinerary should span between 10 and 14 days. If you have more time at your disposal, that’s even better. You can delve deeper into the local culture, take the slow travel route, and unearth hidden gems. On the other hand, if you have a shorter timeframe and still want to explore a variety of places, careful planning of your transportation and a jam-packed schedule of activities await you.

While I’ll recommend a particular order for the stops on the itineraries, I won’t prescribe a fixed number of days for each location. The flexibility of your travel dates and the pace of your journey should guide your choices. I’ll also sprinkle in additional tips and suggestions based on my own experiences to ensure you don’t encounter the same hiccups I did, and I’ll introduce you to extra destinations in the region that are well worth your time.

The Best Time to Visit North of Italy

Now, let’s consider the best time to visit northern Italy. As a frequent visitor of this region, I can confidently tell you that the optimal times to explore northern Italy are during the months of June and September. These months offer the perfect blend of pleasant weather, the beginning or tail end of the busy summer tourist season, and the opportunity to secure great deals on rental cars and accommodations if you book in advance. For adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts, winter in the Italian Alps , during the peak ski season, is a thrilling option.

Florence Italy

How to Move Around

Now, let’s turn our attention to the essential aspect of moving around northern Italy . This region is the most developed part of the country, making transportation readily accessible and convenient. However, northern Italy is not without its challenges, particularly when it comes to navigating the Italian Alps. While you can easily travel between cities and even towns using regional trains, crossing the mountainous terrain may limit your train options. In some cases, there may be no train connections available at all. For those planning to explore the Italian Alps, I recommend either renting a car or booking a tour that takes care of transportation during your daily activities. Another option is bus travel, which comes with its own set of challenges, such as understanding regional bus routes within a limited timeframe and a lack of flexibility when using coach buses.

Here’s a more detailed look at your transportation options in northern Italy:

Northern Italy boasts both national and regional train lines, ensuring well-connected travel between major cities and smaller towns. Trains are generally easy to navigate, making them an attractive option for tourists. While trains may not be as cost-effective as buses, they are more budget-friendly than renting a car.

Italy lacks a national bus line, so most buses are regional or city-specific. However, companies like Flixbus operate throughout the country and Europe, providing options for interregional travel.

Buses are often the most economical choice for transportation, with Flixbus tickets available for as low as €5. Nonetheless, they tend to have longer travel times. Regional buses offer access to smaller towns, while Flixbus primarily serves cities. Navigating regional or city buses can be challenging, requiring careful planning around timetables.

Opting for buses is ideal for a slower travel itinerary when you have ample time to explore Italy. This approach allows you to save money while immersing yourself in the local experience.

Embarking on an Italian road trip is a thrilling adventure, providing the opportunity to experience the country’s diverse landscapes. Renting a car in Italy offers maximum flexibility but comes at a higher cost compared to other modes of transportation.

If your itinerary involves visiting many places outside major cities or tourist hotspots, renting a car is highly recommended. Any of the itineraries discussed here can easily be transformed into a road trip, allowing you to relish the scenic beauty of Italy at your own pace. Now, let’s dive into the five enticing northern Italy itineraries designed to cater to your distinct interests and preferences:

  • The Bucket List Northern Italy Itinerary:

If you’re embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Italy, this Northern Italy itinerary is tailored to your aspirations. This comprehensive route covers the five major areas on everyone’s northern Italy bucket list, including Milan , Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Venice, and the Dolomites. You can start your journey in either Milan or Venice , with both cities serving as excellent home bases for exploring the region. Spend time in Milan, venture to the enchanting Cinque Terre and Lake Como, and consider exploring additional day trip options. Subsequently, make your way to Venice, from where you can embark on a day trip to the stunning Dolomites. With a 10-day itinerary, you have the flexibility to allocate two days to each location. However, you can adapt this itinerary according to your preferences and the time you have available.

  • Explore the Italian Alps:

For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, the Italian Alps offer a breathtaking and invigorating experience. This itinerary delves into the Western Alps, including Courmayeur, Gran Paradiso National Park, and Breuil-Cervinia, followed by a journey through the Central Alps, covering Lake Como, Bergamo, and Val Brembana, and concluding with the Eastern Alps in the Dolomites . The Western Alps in Valle D’Aosta offer a unique blend of French and Italian cultures, with the stunning Mont Blanc and Matterhorn as prominent highlights. Moving through the Central Alps, you’ll be captivated by the picturesque Lake Como and the charming towns that grace its shores. A deeper exploration of Val Brembana reveals hidden treasures in the form of villages like Branzi and Cornello dei Tasso. Finally, the Eastern Alps, with their jagged grey peaks and lush valleys, make the Dolomites a must-visit destination for mountain enthusiasts.

  • City-Lovers’ Paradise:

For travellers who relish the hustle and bustle of historic European cities, this itinerary presents an array of vibrant urban centers. From the bustling metropolis of Milan to the medieval charm of Bergamo, the major cities in northern Italy offer diverse landscapes and captivating experiences. The itinerary covers Milan, Turin, Bergamo, and Venice. You can choose to start in Milan, home to major airports, or consider Bergamo Orio al Serio Airport , a hub for Ryanair flights. Milan and Bergamo, while just 40 minutes apart by car, offer entirely distinct atmospheres. Milan exudes energy and excitement, while Bergamo, with its historic Città Alta, boasts a more relaxed pace of life. Continuing westward, Turin awaits, adorned with Baroque-style architecture and the iconic Mole Antonelliana. Finally, journey east to the enchanting Venice, known for its unique water-based transportation system and picturesque alleyways that beckon travelers to get lost in their beauty.

  • Most Romantic Places for Couples:

Italy has long been celebrated as one of the world’s most romantic destinations, making it an ideal choice for couples seeking an amorous getaway. This Northern Italy itinerary takes you to the most enchanting and intimate locales, including Portovenere, Lake Como, Franciacorta, Verona , Lake Garda, and Venice. Portovenere, a hidden gem along the Ligurian coast, offers stunning views, a tranquil harbor, and romantic spots like Lord Byron’s Grotto and Palmeria Island. Lake Como, renowned for its luxury, features villas, alpine peaks, and the picturesque town of Bellagio. Franciacorta, nestled between Bergamo and Brescia, is a haven for wine lovers, with its sparkling wine and vineyard vistas. Further exploration in Veneto reveals Verona, the city of love, immortalized in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Lake Garda , the largest lake in Italy, boasts small, charming towns, including Sirmione and Limone sul Garda, offering an intimate atmosphere. Venice, the ultimate romantic city, beckons with gondola rides and timeless charm.

  • A Foodie’s Northern Italy Itinerary:

Italian cuisine is renowned worldwide, and northern Italy’s traditional dishes are a departure from the stereotypical pasta and pizza. The meals here are heartier, reflecting the lifestyles of industrial workers and the challenging winters faced by those in the Alpine regions. Additionally, northern Italy is passionate about local ingredients, resulting in a delectable array of regional specialties. Here are some of the delightful foods you can savor in each region on this itinerary:

Piemonte: Truffles Liguria: Seafood, Focaccia, and Pesto Bergamo: Polenta Bologna: Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, Parmigiano Reggiano, Mortadella, Ragù Bolognese, Balsamic Vinegar, and Lasagna , Tortellini in Brodo

The northern Italy foodie itinerary commences in Piemonte, renowned for its exquisite truffles. A fall visit is ideal, coinciding with the White Truffle Festival in Alba. To make the most of this experience, consider booking a truffle hunting tour and indulging in a Barolo wine tasting. Liguria , with its fresh seafood, delectable focaccia, and iconic pesto, awaits your palate. Don’t miss out on the trofie al pesto, a Ligurian pasta favorite. Venturing into Bergamo, you’ll encounter two regional specialties: polenta and pizzoccheri. Polenta, a versatile grain dish, comes in various forms, including Polenta Contadina, which combines cheese, spinach, and local sausage. Pizzoccheri, a unique blend of short buckwheat tagliatelle pasta, potatoes, cheese, and greens, hails from Valtellina, a valley bordering Switzerland. The final stop on this delectable journey is Bologna, the birthplace of Italian food favorites such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Mortadella, Ragù Bolognese, Balsamic Vinegar, and Lasagna. Arrive with an empty stomach to fully savor these culinary delights of this wonderful city.

Turin Italy

If you are not sure where to start on planning your Northern Italy itinerary I have a solution for you with a suggested itinerary if you are a first timer visiting the North of Italy.

Exploring Northern Italy: A 10-Day Itinerary

Northern Italy, with its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, is a dream destination for travelers. From the romantic canals of Venice to the art-filled streets of Florence, and the breathtaking landscapes of the Italian Lakes, Northern Italy offers a diverse range of experiences. In this article, we will take you on a 10-day journey through this enchanting region, providing you with a comprehensive Northern Italy itinerary packed with 10 incredible ideas for an unforgettable trip.

Day 1: Arrival in Milan

Your Northern Italy adventure begins in Milan, the fashion and financial capital of Italy. Upon arrival at Milan Malpensa Airport , settle into your accommodation and spend your first evening exploring the city. Take a stroll through the magnificent Piazza del Duomo, where you can admire the iconic Milan Cathedral. Don’t forget to visit Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II , a 19th-century shopping gallery with luxurious boutiques and restaurants.

Day 2: Milan Exploration

Start your day with a visit to Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, “The Last Supper” located in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Book your tickets in advance, as this is a popular attraction. In the afternoon, explore the historic Sforza Castle and its beautiful surrounding park. Milan is also known for its fashion, so indulge in some shopping along Via Montenapoleone or Corso Buenos Aires.

Day 3: Venice – The City of Canals

Leave Milan behind and take a train to the enchanting city of Venice and begin your exploration of this unique city built on water. Start with a visit to St. Mark’s Square and the stunning St. Mark’s Basilica. Take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal and explore the charming streets of Venice.

Day 4: Venice Islands

Spend a day exploring the beautiful islands surrounding Venice. Take a Vaporetto (water bus) to Murano , famous for its glass-blowing traditions, and then proceed to Burano, known for its colorful houses and lace-making heritage. Finally, visit Torcello, home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Attila’s Throne, where you can enjoy the tranquility of this island paradise

Day 5: Verona and Juliet’s Balcony

Leave Venice and travel to Verona, the city of love. Explore the well-preserved Roman arena, where you can catch an opera performance if you visit during the opera season. Don’t miss a visit to Juliet’s House, with its iconic balcony. Take a romantic stroll along the Adige River and enjoy a meal in one of Verona’s charming restaurants.

Day 6: Lake Garda

Head to Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, surrounded by picturesque villages and stunning landscapes. Spend your day in the town of Sirmione, known for its thermal baths and Scaliger Castle. Take a dip in the lake’s crystal-clear waters and savor delicious Italian gelato as you enjoy the serene atmosphere.

Day 7: Florence – The Cradle of the Renaissance

Say goodbye to Lake Garda and board a train to Florence, the heart of the Renaissance. Visit the Uffizi Gallery to see masterpieces by artists like Michelangelo and Botticelli. Stroll across the iconic Ponte Vecchio, don’t miss a visit to the Florence Cathedral.

Day 8: Florence’s Art and Culture

Dedicate a full day to Florence’s art and culture. Explore the magnificent Florence Cathedral (Duomo) and its stunning dome designed by Brunelleschi. Visit the Galleria dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David, and then wander through the Boboli Gardens. In the evening, savor Tuscan cuisine in a local trattoria.

Day 9: Tuscany Day Trip

While in Florence , you can’t miss the opportunity to explore the beautiful Tuscan countryside. Take a day trip to the charming towns of Siena and San Gimignano. In Siena, visit the Piazza del Campo and the stunning Siena Cathedral. In San Gimignano, admire the medieval towers that dot the skyline and enjoy local wines and cuisine.

Milan Italy

Day 10: Milan Departure

End your 10-day Northern Italy itinerary by returning to Milan for your departure. If time allows, visit the Brera district to explore its art gallery and charming streets. Before leaving, savour a last Italian meal, perhaps in one of Milan’s top-rated restaurants.

A trip to Northern Italy offers a diverse range of experiences, from the bustling city life of Milan to the romantic canals of Venice, the cultural richness of Florence, and the serene beauty of Lake Garda. This 10-day itinerary provides a perfect balance of history, culture, and natural beauty, allowing you to make the most of your visit to this enchanting region.

In conclusion, northern Italy is a captivating and diverse region, offering a rich tapestry of experiences, from breathtaking mountains and tranquil lakes to vibrant cities and delectable cuisine. While it’s challenging to encompass all of its wonders in a single trip, I hope these itineraries provide you with the inspiration and guidance you need to craft your dream northern Italy adventure. You can customize these itineraries based on your interests, time frame, and preferred pace of travel. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, a foodie, or a romantic at heart, northern Italy has something special to offer, and these itineraries are your key to unlocking its treasures.

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train trips in northern italy

Italian Lakes First-Class Train Tour with Scenic Centovalli Rail Journey & Lake Como Cruise

Luxury Escapes Trusted Partner Tours logo

Stresa, Lake Como, Locarno, Milan, Verona, Verona City Centre, Lake Garda, Venice

Rediscover the romance of rail travel and take in the soulful beauty of northern Italy from a unique vantage point on this nine-day tour, travelling first-class from the spectacular Italian Lakes to the magnificent canals of Venice. Witness the breathtaking Duomo di Milano in historic Milan, become spellbound by the serene ambience of the Italian Lakes on a ferry cruise and visit the magnificent homes of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in Verona. You'll also weave through the fascinating streets of Bellagio, via the beautiful lakeside town of Locarno in Switzerland, and learn about the ancient and revered art of glass-blowing on Murano island.

Your small-group tour includes handpicked, centrally located stays, daily breakfast and a welcome dinner on your first night in Stresa on Lake Maggiore. Sit back and relax with the knowledge that first-class, high-speed rail travel will whisk you between major cities – with worry-free porterage – and that an expert English-speaking guide is always on hand.

Your journey takes you to: Stresa, Italy – Locarno, Switzerland – Como, Italy – Milan – Verona – Lake Garda – Venice.

train trips in northern italy

Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy, the land of world-class gastronomy, ancient architecture and some of the world's greatest works of art. Begin your adventure in Stresa on Lake Maggiore. Make your way to your hotel, and then, after checking in, you're free to explore this glorious town's belle époque flourishes and spectacular waterfront before meeting up with your tour guide and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner.

Today, you'll have the opportunity to explore the world-famous beauty of the Borromean Islands. Following breakfast, take to the water on the ferry to the beautiful islands of Isola Bella and Isola Madre. Famous for their baroque palaces, enchanting gardens and picturesque outlook, get lost in the wonder of these fairytale-like islands.

Today, discover new heights of beauty as you head to Como via the spectacular Centovalli ('Valley of a Hundred Valleys') railway, widely considered one of the most spectacular in the world. Travel across rugged landscapes, yawning ravines and sun-kissed forests while travelling from Domodossola to Locarno, where you will stop to enjoy this beautiful Swiss town on the shores of one of Europe's most strikingly gorgeous lakes.

With the Swiss Alps looming behind you and Lake Como magnificently unfurled ahead, it's impossible not to become spellbound by the town's soul-stirring beauty. A treasure trove of cultural, artistic and antique riches reward the intrepid traveller. Arrive in Como by train late this afternoon, just as the sun descends in a dazzling display of light across the water, and enjoy the evening at leisure.

A full-day tour of Lake Como and Bellagio awaits. Your morning will start with a walking tour of the Como city centre before you have the chance to admire splendid villas and gardens as you glide across the lake on an included boat cruise. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Bellagio, the so-called “Pearl of the Lake”, before returning to Como.

After breakfast, you will be whisked away by train to the vibrant city of Milan – the lively fashion capital of Italy. Follow your guide into the fascinating streets of Milan's historical centre on a guided tour to admire the famed La Scala theatre, the elegant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the mighty Sforzesco Castle and the majestic Duomo di Milano. Top off your Milanese experience with a journey on a historic tram before rejoining your first-class, high-speed rail journey to Verona, where you will spend the afternoon at leisure.

This morning, you'll explore the romantic city of Romeo and Juliet and its must-see attractions like the Verona Arena, Piazza delle Erbe and the houses of Shakespeare's beloved characters. In the afternoon, you will be treated to an exciting excursion to Lake Garda and its pearl: Sirmione, a medieval, jewel-like town, surrounded by the sapphire waters of the lake. Historic Sirmione is a settlement seemingly spun of dreams, with access available only via moat and an abundance of gardens, baths, medieval colonnades and cobblestone streets – there's nowhere else quite like it.

After breakfast, board a high-speed train for a 90-minute journey to the legendary city of Venice, followed by a short boat trip through the city's iconic canals to reach your hotel. On arrival, you'll be guided on a tour to discover the ancient and precious art of glass-blowing in a traditional furnace in Murano, a series of small islands linked by lagoon-spanning bridges. While originally settled by the Romans and cherished for its salt production, Murano quickly developed a reputation for mirror-making and masterpiece glass beads, and today is still famous for the craft.

Spend today exploring the magnificent floating city of Venice. On a guided tour, you'll be led through the narrow alleys and across small bridges to discover the city's main attractions, including the Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco with its basilica, Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. Later, you're free to explore this glorious city's magical canals and twisting streets at leisure.

After breakfast, it’s time to bid farewell to this storied corner of the world and embark on your onward journey.

Italian Lakes First-Class Train Tour with Scenic Centovalli Rail Journey & Lake Como Cruise route map

  • Eight nights of handpicked, premium accommodation in centrally located hotels
  • Daily breakfast and a welcome dinner on the first night of your tour
  • First-class high-speed rail travel by high-speed train between major cities, with welcome drinks and snacks onboard
  • Visit the magnificent Italian Lakes region, including Stresa, Lake Garda and Isole Barromee on Lake Maggiore
  • Delight in a full-day visit to Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori
  • Visit Sirmione, a medieval, jewel-like town on the southern shore of Lake Garda
  • Descend into the fascinating streets of Milan with a guided tour
  • Discover the beauty of Lake Como and Bellagio with a full-day tour, including a lake cruise
  • Unearth the highlights of Venice and make the most of a 48-hour Vaporetto pass on a walking tour, with visits to Rialto Bridge, Grand Canal and St. Mark's Square
  • Roam through Murano and enjoy a visit to an artisan glass-blowing workshop
  • Embark on a Shakespearian quest through Verona
  • Discover the beautiful Locarno, in Switzerland, on a walking tour and via the panoramic 'Treno Panoramico Centovalli'
  • The services of an expert English-speaking guide throughout your journey
  • Appreciate a worry-free luggage service
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary

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  • Date change conditions listed above do not apply to flights or pre- and post-tour accommodation booked with us. Flight fulfilment and changes are governed by the airline(s) selected at the time of booking. For your air travel, you are bound by the terms and conditions and fare rules of the selected airline(s). For pre- and post-tour accommodation, these reservations are not directly linked to your tour and may require a separate cost to change, as stated in your ‘My Escapes.’

Itinerary Amendments & Changes

  • Occasionally our itineraries are updated prior to departure. This may be to accommodate changes in weather, public holidays, common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes, and unforeseen circumstances.
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We reserve the right to modify prices for marketing and commercial reasons. Please note that full terms and conditions apply. Refer to website’s terms and conditions.

Accommodation for the duration of your tour is included in the Tour package.

  • You can find relevant accommodation details for each day of the itinerary on the Tour offer page, or in your My Escapes.

Please note:

  • Accommodation is subject to availability and may be substituted for a hotel of a similar or higher standard without notice.
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Pre- & Post-Tour Accommodation Pre- and post-tour accommodation can be booked to extend your stay before or after your tour by contacting our Tours Concierge Team at [email protected] .

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For pre- and post-tour accommodation bookings, you may be required to check out of your room and check in again on the first or last day of your tour. You will need to confirm these details directly with hotel.

Please contact the Tours Concierge Team at [email protected] for further information.

  • Return international flights
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  • Dining inclusions do not include drinks (unless otherwise stated). Menus are subject to change without notice.

Baggage Restrictions

  • Passengers are permitted one piece of baggage with a maximum weight of 20kg on tour.
  • Arrival and departure transfers are available on the first and last day of your tour only.
  • If you have booked your pre- and post-tour accommodation through Luxury Escapes, transfers may be available for select tours (not available for Trusted Partner operated tours).
  • If you have booked pre- or post-tour accommodation outside of Luxury Escapes, you will forfeit your complimentary airport transfers.
  • Please note ‘Private Transfers’ refers to transfers that are exclusive for your tour group and may be shared among other members of your group if arriving on the same flight or another flight arriving within a 30-minute window.

Age & Group Restrictions

  • Maximum tour capacity is 20 guests.

Travel Insurance

  • Travel insurance is required on all our tours, which (at a minimum) covers medical expenses and repatriation. You may not be permitted to join the tour group if evidence of travel insurance is not provided prior to your trip. If you are unable to obtain travel insurance for whatever reason, you may be required to sign a waiver and/or provide a letter from a medical practitioner which confirms you are fit for travel. For any enquiries regarding travel insurance, please call 1300 88 99 00 or email  [email protected] .

Passports & Visas

  • A visa may be required. It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure they’re holding a current visa for the countries they’re visiting. If the traveller is on a non-Australian passport, a valid re-entry visa may be required.
  • You are responsible for visas, entry, health and other requirements, and any documents required by laws, regulations, orders and/or requirements of countries visited. Luxury Escapes and/or its servants and agents are not responsible for passport and visa requirements or for any loss you sustain for failing to comply with laws, regulations, orders and/or requirements of countries visited.
  • A valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months beyond your return travel date is required for all passengers (including children and infants).

Traveller Details

  • Traveller Details must be completed for each individual traveller. This information can be added directly to your ’My Escapes’ account.
  • Travellers must advise of any medical conditions or dietary requirements. Failure to provide such information in advance of your tour may result in an inability to cater to your requirements.
  • We work with exceptional local tour providers to present uniquely crafted packages that encompass sightseeing tours and excursions. Our tour provider partners are dedicated to making every effort to accommodate specific requirements. However, it should be noted that the extent to which they can address mobility and accessibility needs may vary, depending on the nature of the sightseeing tour and activities involved. Please contact [email protected] so we can advise whether your specific needs can be accommodated.
  • Special dietary requirements can be catered for in most cases, however, on occasion this may not be possible due to location, lack of availability of unique ingredients, and other extenuating circumstances. It is always advised to carry any necessary supplies with you.
  • Passport details are required for all bookings. In some cases, a digital copy of your passport may be requested by Luxury Escapes to book certain elements of your trip.
  • If a photo of your passport is requested, failure to provide valid photo ID will result in your booking being cancelled and all monies paid remaining non-refundable. When requested, a digital copy of your passport must be provided for each guest at least 90 days prior to your tour departure.
  • Should you require any assistance with your Traveller Details, please contact our Tours Concierge Team at [email protected] .
  • Relaxed: Leisurely pace with limited walking or physical demands. Opportunity for ample free time and leisure activities. Suitable for individuals seeking a laidback experience.
  • Moderate: Usually more than one day in a location. Balanced mix of exploration and physical engagement. Suitable for participants with a reasonable level of fitness. Exploring cities on foot, visiting landmarks and guided excursions. Requires a moderate level of stamina and physical activity.
  • Active: Activities most days. Generally, not staying in a location for two days or more. Suitable for participants with high fitness levels and a sense of adventure.

Travel Styles

Fully Guided Tour: You'll have a tour director and driver with you throughout the entire trip, from start to finish.

Partially Guided Tour: You'll have a tour driver and local guides at specific locations or portions of the trip, but not the entire time. There might be different local guides for different regions.

Self-Guided Tour: You will not have a guide for your trip. You will be provided detailed trip notes with elements, such as accommodation and transport, pre-booked for you.

Health and Fitness Acknowledgement:

  • Travellers acknowledge that they are required to have a good level of health and fitness to undertake the activities in this tour.
  • There are limitations to the degree of accommodations that can be made if travellers are unable to partake in the included activities on this tour. Please consider suitability as additional costs could apply.
  • Travellers also acknowledge and agree that neither we nor the tour provider will be able to provide medical or other assistance in the event that they are unable to complete any aspect of the tour as a result of their health or physical condition (nor are we liable for any loss, damage, expense, injury or death arising from such).

Your tour begins in Stresa on Day 1 and ends in Venice after breakfast on Day 9.

Roundtrip flights are not included in your package and must be purchased separately. If your chosen tour departure date is guaranteed at the time of booking, you may be able to purchase flights immediately. If your tour departure date is not yet guaranteed (still pending minimum numbers), flights should not be booked until you receive an update on the status of your tour.

Please book your flights to arrive Malpensa Airport (MLX) by 4pm on Day 1 and depart from Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) any time after 11am on Day 9.

Important:  Please allow for travelling time from international countries. International flights are not included in your package and must be purchased separately. It is your responsibility to make your own travel arrangements and ensure that you arrive at your starting location on your chosen tour start date.

A visa may be required for the destination you are visiting. It is each traveller's responsibility to ensure they are holding a current visa. Please take the time to visit our preferred vendor website, Visas Direct , to assist you with any visa application requirements and processes. If you require any supporting documentation when applying for your visa, please let us know and we will be more than happy to assist. Click here  to visit the website.

Need flights?  Our dedicated flights concierge can assist with all your flight requirements (subject to availability). Contact [email protected] .

Important Destination Information:

Time zone: GMT+2

Telephone: +39

Currency: Euro

Accessing money: ATMs are widely available with credit cards widely accepted within cities. Cash is advised when visiting rural areas.

Language: Italian

Climate: The climate varies between the north and the south of Italy. The north experiences very cold winters and very hot, humid summers. Central Italy is much milder with a less intense winter. The south experiences longer, warmer summers and much milder winters.

Dress code: Relaxed but respectful, especially when visiting religious institutions.

Update 13 July 2023, 5.30pm AEST: Age & Group Restrictions updated, please see Important Information for details.

Related Content

Where were the pictures taken, from milan:, from bologna:, from vicenza:, rail travel holidays in italy with bookmundi, other holiday locations, please support showmethejourney.

train trips in northern italy

Three Cities from which to explore Northern Italy by train

Take holidays in northern Italy by making taking day trips by train from Milan, Bologna or Vicenza

Simon Harper

Why the suggestion of Milan, Bologna or Vicenza

Day trips by train from Milan, Bologna and Vicenza

Top of the selection criteria is how easy it will be to make the journeys by train to explore multiple other must-see destinations, from one fabulous location. Also when SMTJ is on holiday a leisurely beginning to a day is essential, so having to race to the station to board a must-catch train, is a scenario best avoided. Hence frequent trains are ideal because they minimise the need for advance planning, enable spontaneity; and provide confidence that it will be easy to manage the return trip towards the end of the day. Keeping the ticketing nice and simple, by avoiding the need to book in advance to save money, also helps.

Why the north?

Northern Italy’s denser population compared to the south requires fairly regular train services, so that's why these three suggestions are all located there.

Another destination further south, which has fairly frequent trains to multiple beautiful places, is Florence/Firenze ; ideal if you want to spend time in Lucca, Siena, Assisi and Perugia on a single holiday. But Florence is already a popular holiday locale and this guide is an attempt to spotlight less obvious locations in which to linger while in Italy.

Though something to keep in mind is that the local and regional trains in Italy tend to head away from cities less frequently between 09:00 and midday. So confirming a departure time with a quick check on the ItaliaRail website , before heading off to the station in the morning, is highly recommended.

Top image - clockwise from top left: Milano Centrale station; Parma; Venezia S. Lucia station, Venice; Parma station; Lake Maggiore on a train from Stresa to Milan

Second image - clockwise from top left: Lake Lugano on a train heading to Colico; Parma; on the Centovali Railway; Lugano; Lake Maggiore north of Arona; Milano Centrale station.

Third image Views on the train journey from Tirano to St Moritz

Fourth image - clockwise from top left: Parma; Parma (again); Florence; Parma; Venice and Modena

Unfortunately the holiday in Vicenza was taken more than five years ago and despite an extensive search through the archives, the images taken can't be found, but trust me, it was incredible!

Day trips from Milan by train

For a destination for an extended Italian holiday, Milano tends to be overshadowed by Italy’s multitude of more beautiful cities, but as a base for seeing the best of northern Italy by train, Milan is a second to none location .

Stunning locations within easy reach of Milan by train

Regionale trains can transport you from the centre of Milano, on journeys which take under 90 minutes, to the likes of Bergamo , Brescia and Piacenza . If you’ll be willing to make a journey of under two hours by Regionale train, you can also make spontaneous day trips to the likes of Parma , Torino and Verona .

Taking the Regionale trains is recommended because when making journeys by them, the tickets won’t be any more expensive if booked at the station just before boarding. The ticket machines scattered around Milano Centrale station are also comparatively easy to use. Though it’s best off to look up the departure times before heading off in mid-morning, as the Regionale trains tend to depart less frequently between 09:00 and noon.

Though when travelling to the suggested cities (Bergamo excepted) you will reach your destination faster if you take a high speed Frecce or Italo train . However, journeys by those high speed trains will be (much) cheaper if you book ahead and commit in advance to taking specific trains, so you will then have to travel by them, even if the weather is poor.

Simnple access to other Italian cities

Because Milano is the hub of the network of Italian high speed lines , it’s feasible to see the likes of Bologna , Firenze/Florence , Padova/Padua and Venezia/Venice on day trips by train from the city – setting off after breakfast on the Frecce or Italo trains . Though even if you book tickets a day or two before making these journeys, you will still save money compared to booking at the station just before boarding.

To the Italian Lakes

But what makes holidaying in Milano particularly special is that you can experience additional attractions than other beautiful cities, because its railways also offer multiple options for accessing the lovely Italian lakes by train.

Within 1hr 45 mins from Milan by train you can be on the shores of Lake Maggiore by taking Regionale trains to Arona or Stressa.

Or head to Lake Garda by taking a train to Desenzano or Peschiera.

There are also multiple options for accessing Lake Como, hourly local trains from Milano Cadorna station will take you a station in the town of Como, which is located right by the lakeside. Or head to the eastern shore of Lake Como in around 70 minutes by taking a Regionale train from Milano Centrale to Lecco , or to Colico , or Varenna-Esio – from Varenna it’s possible to take ferry services on multiple routes across Lake Como. When heading to Colico or Varenna by train, take a seat on the left hand side for the stunning views over the lake from the railway.

Lake Lugano is also an easy day trip from Milano, thanks to an improved service of direct Regionale trains, branded ‘Ticino’, which complete the journey in under 80 minutes.

Experience beautiful Switzerland on day trips from Milan

Taking the train to Lugano involves heading over the border to Switzerland, so Milano is also a great location for seeing the best of southern Switzerland by train. Those trains to Lugano also call at Capolago Lago station, where easy transfers are available to the stunning Monte Generoso railway . They also carry on beyond Lugano to Bellinzona, where easy connections are available on to Locarno . From Locarno it’s possible to take a journey on the wonderful Centovali Railway .

Though this railway also has as connection with direct trains from Milano at Domodossola station; and the railway between Domodossola and Milano also offers wonderful views over Lake Maggiore. So a Milan > Bellinzona > Locarno > Domodossola > Milan round trip by train is a fantastic day out.

Trains heading to Tirano from Milano Centrale station travel a spectacular route along the shore of Lake Como.

This is a prelude to the most beautiful train journey which can be easily accessed from Milan, namely a ride on the Bernina Railway from Tirano on to St. Moritz. The journey from Milan to St Moritz will take around five hours, but the ride is an absolute treat!

For those with deep pockets or a Eurail or InterRail pass, it’s possible to make a second-to-none day trip by train. Take the train which departs Milano Centrale for Tirano at 09:20 and with simple as can be connections in Tirano, Pontresina, Samedan and Chur, it’s possible to be in Zurich in time to take a EuroCity train back to Milano. During these journeys, you’ll experience more than 10 hours of near continuous beautiful views from the train windows.

Day trips from Bologna by train

Despite its many charms, Bologna tends to be eclipsed by the likes of Firenze, Napoli, Roma and Venezia as locations of where to stay in Italy; though its reputation as a food lover’s paradise has been gaining prominence in recent years. But despite being very partial to Italian cuisine, that’s not why ShowMeTheJourney chose to holiday in the city .

Bologna Centrale is the busiest junction station on the entire Italian railway network , so it’s possible to spend more than a week in the city and head off to some different magical destination by train every day.

Bologna Centrale also benefits from a plethora of quality hotels that are within a 5 min walk of the station. It can pay off to target these in more ways than one, as the station is on the northern edge of the city centre and buses are the only public transport option in Bologna. Though the heart of the city is only a 20 -25 minute walk from the station .

Easy access to Italy’s stunning beauty

Many of northern Italy’s most beautiful towns and cities including Ferrara , Modena , Padova , Parma , Prato , Ravenna , Rimini , Venezia and Verona, can all be accessed on direct journeys from Bologna by fairly frequent Regionale (REG/RGV) trains on journeys which will take between 30 mins and two hours.

Because of the fairly short distances, it’s also relatively simple to experience multiple locations in a single day. For example, Modena can be combined with Parma, while Ravenna also has trains to both Ferrara and Rimini, which makes for an easy round day trip to three, or even four, locations.

The tick in the box for taking the Regionale (REG/RGV) trains is that the tickets won’t be any more expensive if you book them last minute at the station. So you can be spontaneous and react to your mood or the weather, when choosing where to go each day.

Most of those destinations listed also have faster express trains from Bologna, but tickets to travel by those Frecce, InterCity and Italo trains will only be cheaper if you book ahead before arriving in Bologna; and if you do you’ll also then be committed to travelling by specific departures. So, if for example, you take the Regionale Veloce train to Venezia instead of the Frecce train, the journey time will be around 30 mins longer, but you’ll save money when booking at the station and won’t be committed to returning by a specific train.

**Using Italia in Tour Passes

ITALIA IN TOUR 3 and ITALIA IN TOUR 5 passes can be used for travel solely by the slower Regionale (R) and **Regionale Veloce (RV) ** trains operated by Trenitalia. They allow for unlimited travel by these trains for three or five consecutive days from the first day of travel and can be purchased on the Trenitalia website or from the ticket office in Bologna and atTrenitalia ticket machines. They can be used on all of the R and RV trains which travel to and from Bologna.

Though plan ahead for a trip to Florence

You can be experiencing the wonders of Florence/Firenze less than 45 minutes after departing from Bologna Centrale , thanks to the high speed trains which rush through the tunnels between the two cities, providing the only direct city centre to city centre service. So if you want to take a day trip by train from Bologna to Firenze, the balance tips in favour of taking the Frecce or Italo trains, despite the need to book ahead to save money.

If you’d rather leave booking the trip to Florence until the last minute, you will typically save more than €20 each way, by taking the Regionale trains, but you will need to make a connection in Prato and the journey time in each direction will be more than an hour longer than the high-speed trains. Or if you will be booking last minute at the station and want to take the high speed services, compare the prices of the Frecciarossa trains you will see on the Trenitalia ticket machines, with the prices of the Italo tickets on the Italo ticket machines.

A day trip from Bologna to Rome

Leave Bologna early in the morning and return late in the evening by high-speed train and it’s also possible to spend more than 10 hours in Rome; though if you book this journey at least a couple of weeks ahead, you will typically save more than €50 on the price of tickets.

train trips in northern italy

Beautiful cities are strung along the railway which connects Milano to Venezia/Venice, with wonderful Verona roughly at its mid-point, so ShowMeTheJourney considered it as an ideal location for an extended break. But finding somewhere to stay with easy access to Verona Porta Nuova station proved a tad tricky, because the station is cut off from the city centre by busy a ring road and the remnants of the city walls. So there are comparatively few ideally situated hotels by Verona’s main station and they were fully booked, which provoked a re-think.

On the day trip destination wish list were Desenzano on Lake Garda , Padova/Padua , Treviso , Venezia and Vicenza. So then the realisation began to kick in that the gorgeous city of Vicenza was actually the better base location for the explorations. The journeys to Padova and Venezia would be 40 minutes shorter and Vicenza station has direct trains to Treviso, but Verona doesn’t; plus the journey from Vicenza to Verona would only take around 35 minutes.

Direct Regionale trains could be taken to all four of these destinations, which meant no need to book in advance in order to save money for journeys by these trains. Though on the Verona – Vicenza – Padova – Venezia route there are also faster Regionale Veloce (RV) services , which cost the same price as the slower Regionale services, but are worth targeting because they skip some stations, so are faster.

Taking the Regionale trains from Vicenza to Desenzano, required a connection in Verona and this was easily managed on the way there, but coming back a direct Frecce train was a better, but more expensive option.

Though generally there’s little point in booking ahead to save money on the more expensive tickets required when taking a Frecce or Italo train from Vicenza to the likes of Padova, Verona or Vicenza/Venice. The journey times will only be around 10 minutes faster and those cheaper Economy tickets for the express trains commit the traveller to taking specific trains, so money can’t be refunded if the day you happen to have chosen has bad weather.

train trips in northern italy

The 22 locations that are great bases for taking day trips by train:

Basel l Bellinzona l Bologna

Cologne l Erfurt l Frankfurt

Gent l Glasgow l Innsbruck

Leeds l Machynlleth l Manchester

Marseille l Milan l Munich

Olten l Offenburg l Penzance

Reading l Rotterdam l Stirling

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train trips in northern italy

Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.

ShowMeTheJourney

This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney , which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.

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This second version of ShowMeTheJourney is exciting and new, so we are genuinely thrilled that you are here and reading this, but we also need your help.

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So if you have found the info provided here to be useful, please consider saying thank you.

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The World Was Here First

10-Day Northern Italy Itinerary: 2 Perfect Routes

Last Updated on January 3, 2024

by Maggie Turansky

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

train trips in northern italy

If you’re planning a Northern Italy itinerary, it can be tough to map out the ideal route if you only have a limited amount of time. There is a lot to see in the north of this diverse country — from beautiful cities to storied lakes to incredible coastline — that there is absolutely no way one can pack everything into just 10 days in Northern Italy.

However, if you know what you want to see and adequately plan out your time, you can see a lot in 10 days if you simply prioritise your top destinations.

Whether you’re after a Milan-Venice-Lake Como itinerary or you’re searching for something that loops you through Emilia-Romagna and Liguria, the routes below are sure to help you plan out your perfect trip to Northern Italy!

Table of Contents

Getting To & Around Northern Italy

Whether you’re looking to map out a route by train or would like to opt for a North Italy road trip, it is important to discuss A) how to get to your desired destination and B) how you plan to get around whilst there.

We will start with the first point. Both of the routes outlined below begin in Milan and that is for good reason – Milan Malpensa Airport is the second highest traffic airport in Italy and it’s also the second-largest city in the country. This means that it is the most logical starting-off point if you’re visiting Northern Italy.

There are a few other airports near Milan that can also be a point of entry into the region – especially if you’re flying a budget airline from elsewhere in Italy or from Europe in general.

I’m speaking of the Bergamo airport, which is often billed as the “Milan Bergamo Airport” but do keep in mind that this airport is in the city of Bergamo and is located about one hour from Milan’s train station itself – though it is easy to reach Milan.

Venetian Walls of Bergamo

There are other airports in most of the cities that are mentioned in both routes, including Venice, Bologna and Genoa, however, they are smaller and not as many flights go to them from as many destinations.

When it comes to getting around on your trip to Northern Italy, you also have a few options open to you. By far the easiest way to go on either of the routes listed below would be by car. This will help you save time and also allow you to make stops along the way and reach further-flung places.

Driving in Northern Italy is easy and holds none of the stressors that you may experience in the south of the country.

You don’t need a car to get around the major cities like Milan, Venice, Bologna, Bergamo, Verona and Genoa, meaning that it makes the most sense to find a place to park your car and use public transit (or your own two feet) while in these destinations. However, having your own vehicle can make day trips exceptionally easy and convenient.

Having your own car is also ideal for exploring Lakes Como and Garda as, again, it gives you a lot more flexibility. You can browse Rentalcars.com to compare prices on rental cars.

However, if you don’t want to rent a car or don’t drive for whatever reason, both of the routes outlined below are also doable via train with a few considerations in mind.

You likely won’t be able to see as much as you could if you had your own vehicle just because coordinating timetables can be tricky, but that doesn’t mean you will have any less of a fulfilling trip to Northern Italy. You can browse schedules and book train tickets here.

Milan Tram Network

Lombardy & Veneto in 10 Days

This itinerary for Northern Italy is perfect for those who want to see the well-known highlights of the region including Milan, Venice and Lake Como. There are also a couple of lesser-visited gems on this route to ensure you have a varied and interesting time exploring the Lombardy and Veneto regions – two of the best places in Northern Italy to visit.

Day 1 – Milan

Plan to spend the first day of your Northern Italy trip exploring the highlights of Milan . Italy’s second-largest city has a lot to offer visitors and you need to spend at least 2 full days getting to know the city.

Your first day should be dedicated to seeing all of the main sites of the city. Begin your day at the iconic Milan Duomo – the city’s main cathedral. A visit here can take several hours and is truly spectacular. You can pre-book tickets here .

You can fill the rest of your day wandering by the Royal Palace, the Museo de Novecento, the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II and, of course, the famous Teatro La Scala. Plan to spend at least two nights in Milan before moving on to your next destination.

Duomo di Milano

Where to Stay in Milan

Lancaster Hotel  – If you’re visiting the Lombardy capital on a mid-range budget, then this classical hotel is a great option. Located in the centre of Milan within walking distance of the city’s top attractions, they have a range of great rooms to choose from and breakfast included for guests each morning.

Castello Guest House Milano   – This luxury guesthouse is an excellent choice for those after a bit of a splurge while visiting Milan. Well-located for exploring the highlights of the city within a stone’s throw, they have countless lovely rooms on offer and plenty of other amenities to enjoy, as well. 

QUO Milano  – Budget and solo travellers will love this centrally-located hostel. Well situated for exploring the best Milan has to offer, it is one of the highest-rated hostels in the city and they offer both dorms and private rooms.

Not quite what you’re looking for?  Click here to browse more Milan hotels!

Day 2 – Milan

Your second day in Milan should be spent getting to know the city just a little bit better. Check out some of the city’s smaller churches, some cool areas and, of course, one of the most famous paintings in the world – da Vinci’s “Last Supper.”

Start your day at the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio before making your way over to the Chiesa di Santa Maria Delle Grazie where you can view the Last Supper. Afterwards, you can go over and explore Castello Sforzesco and tranquil Sempione Park.

End your day by exploring the hip and happening Navigli district, which is a great place to partake in Italy’s favourite pre-dinner pastime – aperitivo!

Navigli District

Day 3 – Lake Como

Day 3 of this North Italy itinerary takes you out of Milan and to beautiful Lake Como . Keep in mind that it is best and easiest to explore Lake Como if you have your own car, however, it is still possible to see a lot of the villages by relying on the extensive ferry system around the lake.

Many treat Lake Como as a day trip from Milan , however, it is best to spend at least a couple of days here to really get a good feel for this beautiful area.

Plan to spend your first day in Lake Como exploring the iconic villages around the lake – Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna. These three villages are well-connected by ferry and you can very easily enjoy this day without your own car.

Each village is small and has its own charm so make sure to take your time to get lost in the beautiful little streets and take in tons of incomparable lakeside views.

Arriving in Bellagio via ferry

Where to Stay in Lake Como

B&B Villa Rosalinda – This bed and breakfast in the quiet town of Dongo in the north of Lake Como is a great option for those looking for a tranquil escape on the lake. They have a number of clean and comfortable rooms to choose from and offer breakfast to guests each morning.

Villa Lario Resort Mandello – Luxury travellers will swoon over this beautiful hotel located in the town of Mandello del Lario – about fifteen minutes south of quaint Varenna. They have countless luxe rooms to choose from and an extensive list of amenities to ensure that your stay is absolutely perfect.

Miralago B&B and Apartments – This bed and breakfast located just outside of Bellagio offers both en-suite rooms and some apartment options for those looking for a comfortable self-catering notion. They are in a great area for exploring Lake Como and breakfast is available upon request.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Lake Como hotels!

Day 4 – Lake Como

Dedicate day 4 to exploring some of Lake Como’s larger cities and also taking in one of the lake’s famous villas and their beautiful gardens.

Spend your morning touring a villa – there are countless to choose from on Lake Como. It’s best to get to whichever villa you choose as early as possible as they can get very busy and popular, especially if you’re travelling in the high season.

Your afternoon can be spent exploring the cities of Como and Lecco, both located on either end of the south of the lake.

Keep in mind that if you’re keen to visit both of these cities in a day, it’s best if you have your own car. If you’re relying on the ferry system on Lake Como, then plan to simply spend your afternoon in Como and maybe go on a cruise or boat tour on the lake to enjoy it from a different perspective.

Como Cathedral

Day 5 – Bergamo

On day 5, it’s time to leave Lake Como and drive about an hour to the lovely city of Bergamo. Though its airport acts as a hub for a number of budget airlines across Europe, not enough visitors take the time to explore this delightful city and this is really a shame – it has a lot to offer.

Its compact nature means that you only really need to spend one day in Bergamo to do it justice. Split over two parts – the Citta Alta and Citta Bassa – the majority of the historic sites lie in the Citta Alta, so that is where you will likely dedicate the majority of your time.

You can take the funicular up to the Citta Alta before taking in Piazza Vecchia – Bergamo’s main square. Take another funicular up to the Castello di San Viglia where you can get fantastic views of the city from above. We recommend walking down and making a stop in the botanical gardens on your way.

Later, explore the Duomo di Bergamo and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. And if you want even more fantastic views of the city, head up the Campanone tower. Then make your way down, on foot, to the Citta Bassa. You will walk along the Venetian Walls, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

End your day in Citta Bassa for aperitivo and dinner with the locals.

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo

Where to Stay in Bergamo

B&B Entro Le Mura – Located in Citta Alta close to all the top sites in Bergamo, this bed and breakfast is an excellent option for mid-range travellers. They offer a number of cosy rooms to choose from and, of course, breakfast is included for guests to enjoy each morning.

Petronilla – This luxury hotel located in Citta Bassa is great for those looking for a plush stay in Bergamo. Well located for exploring all this wonderful little city has to offer, they have a number of rooms on offer, there is an on-site restaurant/bar and they even allow pets.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bergamo hotels!

Day 6 – Lake Garda

From Bergamo, it’s time to head to the incredible Lake Garda for the sixth day of your itinerary. Though you could easily spend 2 or 3 days in Lake Garda, you can get a good feel for the lake and some of its towns in just one day, as well.

Where you decide to go in Lake Garda really depends on if you have a car or not, as the lake can be difficult to navigate without your own vehicle. Keeping that in mind, if you’re doing your Northern Italy itinerary by train, plan to explore the area in and around Sirmione, which has easy train connections.

If you have a car, you have the option to go wherever you choose on the lake, however, keep in mind that this is the largest lake in Italy and it may take some time to drive between places.

You can opt to spend the morning in Sirmione before heading up the western side of Garda and exploring the towns of Salo, Maderno and Gargnano.

Alternatively, you could spend your time at the north of Lake Garda and explore the towns of Limone and Riva del Garda before heading down the eastern coast to lovely Malcesine.

Plan to spend the next two nights on Lake Garda – there are lots of lovely towns to stay in on the lake .

Riva del Garda from above

Where to Stay in Lake Garda

Ambienthotel PrimaLuna – This hotel is an excellent mid-range hotel in Lake Garda. Located in the lovely town of Malcesine, they have a number of lovely rooms to choose from and there is even a great swimming pool to enjoy and a fantastic breakfast available for guests each morning.

Grand Hotel Fasano – Located in Gardone Riviera between the towns of Salo and Maderno on Lake Garda’s western side, this hotel is perfect for those after a bit of luxury when visiting Italy’s largest lake. They have a number of plush rooms to choose from, two swimming pools to enjoy and an on-site bar, spa and wellness centre.

Blue Sky Garda – This two-bedroom apartment can be a great option on Lake Garda if you’re after the convenience and privacy of your own flat. Situated in the town of Malcesine on the eastern side of the lake, its location is perfect for exploring the area.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Lake Garda hotels!

Day 7 – Verona

From Lake Garda, it’s time to head to nearby Verona. An oft-overlooked city in the Veneto region, Verona is perhaps most well known for being the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet , however, this city has a lot more to offer than just that.

Much like Lake Garda, you could easily spend 2 or 3 days in Verona , however, you can also see the highlights of this compact city in just a simple day trip , which is what we recommend here.

During your day in Verona, make sure not to miss the Casa di Giulietta (Juliet’s house) and, of course, the Verona Arena.

The arena is an impressive Roman colosseum that attracts only a fraction of the crowds found at the most famous one in Rome. There are plenty of other Roman ruins to enjoy in Verona, not just this incredible arena.

Plan to spend your night on Lake Garda before heading to Venice the next day.

Roman Arena in Verona

Day 8 – Venice

Generally, no visit to Northern Italy is considered complete without visiting the iconic city of Venice.

This is a city that needs no introduction but keep in mind that the city has been struggling under the stresses of overtourism and it is important to spend a good amount of time here in order to travel a bit more sustainably and have the most benefit to the local economy. That is why we recommend spending up to 3 days in Venice.

Spend your first day in this city of canals taking in the top and most iconic sites. These include, of course, the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square. Make sure to take your time to simply enjoy the ambience of this incredible city and even get out onto the canals on a gondola!

Spend your evening in a cosy taverna eating local fare and simply enjoying the final destination on your fantastic itinerary through Northern Italy.

Venice Grand Canal

Where to Stay in Venice

Ca’ Angeli – This hotel in the San Polo neighbourhood only has 6 rooms on offer, but it is a great choice for those looking for a wonderful, central place to stay when exploring Venice. They have a number of great amenities for guests to enjoy along with a wonderful breakfast on offer each morning.

Riva del Vin Boutique Hotel – Located within spitting distance of the iconic Rialto Bridge, this is the perfect place for a luxury escape to Venice. Couples are sure to love the chic rooms on offer and there is also an on-site bar and wonderful breakfast included each morning.

Combo Venezia – Those looking to save as much money in notoriously expensive Venice as possible will love this small, locally-run hostel. Perfect for solo travellers, as well, it is located in the cool Cannaregio neighbourhood and they have a range of dorms and privates available along with great common areas.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Venice hotels!

Day 9 – Venice

Your second day in Venice should be spent digging a little bit deeper and enjoying some of the lesser visited neighbourhoods of the city – the places where the Venice locals live away from the tourist crowds.

Start your morning by wandering around the historic San Polo neighbourhood before making your way over to the lovely Dorsoduro neighbourhood. Cross over the Accademia Bridge back to the historic, central San Marco neighbourhood to round out your afternoon.

In the evening, head to the lively Cannaregio neighbourhood in order to get a real local feel and to dine at a wonderful Venetian restaurant!

Accademia Bridge in Venice

Day 10 – Venice

On the final day of your trip, you’re still in Venice and it’s time to explore some of the islands off the coast of this incredible city. The most famous of these islands include Murano and Burano, known for their incredibly colourful houses and charming atmosphere.

If the season is right, you could also use this day as a beach day, lounging on one of the many sandy stretches close to the city. You can book a tour here.

Alternatively, you could opt to go on a day trip to the nearby Prosecco region and sip some of the area’s eponymous Sparking wine. Another popular day trip option is to the town of Treviso, which is located just outside of Venice and worth the journey.

Colourful houses of Burano

Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna & Liguria in 10 Days

Also beginning in Milan, this 10-day itinerary is great for those looking for something different from the routes that include the lakes and Venice (such as the one outlined above).

Winding you through gastronomic Emilia-Romagna before ending in gorgeous Liguria, you’re sure to fall in love with this area of Northern Italy.

Begin day one of this route through Northern Italy in the vibrant city of Milan. As mentioned in the route outlined above, spend this first day exploring the highlights of the city centre, including the Milan Duomo and the Teatro La Scala.

End your day like the Milanese do with an aperitivo before heading out to dinner. Plan to spend three nights in Milan for this itinerary, though we will only spend 2 full days exploring the city proper.

La Scala

Your second day in Milan should be spent seeing all of the sites in the city that you didn’t get to on your first day in the city. This includes various churches, viewing Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and relaxing in a tranquil park.

Spend your evening exploring the hip and happening Navigli district where you can get an authentic taste of Milanese life away from throngs of tourist crowds.

Day 3 – Lake Como or Bergamo

The third day in Milan should be spent on a day trip – where to is up to you! Milan makes for an excellent base to explore a couple of nearby areas, so you have a couple of options open to you.

If you’d like to head to the Italian lakes, then a day trip to Lake Como is definitely in the cards. You can hop on a train to Varenna and spend the day riding the ferries between beautiful Menaggio, Bellagio and Varenna itself. Alternatively, you can organise a guided tour here.

Alternatively, if you want to explore a city that isn’t on the radar of a lot of international visitors to the Lombardy region, consider going on a day trip to historic Bergamo.

Bergamo has a lot to offer visitors and it is an absolutely beautiful city to visit and spend some time in. One day is definitely enough to see all of the highlights of this lovely place.

Varenna on Lake Como

Day 4 – Modena

Day 4 sees you heading to the incredible Emilia-Romagna region. Your final destination for today will be the region’s capital of Bologna, however, make sure to make a pit stop in the charming city of Modena first.

Modena is known, primarily, for being the homeland of Balsamic vinegar and heading to an acetaia (the place where traditional vinegar is made) is an excellent thing to do in the city. However, there is a lot more on offer here than just that – especially if you’re into food!

Spend your day wandering through the incredible Mercato Albinelli to see what fresh produce and local pastas are made fresh here. Then simply take the time to get lost in the city. Wander through the winding streets and grand piazzas, take in the lively Cathedral and simply enjoy this lovely city.

Modena is located only about a 30-minute drive or train ride from Bologna, so it’s not difficult to end your day in the latter city.

Cathedral and Ghirlandina Tower in Modena, Italy

Where to Stay in Bologna

B&B Chez Moi Lame 57  – This cute boutique B&B is perfect for those after a romantic escape to Bologna. They offer a handful of chic, quaint, clean and comfortable rooms on offer and there is a breakfast voucher given to guests daily to dine in a nearby local cafe.

Hotel Metropolitan – If it’s luxury you’re after in Emilia-Romagna’s capital, then this plush hotel is the perfect option. They have an excellent location in the heart of Bologna, myriad chic rooms on offer and countless luxe amenities to ensure your stay is fantastic.

Dopa Hostel – Budget and solo travellers will love this hip hostel located in the centre of Bologna. They have a range of both dorm beds and private rooms on offer, breakfast is included each morning and it’s a great place to meet other travellers.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bologna hotels!

Day 5 – Bologna

The fifth day of this route through Northern Italy sees you exploring Emilia-Romagna’s capital city of Bologna . Home to ragu bolognese and plenty of other gastronomic delights, Bologna has a lot to offer visitors beyond its food scene (but it’s totally fine to visit just for that, as well!).

Start your day in Bologna in the Piazza Maggiore, Bologna’s main square. Take in the towers and the Basilica di San Petronio before wandering down Via Rizzoli, the city’s main drag filled with shops. Spend your afternoon and evening exploring the university area – Bologna is home to one of Europe’s oldest universities.

End your day in one of the city’s many restaurants dining on local fare and enjoying every minute.

Piazza Maggiore in Bologna

Day 6 – Bologna

On day six of this itinerary, you have the option to either continue exploring Bologna or to go on a day trip to nearby Parma . If you choose the former, there are a number of things that you can choose to occupy your time.

One of the best things to do in Bologna is to go on a food tour – some of the most famous Italian dishes come from this city and it is a great chance to sample them with context.

If you choose to go on a day trip, you can’t go wrong with beautiful Parma. Parma is well-known for being the homeplace of such delicacies as prosciutto di Parma and, of course, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

You can sample these to your heart’s desire in Parma, along with exploring what is one of the most charming and historic cities in the region.

Day trips from Bologna

Day 7 – Cinque Terre

When you get to your seventh day of this trip through Northern Italy, it’s time to head to another region and area of the country – Liguria and, more specifically, Cinque Terre .

Literally translating to “five villages,” this area is made up of five lovely little towns situated on the dramatic Ligurian coast. These postcard-perfect towns are a can’t-miss destination on this itinerary!

Spend your first day in the main city near Cinque Terra, La Spezia. Though not one of the five villages itself, it is absolutely beautiful and it has a lot to offer visitors.

You can also use this day to explore two of the five villages. Take the time to wander around beautiful Riomaggiore and charming Manarola before calling it a day and resting up for another perfect day of exploration tomorrow.

Beautiful Riomaggiore

Where to Stay in Cinque Terre

L’Approdo Dell’Ammiraglio – Those after a good mid-range place to base themselves for exploring Cinque Terre will love this guesthouse in La Spezia. They have numerous lovely and bright rooms on offer and an unbeatable location.

Miramare Apartments&Suites – This aparthotel is great for those after the convenience of an entire apartment with all the benefits of a traditional hotel. Located in La Spezia within easy reach of Cinque Terre, they have a number of different fully-furnished apartments available that range in size.

La Serra Sul Mare – Located in the town of Monterosso, this is one of the best places to stay in Cinque Terre for those looking for a luxury option. They have an unbeatable location within five minutes of the beach, all rooms have their own balcony and there are countless other amenities offered.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Cinque Terre hotels!

Day 8 – Cinque Terre

Your second day in Cinque Terre should be spent exploring more of the five lovely villages. Start your day in Monterosso al Mare – the largest of five towns that make up Cinque Terre. Known for its beautiful beaches, incredible scenery and charming old town.

From Monterosso, head to the village of Vernazza. This is a gorgeous fortified town with, like all other villages in the region, incredible sea views to enjoy. In fact, this is a great place to enjoy a sunset cruise on the sea, if it suits your fancy.

Vernazza - one of the five towns of Cinque Terre

Day 9 – Genoa

The final destination for this particular 10-day Northern Italy itinerary should end in the Ligurian capital of Genoa. This seaside city is absolutely beautiful and full of interesting things to do – in fact, plan to spend 2 days in Genoa to round out your trip to the north of Italy.

Your first day in Genoa should begin by wandering down Via Garibaldi, the city’s main drag. After getting your bearings, head over to the Palazzi dei Rolli. Once you’ve explored this former palace, visit the San Lorenzo Cathedral.

Of course, no visit to Genoa would be complete without gorging yourself on delicious pesto pasta — the famous basil, pine nut and parmesan sauce hails from this city.

Cattedrale di San Lorenzo

Where to Stay in Genoa

B&B Dormire Dai Grimaldi – Mid-range travellers will love this quaint and cosy bed and breakfast in the centre of Genoa. They offer a number of different en-suite rooms, a lovely communal lounge area and there is a hearty breakfast included each morning.

Hotel Astoria – If you’re after luxury in the Ligurian capital, then this plush hotel is a great option. For those looking for a high-end option, then this luxe hotel is a great choice. They have an excellent central location for exploring Genoa and have a range of lovely rooms to choose from, along with numerous other amenities.

OStellin Genova Hostel – For those looking for a budget option or a great social atmosphere while travelling, then this hostel is a great option. They offer both private rooms and dorm beds and have an excellent location for exploring all Genoa has to offer.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Genoa hotels!

Day 10 – Genoa

Dedicate the final day of this itinerary to getting to know Genoa just a little bit better. Spend your morning in Genoa along the seaside and visit the renowned Genoa Aquarium which is the largest aquarium in Italy and the largest of its kind in all of Europe.

There is a lot to see here so plan to spend a good amount of time learning about all of the sea creatures here.

In the afternoon, take the time to get lost in the lovely Porto Antico (old port) neighbourhood along the harbour. Dine on delicious, fresh seafood and really make sure to savour you last day of your Northern Italian adventure.

Genoa, Italy

Have 14 Days in Northern Italy?

If you, for example, have 14 days in Northern Italy or more to spend, your options are virtually unlimited. There are so many incredible areas to explore that you won’t struggle to figure out where to go.

If you’re following the first route on this itinerary, you could easily add a visit to the Dolomites after exploring Venice. Spending time in getting to know the regions of Trentino and South Tyrol and taking in the incredible views of the Italian Alps is always worth it with stunning mountain peaks and lakes like Lagi di Braies.

Alternatively, a good place to visit when moving on from Genoa is the city of Turin . As one of Italy’s largest cities, it can be overlooked. However, there is a lot to do in Turin (and in the Piedmont region , in general) that it is definitely.

You could also choose to fuse the two itineraries together for a longer trip through Northern Italy. From Venice in the first route, head to Bologna, Cinque Terre, Genoa and beyond!

Beautiful Turin

Northern Italy is one of the most fascinating regions of the country to explore. With so much to offer, mapping out the ideal 10-day itinerary can be a bit overwhelming, but once you weigh out your priorities, you’re sure to have an exceptional trip.

Are you planning to visit Northern Italy? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

train trips in northern italy

Related Posts:

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The Perfect 5 to 7 Days in Emilia-Romagna Itinerary

Pretoria Fountain in Palermo

10 Best Places to Stay in Sicily

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About Maggie Turansky

Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

Hi Maggie. It was great reading about northern Italy. We’re planning a southern Italy trip soon. Naples and amalfi coast and around. Could you please send me an itinerary for 15-18 days. Thanks. Paul

Hi Paul, you may find some inspiration in one of our generic Italy itineraries ( https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/10-day-italy-itinerary/ ), our Amalfi Coast itinerary ( https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/amalfi-coast-itinerary/ ), our Puglia itinerary ( https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/puglia-itinerary/ ) and our Sicily itinerary ( https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/sicily-itinerary/ ). Hope you’re able to plan a great trip!

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The World As I See It

One Ontario lady with a passion for travel and inspiring others to get outdoors and explore more

  • Europe / Italy / Travel

2 Weeks in Northern Italy: A Dreamy Italy Itinerary

by Stephanie · Published January 14, 2019 · Updated December 18, 2023

Italy is one the top dream destinations for traveler across the globe. It’s home to a wealth of history, mouth-watering cuisine, and enchanting cities. However, you can easily spend months traveling from one end of the boot to the other, and from coast to coast, and never see it all. So, I’ve done part of the planning for you with this outstanding 2 weeks in Northern Italy itinerary.

You’ll find all the best travel tips for an epic Northern Italy vacation in this guide! Discover the top places to add to your road trip itinerary, what to do in each location, where to stay, and more! If ever there was a great time to travel to Italy, it’s now!

Map of Northern Italy

This post contains affiliate links. By booking through these links I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Getting in & Around Northern Italy

An essential part of travel is knowing how to get around the places you’re travelling in. It is quite easy tor get around Northern Italy, whether you’re travelling by train, plane, or planning to road trip by car. Below you’ll find information about airports, train trail, and tours in Italy.

There are 17 airports across Northern Italy. The largest airport is Milan Malpensa. In turn, the Milan airport has the most international flights flying into it. If you are flying from within Europe your options are wider. Depending on where you are beginning your two weeks in Northern Italy you can fly into Venice or Genoa. However, if you’re flying from North America you’ll probably find more flight options into Milan.

Try CheapOAir for great flight deals!

train travel in Italy

Train travel in Europe is convenient, fast, and a beautiful way to get around. If you are not flying into Italy there are numerous train routes you could take from neighbouring countries. Train travel in Italy is the perfect way to get between all of the locations in this Northern Italy travel itinerary. All of the stops are 2 to 3 hours apart by train.

You do not need a Eurail pass for your 2 weeks in Northern Italy. It will be cheaper to buy the tickets as you go. The ticket machines are in English and easy to navigate. However, if you’re visiting more than Italy, consider purchasing a Eurail pass . There are a variety of options available.

There are endless tour operators you can chose from if you’re looking to take a guided tour of Italy. Some range from a day to weeks. Here are a few great tours of Italy!

If you’re looking for a great tour company then check out Walks of Italy . They offer an assortment of tours across Italy. And if you’re short on time Walks of Italy has tours that will help you skip the line.

Places to Visit in Northern Italy

I have Italy in my blood in more ways then just my Italian heritage! It’s one of the places I also highly recommend and return to again and again! So, if you’re looking to plan the ultimate Northern Italy trip itinerary, I have everything you’ll need!

In this Northern Italy travel guide you’ll find all the best places to visit from the Alps to Venice and the Ligurian coast ! You’ll discover the best things to do in each location, day trips, tours, and hotels! So, get ready to start planning an epic tour of Italy filled with history, amazing food, and so much more!

The port of Genoa in Northern Italy

So many forget about adding Genoa to their Italian bucket list. Located on the northeast coast, Genoa is the capital of Italy’s Liguria region, and has so much to offer, from history to crave-worthy food. Plus, it makes the perfect starting out point for your 2 weeks in Northern Italy itinerary. If you’re coming in from France, Genoa is only a few hours train ride.

You can easily spend a couple of days exploring Genoa. It is a city of stark contrasts, from gritty neighbourhoods to polished palaces. Genoa’s hidden gems will surprise you. One gem I found was a beautiful waterfall in a magical park in the middle of the city.

There are so many things to do in Genoa! Wander through its narrow streets and you’ll find Italy’s best pesto dishes. Visit the spectacular palaces along Via Garibaldi. A few other notable attractions in Genoa include the Aquarium, Castelletto, and the harbour.

If you’re looking for a day trip from Genoa then consider visiting Santa Margherita. This charming and colourful harbour town is located 35 kilometres southeast of Genoa on the Italian Riviera.

Tours in Genoa

Do Eat Better Experience Food Tour – Foodies will want to try this walking tour of some tasty cafes and restaurants in Genoa.

Where to Stay in Genoa

Hotel Nologo – The budget hotel has a music theme and is a 15 minute walk from Palazzo Ducale and Genoa Aquarium. I stayed here and enjoyed the area and felt safe as a solo female traveller.

Hotel Britannia – This mid-range hotel is in the historic center of Genoa. It’s close to the train station and has a terrace with hammock, a bar, and even a telescope!

Hotel Bristol Palace – For a lovely stay in a historic building, this four star hotel is located centrally and close to the Piazza De Ferrari. It has stylish rooms as well as a restaurant and coffee shop.

Start planning your Italy vacation by booking your stay in Genoa now

Cinque Terre region in Northern Italy

Cinque Terre

To me, Cinque Terre is the gem of the Mediterranean. This stretch of coastline is home to five picturesque fishing villages that rise up from the sea, vibrant buildings hanging precariously on cliffs, and a winding historic trail that connects it all. The five villages of Cinque Terre, Italian meaning five lands, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe.

The five villages of Cinque Terre are Monterosso Al Mare, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglua, and Riomaggiore . They all lie within the Cinque Terre National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many spend the day hopping from village to village, as it’s only a five minute train ride between each. But I encourage you to at least spend two days in Cinque Terre.

There is so much to do, from wandering around old castles, exploring the charming alleyways in search of stunning views as well as indulging in refreshing gelato. Each village has its own incredible things to do and see.

And of course, hiking the famous Sentiero Azzurro is a must for any hiker! The Sentiero Azzurro, also known as the Blue Trail, links each of the villages and offers outstanding views of the region including the vineyards and sea.

Tours in Cinque Terre

Sunset Boat Tour Experience – Enjoy a wonderful boat tour from Monterosso. You can sip Aperitifs and prosecco, jump in the water to snorkel, or just sit back and take in the views.

Walking Tour with Local Wine Tasting – This guided tour takes you around Manarola. Wander the vineyards and learn about their history and techniques, then end of with a tasting.

Where to Stay in Cinque Terre

Hotel 5 Terre – Located near the beach in Monterosso al Mare, this mid-range relaxed hotel has a restaurant as well as free breakfast and parking.

Arbasia De Ma – In the village of Corniglia, this charming guesthouse offers rooms with sea views and is a three minute walk to the beach.

Affittacamere Le Giare – This mid-range guesthouse is steps away from the train station in Riomaggiore. Some rooms even have balconies that are perfect for sunsets!

The Duomo in Milan, Italy

Milan is northern Italy’s magnanimous metropolis. The city is home to legendary artwork, like Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper fresco, the impressive Duomo, and everything else from castles to canals.

Milan is Italy’s second most populous city after Rome. And even though there is a wealth of things to do, you can easily see the best of Milan in one day .

I highly recommend spending a few days in Milan! That way you can indulge in its great cafes, wander its historic neighbourhoods, spend an afternoon in Park Sempione, stroll through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and check out a bunch of museums.

If you are looking for one of Milan’s hidden gems don’t forget to visit the canals of Milan. The Navigli neighbourhood of Milan is home to canals that will transport you a world away from the bustling city.

Day Trips from Milan

For those choosing to use Milan as a base during part of your 2 weeks in Northern Italy then you’ll find plenty of places nearby to visit on day trips.

Lake Como – The train takes less than an hour to get from Milan to Lake Como. It’s easy to visit as a day trip and you can take the ferry to get to the main towns.

Lake Maggiore – Home to gardens and stunning scenery, this lake on the border of Italy and Switzerland is only 1.5 hours by train from Milan. Alternatively, you can visit on this half day trip tour that includes transportation and a guide.

Bergamo – Surrounded by Venetian walls, filled with cobblestone streets, and home to delicious risottos, a day trip to Bergamo is a must! It’s only an hour northeast of Milan by train.

Bergamo Italy

Tours in Milan

Walking Tour with Skip-the-Line to Duomo & Last Supper – This walking tour takes you to all the top attractions, including the Milan Cathedral, plus gives you skip the line access to the Last Supper!

Where to Stay in Milan

Ostello Bello – In the city center and close to the Cathedral, this accommodation offers budget-friendly dorm rooms as well as privates. It has terraces with hammocks and will greet you with a free drink!

B&B Hotel Milano Sant’Ambrogio – This charming mid-range bed & breakfast is close to the Sforzesco Castle, offers bike rentals, and is pet-friendly!

Grand Hotel et de Milan – Located steps from La Scala opera house and the metro, this luxury hotel has everything you need including two restaurants, a bar, fitness center, and is set within a historic building.

Book your stay in Milan today!

Views over Venice, Italy

A trip to Northern Italy is not complete without a visit to Venice. It’s the perfect place to end your 2 weeks in Northern Italy. There are countless things that make Venice special.

The magic of Venice is different for all! For some, it’s in getting lost in its endless alleyways. For others, it’s sipping a coffee in San Marco Square and watching the birds take flight when the church bells ring. And one of the big magic moments is watching the sunset over the Grand Canal.

While it is doable to simply spend the day in Venice. I feel like it doesn’t do it justice. There is more to Venice than can be seen in a day. If you spend a couple days in Venice you can do a day trip to colourful islands Burano and Murano.

Other things to add to your Northern Italy trip itinerary include visiting St. Mark’s Campanile. Located in San Marco Square, this bell tower is best visited early. Head to the top and take in one of the best views of Venice.

Seek out Libreria Acqua Alta, one of the most enchanting book stores in the World. Plus, discover what lies on the other side of each and every bridge.

One thing that I highly recommend is to take a gondola ride to a ride along the canals! It will not disappoint!

Tours in Venice

Walking Tour and Gondola Ride – I LOVED this walking tour with a local guide! Learn about the top attractions as well as hidden gems, plus a gondola ride is included and tours start at only $63 CAD!

Murano & Burano Islands Tour by Private Boat – Take advantage of the fully guided tour of islands that starts at $54 CAD. Learn about the islands, watch glassblowers, and more!

Where to Stay in Venice

Hotel San Salvador – I LOVED this charming hotel in the heart of Venice, close to St. Mark’s! It’s a budget-friendly option with a great location and even has Murano glass throughout!

Hotel Carlton on The Grand Canal – This mid-range hotel overlooks the Grand Canal, has a rooftop bar as well as special rooms. The Santa Lucia Train Station is only a five minute walk away.

Venezia Palazzo Barocci – An elegant hotel with Grand Canal views, a café, garden, and private dock. Plus, it’s close to a ferry stop!

Start planning your time in Venice by booking your accommodation today

For those looking for sustainable travel tips, check out my guide to Responsible Travel in Venice

Other Notable Locations to Visit in Northern Italy

There are endless hidden gems in Northern Italy. While the above four main stops can comfortably be explored in two weeks. If you are a fast paced traveller and enjoy packing in as much as you can, or if you have a few extra days, the following locations can easily be seen in one day or added to your Northern Italy itinerary for an extended stay.

Views over Verona, Italy

If you’re looking for dreamy or romantic places to visit in Italy than Verona is the place you’re after. Considered the Florence of the north. The medieval old town of Verona is famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. It’s here you’ll find ‘ Juliet’s House ’, with a 14-century tiny balcony that overlooks a courtyard.

While Juliet’s balcony may be Verona main attraction, it is also home to the Verona Arena. This large Roman amphitheater, from the first century, is one of the best preserved ancient structures in the world. It is still used today and hosts an array of performances, from concerts to operas.

Travel Tip: You can enjoy a nice day trip out to Lake Garda if you’re staying in Verona for a few days. There are trains and buses available that take 20 minutes to one hour respectively.

Tours in Verona

Verona Walking Tour of Must-See Sites – Explore the city and its top sites, like the Juliet Balcony, and learn about its neighbourhoods and interesting little-known facts.

Fascinating Verona: in the Footprints of Romeo and Juliet – This in-depth tour offers a guide to Verona through the words of Shakespeare while learning about the city’s Roman and romantic past.

Where to Stay in Verona

Relais La Torre – With a central location, close to the Arena in Verona, this mid-range guesthouse is partially set within a medieval building and offers stylish rooms.

Due Torri Hotel – This posh five star hotel is across from the Sant’Anastasia church and a short walk from the Verona Cathedral and bus station. It has an acclaimed restaurant, courtyard café, and terrace with views of the city!

Views over Bologna, Italy

Another incredible place to stop in Northern Italy is Bologna. This historic capital of the Emilia Romagna region is home to beautiful piazzas, great cafes, and stunning medieval and Renaissance architecture. Bologna is known for its medieval city centre, striking beauty and incredible food scene!

Some of the top things to do in Bologna include; climbing Italy’s tallest leaning tower – Asinelli Tower , visit Basilica of San Petronio, and wander its porticoes and markets. One of the best porticoes that should be added to your Northern Italy itinerary is the Portico of San Luca . It’s the world’s longest portico and home to stunning frescoes.

Day Trips from Bologna

Bologna makes for a great place to use as a base to the Emilia Romagna region. Many top destinations, as well as hidden gems, are within a couple of hours from Bologna.

San Marino – This microstate in the mountains is only two hours away by train. San Marino one of the smallest countries in the world! Spend a day or half day wandering the cobblestone streets in this magical medieval place with castle-like citadels.

Florence and Pisa – As the capital of the region of Tuscany, Florence is home to plenty of things to do, including museums and churches. Plus, you can easily do both Florence and Pisa on a day trip as Florence is only a 35-minute train ride away.

Italian food tour in Bologna

Tours in Bologna

Taste of Bologna Walking Tour – This walking tour combines a visit of some top places in the city with local tastings of Bolognese food like Parmigiano Reggiano as well as tales of ancient recipes.

Bologna City Walking Tour – For under $30 CAD you can enjoy a wander through the historic centre of the city, find hidden gems and learn about the interesting stories behind Bologna.

Where to Stay in Bologna

Starhotels Excelsior – Across from the Bologna Train Station, this mid-range four-star hotel is within walking distance to many attractions. It offers modern rooms, a restaurant, and gym.

Royal Hotel Carlton – For a little more luxury without breaking the bank, this hotel features Turkish baths, wellness treatments and has a great buffet breakfast. It also has parking on site.

Turin in Northern Italy

Located just over the border, Turin is a great start to your 2 weeks in Northern Italy itinerary if you’re coming from France. Turin is the capital city of Piedmont and has the Alps rising over the city to the northwest.

Turin is home to striking architecture and delicious food! Here you can wander its grand squares, charming cafes, and stand in awe of its baroque buildings. One of the best landmarks in Turin to visit is the Royal Palace, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Some other top things to do in Turin include; the Mole Antonelliana – a towering museum, the Egyptian Museum, Valentina Park, and Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist to see the world famous Turin Shroud.

Did you know that Turin is known as the capital of chocolate in Italy?

Tours in Turin

Turin Patisserie Tour – This sweet food tour takes you to many of the best cafes and shops in the city. Learn about the history and taste dessert and pastries, like gianduiotti.

Underground Turin Walking Tour – This budget-friendly tour takes you off the beaten path and below the city. Discover tunnels, palaces, mysteries, and more under the streets of Turin.

Where to Stay in Turin

Arcadian Suites & Rooms – Located in downtown Turin, this mid-range bed and breakfast offers rooms and suites.

J Hotel – This mid-range 4-star hotel is located on the outskirts of downtown. It offers polished rooms as well as a bar and restaurant.

Lake Como in Northern Italy

For those looking for luxury and relaxation consider visiting Lake Como. Set in Italy’s Lombardy region, at the base of the Alps, Lake Como is home to breathtaking scenery. It’s known as the Italian Lake District and a luxury resort area for the rich and famous, but there’s something for everyone here.

The city of Como is home to a waterfront promenade, a grand cathedral, as well as gardens and museums. Plus, don’t forget to take the funicular that takes you up to a beautiful mountain town, Brunate. From the top you can enjoy sweeping views. Another must-do is to take the 30 minute ferry ride across Lake Como to Bellagio.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for an alternative to Lake Como then visit Lake Maggiore.

Tours in Lake Como

Lake Como Food Tour – Sample the local cuisine of Northern Italy in Como’s old town. Learn about the area’s wine and food and visit some of the local favourite cafes and restaurants.

Como Sightseeing Tour and Lake Cruise – This full day tour takes you around Como and out on a cruise of the lake. Depending on the time of year you’ll stop at a few stunning places like Bellagio or Brunate.

Where to Stay in Lake Como

B&B dei Laghi – This cozy budget-friendly bed and breakfast is located in the small town of Magreglio. Rooms have a country chic vibe with renovated bathrooms.

Hotel Baia di Paré – Set on the shores of Lake Como, this mid-range hotel is close to the beach and has a pizzeria restaurant. Rooms have views of the lake or mountains!

The Dolomites in Italy

One of the dreamiest places to add to your 2 weeks in Northern Italy itinerary is the Dolomites! This mountain range is approximately three and a half hours north of Venice, making it a great day trip from Venice.

The Dolomite Mountains are popular with outdoor adventurers. With towering peaks and stunning green valleys, it’s home to epic hiking trails, mountain climbing, and skiing. An awesome hike to do in the area is the nearly 10 km Tre Cime di Lavaredo that takes you across three different mountain peaks.

Nevertheless, there’s still plenty of things to do in the Dolomites for those looking for a relaxing visit. The region is full of charming mountain villages, incredible cuisine, and museums. Plus, the culture here is distinct as the region was part of Austria until just after WWI.

Tours in The Dolomites

Dolomites Full-day Tour from Lake Garda – If you’re staying in the Lake Garda area, this awesome full-day tour shows you the best of the Dolomites. It includes stops in towns, at viewpoints, and more!

Where to Stay in the Dolomites

Hotel Castel Pietra – With a spa, wellness centre, restaurant and free garage parking this 4-star hotel is unbelievably budget-friendly! Plus, it’s a short walk from Fiera di Primiero.

Hotel Garni La Roccia – Located in Andalo, this family mid-range hotel is close to the Paganella ski resort. Rooms are elegant and large. Plus, the hotel has a free wellness centre!

Molaris Lodge – This luxury hotel is in the centre of Rio Di Pusteria and has a garden, pool, playground and is close to the ski elevators. Rooms are cozy and most have balconies with mountain views.

Frequently Asked Questions for Visiting Northern Italy

When planning your two week northern Italy trip itinerary many questions will arise. So, below you’ll find travel tips to help with your frequently asked questions about planning a northern Italy trip! You’ll learn what is considered north Italy, the best time to go, where to spend time, and more!

Where is Northern Italy? – Northern Italy is flanked by the towering snow-capped Alps to the north and the green, rolling Apennine Mountains to the south. And the picturesque Ligurian Coast, home to Cinque Terre, to the west and the enchanting Venetian Plain to the east.

Best time to visit Northern Italy? – This all depends on what you want to do! If you’re planning to ski in the Dolomites then the best time is February and March. For those just looking to explore and not ski then the best time to plan your north Italy itinerary is between April to June or September and October. Temperatures are more comfortable and you will avoid peak season.

Things to do in Northern Italy – Take a gondola ride, Milan Cathedral, San Marco Square, hike the Dolomites, Juliet’s Balcony, hike in Cinque Terre, eat in Emilia-Romagna, take a food tour, the leaning towers of Bologna, and Garibaldi Palaces.

Top places to go in Northern Italy – Venice, Cinque Terre, Milan, Emilia Romagna, Verona, Lake Como, the Dolomites, Genoa, and Turin.

Italy Packing List – Packing for Northern Italy all depends on the time of year you’re visiting. But no matter the time of year, some Italy packing essentials include sun screen, a hat, comfortable shoes, portable power pack, and a scarf (which is great in the summer to cover your shoulders when visiting churches.)

Train vs. Car – Train travel in Italy is easy to navigate and will get you to all the main cities and smaller towns. However, if you are planning an Italy road trip a car is very convenient at times. But make sure you book your rental car far in advance. Also, if you are unfamiliar with driving in Italy, and Europe in general, you may find it difficult. You’ll need to learn the rules of the road, where to find parking, and more.

2 Weeks in Northern Italy Itinerary

I’ve generated a few sample itineraries for the perfect Northern Italy trip! Whether you’re planning a Northern Italy road trip for 2 weeks or looking to extent it to three, you’ll find a few great options below!

14 Day Northern Italy Itinerary

4 Days in Milan

3 Days in Genoa

3 Days in Cinque Terre

4 Days in Venice

2 or 3 Weeks in Italy Itineraries

2 Days/3 Days in Milan

1 Day/2 Days in Lake Como

1 Day in Turin

2 Days/3 Days in Genoa

2 Days/3 Days in Cinque Terre

2 Days/3 Days in Bologna

1 Day in Verona

1 Days/2 Days in Dolomites

2 Days/3 Days in Venice

Other European Itineraries you may like:

4 Days in Paris – The Perfect Paris Itinerary

4 Days in Venice & Why You Need More than One Day

The Perfect England 2 Week Itinerary

Northern Italy is full of natural wonders and incredible cities that are bursting with history. This 2 weeks in Northern Italy itinerary is the perfect starting point to start planning your dream-worthy Italian vacation today.

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2 Weeks in Northern Italy Itinerary

Tags: Europe Italy travel

I'm a Canadian gal with a passion for travel, the great outdoors as well as coffee and books. I hope to inspire others to feel the same way! Traveling mostly solo, I love to explore my own backyard of Ontario as well as exotic cities around the world.

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This is so awesome! I am pinning for planning fo my trip to Italy in May!

Thanks so much! I hope it leads you to an awesome trip! And May is a great time to visit!

Fantastic post! Northern Italy really does have some stunning cities! You managed to cram an impressive amount into two weeks!

We did visit up North, but we stayed in the German speaking areas of South Tyrol. I think I will have to go back and explore more of these flatter areas!

Thanks so much! And you’re right you can certainly pack in a great deal into two weeks. But I’d love to visit South Tyrol next time I’m in the area. I’ve only heard wonderful things.

You will love it! It’s like a mix between Italy and Germany, with the best parts of both! 😉

I’m sure you’re right, I’d love it!!

Great post! Love all the cities you’ve included. This definitely inspires me to get to know more of northern Italy soon:)

Thanks so much Julie! I’m so glad it inspires you to dig deeper into Northern Italy.

Definitely agree with you that Northern Italy has plenty of beautiful things to check out! – Great , great summary.

Thanks so much Adele. Northern Italy does have so many beautiful things to see and this is only a hint of what it has to offer.

Great post! I’ve only been to southern Italy, but the north is on my list of places to get to. Turin looks beautiful, and I would love to visit it. I would also like to visit Milan as well even though I’ve heard mixed reviews of it.

Thanks so much Erica! Northern Italy is full of great cities and places. I recommend Milan – there’s something for everyone!

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Three Weeks in Northern Italy: a Travel Itinerary

Adventurous Kate contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Kate smiles with her hand behind her head and wears a red dress and stands on top of a tower in Riva del Garda, Italy, overlooking terra cotta roofs, pastel buildings, with jagged mountains and a white and blue streaked sky in the background.

I recently took a three-week trip to northern Italy that blew my socks off.  I had an opportunity to attend a conference in Trento in the Trentino region, and I used it as inspiration to plan a trip concentrating solely on the far north of Italy. Concentrating on this part of the country gave me the chance to go more off the beaten path, and I loved my itinerary so much I knew I had to come home and share it with all of you!

If you’re able to spend three weeks in Italy, you’re VERY lucky. As an American, I know how hard it is to get this much time off, but if you’re able to swing a longer trip, you’ll be able to explore Italy so deeply. And if you don’t have quite enough time, I have ways to modify the itinerary to fit your time frame.

I’ve been traveling extensively in Italy for 15 years. It’s one of the countries I know best. When I travel to Italy these days, I’m not looking to travel the well-worn itinerary — I’m looking to go deeper.

That’s what led me to plan this trip, and write this post for you. While some of the locations on this trip are well-touristed, the majority of them don’t get a lot of tourism. As a result, this is an offbeat Italy itinerary that will be full of surprises.

A fountain covered with nymphs spurts out water next to yellow and white buildings in Trento, Italy.

Who is this Italy travel itinerary for?

This itinerary is best for people who have traveled to Italy before and have already been to the major sites. This itinerary could potentially also work for first-time travelers to Italy who would rather get off the beaten path than visit the busiest spots.

This Italy travel itinerary includes in a lot of variety. You’ll visit two of Italy’s best culinary regions, Emilia-Romagna and Piemonte; you’ll marvel at Italy’s most picturesque mountains in Trentino and Alto Adige; and you’ll visit four lakes: Garda, Como, Orta, and Maggiore. You’ll spend time in the quiet but very pretty city of Trento, the busy and modern metropolis of Milan, the warm and fun city of Bologna, and visit two of the more touristy spots, Florence and Verona, on day trips only.

To me, this itinerary is true bliss: everything that I love about northern Italy with few of the drawbacks that plague more touristed areas like Venice, Cinque Terre, and Rome.

Three women stand talking beneath porticoes stretching through the background.

Day 1: Arrive in Milan, train to Bologna

If you’re flying overnight to get to Milan, chances are you’ll be a zombie.  Don’t set super-high expectations for yourself for the first day. I spent my first day hanging out with my friends and taking it easy. You may want to take a nap; you may want to push through. Either way, I recommend taking melatonin at bedtime to help you get on the right time zone.

When you arrive in Milan, take a bus or train to Milano Centrale, the main train station. (If you’re arriving at Milan Malpensa, the bus and train take the same amount of time but the bus runs more often and is cheaper.) From there you can book and hop on a train to Bologna. The Frecciarossa train is an engineering marvel that only takes one hour.

In Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, the statue of Neptune gesticulates as if he's about to kick something. Behind him are rose-colored brick buildings.

Days 2-5: Bologna

Bologna is a fantastic, underrated Italian city — and it happens to be my favorite city in Italy. Bologna is a city that comes with a lot of nicknames — la rossa , or the red, because of the red colors of the city (and its politically liberal history), la dotta , or the learned, because of its long history as a university city; and la grossa , or the fat, because it’s one of the best food cities in both Italy and the world.

Bologna is a beautiful, culture-filled city that doesn’t get nearly the number of tourists of Rome, Florence, or Venice. As a result, it feels like a lived-in city devoid of tourist traps. The cuisine is outstanding, so much that many Italians grudgingly admit that Bologna has the best food in the country. It also helps that Bologna is surrounded by lots of great cities for day trips.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Bologna: Eat, eat, eat. Check out my 25 Best Food Experiences in Emilia-Romagna, Italy for 25 ideas. At the very least, go to Osteria dell’Orsa for a cheap and delicious tagliatelle ragú and hit up the aperitivi near the city center.

Where to Stay in Bologna: Phi Hotel Bologna is an upscale and charming hotel just 2 minutes from the town square (rates from $136). Almarossa is a simpler, cheaper option in a great location near the university (rates from $76). Find deals on more Bologna hotels here.

At dusk, Florence's Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio rise underneath a deepening blue sky and darker blue cloud. In the foreground are rose bushes from the rose garden.

Day Trip from Bologna: Florence

Florence is one of the all-time great cities of Italy.  It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world; the art is unparalleled. Unfortunately, Florence is also one of the most touristed cities in Europe, and if you visit during high season, the crowds will be particularly intense.

My advice? Plan this day trip extremely carefully. If you want to visit the Uffizi or see David at the Accademia (I recommend one but not both in the same day unless you’re a hardcore art appreciator), BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE. That is vital. If not, you’ll spend most of your day waiting in line. Beyond that, choose a few sites you want to see and roughly plan your route.

Choose your priorities in Florence without scheduling every moment of the day — you need to allow for a bit of serendipity, even if it’s just a gelato break (my favorite is Gelateria Dei Neri). But having a few sightseeing goals will help you navigate this city much more easily.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Florence: Enjoy the sunset from the Giardino Rosato, pictured above. This is very close to the much more popular Piazzale Michelangelo but with far fewer tourists, and the roses add to the ambiance.

Where to Stay in Florence: If you choose to stay overnight in Florence,  Hotel Torre Guelfa Palazzo Acciaiuoli  has colorful, central rooms and an unreal rooftop terrace. If you’re on a budget, Plus Florence  has value-for-money rooms with amenities like a rooftop pool. Find deals on more Florence hotels here.

In Verona, you see the tower of a church rising in between residential buildings painted gold and yellow.

Day Trip from Bologna: Verona

Verona is most famous for being the setting of Romeo and Juliet — but today’s visitors admire the ancient amphitheater, the calm riverside setting, and the pristine city center, clad in the soft colors of the Veneto.  Verona is a major transportation hub and a growing tourist attraction, but it’s much calmer and low-key than other Italian cities. The amphitheater, for one, only gets a fraction of the tourists Rome’s Colosseum gets.

Plenty of Romeo and Juliet tourists make their way here and set up shop at the Casa di Giulietta, where you can go out on Juliet’s balcony (built long after the play was written) or pose with the statue of Juliet. It’s a running gag for tourists to pose with a hand on Juliet’s breast. (Creepy. She’s barely pubescent in the play, you know.)

My Favorite Thing to Do in Verona: The one activity I didn’t do that I wish I did was to climb to the best view in town: Piazzale Castel San Pietro. Go up during sunset for especially good photos overlooking the city skyline.

Where to Stay in Verona: If you choose to stay overnight in Verona, Escalus Luxury Suites has gorgeous, modern suites in the heart of the city for surprisingly low rates starting from $101.  Find deals on more hotels in Verona here.

In the city of Modena, a nun wearing a black habit rides by on a bicycle while looking into the open door of a wine shop.

Alternate Day Trips from Bologna: Parma, Modena, Ravenna, Ferrara, Rimini, San Marino

Bologna makes a great base for lots of reasons, including that there are several great cities in Emilia-Romagna.  You can easily visit several on day trips. Parma and Modena are located close together on the same train line and you could visit Parma in the morning and Modena in the afternoon.

Ravenna and Ferrara are two other great cities easily day-trippable from Bologna. Ravenna has outstanding mosaics ; Ferrara is a gorgeous medieval town.

You could even visit a new country — San Marino ! Take the train to Rimini, then the bus to San Marino from there. Rimini is a terrific beach destination and it’s a nice city to explore, too.

San Marino: The Tiny Nation Surrounded by Italy

A view of the terra cotta roofs in the old town of Trento, Italy, with green mountains in the background underneath a blue sky with white spotted clouds.

Days 6-9: Trento

Trento and the surrounding Trentino region aren’t often on travel itineraries — but it’s worth it. I visited Trento for a conference, which is why I spent a few days here in the first place, but I was surprised by how hard I fell for this little city. Trento is immaculate yet unpretentious, covered with frescoes and surrounded by mountains. Tourists here are very few, and many are cyclists and hikers exploring the mountains.

I encourage you to base in Trento and spend some time exploring this incredibly and underrated region, filled with spectacular mountains, beautiful towns, and sensational wine. Riva del Garda and Rovereto make great day trips, and there are tons of mountain hikes available too.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Trento: See the frescoes inside Buonconsiglio Palace. Far from your average frescoes, my favorites are in a tower where a portion of the wall represents each month of the year. Each panel is so detailed and full of interesting symbols.

Where to Stay in Trento: I highly recommend the Grand Hotel Trento . Beautiful rooms, nice bedding, super quiet, and in an ideal location just a four-minute walk from the train station and on the edge of the city center, with easy access to everywhere. Rates from $107. Find deals on more hotels in Trento here.

Four adults and a baby carriage stand on a jetty jutting out into the blue Lake Garda, where a windy day is stirring up white caps in the waves. The mountains are jagged in the background and seem to be falling into the lake.

Day Trip from Trento: Riva del Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and is split between the regions of Trentino, Lombardia, and the Veneto. I visited the most popular destination on the Trentino portion: the town of Riva del Garda.

Other Italian lakes may be more about the beauty or luxury. Lake Garda made me feel humbled by its nature — the waves seemed more intense; the mountains seemed more foreboding. Even so, it felt so Italian and refined.

Riva del Garda is a pastel-colored little town that felt more like Liguria to me than Trentino. You could lounge in a cafe on the edge of the lake while sipping an aperol spritz, or you could waltz among the sherbet-colored buildings with a cup of artisanal gelato.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Riva del Garda: Climb the Torre Apponale, the tower that dominates the landscape. You’ll have amazing views of the lake, the town, and the mountains. The top photo in this post is from the tower!

Where to Stay in Riva del Garda: If you choose to stay overnight in Riva del Garda, I highly recommend the city center. The outskirts are home to campgrounds and cheap motels — probably not what you’re looking for on this particular Italy trip. Hotel Canarino is an option just off the city center with rates from $126.  Find deals on more hotels in Riva del Garda here.

A worn path leads through the grass in the Dolomites. Ion the background are pine trees, huge blue and gray mountains, and a blue sky with puffy white clouds above all.

Days 10-13: Dolomites

The Dolomites, in the Alto Adige region of Italy (also known as South Tyrol), are home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in Italy. This is also the region least like the rest of Italy — it feels more like Austria or Switzerland!

Before you plan your trip, make sure you’re timing it correctly. Summer is hiking season and winter is ski season — but many resorts, Ciasa Salares included, are closed during the shoulder seasons. Keep this in mind before your trip. Also keep in mind that snow can last a long time here — 2019 was particularly intense and some of the last snow didn’t melt until June!

The summer is all about hiking, and the winter is all about skiing. Either way, the Dolomites are center stage — they’re jagged, pointy, and absolutely stunning.

My Favorite Thing to Do in the Dolomites: Hike, hike, hike! There are so many great hikes in the mountains, and there are hikes available for all levels of fitness. Talk to your local accommodation about a hike that is close to you. Oh, and eat plenty of soft, feathery speck.

Where to Stay in the Dolomites: Ciasa Salares is a fantastic high-end resort that I highly recommend. I loved this place and it’s a must if you want outstanding cuisine in addition to your mountain adventure. Find deals on more hotels in the Dolomites here.

People walk on a piazza in front of buildings nestled into the hills of Lake Como.

Day 14-15: Lake Como

Lake Como is famous for its beauty, its mountains, its palazzi, its Las Vegas namesakes. Oh, um, and George Clooney, easily the lake’s most famous resident. Here you’ll fine palatial residences, picture-perfect towns, flowering gardens and palm trees, and mountains leading straight down into the lake.

Lake Como is enormous and the biggest transit hub is the city of Como, home to an attractive city center. An hour away by bus are the cities of Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio, three of the prettiest cities in the area and easy to explore by ferry.

Do know that it took us so long to get to Lake Como on the first day that this was essentially a lost transit day — bus from La Vila to Brunico (Bruneck), train to Bressanone (Brixen), train to Verona, train to Milan, train to Como. Looking back, I think things would have been easier if we had rented a car from Trento or Verona and driven into the Dolomites and back.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Lake Como: While I didn’t get to explore much in Lake Como due to illness, I’ve been told that Bellagio is the prettiest city of all. There’s a reason why it inspired a Las Vegas casino!

Where to Stay in Como: I highly recommend two places: Ostello Bello is one of the nicest hostels I’ve stayed in lately with excellent amenities like laundry, breakfast, and free activities; and they have gorgeous private ensuite rooms (though the shower was so shockingly small that average-sized people will struggle to fit inside; there are shared showers that are a bit larger if you need them). Dorm rates from $28; private rates from $136.  Alessia’s Place is a quiet, well-decorated B&B with perhaps the most comfortable bed and pillows I’ve ever enjoyed in Italy. Rates from $151. Both are centrally located near the old town of Como. Find deals on more hotels in Como here.

A bright blue Lake Orta with a tiny island in the lake, green mountains on the other side, and a glacier-covered white mountains in the distance, all underneath a bright blue sky.

Day 16-17: Lake Orta

Lake Orta is one of the lesser-known lakes in northern Italy — and after visiting four of the lakes, Orta is my favorite.  Lake Orta is much smaller than Como, Maggiore or Garda; it’s much less developed, and it has far fewer tourists. Most of Lake Orta’s visitors are Milanese looking for a nearby getaway, which gives it a much more local feel than the other lakes.

Orta San Giulio is the main hub of Lake Orta and home to a very pretty old town. You can take a boat to the island in the lake: Isola San Giulio, a spooky place filled with signs encouraging you to be silent. You can head up to Mottarone, a local mountain where on a clear day you can see 360-degree views of all the lakes in the region. But I think Lake Orta is best experienced by enjoying the peace and quiet.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Lake Orta: I had the best meal of my trip at Il Cucchiaio di Legno , an agriturismo in Orta San Giulio. 10 courses of astoundingly fresh, local, inventively prepared dishes. And I only paid 32 EUR ($36) for the food and 23 EUR ($26) for three glasses of wine, including a fine Barolo. One of the best value for money meals I have had anywhere in the world.

Where to Stay in Lake Orta:  You can actually stay at Il Cucchiaio di Legno if you’d like, though it’s a bit of a ways out of town (rates from $94). While there are lots of towns around Lake Orta, I recommend basing in Orta San Giulio as it’s a beautiful, centrally located town with lots to do. Hotel la Bussola is a great option close to town (rates from $127).  Find deals on more hotels in Lake Orta here.

A man and a woman sunbathe on a gray rocky beach overlooking Lake Maggiore, which has an island in the distance and mountains rising up behind it underneath a cloudy sky.

Day Trip from Lake Orta or Lake Como: Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore is very close to Lake Como, but a world away in lots of ways. It has a lot of elegance, but a vintage kind of elegance, the kind that you could see lighting up the lake in the 1950s but fading a bit into the present day. It doesn’t get a lot of the first-time-to-Italy travelers that dominate Lake Como; instead, people visiting here tend to be regular Italy visitors. And it doesn’t have quite the panache of Lake Como, but does it even need it?

Stresa is one of the transit hubs of Lake Maggiore and it’s a great base from which to explore the lake. It also gives you access to the pretty little islands in the lake: Isola Bella and Isola Superiore o delle Pescatori.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Lake Maggiore: Enjoy the architecture of Stresa and the surrounding towns while walking along the lake, pretending you’re in a Wes Anderson film.

Where to Stay in Lake Maggiore: If you choose to stay overnight in Lake Maggiore, Stresa is a good, well-connected base. Hotel Fiorentino is in the heart of town — highly rated with rates from $108 per night. Find deals on more hotels in Stresa here.

View from Milan's Duomo: A nude statue looks over the city from behind; the city is a mix of old Renaissance towers and modern buildings underneath a periwinkle blue and white striped sky.

Day 18-21: Milan

By this point, you’ll probably be feeling tired from such a long trip, and it’s nice to have a place to crash for a few days near the end. Milan makes a great spot to base for the tail end of your trip to Italy, especially if you’re flying out of Milan.

Milan is arguably the most cosmopolitan city in Italy — only Rome comes close. You’ll be surrounded by incredibly well-dressed people sitting cocktails on piazzas, as well as some great attractions like the Duomo and The Last Supper . Take this time to soak up the best of Italy: the aperitivi, the gelato, the people-watching. Be sure to get some risotto with saffron, too.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Milan: Seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper . There are limited slots to see the painting and it books out months in advance, so I joined a tour with Walks of Italy, who comped my tickets. Seeing the painting was a moving experience and after I got to tour a bit of Milan and go up to the roof of the cathedral! Get your tickets here.

Where to Stay in Milan: Most recently, I loved staying in an apartment in the Zona Risorgimento — an up and coming place with great transportation access and tons of cool bars and restaurants. One great hotel in this neighborhood is Bianca Maria Palace Hotel , with huge rooms and bathrooms, a great gym, and rates from $124. Find deals on more hotels in Milan here.

At a cafe in Torino people sit outside underneath umbrellas, enjoying bicerin cocktails.

Day Trip from Milan: Torino

The Italian city of Torino, also known as Turin, is perhaps best known for hosting the Winter Olympics in 2006. But there is plenty more to explore in this city: the Egypt Museum, the endless elegant squares. THE BICERIN, a hot beverage made from chocolate and coffee. And all the wonderful food and wine from the surrounding Piemonte region.

Torino feels much more international than other cities in Italy — at times I felt like I was in Switzerland, or maybe France. It felt more quiet, more refined, more cultured. And absolutely beautiful.

My Favorite Thing to Do in Torino: Head to Cafe Al Bicerin to try the bicerin, either outside at one of the tables or inside in the cafe that has been open since 1763. Afterward, walk across the street to Santuario al Consolata and marvel at the collection of paintings depicting the church’s parishioners at the moments they narrowly escaped death. The paintings were commissioned to say thanks to God.

Where to Stay in Torino: If you choose to stay overnight in Torino, stay in the city center for the maximum convenience. Turin Palace Hotel is one of the highest-ratest hotels and a stone’s throw from most of the city’s attractions. Find deals on more hotels in Torino here.

Kate stands wearing a black shirt and black and white patterned pants, holding a black purse, in front of a modern Frecciarossa train at Milan train station. The train is sleek and is silver and red with a long angled nose in front.

How to Get Around Italy: by Train with an Italia Rail Pass

On this trip, I traveled Italy by train with an eight-day pass from Italia Rail Pass . I love traveling in Italy by train and having this pass saved me a lot of money, especially because I did a lot of day trips by train.

There are two kinds of trains in Italy: local and express. If it’s a local train, you can hop on any train, show your pass, and be covered. But if it’s an express train, like one of the high-speed Freccia trains, you need to make a reservation in advance or you’ll be charged extra on board. You do this at any train station that has a station employee.

It costs 10 EUR ($11) for each Freccia reservation, no matter how far it goes (even on the 11-hour train across the country from Torino to Lecce !). And while it may seem annoying to pay for trains, they save you a ton of time. Milan to Bologna is just one hour, and it often travels at 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour)!

On several of my day trips, including Florence, Verona, and Torino, I paid the 10 EUR for the fast train in one direction and took a “free” local train on the way back. Sometimes there isn’t even that much of a difference; at other times, I didn’t mind taking a two-hour local train instead of a one-hour fast train.

To get the most out of your pass, I highly recommend doing day trips by train. Because the pass charges you by the day, using a day of rail pass will cover you for unlimited rail journeys on that day. It’s even more worth it if you do a few trips in one day — say, if you’re staying in Bologna and take the train first to Parma in the morning, then to Modena in the afternoon, then back to Bologna.

There is only one place where taking the train was a bit of a pain: the Dolomites. We made it work, but it was complicated taking several trains and a bus, including trains that didn’t run often and had to be timed precisely. It would have made more sense to rent a car in Trento or Verona to get to the Dolomites and back, then resume our train travels from there.

But overall, I loved having a pass from Italia Rail Pass and I would absolutely get another on my next trip. I adore traveling Italy by train and I see more rail passes in my future.

The riverbank in Verona, Italy, with cream-colored buildings and tall cypress trees.

Three weeks is too long! What about a two-week northern Italy itinerary?

You can absolutely shave this itinerary down to two weeks if you’d like.  Believe me, a two-week trip to northern Italy is absolutely wonderful. Just go through the itinerary and take off a day here and there, or axe a few destinations altogether.

If you’re not visiting during the summer, you may want to omit the Dolomites, as much as I loved them, as the winter is all about skiing and many places are closed during the spring and fall.

What are other destinations you can easily axe? Milan was lovely but I don’t consider it as essential as the other cities. Cut down on the day trips and definitely skip Florence or Verona if you’ve been before. Choose between Lake Como and Lake Orta.

If you only have 7-10 days to travel northern Italy, I recommend you base in two cities, three at the absolute max. Choose your favorites.

Yellow and pink flowers blooming from a blow in the foreground; a tiny church and river in the background. In Trento, Italy.

Italy Travel Tips

Italy is a very popular country to travel, and northern Italy in particular has excellent tourism infrastructure. It’s a relatively easy place to travel, but there there are lots of ways you can make your Italy trip even better.

Never eat right in front of a monument. Walk a few blocks away and take a few turns and you’ll find restaurants that don’t pander to tourists.

Remember to validate your ticket on the train. If you don’t have a rail pass or are not using it for a particular journey, you must validate your train ticket by putting it into the machine and stamping it.

It helps to dress to blend in with Italian women. Italians tend to be well dressed and groomed, especially in the cities; dressing this way will help you keep a low profile. Don’t wear athletic wear, shorts, baseball caps, or torn jeans unless they’re fashion items. Don’t wear sneakers or flip-flops; instead, bring nice flats, boots, or sandals.  The Walking Company  is my go-to for comfortable shoes that are cute; I strongly recommend black ABEO flats , which have fantastic arch support.

Italians tend to wear a lot of black, but you don’t have to restrict yourself to dark colors. In summer, I wear tailored dresses; in other seasons, I wear tall boots, nice jeans or pants, and a leather jacket. Italians tend to wear designer sunglasses; some solid black frames at any price range should do you well.

Consider bringing a Speakeasy Travel Supply scarf .  These beautiful scarves are designed and sewed by my friend have a hidden passport pocket in them. I love these scarves ( I even designed my own! ) and they are so good at keeping your valuables hidden. They’re also extremely chic, enough to work in a fashion-conscious country like Italy.

Men can be aggressive with street harassment; the best thing that you can do is ignore it. Don’t react to the “Ciao Bellas”; if he grabs your arm, shake it off and keep walking. Italian men are used to local women ignoring them. 95% of the time, their behavior does not escalate if you do not give them a reaction.

In the event that the behavior continues without abatement or escalates, go into a shop or restaurant. Ask for help. Locals are familiar with this behavior and know how to defuse it.

Get travel insurance for your Italy trip. This is nothing to mess around with. I’ve been sick and injured in the EU before, and an emergency room visit cost me 300 euros — which was refunded by my travel insurance company. I use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Italy.

Planning a Trip to Italy:

  • What NOT to Do in Italy
  • Solo Female Travel in Italy: Is it Safe?
  • Ultimate Guide to Driving in Italy
  • How to Stay at an Agriturismo in Italy
  • 40 Italy Landmarks to Experience Once In Your Lifetime
  • 30 Stunning Mediterranean Islands To Visit In Your Lifetime
  • 30 Italian Cities To Visit Once In Your Lifetime

Cool Places in Southern Italy:

  • Tropea, Italy: A Spectacularly Situated Beach Town
  • The Stunning Trulli of Alberobello, Italy
  • 16 Fun Things To Do In Sorrento
  • 17 Fun Things to do in Bari, Italy
  • 16 Fab Things to do in Lecce, Italy
  • 15 Best Things to do in Monopoli, Italy
  • 17 Fun Things to do in Matera, Italy

Cool Places in Sicily:

  • 22 Best Places to Visit in Sicily
  • The Joys and Challenges of Traveling in Sicily
  • Where to Go in Eastern Sicily
  • 23 Fun Things to Do in Palermo, Sicily
  • Complete Guide to the Aeolian Islands, Sicily
  • Aci Trezza: A Laid-Back Coastal Town in Sicily
  • Visiting Sicily in the Winter: Worth it or not?
  • 30 Iconic Dishes To Try In Sicily

Cool Places in Northern Italy:

  • Parma, Italy: A Colorful, Artsy, Delicious Town
  • Where to Stay in Rome: Best Neighborhoods and Accommodation
  • Three Days in the Dolomites: A South Tyrol Getaway
  • Best Day Trips from Florence, Italy
  • The Immaculate, Bursting Mosaics of Ravenna, Italy
  • 25 Best Food Experiences in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Most of this trip was paid for out of pocket for me, but there were a few exceptions: I received two eight-day rail passes from ItaliaRail ; I had a comped four-night stay at the  Grand Hotel Trento , as well as several meals and activities in Trento, and my flights to and from Italy as part of my speaking engagement at Traverse; I had a comped three-night stay at Ciasa Salares  in the Dolomites; I got two comped tickets on Walks of Italy Best of Milan and Last Supper tour. The rest of this three-week trip was at my own expense. Many thanks also to my friends in Italy who welcomed me into their homes, neighborhoods, and cities!

Have you traveled in northern Italy? Have any tips? Share away!

Grounded Life Travel

Most Scenic Train Rides In Italy

Jennifer Wood

If you want comfort and convenience combined with the most scenic and impressive views, train rides in Italy are the way to go. Of course, you could rent a car and see the same beautiful landscape, but I much prefer to be along for the ride, able to focus on everything outside the windows. Choose your route, and then check out our How To Buy Train Tickets In Italy post to get started.

  • 1 Are Trains In Italy Scenic?
  • 2 What Is The Nicest Train In Italy?
  • 3 Is The Train Ride From Venice To Rome Scenic?
  • 4 Which Train Is Better Italo Or Frecciarossa?
  • 5.1 The Bernina Express
  • 5.2 The Cinque Terre Express
  • 5.3 Naples to Sorrento
  • 5.4 Rome or Naples to Sicily
  • 5.5 Rimini to Lecce
  • 5.6 Milan to Bolzano

Are Trains In Italy Scenic?

The short answer to the question “Are trains in Italy scenic?” is “Yes, absolutely!”. Here, I will share some of the most scenic train rides in Italy, but even a seemingly routine ride from city to city will provide fantastic views of the Italian countryside. When you are traveling by rail, you can opt for the faster high speed train, and you will definitely still experience views of farms, villages, water, and rolling hills. Another possibility, however, is to take a slower regional route which is often even more scenic.

Most Scenic Train Rides In Italy

What Is The Nicest Train In Italy?

The nicest train in Italy is the Bernina Express. I would say it is one of the nicest in the world as well. This spectacular route, known as “Trenino Rosso”, or “The Little Red Train”, goes from Italy to the Swiss Alps. Starting in Tirano, in northern Italy, the train goes west and then crosses the border to its destination in Chur, Switzerland. Even though this train ride does venture into Switzerland, I maintain it is still the most scenic train ride in Italy.

train trips in northern italy

The ride on the Bernina Express takes approximately four hours. It includes snow-covered mountain peaks, beautiful valleys, rivers, lakes, tunnels, and bridges. When the train reaches the Bernina Pass, you are 7,391 feet above sea level. The Trenino Rosso boasts panoramic windows, giving the best views possible as you make your way west (or east, should you choose to start in Switzerland). For more details and ticketing information, visit www.treninorosso.it.

train trips in northern italy

Is The Train Ride From Venice To Rome Scenic?

The train ride from Venice to Rome is quite scenic. I highly recommend taking the train between these two fantastic cities. A train ride is comfortable and less stressful than driving. It is also typically the most affordable mode of transportation from Venice to Rome. Perhaps the best reason, however, is that you will be able to focus on simply taking in the view as you pass through the gorgeous countryside. The high speed train will take you from city to city in about three hours. A slower regional route can take 6-8 hours, depending on the train. I suggest the high speed train in this case, but both will provide great views out the train windows.

If you are planning a train ride from Venice to Rome, might I suggest to make a stop in Florence along the way. If you have time, spend a few days in each of the cities. Walk the streets, eat local food, try some gelato, and see the sites. After some time in each city, board the train for a scenic ride to your next destination.

Which Train Is Better Italo Or Frecciarossa?

There is very little difference between Italo and Frecciarossa when you are looking for the most scenic train rides in Italy. Italo is a privately owned company, and Frecciarossa is run by state-owned Trenitalia. The trains use the same tracks and run at similar speeds. They are also equally comfortable. Generally, you will find Italo to be a bit cheaper, but Frecciarossa will have more route and time options available. For more details on trains in Italy, see our 12 Things You Need To Know About Trains In Italy post.

Most Scenic Train Rides In Italy

What Are The Most Scenic Train Rides In Italy?

Here you will find a list of some of the most scenic train rides in Italy. In my opinion, however, every train ride in Italy is quite scenic. If you are planning a train trip in Italy, you might find our Northern Italy Train Itinerary or Best Cities In Italy To Visit By Train posts to be helpful.

The Bernina Express

Mentioned above as the best train in Italy and perhaps one of the most scenic train rides in the world, The Bernina Express is at the top of my list. The train is quite comfortable and has giant panoramic windows for great views and photo opportunities. As the train reaches the Bernina Pass, many passengers will describe the experience as “touching the sky”.

Most Scenic Train Rides In Italy

The Cinque Terre Express

One of the most scenic train rides in Italy is this journey from Levanto to La Spezia, along the famous Cinque Terre coastline. The views are amazing in either direction. Certainly, you will want to have your camera ready to capture the harbors, cliffs, vineyards, and cobbled streets. You could choose to ride the entire distance all at once. Alternatively, you may opt to get off the train and explore the five villages along the way. Some visitors plan en entire week in this area, staying overnight in each of the villages.

Most Scenic Train Rides In Italy

Naples to Sorrento

Another coastal journey amongst the most scenic train rides in Italy is the ride from Naples to Sorrento. The western coast is known for being one of the most beautiful places in Italy. Indeed, it has earned that reputation well. You will enjoy a view of Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples, just to name a couple of the highlights. This route also passes through Herculaneum and Pompeii, two well-known archaeological sites in Italy.

Most Scenic Train Rides in Italy

Rome or Naples to Sicily

Wanting to visit Sicily? Take the sleeper train from Rome or Naples, and your entire train will board the ferry to cross the Straights of Messina. Once the train is aboard the ferry, you can go up to the top deck for great views and fresh air.

Rimini to Lecce

Traveling down the east coast, from Rimini to Lecce, is one of the most scenic train rides in Italy. Much of the route will follow the coastline, providing beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea to the east and countryside to the west.

train trips in northern italy

Milan to Bolzano

For perhaps the most dramatic change in scenery, take a train from Milan to Bolzano. The starting point is Milan, the hub of shopping and commerce in Italy. You will then pass through Verona, the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Your destination is Bolzano, located in the Italian Alps. As the train rolls along, you will find ever-changing views out the window, making this one of the most scenic train rides in Italy.

Jennifer Wood

Jennifer Wood

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Northern Italy and Its Lakes

About this tour.

Wander along winding canals and cruise on mountain-lined lakes as you take in the essence of Northern Italy. Relax during a leisurely 4-night stay on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Cruise the waters frequented by the rich and famous on Lake Como. Witness the sinking castle of Sirmione and settle in for a 3-night stay in Treviso, an ancient city nestled in the Venetian mainland. Embark on a guided tour of Venice and enjoy a free afternoon to do as you please. From the painted houses of Treviso to the deep blue waters of Lake Maggiore, allow the beauty of Italy to move you.

Your Tour Includes

  • 2 Handpicked Accommodations

Included Highlights

  • Lake Maggiore
  • Lake Lugano

Your Tour at a Glance

7 Breakfasts

2 - Moderate

Travel Style

Customize your tour.

Optional Excursions

Starting at $80.00

Activity Level

  • Level This Tour

For specific details about this tour's activity level and other info to know before you book your trip, click here.

Extension Style

Travel styles, highlights and inclusions.

Must-See Inclusions:

  • Make your way through the iconic St. Mark's Square in Venice.

See the famous sinking castle in the Sirmione peninsula.

Cultural Experiences:

Witness a glassblowing demonstration on Murano Island.

Cruise Lake Como, a beloved retreat of the rich and famous.

Culinary Inclusions:

Journey by boat to Isola dei Pescatori for a farewell dinner featuring local cuisine.

In Stresa, taste margheritine, a favorite treat created in 1857 for the future Queen of Italy.

  • Glassblowing Demonstration
  • St. Mark’s Square

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Getting Prepared

Know before you go, travel tips, enhance your tour, upgrade your room.

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Grand Hotel Bristol )

Hotel-Grand Hotel Bristol

During your stay at the Zacchera Hotels, you may choose to enjoy views of Lago Maggiore by upgrading your accommodations to a lake view room. Please inquire about this upgrade at time of booking.

*Total for all passengers

Enhance Your Trip

  • Tour Extensions

Kick-off your Italian sojourn with a 2-night stay in Milan, a chic and sophisticated metropolis known for being Italy's vibrant business and high fashion hub. In company of a Local Guide explore Milan's historic city center, viewing the La Scala Opera House, and the gothic Duomo cathedral. In the evening join a local for an informal Apericena meal mixing pre-dinner drinks and tapas-style food. On your third day, explore Milan's contemporary side during a tour of the Quadrilatero della Moda, Milan’s high-fashion district, including visits to some of the city’s best ateliers and fashion stores.

  • Overnight Flight
  • You are on your way to discover Milan, the fashion-forward financial capital of Italy.
  • Milan, Italy - Extension Begins
  • Arrive in Milan, a chic and sophisticated metropolis known for being the hub of Italian high fashion and a mecca for international opera buffs. This evening, join your local guide for an authentic Milan ritual, an informal Apericena meal mixing pre-dinner drinks and tapas-style food.
  • This morning, take in some of the city’s iconic sights on a locally guided walking tour: view the La Scala Opera House and Vittorio Emanuele Gallery, and visit the Duomo,* Milan’s magnificent Gothic cathedral. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore this bustling city at your own pace. You may choose to visit the Sforza Castle, Sant’Ambrogio Cathedral, Leonardo’s Last Supper** or the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.
  • Milan - Lake Maggiore
  • This morning, join your local guide for a tour of the Quadrilatero della Moda, Milan’s high-fashion district, including visits to some of the city’s best ateliers and fashion stores. In the early afternoon, transfer to Lake Maggiore where you begin your tour of Northern Italy & its Lakes.

Surround yourself in the beauty and grandeur found on the lakes of Northern Italy. Cruise along scenic Lago Maggiore passing the Borromean Islands sprinkled throughout this stunning lake. These petite but incredible islands are brimming with grand villas and exquisite, world-renowned gardens. Glide past Isola del Pescatore viewing the gulf of Baveno before making a stop at Isola Bella. Then we make our way along the cobblestone streets of the quaint town to the impressive, Baroque Borromean Palace and gardens. This famed palace is steeped in immeasurable wealth and regal pageantry. On your guided tour, surroundings will bring you back to the 17th century. Get a glimpse inside life as a royal as you stroll through the opulent halls superbly decorated with rare artwork and tapestries. Then, you’ll head outside to the perfectly manicured, tiered gardens that abut the lakeshore. Behold stunning views and the splendor of the gardens as we make our way through with an expert. Return to the boat for a cruise back to Stresa.

Journey to picture-perfect Orta, a scenic subalpine lake surrounded by ancient villages. During a guided tour, visit one of Italy’s Sacri Monti (UNESCO)—chapels built in a scenic location above the lake as pilgrimage sites for those who could not afford the journey to Jerusalem. Then enjoy a boat ride to San Giulio Island, a rocky island in the middle of the lake that provides impressive views of the surrounding shore. Take a walk around the island before returning to the mainland for time at leisure in the old town of Orta, replete of quaint cobblestoned lanes and local cafes.

In 1489 Venice bestowed upon Caterina Cornaro, former Queen of Cyprus, the Seigniory of Asolo. In this hilltop haven, Caterina created a magnificent Renaissance court of artists, men of letters and poets – leaving an indelible imprint in the art and in the very ideal of the city. Since Caterina’s time, this pilgrimage of great minds has never ceased to reach Asolo, and still today its streets echo the footsteps of Robert Browning, Henry James, Igor Stravinsky, Ernest Hemingway and many others… Enjoy time at leisure to discover your favorite corner of this enchanted hilltop village before continuing your journey into the rolling hills of Italy’s Prosecco region. Visit a local vineyard where you’ll taste the region’s sparkling specialty and toast to la dolce vita – sweet life in the Venetian countryside.

Make your way through the iconic St. Mark's Square in Venice.

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Your Adventurous Northern Italy Itinerary for 2024

Your Adventurous Northern Italy Itinerary for 2024

Unveiling the charms of northern italy.

Image from author Jette

Embark on a thrilling journey through the captivating land of Northern Italy with our 10-day itinerary! Experience the magic of Venice, Verona, Bergamo, Lake Como, and Milan, each offering a unique blend of history, art, and modernity. But wait, there’s more! We’ve got an exciting twist – we compare each sightseeing pass to reveal the ultimate choice for your adventure.

Related articles

  • Our Favorite 10-Day Italy Itinerary
  • Your Secret Spot Amalfi Coast Itinerary
  • One Week in Italy - The Perfect Itinerary

Whether you’re exploring by train, road trip, or simply seeking the best Northern Italy itinerary, we’ve got you covered. Get ready for an unforgettable trip filled with hidden gems, stunning lakes, and cultural wonders. Let’s dive in and discover the best itinerary for your dream vacation!

How many days should you visit northern Italy?

The ideal duration to visit Northern Italy depends on your interests and the places you wish to explore. For a comprehensive experience, plan at least 10 days to cover iconic cities like Venice, Verona, Bergamo, Lake Como, and Milan. However, if you have limited time, a minimum of 5-7 days is recommended to savor the region’s captivating landscapes, culture, and cuisine.

When is the Best Time to Visit Northern Italy?

Northern Italy experiences a varied climate, with the mountainous regions often cooler than the coastal areas. Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of the best time to visit Northern Italy, considering temperatures, rain days and special events:

Day 1-2: Venice – The Enchanting City of Canals

Ponte degli Scalzi on a sunny day in Venice in Italy,

Hotel recommendation : Hotel Danieli ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Start your nothern italy adventure by exploring the historic heart of the city Venice: Stroll through the labyrinthine streets and cross over the iconic Rialto Bridge, adorned with shops and breathtaking views. Visit the bustling Rialto Market to experience the vibrant atmosphere and discover the freshest local produce.

Continue your journey to Piazza San Marco, the heart of Venice, and be mesmerized by the grandeur of St. Mark’s Basilica and the intricate mosaics that adorn its façade. Take a guided tour of the Doge’s Palace , once the seat of Venetian power, and marvel at the opulence of the interior.

Indulge in a classic gondola ride , gliding along the serene canals and under romantic bridges. As the day draws to a close, enjoy a delectable Venetian dinner at a charming osteria, savoring dishes like sarde in saor (sweet and sour sardines) and fegato alla veneziana (Venetian-style liver).

Embark the second day to Venice’s artistic riches: Visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, an art museum housed in the former home of the legendary art collector. Marvel at a remarkable collection of 20th-century masterpieces by artists such as Picasso, Pollock, and Dalí .

Next, explore the Accademia Gallery with a private guide, home to an impressive collection of Venetian art from the 14th to 18th centuries . Admire works by Venetian masters like Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese, and immerse yourself in the city’s artistic heritage.

Take a leisurely walk along the Zattere promenade , lined with charming cafés and offering picturesque views of the Giudecca Canal.

  • Tip: For a unique Venetian experience, visit a traditional mask-making workshop and learn about the art of creating Venetian masks.

Day 3-4: Verona – Romance and Shakespearean Beauty

View of Verona in italy in the evening hours

Hotel Recommendation : Due Torri Hotel Verona ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Begin your Verona adventure by visiting the iconic Arena di Verona , a Roman amphitheater that hosts spectacular opera performances during the summer. Wander through Piazza Bra , the city’s main square, adorned with historic buildings and lively cafes. Take a stroll to the Piazza delle Erbe , a picturesque square with a lively market and stunning frescoed buildings .

As you continue exploring, you’ll come across Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta), a must-visit for romantics. Admire the famous balcony where Juliet is said to have been serenaded by Romeo, and don’t forget to rub the bronze statue of Juliet for good luck in love.

For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Castelvecchio Museum is a must. This medieval castle now houses an impressive collection of art , including works by Veronese and Tintoretto.

The citys proximity to Lake Garda makes it an ideal starting point for a day trip to this stunning natural wonder on your second day in Verona. Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, is known for its crystal-clear waters, charming lakeside towns, and breathtaking scenery .

Head to Sirmione, a picturesque town located on a narrow peninsula jutting into the lake. Explore the Scaliger Castle and the Grotte di   Catullo, ancient Roman ruins overlooking the lake.

Afterward, take a boat tour of the lake to fully appreciate its beauty and finish the wonderful day with local wine and a stunning sunset infront of you.

  • Tip: Dont forget to take a dip into the clear and cold water of the Largo Garda!

Day 5-6: Bergamo – A City of Contrasts

Bergamo in Italy

Hotel Recommendation: BeB San Lorenzo ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Travel to Bergamo, a city of contrasts where history meets modernity. Stay at the elegant Relais San Lorenzo, located in the heart of the Upper Town (Città Alta). Bergamo offers a unique blend of medieval charm and vibrant urban life , making it a captivating destination to explore.

Start your day with a journey back in time as you explore the Città Alta, Bergamo’s historic upper town. Walk along the Venetian walls that once protected the city and admire the well-preserved architecture that reflects centuries of history. Visit Piazza Vecchia, the heart of the Città Alta, where you’ll find the Palazzo della Ragione and the Contarini Fountain. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Colleoni Chapel, a masterpiece of Renaissance art and a tribute to the city’s military leader, Bartolomeo Colleoni.

As you wander through the charming cobblestone streets, you’ll come across artisan shops, quaint cafés, and inviting trattorias . Be sure to try local specialties like casoncelli, a type of stuffed pasta, and polenta e osei, a traditional dessert.

On your second day in Bergamo, head to the Città Bassa, the lower town, to experience the more modern side of the city . Take the funicular down from the Città Alta and arrive at the bustling heart of Bergamo. Here, you’ll find wide avenues, chic boutiques, and a lively atmosphere .

Visit the Accademia Carrara , an art gallery featuring an impressive collection of Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, including works by Botticelli, Raphael, and Titian. Wander through the lush greenery of the Parco della Rocca , a peaceful park that offers panoramic views of the city.

For a taste of Bergamo’s contemporary culture, head to the Porta Nuova district , known for its modern architecture and vibrant nightlife. Start the evening at the bar Caffé del Tasso and celebrate your north italy trip at the club Bolgia . Here you can party until dawn!

  • Tip: To fully immerse yourself in the history of Bergamo, consider taking a guided walking tour of the Città Alta . Local guides can provide fascinating insights into the city’s past and share hidden gems that you might otherwise miss.

Day 7-8: Como – A Lakeside Retreat

Streets of Como in Italy

Hotel recommendation: New Fontana Rooms ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Travel to the picturesque town of Como, nestled along the shores of Lake Como. Stay at the beautiful New Fontana Rooms, central Hotel with the perfect location for all important sights of Como. Lake Como is renowned for its natural beauty, serene waters, and charming lakeside towns, making it a perfect retreat for relaxation and exploration .

Begin your day with a leisurely stroll along the lakefront promenade, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the shimmering lake. Explore the charming town of Como, with its narrow streets, elegant architecture, and bustling squares . Visit the Como Cathedral (Duomo), an impressive example of Gothic architecture, and the Broletto, a medieval town hall.

For a unique cultural experience, head to Villa Olmo , an elegant neoclassical villa set amidst beautiful gardens. The villa hosts art exhibitions and cultural events throughout the year, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Como’s rich heritage.

In the afternoon, take a relaxing boat cruise on Lake Como to admire the stunning villas that dot the lakeshore, including Villa del Balbianello and Villa Carlotta . End your day with a delicious lakeside dinner at Trattoria del Glicine , savoring local dishes like risotto with perch or lake fish.

After an exciting first day in Como enjoy a leisurely morning, soaking in the serene ambiance of the lake and the charming town. Instead of visiting Bellagio, choose a private boat tour that allows you to explore the hidden gems of Lake Como at your own pace and without crowded streets. With your knowledgeable guide, discover secluded coves, quaint fishing villages, and lesser-known villas , escaping the crowds and enjoying a more intimate experience of the lake’s beauty.

In the afternoon, treat yourself to the ABSOLUT BEST GELATO in town at Gelab Galeteria . This artisanal gelateria is renowned for its wide array of delectable gelato flavors, made with the highest quality ingredients . Whether you’re a fan of classic favorites or adventurous taste combinations, Gelab Galeteria is sure to delight your taste buds with its rich and creamy gelato creations .

Day 9-10: Milan – Final Days in the Fashion Capital

Milan in Italy

Arrive in Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, and stay at the stylish Room Mate Giulia. Milan is a city that seamlessly blends history, art, and modernity , offering an array of attractions to explore.

Start your day by visiting the magnificent Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano), one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Marvel at its stunning architecture and intricate details as you explore the interior and, if you’re feeling adventurous, climb to the rooftop for panoramic views of the city.

Next, make your way to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II , a breathtaking shopping arcade known for its elegant architecture and luxury boutiques. Take a moment to appreciate the beautiful mosaics on the floor, especially the bull mosaic , and follow the local tradition of spinning three times on the bull’s genitals for good luck.

Continue your cultural journey at Teatro alla Scala , one of the world’s most renowned opera houses . If there’s a performance scheduled during your visit, consider experiencing the magic of opera or ballet in this historic venue.

For art enthusiasts, the Pinacoteca di Brera houses an impressive collection of Italian masterpieces, including works by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian. Wander through the charming Brera district, filled with art galleries, boutique shops, and cozy cafes .

On your final day in Milan, take some time to indulge in shopping along Via Montenapoleone and the surrounding streets, known for their high-end fashion boutiques . Milan’s fashion scene is legendary, and even if you’re not planning a shopping spree, the window displays alone are a feast for the eyes.

For a taste of Milanese cuisine , enjoy a leisurely lunch at local loved Rita & Antonio , savoring classic dishes like risotto alla Milanese or ossobuco.

Before you depart, consider taking a stroll through Sempione Park and visiting the iconic Sforza Castle . This historic fortress houses various museums and art collections and offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city .

FAQ's about Northern Italy

Do i need a visa to visit northern italy.

Citizens of many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, can visit Northern Italy for up to 90 days without a visa. However, it’s essential to check the visa requirements based on your nationality before traveling.

What's the best way to get around Northern Italy?

Northern Italy has an excellent transportation network, including trains, buses, and domestic flights. Trains are often the most convenient and efficient option for traveling between cities, while buses and local transportation systems are ideal for exploring within each city.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Northern Italy?

Yes, tap water in Northern Italy is generally safe to drink. It undergoes strict quality control and meets high standards. However, if you prefer, you can always opt for bottled water, which is readily available.

What are the must-visit cities and attractions in Northern Italy?

The must-visit cities and attractions in Northern Italy include Venice with its romantic canals, Verona with its Shakespearean charm, the beautiful Lake Como, the historic city of Bergamo, the art and fashion capital Milan, and the charming town of Brescia.

What is the best time to visit Northern Italy in terms of weather and special events?

The best time to visit Northern Italy is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is mild, and there are fewer tourists. Additionally, various special events, such as the Venice Carnival in February and the Milan Fashion Week in September, make these seasons even more captivating.

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10 days in Northern Italy and Switzerland Itinerary

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Looking for a fantastic trip that combines Italy’s idyllic medieval towns and famous lakes with Switzerland’s most popular cities and the renowned Swiss Alps? Then you’re in the right place. Our 10 days in Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary takes you on an absolutely amazing trip through Europe’s most beautiful regions.

Planning a trip of this magnitude can be challenging. With so much to explore, like a walking tour in a picturesque Italian town or a scenic train ride through the snowy Swiss Alps, you’re bound to miss some hidden gems.

This is why we created this Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary for you. This 10-day itinerary takes you to some of the most beautiful cities in Italy and Switzerland to discover their famous landmarks and historical and cultural attractions. 

Perfect Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary you’ll love

Italy and Switzerland Itinerary 10 days pin

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Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary | At a glance

Before we dive into this Switzerland and Italy itinerary, let’s have a look at what this amazing trip has in store for you:

  • Day 1 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Explore Bologna’s historical city centre
  • Day 2 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Experience the floating city of Venice
  • Day 3 and 4 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Discover Milan’s Art Nouveau buildings, shopping centers, and castles
  • Day 5 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Have a scenic escape in Lake Como
  • Day 6 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Explore Geneva’s best attractions
  • Day 7 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Experience the best of Bern
  • Day 8 and 9 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: Escape to the resort town of Interlaken
  • Day 10 of 10 Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary: End your Italy-Switzerland itinerary on a high in Zürich

Italy and Switzerland Itinerary with a scenic train ride (Bernina Express)

  • Day 1 and 2: Fly to Milan, explore for 2 days

Day 3: Day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio (Italy) 

Day 4: Milan to Switzerland via the Bernina Express

  • Day 5: Visit Chur (arrive in Zurich in the evening, 1 hour train ride)
  • Day 6 and 7: Sightseeing in Zurich for 2 days
  • Day 8: Lucerne and Mount Titlis day trip
  • Day 9: Bern day trip
  • Day 10: Rhine Falls day trip

Italy and Switzerland Itinerary: Fly to Rome, and fly out from Zurich

  • Day 1 and 2: Rome
  • Day 3 : Florence day trip (or extend 2 nights in Florence and visit Siena or Pisa)
  • Day 4 and 5 : Visit and stay in Milan for 2 nights
  • Day 6: Train travel to Chur in Switzerland via Bernina Express (stay overnight in Chur)
  • Day 7: Explore Zurich for a day
  • Day 8 and 9: Interlaken and Jungfrau
  • Day 10: Bern (return to Zurich in the evening)

Switzerland and Italy Itinerary: Start in Zurich, end in Rome 

  • Day 1 and 2: Fly to Zurich, explore for 2 days
  • Day 3 : Bern day trip 
  • Day 4 : Lucerne and Mount Pilatus day trip
  • Day 5: Train travel to Tirano in Italy via Bernina Express. Make connections from Tirano to Milan
  • Day 6 and 7 : Visit and stay in Milan for 2 nights
  • Day 8: Explore Lake Como and Bellagio for a day (overnight in Milan)
  • Day 9 and 10: Travel to Rome and explore for the next 2 nights

Planning a Switzerland and Italy Trip Itinerary

Begin your Northern Italy and Switzerland trip plan with visa requirements and arrival airports. 

Both countries are located in Europe and they follow Schengen visa requirements to allow non-visa-exempt passport holders to enter the country. Citizens of the United States and Canada can visit Italy and Switzerland visa-free and stay for 90 days. 

At the border crossing, your passports won’t be checked. But when you touch down in either country, your passport and other documents will be checked by immigration. 

Keep in mind, Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but Italy is. As mentioned, both follow the Schengen Agreement. 

Italy uses Euros as the official currency, and Swiss Francs are used in Switzerland. 

For your flights from North America, destinations like Zurich, and Geneva (in Switzerland) and Milan and Rome (in Italy) are good options to fly into. 

In the Italy Switzerland itinerary below, we have included samples where you can start in either country; and complete sightseeing using rental cars or public transportation. 

  • To start in Northern Italy, fly to Milan Malpensa Airport (you can also arrive in Rome and then connect to Milan via high-speed trains)
  • To start in Switzerland, flying to Zurich International Airport makes sense 

Once you’ve decided where to go and what you would like to explore, it’s time to start planning your itinerary . As with any trip, it’s important to determine transportation options within each destination. 

Both countries have a solid public transportation network, and depending on the duration of your trip, it may be best to purchase a rail pass that allows you to freely move between countries and cities.

Eurail Pass is a good option to consider here. Or you can opt for a country-specific pass with attractions access. 

We always use the Swiss Travel Pass when traveling in Switzerland, and use a mix of city passes, and tours to get around in Italy. We recommend booking train tickets and passes prior to your trip to save money. 

SWISS TRAVEL PASS

Get unlimited rides on trains, trams, buses, and boats throughout Switzerland with an all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass!

Buy it online, show your e-ticket on your phone, and start your Swiss Adventure with ease and stay on budget!

Note that in some cases, connections between cities via trains are faster as compared to a road trip in these two countries. Having said that you can always get a rental car, if that’s what you prefer. 

There are a plethora of guided excursions also available in each country, so you may also decide to take a day trip or do an organized tour from your accommodation base.

Accommodation is another important factor to consider when planning a trip to Northern Italy and Switzerland. We have included top picks for each city/ town where an overnight stay is suggested. 

Finally don’t forget to get travel insurance . 

Get a free quote for Safety Wing Travel Insurance

Day 1: northern italy itinerary – explore bologna’s historical city center.

Italy’s different regions and their unique offerings make the country one of the most visited in Europe. 

In the northern region of Emilia Romagna, Bologna is world-renowned as Italy’s foodie capital. The city also has lots of beautiful architecture you can explore.

Decorated old portico with columns in Bologna, Italy

Admire Bologna’s porticoes

The porticoes of Bologna are a recently-declared UNESCO World Heritage Site waiting to be explored. 

Spanning over 26 miles within the historic city center, Bologna’s porticoes and city walls are a symbol of the city’s bustling medieval era. 

Take a walking tour or leisurely stroll through the longest portico in Bologna – Portico of San Luca — it has about 666 arches. 

Or opt to tour the Portico Dei Servi, which extends towards Piazza Maggiore and has the widest corridors.

Grab lunch at Piazza Maggiore

As the heart of Bologna city center, Piazza Maggiore is the best place to hang around, people-watch, and get amazing views of some of the city’s best landmarks. 

Enjoy a tasty lunch while looking out at the dramatic Basilica di San Petronio and Palazzo d’Accursio. 

You’ll also find the Fountain of Neptune, depicting the god of the sea with a trident in hand and standing over four cherubs – the ultimate symbol of power.   

Climb Asinelli Tower

From Piazza Maggiore, walk for about five minutes to the colossal Asinelli Tower. The 319-foot tower is the tallest leaning medieval tower in the world. It stands next to Garisenda Tower, and together they make Le due Torri.  

These two towers are the most well-preserved in the city, and Asinelli is the only one you can climb. 

If you’re up for it, you can get an entrance ticket and climb up 498 steps to reach the top of the tower, where you’ll get stunning views of the city.

Take a food tour + private cooking class

If you’d like to take a piece of Bologna home with you, consider taking a food tour or private cooking class and learn how to make some tasty Italian delicacies. 

As the culinary capital of the world, Bologna offers great food tours that, at times, include cheese and wine tasting.

Marvel at La Finestrella

Discover Bologna’s long-lost canals through a small window on Via Piella. Yes, the city of Venice is not the only place in Italy where you can find canals. 

Bologna’s hidden canals date back to the Middle Ages when they were used for the transportation of goods and people. 

Where to stay in Bologna: 

  • Art Hotel Commercianti: Centrally located Art Hotel Commercianti offers a hearty breakfast, and modern amenities in every room. Rooms have a beautiful traditional/medieval charm to them. Book your stay here
  • NH Bologna De La Gare : Stay near the Bologna Centrale train station at the NH Bologna De La Gare! This hotel is conveniently located in the shopping district and about a 10-minute walk from Bologna Cathedral. It offers modern rooms, with a bar and parking on-site. Book your stay here

Note : Start early morning for Venice on day 2. Bologna to Venice is 1 hour 30 minutes by train and less than 2 hours by car

Day 2 Northern Italy itinerary – Experience the floating city of Venice

You can’t visit Northern Italy without making a stop in the City of Canals. Venice is dotted with stunning terracotta houses, medieval bridges, floating gondolas, and scenic canals that will make you fall in love. 

Here’s how you can spend one day in Venice .

Take a Grand Canal tour

The Grand Canal is one of the most notable features in Venice. Whether you’re visiting on a day trip or spending one day in Venice, taking a tour of the Grand Canal is a must-do . 

You’ll enjoy a boat ride through hidden canals and get a front-row seat to attractions like the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Gritti Palace, and the postcard-worthy Salute Church.

Tip: Not sure if you should use a vaporetto (water taxi) or a canal tour? This guide about whether a gondola ride in Venice is worth it has what you need to know to make your decision.

Stroll around Piazza San Marco

Sitting in the heart of Venice, Piazza San Marco is the most vibrant square in the city. Flanked by historically significant buildings like St Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace, this public square is a great place to take a guided tour

You can also climb to the top of St Mark’s Campanile, where you’ll get a spectacular view of the city.

Visit Doge’s Palace

Doge’s Palace is one of Venice’s most popular attractions, and it’s easy to see why. 

Aside from the gorgeous Venetian Gothic-style architecture, you’ll also have the palace’s ornate interiors to marvel at. 

As a former residence of the supreme leader of the old republic, the museum is a great place to learn about the history of the city and see its stunning architecture. This Doge’s Palace entry ticket gives you access to the regal interiors and the Bridge of Sighs. 

Get a book at Libreria Acqua Alta

If you’re a bookworm, you’ll love spending time at this cozy, eccentric bookstore. Libreria Acqua Alta is one of the best Instagram-worthy photo spots in Venice . 

It boasts colorfully stacked books from floor to ceiling, some are stored in a bathtub and even a gondola.

Note: Libreria Acqua Alta is popular among tourists, and you may find it overcrowded.

Walk across Rialto Bridge

Spanning 66 feet over the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. 

And while it’s an absolutely beautiful piece of architecture to admire, Rialto Bridge also has a long history. It’s the oldest of the four bridges that cross over the Grand Canal. 

Walking across the Rialto Bridge is a great way to get up close views of the architectural details. But if you want to ditch the crowds and see the bridge in solitude, take a gondola tour along the Grand Canal and get stunning views of Rialto Bridge as you’re serenaded.

Where to stay in Venice: 

  • Palazzo Veneziano – Venice Collection: Gorgeous 4-star property, located in the neighborhood of Dorsoduro, the Palazzo Veneziano is perfect for sightseeing in Venice, and you will also find many bars and restaurants nearby. Read traveler reviews and check current availability
  • Hotel Campiello : This is an affordable 3-star hotel, located close to San Macro Piazza, and many other sightseeing areas. Check availability here

Note : Start for Milan the next day. You have 2 days of sightseeing here. Venice to Milan is 3 hours by the fastest train and car. 

Day 3 – 4 Northern Italy itinerary – Discover Milan’s Art Nouveau buildings, shopping centers, and castles

Milan is the capital of the Lombardy Region of Northern Italy. This bustling metropolitan is also world-renowned as the fashion capital of the world. 

It’s also home to some of Italy’s landmarks, like the Duomo di Milano and Sforza Castle.

Where to stay in Milan: 

  • c-Hotel Atlantic Milano : c-Hotel Atlantic Milano is conveniently located near the central station, and is perfect for sightseeing, as well as for entering and leaving Milan. Plus you will find restaurants, bars with live music and parks nearby. Book your stay here (this hotel is also known as Atlantic Hotel Milano)
  • Park Hyatt Milan: Located close to the Milan Duomo in Zone 1, Park Hyatt is a luxury property with stunning views of the city. It is about a 4-5 minute walk from the Duomo. Some suites also have a private terrace, and you can wine and dine in their restaurant on-site. View more information here

Day 3 – Visit Milan’s top attractions

There’s so much to do in this beautiful city that it raises the question, “ how many days in Milan is enough?” — and rightfully so. 

Your first day in the city of Milan takes you through all the city highlights. This is also a great one-day Milan itinerary if you can only stay for 24 hours or less. 

Marvel at the Duomo di Milano

Milan’s pre-eminent cathedral, the Duomo di Milano, is one of the most magnificent churches in the world. 

The white marble Gothic cathedral was commissioned by the Archbishop of Milan, Antonio da Saluzzo, and it took nearly six centuries to complete, from 1386 to 1965. 

Today, Milan Cathedral is one of the most celebrated landmarks in Italy. You can get an all-access ticket to the Duomo and get to see the cathedral’s museum, its terraces, and the rooftop. You’ll also get entry to the Chiesa di San Gottardo in Corte. 

Tip: Read this in-depth guide to get the lowdown about visiting Milan Cathedral .

Wander through Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is home to some of the oldest restaurants and shops in Milan. Operating since 1877, the Galleria is the oldest active shopping gallery in the city.

You’ll find a range of cafes, restaurants, and shops selling luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, Prada, and more. And although some of these brands may be out of your budget, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is worth visiting for its Renaissance Revival architecture. 

Stroll through Piazza Mercanti

Piazza Mercanti is one of Italy’s most idyllic squares. Located just a skip away from the magnificent Duomo, this quaint square is home to some of the most gorgeous medieval buildings in the world. 

The piazza was the city’s center of government and industry during the Middle Ages. This is why you’ll find the former courts of justice, the notary seat, and the Chamber of Commerce dotted around the square.

See the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie

Art aficionados will appreciate a visit to the Santa Maria delle Grazie for a sneak peek at Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th-century masterpiece, “The Last Supper.” The painting sits in its original place along the walls of the refectory. 

To see the historical mural, take a guided tour of Santa Maria delle Grazie , where your expert guide will lead you through the viewing of the world-renowned painting for 15 minutes.

Day 4 – See Milan’s art and medieval architecture

The second day of your two days in Milan takes you through the city’s most famous art museums, galleries, and medieval architecture.

Wander through Sforza Castle + Arco della Pace

Sforza Castle is a Renaissance fortification built in the 15th century. The castle has served as a private residence for royalty, mainly the Visconti lords. It was also used as a weapons depot and as military barracks throughout its life.

Today, you can take an audio guide through the castle’s museums, each boasting interesting artworks and relics. 

Stroll through the castle’s lush grounds while admiring medieval architecture before dashing over to Arco della Pace for incredible photos.

Besides being almost identical to the Arc de Triomphe in France, Arco della Pace is one of Milan’s significant Neoclassical monuments, symbolizing peace between European nations. 

See masterpieces at Pinacoteca di Brera

Pinacoteca di Brera is Milan’s main public gallery and home to over 400 paintings dating between the 13th and 20th centuries. 

You can browse through the museum via a guided tour and see paintings from artists such as Caravaggio, Piero della Francesca, and Raphael. 

Visit the La Scala Opera House

Teatro alla Scala is an iconic opera house in Milan famous for its absolutely amazing acoustics. The theater is known for premiering many popular operas, especially many of Giuseppe Verdi’s. 

Book a ticket for the La Scala Museum tour , and get to see the famous stages, regal interior, and stunning crystal chandelier.

Note : You can extend your stay in Milan to day 5, and take a day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio.

Day 5 Northern Italy itinerary – Have a scenic escape in Lake Como

Lake Maggiore and Como offer the ideal tranquil getaway from the Lombardy Region’s bustling cities. Although Lake Maggiore is slightly bigger, the large lake doesn’t get as much tourist traffic as its counterpart. 

Here are a few ways you could spend your day in Lake Como.

Stroll through Como Town

Visiting Lake Como is one of the most popular day trips numerous tourists take from Milan, and it’s not hard to see why. 

But you can’t visit Lake Como without first making a stop at the picturesque city that gives the lake its name. 

Spend some time walking along the city’s gorgeous waterfront promenade, exploring its museums, and visiting famous churches like the stunning Como Cathedral.

Explore Lake Como

Surrounded by rolling green hills, picturesque old towns, and beautiful lakeside mansions, Lake Como is one of the idyllic places to visit in Italy. 

You can enjoy the upscale resort area and its beautiful scenery by taking a Lake Como cruise that ends with a stunning sunset. The lake also offers water sports opportunities, e-biking tours, and a lakeside dinner at a great restaurant.  

Take a trip to Varenna

Varenna is a small village sitting along the eastern shores of Lake Como. This idyllic old town offers views of colorful homes, medieval streets, and the gardens of Villa Monastero. It’s a great place to escape the high tourist summer season in Lake Como.

Varenna

Visit Bellagio

Bellagio is another postcard-worthy old town on the shores of Lake Como. You can reach this gorgeous lakeside village via a 50-minute drive from Como Town. 

Once you arrive in Bellagio, hire a boat and take your own trip around the lake. End your day with a tasty meal at Ristorante Bilacus’s vine-covered terrace.

Tip: You can see the best of Lake Como, Varenna, and Bellagio with this day trip from Milan . The tour takes the most popular route to Lake Como, dotted with scenic villas and gardens.

Day 6 Switzerland itinerary – Explore Geneva’s best attractions

From here onwards, you will make your way to Switzerland. You have the option to either arrive in Zurich or Geneva to kickstart sightseeing here.   

Either way, we recommend starting early in the morning from Italy. Here is the travel time for each,

  • Bellagio or Milan to Zurich is 3 to 4+ hours by train
  • Bellagio or Milan to Geneva is 5 to 6+ hours by train 

As the capital of luxury watches and jewelry making, Geneva is a must-add to any Switzerland trip. This city boasts incredible views of the Swiss Alps, watchmakers, and many diplomatic headquarters to explore.

See the Jet d’Eau (Geneva Water Fountain)

Start this Switzerland trip with a visit to the star of Geneva Harbor. Shooting up to an altitude of 459 feet, Jet d’Eau is one of the largest fountains in the world. It is visible throughout the city and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Geneva.

Climb the tower of St. Pierre Cathedral

Nestled on the highest point of Geneva’s Old Town, St. Pierre Cathedral combines different architectural styles like Gothic and Ancient. The 12th-century cathedral boasts dramatic interiors and a tower you can climb for amazing views of the town.

Visit Palais des Nations + Red Cross Museum

As we touched on before, Geneva is home to several international headquarters, including the United Nations and the International Museum of the Red Cross. These buildings are of huge significance to all countries across the world and are perfect for taking pictures. 

Take a half-day trip to Chillon Castle (optional)

If you’re looking for something out of a fairytale, look no further than the Gothic-style Chillon Castle. 

Sitting on an island on Lake Geneva, this medieval castle boasts exhibitions across 36 gorgeous rooms and courtyards. 

Where to stay in Geneva: 

  • Fairmont Grand Hotel Geneva: This is a stunning 5-star lakeside property located in the heart of Geneva. It has about 400+ rooms and is elegantly decorated. Plus it is only a 2-minute walk away from the ferry terminal. Hotel amenities include a pool, spa, and a bar & restaurant. Book your stay here
  • Hôtel des Tourelles: Hôtel des Tourelles is an affordable 2-star hotel, located about 10 minutes walk away from the city centre area. At less than $120 USD a night, this hotel serves its purpose. The hotel is pet friendly. Book your stay here

Note : Start for Bern the next day. Geneva to Bern is less than 2 hours by train or drive. 

Day 7 Switzerland itinerary – Experience the best of Bern

Bern has been the de-facto Swiss capital since 1848. And although you’d expect the capital city to be either Geneva or Zürich, Bern has a rich culture and lots of things to do on offer.

Take a walking tour of Old Town Bern

The UNESCO-designated Old Town of Bern is a well-preserved medieval center dotted with sandstone buildings, cobblestone streets, and charming shops and cafes. 

Take a stroll through Bern’s Old Town and discover its fountains, towers, and arcades. 

Visit Einsteinhaus

Head over to Einsteinhaus to see where Albert Einstein lives with his wife and son. This modest museum on the second floor shows the humble abode where Einstein wrote his annus mirabilis papers, which drastically changed how humanity understands the universe. 

Marvel at the Cathedral of Bern

Bern Minster is the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, sporting a single spire that soars about 328 miles into the sky. 

After admiring the cathedral’s Gothic architecture, you can take the 400-odd-step climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city.  

Stop by the Bern Historical Museum + Einstein Museum

Visiting Bern Historical Museum is a quintessential must-do activity when spending one day in Bern . 

The museum boasts a range of historical and ethnographic collections dating back to the Stone Age. 

It’s also connected to the Einstein Museum, where you can browse through photos, objects, and documentation of the physicist’s time in Bern.

Fun Fact: Albert Einstein spent seven years of his life in Bern, so you’ll find a deep connection between many of the city’s attractions and the physicist.

Note : We recommend leaving for Interlaken by evening. Trains and road trips will take about an hour to get there. 

Where to stay in Interlaken: 

  • Hotel Interlaken: Hotel Interlaken is a vintage hotel, dating back to the 1400s. It offers a variety of amenities for a comfortable stay in Interlaken. The hotel has free parking and is a good option if you are road-tripping. And the train station is 10 minutes walk away. Check availability here
  • Hotel Staubbach: Hotel Staubbach is one of the first hotels in Lauterbrunnen. Suites feature amazing panoramic views of the Staubbach Falls and Lauterbrunnen Valley. You can choose your accommodation from a private room with a shared bathroom or larger family-friendly rooms. Book your stay here

Day 8 and 9 Switzerland itinerary – Escape to the resort town of Interlaken

Surrounded by gorgeous mountains with dense forests, lakes, alpine meadows, and icy glaciers, Interlaken offers a great escape from Switzerland’s busier cities. 

Enjoy a cruise on Lake Thun

On the west of Interlaken, Lake Thun is a gorgeous deep blue waterbody popular for windsurfing, sailing, and sunbathing. 

The picturesque town also boasts stunning medieval architecture like Thun Castle, which you’ll have unobstructed views of from your boat cruise.

Marvel at Harder Kulm

Harder Kulm is one of the biggest draws on any Switzerland itinerary . The panoramic restaurant offers sweeping views of the valley floor, the two lakes, and the Swiss Alps in the distance. 

You can either take a short hike or ride a funicular (cable car) to the top.

Take a train ride to Schynige Platte

Enjoy a scenic train ride to the Schynige Platte, passing forests, alpine pastures, and marvelous views of Lake Thun and Brienz. 

The cogwheel train ride is about 4.5 miles and climbs to a height of nearly 4659 feet. You’ll enjoy spectacular views from the top. 

Go on a half-day trip to Jungfraujoch

Famously known as the top of Europe, Jungfraujoch is a saddle between two peaks of the Bernese Alps. 

Sitting at 11,362 feet above sea level, Jungfraujoch is a major feat to tick off your Switzerland trip bucket list . 

Catch this scenic ride to the top of Europe from the Interlaken Ost train station. 

Note : Leave for Zurich on day 9 (in the evening). Settle in with a nice dinner at the Old Town.

Day 10 Switzerland itinerary – End your Italy-Switzerland itinerary on a high in Zürich

As the economic capital and the largest city in Switzerland, Zürich is a great place to end this amazing trip. Admire the city’s architecture and see what its galleries and museums have to offer.

Where to stay in Zurich: 

  • Fred Hotel Zürich Hauptbahnhof (Walhalla Hotel) : Conveniently located near Zurich HB, this 3-star hotel is perfect for a short trip to the city. The rooms are spacious and clean. Check availability here
  • MEININGER Hotel Zürich Greencity : Located in District 2, this is an affordable option to stay along the Lake Zurich shores and within walking distance of the FIFA Museum. They have dorm-style accommodation. Check availability here

Stroll through the Altstadt (Old Town)

Start your day in Zürich with a leisurely stroll through the city’s medieval Old Town. Its elegant streets are dotted with colorful homes, cozy bars, and art museums like the Kunsthaus. 

You’ll also get to see the colossal Fraumünster Church.

Visit the Swiss National Museum

Sitting across the Zürich HB train station, the Swiss National Museum is home to a vast collection of cultural history, craftsmanship, and artworks from Switzerland’s past. 

A visit to the museum is a great way to learn more about the country.

Alternate Italy and Switzerland Itinerary 10 days

Here is an alternate Italy-Switzerland itinerary that can be explored by public transport, and also includes a scenic train ride.

Day 1 and 2 in Milan (Italy)

Start your trip by exploring Milan for 2 days. Visit Milan’s iconic Duomo, Vittorio Emanuele II, see the Last Supper, and Sforzesco Castle, and enjoy shopping and art walks. 

Visit Lake Como and the famous town of Bellagio from Milan on a day trip. You can also join a day tour to check out all the highlights

Spend day 4 of the itinerary to travel to Switzerland in style by riding the scenic Bernina Express . From Milan, you will arrive in Tirano, located at the foothills of the Swiss Alps. 

Vineyard and the Alps in Chur, the oldest city in Switzerland

The Bernina Express leaves from Tirano and arrives in St. Moritz in Switzerland. For the purposes of this itinerary, plan to disembark in Chur. 

This route can be done in both ways and makes for an unforgettable experience.

To make the most of your trip in Switzerland, we recommend purchasing the Swiss Travel Pass to get unlimited rides on the public transportation network like trains, buses, ferries, and free access to over 500 museums. 

Train rides such as Bernina and Glacier Express require an additional cost for seat reservation, but with the Pass, it is 1000% worth it. 

Stay overnight in Chur (or St. Moritz). 

Day 5: Chur

Chur is the oldest city in Switzerland , making it an ideal destination for history buffs. The Old Town area is a great way to explore the city’s past, with its winding cobblestone streets and medieval buildings. 

There are also plenty of museums and churches to visit, such as the Cathedral of Chur, Rätisches Museum, Shelter for Roman Ruins, and the Alt-Haldenstein Castle. 

You can spend a few hours in Chur before making your way to Zurich. 

Day 6 and 7: Zurich

See the best of Zurich in 2 days . Keep Zurich as a base to explore other destinations in Switzerland for the remainder of your itinerary. 

In Zurich, enjoy a lovely riverside stroll along the Limmat River. This scenic route is one of the most popular spots in Zurich. 

You can easily walk through Old Town, which is the medieval heart of Zurich. 

Stop by Grossmünster, a 12th-century Romanesque-style church with two tall spires that dominate the city skyline. 

Next, visit Bahnhofstrasse for some of the best shopping in Switzerland. Here you’ll find world-famous fashion brands as well as high-end jewelry stores and boutiques.

During your trip, also visit the FIFA and the Swiss Museum of Transport. 

Day 8: Lucerne and Mount Titlis

Go on a day trip to Lucerne and Mount Titlis from Zurich. Located in the heart of Switzerland, Lucerne is a vibrant city on the banks of Lake Lucerne, filled with medieval architecture, boutique shopping, and world-class restaurants. 

From here, you can take a cable car or funicular to Mount Titlis, the highest mountain in Central Switzerland. Atop the summit, explore an array of Alpine activities, such as paragliding, hiking, and skiing. 

For those seeking a more leisurely activity, there is also an observation deck with stunning views of the surrounding area. 

Lucerne and Mount Titlis are two must-see destinations for anyone looking to experience the beauty of Northern Italy and Switzerland.

Day 9: Bern

Arrive in Bern from Zurich train station, and explore it for a day. Almost all of the primary attractions in Bern are centrally located making it easy to navigate and make the most of the visit. 

The beautifully preserved Old Town of Bern should be top on your list. Here you’ll find cobbled streets flanked by 16th-century buildings that are now used as shops and cafes. 

The city’s centerpiece is the clock tower called Zytglogge – a must-see when visiting Bern. Other destinations include the Einstein Museum, Münster Cathedral, and the Bern Historical Museum. 

If you’re looking for a bit of culture, make sure to check out some of Bern’s many galleries and theaters. And while you’re in Bern, be sure to enjoy some of its delicious local dishes such as rösti or fondue!

For your outdoor needs, take a stroll through the Aare River Gorge, where you can explore historical monuments and beautifully landscaped gardens. 

There are also plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained like hiking, kayaking, and cycling. Spend a few hours at the nearby Bear Park, where you can get up close and personal with Switzerland’s national animal!

No trip to Bern is complete without visiting one of its many parks or gardens. The Rose Garden is especially beautiful in summer, while Bundesplatz, an old public square, is great for people-watching. 

Day 10: Rhine Falls 

Taking a day trip to the Rhine Falls is an adventure that should not be missed when visiting Switzerland. 

Located only about 60 minutes from Zurich, the largest waterfall in Europe provides some of the most beautiful views and opportunities for exploration and relaxation.

When planning your visit you will want to decide whether you’d like to make the journey by train or by car. If you decide to use public transportation, it is possible to take a direct train from Zurich main station to Neuhausen am Rhinefall, or drive 35 minutes to get there.

Day tours are also offered on this route!

Once at the falls, you can enjoy free parking as well as easy access to all areas of the site – including its many observation decks overlooking the impressive cascading water.

The Rhine Falls are open all year round and offer a wonderful experience for visitors of all ages. 

Although we focused heavily on Northern Italy in this post, it is possible to explore Rome and the Tuscan region on a short trip as well. 

For this, we recommend flying to Rome and leaving from Zurich in Switzerland. 

A typical itinerary will look like this,

Switzerland and Italy Itinerary: Itinerary in reverse

You can do the same itinerary in reverse by starting in Zurich, the largest airport in Switzerland. 

Northern Italy and Switzerland itinerary Travel Tips

Now that we have covered all of our itinerary samples, here are some additional tips, 

Renting a car or using public transportation

It is a personal preference if you wish to explore by driving or riding the train (or any other public transportation). But keep in mind that most of the cities like Venice, Zurich, Bern, and Lucerne all have car-free city centres. 

In places like Lake Como, Milan or Interlaken cars are fine, but you will also find good public transportation options including guided tours to take you there. 

Savings tips

We highly recommend booking accommodation in advance for your trip to Italy and Switzerland. Hotels in Switzerland can be very expensive in the summer and winter months – so book early!

A Swiss Travel Pass for 4 days will be your best bet to save money in Switzerland if you are splitting your 10 days in each country equally. 

For Italy, use websites like Trenitalia to make reservations prior to your trip. To save time, opt for high-speed trains that connect cities like Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence. 

Bernina Express is a great add-on to your itinerary to experience the BEST of both countries. The entire route takes 4 hours to complete and has multiple stops along the way. 

Best time to visit Italy and Switzerland

Both countries are perfect for a visit all year round. 

If possible, it’s best to plan your trip for the early summer or fall months when temperatures are milder. This also allows you to experience the breathtaking scenery of the Alps throughout Switzerland and northern Italy in all its glory.  

The Swiss Alps is a world-renowned geographical feature that attracts skiers, climbers, and snow lovers from across the world. Straddling the border between Italy and Switzerland, the pyramid-shaped Matterhorn peak is perhaps the most famous of the Swiss Alps.

Although you can see the Alps from Lake Geneva, just a few hours from Interlaken and Zurich, you can spot stunning views of the Matterhorn from the Swiss town of Zermatt. Zermatt is a must-add when you visit Switzerland in winter !

Note : Both countries are located in the Central European Time zone

Should you visit Switzerland and Italy?

Italy and Switzerland are two of the most visited countries in Europe, and it’s easy to see why. From stunning Italian villages to lakeside resorts in Switzerland, you will find the perfect blend of natural and cultural attractions.

And this 10-day itinerary has got all you’ll want to see and do in this region. So don’t wait, plan your next trip to Italy and Switzerland!

Pin: Italy and Switzerland Itinerary 10 days

10 day Northern Italy and Swiss Itinerary pin

Mayuri is the founder & editor of ToSomePlaceNew. An Indian-Canadian globetrotter, she has traveled to over 100 cities and 35+ countries. Mayuri has a graduate degree in History and is an MBA. She loves traveling the world, capturing historical nuances, and discussing that over a cup of coffee with her husband, Salil. She currently resides in Edmonton, Canada, and plots travel plans to Europe, the Americas, and beyond. 

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How to explore Italy in 3 days with a $32 train ticket

By Alessia Armenise

A woman taking the Italian train system.

Train travel is having a moment, and there's no better place than Italy to try it for yourself. its beautiful cities and towns, plus an extensive and quite affordable railway network, make Italy an ideal destination for those wanting to explore more than one location without feeling like they are travelling via ticklist.

To make train travel within the country even more appealing, people are being invited to discover more of Italy's beauty by rail. A three-day ticket for unlimited travel costs only $32 (while five-day tickets are priced at $53) on all regional trains – a bargain considering that it’s easy to visit multiple regions and cities during a long weekend .

There are a few restrictions to this offer – it doesn’t include travel to the Cinque Terre or Bolzano, for example – but the ticket grants access to most trains. The options are endless, but below, find three itinerary options to explore the north, the centre and the south of the country.

View of Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute in Venice

Northern Italy

Itinerary: Venice-Verona-Mantova-Modena-Bologna

Day 1: Venice to Verona

Northern Italy has an undeniably superior railway network compared to the south, so there are multiple itineraries to choose from. I recommend determining the two cities you’d like to fly in and out of – or that you consider must-see destinations – and building out from there. The route I chose is a romantic journey for food lovers.

Start the journey in Venice , where a boat trip from the airport to the hotel is the first taste of the city's magic. You could easily spend the whole day walking down the cobblestone streets, but it would be a shame to overlook the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Doge’s Palace, and, if you feel like catching an opera, the iconic La Fenice Theatre . Whatever you do, don’t forget to go for supper in Dorsoduro, Venice’s lively university district.

How to get there: Take the Frecciarossa or the regular regional train from Venezia S. Lucia station to Verona Porta Nuova (or any other stop in Verona, depending on your itinerary).

Where to stay: Il Palazzo Experimental is set in the lovely Dorsoduro neighbourhood, right next to Canal della Giudecca, in a restored Renaissance palace. It's from the team behind the Experimental Group, and bares all the hallmarks of their other retro-chic properties: lots of organic, curvy lines and Art Deco touches.

Colliseum in Verona city Italy

Day 2 : Verona to Modena via Mantua

Leaving Venice behind, it’s time to catch the train to Verona. Literary lovers flock here to see Juliet’s House , but there are plenty of other draws, like the famous Amphitheatre and Piazza delle Erbe. After Verona, I suggest a quick stop in Mantua to visit the Ducale Palace before heading to Modena. Here, the first thing to do is eat, whether you want to treat yourself to a dinner at Massimo Bottura's Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana or try any of the local trattorie. Modena is also home to UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Ghirlandina Tower, Piazza Grande, and the city’s cathedral. If you have some time left for a museum, Galleria Estense is delightful.

How to get there: Take a regional train from Verona to Mantua and then another regional train from Mantua to Modena. The regional trains are frequent, so you don’t have to worry too much about missing them.

Where to stay: In Verona, stay at Hotel Due Torri . This historic hotel overlooks the Church of Santa Anastasia and is within strolling distance of Juliet’s Balcony and the Arena. In Modena, stay at Hotel Rua Frati 48 , home to a typical Modenese restaurant, Locanda in San Francesco, where guests can get a taste of the city's culinary tradition.

Aerial cityscape view from the tower on Bologna old town center with Maggiore square in Italy

Day 3: Modena to Bologna

Last but not least, one of Italy’s most striking cities: Bologna . Exploring the city centre, you’ll see Piazza Maggiore, the Two Towers (Le due Torri: Garisenda e degli Asinelli), the Clock Tower and its incredible view over the city, but also the canals, a corner of the city known as ‘little Venice’ that can be admired from a window located on the Canale delle Moline.

How to get there: Take a regional train, a Frecciarossa or an Intercity train from Modena to Bologna Centrale.

Where to stay: Stay at Grand Hotel Majestic , which is minutes from Piazza Maggiore and the Two Towers. It's set in a historic 18th-century Italian palazzo stuffed with frescos and antiques.

Rome skyline with Coliseum aerial view Lazio Italy

Central Italy

Itinerary: Rome-Florence-Arezzo-Assisi-Perugia

Day 1: Rome to Florence

Rome is well connected to most parts of the country, which makes it a great starting point to explore central Italy. Depending on whether this is your first time in Rome and Florence, this itinerary could include two to five locations.

If it were my first time in these two beautiful cities, I would personally only cover Rome, Florence, and Perugia to give myself time to really enjoy all they have to offer. For seasoned Italy lovers, stops in the smaller towns of Arezzo and Assisi are a great opportunity to see more of the country.

Rome and Florence hardly need an introduction, and even a week wouldn’t be enough to see every beautiful corner, visit the best museums and galleries and eat your weight in pasta and pizza. While in Rome, I wouldn’t miss a stroll at Villa Borghese and a visit to the Borghese Gallery and Castel Sant'Angelo . In Florence, the Uffizi Gallery and the David of Michelangelo are only two of the things that you should have on your list.

How to get there: Take a Frecciarossa train from Roma Termini to Firenze S.M. Novella station.

Where to stay: In Rome, stay at The Hoxton . The hotel is conveniently located in the chic Parioli neighbourhood, steps away from Villa Borghese and close to one of Rome’s most charming areas, Coppedè. In Florence, stay at Hotel Lungarno , a 63-room, pet-friendly hotel. This historic townhouse feels suspended on the Arno River and has incredible views of the city.

Florence Tuscany Italy. Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo Cathedral from a frontal unique point of view.

Day 2: Florence to Arezzo via Assisi

Then there's Arezzo – a small medieval town that's not as touristy as many other cities in Tuscany but well worth a stay. Time a visit on the first weekend of the month to trawl the monthly antiques market at Piazza Grande, or travel in summer to witness the Giostra del Saracino, an ancient game which dates back to the Middle Ages.

Assisi, meanwhile, is famous for being the birthplace of St Francis, but the entire city is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Half a day is enough to explore this open-air museum, before travelling onwards to your last destination, Perugia.

How to get there: Take a regional train from Firenze S.M. Novella station to Assisi. From Assisi, take a regional train to Arezzo.

Where to stay: In Assisi, stay at Nun Assisi Relais , a former monastery built in 1275, where spirituality and wellness go hand in hand. The spa museum, where the limestone pillars surrounding the pool date back to the first century AD, is a must-visit, even if you are not staying the night.

Montepulciano italian medieval village panoramic view and San Biagio church on background. Siena Tuscany Italy Europe.

Day 3: Arezzo to Perugia

Perugia also looks like a museum – go to Piazza IV Novembre to see the San Lorenzo cathedral and the 13th-century Fontana Maggiore to understand what I mean – but it’s actually a lively university town with plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from. It's the perfect place to end your trip before flying home.

How to get there: From Arezzo, take a regional train or an Intercity to Perugia.

Where to stay: In Perugia, stay at Hotel Sina Brufani , located in the historic centre of the city. There's a wellness centre where guests can swim under medieval vaults and look at ancient Etruscan ruins dating back over 3,000 years.

Beatuful details of architecture in siciliat town Taormina

Southern Italy

Itinerary: Lamezia Terme-Tropea-Scilla-Reggio Calabria-Messina-Taormina-Catania

Day 1: Lamezia Terme to Reggio Calabria (via Tropea and Scilla)

My favourite train journey in Italy is the route from Rome to Calabria. It speeds along the stunning coast so closely that it almost feels like running on the beach. Flying directly into Lamezia Terme Airport, you’ll immediately take the train to get straight to the coast – there is no time to waste on this journey.

The trip officially starts on the train headed to Tropea. Ten years ago, this small town on a hill was almost empty of foreign tourism – with the exception of the many second-generation Calabrians who go back home every year. Now, word that this is one of the most beautiful seaside villages in Italy has spread. During high season, there will be crowds, and prices will be high, but if you avoid July and August, you’ll be rewarded with better weather, amazing views, and stunning beaches.

If you don’t want to spend the day at the beach, half a day will be plenty of time to explore the town, visit the castle and then get ready to jump on another train to reach your second destination. Scilla is another lovely seaside town that sits on what is called the Purple Coast (Costa Viola), which takes its name from the colour that the seawater has at certain times of the day. Once in Scilla, visit the picturesque hamlet of Chianalea. From there, you might get to see the fishing boat that is bringing your lunch back to the shore. In fact, if there is one thing you must do in Scilla, it’s eat their famous swordfish sandwich at any of the little beach restaurants, like the chic Cala delle Feluche or the more informal Lido Francesco .

How to get there: From Lamezia Terme Centrale, take a regional train to Tropea. If you are departing from the airport, you’ll have to take a connecting bus that will take you from the airport to the central station. From Tropea, take a regional train to Scilla and then take the same train from Scilla to Reggio di Calabria Centrale.

Where to stay: Villa Paola is an adults-only spot in a 16th-century convent with incredible views over the splendid town of Tropea and the shimmering sea. A special mention goes to Villa Paola’s restaurant, De’ Minimi, which only uses seasonal and local ingredients to celebrate Calabrian flavours and traditions.

View of the roof of the church Chiesa degli Ottimati also called Santa Maria Annunziata is a Roman Catholic church in...

Day 2: Reggio Calabria to Messina

At this point, it’s time to go back to the city, and this time, the train will be travelling to Reggio Calabria. After a good night's sleep, it’s time for some culture. Reggio Calabria is famous for its beautiful boardwalk known as ‘the most beautiful kilometre in Italy’. Standing there looking at the horizon, Sicily is so close it feels like you could just swim there. After eating mandatory ice cream at the Gelateria Cesare, the must-see in the city is the gorgeous cathedral, the Aragonese Castle and, last but not least, The National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria, home of the most famous of the city’s residents, The Riace Bronzes.

How to get there: From Reggio di Calabria Centrale, go to Villa S. Giovanni and board the boat to Messina Marittima.

Where to stay: In Reggio Calabria, stay at Altafiumara Resort . The romantic heart of the hotel is a fortress dating back to the Bourbon period, while the newer building is home to the resort’s incredible spa and outdoor pool overlooking the Strait of Messina.

Duomo Square and the Cathedral of St Agata Catania.

Day 3: Messina to Catania (via Taormina)

For the second leg of this trip, you’ll board the train, and the train will board the boat that will take you from Calabria to Sicily (yes, the train goes on the boat). Once in Messina, you might want to indulge in your first real Sicilian Arancino (fried rice balls filled with ragù, peas and cheese) at the Rosticceria Famulari – and maybe even take a peek at the Duomo – before making your way to the central station, en route to Taormina. The first things to see are the symbols of the city, the ancient theatre of Taormina and the Isola Bella (Beautiful Island), before making your way to the city centre and eating your way through this beautiful Sicilian food haven. Don't miss a cocktail at the famous Morgana and dinner at Osteria RossoDiVino or Vineria Modì . Time to take the last train, this time to Catania. There is plenty to see in the city before taking the flight back home, from the Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena and Castello Ursino to a tour of the underground ancient city . Catania will make you want to come back soon.

How to get there: From Messina Centrale, go to Taormina-Giardini (you can then take a local bus to the city centre called Taormina Link). From Taormina-Giardini, take a regional train to Catania Centrale.

Where to stay: Mazzarò Sea Place , located on the charming bay of Taormina.

This story was originally published on Condé Nast Traveller UK

Wander With Alex

Wander With Alex

Northern Italy: 12 Amazing Places to Vacation in the Region

Posted: July 16, 2023 | Last updated: October 1, 2023

Northern Italy is known for its mountain ranges, beautiful coastlines, rich cuisine, deep history, and gorgeous architecture. [Affiliate Links]

Cinque Terre, Liguria

Recommended by Pafoua of Her Wanderful World

Cinque Terre, meaning “Five Lands,” is a charming, must-see UNESCO destination located in Liguria’s capital city, La Spezia, off the Mediterranean coast in Northern Italy. Listed north to south, these beautiful coastal towns are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

Each town has its own unique beauty to explore, but all of them offer scenic views of colorful houses that line the hills. The ambiance, culture, and people in the Cinque Terre make a stop here unforgettable even though there aren’t traditional tourist sites such as churches or museums to visit.

  • Private Cinque Terre Trekking Tours
  • Cinque Terre Sunset Boat Tour Experience

Monterosso is the largest of the five and is known for its long stretch of sandy beach. Vernazza is the most beautiful of all the towns, with a smaller beach to swim in and a piazza to view the harbor below.

Sitting as the highest of all five villages, visitors will need to climb over 300 steps to reach the town center of Corniglia. Visit Gelateria Corniglia to find the best gelato. A popular activity in Manarola is sunbathing on the rocks or swimming in the sea since it doesn’t have a beach.

Riomaggiore is known for being the first town introduced to tourism, and nightlife is more lively. There is also delicious fried seafood found here.

A well-maintained train system connects the towns so visitors can easily travel between towns by hopping on and off. To take the scenic route, you can hike the trails and receive even more picturesque views, although keep in mind that some of the trails may be challenging.

Vehicles are discouraged in the Cinque Terre, so the easiest way to arrive is by train. Visitors can also arrive by boat, but schedules can change depending on the weather. The busiest times in the Cinque Terre are June and July, which also offer the sunniest, longest days.

To miss the crowds, visit during September or October to get cooler weather and still enjoy this beautiful area. Whenever you decide to visit the Cinque Terre and Northern Italy, you will not be disappointed!

<p><em>Recommended by Sarah of <a href="https://asocialnomad.com/" rel="noreferrer noopener">A Social Nomad</a></em></p> <p>Genoa, located in Northern Italy, is really easy to travel to – some buses and trains make it easy to reach this city on the Mediterranean, which is also a major cruise port, which means that a lot of visitors spend <a href="https://asocialnomad.com/italy/one-day-in-genoa/" rel="noreferrer noopener">one day in Genoa</a>. Genoa has one of the largest harbors in the Mediterranean, which means it sees a lot of yachting traffic too.</p> <p>Genoa's most famous son is Christopher Columbus – who spent a lot of his childhood here, and it is still possible to visit his home in the city. The maze of tiny, narrow streets makes the historic center of Genoa a delight to wander around in, safe from traffic, and the series of UNESCO World Heritage-listed palaces will delight all who visit.</p> <p>Foodies, too, will love Genoa. The region is the birthplace of pesto and focaccia bread, and it's also a city where street food is awesome – a paper cone of freshly fried seafood is absolutely not to be missed. To learn more, consider a <a href="https://tp.media/r?marker=330339&trs=144489&p=1922&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.viator.com%2Ftours%2FGenoa%2FDo-Eat-Better-Experience-Food-Tours-in-Genoa%2Fd805-51159P1" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow sponsored">Genoa food tour</a>. </p> <p>There are walking tours and open-topped Hop on Hop off bus tours to explore, but this is also a city where it’s easy to wander and discover hidden areas. There are endless pavement cafes, bars, and restaurants to suit all budgets and rest from the heat of the day. Genoa also caters well with accommodation options from five-star hotels to hostels and apartment rentals – all types and budgets of travelers are catered for.</p>

Genoa, Liguria

Recommended by Sarah of A Social Nomad

Genoa, located in Northern Italy, is really easy to travel to – some buses and trains make it easy to reach this city on the Mediterranean, which is also a major cruise port, which means that a lot of visitors spend one day in Genoa . Genoa has one of the largest harbors in the Mediterranean, which means it sees a lot of yachting traffic too.

Genoa's most famous son is Christopher Columbus – who spent a lot of his childhood here, and it is still possible to visit his home in the city. The maze of tiny, narrow streets makes the historic center of Genoa a delight to wander around in, safe from traffic, and the series of UNESCO World Heritage-listed palaces will delight all who visit.

Foodies, too, will love Genoa. The region is the birthplace of pesto and focaccia bread, and it's also a city where street food is awesome – a paper cone of freshly fried seafood is absolutely not to be missed. To learn more, consider a Genoa food tour .

There are walking tours and open-topped Hop on Hop off bus tours to explore, but this is also a city where it’s easy to wander and discover hidden areas. There are endless pavement cafes, bars, and restaurants to suit all budgets and rest from the heat of the day. Genoa also caters well with accommodation options from five-star hotels to hostels and apartment rentals – all types and budgets of travelers are catered for.

<p><em>Recommended by <a href="https://alexandleahontour.org/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Alex and Leah on Tour</a></em></p> <p>Portofino is an absolutely beautiful village on the Italian Riviera coastline in northern Italy. It's extremely popular with celebrities from all over the world, and once you visit, you'll know why!</p> <p>The best way to get to Portofino is by taking the train from Genoa to Saint Magherita before hopping on a direct bus to the village. The bus trip is an experience; snaking along the cliffside, you'll see magnificent views across the Tyrrhenian Sea. </p> <p>Despite being a small fishing village, there is a lot more to do than meets the eye. Firstly, if you have the budget or just fancy a nose, you definitely need to pop into all the designer shops that line the cobbled street. </p> <p>We'd then recommend going for a wander around the harbor before settling down for an alcoholic beverage, coffee, or even some food. Whilst (obviously) expensive, the food is amazing, and you MUST have an Aperol Spritz! </p> <p>If you're more of an adventurer, you definitely need to hike up to Castelletto or Faro di Portofino as the views are unbelievable. </p> <p>Don't worry if that doesn't appeal to you; you can always sit on the edge of the Marina di Portofino pier and look back at the beautiful, multi-colored buildings of Portofino and watch the world go by.</p> <ul>   <li><a href="https://tp.media/r?marker=330339&trs=144489&p=1922&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.viator.com%2Ftours%2FPortofino%2FBest-of-Portofino-Boat-and-Walking-Tour-Pesto-Cooking-and-Lunch%2Fd4232-68388P1" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Portofino Boat and Walking Tour with Pesto Cooking & Lunch</a></li>  </ul>

Portofino, Liguria

Recommended by Alex and Leah on Tour

Portofino is an absolutely beautiful village on the Italian Riviera coastline in northern Italy. It's extremely popular with celebrities from all over the world, and once you visit, you'll know why!

The best way to get to Portofino is by taking the train from Genoa to Saint Magherita before hopping on a direct bus to the village. The bus trip is an experience; snaking along the cliffside, you'll see magnificent views across the Tyrrhenian Sea. 

Despite being a small fishing village, there is a lot more to do than meets the eye. Firstly, if you have the budget or just fancy a nose, you definitely need to pop into all the designer shops that line the cobbled street.

We'd then recommend going for a wander around the harbor before settling down for an alcoholic beverage, coffee, or even some food. Whilst (obviously) expensive, the food is amazing, and you MUST have an Aperol Spritz!

If you're more of an adventurer, you definitely need to hike up to Castelletto or Faro di Portofino as the views are unbelievable.

Don't worry if that doesn't appeal to you; you can always sit on the edge of the Marina di Portofino pier and look back at the beautiful, multi-colored buildings of Portofino and watch the world go by.

  • Portofino Boat and Walking Tour with Pesto Cooking & Lunch

<p><em>Recommended by Morgan of <a href="https://cravetheplanet.com/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Crave the Planet</a></em></p> <p>You don't have to be a mountaineer and eat dried food to experience out-of-this-world hiking with breathtaking views– even with your kids or mobility-impaired friends and family. Everyone should travel to Italy to experience the magnificent cities, but it's a hustle and touristic bustle that can leave you or your family well-fed but drained. Cortina d'Ampezzo, nestled high in the Dolomites in northern Italy, is a must-see for people who love nature with a dose of good food and wine.</p> <p>Fortunately, it's only a 2-hour drive or bus ride from the international airport in Venice to the stunning mountain village of Cortina d'Ampezzo, filled with history, great food, and luxury spas.<br>The incredible thing about Cortina d'Ampezzo and the Italian Dolomites is the chance to walk easily at high elevations with minimal effort and no special training.</p> <p>Gondolas and chair lifts run in summer for those not inclined to hike to the top so that everyone can experience some of the most spectacular views in the world, like the Cinque Torri Rock formation.</p> <p>Directly on these trails sit mountain huts called "rifugios" like Rifugio Lagazuoi, which serve <a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/why-culinary-tourism-is-an-essential-part-of-travel/">delicious cuisine</a> with great local wines with views that make you think you're on top of the world.</p> <p>Best things to do: Rent bikes, people watch in the village center, do an exciting Via Ferrata, do a day hike around Lago di Braies, or do a hut-to-hut hike and feel like a mountaineer without having to rough it by staying in gorgeous huts each night.</p> <p>Cortina merges Italian and outdoor culture like no other place. It's a great winter and summer destination for skiing, hiking, or doing a spa on the top of a mountain. Stay at the luxury spa Cristallo, overlooking Cortina d'Ampezzo, which has no detail left out. It's pure luxury.</p>

Cortina d'Ampezzo, Veneto

Recommended by Morgan of Crave the Planet

You don't have to be a mountaineer and eat dried food to experience out-of-this-world hiking with breathtaking views– even with your kids or mobility-impaired friends and family. Everyone should travel to Italy to experience the magnificent cities, but it's a hustle and touristic bustle that can leave you or your family well-fed but drained. Cortina d'Ampezzo, nestled high in the Dolomites in northern Italy, is a must-see for people who love nature with a dose of good food and wine.

Fortunately, it's only a 2-hour drive or bus ride from the international airport in Venice to the stunning mountain village of Cortina d'Ampezzo, filled with history, great food, and luxury spas. The incredible thing about Cortina d'Ampezzo and the Italian Dolomites is the chance to walk easily at high elevations with minimal effort and no special training.

Gondolas and chair lifts run in summer for those not inclined to hike to the top so that everyone can experience some of the most spectacular views in the world, like the Cinque Torri Rock formation.

Directly on these trails sit mountain huts called "rifugios" like Rifugio Lagazuoi, which serve delicious cuisine with great local wines with views that make you think you're on top of the world.

Best things to do: Rent bikes, people watch in the village center, do an exciting Via Ferrata, do a day hike around Lago di Braies, or do a hut-to-hut hike and feel like a mountaineer without having to rough it by staying in gorgeous huts each night.

Cortina merges Italian and outdoor culture like no other place. It's a great winter and summer destination for skiing, hiking, or doing a spa on the top of a mountain. Stay at the luxury spa Cristallo, overlooking Cortina d'Ampezzo, which has no detail left out. It's pure luxury.

<p><em>Recommended by Angela of <a href="https://whereangiewanders.com/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Where Angie Wanders</a></em></p> <p>Venice is a must-visit destination in northern Italy; once you have experienced its history and beauty, you will want to return time and time again. Italy's floating city is the only place in the world that is fully pedestrianized, and the only traffic jams you will find here are caused by boats.</p> <p><a href="https://whereangiewanders.com/3-nights-in-venice-itinerary/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Getting around Venice</a> by water can seem complicated on a first visit; however, with waterbuses, water taxis, and gondolas, you can be sure to get around the city easily and quickly. Arriving in the city center from the airport by water taxi is a fantastic experience reminiscent of a James Bond movie! Looking for somewhere to stay? Click here for <a href="https://routinelynomadic.com/where-to-stay-in-venice-neighbourhoods/" rel="noreferrer noopener">places to stay while in Venice</a>.</p> <p>St. Mark's Square is the main tourist area in Venice, and visitors arrive to admire the centuries-old Venetian/Roman architecture of St. Mark's Basilica. It is in the square you will also find the Bell Tower and Doges Palace. This area is always busy but walks away from it, and within 10 minutes, you will find yourself in quiet backstreets where you can wander freely without the crowds.</p> <p>Finding good Italian cuisine should definitely be on your <a href="https://paigemindsthegap.com/2-days-in-venice-italy-travel-itinerary/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Venice itinerary</a>. Don't buy food and drink in St. Mark's Square – the prices are extortionate – instead, find one of the numerous cafes that sell cicchetti. This is the traditional food of Venice – similar to tapas – and can be accompanied by local wine. It is a cheap and tasty way of eating in Venice, with dishes usually costing no more than €2 each. Here’s a </p> <p>If you have time, make a day trip from Venice to Burano, the Italian island famous for its incredible rainbow-colored houses, freshly caught fish, and lace-making. </p>

Venice, Veneto

Recommended by Angela of Where Angie Wanders

Venice is a must-visit destination in northern Italy; once you have experienced its history and beauty, you will want to return time and time again. Italy's floating city is the only place in the world that is fully pedestrianized, and the only traffic jams you will find here are caused by boats.

Getting around Venice by water can seem complicated on a first visit; however, with waterbuses, water taxis, and gondolas, you can be sure to get around the city easily and quickly. Arriving in the city center from the airport by water taxi is a fantastic experience reminiscent of a James Bond movie! Looking for somewhere to stay? Click here for places to stay while in Venice .

St. Mark's Square is the main tourist area in Venice, and visitors arrive to admire the centuries-old Venetian/Roman architecture of St. Mark's Basilica. It is in the square you will also find the Bell Tower and Doges Palace. This area is always busy but walks away from it, and within 10 minutes, you will find yourself in quiet backstreets where you can wander freely without the crowds.

Finding good Italian cuisine should definitely be on your Venice itinerary . Don't buy food and drink in St. Mark's Square – the prices are extortionate – instead, find one of the numerous cafes that sell cicchetti. This is the traditional food of Venice – similar to tapas – and can be accompanied by local wine. It is a cheap and tasty way of eating in Venice, with dishes usually costing no more than €2 each. Here’s a

If you have time, make a day trip from Venice to Burano, the Italian island famous for its incredible rainbow-colored houses, freshly caught fish, and lace-making.

<p><em>Recommended by Denise of <a href="https://www.chefdenise.com/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Chef Denise</a></em></p> <p>Alba in the Piemonte region should be on your must-visit list when traveling to northern Italy. Just an hour and a half south of Turin, you will find some of the best wines of Italy and, of course, their world-famous white truffles. This picturesque village is easily walkable in an hour or two. With quaint squares, a pink church, and lots of restaurants-this is definitely a foodie town.</p> <p>The traditional dishes in Alba are not usually <a href="https://www.chefdenise.com/all/authentic-Italian-marinara-sauce" rel="noreferrer noopener">marinara sauce</a> based. Think mushrooms, truffles, olive oil, and cream. Unless you are allergic, you should not leave Alba without ordering a mouthwatering truffle dish.</p> <p>And if truffles make you swoon, visiting during the International White Truffle Fair from mid-October to mid-November is like a trip to heaven. Special dinners and tastings of these culinary diamonds abound.</p> <p>But even if you cannot make the festival, truffles will be on offer any time of year. Make sure to purchase some truffle oil and truffle paste to take home. They make great souvenirs and gifts, and they will last longer than any that you buy at home.</p> <p>Also, make sure you try one of the most famous dishes of Alba, and the Piemonte region, Brasato al Barolo-tender beef marinated in Barolo wine with vegetables and herbs. If you're thinking the wine can't be good if they're cooking with it, think again!</p> <p>Alba is a great hub to visit local wineries and enotecas (wine bars or wine shops). Barolo is not just a wine varietal; it's a village and a short drive from Alba. You can easily visit Barolo and Barbaresco, where they grow Nebbiolo grapes in one day. Enjoy a beautiful ride through rolling hills and vineyards. Enjoy sipping the local wine, then stroll through the charming villages.</p>

Alba, Piedmont

Recommended by Denise of Chef Denise

Alba in the Piemonte region should be on your must-visit list when traveling to northern Italy. Just an hour and a half south of Turin, you will find some of the best wines of Italy and, of course, their world-famous white truffles. This picturesque village is easily walkable in an hour or two. With quaint squares, a pink church, and lots of restaurants-this is definitely a foodie town.

The traditional dishes in Alba are not usually marinara sauce based. Think mushrooms, truffles, olive oil, and cream. Unless you are allergic, you should not leave Alba without ordering a mouthwatering truffle dish.

And if truffles make you swoon, visiting during the International White Truffle Fair from mid-October to mid-November is like a trip to heaven. Special dinners and tastings of these culinary diamonds abound.

But even if you cannot make the festival, truffles will be on offer any time of year. Make sure to purchase some truffle oil and truffle paste to take home. They make great souvenirs and gifts, and they will last longer than any that you buy at home.

Also, make sure you try one of the most famous dishes of Alba, and the Piemonte region, Brasato al Barolo-tender beef marinated in Barolo wine with vegetables and herbs. If you're thinking the wine can't be good if they're cooking with it, think again!

Alba is a great hub to visit local wineries and enotecas (wine bars or wine shops). Barolo is not just a wine varietal; it's a village and a short drive from Alba. You can easily visit Barolo and Barbaresco, where they grow Nebbiolo grapes in one day. Enjoy a beautiful ride through rolling hills and vineyards. Enjoy sipping the local wine, then stroll through the charming villages.

<p><em>Recommended by Linda of Insieme-Piemonte.com</em></p> <p>Being the symbol of the Piedmont region, you will have to visit the impressive <a href="https://insieme-piemonte.com/abtei-sacra-di-san-michele/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Sacra di San Michele</a> when traveling in northern Italy. It is also known as Saint Michael’s Abbey. Sound familiar? That is because author Umberto Eco was inspired by the powerful abbey for his bestselling book "The Name of the Rose.” </p> <p>Located only 40km away from Piedmont’s capital Turin, the massive Sacra di San Michele is sitting high above Susa Valley. At 962 meters above sea level, it is not only rich in history but offers fantastic views of the Italian, Swiss, and French Alps– and even Turin. </p> <p>Built between 983 and 987, the ancient abbey had its best years in the 13<sup>th</sup> century. During that time, there were about 1000 monks living in it permanently, plus pilgrims from the north traveling to Rome. </p> <p>Via the QR code on the self-guided tour, you will get all the important and interesting information on the abbey’s history directly to your cell phone. This will allow you to discover the gigantic building at your own pace. </p> <p>You will pass the "stairways of the dead" to reach the main church from the 12<sup>th</sup> century. Several members of the Savoy, one of the oldest royal families in the world, are buried in it.  </p> <p>The area around the Sacra di San Michele offers some fantastic hiking trails and a via ferrata for climbers. You will have outstanding views of the abbey, the valley, and the Alps.  </p>

Val di Susa, Piedmont

Recommended by Linda of Insieme-Piemonte.com

Being the symbol of the Piedmont region, you will have to visit the impressive Sacra di San Michele when traveling in northern Italy. It is also known as Saint Michael’s Abbey. Sound familiar? That is because author Umberto Eco was inspired by the powerful abbey for his bestselling book "The Name of the Rose.” 

Located only 40km away from Piedmont’s capital Turin, the massive Sacra di San Michele is sitting high above Susa Valley. At 962 meters above sea level, it is not only rich in history but offers fantastic views of the Italian, Swiss, and French Alps– and even Turin. 

Built between 983 and 987, the ancient abbey had its best years in the 13 th century. During that time, there were about 1000 monks living in it permanently, plus pilgrims from the north traveling to Rome. 

Via the QR code on the self-guided tour, you will get all the important and interesting information on the abbey’s history directly to your cell phone. This will allow you to discover the gigantic building at your own pace. 

You will pass the "stairways of the dead" to reach the main church from the 12 th century. Several members of the Savoy, one of the oldest royal families in the world, are buried in it.  

The area around the Sacra di San Michele offers some fantastic hiking trails and a via ferrata for climbers. You will have outstanding views of the abbey, the valley, and the Alps.  

<p><em>Recommended by Teresa of T as Travel</em></p> <p>The first capital of the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1865, Present day Turin is an amazing city. Turin, located in Northern Italy, is a combination of various European styles and modernity that must be added to your bucket list. In the past, Turin was famous as the house of the Italian monarchy; meanwhile, today, it is famous for industries such as FIAT and many others.</p> <p>The Chapel of the Holy Shroud is a really important cathedral, famous for being the house of the Holy Shroud. It is the Pope that decides when to expose the Holy Shroud, and usually, the expositions last for 45 days.</p> <p>The most important and principal square of Turin is San Carlo Square. The square is very nice and elegant with at the end two twin churches, in the middle the Equestrian monument wanted by the leader of the Savoy dynasty, and all-around beautiful arcades with historical and chic cafes.</p> <p>If you are looking for a breathtaking view and a splendid church, you need to go and visit the Basilica of Superga.</p> <p>The Egyptian Museum is the house of the biggest collections of Egyptian antiquities. The museum was founded in 1894 by King Carlo Felice di Savoia and grew more during the years.</p> <p>The symbol of Turin is absolutely the Mole Antoneliana. From the top of it, you can have a 360 view while inside there is a stunning and interesting museum of the cinema.</p> <p>UNESCO World Heritage, the Reggia di Venaria, is a beautiful day trip not too far away from Turin. You can spend a full day wandering inside rooms and the beautiful gardens of the palace.<br>Like all of Italy, Turin is known for its delicious food. Find a traditional restaurant and try the Agnolotti or the Vitello Tonnato, all accompanied by wine.</p>

Turin, Piedmont

Recommended by Teresa of T as Travel

The first capital of the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1865, Present day Turin is an amazing city. Turin, located in Northern Italy, is a combination of various European styles and modernity that must be added to your bucket list. In the past, Turin was famous as the house of the Italian monarchy; meanwhile, today, it is famous for industries such as FIAT and many others.

The Chapel of the Holy Shroud is a really important cathedral, famous for being the house of the Holy Shroud. It is the Pope that decides when to expose the Holy Shroud, and usually, the expositions last for 45 days.

The most important and principal square of Turin is San Carlo Square. The square is very nice and elegant with at the end two twin churches, in the middle the Equestrian monument wanted by the leader of the Savoy dynasty, and all-around beautiful arcades with historical and chic cafes.

If you are looking for a breathtaking view and a splendid church, you need to go and visit the Basilica of Superga.

The Egyptian Museum is the house of the biggest collections of Egyptian antiquities. The museum was founded in 1894 by King Carlo Felice di Savoia and grew more during the years.

The symbol of Turin is absolutely the Mole Antoneliana. From the top of it, you can have a 360 view while inside there is a stunning and interesting museum of the cinema.

UNESCO World Heritage, the Reggia di Venaria, is a beautiful day trip not too far away from Turin. You can spend a full day wandering inside rooms and the beautiful gardens of the palace. Like all of Italy, Turin is known for its delicious food. Find a traditional restaurant and try the Agnolotti or the Vitello Tonnato, all accompanied by wine.

<p><em>Recommended by Linda of HikingTheAlps.com</em></p> <p>When traveling in northern Italy, you will see several interesting medieval forts and castles, but none is as impressive as the Forte di Fenestrelle. </p> <p>Located in the middle of beautiful Val Chisone, 85km west of Piedmont's capital Turin, you can admire the powerful fort from afar. It is the largest Alpine fortress in Europe! </p> <p>The fortified complex, covering an area of about 1.3 million square meters, is actually made up of 3 different forts. They are joined by a tunnel inside the massive fortress wall, which runs the longest covered staircase in Europe. You will have to do 4000 steps, 3km from Fort San Carlo in the valley to Fort delle Valli at 1800 meters above sea level and overcome 635 meters of height difference. </p> <p>It took 122 years, starting in 1728, to build the powerful fortification. Its purpose was to defend against foreign invasions, but it was mostly used as a garrison and as a prison. </p> <p>Abandoned after the 2<sup>nd</sup> World War, you can visit that outstanding construction today. There are full-day guided tours (only in the Italian language) or a short self-guided option. To experience and appreciate the dimension of that stunning building, you should do an inside tour combined with a <a href="https://hikingthealps.com/wanderung-forte-di-fenestrelle-usseaux-lago-del-laux/" rel="noreferrer noopener">fantastic hike to Usseaux</a>, one of the most beautiful villages in Piedmont. </p>

Val Chisone, Piedmont

Recommended by Linda of HikingTheAlps.com

When traveling in northern Italy, you will see several interesting medieval forts and castles, but none is as impressive as the Forte di Fenestrelle. 

Located in the middle of beautiful Val Chisone, 85km west of Piedmont's capital Turin, you can admire the powerful fort from afar. It is the largest Alpine fortress in Europe! 

The fortified complex, covering an area of about 1.3 million square meters, is actually made up of 3 different forts. They are joined by a tunnel inside the massive fortress wall, which runs the longest covered staircase in Europe. You will have to do 4000 steps, 3km from Fort San Carlo in the valley to Fort delle Valli at 1800 meters above sea level and overcome 635 meters of height difference. 

It took 122 years, starting in 1728, to build the powerful fortification. Its purpose was to defend against foreign invasions, but it was mostly used as a garrison and as a prison. 

Abandoned after the 2 nd World War, you can visit that outstanding construction today. There are full-day guided tours (only in the Italian language) or a short self-guided option. To experience and appreciate the dimension of that stunning building, you should do an inside tour combined with a fantastic hike to Usseaux , one of the most beautiful villages in Piedmont. 

<p><em>Recommended by Krisztina of SheWandersAbroad.com</em></p> <p>If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Northern Italy, don’t miss out on Lake Como! This beautiful destination is perfect for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. With its stunning scenery and lovely towns, Lake Como is sure to please everyone.</p> <p>It’s one of the biggest lakes in Italy, and since it’s located only a one-hour train ride away from Milan, it’s a great day trip opportunity. However, if you want to explore the area properly, it’s worth spending at least 2-3 days at Lake Como.</p> <p>Bellagio is one of the most popular towns on Lake Como, and it’s easy to see why. With its beautiful buildings and stunning views, Bellagio is a must-see when you’re in the area, and it’s also one of the <a href="https://shewandersabroad.com/best-places-to-stay-in-lake-como/" rel="noreferrer noopener">best places to stay in Lake Como</a> for first-timers. Be sure to walk around the town center to admire the architecture, and don’t forget to take a boat ride on the lake for some truly breathtaking views.</p> <p>If you’re looking for a more low-key town, Tremezzo might be the place for you. This town is known for its pretty gardens, and it’s a great place to relax and take in the scenery. There are also some great restaurants here if you’re looking to try some of the local cuisines.</p>

Lake Como, Lombardy

Recommended by Krisztina of SheWandersAbroad.com

If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Northern Italy, don’t miss out on Lake Como! This beautiful destination is perfect for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. With its stunning scenery and lovely towns, Lake Como is sure to please everyone.

It’s one of the biggest lakes in Italy, and since it’s located only a one-hour train ride away from Milan, it’s a great day trip opportunity. However, if you want to explore the area properly, it’s worth spending at least 2-3 days at Lake Como.

Bellagio is one of the most popular towns on Lake Como, and it’s easy to see why. With its beautiful buildings and stunning views, Bellagio is a must-see when you’re in the area, and it’s also one of the best places to stay in Lake Como for first-timers. Be sure to walk around the town center to admire the architecture, and don’t forget to take a boat ride on the lake for some truly breathtaking views.

If you’re looking for a more low-key town, Tremezzo might be the place for you. This town is known for its pretty gardens, and it’s a great place to relax and take in the scenery. There are also some great restaurants here if you’re looking to try some of the local cuisines.

<p><em>Recommended by Greta of <a href="https://gretastravels.com/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Greta’s Travels</a></em></p> <p>If you're looking for the best places to visit in Northern Italy, add Milano. Milano is known as the City of Fashion; it's the economic capital of Italy and the capital of the Lombardy region of Italy.</p> <p>It's an iconic destination, both for its historical and cultural aspects, as well as the modern pull of fashion and innovation. In Milan, you can go from the new trendy skyscrapers of Piazza Gae Aulenti to the cobbled streets of Brera. It's a city that has loads to offer to every type of traveler.</p> <p>You could live in Milan and still not see it all. However, one day in Milan is considered a good amount for most travelers. In one day, you'll be able to see all the highlights of the city, starting from Piazza del Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, going on to Brera neighborhood, Castello Sforzesco, Arco della Pace, and then ending your day with a Milanese aperitivo at Navigli.</p> <p>The best time to visit Milan is in late spring or early summer when the weather is good, the days are long, and you can easily get around the city on foot. You can still visit at other times of the year, but in summer it gets very hot whilst the weather in winter won't make for a fun experience.</p> <p>One thing you can't miss is visiting the rooftop of the <a href="https://www.aworldinreach.com/famous-landmarks-in-europe/#Milan_Cathedral_-_Milan_Italy" rel="noreferrer noopener">Duomo Cathedral</a>. From here, you will get stunning views over the Piazza del Duomo and the rooftops of Milan. Head there at sunset for the most gorgeous golden light!</p>

Milan, Lombardy

Recommended by Greta of Greta’s Travels

If you're looking for the best places to visit in Northern Italy, add Milano. Milano is known as the City of Fashion; it's the economic capital of Italy and the capital of the Lombardy region of Italy.

It's an iconic destination, both for its historical and cultural aspects, as well as the modern pull of fashion and innovation. In Milan, you can go from the new trendy skyscrapers of Piazza Gae Aulenti to the cobbled streets of Brera. It's a city that has loads to offer to every type of traveler.

You could live in Milan and still not see it all. However, one day in Milan is considered a good amount for most travelers. In one day, you'll be able to see all the highlights of the city, starting from Piazza del Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, going on to Brera neighborhood, Castello Sforzesco, Arco della Pace, and then ending your day with a Milanese aperitivo at Navigli.

The best time to visit Milan is in late spring or early summer when the weather is good, the days are long, and you can easily get around the city on foot. You can still visit at other times of the year, but in summer it gets very hot whilst the weather in winter won't make for a fun experience.

One thing you can't miss is visiting the rooftop of the Duomo Cathedral . From here, you will get stunning views over the Piazza del Duomo and the rooftops of Milan. Head there at sunset for the most gorgeous golden light!

<p><em>Recommended by Lori of <a href="http://www.italyfoodies.com/" rel="noreferrer noopener">Italy Foodies</a></em></p> <p>Bologna, in northern Italy, is known for many things — its well-preserved medieval buildings and the magnificent UNESCO porticoes that stretch across the city. But for all that, Bologna is also known as the "culinary capital of Italy" for producing some of the country's most unique foods, including prosciutto, parmigiano reggiano cheese, and balsamic vinegar, all found locally on every menu.</p> <p>The city is not as flashy as its neighbors, Florence and Venice, and therefore is undoubtedly one of Italy's most under-visited cities. But there’s plenty to keep you occupied for a week or more.</p> <p>A favorite thing to do is stroll the Piazza Maggiore in the heart of Bologna. Centuries-old medieval buildings, including the main cathedral, Basilica di San Petronio, surround the huge piazza. Here you'll find coffee shops and outdoor cafes serving pastries, sandwiches, and of course, excellent regional wines.</p> <p>If you're a foodie, next door to the Piazza Maggiore is the oldest market in Bologna, the Quadrilatero, where you can walk the narrow cobblestone streets and shop for <a href="https://www.italyfoodies.com/blog/types-of-italian-breads" rel="noreferrer noopener">local Italian bread</a>, meats, and cheeses or dine at some of the city's best eateries.</p> <p>At one time, Bologna boasted 125 medieval towers, but only about 25 remained. One of the tallest is the Asinelli Tower, the only one you can climb. And you should! The panoramic views over Bologna are worth the climb.</p> <p>Bologna is also home to fast-performance cars, and a day trip to the "Motor Valley" should be on your list. The world headquarters of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati are fascinating places to visit for car buffs or anyone looking for a true Bolognese experience.</p>

Bologna, Emilia-Romagna

Recommended by Lori of Italy Foodies

Bologna, in northern Italy, is known for many things — its well-preserved medieval buildings and the magnificent UNESCO porticoes that stretch across the city. But for all that, Bologna is also known as the "culinary capital of Italy" for producing some of the country's most unique foods, including prosciutto, parmigiano reggiano cheese, and balsamic vinegar, all found locally on every menu.

The city is not as flashy as its neighbors, Florence and Venice, and therefore is undoubtedly one of Italy's most under-visited cities. But there’s plenty to keep you occupied for a week or more.

A favorite thing to do is stroll the Piazza Maggiore in the heart of Bologna. Centuries-old medieval buildings, including the main cathedral, Basilica di San Petronio, surround the huge piazza. Here you'll find coffee shops and outdoor cafes serving pastries, sandwiches, and of course, excellent regional wines.

If you're a foodie, next door to the Piazza Maggiore is the oldest market in Bologna, the Quadrilatero, where you can walk the narrow cobblestone streets and shop for local Italian bread , meats, and cheeses or dine at some of the city's best eateries.

At one time, Bologna boasted 125 medieval towers, but only about 25 remained. One of the tallest is the Asinelli Tower, the only one you can climb. And you should! The panoramic views over Bologna are worth the climb.

Bologna is also home to fast-performance cars, and a day trip to the "Motor Valley" should be on your list. The world headquarters of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati are fascinating places to visit for car buffs or anyone looking for a true Bolognese experience.

<p>When planning a trip to northern Italy, there are many different cities and attractions that you must not miss. Milan, of course, is at the top of the list, with its beautiful architecture and buzzing cultural scene. There are also many lovely small towns in this region to explore. </p> <p>And just outside of Milan is Lake Como, one of the most breathtaking destinations in the region. With its deep blue waters and snow-capped mountains in the distance, it is truly a sight to behold. Whether looking for great food and wine or incredible natural beauty, northern Italy is truly amazing!</p> <p><em>This article <a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/visit-northern-italy/">Northern Italy: 12 Amazing Places to Vacation in the Region</a></em> <em>originally appeared on <a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/visit-northern-italy/">Wander With Alex</a>.</em> </p> <h2 class="simplefeed_msnslideshows_more_article">More Articles From Wander With Alex</h2> <ul>   <li><a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/greece-vacation/">Stunning Greece Vacation Destinations For Your Getaway</a></li>   <li><a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/tropical-islands-vacation/">15 Beautiful Tropical Islands for Your Next Vacation</a></li>   <li><a href="https://wanderwithalex.com/caribbean-islands/">Sun-Drenched Caribbean Islands for Your Beach Vacation</a></li>  </ul>

Visiting Northern Italy

When planning a trip to northern Italy, there are many different cities and attractions that you must not miss. Milan, of course, is at the top of the list, with its beautiful architecture and buzzing cultural scene. There are also many lovely small towns in this region to explore.

And just outside of Milan is Lake Como, one of the most breathtaking destinations in the region. With its deep blue waters and snow-capped mountains in the distance, it is truly a sight to behold. Whether looking for great food and wine or incredible natural beauty, northern Italy is truly amazing!

This article Northern Italy: 12 Amazing Places to Vacation in the Region originally appeared on Wander With Alex .

More Articles From Wander With Alex

  • Stunning Greece Vacation Destinations For Your Getaway
  • 15 Beautiful Tropical Islands for Your Next Vacation
  • Sun-Drenched Caribbean Islands for Your Beach Vacation

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Train strikes in April and May 2024: Full list of dates and lines affected

Overtime bans, an action short of a strike, also mean some services may not be running or may be reduced as drivers refuse to work their rest days.

Thursday 11 April 2024 08:46, UK

train trips in northern italy

Drivers at 16 rail companies have started a fresh wave of strikes, plus overtime bans, causing disruption to the rail network.

Update: All rail strikes have now concluded, and the Tube strikes that were due to take place in May have been called off.

The strikes are part of a long-running dispute over pay and will take place across April and May.

Tube strikes planned for April and May have been called off.

In an "entirely separate dispute", ASLEF members will also strike and refuse to do overtime at LNER on specific dates in April "because of the company's failure to adhere to the agreed bargaining machinery", the union said.

LNER's alleged failure to adhere to bargaining machinery refers to it using managers to drive trains on strike days.

People are advised to check before they travel.

Here's what's happening when:

Rail strike dates

Friday 5 April

Strikes will affect Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, and CrossCountry.

Saturday 6 April

Strikes will affect Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine Trains.

Monday 8 April

Strikes will affect Greater Anglia, c2c, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway main line and depot drivers, and SWR Island Line.

Overtime ban dates

Thursday 4 April

Tuesday 9 April

People are advised to check before they travel, as some areas may have no service.

LNER action dates

Members will strike on Saturday 20 April and refuse to work non-contractual overtime from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 April .

Why are the strikes happening?

ASLEF says the LNER strikes are because of "the company's persistent failure to comply with existing agreements".

Nigel Roebuck, an ASLEF organiser in the northeast, said the operator had been trying to get "every driver manager and driver instructor to work on strike days".

A spokesperson said: "LNER has used managers - paid £500 a shift - to drive trains on strike days and, after the expiry of the last non-contractual overtime agreement, on most days of the week now.

"There is no agreement in place for management to drive services on mainline infrastructure.

"It results in branch line services - such as Lincoln, Skipton, and Harrogate - being cancelled because of a lack of route knowledge and means virtually no driver training is being done."

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Mick Whelan, ASLEF general secretary, said of the rail strikes : "Last month, when we announced renewed mandates for industrial action, because under the Tories' draconian anti-union laws we have to ballot our members every six months, we called on the train companies, and the government, to come to the table for meaningful talks to negotiate a new pay deal for train drivers who have not had an increase in salary since 2019.

"Our members voted overwhelmingly - yet again - for strike action."

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train trips in northern italy

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: "Nobody wins when industrial action impacts people's lives and livelihoods, and we will work hard to minimise any disruption to our passengers.

"We want to resolve this dispute, but the ASLEF leadership need to recognise that hard-pressed taxpayers are continuing to contribute an extra £54m a week just to keep services running post-COVID.

"We continue to seek an agreement with the ASLEF leadership and remain open to talks to find a solution to this dispute."

When the strikes on the London Underground were announced, Finn Brennan, ASLEF's full-time organiser on the network, said in a statement: "ASLEF Tube train drivers will strike in April and May in a long-running dispute over London Underground's failure to give assurances that changes to our members' terms and conditions will not be imposed without agreement and that all existing agreements will be honoured.

"Despite a previous commitment to withdraw plans for massive changes to drivers' working conditions, London Underground management has established a full-time team of managers preparing to impose their plans.

Sadiq Khan said they had been called off after "talking and engaging with transport staff and trade unions rather than working against them".

Related Topics

  • London Underground
  • Rail strikes

IMAGES

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  1. Northern Italy Itinerary: Where to Go + How to do it + Info

    Northern Italy Train Travel. The destinations above are some of the most popular stopping grounds in northern Italy. However, you can still customize your trip by adding stops at places like Milan, Bologna, San Gimignano, Verona, and Trentino. Starting your trip in either Venice or Rome, and traveling between these destinations is easy to do.

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    Day 13. Today, take the train from Milan back to Florence, where we will wind down this Northern Italy Train Itinerary. The train ride will take about two hours. When you arrive in Florence, choose a spot for lunch, and then visit The Uffizi Gallery. There is so much famous artwork to see in The Uffizi.

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    Let's dive in to these exciting train itineraries through Italy, so you decide which one is perfect for you: Italy Train Itinerary #1: Venice > Verona > Bologna > Florence. Start: Venice. End: Bologna. Total Distance: 215 miles (344 km) Highlights of this route: Four Italian Classics in One Short Route.

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    Frankfurt to Milan has a high-speed direct connection taking ±8 hours, which passes by Basel and other places in Switzerland. This train also stops at Lake Como so you could potentially get off and start your northern Italy trip there. It's also possible to get to Italy by train directly from Switzerland or Slovenia.

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    Some travelers can't get enough of a historic, bustling European city and Italy is rich with them. From metropolitan Milan to the medieval hilltop city of Bergamo, the major cities in Italy all offer a different landscape to be explored. The stops on this north Italy itinerary include: Milan. Turin. Bergamo.

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    Milan ⸰ 2 Nights. Bergamo ⸰ 2 Nights. Verona ⸰ 2 Nights. Bologna ⸰ 2 Nights. Venice ⸰ 2 Nights. We chose to take on Northern Italy by train and it was super easy and comfortable! All the major cities on our 10 day Italy travel itinerary were accessible by public transportation, and the train was also a great way to see the beautiful ...

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    Itinerary #1: From Venice to Florence: A Grand Tour of Northern Italy. Northern Italy has plenty to offer. Experience it all with this comprehensive 16-day Northern Italy trip.. The 16-day Italian adventure begins in Venice, where travellers are transferred to a hotel. On day two, a private guide leads a city tour, ending with a gondola ride.. Day three explores the Venetian lagoon, visiting ...

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    DK Eyewitness Italy. DK Eyewitness Italy. 4.5. $17.34. Whether you want to explore the evocative ruins of the Roman empire, traverse Tuscany's vineyard-cloaked hills, or simply sip espresso and watch the world go by, your DK Eyewitness travel guide makes sure you experience all that Italy has to offer. Buy now.

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    Train: Northern Italy boasts both national and regional train lines, ensuring well-connected travel between major cities and smaller towns. Trains are generally easy to navigate, making them an attractive option for tourists. While trains may not be as cost-effective as buses, they are more budget-friendly than renting a car. ...

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    Browse 250+ tours from the best tour operators in Northern Italy with 780 reviews visiting places like Venice and Verona. Compare & book now! ... Northern Italy Tours & Trips. ... As a result we were left with a very difficult and stressful and costly day especially as there was a train strike. To make matters worse, on arrival at Baveno, we ...

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    For a destination for an extended Italian holiday, Milano tends to be overshadowed by Italy's multitude of more beautiful cities, but as a base for seeing the best of northern Italy by train, Milan is a second to none location. Stunning locations within easy reach of Milan by train. Regionale trains can transport you from the centre of Milano, on journeys which take under 90 minutes, to the ...

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    Day 9 - Genoa. The final destination for this particular 10-day Northern Italy itinerary should end in the Ligurian capital of Genoa. This seaside city is absolutely beautiful and full of interesting things to do - in fact, plan to spend 2 days in Genoa to round out your trip to the north of Italy.

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    The nicest train in Italy is the Bernina Express. I would say it is one of the nicest in the world as well. This spectacular route, known as "Trenino Rosso", or "The Little Red Train", goes from Italy to the Swiss Alps. Starting in Tirano, in northern Italy, the train goes west and then crosses the border to its destination in Chur ...

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    Northern Italy and Its Lakes. featuring Lake Como and Venice. View Dates Book Now. Request A Quote. 9 DAYS. $2,599 pp*. *Rate is per person, land only, double occupancy, tour inclusions and available options may vary based on departure date. Please select a date below for more details. Tour Highlights Itinerary Reviews Enhance Your Trip.

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    Unveiling The Charms Of Northern Italy. Jette. 9. January 2024. 446 ratings. Embark on a thrilling journey through the captivating land of Northern Italy with our 10-day itinerary! Experience the magic of Venice, Verona, Bergamo, Lake Como, and Milan, each offering a unique blend of history, art, and modernity.

  21. ItaliaRail

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  23. 10 days in Northern Italy and Switzerland Itinerary

    Day 1 and 2: Fly to Milan, explore for 2 days. Day 3: Day trip to Lake Como and Bellagio (Italy) Day 4: Milan to Switzerland via the Bernina Express. Day 5: Visit Chur (arrive in Zurich in the evening, 1 hour train ride) Day 6 and 7: Sightseeing in Zurich for 2 days. Day 8: Lucerne and Mount Titlis day trip.

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    Itinerary: Rome-Florence-Arezzo-Assisi-Perugia. Day 1: Rome to Florence. Rome is well connected to most parts of the country, which makes it a great starting point to explore central Italy. Depending on whether this is your first time in Rome and Florence, this itinerary could include two to five locations.

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