Must-Visit Locations for Your Italy Road Trip
Italy has a lot to offer road trippers. From winding mountain roads to sprawling countryside, beautiful historic architecture and incredible coastlines, there’s something for everyone in every corner of the country. Combine all that with a comprehensive network of well-maintained roads, and Italy is the perfect place for your road trip.
Whether you want to explore a smaller area for a shorter trip, or take on the whole country, below are some of the locations that you must visit on your Italy road trip.
The Dolomite Mountains
The Dolomites is a mountain range in northeastern Italy, popular in the winter months for skiing and in the summer months for mountain climbing and hiking, as well as BASE jumping and paragliding. To drive the 86-mile Great Dolomites Road would take about four hours, but to truly experience the Dolomites you should allow a couple of days to take it all in.
If sports aren’t really your thing, the amazing views are reason enough to make sure the Dolomites are on your road trip itinerary. There’s also a number of ‘Messner Mountain Museums: across the range, like the MMM Ortles, a museum housed completely underground and dedicated to ice; or the MMM Firmian, housed in the old walls of a castle and dedicated to telling the importance of mountains for the people.
The Northern Lakes
There are a number of picturesque lakes in the northern region of Italy which are all well worth a visit. Road trippers could visit one lake or instead could just take the 31-mile coastline of Lake Como for a shorter trip. Every lake promises breathtaking views, charming villages, and exquisite cuisine made from fresh fish caught in the lake itself.
Each lake also has something special to offer in its own way, with Lake Como featuring lush gardens, Lake Garda being home to the Rocca Scaligera fortress, and the quieter Lake Iseo offering a quitter, less touristy alternative. This region will also take road trippers close by Milan, so you could also tick off another of Italy’s famous locations. Driving further along east will take you to Venice on the eastern coast.
The sweeping countryside of Tuscany not only offers road trippers incredible vistas along the way but also medieval cities and plenty of vineyards. The capital city of the region, Florence, is known as the “cradle of the Renaissance” and has many magnificent monuments, churches, and other buildings from the era. It’s also home to Michelangelo’s David, housed in the Gallery of the Academy of Florence.
The Val d’Orcia is the iconoic green valley probably most associated with Tuscany, which also features medieval castles and historic villages that are well worth visiting. You should also make sure to taste the steak at one of the many restaurants in the Tuscan region, which is famously celebrated for being the country’s best.
The stunning Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy is a must for your road trip through Italy. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and is hugely popular with tourists thanks to its beautiful vistas and temperate climate. Towns along the Amalfi coast are stacked up the hillsides, with charming pastel-coloured houses. The area is famed for its lemons and limoncello, so be sure to sample this and the fresh seafood along the way. From the Amalfi Coast, you can also take a day to visit Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, which is one of three live volcanoes in Italy.
A visit to the Amalfi coast also makes for a fantastic drive, with clifftop roads that hug the coastline. Drivers should beware that the roads will become narrower and more winding as you approach the town of Amalfi – and the views can be quite distracting!
The coastline of the island of Sicily makes for an interesting road trip, taking you from white sandy beaches to rocky and rugged shorelines. It’s the perfect destination for people looking to enjoy the coast on their trip, with a variety of coastlines and plenty of seaside towns and Baroque architecture.
Sicily is renowned for its cuisine, from chocolate to gelato, fresh fish to oranges. Driving around the island isn’t for the fainthearted, with narrow winding roads which aren’t all as well maintained as the mainland. However, Sicily is well worth the visit, with breathtaking natural wonders plus gorgeous towns full of historic buildings. Driving the coast can take just a few days but allowing a week will let you explore more thoroughly.
If you haven’t yet sorted a hire car then check out our airport and car hire directory for Italy. You’ll find all the best car hire companies no matter which airport you fly in to.
If you’re planning a road trip around Italy, you’ll want to ensure you have European excess car hire insurance for your hire car. Direct Car Hire Excess provides cover from 12p per day, so you’ll never have to worry about paying extortionate excess fees in the event of an accident. Get a quote for your car hire excess insurance today or contact us to speak to our expert team about how we can help you.