Italy - the land of pizza, pasta, and gelato. Topped with archaeological gems, cultural hot spots, and more, Bella Italia is filled with delightful pursuits at every end. Navigate the challenges of squeezing it all into your itinerary with this Ultimate Travel Guide to Italy.
Sitting in the stretch of Southern Europe, Italy is an iconic tourist destination. This once-in-a-lifetime location is jam-packed with things to do. Planning a trip to Italy can look a lot like a puzzle. You want to put all the pieces together, but you're unsure of how it will all work.
When planning your Italy itinerary, there are many factors you should consider. For an unforgettable experience, it's important to consider when the best time to visit is, what cities you want to see, how you prefer to get around, and where to go to find tours and activities tailored to you.
Whether you're interested in a foodie-fuelled trip to Rome, seeing the colorful carnival in Venice, or spending your vacation at the beaches on the Amalfi Coast, there sure is a lot to offer. In this in-depth guide, you can figure out how to plan a trip to Italy. Make your daydreams a reality, starting today!
Step 1. When Do You Want to Go to Italy?
First things first. Planning a trip to Italy offers a unique experience every time of the year. There really is no bad time to go to Italy, so it all depends on your personal preferences.
Summer Season – July to August
During Italy's peak season, you can expect big crowds and high prices. The weather is hot, making it the perfect time for beach destinations and summertime activities.
Fall to Autumn Season – September to November
During the shoulder season, accommodation prices tend to dip a bit lower. Flights and activities are also more affordable, making it a better option for budget travelers. October marks the grape harvest in its high period, so it's a wonderful time to tour wineries too. Plus, the weather is fairly tolerable, making it a great time to enjoy outdoor activities.
Winter Season – December to February
Cooler weather means fewer crowds and far more affordable prices too. Christmas lights make visiting the cities all the more magical, and Carnival is a highlight in Venice during February. Most activities close down from January to February, including attractions and fewer transport options.
Spring Season – March to May
The season of bloom is also considered the shoulder season and tends to bring lower accommodation prices. Flights and activities are also more economical, making it the ideal choice for budget-conscious visitors. The weather is fairly mild, with few showers and some sunny days, making it a great time to enjoy hiking activities.
Step 2. What's Your Travel Budget?
Depending on your travel style and expectations, your budget can vary greatly. When planning your Italy itinerary, don't forget to think about all the attractions, meals, accommodations, and transport options. What would you like to spend each day?
It's more than possible to find free activities and budget-friendly alternatives, but you must plan in advance. A standard daily budget for Italy is usually around $100 per person.
Planning a trip to Italy on a budget can be done, and it can be done in style! To help you make the most out of your upcoming adventure, don't miss these budget travel tips.
Step 3. Where Do You Want to Go In Italy?
If you're wondering how to plan a trip to Italy, the divine set of destinations probably is the first thing that comes to mind. Maybe you want to get off the beaten track in Puglia, discover the ancient ruins of Pompeii, or simply eat yourself into a pizza coma in Naples…
Each corner of Italy is decked out in its world of unique tradition, culture, cuisine, and history. In this part of the planning journey, pick the places that stand out to you.
Step 4. How Do You Want to Get Around?
Planning a trip to Italy involves a lot of planning, especially when there's so much to do. Before you land, research all the different transportation options. Italy has a fairly well-developed transportation system, with trains, buses, and flights running throughout the country.
Depending on your destination and the time of year you choose to travel, these options may or may not be running. Consider taxis, Uber, and other forms of transportation too.
Step 5. Where Do You Want to Stay?
Italy is full of fascinating opportunities, and the accommodation scene is pretty vast. Depending on your budget and preferences, there's no doubt you'll be able to find something magical. You'll need to choose between hostels, Airbnb, sharehouses, Couchsurfing, and hotels.
If you're interested in staying in a hotel, sites like Hotels.com can help you to review various hotel deals. This is handy if you're planning a last-minute trip, as you don't have to research each option individually.
Popular places like Florence and the Amalfi Coast are saturated with stunning accommodation options. If there's one tip you need to know about planning a trip to Italy, it's that you need to book far in advance.
Step 6. What Do You Want to Do?
Make a list of your must-see attractions and activities. Italy is famous for its awe-worthy architecture, ancient history, delicious food, and thriving culture. Are you planning a foodie-focused vacation or a history-fueled trip? What's your travel style?
Here are a few ideas you could add to your Italy itinerary:
- Sip cocktails on the beaches of Amalfi Coast
- Hike the Cinque Terre
- Fall in love with the museums in Florence
- See the Duomo in Milan
- Stroll the streets of Naples
- Take a walking tour in Rome
- Make authentic fettuccine ravioli in Rome
- Find the best blue water coves in Sardinia
- Go to a winery in Tuscany
- Take a Gondola ride in Venice
- Dress up for Carnival in Venice
Step 7. Have You Got Your Documents in Order?
Now that you know how to plan a trip to Italy, you'll need to get ready. Obtain a travel visa if it's necessary, and don't forget to purchase travel insurance. Any trip abroad is packed with new experiences, and it's always best to be prepared.
With so many travel insurance options on the market, how do you know what's actually worth your hard-earned cash? Take a peek at this insider's guide on the best travel insurance options. Nothing beats having peace of mind!
Step 8. What Do You Need to Pack for Italy?
Depending on the time of year and type of trip you're planning, your packing list can vary greatly. Comfortable shoes and clothing can go a long way, especially when navigating the network of streets in Italy. There's a handful of essential travel items, but the challenge is figuring out what's necessary.
Now's the time to get up and go! If you've been planning your dream trip for months on end, don't miss a single thing with this complete vacation packing list.
Why Visit Italy?
Idyllic Italy is filled with fun-loving adventure, golden countrysides, turquoise beaches, and ancient archaeological gems.
Coined for its culture and cuisine, a trip to Italy should be on every traveler's bucket list.
Pizza, and Beyond!
Now that you know how to plan a trip to Italy, you can get your planning glasses off and your vacation goggles on!
Kick the hassle of having to organize everything yourself, use Pilot as your Italy trip planner, and start the countdown now!