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Can I go to Italy? The rules for travelling from the UK

By Abigail Malbon and Becky Lucas

Portifino Italy

International travel is officially back. Since Monday 17 May 2021, travelling abroad from the UK for non-essential reasons has been legal again, albeit with some rules in place. Italy is not on any UK travel red list , but what does that mean if you’ve booked a trip there for the coming weeks?

What rules are in place for those returning to the UK from Italy right now? 

As of 18 March 2022, all Covid travel rules in the UK have been lifted, which means that travellers do not need to test, quarantine or fill in a passenger locator form upon return from Italy, regardless of their vaccination status. 

Tuscany Italy

What are the entry requirements for Italy?

On 1 June, all Covid rules for travel were lifted in Italy. This means that Italy does not require any proof of vaccination, a negative test result or a Covid-19 recovery certificate to enter the country, regardless of your vaccination status.

However, all passengers entering Italy by plane, ferry, train or coach must still wear an FFP2 mask in order to enter the country.

Since Sunday 1 May 2022, those visiting Italy no longer have to fill out a passenger locator form, or be in possession of a Health Pass in order to enter restaurants, bars and other venues. A Green Pass, showing proof of vaccination, a negative test result or recent Covid recovery, is still required in order to enter the country, as well as to access hospitals and other healthcare settings (children aged 11 and under are not required to present a Green Pass). The NHS Covid Pass digital certificate with QR code is accepted as a Green Pass. 

What type of mask do I need to fly to Italy?

Those who have flown to Italy recently will be aware that a specific type of mask is required before you can board a flight; an FFP2 mask . This will be required to fly until at least Wednesday 15 June 2022. 

Certified FFP2 masks come with instructions on how to wear them by the manufacturer and feature multiple layers of non-woven material and a nose wire to ensure a proper fit with no leaks. 

What are the restrictions in Italy right now?

Domestic and international travel is permitted in Italy. Since Sunday 1 May, a Super Green Pass is no longer required in order to enter services or businesses within Italy. Face masks are now only required in some settings, such as on public transport, in all health care facilities and in cinemas, until at least Wednesday 15 June 2022.

We recommend always checking the rules on the UK government website before travelling, sticking closely to health guidelines and being sure to buy travel insurance with Covid cover . 

Where to stay: For sunshine and beaches, a relaxing trip to Sicily can’t be beaten. If you’re looking for a city break, Milan ’s Hotel Principe di Savoia is an institution. What to do : How about a dreamy road trip around Italy ? Whether you want to cruise along the Amalfi Coast or travel cross-country through the Alps, these are the very best road trips in Italy to plan.

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Covid-19: travel information

Considering the epidemiological situation, Italy has foreign travel restrictions in place depending on where you are travelling from/to. 

An interactive questionnaire is available from https://infocovid.viaggiaresicuri.it  to check the rules currently in force regarding travel to and from Italy.

Please find below a list of other useful web pages:

  • Covid-19 Information for travellers  
  • Information for Italian nationals returning to Italy and foreigners in Italy
  • Information from Embassies and Consulates
  • Useful information for travellers on the ‘Viaggiare sicuri’ website  

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Travelling to italy from the uk – 18 june update.

  • Publication date: June 19 2021

From 21 June to 30 July 2021, anyone entering Italy having been in the UK (including Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and British military bases in Cyprus) in the previous 14 days must:

  • Present a negative molecular or antigen test (the so-called “Covid-19 green certificate”) taken in the 48 hours preceding entry into Italy (art. 2 of the Ordinance of 14 May 2021). Please note that standard NHS tests cannot be used for travelling abroad : Covid tests for travel clearance must be done through private laboratories or pharmacies. Children under six years are exempt from the requirement to take a test before entering Italy (art. 6, section 2, of the Ordinance of 18 June 2021);
  • Present a digital locator form . The self-declaration paper form that was used previously will be valid only in cases of technological difficulties. (This requirement applies to anybody entering Italy);
  • If entering Italy having been in the UK in the preceding 14 days, quarantine for 5 days at their home or the place where they are staying , and notify the local health centre of their arrival in Italy (art. 5 of the Ordinance of 18 June 2021);
  • Take another molecular or antigen test at the end of the 5 days of quarantine (art. 5, Ordinance of 18 June 2021).

For further details and exemptions read our Covid-19 update section .

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Travel Advisory July 26, 2023

Italy - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise increased caution due to terrorism .

Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Italy. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

Read the  country information page for additional information on travel to Italy.

If you decide to travel to Italy:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  ( STEP ) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Italy.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist.

Embassy Messages

View Alerts and Messages Archive

Quick Facts

Six months validity recommended, at least 3 months validity beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area .

Two pages required for entry stamp.

Not required for stays under 90 days.

10,000 Euros or equivalent.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Rome

Via Vittorio Veneto, 121 00187 Rome, Italy Telephone:  +(39) 06-4674-1 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(39) 06-4674-1 Fax:  +(39) 06-4674-2244 Email:   [email protected] The Rome consular district includes the regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria, Abruzzo, and Sardinia.

U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome Via Boncompagni, 2 Telephone:  (+39) 06-4674-1 Emergency after-hours telephone:  (+39) 06-4674-1 Fax:  (+39) 06 4674-3535 Email:   [email protected]

U.S. Embassy to the Holy See Via Sallustiana, 49 00162 Rome, Italy Telephone:  +(39) 06-4674-3428 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(39) 06-4674-1 Fax:  +(39) 06-575-8346

U.S. Consulate General Florence Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci, 38 50123 Florence, Italy Telephone:  +(39) 055-266-951 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(39) 055-266-951 Fax:  +(39) 055-215-550 Email:   [email protected] The Florence consular district includes the regions of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna (all except the Provinces of Piacenza and Parma), as well as the Republic of San Marino.

U.S. Consulate General Milan Via Principe Amedeo 2/10 20121 Milano, Italy Telephone:  +(39) 02-290-351 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(39) 02-290-351 Fax:  +(39) 081-583-8275 Email:   [email protected] The Milan consular district includes the regions of Valle D'Aosta, Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria, and Emilia-Romagna (Provinces of Piacenza and Parma only).

U.S. Consulate General Naples Piazza della Repubblica 80122 Naples, Italy Telephone:  +(39) 081-583-8111 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(39) 081-583-8111 Fax:  +(39) 081-583-8275 Email:  [email protected] The Naples consular district includes the regions of Campania, Molise, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria, and Sicilia.

U.S. Consular Agent - Genoa Via Dante 2 16121 Genoa, Italy Telephone:  +(39) 010-584-492 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Milan. Fax:  +(39) 010-553-3033 Email:  [email protected] Hours: Monday through Thursday 11:00 AM-3:00 PM, by appointment only.

U.S. Consular Agent - Palermo Via G.B. Vaccarini 1 90143 Palermo, Italy Telephone:  +(39) 091-305-857 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Naples Fax:  +(39) 091-625-6026 Email:   [email protected] Hours: Monday through Friday 9:00 AM-12:30 PM by appointment only.

U.S. Consular Agent - Venice Viale Galileo Galilei 30 30173 Tessera, Italy Telephone:  +(39) 041-541-5944 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Milan. Fax:  +(39) 041-541-6654 Email:  [email protected] Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, by appointment only.

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

There are no COVID-related entry requirements for U.S. citizens.  

Traveling Through Europe:  If you are planning to visit or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement. 

  • Your passport must be valid for  at least three months beyond the period of stay. Review our  U.S. Travelers in Europe page .
  • You will need  proof of  s ufficient funds  and a  return plane ticket .
  • For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the  Schengen Visa page.
  • U.S. citizens who arrive at an Italian Port of Entry without a valid travel document – including passports that have been previously reported lost or stolen – will be denied admittance into Italy and returned to their point of origin. This regulation is strictly enforced in Italy.
  • U.S. citizens may enter Italy for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. All non-residents are required to complete a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza). Prospective residents or anyone intending to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days must obtain a  permit of stay  (permesso di soggiorno). Additional information may be obtained from the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs  and the  Polizia di Stato .
  • Non-EU visitors must obtain a stamp in their passport upon initial entry into a Schengen country. Many borders are unstaffed, so you may need to request a stamp at an official point of entry. Travelers arriving from another Schengen country must request the declaration of presence form from a local police office (commissariato di zona), police headquarters (questura), or their place of stay (e.g., hotel, hostel, campgrounds), and submit the form, along with a copy of your passport, to the police or to their place of stay within eight calendar days of arrival. Failure to complete a declaration of presence is punishable by expulsion from Italy.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Italy.

Find information on  dual nationality ,  prevention of international child abduction , and  customs regulations  on our websites. For general information about Italian customs regulations, please read our  Customs Information page and our  Italian Customs  website.

Safety and Security

Terrorism:  Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and commercial flights)

For more information, see our  Terrorism  page.

Politically motivated violence in Italy is most often connected to Italian internal developments or social issues. Italian authorities and foreign diplomatic facilities have found bombs outside public buildings, have received bomb threats, and have been targets of letter bombs, firebombs and Molotov cocktails in the past several years. These attacks generally occur at night, and although they have not targeted or injured U.S. citizens, you should remain aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to local authorities.

Crime:  Italy has a moderate rate of crime, especially for theft and economic crimes; violent crimes are rare. U.S. citizens should be aware of the following local circumstances:

  • Tourists can be fined or detained for buying counterfeit goods (usually fashion accessories).
  • Travelers must purchase train, bus, or metro tickets and validate them by punching them in validating machines prior to boarding (usually near the entrance of the train or metro or on the bus). Tickets may be purchased at tobacco stores or kiosks or, in some cities, via Apps or SMS. Failure to follow this procedure may result in an on-the-spot fine by an inspector on the train, bus, or metro. If the violator does not pay the fine on the spot, it will automatically double and be forwarded to the violator’s home address.
  • Be alert that many municipalities of cities in Italy have issued local restrictions banning certain activities in fountains or on monuments, such as eating, drinking, sitting, or bathing, as well as regarding the consumption of alcohol both indoors and outdoors after certain hours of the night.
  • Violating these regulations can result in fines. Tourists are advised to check the official website of each city they plan to visit to learn the details.
  • Thieves sometimes impersonate police officers. If you are stopped by a plainclothes policeman, ask for a uniformed officer or insist on seeing an officer's identification card (documento). Do not hand over your wallet and immediately report the incident to the actual police at a police station or by dialing 112 from a local phone.
  • Do not leave bags unattended. Most reported thefts occur at crowded tourist sites, at airports, car rental agencies, on public buses, metros and trains, and at the major railway stations. Never leave baggage alone in a car, including in a closed trunk. For more information on trains and security, please see the  Italian railway police’s advice for travelers .
  • Be alert to criminal schemes. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate at major tourist destinations, in train stations, bars, and cafes. Some travelers have reported incidents in which criminals used drugs to assault or rob them. Thieves on motor scooters regularly snatch purses or bags off pedestrians. Resisting these thieves can be dangerous.
  • Keep your car doors locked and windows rolled up at all times to avoid car-jackings and thefts while you are waiting in traffic.

The U.S. Secret Service in Rome is assisting Italian law enforcement authorities in investigating an increase in the appearance of ATM skimming devices. Here are some helpful hints to protect against and identify skimming devices:

  • Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or secured inside a bank/business.
  • Cover the keypad with one hand as you enter your PIN.
  • Look for gaps, tampered appearance, or other irregularities between the metal faceplate of the ATM and the card reader.
  • Avoid card readers that are not flush with the face of the ATM.
  • Closely monitor your account statements for unauthorized transactions.

Potential for Natural Disasters: Several major earthquake fault lines cross Italy, and earthquakes are frequent. High tides in Venice, flooding, and avalanches in mountainous areas may occasionally occur. The Italian Civil Protection agency has a robust capability to assist Italians and foreigners in the area of a natural disaster. Information about crisis preparedness and on-going crises affecting parts of Italy can be found on the Civil Protection web site at:  Civil Protection Italy . General information about disaster preparedness is also available online from the  U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency  (FEMA). Detailed information on Italy's fault lines is available from the  U.S. Geological Survey  (USGS).

Italy also has several active volcanoes, including Mt. Etna in eastern Sicily. Travelers to Sicily should be aware of the possibility for travel disruptions, including airport closures, in the event of volcanic activity, and are advised to check the website of the  Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia  for detailed information and daily updates. Italy has many other areas of potential volcanic activity especially in the vicinity of Naples. Any visit to an active volcano or volcanic field bears a certain amount of risk. Eruptions can occur with little to no warning. Travelers should exercise caution, follow posted instructions, stay on authorized trails, and use reputable tour operators.

Demonstrations  occur frequently and can be anti-American in nature, especially in areas hosting U.S. military bases. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. 

  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent. 
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.
  • Security Messages for U.S. citizens pertaining to  demonstrations  can be found on the Embassy’s website.

International Financial Scams:  See the  Department of State  and the  FBI  pages for information.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Italy. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:

  • Romance/Online dating
  • Money transfers
  • Lucrative sales
  • Contracts with promises of large commissions
  • Grandparent/Relative targeting
  • Free Trip/Luggage
  • Inheritance notices
  • Work permits/job offers

Victims of Crime:  U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should seek medical attention at the nearest public hospital as soon as possible. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are also encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance at +(39) 06-4674-1. Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

See our webpage on  help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • Provide a list of local English-speaking attorneys
  • Provide information on  victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Victim Compensation in Italy :

  • Italy has a program which provides financial compensation for victims of terrorism, organized crime, hit and run drivers and violent intentional crimes.
  • If you are a  victim of terrorism or organized crime  in Italy, you are entitled to economic (special compensation and a life income) and non-economic benefits (special access to certain state jobs).
  • In case of death, victims will include family members. You must file the application with the local Prefect’s office (Prefettura - the local representative for the Ministry of Interior) where the crime occurred, providing the date, location, injuries, and losses resulting from the crime.
  • If you are a  victim of a hit and run driver,  you can apply for compensation of damages to the Fondo Di Garanzia per le Vittime della Strada but only if: (i) the responsible vehicle cannot be identified, is not covered by car insurance, or it circulated against the owner’s will; (ii) if the car insurance company went bankrupt; or (iii) if the accident was caused by a foreign vehicle with a license number that does not match or does not match anymore that same vehicle. U.S. citizens should consult an attorney licensed to practice in Italy to clarify time limits for a specific legal action.

Victims of hit and run drivers and their families may seek assistance by reaching out to an Italian non-governmental organization (NGO) called Associazione Italiana Familiari e Vittime della Strada (AIFVS), “Association of Italian Family Members and Victims of Hit and Run Drivers”. AIFVS provides legal and psychological assistance through a network of professionals associated with the NGO. Please visit  AIFVS  for more details.

If you are a  victim of a violent intentional crime,  you are entitled to compensation from the Italian government to cover the medical and welfare expenses you incurred, except for sexual assaults and murders cases where the compensation is due even if no medical and welfare expense was sustained. To be eligible for the compensation, your annual income must be within a certain limit. In addition, you must prove that you have already unsuccessfully tried to enforce the decision ordering compensation for damages. We recommend you contact an attorney licensed to practice in Italy for more information.

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy or nearest Consulate for assistance.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance . 

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Your U.S. passport will not prevent you from being detained, arrested, or prosecuted. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

Furthermore, some crimes are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate immediately. See our  webpage  for further information.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods:  Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the  U.S. Department of Justice website  for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See our following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report  – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report  – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTQI+ RIGHTS:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTQI+ events in Italy. Same sex civil unions are legally recognized in Italy. See our  LGBTQI+ Travel Information  page and section 6 of the  Department of State's Human Rights report  for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance .  The law in Italy prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual or mental disabilities, and the law is enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. The most common types of accessibility may include accessible facilities, information, and communication/access to services/ease of movement or access. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure, and common in lodging and general infrastructure. There is a significant difference between the main cities and the small towns.

  • Rental, repair, replacement parts for aids/equipment/devices, or service providers, such as sign language interpreters or personal assistants, are generally available. Contact the US Embassy in Italy to receive a list of providers.
  • Hand-controlled rental cars are available in Italy from major car rental companies. Contact the car rental company well in advance of your trip in order to reserve the vehicle.
  • Italy functions on 220-volt current. To recharge a power wheelchair, you may need a transformer to convert 220 to 110 volts and a plug adapter to fit Italian electrical sockets.
  • Guide dog owners must present  the documentation required by European Union Member States in order to enter Italy with a dog .

Students:  Students are often targeted by criminals as targets of theft or sexual assault. See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips .

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:  Strikes and other work stoppages  frequently occur in the transportation sector (national airlines, airports, trains, and bus lines); reconfirm any domestic and/or international flight reservations if you are traveling during one of these events.

Women Travelers:  If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for  Women Travelers .

For emergency services in Italy, dial 112 .

Ambulance services are widely available, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.

Medical facilities are available but may be limited outside urban areas. Public hospitals may not maintain the same standards as hospitals in the United States. It is not possible to obtain an itemized hospital bill from public hospitals, as required by many U.S. insurance companies, because the Italian National Health Service charges one inclusive rate for care services and room and board. Private hospitals require you to pay for all services up front and get reimbursed later from your insurance company.

We do not pay medical bills . Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our  webpage  for more information on insurance coverage overseas. Visit the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

In Italy, end-of-life directives are not legal. Tourists should know that by law, hospitals will continue with lifesaving procedures indefinitely regardless of a person’ preferences stated in a will or advanced directive.

Pharmaceuticals:  The Italian Ministry of Health sets rules defining who and how prescriptions and medications can be imported into Italy. However, the Ministry of Health website does not have information in English. According to the Ministry of Health, foreigners entering Italy are allowed to bring personal medications for a period of 30 days, but it is recommended that travelers also bring a copy of their prescription with them. Travelers should not bring excess supplies of prescription drugs into the country and cannot bring prescription drugs for other people.

The import of medications into Italy by courier services or by mail is strictly regulated by Italian Customs laws. Italian customs clears all incoming shipments of medications, even small amounts for personal use. Delays in the release of medications by Italian Customs received by mail or by courier services are common. The receiving party must be able to provide a statement signed by a physician licensed in Italy, certifying:

The medication is essential for the patient, that he/she would be put in a life-threatening situation without it.

There is no substitute or equivalent medication available on the Italian market.

Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with minimal controls. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the  U.S. Customs and Border Protection  and the  Food and Drug Administration  websites for more information.

Vaccinations : Be up-to-date on all  vaccinations  recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For further health information:

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC)

Air Quality:  Visit  AirNow Department of State  for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Many cities in Italy have air pollution levels similar to those in major U.S. cities. 

In parts of Italy, the lack of adequate trash disposal and incineration sites has led to periodic accumulations of garbage. In some cases, residents have burned garbage, resulting in toxic emissions that can aggravate respiratory problems. 

Visit the  European Environment Agency’s website  for information on air quality in Italy.

Health Facilities:

The U.S. Embassy maintains a  list of doctors and hospitals . We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

  • Adequate health facilities are available throughout Italy, but health services may be below U.S. standards.
  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
  • Travelers should make efforts to obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care.
  • Medical staff may speak little or no English.
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards.
  • In most cases, patients bear costs for transfer to or between hospitals.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery

  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  website for more information on Medical Tourism.
  • We strongly recommend  supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.

Adventure Travel: Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Adventure Travel .

Travel and Transportation

ROAD CONDITIONS AND SAFETY:  While in Italy, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States such as:

  • Traffic lights are limited and often disobeyed.
  • Motor scooters are very popular, and their riders may behave unexpectedly.
  • Drivers frequently pass on superhighways (autostrada) at very high speeds.
  • Rural roads are generally narrow, often have no guardrails, and inconsistent speed limits.
  • Be careful when crossing streets even when using a marked crosswalk with a green walk (avanti) light illuminated.

Traffic Laws:

  • Seat belt use is compulsory.
  • You must use headlights year-round and at all times outside of urban areas.
  • During the autumn/winter months, it is compulsory to have either winter tires or carry snow chains if driving outside urban areas.
  • If you are stopped, under certain conditions you are expected to pay the police officer issuing the ticket immediately. Be prepared to pay in cash in local currency. Local police can confiscate your car if you cannot pay the fine.
  • Fines are imposed if driving without the proper permits in historic downtown areas of cities and towns throughout Italy. Cameras photograph the license plates of cars illegally driving in parts of the city that require a permit. The fines imposed for these violations are forwarded to the driver’s home in the United States to request payment. For definitive legal guidance or to contest a fine, you should consult a lawyer licensed to practice in Italy.  See the U.S. Embassy of Rome’s transportation page for more information .
  • Public Transportation: Pickpocketing is frequent on all public transportation, especially at train stations and major tourist sites.

See our  Road Safety  page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the  Automobile Club d’Italia  (A.C.I.). For information on obtaining international drivers licenses, contact the  American Automobile Association  (AAA) via telephone at (407) 444-7000 or fax (407) 444-7380.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:  The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Italy’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Italy’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the  FAA’s safety assessment page .

Maritime Travel:  Mariners planning travel to Italy should also check for  U.S. maritime advisories and alerts . Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and the  NGA broadcast warnings .

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Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Italy . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA ) report.

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30 Travel Tips To Know Before Visiting Italy

7 Reasons Why You'll Want To Visit Positano In The Amalfi Coast Of Italy (2)

Italy is one of the most beautiful countries to visit in Europe, nay, the world! My love for this country goes almost as deep as my love of chocolate-flavoured-anything, which I feel no remorse about and no reason to apologise for!

Some favourite, off the top of my head, is the stunning Tuscan towns , the gorgeous Cinque Terre and the charming canals of Venice to name but a few yet beyond the awareness and excitement of wanting to see it’s famous cities, there’s so much to consider and see when planning a trip, which made me want to share my very own tips worth knowing before you galavant off to Italy!

30 Travel Tips You Need To Know Before Visiting Italy

1.) You’ll get lost 

15 Things To Know About Visiting Cinque Terre In Italy (3)

And no, getting lost in Italy (especially when you’re driving through treacherous mountain tops like in Cinque Terre ) is not always as fun as you’d think! 🙂 Even if you quite fancy the idea of getting lost in Italy, its always worth downloading an offline map on your smartphone (or use Google Maps offline feature). It’ll save you lots of time when trying to navigate the twisty turny streets of Venice, Firenze and pretty much any Tuscan village you visit.

2.) Italy is more than just the mainland

15 Things To Know About Visiting Cinque Terre In Italy (10)

There’s so much to explore within ‘the boot’ that is Italy (this is what Italy looked like to me like as a child and it’s kinda stuck now) but don’t forget about the many small (and big) islands that you can discover too! Head to Sicily , Sardinia , Elba and Levanzo to name but a few of the many Mediterranean islands waiting to be discovered.

3.) Gelato is too delicious to ignore

15 Things To Know About Visiting Cinque Terre In Italy (11)

The ice-cream in Italy is the best in the world! (Bold claim but true!) I’ve yet to find a place (or country) that makes it better. There is gelato available on most streets and it’s relatively cheap and a delicious treat that’ll perk you up after a hearty lunch!

4.) Drink for Free

The Sights Of Florence, Italy... A Photo Diary [Part2] (27)

Cities like Rome, Florence and Venice all have perfectly safe, clean and free drinking water in town squares. Take a reusable bottle, or fill up your store bought bottle (shhhh, don’t tell the water brands) and save yourself lots of $$$.

5.) Dinner isn’t rushed

Arrival in Milan - Italy On A Rickshaw... (28)

In Italy, even more so in the south, dinner is never rushed – it’s a relaxed affair to enjoy with family and friends. Fall into the culture and take it into your stride.

6.) Card Payment are okay

Thinking Of Visiting Pisa? Here Are 10 Things You Need To Know Before You Visit Pisa, Italy! (23)

Card payments are accepted almost everywhere. Just keep a few coins and small notes incase you want small items – some stores have minimum spends.

7.) Italy’s got some impressive beaches!

Florentine Steaks And Unexpected Beach Days... (24)

There’s more to Italy than the cityscapes of Florence, Milan and Venice! Don’t forget to check out one of the thousands of beautiful beaches that line its impressive coastline. Head to places like Terracina for some beautiful white sand beaches.

8.) Trains are great! 

24 Hours In The Amalfi Coast, Italy (26)

If you want to travel between cities, try taking the train! Italy has an impressive high speed railway between the likes of Rome-Florence-Venice (to mention but a few).

9.) Validate train/bus tickets

This Is The Best View In Florence, Italy! (25)

Talking of trains, don’t forget to stamp your ticket in the little machines onboard buses and trains when you travel. You will get fined if the inspectors catch you… even if you didn’t know or weren’t told. A ticket validating machine is on all public trains, buses and (usually) at the start of the platform.

10.) The north and south are very different 

The Sights Of Florence, Italy... A Photo Diary [Part2] (34)

The north and south of Italy are almost like different countries! The north is an ‘industrialised’, continental European region, whilst the south has a much more laid-back Mediterranean feel – both are great and very different!

11.) There are volcanoes in Italy

The Sights Of Florence, Italy... A Photo Diary [Part2] (19)

Yup, there are some pretty epic (and still active) volcanoes in Italy to explore. You can even hike the top of them too, just like Mt. Etna on Sicily !

12.) Pompeii

27 Amazing Ancient Ruins Around The World That You Need To See! (18)

Talking about volcanoes – do you know about Pompeii? The ruined city which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption many years ago?  You can visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site and discover one of the most famous Volcanic eruptions in history (after the Iceland ash-cloud of 2010 of course). 🙂

13.) Learn some basic Italian 

15 Things To Know About Visiting Cinque Terre In Italy (4)

No one expects you to be fluent when visiting Italy – though it is a major plus if you are! Remember a few sayings and phrases that’ll help you get by. A few words in the mother tongue is bound to put a smile on any face!

14.) Cover up in religious sites 

The Sights Of Florence, Italy... A Photo Diary [Part2] (13)

Many sites ask ladies to cover their shoulders and legs when entering some of the churches. Take this into account when visiting religious sites, especially in the Vatican (technically, not Italy, I know, but still…)

15.) Truffle Hunt 

Photo Diary: Corn Fields And Open Roads... In Italy (6)

Truffles are big business in Italy, they are prized ingredients in many Italian dishes and often found in certain areas of the country. If you’re heading out truffle hunting ( learn more on truffle hunting here ), make sure to get it straight to the market, they can fetch thousands of pounds (price is size-dependent, of course).

16.) Cinque Terre are the 5 towns you must see 

15 Things To Know About Visiting Cinque Terre In Italy (2)

It’s in the name really.. roughly translated to 5 regions/terrains – it is one of Italy’s most beautiful regions. Don’t forget to check it out if you’re nearby.

N.B.: Take the train between the towns… trust me on this! IT takes mere minutes by train or an hour or so by car!

See more on our Complete Guide To Cinque Terre

17.) Make wine your tipple of choice! 

Vernazza in Cinque Terre, Italy - The Photo Diary! [4 of 5] (17)

Wine is inexpensive in Italy and very good quality! Take advantage of low prices and enjoy one of its joyous exports! Good wines can start as low as €3 a bottle!

18.) Summer and winter can be quite extreme here

The Sights Of Florence, Italy... A Photo Diary [Part 1] (26)

Summer in Italy can be very hot with bracingly cold winters, – especially in the north. Seems obvious, but there is quite an extreme in Italian temperatures (unlike places like the UK) depending on the date you plan to visit so it’s worth arriving adequately prepared.

19.) Tuscany is the best place for steak

Florentine Steaks And Unexpected Beach Days... (10)

Grab yourself a MASSIVE Steak Florentine in Tuscany and enjoy one of the best steaks in all the world. It will set you back a little more than an average meal though it’s so worth it. The sizes are quite ginormous so I’d suggest you share one… unless you’ve got an appetite of a lion.

20.) A gondola can be costly 

Venice - A Photo Diary. Italy, Europe (20)

Hiring a Gondola for 30 minutes will set you back a pretty penny in Venice – there are standard rates though its worth noting that you can get it a lot cheaper if you haggle with the gondoliers. A gondola should be priced for the boat and not how many people board. You can usually sit up to 6 people in one – not as romantic maybe but just as fun!

21.) Get your EHIC Card

The Sights Of Florence, Italy... A Photo Diary [Part2] (5)

If you’re from the EU you should always make sure you have a totally FREE EHIC card – never pay for it! It’s issued by the government wherever you live and it entitles you to the same/similar health care benefits as you would in your country of residence, though you should never see this as a replacement for travel insurance.

22.) Eat Pizza 

The Complete Guide To Visiting Cinque Terre in Italy! (20)

This is the one country you can chow-down on freshly baked pizza, guilt-free! Grab some doughy goodness from almost any small stall in almost every town in Italy. The best places to get one are usually in the quiet side streets away from the main squares and tourist attractions.

A slice is inexpensive and usually very tasty. (Like seriously, it tastes like nothing you’d get even in the fanciest restaurants in London – it’s so much better than anything you’d get anywhere else).

23.) You can ski in Italy

The 10 Best Places To Go On A Skiing Holiday! (4)

Not many people realise you can ski in Italy as it tends to be more synonymous with glorious long summer days. If you love a little swish down the slopes, then take a look at the stunning runs on the Italian Alps. You’ll find some great resorts here that’ll rival even some of the world renowned ones in Switzerland and France.

24.) Cappuccino is for breakfast 

24 Hours In The Amalfi Coast, Italy (24)

Traditionally a breakfast coffee, Cappuccino is usually drank in the mornings in Italy. If you can’t go without your usual cappuccino in the evening, then try a latte instead (Hot milk, instead of frothed milk like a Cappuccino).

25.) There are countries inside Italy! 

Vernazza in Cinque Terre, Italy - The Photo Diary! [4 of 5] (19)

Yup, there are actual countries inside Italy itself. The Vatican is its very own country and so is San Marino . Both impressive and both well worth a visit.

26.) Lots of Bubble No champagne!

This Is The Best View In Florence, Italy! (15)

Sparkling wine is very popular and a delicious evening treat for us all… right (it can’t be just me)?!? Don’t forget to try some local Prosecco and delve into a world of bubbles and glee!

27. Fare la scarpetta is essential! 

24 Hours In The Amalfi Coast, Italy (13)

No pasta-based meal is complete without the act of fare la scarpetta – meaning, you use your bread to mop up all the leftover sauce on your dinner plate. It’s almost a dinner ritual in Italy and something of a tradition in many Italian families. This is why bread is usually left on tables in restaurants too. (Put that butter down! 😉 )

28. Bread’ll cost ya!

Cinque Terre To Pisa: Italy Road Trip On A Rickshaw (59)

..and not just in the widening-hips department. Restaurants will typically place bread on your table without informing you that there is a charge until you look at your bill after your meal so be aware that you might be charged a small fee (always ask if you’re not sure and don’t want the extra cost).

29.) Venice is sinking… apparently!

Venice - A Photo Diary. Italy, Europe (36)

Apparently Italy’s beloved city, Venice is sinking!

Let’s hope this wonderful city doesn’t disappear anytime soon! *gulp*

30. Italian road trips are fun

Photo Diary: Corn Fields And Open Roads... In Italy (1)

Italy has a reputation for having some pretty ‘enthusiastic’ drivers and roads but don’t let that put you off. If you can drive, you should definitely hire a car and discover some of the many hidden gems of Italy. Especially if you’re based in a large city like Pisa or Florence as the Tuscan countryside is as exciting to explore as its major cities! 🙂

Take a look here for 23 marvellous stops to add to your own Italian road trip.

23 Amazing Places You Must Include On Your Italian Road Trip

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Italy travel guide: Everything you need to know before you go

The ‘boot’ is as much loved for its cuisine as it is for its ancient sights, romantic, art-filled cities, rural landscapes and bougie beach towns, article bookmarked.

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Italy has it all. The big boot concentrates some of Europe ’s most beautiful landscapes, islands, beaches and lakes , mountains and rolling vine-covered hills, and adorns them all with more art and architecture than anywhere on the planet.

You can go back every year and never see it all. Because Italy has only been as a single country since 1871, each regions has developed its own distinct character, cuisine and wine. Whether you love art or archaeology, fashion or fast cars, or food, wine and la dolce vita , you’ll love Italy.

Best time to go

Italy is a year-round destination. Summers are hot and crowded (the Italians themselves go on holiday in August ) but that’s also the time for beaches, festivals and sitting out under the stars. Spring is a delightful time to visit, with numerous events, especially around Easter, while in autumn the colours are magnificent in the mountains and vineyards as the wine harvest takes place. Winter is stellar for skiing and snowsports, opera lovers, and visiting the cities and museums minus the crowds.

Top regions and cities

Thousands of people visit the Trevi Fountain every day

Italy’s capital, Rome , is one of the world’s great cities, the magnificent stage for a lion’s share of European history, a palimpsest where ancient, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque landmarks stand shoulder to shoulder. It is the only city that surrounds a sovereign country, Vatican City, yet alongside the grandeur of the Pantheon and St Peter’s, the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain, the Castel Sant’Angelo and Spanish Steps and 900 churches, there is a sense of fun. Hit the lively bars, lick gelato under the parasol pines, and hire a Vespa to pretend you’re in Roman Holiday .

Read more on Italy travel :

  • Lerici: Italy’s under-the-radar alternative to the Cinque Terre
  • The best places to cruise in Italy
  • Milan city guide: Top things to do and where to stay in Italy’s northern powerhouse

Smaller towns and villages across Tuscany make for perfect holiday hideaways

Synonymous with landscapes swathed in vines, olives and cypresses that look as if they were lifted straight from a Renaissance fresco, Tuscany is a rare region that achieved a kind of perfection by the 16th century – then had the sense to not change. Tuscany’s precocious capital is Florence , where wealthy patrons, notably the Medici, helped herald in the Renaissance and filled the city with works that changed the history of art and architecture. The smaller art cities – Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo – and hill towns are jewels, and beaches line the coast when you need a break from all that art and culture.

Visiting Venice out of season means the same beauty but less crowds

The dream city floating on water is almost too beautiful for its own good – in fact, so many want to visit that the city has started charging day-trippers admission. But La Serenissima deserves so much more than a few rushed hours. The Grand Canal, the Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s and its piazza, the Rialto bridge – all the iconic sights take on an extra magic when illuminated at night (and the day trippers have gone). Venice is exceptionally atmospheric in winter, when the mists rise, and you can have its churches and palazzi filled with masterpieces by Titian, Bellini, Tintoretto and Veronese almost to yourself.

  • Best hotels in Venice

The Bay of Naples

Naples is an underrated city – and gateway to the Amalfi Coast

Passionate, noisy, chaotic, anarchic, fabulous Naples is the queen of the south, with its unforgettable views across the water to the still smouldering Mount Vesuvius. The volcano’s most famous victim, Pompeii, is only a short train ride away, and more fascinating than ever thanks to the recent excavations. The enormous royal Palace of Caserta with its endless gardens is just inland, while the three irresistible islands in the bay – ritzy Capri, beach-rimmed Ischia and tiny Procida – are a foretaste of the sublime, vertigo-inducing Amalfi Coast that begins just to the south.

Sicily has become increasingly popular after featuring in TV show ‘The White Lotus’

The Mediterranean’s biggest island is a mini continent, with its own culture, dialect, cuisine and stunning relics of its ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman and Neapolitan past. Palermo concentrates much of the art, but then there’s Agrigento with its Greek temples, romantic Taormina with its Greek theatre overlooking Mount Etna, superb Roman mosaics at Piazza Armerina, Byantine Norman ones at Monreale, and the elegant Baroque towns of Noto, Modica and Ragusa. The small islands of Sicily’s coasts are equally fascinating, notably the volcanic Aeolian islands, where Stromboli erupts every few minutes.

Best under-the radar destinations

Abruzzo has both lush countryside and beautiful beaches

In between central and southern Italy, encompassing the highest Apennines, Abruzzo is the ‘Green Region of Europe’. More than half of its territory is protected in national parks and nature reserves, home to brown bears, wolves, golden eagles, porcupines and chamois. It’s an ideal destination for an active holiday, with its walking and cycle paths, mountain lakes, beaches, ski slopes, striking hill villages and archaeological sites.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

This little triple-barrelled region borders Austria and Slovenia, and is only a 40-minute drive from Croatia . Its capital, Trieste, was once the chief port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, lending it a unique Mittel European atmosphere and cuisine. There’s arty Udine, long part of the Venetian Republic, and Aquileia – one of the best preserved Roman cities – plus sandy beaches and rolling hills that produce some of Italy’s finest white wines. In the north tower the fanatical Friulian Dolomites and Julian Alps and in between, you’ll find the Tagliamento, one of the last wild rivers in Europe.

Valle d’Aosta

Valle d’Aosta is know as the ‘little Rome of the Alps’

This emerald valley in Italy’s far northwest is framed by Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn and majestic Gran Paradiso National Park. Smallest and least populated of Italy’s regions, where both Italian and French are official languages, it’s dotted with castles, chalets and happy cows with huge bells who produced the valley’s famous Fontina cheese. The pretty capital, Aosta, is full of Roman-medieval charm.

The mountainous instep of the Italian boot was long unknown to most tourists, although it’s just beginning to be discovered. There are small beach resorts along the Ionian and Tyrrhenian, some beautiful villages, lovely Aglianico del Vulture wine, and the fascinating city of Matera, where people lived in caves in a river canyon into the 20th century; today it’s a Unesco World Heritage Site and stand-in for ancient Jerusalem in a number of recent films.

Best things to do

Eat in bologna.

The capital of Emilia Romagna (think prosciutto, Parmesan, tortellini, mortadella, etc), Bologna is foodie heaven. Its Quadrilateral market is a gastronomic epiphany, and will whet your appetite for a dish of tagliatelle alla Bolognese – the heavenly origin of spag bol.

Garden hop on the Italian Lakes

Few places on earth can match the gorgeous scenery, villas and gardens that grow in the singular microclimates of Italy’s enormous alpine lakes – Maggiore, Como and Garda . Regular ferries and boat services will get you there – or hire your own boat.

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy

Take in an opera

Along with Italy’s cathedrals of trilling arias – Milan ’s La Scala, Venice’s La Fenice or Naples’s San Carlo – there are wonderful summer festivals in Verona’s Roman Arena, Macerata’s Sferisterio in the Marche, Rome’s Baths of Caracalla, and others dedicated to composers, like Puccini in Torre del Lago (Tuscany), Verdi (Parma), and Rossini (Pescara).

  • Best hotels in Milan

Race a Ferrari

Fancy yourself a racing driver? Try your hand on a simulator at the Enzo Ferrari museum in Modena, the capital of Italy’s ‘Motor Valley’. For more Ferrari action, there are factory tours in nearby Maranello, plus the chance to visit the homes of Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani and Ducati with their museums and factory tours.

Getting around

Italy has a superb rail network, and the high-speed service between the major cities makes taking the train cheaper, more convenient and more comfortable than flying. Frecciarossa (red arrows) trains go up to 300km/h (186 mph) between Turin, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Naples and Salerno, and between Turin, Milan, Verona and Venice. Coaches to towns and villages not on the rail lines are also excellent and usually depart from the nearest train station. In the cities, public transport (metros, trams, buses and, in Venice, boat-buses called vaporetti) are also easy to use.

Money-saving tip

If you aren’t bring the kids, you’ll save hundreds of pounds by avoiding travel during the school holidays, when flight and hotel prices soar. Some major attractions, such as the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, also charge less if you go between November to February.

What time zone is it in?

What’s the weather like.

It can get uncomfortably hot in July and August , especially in the south and Po Valley. Spring and autumn are mild (October and November are the rainiest months); winters require coats, even in Sicily.

What currency do I need?

What language is spoken.

Italian, but English is widely understood.

Read more: The best boutique hotels in Rome – where to stay in style for all budget

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The Gap Decaders

Driving to Italy from UK: Best Routes & Driving Tips

This post may contain affiliate links, from which we earn an income.

The Best Routes to Italy from the United Kingdom

Are you desperate for some Italian culture but don’t want to fly? With great routes across Europe, a road trip from UK to Italy is easy, leaving you arriving refreshed and unstressed, ready to enjoy la dolce vita from the comfort of your own car.

We’ve spent the last five years full-time traveling in Europe and have driven from the UK to Italy more times than we can remember! In this guide for driving to Italy from the UK, we’re sharing the best routes, costs, and tips to help you have the best journey to Italy.

driving to Italy from UK

Summary of the best routes to Italy from UK

  • The quickest route is Calais – Reims – Nancy – Basel – Lucern – Milan
  • The toll free route is Calais – Lille – Luxembourg – Stuttgart – Kempten – Landeck – Resia
  • The best route through France is Calais – Reims – Troyes – Dijon – Lyon – Geneva – Turin – Genoa
  • The best route via the Netherlands is Rotterdam – Cologne – Coblenz – Ulm – Milan
  • The best winter route is Calais – Reims – Troyes – Dijon – Lyon – Avignon – Nice – San Remo
  • The most adventurous route is Calais – Reims – Colmar – Zurich – Davos – Stelvio Pass – Bormio – Milan
  • The “I want to see everything” route can take you to France, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and even Monaco. Why not scroll down and check out the route?

Crossing the Channel

Before you pick the best route to Italy, you need to work out the best way to get to mainland Europe. These are the best options for crossing the English Channel:

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

The fastest route is using the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle from Folkestone to Calais. The crossing under the channel takes 35 minutes, and with a fast check-in and loading process, you can be in France in an hour.

This crossing is Ideal if you are driving from UK to France with a dog, or just want to get to the other side as quickly as possible.

Dover to Calais

There is no direct car ferry from the UK to Italy. The quickest way by ferry is the Dover to Calais route, on which both P&O and DFDS operate up to 40 crossings between them in peak season. Taking just an hour and a half, you’ll have time on board for a meal or drink and perhaps a quick snooze.

Getting on and off can take a while though, as they have to piece all the vehicles together like a jigsaw puzzle. Not as quick as the shuttle, but very possibly a bit cheaper, especially if you can be flexible with crossing times.

Eastern England to the Netherlands

More expensive and quite a bit longer than the Dover-Calais route, the crossings from Harwich, Hull, and Newcastle to the Netherlands may prove to be cost-effective, but they are only a better option if you don’t live in the south of England.

The Stena Line Harwich-Hook of Holland route operates daily at 9am, with the crossing taking around seven hours. You’ll need to find an overnight stop on the other side as you won’t get through customs until well after 6pm, unless you can share the driving and go through the night.

If you cross from Hull to Rotterdam with P&O, their daily crossing departs at 8.30pm and takes around eleven hours, meaning you arrive refreshed and ready for a full day’s drive.

The DFDS Newcastle to Amsterdam crossing is also overnight but takes nearly 16 hours and is a bit more expensive, although ideal for those starting their Italian road trip in the north of the UK.

Other Popular Crossings

There are a handful of other routes out of Newhaven and Folkestone to the ports of northern France, which are also worth exploring.

The key here is to be flexible with dates and times to get the best deals, this is where you may just find a bargain.

Is this your first time visiting Italy? Get all the information you need in our Italy Travel Guide , including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

The Best Driving Routes from UK to Italy

There are so many main routes to Italy from UK, it can be daunting working out which one to take. Depending on whether you’re doing a straight dash down, whether you’re going to meander and spend a bit of time sightseeing along the way, and your final destination, we’ve got all the best routes from UK to Italy for you.

All our routes routes assume one-way travel from Calais in a 2.5l diesel car and costs have been updated in January 2024. You can find your specific car’s toll costs and fuel consumption at ViaMichelin . For a return journey simply double the statistics, or maybe take a different route back to the UK.

TOP TIP: Make sure you book your hotels in advance, as popular and convenient accommodation with good reviews will be reserved well in advance during peak times.

If you feel daunted by the drive, you could explore the motorail option. This means transporting your vehicle by train whilst you enjoy the journey in a sleeper coach. This is a fantastic way to travel, but an expensive experience.

We took our touring bike from Dusseldorf to Verona (one of the few routes still operating) and saw lots of classic cars being transported this way. Motorail is a great option if you don’t want to add mileage to your vehicle.

You can find out more about European motorail routes with the  Man in Seat 61 .

RELATED POST: 19 Helpful Long Distance Driving Tips

UK To Spain Driving Routes Map

driving to Italy from UK map

The Quickest Route

Calais – reims – nancy – basel – lucern – milan.

  • Distance: 1026km
  • Driving Time: 11 hours 30 minutes
  • Toll Costs: €103
  • Fuel Costs: €139

The quickest drive to Italy from England is the straightest, and probably also the most scenic! Within 2 hours from Calais, you’ll be leaving the flat plains of northern France behind.

This travel route from UK to Italy via Switzerland passes through some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery, especially as you approach the Alps, and snakes between Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Lugano en route from Lucerne to Milan.

You could take a few extra days and stop along the route. Pretty Colmar, the tri-national medieval city of Basel, and elegant Lucerne with its gorgeous lake are all worthy of a stop-over.

Driving from France to Italy on this route, you’ll find excellent motorways and national roads as you pass through France and Switzerland before using the free Gotthard Tunnel, Gotthard Pass, or Furka Pass to enter Italy.

UK to Italy by car

The Toll Free Route

Calais – lille – luxembourg – stuttgart – kempten – landeck – resia.

  • Distance: 1047km
  • Driving Time: 12 hours
  • Toll Costs: €0
  • Fuel Costs: €149

This the perfect route for those looking to avoid the French tolls and requirement for an Austrian vignette. This route is especially good for anyone in a large motorhome over 3,500kgs where tolls costs are higher and a GoBox is required to travel on Austrian motorways.

Head east from Calais using the toll free A16 and A25. Head south through toll-free Belgium and Luxembourg, before driving into Germany. All the autobahns in Germany are toll free for motor caravans, even those over 7,500kgs.

From Langenau, pick up the A7 heading south until you cross the German-Austrian border through the Grenztunnel where the road becomes the B179 Fernpass, then follow these directions for a toll free transition through Austria.

  • Continue on the Fernpass B179 past Reutte and over the actual pass to Nassereith.
  • Just past Nassereith take the B189 in the Imst direction. 
  • At Imst take the B171 (being careful not to go onto the parallel A12 toll road) in the direction of Landeck. 
  • At Landeck take the L76 to Fließ then the B180 south in the direction of Reschenpass/Reschen/Resia and then into Italy.

travel advice to italy from uk

The French Route

Calais – reims – troyes – dijon – lyon – geneva – turin – genoa.

  • Distance: 1384km
  • Driving Time: 15 hours 30 minutes
  • Toll Costs: €186
  • Fuel Costs: €131

If you want the convenience of the fast French autoroute (motorway) all the way on your drive from England to Italy, and a straightforward trip, then this is the best way for you.

The section from Lyon as you skirt around Lake Geneva is also incredibly picturesque, and it’s a good place to stop if you’re not doing the drive in one long stretch.

Utilizing the Mont Blanc tunnel to get through the Alps is also a good route if you’re planning a northern Italy road trip , heading for the Italian Riviera, the historic city of Turin , or driving to Tuscany from UK, but you’ll pay for the privilege with higher French motorway tolls and a hefty €46.30 one way for the tunnel.

RELATED POST: Driving in the Alps: Top Tips & Best Routes

road with a view of vines and a lake with mountains in the background

The Netherlands Route

Rotterdam – cologne – koblenz – ulm – milan.

  • Distance: 1176km
  • Driving Time: 13 hours 40 minutes
  • Toll Costs: €4
  • Fuel Costs: €118

If you’re leaving from one of the eastern England ports, then traveling down through Germany is super cost-effective as their autobahns are free of charge, unless you’re a commercial truck driver!

If you’re driving from England to Germany before traveling on to Venice or Lake Garda, the most easterly of the Italian Lakes, head for Innsbruck from Ulm and cross into Italy via the beautiful Brenner Pass for an extra cost of €10 in toll fees.

RELATED POST: Road Trip on a Budget: 36 Tips to Save Money in Europe

empty motorway surrounded by green fields and trees

The Winter Route

Calais – reims – troyes – dijon – lyon – avignon – nice – san remo.

  • Distance: 1412km
  • Driving Time: 15 hours 45 minutes
  • Toll Costs: €98
  • Fuel Costs: €142

Almost all of the Italian border is mountainous. If you’re traveling to Italy in the winter but don’t fancy the weather conditions or crossing the mountain roads of the Alps to get there, then you need to drive right down to the Cote d’Azur on the south coast of France and turn left.

The coast road is simply stunning, and in winter won’t be rammed with tourist traffic. You’ll cross into Italy, just west of Menton on the infamous SS1 road, sections of which were used in a James Bond movie.

This is the best route in winter to avoid the big mountains, but you’ll still need to fit winter tires or carry snow chains to satisfy the French mountain law .

view from a high point over a rocky landscape and blue sea

The Adventurous Route

Calais – reims – colmar – zurich – davos – stelvio pass – bormio – milan.

  • Distance: 1317km
  • Driving Time: 17 hours 45 minutes
  • Toll Costs: €27

This route is the best option if the road trip to Italy is more important than the destination. Crossing three breathtaking passes, surrounded by the might of the Alps as you head east from Davos, the highlight of the route is the incredible Stelvio Pass, beloved by motorcyclists, classic car enthusiasts, and even the occasional motorhome. 

This route is only suitable for the summer months, even crossing as late as June you may still find snow right at the top of the passes. From May to September, the roads are likely to be clear, but it always pays to check the weather before you set off when driving in northern Italy.

RELATED POST: Stelvio Pass: The Best Mountain Road in Italy?

drive to Italy from UK

The “I want to stop and see everything on the way” Route!

This is a much harder-to-define route because it depends so much on what you like doing and the type of sightseeing you enjoy. Here are some ideas of the best places that could be along a route to Italy!

  • Colmar – a small French town in Alsace, close to the France-Germany border, and known for its colorful half-timbered medieval buildings.
  • Dijon – in the heart of the ancient French Burgundy wine district, a perfect stopover for wine-tasting tours and vineyard visits.
  • Luxembourg – one of the world’s smallest countries, it is also the second richest!
  • Cologne – a historic German city, known for the filigree spires of its splendid cathedral and world-class museums.
  • Lyon – a stunning city, Lyon is at the center of France’s food scene and boasts thousands of years of history among its UNESCO sites.
  • Basel – the Swiss city is full of contract, with the vibrant and modern art scene set against a rich historical backdrop.
  • Mont Blanc – Europe’s highest mountain on the French-Italian border is the perfect place for adrenalin seekers and hikers to stop.
  • Monaco – the tiny principality nestled into the south of France landscape is a beautiful magnet for the rich and a fantastic place to people watch!
  • The Black Forest – one of Germany’s most famous regions, the Black Forest is packed with activity and adventure , especially for families.
  • Lake Lucerne – this Swiss lake is simply stunning, a deep turquoise body of water encircled by dramatic mountains.
  • Lauterbrunnen & Grindelwald – two stunning Swiss towns in the Bernese Oberland region that are within a few miles of each other and surrounded by the mighty Alps in every direction.

map of Europe

Make sure you have travel insurance you can trust when driving to Italy . We recommend True Traveller for their 5-star TrustPilot reviews, variety of cover options, best activities cover as standard, great prices, and excellent service.

Onward Travel in Italy

You’ve arrived! Generally speaking, driving in northern Italy is a pleasure, the roads are in good condition and well-maintained.

However, the further south you venture, the worse the roads become. Once south of Rome, you’ll find worn and potholed A roads and autostrada, but take it easy, follow our Italy driving tips , enjoy the gorgeous scenery and you’ll soon feel at home.

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Great Dolomites Road: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know!

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Southern Italy: Discover the Best 33 Places To Visit

Driving on the continent.

Whichever route you choose, driving from UK to Italy means crossing through one or more other countries in Europe such as France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. This means you need to familiarise yourself with the rules of driving in each country.

Thankfully, there are some common laws and regulations across most European countries for visitors from the UK and elsewhere. Make sure to carry the correct documentation and understand EU driving rules.

  • You must have at least three months remaining on your passport (issued in the past ten years) at your intended departure date from Italy.
  • You must have at least 3rd party insurance for your vehicle. A green card to prove you have vehicle insurance cover when traveling in Europe is not required if your vehicle is registered in the UK or a country of the European Union.
  • You must display a UK sticker on the rear of your vehicle, instead of a GB sticker, unless you have a new-style UK number plate that displays the Union Jack flag.
  • You must have a valid UK license. This allows you to drive in all EU countries for up to six months. If you only have a paper driving license or a license issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man then you will need an  International Driving Permit .
  • Headlight beam converters must be in use unless you can adjust your headlights automatically.
  • Wearing seatbelts is compulsory in all vehicles throughout the EU. Under EU law, drivers and passengers must wear a seat belt in any seat fitted with one.
  • Under EU law, car seats must be used for all children up to 36kg, 1.35 m, or about 12 years old.
  • It is illegal in all countries of the EU to use a mobile phone when driving. In addition, in France, you are not even allowed to use a mobile phone using a hands-free device, which you are permitted to do in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. On-the-spot fines are applicable in all countries if you are caught using a phone at the wheel.
  • Unleaded petrol is called petrol or benzine. Regular unleaded petrol is marked as ’95’ while super or premium gasoline is marked ’97’ or ’98’. Diesel is known as gasoil, gasol or gazoil.
  • Every EU country apart from Ireland  drives on the right-hand side of the road. This means that when you’re at a junction or roundabout, the oncoming traffic from the right has priority over the traffic coming from the left unless other signage is in place.
  • All the countries you may drive through on your way to Italy are members of the Schengen Area, meaning borders between both countries are open. However, you may find that random roadside checks are in place at border crossings due to the number of undocumented migrants traveling through Europe. Make sure to have your passports on hand when approaching country borders.
  • If you have an accident you’ll need to complete the EU Accident Statement, which you can find to download in English in our free resource library if your insurer hasn’t provided one. Stop safely and alert other drivers with your hazard lights and warning triangle. Exchange details (a  translate app  comes in handy here) and take lots of photos to add to your form when you submit it to the insurers. If the other party won’t give details or there has been an injury, you should call the police on 112.
  • Make sure to check what safety equipment you need in your vehicle as all countries have different requirements. As a minimum, you should carry a reflective hi-vis jacket, a warning triangle, and a first aid kit. If you’re driving a rental car, check with your car rental company that you have all the right safety equipment before setting off as not all hire car companies will provide safety equipment.

RELATED POST: Driving in Europe – Everything You Need to Know

Europe road signs

Don’t forget your road trip essentials! Our free road trip checklists help you remember everything, including road trip snacks , podcasts , and road trip songs for the journey!

Driving in Italy

The quality of the roads and the abilities of Italian drivers are mixed, especially outside of the major cities. The further south in Italy you go, the more the road network requires investment.

So, I hear you ask, is  driving in Italy  safe? Yes! the important thing is to be aware of the challenges and obstacles and go slowly until you find your feet. Do that and you’ll be perfectly safe.

  • Stick to the speed limits in Italy which are strictly enforced by the Italian authorities. Unless you see a sign indicating otherwise, the speed limits in Italy are 130km/h on highways like the Autostrada and range from 50km/h to 110km/h on other roads. 
  • You must carry a reflective jacket (not mandatory to carry but you can be fined for not wearing one if you’re on the hard shoulder!), a warning triangle, a spare wheel, and the tools to change a wheel, or a tire repair kit.
  • You must not carry or use a radar detector. If you’re caught you will be fined and the device will be confiscated by the Italian police.
  • Headlights or daytime running lights must be turned on at all times.
  • There seem to be an inordinate amount of one-way streets in Italy! Look for a blue rectangular sign with a white arrow to indicate the road is one-way only.
  • If you’re on the motorway, emergency telephones linked to an SOS telephone network are installed at 2km intervals. There are two types of emergency telephone on Italian roads, from which you either connect to the emergency call center and speak directly to an operator or the type where you press a ‘spanner’ button for mechanical assistance or a ‘red cross’ button for medical aid. A red light will then let you know your request has been received. 
  • Many gas stations in Italy have two prices, one for self-service and one for serviced fuel. The latter can cost as much as 15c more than self-service. Be cautious when entering service stations as an attendant may try and direct you to the serviced pumps.

Toll Roads in Italy

Italy’s motorways are called autostrada, and you’ll notice that the Italian road signs for motorways are green and not blue. Not all autostradas have tolls or only have them on some sections.

Toll roads in Italy are much cheaper than they are in France and as a general rule, it is far cheaper, easier, and quicker to take the toll roads in Italy. This is because of the sometimes poor construction of country roads, although we did see potholes on toll roads on occasion!

Italian toll roads are pay-as-you-go at toll booths. Use the correct money or your credit card as often there is no change at the machine.

Alternatively use a Bip&Go , Tollbird , or Telepass  device that allows you to pass without using the non-barrier lanes and pay via a linked credit card.

Low Emission Zones in Italy

Italy has many different low-emission zones with differing standards, time periods, and enforcement methods. You’ll find these mainly in northern Italy, but also in mid-Italy and Sicily. In Milan and Palermo, these schemes combine LEZ and urban road tolling schemes. Check  here  what the requirements are if you’re planning to visit a city centre.

In parts of Italy, the historical centers of large cities and major towns restrict traffic from entering areas known as ‘ Zone a Traffico Limitato ’ or ZTLs. You can expect to receive a fine by post if you drive your car into a signed ZTL as only residents are permitted to use these old town roads, so don’t go there!  

In Cinque Terre, along the Amalfi Coast, and in many of the small villages of Tuscany and Umbria, cars are banned altogether from entering towns and villages. The good news is that the municipality usually provides free parking, and if the historic center is not within walking distance, a shuttle bus.

Winter Tyres in Italy

Winter tires are surprisingly not always mandatory when driving Italy, but if you see a sign with ‘ obbligo di pneumatici invernali o catene a bordo ’, you must either be using winter tires or snow chains.

Whether the signage is in place is determined by local authorities and it can be difficult to know where tyres and chains may be required in advance.

There are a number of exceptions to this ‘sign rule’. Between 15th October and 15th April Italian law makes winter tyres mandatory in the Aosta Valley. If you have summer tires fitted in this area, you will need to carry snow chains between 15 October and 15 April. In addition, you must use winter tires from 15th November to 15th April in South Tyrol, the municipality of Bozen, and the Brenner motorway. 

Parking in Italy

It is important to note the different coloured spaces when parking in Italy.

Yellow lines are for disabled parking, white lines mean the parking space is for residents, and blue lines indicate paid street parking.

HELPFUL TIP: If you intend to park your car overnight, check local signs which indicate when street cleaning is done. Cars left in a street where cleaning is scheduled will be towed away!

road lined with Cypress trees through a typical rural Italian landscape

Looking for the best SIM card deals in Europe for your trip? Check out our guide to the best data SIMs in Europe and get the best deal for your trip to Italy.

Driving in France

Driving from UK to Italy through France is easy, with well-maintained roads and generally considerate and well-mannered drivers.

On the downside, France is one of the most expensive countries in which to drive and travel in Europe due to the high fuel costs and expensive tolls, especially if you’re traveling in a larger vehicle like a camper van or motorhome .

There are also regular disruptions and fuel blockades due to political tensions, so make sure you check the current situation when you leave home. 

Follow these tips for a safe and easy transit through France on your road trip to Italy from England.

  • In recent years there has been a significant increase in speeding fines issued by French authorities to British citizens. Many get home from a holiday or road trip to a nasty surprise in the post. Be aware and stick to the speed limit when driving in France.
  • You must carry at least one reflective jacket within the passenger compartment of your vehicle and must put it on before you get out in an emergency or breakdown situation You must also carry a warning triangle.
  • France has very strict drink driving laws compared to the UK. The UK maximum legal limit is 0.8 mg/ml and the French maximum is 0.5 mg/ml of alcohol per liter in your blood. If you are tested and found to be over the limit, you may face up to a €4,500 fine, have to appear in court, and possibly even be given a prison sentence.
  • All vehicles over 3,500kg are required to display infographic ‘angles morts’ or  blind spot stickers . Stickers must be visible on both sides and at the back of the vehicle and must be placed between 0.90m and 1.50m above the ground. Stickers must be placed in such a way that they don’t cover the vehicle’s regulatory plates and inscriptions, or any of the lights or signals, and don’t hinder the driver’s field of view. Find out more about motorhome driving in France here .
  • As of January 2013, the French government announced that the introduction of an €11 fine for not carrying a breathalyzer/alcohol test had been postponed indefinitely. However, the law still states that drivers must have an alcotest ready for use in their vehicle even though no penalty will be imposed if they cannot present one during a police road check.
  • Motorway petrol stations in France are hideously expensive. For the best prices, come off the main route or motorway to find a petrol station in a local town or village.

Mountain Law in France

On 1 November 2021 the Loi Montage II or ‘mountain law II’ came into force in 48 French mountainous departments within the Alpes, Massif Central, Jura, Pyrenees, and Vosges regions.

Anyone traveling in a vehicle through one of these areas between 1 November and 31 March will be obliged to fit four approved winter tires or carry at least two snow chains or socks in the vehicle. You can find out more about France’s mountain law here .

Motorway Breakdowns in France

French motorways are privately managed and you’re not allowed to request your own assistance company to attend to you if you break down.

If you do break down, you should use the orange emergency telephones that are situated every 2km along French motorways to call the police or the official breakdown service operating in that area. Alternatively, if no orange telephone is available, you should call the emergency services by calling 112.

You will be towed to a safe designated area where you can make onward arrangements for your own breakdown insurer to assist if you have it. Otherwise, the towing company will be able to provide support or signpost you.

Charges for assistance on a motorway are fixed by the government and are reviewed and revised each year. Many of the government-appointed towing services allow large insurers to pay them directly, but this is at their discretion and will depend on who your European breakdown cover is with. 

If this is not the case, you should pay directly and then seek recompense from your insurer.

Motorway Tolls in France

Driving through France can be hideously expensive if you only use toll roads, but they do allow you to travel through the country to your destination quickly. 

You may want to consider carrying an electronic toll tag, like Bip&Go or Tollbird , both of which cover you in France and Italy, and deduct the fees from a credit card automatically, meaning you don’t have to stop at a booth or barrier.

Crit’Air Vignettes

France has introduced ‘clean air’ windscreen stickers as a legal requirement in many of its cities, towns, and their peripheries, to identify a vehicle’s emissions levels and to restrict access in order to improve air quality. 

This six-category sticker system is designed to identify what emissions vehicles produce, and are categorized based on your vehicle’s Euro emissions standard. These are known as Crit’Air stickers and you may need one for your vehicle, depending on where you visit or stop as you transit through.

If you intend to travel close to a city or use its ring road, it’s worth getting the sticker, which costs €4.61 from the official website. Find out more and purchase Crit’Air stickers from the official certificat-air.gouv.fr website.  

RELATED POST: France Road Trip – 13 Amazing Itineraries

road in france lined with lavender and flower fields

Driving in Germany

  • Even though speed is not limited on 70% of the autobahn network, the roads are often so full that a de facto speed limit has been established. The main cause is stop-and-go traffic jams and congestion around urban areas, so don’t expect to be barrelling down the German autobahn at 200kph on your drive to Italy from UK!
  • If you see hazard lights up ahead on the autobahn, this means there is a traffic jam. Slow down and activate your hazard lights also, if the person behind you is traveling at high speed they will appreciate this courtesy and be able to stop in time.
  • German law requires drivers to pull over when there is a gridlock on the motorway. This is mandatory to allow emergency vehicles to get through in the event of an accident.
  • Check your mirrors frequently; if a German driver wishes to overtake you or let you know they are coming up fast behind you, they will flash their lights and indicators to show their intent.
  • If you have a GPS navigation system that shows you where any fixed-speed cameras are, you must deactivate this function. It’s illegal to carry or use any radar detection equipment when driving through Germany.
  • All vehicles turning right have to give priority to bikes (on their inside) going straight on.
  • You must carry a warning triangle, reflective jacket (for the driver and all passengers), spare wheel and the tools to change a wheel or a tire repair kit.
  • If you wear glasses for driving you must carry a spare pair.
  • We recommend you carry a first aid kit, although this is only compulsory for four-wheeled vehicles registered in Germany.
  • Germany has regulations requiring all passenger cars and motorbikes to be fitted with winter or all-season tires in wintry conditions.

Germany Motorway Tolls

There are no tolls to pay on the motorways, making autobahn routes through Germany a really cost-effective way to access Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, the Czech Republic, and Poland.

If you are traveling in a massive motorhome camper that is over 7,500kg, like an RV, overland truck , or converted lorry, then you are exempt from the tolls placed on commercial lorries over this weight.

Low Emission Zones in Germany

There are currently 75 u mweltzonen or low emission zones in more than 70 cities and built-up areas in Germany.

To enter LEZs in Germany you will need an  umweltplakette or  environmental sticker which you place on the windscreen to show the level of your vehicle’s emissions. This determines whether you can drive into the LEZ areas in your vehicle.

To purchase these environmental stickers, you must be able to evidence that the vehicle meets the Euro 4 standards for a green sticker, by providing copies of the V5C for newer vehicles (manufactured after January 2006), or a Certificate of Conformity provided by the manufacturer.

Head to the Umwelt-Plakette.de website for more information and to get your sticker – you will need to do this at least six weeks before departure to give it time to be processed and arrive in the post.

RELATED POST: Five Unmissable Germany Road Trip Routes

road in germany across mountains and a lake

Driving in Switzerland

Traveling in Switzerland by car is a pleasure. The roads in Switzerland are well maintained and the drivers are courteous and measured. The engineering of the mountain passes and complex tunnels and bridges that ribbon across the landscape is a real marvel.

  • It is compulsory to carry a warning triangle inside the car, not in the boot.
  • If you’re planning a winter road trip to Switzerland, you must carry snow chains. Road signs will let you know when you need to put them on the car.
  • If you have a GPS navigation system that shows you where any speed cameras are, you must deactivate this function. Carrying or using radar detection equipment is illegal when driving through Switzerland.

Toll Roads in Switzerland

Switzerland requires you to purchase a vignette (a type of sticker) to use their motorway systems. A vignette sticker can be purchased at fuel stations or  online here  in advance of your trip.

Buying your vignette online is a good idea, even with your satnav set not to use motorways, you can easily find yourself on one as you pass through without even realizing it, and fines for non-compliance can be large. You need an extra vignette for a trailer and a different type for motorhomes and campervans over 3,500kg.

road alongside a turquoise lake with a boat sailing on it

Driving to Italy FAQ

Is it possible to drive to italy from uk.

Yes, you can easily drive to Italy from UK. You’ll need to take a ferry or the channel tunnel train to get to Europe before picking one of our tried and tested routes to Italy .

Is it cheaper to drive or fly to Italy from UK?

It’s very hard to say because there are so many variables. If you have the time, then driving will be more cost-effective than flying and hiring a car on arrival in Italy. If you’re relying on public transport in Italy or only visiting one location, then flying may be cheaper.

What is the fastest route from UK to Italy?

The fastest route from UK to Italy is via Calais, Reims, Nancy, Basel, and Lucern before you cross into Italy using the Gotthard Tunnel. This route is 1026km (638 miles) and will take around 11 to 12 hours of driving time.

How long does it take to drive to Italy from UK?

There is no really quick way of driving from England to Italy. It can take a minimum of 11 hours from Calais to a couple of days by the time you’ve accounted for rest stops unless you’re traveling with someone who can share the long hours at the wheel. 

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12 amazing ways to experience Italy

Nicola Williams

Jan 11, 2024 • 8 min read

travel advice to italy from uk

Few joys compare to discovering the beauty of Italy with friends © MStudioImages / Getty Images

With its awe-inspiring art, architecture and culinary delights, Italy has been a star of the world stage for millennia.

The epicenter of the Roman Empire and the birthplace of the Renaissance, this European virtuoso practically groans under the weight of its cultural cachet. The challenge for any visit to Italy is not so much where to go – an amazing experience is honestly assured wherever you end up – but rather how to go about it.

The following advice on the best things to do from a veteran visitor can help you turn every trip into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sentiero Degli Dei (Path of the Gods) overlooking Positano and Isle of Capri, Campania, Italy

1. Glam it up on the dramatic Amalfi Coast

Whether you follow the rugged cliff-laced coast in search of a wild swimming spot or live the high life with spritz-sipping A-listers in Positano , the Amalfi Coast is one of Italy's most glamorous destinations. This dramatic coastal strip has thrills and spills to suit every taste and budget, from hunting down traditional marquetry in Sorrento's maze-like old town to garden-hopping in Ravello .

Planning tip: Make time for the Sentiero degli Dei ("Path of the Gods") – a rugged hiking trail that delivers on its name with positively celestial views.

2. See artwork as part of Tuscany's sustainable tourism project

Most Tuscan tours begin in the UNESCO-listed city of Florence , a cinematic feast of Renaissance palazzi (palaces), medieval-frescoed chapels and art museums brimming with Botticelli and Michelangelo masterpieces .

At the historic heart of Florence is the Uffizi , whose unmatched Renaissance masterpieces are ogled by millions of visitors each year. To take the art journey further, the five-year Uffizi Diffusi project started in 2021 to encourage art buffs to trek across Tuscany's backcountry – on foot, by bike or by car – following an untrodden trail to Italian masterpieces.

Designed to diffuse Florence's heavy tourist load, this sustainable tourism project is bringing pop-up galleries to remote chapels, fortresses, hilltop villages and other unconventional spaces. Not only does it lead visitors off the beaten track, but it also allows artworks to be admired among the very Tuscan landscapes that inspired the artists – think iconic terrain of rolling hills dipped in morning mist, timeless cypress alleys, silver olive groves and terraced rows of vines. Check current venues on the Uffizi website .

Young woman looking at her phone on a parked red moped, Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy

3. Tour Rome, the epicenter of empire

Working out the best way to spend your time in the Italian capital is a cultural conundrum. Rome is the former caput mundi (capital of the world), the epicenter of the Roman Empire, the spiritual HQ of the Christian world and the repository for over two millennia of European art and architecture. The city exudes must-see sights from every pore.

Zooming around Italy's Eternal City on the back of a Vespa moped to sightsee at speed is one option and a great way to sample the dolce vita (good life). From the Colosseum (buy a "Full Experience" ticket to access the underground vaults), the Pantheon  and the Roman Forum to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums , there's history and culture at every turn.

Planning tip:  There's simply too much to cover in a single visit – so before you leave, toss a coin into the pool below the wild horses and cascading rockfalls of the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return visit to this captivating city.

4. Spend time on one of Italy's many idyllic islands

Italy's prized island collection hovers around the 450 mark, meaning il bel paese ("the beautiful country") has a beach-laced island with your name on it. Myriad islands dot the Mediterranean, Ionian, Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas. Venice alone is made up of 17 islands, and Sicily and Sardinia – the country's biggest and busiest islands – offer an enticing mix of outdoor thrills and living history.

Unblemished Capri , a boat ride from Naples, attracts celebrities and the super-rich (as does posh Panarea in Sicily's Aeolian archipelago). Volcanic Ischia is awash with thermal spas and manicured gardens.

Planning tip: Traveling with nature lovers? Then head to the peaceful salt marshes and mudflats teeming with birdlife in the pristine Grado lagoon , on the country's northeast border with Austria and Slovenia in little-explored Friuli Venezia Giulia .

A mother and son look out at the Grand Canal from a bridge in Venice, Veneto, Italy

5. Help to save Venice

Venice is impossible to ignore – which explains the hordes of tourists who pile into this dreamlike city of romantic canals and ethereal fogs. In an average year, some 25 million arrive to snap selfies beneath the Bridge of Sighs and glimpse heaven (in fresco form) in Basilica di San Marco . To curb future crowds, turnstiles at city entrances and advance reservations via an app to enter the city are all on the drawing board. And 2024 will see the long-awaited implementation of a tourist tax  designed to make sure day-trippers contribute to the city's survival.

Planning tip:  To make a positive impact on Italy's most mobbed city, come out of season , and don't duck in and out on a day trip. Instead, stay for a few days using the community-powered, home-sharing platform Fairbnb and meet and learn from Venetians who are passionate about their city through Venezia Autentica . At mealtimes, favor lagoon-caught seafood in local restaurants over tourist joints with English-language menus.

The village of Colledimezzo with mountains in the background, Abruzzo, Italy

6. Get off-grid in rural Abruzzo

The Abruzzo region doesn't have the Amalfi's natural glamour or the cultural gems of Rome, but for travelers seeking an immersive, emotive brush with rural Italy and its people, it definitely hits the spot. Cradled by the gritty Apennine mountains and unforgiving Adriatic sea, the region was hit by an earthquake in 2009. Yet Abruzzo is slowly rebuilding itself and reclaiming its rich heritage.

In the quiet town of L'Aquila, a new outpost of Rome's MAXXI (National Museum of 21st Century Arts) is just one sign of this cultural rebirth. In remote Santo Stefano di Sessanio, the Sextantio albergo diffuso program hosts visitors in rustic rooms scattered around this pretty mountain village. Spotting rare Marsican bears padding around the Parc Nazionale d'Abruzzo is the icing on the cake.

7. Follow the Via Francigena pilgrim trail

Cycling and walking are great ways to get under the skin of Italy's diverse landscapes, and there is no finer long-distance trail than the medieval Via Francigena . A perfect, less-trodden alternative to Spain's Camino de Santiago, Italy's most celebrated pilgrim route wends its way for 1900km (1180 miles), running all the way from Canterbury in England to Rome.

The scenic Italian section unfurls at a meditative snail's pace through Tuscany and Lazio , breaking for breath at beautiful hilltop villages, volcanic lakes, Etruscan ruins , remote monasteries and enchanting emerald hills around Lucca ; the UNESCO-protected Val d'Orcia ;  Viterbo ; and other gloriously overlooked spots.

A scooter drives by shoppers on narrow Spaccanapoli, Naples, Campania, Italy

8. Enjoy the drama and excitement of Naples' street life

As Italy's most spirited urban hub, this highly charged, charismatic city in the country's deep south is a curious potpourri of nail-biting history, classical art and a grungy grassroots cocktail of frescoed ruins, frenzied markets and epicurean adventures . Drama is the order of the day in boisterous Naples , where street life unfolds like a grand opera.

Shop for swordfish heads and sweet ricotta pastries at Naples' oldest market, ogle street art in the Centro Storico, admire Mt Vesuvius views from the Lungomare seafront, explore subterranean catacombs , then follow the lead of locals and join the after-dark passegiatta (promenade) on Via Chiaia. Whatever you do, count on drama 24/7.

9. Savor slow food in Piedmont

Rare white truffles from the vine-striped countryside around Alba offer the most grassroots gastronomic experience in all of Italy. Once these fabulous fungi are tracked down by dogs in the woods, ceremoniously sniffed and greedily scoffed, there is no going back.

Truffles aside, the northwestern region of Piedmont , birthplace of the Slow Food movement , entices gourmets with sweet, creamy hazelnuts from the rolling Langhe hills and silky chocolate and myriad cocoa creations in gilded cafes in elegant Turin . Nebbiolo grapes metamorphose into magical Barolo and Barbaresco wines, and lavish banquets pair these treats with sacrosanct aperitivo (pre-meal snacks to eat with a drink and open up the appetite).

Planning tip:  Go hungry and savor the slow feast, one delicious mouthful at a time.

The square by Piazza del Duomo in Ortigia, Syracuse, Sicily, Italy

10. Soak up the timeless beauty of Sicily

The eternal crossroads of the Mediterranean, the island of Sicily dazzles with a brilliant diversity of landscapes and cultural treasures. In the southeast, honey-hued Syracuse was the largest city in the ancient world – bigger even than Athens and Corinth – and played an important role in classical Greece. Its hypnotic archaeological ruins, rising out of lush citrus orchards and the sparkling blue Mediterranean, continue to encapsulate Sicily's timeless beauty.

Planning tip:  Greek dramas still flourish in Syracuse's great amphitheater, alongside contemporary theater, live music and more. Plan to see a show beneath the stars on the antiquity stage at Teatro Greco – and expect an unforgettable and spellbinding spectacle.

11. Harvest grapes in the Cinque Terre

Nothing matches Cinque Terre's stunning setting – five teeny, sherbet-colored villages pinned to a jaw-dropping backdrop of terraced vineyards, wave-carved cliffs and blue sea on the Italian Riviera. Summer packs these celebrity villages to bursting point, but the autumn vendemmia (grape harvest) ushers in quite a different scene.

Planning tip:  Come in the fall for mellow days of strolling along quiet cobbled lanes and hiking through vertical vineyards and hillsides perfumed by macchia (herbal scrub) to ancient sanctuaries. The sight of local pickers gallantly harvesting the grapes that go into the Cinque Terre's sweet, fortified Sciacchetrà, and sipping the resulting vintages in a Corniglia or Riomaggiore wine bar with vertiginous views is an experience that will stay with you forever.

A skier on a trail at a resort in Breuil-Cervinia, Italy, Alps

12. Hit the ski slopes and hiking trails in Valle d'Aosta

Ringed by some of Europe's highest peaks, including Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Monte Rosa and Gran Paradiso, the Aosta Valley sports some of the best winter sports facilities on the continent. In fashionable Courmayeur , winter skiers descend hair-raising runs into France and Switzerland, crossing glaciers and returning via lofty cable cars.

And when the snow melts, spectacular hiking trails in the Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso and around Mont Blanc await. Whatever the season, keep your ears peeled for Franco-Provençal (also known as Valdôtain), the Franco-Italian valley's distinctive local language.

This article was first published Oct 21, 2021 and updated Jan 11, 2024.

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Italy family holidays: The best child-friendly Italian escapes

From Emilia-Romagna to Sardinia, here's where to go for an Italian family holiday

italy family holidays

From brilliant Blue Flag beaches and national parks chock-a-block with thrilling outdoor pursuits to scintillating cities and world-class art galleries, all ages get their share of the fun during a family holiday here. And, of course, there's the fabulous cuisine that plays a huge part in families choosing to travel to Italy time and again.

The best family hotels in Italy come in a grand variety of guises, with an option to suit everyone. Many parents choose serviced apartments or apart-hotels for their flexibility and because, in a country with such wonderful places to eat on every street corner, they often don’t need a traditional hotel with its own restaurant.

Others, meanwhile, might opt for a family-friendly resort such as the Masseria Torre Coccaro Boutique Hotel in Puglia or Stazzo Lu Ciaccaru in Sardinia for a full-scale immersion in the best of Italian hospitality – and a spoiling escape.

From Venice to Vesuvius and Tuscany to the Tremiti Islands of Puglia , we’ve looked at the best things to see and do with kids in Italy, as well as recommending the top family-friendly places to stay.

These are the best Italy family holiday destinations to explore next, whether you're with small kids or big ones.

The Italian Lakes

lakes mother and daughter

With 120 beaches, water sports and the country’s largest theme park, Gardaland, Italy’s northern lakes are a fantastic family playground and freshwater alternative to the seaside. It’s not all about the Clooneys and super-glam hotels here – although there are plenty of the latter for those with a taste for the finer things in life.

Part of the Lombardy region, this area of Italy offers outdoorsy fun galore including hiking, swimming, water-skiing, sailing, canoeing, mountain-biking and tree-top adventures at and around lakes that include Garda, Menaggio, Como, Maggiore and Orta. Don’t miss the Borromean Islands, especially Isola Madre with its lovely gardens and puppet theatre.

Where to stay:

A Modernist low-rise that lets the surrounding landscapes take centre stage, Vivere Suites , near Lake Garda, offers a contemporary take on a classic agriturismo in the form of four sleek suites with their own garden and kitchenettes. Three of them sleep four people and offer direct access to the sparkling swimming pool.

Within an old vineyard still producing its own wine, the property organises family excursions including climbing and canyoning, and there’s on-site yoga and bike hire too.

The Dolomites

italy family holidays

A UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site embracing one national park and several regional parks, this breathtaking part of north-eastern Italy is a place to challenge yourself as a family, with thrills and spills including vie ferrate (protected paths with iron lines, created in World War I) and long-distance alte vie (‘high paths’) dotted with overnight rifugi (huts) for the ultimate in mountain adventures.

Other adrenaline-spiking activities here in spring, summer and autumn include climbing, base-jumping, hang-gliding and paragliding, while in winter the Dolomites are famous for skiing. Canazei is perhaps its most family-friendly ski resort, and as an added bonus links to the spectacular Sella Ronda circuit.

As the name suggests, Selva di Val Gardena’s Cycling Hotel Linder welcomes bikers – there’s bike hire, guided rides and a bike room with equipment and storage. But it’s also perfect for hikers, skiers or anyone who wants to take in the mountain air and scenery while enjoying good food in its Steak Stube.

After plenty of exercise, retreat to the Linder’s Sky Spa with its pool with a view. Rooms include cosy family options that sleep four.

italy family holidays

Often seen as the preserve of couples and art students, Venice has lots to intrigue and fascinate kids of different ages: quirky boat travel (gondolas, vaporetti and traghetti), nearby beaches and islands, and a quirky assortment of mask-makers, glass-blowers and lace-creators.

It’s also a road-traffic-free city, which makes for very pleasant (and safe) ambling with a gelato in hand, spotting winged lions (the symbol of Venice) and grotesque carvings on palaces and churches. A particular hit with kids is the Doge's Palace with its giant steps and lion's head with a hole in its mouth (said to bite if you tell a lie).

Offering brilliant value in a city not known for its bargains, the Charming Palace Corte Del Teatro has a fantastic location two minutes’ stroll from the Rialto and five minutes from San Marco.

Sleeping four or five, its airy apartments are a blend of original features including exposed beams with contemporary furnishings, moody modern hues and contemporary kitchens. Some come with a balcony and a canal view.


italy family holidays

A northern region with both medieval cities and lively seaside resorts (on the stylish Riviera Romagnola), Emilia-Romagna is often overlooked in favour of splashier destinations. Yet it boasts a fascinating capital, Bologna, with a rich Etruscan history and the distinction of being where Bolognese sauce originated (though here it's referred to as ragù ) .

Meanwhile, nearby Modena is famous for its balsamic vinegar but also delights petrol-heads of all ages with its Enzo Ferrari Museum – part of the region’s ‘Motor Valley’ with its famous racetracks and luxury car manufacturers.

Perfect for urban explorers who want to make the most of Bologna’s fabulous dining spots, the six apartments of Residence Le Porte are in the heart of the action just steps from Piazza Maggiore and the Nettuno fountain.

Most have views of the city’s famous Two Towers (both leaning), and the largest, which sleep up to five, also have private terraces.

italy family holidays

One of the world's greatest cities, the Italian capital is a place where the past comes to vivid life in iconic sights including the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, Vatican and the Trevi Fountain.

It can all get a bit hot and hectic, though – in which case beat a retreat to green spaces such as the Farnese Gardens, Borghese Gardens and Janiculum (Gianicolo Hill) with its carriage rides and puppet shows. And don’t miss a stroll in the neighbourhoods of San Lorenzo and Trastevere – fantastic places for local cooking at very reasonable prices.

The oldest hotel in Rome, the 9Hotel Cesàri first opened its doors in 1787. Today it’s a welcoming boutique property with charming modern decor, family rooms, panoramic views over the city from its rooftop (which is perfect for breakfasts including delicious cheese platers) and a late-opening cocktail bar.

italy family holidays

It’s hard to know where to start with this bewitching region, but Florence is a must for its art, architecture and museums, its boat trips on the Arno and its Boboli Gardens with their grottoes, statues and fountains. Siena, Pisa and Lucca are also must-sees for their unique sights, while the Apuan Alps running parallel to the coast are great for hiking, caving, horse-riding and other activities, and there’s island-hopping to be done to Elba and other gems.

Tuscany is also about its food, which is child-friendly to the max, whether you’re stopping off for gelato while sightseeing or sitting down to a feast in one of the countless trattorias or pizzerias that dot the cities and countryside.

In Florence, Residence Hilda near the iconic Duomo and Michelangelo’s David has suites with kitchens for up to three, featuring Starck chairs, artisan furnishings and teak flooring. The best has Juliet windows with three balconies and a side view of the Cathedral.

Restaurant bookings and art exhibition tickets can be taken care of for you, along with grocery deliveries, babysitting and bike hire.

Naples and Campania

italy family holidays

The birthplace of pizza is a brilliant place to visit with older kids and teens, who tend to love its chaotic, rough-around-the-edges vibe and break-neck pace of life. Naples’ sights are truly epic: think ancient catacombs, the crater of Vesuvius and the nearby archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. And of course, this is another outstanding foodie destination too.

When you’ve explored the city, you can simply hop aboard a ferry from the harbour to one of the islands in the Bay of Naples for a fabulous two-centre holiday – perhaps Procida or Ischia with their quiet beaches.

Welcoming children aged 12+, the Palazzo d’Auria Aparthotel sits in the heart of the city surrounded by the best museums and pizzerias.

Occupying a gorgeous 1500s building, it has seven light-flooded suites with well-equipped kitchens and and a concierge organising museum discounts, boat-trips, restaurant reservations and more.

italy family holidays

Puglia, or Apulia, the region making up the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’ and the coastline north of it (Italy’s longest), offers up the white-sand beaches of the Salentina peninsula, vineyards and beauty spots including the Alimini lakes, Porto Selvaggio, Otranto harbour and Alberobello with its UNESCO-listed trulli – dry stone huts with conical roofs (some turned into B&Bs or rental cottages).

With kids, make a beeline for the Parco Nazionale del Gargano, where you can sign up for guided walks or Jeep, quad-bike or mountain-bike tours. The park includes the Isole Tremiti, ringed by almost shockingly clear Adriatic waters. The seaside resorts of Vieste and Peschici are also charming.

A divine spot for a splurge, the family-run Masseria Torre Coccaro Boutique Hotel in a 16th-century fortified farmhouse mixes adult indulgences including an Aveda spa with family amenities.

There are two beach clubs (one with a kids’ club), a water park, nature-centred activities including bike tours to cheese farms and a fish market, and a cookery school. Many of the rooms, suites and villas have private pools.

italy family holidays

With some of the Med’s best stretches of sand and a largely unbuilt-up coastline, this island lures families with laidback its beach life and its water sports, including sailing and snorkelling in crystalline waters. But there are other big draws, including the spectacular Trenino Verde (Little Green Train) through mountains and meadows.

Other highlights include the ancient tombs of the Anghelu Ruju Necropolis, the celeb-magnet ancient harbour of Porto Cervo, and Neptune's Grotto, accessible only via the Escala del Cabirol – 656 'goat steps' carved into the cliffside – or boat.

Stazzo Lu Ciaccaru in its own 32 hectares of hills and gardens full of ancient olive grove and fruit trees is a country estate just 10 minutes from the beaches of Capriccioli, Romazzino and Pevero.

Some of its stylish rooms have their own pool; there are also three resort pools, a massage gazebo and local excursions and activities. The kitchen serves up dishes both from the island and Tuscany.

italy family holidays

Another glorious Italian island to discover, Sicily is centred on Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. You can catch a cable-car to the top for breathtaking views, of better still, enjoy a 4X4 ride over its volcanic landscape.

Also unmissable is the Sicilian capital of Palermo, awash in Greek, Roman and Byzantine ruins and catacombs, as well as wonderful places to indulge in the island’s delicious, healthy, and superb-value cuisine.

Where to Stay:

There are suites sleeping up to four at Villa Boscarino , including one with an intricate loggia balcony and one with original frescoed ceilings and a circular Jacuzzi.

A place to really get away from it all, this boutique hotel is nestled in a delightful Mediterranean garden with a lovely pool in the high-summer months.

More Italian holiday ideas:

- The best hotels in Sorrento

- A guide to the Italian Lakes

- The best foodie regions in Italy

- A look at Lake Orta, Italy's hidden gem

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Morocco's towering 'rainbow' waterfall is breathtaking - just watch out for the cheeky apes, woman on mission to recreate her parents' holiday snaps 30 years on after losing dad, magaluf makes u-turn on anti-party policies and issues plea to holidaymakers, loveholidays issues advice as some customers are asked to pay twice for hotels, spain’s dizzying cliff top town is breathtaking and just three hours from the uk, embarrassment as officials admit secret behind china's highest waterfall, easyjet stag do chaos as 'police haul rowdy lads off flight' as crew in tears, decathlon lets festival goers return used tents for a full refund to cut camping waste, banking app launches extra secure holiday mode to protect tourists from pickpockets, anti-tourist protesters target influencer beach ‘no majorcan would go to’, uk theme park to temporarily close this summer as four major rides are removed, tourist 'caught signing his own name' on ancient building which survived volcanic eruption, high cost of taylor swift's eras tour laid bare as shake it off icon nears uk, majorca's anti-tourist protesters 'playing with fire' as brits scrap holidays, rooneys to face £7 pints and £22 fish and chips as they eye move to 'chelsea-on-sea', wedding guest fuming after discovering property booked on booking.com was sold years ago, brexit delays launch date of new channel tunnel train service to challenge eurostar, taylor swift superfan travels 10,000 miles to uk after stranger invites her to eras tour, 'uk's safest seaside town' locals say is like stepping back in time to the 1950s, terrifying new rope ladder experience suspends hikers 790 metres above a lake, world's longest train stretches a mile and passengers are driven to their seats, i went on dream holiday – but could only focus on my saggy chest and legs', brit holidaymakers face £170 fine for mistakes about spain beach souvenirs, 'i got body-shamed at disneyland – people wouldn't stop staring at my curves', fight attendant reveals genius hacks for dealing with 'puffy aeroplane face', 'i'm a single woman sick of being told not to travel - so i'm going anyway', country's first inland surf resort to open this year with europe's largest wave pool, you can eat truffle dug up in front of you by a snuffing dog in an italian village, 'the happiest place on earth' delivers tears, bottomless popcorn and the best steak of your life, ryanair passenger fined £119 and told 'pay or don't fly' despite approved bags, londoner quits uk and buys sprawling 10-bed european mansion cheaper than a city flat, warning light travellers could pay more as ryanair and easyjet fined for 'abusive' bag rules, majorca, menorca and ibiza call for peace as protesters threaten summer-long airport blockade, major motorway spillage spells travel chaos near airport as three day strike begins, joy as dog lost on holiday found three weeks later 200 miles away from owner, woman's friends scammed her out of £150 and a holiday - she had no idea until it was too late, fans praise thorpe park after uk’s tallest rollercoaster hyperia shuts mysteriously after launch, inside 'rundown dump' named britain's worst city which locals say is a 'ghost town', liverpool crowned the uk's most delicious city and one of the world's food capitals, tourists to be crowded off beaches by protesters as tui boss says spanish islands are full, uk's hidden city gems that are a must-visit - from extinct volcano to cursed graves, spain to shut down thousands of holiday and apartments villas in new crackdown, spain's magaluf 'half empty' as bar owners worry protesters have put off brits, brits heading for spain this summer face plagues of genetically hardened super-cockroaches, airport warning as 83% of brits admit they have no idea about new security rule, half term holiday warning as plane cancellations shoot up and air travel hit record-high, top ten best european cities to go for a run with sunny holiday hotspot top, uk beach named one of the country's most beautiful is quickly disappearing, gorgeous lake loved by italians is one of europe's most beautiful locations, half term holiday hack to turn big days out into mini-staycations your kids will love, caribbean's last unspoilt island has hardly any tourists and an ultra-relaxed pace of life, sixteen of the best no-fly cruises from bargain trips to luxury voyages, 'i flew in british airways' new short-haul economy seat - it feels like getting an upgrade', tui's newest holiday hotspot has incredible wildlife, beaches and a killer forest, 'i found a uk family staycation that gave me a weekend of complete peace and quiet', inside the incredible smelling hotel with a bus parked on the 10 storey roof, biggest plane shortage 'since 9/11' could spell holiday misery this summer, 'charming' french town with medieval streets and castle is 'like stepping back in history', 'i didn't want to waste a babysitter after my work meeting was cancelled so i flew to greece', easyjet to open new uk base with routes to italy, turkey, tunisia and morocco, beautiful hidden beach overlooks lake with ridiculously pretty turquoise waters, lesser-known european hotspot with 'maldives worthy beaches' and cheap pints, holidaymakers warn to avoid sunny croatian seaside city despite its beauty, 'i fell in love with one of europe's prettiest towns - travellers often miss it', uk's longest flight takes 17 hours and flies passengers to world's most remote city, popular uk seaside resorts become first to charge tourists this summer - full list, europe’s ‘best budget city break’ destination has £8 meals and £3.20 beer, beautiful uk market town with 'no tourists' that's 'perfect for a peaceful staycation', uk's most walkable city is named as historic wonder with beautiful architecture, anti-tourist protests spread to another beloved hotspot as holidaymakers told to go home, magaluf locals sick of brits 'destroying' their island with drug taking and public sex, 'most beautiful' seaside town with 'incredible views' named top uk holiday destination, beautiful secluded caribbean island with virtually no tourists that's 31c in may, travel warning as brits face fines over how they dress in popular holiday hotspot, paradise islands with unspoiled beaches, underwater museums and no crowds of tourists, seaside city once on underground line set to become one of uk's most expensive places, tourists livid as beloved free attraction introduces entry fee for first time, brit who swapped uk for life in australia urges others not to follow her down under, spain’s cheapest seaside town likened to 'horrific british estate but with sunshine', easyjet summer holiday travel chaos looms as pilots reject pay rise and threaten to strike, brits reject costa del sol to crown 'humble' town the best spanish seaside resort, england’s ‘most charming’ seaside town tops list of best places for a holiday, brits slam spanish hotspot as ‘seedy dump’ with ‘tacky’ and ‘overpriced’ nightlife, jet2 cancels all flights to greek island and tells passengers to stay home, brits head on dream turkey holiday for £10.85 - including flights and hotel, beautiful uk beach with 'legendary' seaside charm named one of world's best, brits defy tenerife locals' warnings to stay away and flock to canaries for holidays, huge legoland waterpark with slides and cannons to reopen in time for summer, france's sunniest city has ridiculously pretty beaches and amazing food, 'wingless plane' will let brits fly from london to new york in less than 5 hours, 'i took on the 'uk's most beautiful drive' to see if it lived up to the hype', man 'devastated' as he's denied boarding on flight due to medical vape row, jet2 issues majorca holiday warning for brits but tells tourists 'don't worry', new £47million beachfront campsite opens in europe with 180 pools and £19 pitches, spain warning for brits as £5,000 fines issued over little-known water rule, major stag do city announces 'ridiculous' ban affecting brits in new tourist crackdown, underrated free-to-enter theme park that's at one of the uk's best seaside towns, new airline for dogs takes off from uk this month - and it's very luxurious, hairy bikers' fan 'disgusted' as hotel prices spike for dave myers tribute day, 'i'm a cruise ship worker in the world's remotest place - it brings you to tears with its beauty', brits to have fingerprints scanned to enter spain, france and italy this year, bus, train and airport strikes to halt transport on same day - full list of routes affected, plans for £6billion underwater tunnel to make travel between europe and africa easier, pixar fans can now book a stay in a real-life version of the up house on airbnb, spain warning for uk tourists as beach bars could be banned at popular resorts, fed up locals build giant screen to block tourists from looking at mountain views, ryanair passengers warned to ditch packing 'hack' that could leave you paying more, former royal butler and chef set to lead expert talks on new regal-themed cruise, ryanair, easyjet, tui and jet2 passengers have bags rejected at airport due to 'confusing' rule, 'degraded' wheelchair user forced to shuffle up stairs after british airways lost chair, beautiful medieval town with cosy pubs and charming shops is one of uk's 'best holidays', influencers booted off flight by police after making bomb joke to passengers, benidorm lad tries to get off the plane after mate pretends they're going to ibiza, boy george to star as virgin voyages guest dj alongside astronauts and billionaire, uk tourists on portugal holidays warned that they're getting 'ripped off', 'world's best beach' with powder sands is less than 3 hours from the uk, flight attendant warns passengers to 'never wear shorts' when in a plane, heathrow strikes called off last minute in huge boost for holidaymakers, locals in one of 'uk's most rundown seaside towns' hit back at criticisms, ryanair, easyjet and british airways amongst europe's most polluting airlines, london stansted hit by power outage as ryanair warns passengers of long queues, beautiful uk hotspot without crowds is 'like taking a journey back in time', beautiful uk seaside town has dog-friendly beaches and charming cottages, third uk airport scraps 100ml liquid rule for hand luggage ahead of summer holidays, brits warned to ditch poolside essentials as they become 'contaminated', travel expert reveals easy 5 suitcase checks you need to make before your next holiday, uk border force outage causes chaos with passport control delays at airports, tenerife locals 'living in shacks under abandoned hotel' amidst island's latest crisis, ryanair warning as digital boarding passes won’t be accepted in 3 holiday hotspots, new venice tourist tax causes worry it will become 'pay to enter theme park', beautiful uk seaside town that's lesser-known with some of the best fish and chip shops, ryanair cancels 300 flights affecting 50,000 passengers amid major aviation strike, tenerife's deputy mayor tells brits to 'go elsewhere' for cheap all-inclusive breaks, abandoned uk airport could reopen with tui flights as part of £138million plan, france's 'most beautiful secret escape' is medieval town that looks like a fairytale, barcelona hides bus route to pretty neighbourhood from tourists, gatwick airport strikes suspended for now in relief for easyjet and tui passengers, beautiful uk village 'that feels like italy' is so popular you need to pay to visit, brits warned of little-known airport rule that could see phones and laptops confiscated, couple horrified to find holiday home full of 'mould, hair and unidentifiable goo', heathrow airport strikes planned in may as 800 workers prepare to walk out, amsterdam announces another wave of strict rules to deter tourist numbers, brits warned of money and passport rule that could see you turned away at borders, 'beautiful' uk market town 'is never crowded' and one of the nation's best places, brit warned to always 'check inside the kettle' in hotel rooms before brewing a tea, richard branson reveals ambition for year-long cruises on adults-only ships, scotland's 'most beautiful' beach has sandy dunes, dolphins and seals, uk theme park with 'no queues' is 'better than alton towers and thorpe park', hidden pathway to a uk beach that looks like it belongs on a greek island, tiny lesser-known village is one of the world's most beautiful and 'rivals venice', foreign office warns anyone travelling to australia of 'strict' rule that could derail your trip, 'i refused to give up first class seat for child to sit with family - people are praising me', brit couple's horror three-day journey back from dubai - and they'll never travel again, foreigners in majora told to 'go home' in latest anti-tourist graffiti campaign, bank holiday travel chaos looms as three-day heathrow airport strike called, life inside the sunniest city in the world where locals battle 50c temperatures, uk seaside town to scrap spanish style plaza months after it was built, spain hotspots where brits may be unwelcome this summer from canaries to benidorm.

Nomadic Matt: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Better

Europe Travel Guide

Last Updated: April 18, 2024

The historic city of Prague with its classic stunning architecture

From beautiful Paris to smoke-filled coffeeshops in Amsterdam, Oktoberfest to La Tomatina, Europe is a massive, diverse continent with an unlimited assortment of things to see and do. You won’t have any problem filling your time, whether you’re backpacking Europe for a few months on a budget or just spending a few weeks there on a well-earned vacation.

The continent boasts wonderful beaches, historical architecture, amazing wine, and tons of world-class festivals. Every country is incredibly different from the next too, providing limitless variety in what you do during your trip.

I first backpacked Europe in 2006 and was hooked immediately. I’ve been visiting every year since, have run tours around the continent, and even wrote a book on traveling in Europe . It’s a destination I love and never get tired of exploring.

This guide will give you an overview of Europe and the tips and tricks you need to start planning your trip. I’ve also written extensive travel guides to each country on the continent (linked below in this post) so you can get more in-depth information for your specific itinerary too!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Europe

Click Here for Country Guides

Top 5 things to see and do in europe.

Aerial view of Greek town along the Mediterranean ocean, with mountains in the background

1. Tour the Greek Islands

These islands are the mecca of summer beach fun and each is unique in its own great way. There’s Ios (beach party central with archeological ruins and awesome boat tours); Kos (ancient ruins and nature); Crete (Bronze Age ruins of Knossos, hiking, beaches, and wine), Santorini (iconic blue water, white buildings, and local wineries); Mykonos , (the upscale party island with beautiful beaches, villages, and sunsets), Naxos (best island in the Cyclades). Plus, Milos, Corfu, Lemnos, Zakynthos, and so many more! With hundreds of islands in the country, you can always find what you are looking for!

2. Ride the rails

Europe is famous for its international rail system. Rail passes like the Eurail Pass have been around forever and still make it very easy to get from country to country on a relatively small budget (and with lots of flexibility). Europe has some of the fastest trains in the world that travel up to an incredible 217 mph (350 kph). The whole continent is connected by trains and there’s a growing push for even more connections and long-distance, high-speed trains in order to reduce flying and help combat climate change. There’s nothing more quintessential than riding the trains in Europe and I encourage you to take as many trains as possible. It’s one of the best ways to see the continent.

3. Get lost in Paris

The “City of Lights” is everything people say it is. I fell in love with it the first time I stepped foot in Paris . The city is just magical. You have a ton of museums, cafes, jazz clubs, famous art, and beautiful architecture. I love just strolling around the streets of the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) or Montmartre neighborhood as it makes for a breathtaking day. Another one of my favorite things to do here is just sit in the Jardin des Champs-Élysées park and picnic like the Parisians. For something a bit different, check out the famous Catacombs and Paris Sewer Museum. With so much to offer in the way of culture, history, and gastronomy, it would take years to see everything here but you can still get a good feel of the city in a few days.

4. Go city hopping

There are so many amazing cities in Europe that we’d need a top 100 to list them all. Here are some of my personal favorites and must-see cities: London is rich in history, culture, and the famous Big Ben clock; Edinburgh is a vibrant medieval city with cozy pubs and a famous castle with a huge New Year’s Eve Party; Amsterdam has cozy coffee shops and canopied tree-covered canals; Berlin has a wild party scene, street art, and the Berlin Wall; Barcelona has tapas, beach, and unique Gaudi architecture; coastal Lisbon has colorful tiles, old tramcars, cobblestone streets and plenty of fresh seafood; Prague has a beautiful intact Old Town, incredible architecture and eclectic bars; Tallinn Estonia has beautiful medieval buildings with colorful roofs. Florence  is a mecca for Italian Renaissance architecture, art history, and gelato; Stockholm mixes medieval architecture and modern art and design. Crisscross the continent, take in the culture, and enjoy all the historic cities!

5. Hit the Alps

Whether you go skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer, the Alps hold some of the most breathtaking views in all the world. You don’t even need to be an expert hiker because there are mountain trails for all levels and crystal-clear Alpine lakes. Check out the spectacular Eibsee trail loop in Bavaria at the foot of Die Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest mountain, for the clearest, multi-colored, sparkling lake you’ve ever seen. Or the Männlichen Kleine Scheidegg Panorama trail in Switzerland’s stunning green and snow-capped Alps. Or visit Italy’s Dolomites in South Tyrol for the scenic Seceda trail. The Alps have trails for every fitness level and in every season.

Other Things to See and Do in Europe

1. tour amsterdam.

I love Amsterdam so much that I lived here for a short period of time in 2006. Here cobblestone and brick streets weave around lovely canals as people ride their bikes to and fro. My favorite things to enjoy here are Amsterdam’s vibrant art and music scene and there are also a ton of interesting museums here like the Anne Frank House, FOAM, the history museum, and the hemp museum. Be sure you get out of the center into Jordaan and Oost with their wonderful outdoor cafes and fewer tourists. Also, a visit to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without a canal cruise to visit the many islands and there are many to choose from that include snacks and drinks, sunset cruises, live guided tours, and more.

2. Hang out in Barcelona

Barcelona is a city that goes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It truly could give NYC a run for the “city that never sleeps” title. Be prepared for late-night dinners and parties until dawn. Besides a great food and nightlife scene, there is a wonderful beach, tons of Gaudi architecture (including the fairytale-like Parc Güell, as well as the iconic Sagrada Familia , which has been under construction for over 100 years!), incredible food tours, one of the best history museums in the country, and lots of outdoor spaces. What I love about Barcelona is that when you’re ready to chill, you can wander around Parc de la Ciutadella and marvel at the majestic fountains, plant life, and buildings created from an ornate military fortress.

3. Visit Berlin

Hip and trendy Berlin is an energetic destination. It is one of Europe’s most affordable capital cities, with a vibrant music and art scene and a growing foodie movement. Be sure to spend some time learning about the city’s darker history via the many excellent museums, memorials, and landmarks. The East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall that’s now painted with murals, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe are two especially powerful reminders of Germany’s past. For all periods of German history, don’t miss the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum) – it’s one of the best history museums in the world. Once you’ve had your fill of history, relax in Berlin’s many green spaces, from Tempelhof Field, the site of a former airfield and popular local hangout spot, to Tiergarten, a tree-covered former hunting ground for 17th-century aristocrats.

4. Drink beer at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is a must for anyone going to Germany at the end of September. While not a budget option since beers now cost 15 € a maß, I love the energy and friendly camaraderie this event inspires. For two weeks, millions of people from all over the world gather for lots of beer, excitement, music, and wild fun. Watching thousands of people sing together, raising quart-sized beer mugs for endless toasts, and enjoying the general party atmosphere makes you feel good about the world. (Or maybe that’s just the beer?) Just be sure to book your accommodation well in advance and be prepared to pay top prices for them. If you don’t have an outfit, don’t worry, there are plenty of shops even at the main train station where you can buy a Bavarian dirndl dress and men’s lederhosen.

5. Experience London

Get a taste of English culture in diverse London . The museums here are some of the best in the world (most are free) and include the Tate, the British Museum, the City Museum, the National Gallery, the Historical Museum. There’s no shortage of iconic sights here as well, with Big Ben, the House of Parliament, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and of course, Buckingham Palace. I love London’s diversity because of the countless international eateries with great food and wonderful pub culture, perfect for after a long day seeing the sights. Head to Brick Lane on the weekends for some amazing food and craft markets. I prefer Paris to London, but there is something sophisticated and fun about London. Just watch those pints — London is not a cheap destination!

6. Get outdoors in Scandinavia

My favorite region in Europe is Scandinavia. The quality of life here is high, the people are beautiful and friendly, and the cities are clean and historic. Cycling the cities, taking canal tours, hiking the vast forested areas, archipelago hopping, enjoying fika (a Swedish coffee break), and warming up in saunas are just a few of the popular activities that await you here. True, this area of Europe is not cheap, but there are plenty of ways to reduce your expenses. Don’t let the high prices scare you away. Highlights for me include Copenhagen , Stockholm , Gotland, Norway’s fjords, and Lapland in Finland .

7. Get enchanted in Prague

Prague has an amazing history and is one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities I’ve ever seen. Highlights include the 9th-century Prague Castle, the magnificent Charles Bridge (built in the 14th century and one of the oldest standing bridges in the world), the 10th-century old square with its iconic astronomical clock, and the winding Jewish Quarter. Even if you only have a few days there don’t miss the free walking tour which is one of my favorites in Europe and the best way to learn about the Old Town and the tragic history of the city that went from thriving Bohemian capital of art, music, and literature to part of the Iron Curtain after WWII. Some of my favorite gems here include the fantastic black light theater shows in 4D and the one-of-a-kind medieval dinner show in an old tavern complete with musicians and jugglers not to mention hearty food and drinks. During the weekends it heaves with people enjoying the bars, cheap beer, and delicious food so try to visit during the week (and in the spring or fall) to beat the crowds.

8. Relax on the French Riviera

Here, you can pretend to live the high life for a little bit. Have fun in the sun, relax on the beach, swim in azure blue water, hobnob with the rich and famous, and sail on (or gaze at) gigantic yachts. As for cities, Nice is nice with its palm-tree-lined promenade, old town, and many art museums. If you want to go see how the rich and famous live, spend an afternoon checking out Cannes to soak up some glamorous vibes on La Croisette where they hold the famous Cannes Film Festival. The kingdom of Monaco with its tiny streets, beautiful buildings, and world-famous casino is just a skip away too.

9. Enjoy the great outdoors in Interlaken

Located in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland, Interlaken is a gorgeous place to unwind with fantastic hiking, delicious hot chocolate, and plenty of outdoor sports. The area is full of natural attractions to explore, including the St. Beatus Caves (complete with a legendary dragon), the cascading 500-meter-high (1,640 feet) Giessbach Waterfalls, the Jungfraujoch mountain railway (which leads to the highest train station on the continent), and a plethora of lakes (hence the town’s name). It’s a good alternative to all the cities and museums. Interlaken is also a popular party destination for backpackers and other young travelers. By far, my favorite scenic and visually stunning trail was the Oberberghorn panoramic hike, where you can wander the green mountain ridge ogling the amazing views and the turquoise-blue Brienzersee.

10. Experience history in Rome

In this thriving historical city, you can’t walk two feet without stumbling over a ruin, making Rome a history buff’s dream. Its tiny streets are perfect for wandering as you explore the Colosseum, see the Forum and Palatine Hill, visit the Pantheon, spend time in Vatican City, admire the Spanish Steps, and toss coins into the famous Trevi Fountain. The skip-the-line tickets can definitely be worth it so you don’t waste time waiting outside attractions. Rome also has amazing food (it’s Italy, after all) and nightlife. Visit the Trastevere area for a taste of “local” Rome and chill bars. It’s my favorite area in the city because you feel like you’re in a small village in the middle of a big city.

11. Hike around the Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is my favorite part of Italy. These five beautiful cliffside towns are perched near warm waters and beautiful olive and grape groves. There are wondrous and strenuous hikes in these hills; for a real challenge, take trail #8. Or just walk the coastline for something less difficult. Many activities here revolve around the coastline: kayaking, swimming, having a beach picnic or visiting the Technical Naval Museum. If you happen to be here in December or January, don’t miss the Nativity Manarola, the world’s biggest lighted nativity scene.

12. Tour Krakow

Krakow looks like it stepped out of a medieval postcard. It’s a hip, trendy, and youthful city that’s the center of education in Poland, meaning there are a lot of university students here. Most travelers come to party here (the vodka is cheap) but try to enjoy the city’s history and food besides just the bars. Walk the Royal Road through the Old Town to the 13th-century Wawel Castle, tour Schindler’s Factory (where Schindler saved over 1,200 Jews during World War II), and visit the sobering Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. You can also take a fascinating day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Wieliczka Salt Mine, a 13th-century mine with cavernous chambers, statues, chapels, chandeliers, and cathedrals all carved out of salt.

13. Visit the ruin bars in Budapest

The coolest nightlife in all of Europe is found in Budapest . Built in abandoned buildings, ruin bars feature funky art installations, repurposed furniture, and quirky decor. They are amazing, fun, and great places to meet locals, as people of all ages flock here. Open since 2001, Szimpla Kert is the original ruin bar and one of my favorites, along with Instant-Fogas Complex, which takes up an entire building and is actually many different bars in one. Don’t skip the ruin bars — they’re one of the most unique things about the city!

14. Explore Cornwall

The best part of England is outside London, yet unfortunately, not a lot of travelers leave London. Head west to the area of Cornwall for cheaper prices, welcoming locals, natural beauty, great hiking, rolling hills, plenty of medieval castles, and picturesque small towns. If you like biking, the Camel Trail from Bodmin to Padstow is worth the trip and you even pass by a local vineyard. It’s an easy way to spend a day (and it’s pretty flat so it’s not too hard to do.) Plus, I had the best fish and chips in Cornwall! Overall, it’s what you think of as “traditional England.”

15. Walk the Camino

El Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James) is an ancient pilgrimage route that stretches from France all the way across northern Spain. It is a 500 mile (800 km) trail that winds through incredible terrain, ending in Santiago de Compostela at the cathedral where St. James is supposedly buried. As a pilgrim, you get a “pilgrim’s passport” which allows you to stay in affordable pilgrim-only hostels, making this a surprisingly budget-friendly adventure. While it usually takes over a month to complete, you can just walk a section if you don’t have the time. To receive a “Compostela” (certificate of completion), you just need to walk the last 62 miles (100 km), which generally takes 4-5 days.

16. Throw tomatoes during La Tomatina

By far my favorite festival, the largest food fight in the world happens during the last Wednesday of August in Bunol, Spain. What started in 1945 as a local brawl has turned into a massive event drawing tens of thousands of people from all over the world. For about an hour, everyone throws tomatoes at each other, leaving streets ankle-deep in tomato juice. Afterward, everyone walks down to the river, cleans off, and then heads to the town square for sangria and music.

17. Find Dracula in Romania

Not a lot of people visit Romania but this underrated country in Eastern Europe has undiscovered yet picturesque medieval towns like Brasov (home to “Dracula’s castle”), Sighisoara, and Sibiu; gorgeous beaches on the Black Sea; and incredible hiking in the Fagaras Mountains — all at dirt-cheap prices. Other major sights include frescoed Byzantine monasteries, the steepled wooden churches of Transylvania, the hip university town Cluj-Napoca, the post-communist capital of Bucharest, and the Danube Delta, a huge nature reserve.

18. Drink whisky in Islay

Whisky has a long history on Islay , an island off Scotland’s west coast. It’s been made there since the 16th-century — first in backyards and then, starting in the 19th-century, in large distilleries. Over the years, whisky from the island came to be considered a specialty and was used to flavor a lot of other blends on the mainland. There are currently nine working distilleries on the island, all located along the island’s shores, with Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and Lagavulin being the most famous. Most distilleries here make single-malt Scotch, meaning that only one type of grain (barley) is used. My visit here was amazing and, even if you don’t like whisky, there are tons of good hikes and walks throughout this magnificent island.

19. Explore Iceland

Iceland is a magical country with majestic waterfalls, hidden hot springs around every corner, and sweeping vistas unlike anywhere else in the world. After my first visit, the country quickly became one of my favorite countries. With whale watching in the summer, the northern lights in the winter, and geothermal baths for soaking in year-round, there really is no bad time to visit! While Iceland’s main draw is the epic natural landscapes, it’s worth spending a couple of days in Reykjavik with its café culture, artsy feel, and brightly colored wooden row houses.

20. Sail the Croatian coast

With calm winds, short distances, a coastline littered with over 1,000 islands, and countless historical sites, Croatia is one of the world’s best sailing destinations. If you can, go during the shoulder season when you can find some great deals. Plan to stay at least a couple of days on one of the islands, with the most popular being Brac, Hvar, Krk, Cres, and Lošinj. However, don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path and explore some of the lesser-known islands such as Silba, Vis, and Lastovo. If you want to splash out and spend a week partying on a yacht, check out The Yacht Week, which hosts week-long parties, complete with DJs, from May-September. You can book a full boat to share with friends or just a cabin if you’re traveling solo. Prices start at 5,250 HRK per person and go up to 9,300 HRK.

21. Explore the Balkans

While the Balkans have become more popular with backpackers in recent years, it’s still largely overlooked by most budget travelers, despite being an extremely budget-friendly region. The Balkan peninsula is home to great (and again, overlooked) wine, beautiful medieval towns like Kotor and Mostar, stunning mountainous landscapes, beautiful pebble beaches, coffee culture, fresh, hearty yet inexpensive food, and museums covering the area’s history, including the most recent turbulent events of the early 1990s. I especially loved my time in Albania . Don’t miss the beautiful beaches in Ksamil, nicknamed the “Maldives of Europe’ as well as the mountain village of Gjirokastër, which was occupied by Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. The Balkans have so much to offer for every budget and every country has its unique cultural flavor.

22. Take a wine tour in the Loire Valley

Located in central France, the picturesque Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site and stretches 280 kilometers (174 miles) along the Loire River. One of the major wine-producing regions of France, the area is home to some of the best wines in the world, with over 1,000 vineyards open to the public. Even those who don’t drink wine will enjoy the beautiful small towns, great food, and the region’s over 300 impressive chateaux. I loved the medieval Chenonceau Castle and Chateau Villandry and the small villages like Saint-Florent-le-Vieil. Spring and Autumn are my favorite times to visit because you can go biking and do outdoor activities when it’s not too hot and there are fewer people. It’s an area not to be missed.

23. See Fado in Portugal

Fado is an important musical tradition in Portugal , originating in Lisbon and stretching back some 200 years. The word “fado” likely stems from the Latin word for fate, and it’s very haunting, poetic, and emotional music. Most of the songs follow themes of loss and mourning, and the music was popular with the working class (especially sailors). Performances normally take place in restaurants during dinner. In Lisbon, head to Clube de Fado, Tasca do Chico, Parreirinha de Alfama, or Senhor Vinho.

24. Tour green Slovenia

Slovenia is one of Europe’s least-visited destinations, which is mind-blowing to me because it’s an amazing place to visit. Slovenia offers all the beauty of Western Europe but at a fraction of the cost and with a fraction of the crowds. Perfect for outdoor adventure lovers, Slovenia offers rugged mountains, untouched landscapes, fantastic ski resorts, plentiful wine, sprawling cave systems, incredible food, and postcard-perfect lakes, such as the famous Lake Bled with its castle on an island. I loved Piran, Slovenia’s often overlooked coastal Venetian-style harbor town that was actually founded 3000 years ago. Stroll around its beautiful windy cobble-stoned streets, beautiful plazas, and take advantage of the many affordable restaurants right on the water. Make sure to also spend a few days in the country’s capital, Ljubljana, known as one of the continent’s greenest and most livable cities. Take a river cruise to see the city and enjoy the friendliness of the locals.

  For more information on specific countries in Europe, check out the guides below:

  • Albania Travel Guide
  • Austria Travel Guide
  • Belgium Travel Guide
  • Belarus Travel Guide
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina Travel Guide
  • Bulgaria Travel Guide
  • Czechia Travel Guide
  • Croatia Travel Guide
  • Denmark Travel Guide
  • England Travel Guide
  • Estonia Travel Guide
  • Finland Travel Guide
  • France Travel Guide
  • Germany Travel Guide
  • Greece Travel Guide
  • Hungary Travel Guide
  • Iceland Travel Guide
  • Ireland Travel Guide
  • Italy Travel Guide
  • Latvia Travel Guide
  • Lithuania Travel Guide
  • Malta Travel Guide
  • Moldova Travel Guide
  • Montenegro Travel Guide
  • Netherlands Travel Guide
  • Norway Travel Guide
  • Portugal Travel Guide
  • Poland Travel Guide
  • Romania Travel Guide
  • Scotland Travel Guide
  • Slovakia Travel Guide
  • Slovenia Travel Guide
  • Spain Travel Guide
  • Sweden Travel Guide
  • Switzerland Travel Guide
  • Ukraine Travel Guide

Europe Travel Costs

a traditional Austrian home overlooking the snow capped mountains and rolling hills in the Austria countryside

Accommodation – Accommodation prices vary greatly by region. In Western Europe, hostel dorm rooms cost between 25-45 EUR per night, depending on the room’s size and the popularity of the hostel. I stayed in a 6-bed dorm in Berlin for 20 EUR, while the same one would have cost me around 45 EUR in Paris. A room in Paris costs on the higher end and a room in cheaper Athens costs on the lower end.

In Eastern Europe, hostel dorm rooms cost between 10-15 EUR per night depending on the size of the dorm room and the popularity of the hostel. The further east you go, the cheaper it gets. Expect to pay around 30-60 EUR per night for a private room that sleeps two.

In Scandinavia, hostel dorm beds cost around 25-45 EUR, while private rooms are 65-80 EUR. Budget hotels start around 85 EUR.

Most accommodations offer free linens, free Wi-Fi, and a lot offer free breakfast, but it’s important to check specific websites for exact amenities.

Campsites cost between 10-15 EUR per night for a basic plot for two without electricity.

Food – Food traditions in Europe run deep, stretching back centuries to become integral parts of each country’s culture. From baguettes in France to tapas in Spain, from hearty Eastern European stews and goulash to the fresh vegetables and olive oils of the Mediterranean, European cuisine varies as much as the countries themselves. Food prices differ greatly across the continent, so check individual country guides for specifics.

But no matter where you are, even in the more expensive countries, finding places to eat within your budget is easier than you might think. Throughout Western Europe, you can find small shops, street food stalls, or food trucks where you can get sandwiches, gyros, kebabs, slices of pizza, or sausages for between 3-7 EUR. These shops are most often found in train stations, bus stations, and main pedestrian areas, and offer cheap food alternatives that can have you eating on 12-17 EUR per day. Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 7-10 EUR for a combo meal.

Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Vietnamese eateries abound in Germany, while Indian food is incredible and everywhere in the United Kingdom. Meals at these restaurants usually cost between 8-12 EUR.

Restaurant meals in casual, traditional eateries generally cost around 13-25 EUR for a main dish and drink. Food is much cheaper in the east than in the west, and in the west, northern regions like Scandinavia and the UK are more expensive than southern countries like Spain, Portugal, and Italy.

In Eastern Europe, even if you are eating out for all your meals, you can still get by on a food budget of as little as 15 EUR per day.

For drinks, a pint of beer is 2-5 EUR, a glass of wine is 2-7 EUR, a cappuccino is 2-5 EUR, and cocktails range from 6-14 EUR.

If you eat out, do so at lunch and get the prix-fixe menu (two-course or three-course set menu). Restaurants offer this set menu during lunch, and with prices between 10-20 EUR, it’s a way better deal than the regular dinner menu. You can also get affordable lunches at outdoor markets. So many European cities have huge fresh food markets throughout town.

You can cook your own food for around 45-65 EUR per week. This gets you basic staples like rice, pasta, seasonal produce, bread, and some meat. You can save money by shopping at discount supermarkets like Profi, Lidl, Aldi, and Penny Market.

If you want to save big money on meals, head to one of the markets, pick up some cheese, wine, bread, meats, or anything else, and go to the park for a picnic. (Or grab a sandwich for later!) You’ll find the locals doing the same thing, and it’s one of the cheaper ways to get a true taste of local food.

Backpacking Europe Suggested Budgets

Prices for travel in Europe vary greatly depending on how far north, east, south, or west you travel. If you stick to the budget accommodations, food, and tours listed here and use all my tips on saving money, you need about 65-110 EUR per day in Western Europe, 40-50 EUR in Eastern Europe, and about 85-130 EUR in Scandinavia.

Those numbers reflect a traveler who stays in hostels, cooks some meals and eats out cheaply, enjoys a few drinks, and sticks to free and cheap activities like hiking, walking tours, and enjoying nature. This is your typical backpacker budget. You aren’t going to have a fancy time, but you aren’t going to want for anything either.

However, by getting tourist cards and rail passes, avoiding flights, occasionally Couchsurfing or camping, cooking all your meals, and not drinking, you can travel a lot cheaper. On this budget, you could do Western Europe on 35-45 EUR per day, Eastern Europe on 20-25 EUR, and Scandinavia on 50-65 EUR. That would require you to take a train or a bus or hitchhike everywhere, skip most museums, and limit how often you go out.

Generally, the suggested daily budget for Europe is 80-120 EUR. You can use the chart below to get an idea of how much you need to budget daily. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in EUR.

Europe Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Individual country guides have more specific information on how to save money in them but here are some general tips on cutting your costs while you explore Europe:

  • Picnic – This continent has a lot of little shops where you can buy pre-made sandwiches or ingredients to make your own. Many supermarkets have delis as well where you can get food to go. Buy some food, eat outside, and watch the city and its people go by. It’s a much more enjoyable and cheaper way to eat.
  • Eat local and cheap – Not into picnicking? Eat at local sandwich shops, pizza parlors, Maoz, Wok to Walks, and outdoor street vendors. Avoiding restaurants and eating at a lot of the local “grab n’ go” places gives you a taste of the local cuisine at a much cheaper price. If you’re really on a budget, use your creative cooking skills to prepare meals at the hostel as well.
  • Stay with a local – Hostels can add up really quickly. If you don’t have any friends with whom you can stay, consider using Couchsurfing , which connects you with locals who let you stay with them for free. Plus, they tend to also have meetups to meet other locals and travelers. It’s a great way to save on accommodation and meet a local who can share their insider tips and advice.
  • Camp in a garden – A very good camping service specific to Europe is Campspace , which allows you to pitch a tent in someone’s backyard for free or for a small fee (around 10-20 EUR). All of the garden owners have profiles that tell you what services and facilities they offer. Also, many countries allow wild camping (like Sweden), which can save you a fortune if you have a tent.
  • Take the bus – Budget bus companies like Flixbus can take you across the continent for cheap. I personally feel it’s best for day travel as sitting up for an overnight bus isn’t really ideal for sleeping. It isn’t glamorous, but with tickets starting at 5 EUR, you really can’t complain!
  • Get a Rail Pass – Eurail Passes have saved me hundreds of dollars. If you are traveling far distances and through many countries, they are a great deal.
  • Take the free city tours – One of the great things about Europe is that you can find free walking tours in all the major cities. They can be a great way to see the city attractions, take in some history, and learn your bearings without spending any money. Just make sure to tip your guide at the end!
  • Plan accordingly – Plan your trip around Europe so you avoid doubling back. Transportation is a big expense so proper planning can save you a lot of money (and time). Go in a straight line or a loop. Booking your accommodation ahead helps you save as well since cheap, good places unsurprisingly get reserved first. One thing I’ve learned is that waiting until the last minute means you get stuck with expensive places or cheap places no one wants.
  • Fly cheap – If you know where you are going and a train won’t do, try to book flights early. You can often get round trip fares for as little as 5 EUR from many of the European discount airlines like Ryanair or Wizz. Many capital cities have smaller airports farther from the city with ‘inconvenient’ times but cheaper fares. Keep in mind you might need to factor in an early morning Uber or taxi if the busses aren’t running and you have an early flight!
  • Drink less – Those 5 EUR beers add up. Hit happy hours or pick and choose when you party. Hostel bars are a good place to get cheap drinks or buy your alcohol at the supermarket. Plus, in Europe, it’s legal to drink outside in parks, plazas, by the lakes or rivers. You’ll find you can save a lot of money by not going to bars and clubs. Partying your way across the continent will destroy your bank balance in no time.
  • Get a city tourist card – Many local tourism offices sell a tourism card for all their attractions, tours, and restaurants. This card gives you free entry and substantial discounts on all the attractions and tours in a city, free local public transportation (a huge plus), and discounts at a few restaurants and shopping malls. They save a ton of money. If you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, get one of these cards.
  • Rideshare – If you’re flexible in your schedule, use the ridesharing service BlaBlaCar to catch rides with locals between cities (or countries) by paying a small fee. It’s like Airbnb but for rides. I used this service in Switzerland and, not only did I save a lot of money, but I got to meet interesting people and learn about local culture and life. Drivers are verified and it’s perfectly safe, though sometimes rides cancel at the last minute (which is why you need to be flexible). Check their ratings first and try to use rides where the person has done many trips.
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water is safe to drink in most of Europe, so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure your water is always clean and safe.
  • Get a HostelPass – HostelPass is a discount membership for hostels in Europe. Members get 10-20% off select hostels around Europe, as well as perks like free breakfast or free drinks. There are discounts on tours and activities too. It’s a great way to save money if you’re bouncing around Europe as they have hostels in 18 countries around the continent.

Where to Stay in Europe

Europe has a ton of budget accommodation options. The individual country and city guides have tons of recommendations but here’s a short list of some of my favorite budget hostels and hotels around Europe:

  • The Flying Pig (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Hotel 54 (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Generator Hostel (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Harcourt Hotel (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Castle Rock (Edinburgh, Scotland)
  • Ios Palm Pansion (Ios, Greece)
  • Greg and Tom’s Party Hostel (Krakow, Poland)
  • Largo da Sé Guest House (Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Sophie’s Hostel (Prague, Czech Republic)
  • The Yellow (Rome, Italy)
  • City Backpackers (Stockholm, Sweden)

How to Get Around Europe

The famous steam train from Harry Potter crossing an old bridge in Scotland

Public transportation – Transportation around most European cities is by tram, subway, or bus. Prices are typically around 2 EUR for a one-way ticket in Western Europe and closer to 1 EUR in Eastern Europe. Most large cities also have day passes available that offer unlimited public transportation. These passes are usually 5-12 EUR per day.

In large cities with international airports, there is usually a bus or train available that ferries travelers from the downtown core to the airport. Expect to pay around 5-15 EUR to get to/from the airport.

Bus – Buses are not quite as comfortable as Europe’s trains, although certain lines do have great amenities (like roomy seats and Wi-Fi). While buses are not the most efficient way to travel around the continent, they’re certainly dependable, reliable, and cheap. You can find last-minute rides for as little as 5 EUR. A route from Berlin to Munich is about 25 EUR, while Paris to Bordeaux can be as low as 10 EUR. Longer routes, like Amsterdam to Copenhagen, start at around 47 EUR.

Each country has its own national bus service, but some lines also take you long distances internationally. Megabus and Flixbus (which now owns Eurolines) are the most popular companies.

Train – Train travel is a great way to see Europe. Intercity train prices vary wildly from country to country, depending on whether you take the slow train or a high-speed train and how far in advance you book. For example, a high-speed train from Berlin to Munich costs around 38-60 EUR, Bordeaux to Paris is about 50-85 EUR, and Madrid to Barcelona ranges from 45-85 EUR. Non-high-speed trains and other intercity lines are a lot cheaper, generally costing about 40-50% of the price of high-speed trains. Eastern Europe inter-country trains usually cost between 45-100 EUR when the ticket is booked last minute. Short train rides of 2-3 hours within countries cost about 27 EUR.

To find routes and prices for trains around Europe, use Trainline .

You may also want to consider getting a Eurail Pass , which allows travelers to explore Europe by providing a set number of stops in a specific time period. These passes are continent-wide, country-specific, or regional. It can potentially save you hundreds of dollars.

Ridesharing/Car sharing – If your schedule is flexible, use a ridesharing service and catch rides with locals between cities (or countries). Drivers are verified and it’s perfectly safe. BlaBlaCar is the most popular.

If you’d rather rent a car yourself and find passengers to share a ride with, use Discover Cars to find the best car rental prices.

Flying – Budget airlines are so prolific that competition helps keep fares low. You can often find tickets where the fare is just 5 EUR round-trip! Companies like EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizz, and Vueling offer mind-blowingly cheap flights throughout Europe. Book at least a month early to scoop up great deals.

Make sure that the airport they fly into isn’t too far out of your way (transportation from the secondary airport sometimes negates the savings from using the budget airline itself).

Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay to check your baggage on these cheap flights. It costs about 25-39 EUR for one checked bag. If you wait to pay for your luggage at the gate, you end up paying almost double. Travel carry-on only to avoid this added cost.

Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking in Europe is very safe, but it’s not for everyone. Hitching is quite common around the continent and I’ve met a number of travelers who have done it (I, myself, traveled this way in Bulgaria and Iceland). Some countries are very supportive (Romania, Iceland, Germany) while others may be a bit more time-consuming (Italy, Spain). HitchWiki is the best website for hitchhiking info.

Here are my suggested articles for how to get around Europe:

  • 7 Cheap Ways to Travel Across Europe
  • Are Eurail Passes a Giant Scam or Do They Save You Money?
  • The Ultimate Guide to Finding Cheap Flights

When to Go to Europe

There’s no wrong time to visit Europe. Peak season is summer, when Europe gets crowded and August is the time most European families are at the beach so everything becomes more crowded and expensive. But the overall atmosphere and weather are great during this time, so it’s still worth visiting during peak season (just book your accommodation in advance — especially in August). Keep in mind it’s much hotter in summer so if you like AC, be sure to check that your hostel or hotel has it before you book. You can expect the most crowds in Western Europe. For this reason, I feel summer is a great time to visit the Balkans and the Baltics because many people head to the beaches in Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Greece.

Shoulder season is spring and fall (April-May and September-October). It’s still warm during this time but there aren’t as many crowds and prices are cheaper. This is my favorite time to visit hotspot places like Spain, Croatia and Greece, where it’s still hot enough to swim in the sea but you have way more room on the beach. It’s also a good time to go hiking in the Alps in Germany, northern Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland because it’s cooler during the day so you’re much less sweaty on the mountain without shade. The weather is good, the crowds are smaller, and the prices lower.

Winter is from November to February but in much of Central Europe, it’s wet and cold until March or April. It gets cold, even as far south as it gets (like Greece). On the other hand, the Christmas season has Christmas markets and festivals galore! Even if it’s cold, this is a cultural tradition you can’t miss and why I love Europe in December. There is hot mulled wine, sweets, and plenty of hot snacks, which vary by country. One of my favorites is Prague because the Old Town Square is lit up with a gigantic tree with aromas of crispy cinnamon pastries and mulled wine. Berlin takes their Christmas markets very seriously, so there are around 80 different markets with special themes.

Winter is fantastic in Europe for skiing and snowboarding but it doesn’t have to break the bank if you plan carefully. While Switzerland and France are probably the most famous, they are also expensive, but there are plenty of budget winter options.

How to Stay Safe in Europe

Europe is very safe for backpacking and solo traveling, even if you’re traveling solo, and even as a solo female traveler. Violent crimes against tourists are very rare. In fact, some of the safest countries in the world are in Europe. (I wrote a whole article about how Europe is safe to visit right now .)

That said, there are scams and petty crimes you should watch out for, especially around popular tourist landmarks. The most important thing to be aware of is pickpockets in crowds and on public transportation. Zip your bags and don’t put your mobile phone in a jacket pocket where someone could quickly take it. This should be obvious but don’t flash your money to let everyone know you have a huge wad of cash.

When choosing a hostel, look for ones with lockers. It’s always a good idea to carry around a padlock or combination lock. Most hostels are safe and travelers respect each other and I’ve rarely seen things happen to people’s valuables. Nevertheless, I always think that prevention is better.

As anywhere, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.). When at the bar, always keep an eye on your drink. Avoid walking home alone at night if you’re intoxicated.

For female travelers in particular, it’s always a good idea to have a bit of extra money on you just in case you need to take an Uber or taxi back by yourself so you don’t take unnecessary risks to save money. If you’re using apps to date people while traveling, please use common sense and meet in public places. Since I’m not a female traveler, please check out the numerous female bloggers who have first hand knowledge of this.

If you’re worried about scams, you can read about common travel scams to avoid here.

If you rent a vehicle, don’t leave any valuables in it overnight. Break-ins are rare, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be aware that the UK drives on the left and that most rental cars in Europe will have manual transmissions unless you request otherwise.

When hiking, always bring water, sunscreen, and bandaids or foot plasters. There is nothing worse than being halfway up the mountain with a blister and nothing you can do about it!

Likewise, when at the coast, don’t forget not only to wear sunscreen! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people get burnt to a crisp the first day. Be sure to check the weather before you depart and dress accordingly.

If you do experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

Always trust your gut instinct. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary to loved ones so they know where you are.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Europe Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

GO DEEPER: Nomadic Matt’s In-Depth Budget Guide to Europe!

Nomadic Matt's Guide to Europe

While I have a lot of free tips on Europe, I also wrote an entire book that goes into great detail on everything you need to plan a trip here on a budget! You’ll get suggested itineraries, budgets, even more ways to save money, my favorite restaurants, prices, practical information (i.e. phone numbers, websites, prices, safety advice, etc etc), and cultural tips.

I’ll give the insider view of Europe that I got from years of traveling and living here! The downloadable guide can be used on your Kindle, iPad, phone, or computer so you can have it with you when you go. Click here to learn more about my book on Europe!

Europe Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more tips for your trip? Check out all the articles I’ve written on Europe travel and continue planning your trip:

The 7 Best Hotels in London

The 7 Best Hotels in London

10 Scotland Road Trip Tips You Need to Know Before You Go

10 Scotland Road Trip Tips You Need to Know Before You Go

The Perfect 7-Day Croatia Itinerary

The Perfect 7-Day Croatia Itinerary

The 6 Best Hotels in Copenhagen

The 6 Best Hotels in Copenhagen

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The 6 Best Hotels in Florence

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The 7 Best Hotels in Madrid

Get your  free travel starter kit.

Enter your email and get planning cheatsheets including a step by step checklist, packing list, tips cheat sheet, and more so you can plan like a pro!


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    Still current at: 8 June 2024 Updated: 4 June 2024 Latest update: Information that if your passport is lost or stolen, you cannot use a police report to leave Italy ('Safety and security' page).

  2. Entry requirements

    To enter Italy (and all Schengen countries) your passport must: have a 'date of issue' less than 10 years before the date you arrive. Passports issued after 1 October 2018 are now valid for ...

  3. Health

    Vaccinations and health risks. At least 8 weeks before your trip check: Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Italy, including the Alps and the Dolomites. More information about altitude ...

  4. Can I go to Italy? The rules for travelling from the UK

    On 1 June, all Covid rules for travel were lifted in Italy. This means that Italy does not require any proof of vaccination, a negative test result or a Covid-19 recovery certificate to enter the country, regardless of your vaccination status. However, all passengers entering Italy by plane, ferry, train or coach must still wear an FFP2 mask in ...

  5. PDF Covid-19 Travel Guidance for Entry to Italy From Abroad

    Persons travelling to Italy from the United Kingdom shall be subject to the rules below. D - Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand: Persons travelling to Italy from any of these Countries will need to inform the Prevention Department of their

  6. Covid-19: travel information

    Considering the epidemiological situation, Italy has foreign travel restrictions in place depending on where you are travelling from/to. An interactive questionnaire is available from https://infocovid.viaggiaresicuri.it to check the rules currently in force regarding travel to and from Italy. Please find below a list of other useful web pages:

  7. Travelling to Italy From the Uk

    Please note that standard NHS tests cannot be used for travelling abroad: Covid tests for travel clearance must be done through private laboratories or pharmacies. Children under six years are exempt from the requirement to take a test before entering Italy (art. 6, section 2, of the Ordinance of 18 June 2021); Present a digital locator form.

  8. PDF Travel Guidance From and To Foreign Countries

    reduced to 48 hours for persons travelling from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (including Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and British bases on the island of Cyprus and ... Covid-free tourist corridors are considered to be all routes departing from and arriving in Italy for tourist travel to Aruba, Maldives ...

  9. Travel to Italy: latest practical guidance as Covid passes and masks

    Travel / Advice From entry requirements to the key information on face masks and restrictions in hotels, bars, restaurants and shops Anne Hanley, Destination expert 3 May 2022 • 2:42pm

  10. UPDATE: What are the Covid travel rules between Italy and the UK?

    The rules on travel between Italy and the UK have changed multiple times over the past few months in response to the evolving Covid-19 health situation. Another change is incoming from March 1st, as Italy plans to drop the testing requirement for vaccinated or recovered travellers from non-EU countries, which includes the UK.

  11. UPDATE: What are the Covid travel rules between Italy and the UK?

    The rules on travel between Italy and the UK have been updated multiple times over the past few months in response to the changing health situation. ... (results available within 1 hour) taken at the airport is sufficient or if I need a PCR test? Any advice gratefully received! Anonymous 2022/01/24 17:37. New rules for travel between UK and ...

  12. What are the latest travel rules for Italy?

    The Foreign Office advises: "You can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. "To stay longer, to work or study, for business or for ...

  13. 13 things to know before going to Italy

    If you are planning a road trip, make sure to book your car well in advance. 4. Card payments are now widely accepted, but carrying some cash is a good idea. For a long time, Italy has been a cash-first country. But in 2022, a new law introduced a fine for businesses not accepting card payments.

  14. Italy International Travel Information

    Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.

  15. UK to Italy Covid Travel Restrictions

    Entry to Italy from United Kingdom. UK Citizens* entering Italy must provide one of the following : . . Full vaccination status in digital (NHS App) or paper form. A negative PCR Covid Test taken no more than 72 hours before entering Italy. A negative Rapid Antigen/Lateral Flow test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Italy.

  16. NaTHNaC

    Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces, but does not eliminate the risk of infection, so social distancing and personal and respiratory hygiene remain important interventions, particularly during overseas travel. Travellers should always check the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and their country-specific pages ...

  17. EXPLAINED: What are the rules on travel between Italy and the UK?

    Italy requires all arrivals from the UK to show a negative test result, taken no more than 72 hours before travel, as well as to undergo a second swab test on arrival in Italy, and a 14-day period of mandatory quarantine. Those who are eligible to enter italy must be able to show two negative test results. A molecular or antigen swab test must ...

  18. 30 Travel Tips To Know Before Visiting Italy

    Italy is one of the most beautiful countries to visit in Europe, nay, the world! My love for this country goes almost as deep as my love of - 30 Travel Tips To Know Before Visiting Italy - Travel, Travel Advice - Europe, Italy - Travel, Food and Home Inspiration Blog with door-to-door Travel Planner! - Travel Advice, Travel Inspiration, Home Inspiration, Food Inspiration, Recipes, Photography

  19. Safety and security

    If you do, you can be fined up to 500 euros. Illegal traders operate on the streets of all major Italian cities. It is illegal to buy items from unlicensed street traders. If you do, you could be ...

  20. Driving to Italy from the UK

    Also, make sure you have a copy of your travel insurance for you and your passengers. After 28th September 2021, the national identifier displayed on vehicles registered in the United Kingdom that are driven abroad have changed from GB to UK. This means that vehicles registered in the UK must display the letters "UK" when driven in Italy.

  21. Italy travel guide: Everything you need to know before you go

    Italy's capital, Rome, is one of the world's great cities, the magnificent stage for a lion's share of European history, a palimpsest where ancient, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque ...

  22. Driving to Italy from UK: Best Routes & Driving Tips

    Distance: 1384km. Driving Time: 15 hours 30 minutes. Toll Costs: €186. Fuel Costs: €131. If you want the convenience of the fast French autoroute (motorway) all the way on your drive from England to Italy, and a straightforward trip, then this is the best way for you.

  23. The 12 best things to do in Italy

    3. Tour Rome, the epicenter of empire. Working out the best way to spend your time in the Italian capital is a cultural conundrum. Rome is the former caput mundi (capital of the world), the epicenter of the Roman Empire, the spiritual HQ of the Christian world and the repository for over two millennia of European art and architecture.

  24. Italy family holidays: Child-friendly destinations in Italy 2024

    From Venice to Vesuvius and Tuscany to the Tremiti Islands of Puglia, we've looked at the best things to see and do with kids in Italy, as well as recommending the top family-friendly places to ...

  25. Travel: late deals & bargains, holiday news and advice

    Travel Tips. Country's first inland surf resort to open this year with Europe's largest wave pool. ... EasyJet to open new UK base with routes to Italy, Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco.

  26. Europe Budget Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Backpacking Europe Suggested Budgets. Prices for travel in Europe vary greatly depending on how far north, east, south, or west you travel. If you stick to the budget accommodations, food, and tours listed here and use all my tips on saving money, you need about 65-110 EUR per day in Western Europe, 40-50 EUR in Eastern Europe, and about 85-130 EUR in Scandinavia.

  27. Travelling to Italy

    Italy travel advice. Latest FCDO travel advice for Italy including on entry requirements, safety and security and local laws and customs.

  28. Guide to Moving to Italy from UK

    Italian Visa Requirements from UK: The first step in your journey is understanding the visa requirements for relocating to Italy from the UK. Most of the time, and depending on your circumstances, you may need to apply for a visa before departure. Once in Italy, you must apply for a residence permit ("permesso di soggiorno") and also ...

  29. Small business & global logistics advice

    Fast, easy & reliable shipping. Customs expertise. Trusted business advice. Apply now. Business and logistics insights to power your SME. If you're looking for ideas, trends or advice to stay ahead of the game, we've got you covered.

  30. Getting help

    Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel. Emergency services in Italy. If you need to contact the emergency services, call these numbers: Ambulance ...