Way more than just good spaghetti bolognese.
Backpacking in Italy
Florence is the number one city for backpacking in Italy. It has several good quality hostels, in near proximity to its myriad attractions. The nightlife in Florence is also pretty lively; it seems like you’re never far from a hot bar or fashionable club, overflowing with bright young things.
Hostels in Rome are more expensive, but good deals can be found if you’re able to book in advance. Heading out of the cities, backpackers can take advantage of Italy’s better than average public transport; anyone planning to backpack around Europe should think of investing in one of the pan-European train passes available (such as Interrail or Eurail passes), although rail travel in Italy is reasonably priced enough that you don’t always save money that way.
Beach in Italy
With so much of the country on the Mediterranean coast, it’s no surprise that sun worshippers and beach bunnies flock here from all over the world. The stunning coastline of Amalfi makes for one of the best beach holidays in Italy. It’s easily reachable by train and bus from the major cities, and it’s easy to find good bargains on villas in Amalfi if you book well in advance. If you’re looking for true isolation, you could opt for a break on one of Italy’s island resort – such as on Elba Island, where you can hire a holiday villa or camp out under the stars. Other prime beach resorts in Italy are to be found in the region of Puglia, a stunning but off the beaten path area, famed for having some of the best beaches in Italy.
Camping in Italy
Camping in Italy is quite a big deal. Campsites in Italy – “campeggios”– tend to be on the expensive side, but on average prices are lower than in Britain and France. One of the best places for camping holidays in Italy is on the very southern tip of the country – what locals refer to as “Italy’s boot” – where you can find beach campsites that are well equipped with shops and entertainment. Most campsites in Italy have good better than average facilities, with hot showers and modern toilets. Expect to pay under €20 a night for camping in Italy if you stay in the countryside.
City Breaks in Italy
City breaks in Italy are among the most popular short haul holidays in Europe. Rome is probably the number one destination for city breaks in Italy, but Venice tops the league in terms of romantic holidays in Italy, and its location at the northern end of the country makes it well accessible to travellers from Britain and the rest of Europe. Florence is also an extremely popular location for a city break in Italy, although many people favour a city break in Milan, in the hope of tracking down some shopping bargains. Many hotels offer good deals on city breaks in Italy, especially during the off-season. Check the airline websites, too; often airlines will offer good deals on flight and hotel packages to Italy, especially for city breaks.
Cruises in Italy
Most cruises in Italy start from Civitavecchia (the main port for Rome), and travel around the coastal regions. Among the most popular destinations for cruises in Italy are Florence, Genoa and Venice. You can also take cruises on Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore and Lake Como. The best deals on cruises in Italy are usually to be found by checking the websites of fully-escorted tour operators; these are all-in packages, and so tend to be more restrictive than self-guided holidays. Opt for a smaller cruise ship if you want to take a more off the beaten path holiday in Italy. The larger vessels are unable to visit small ports such as Capri and Sardinia, which tend to be less crowded than the more popular Italian cruise destinations.
Culture and Arts in Italy
For centuries, it was customary for the upper classes of Europe to take the “grand tour”, when they would trek across the great cities of the continent to see its finest works of art. Italy was the highlight of the grand tour, and with good reason. Visit art galleries in Florence to see some of the best collections of Renaissance art in the country; you could spend an entire city break in Rome just seeing the great archaeological sites and museums, but still never find time for everything; and Venice is a work of art itself. Check online for guided art tours of Italy and other escorted cultural pursuits, including wine tasting holidays and art study retreats.
Disabled Needs in Italy
Holidays in Italy for disabled travellers are thin on the ground. Due to the high number of ancient sites, Italy has a poor level of access for disabled visitors. However, disabled visitors to Rome and Florence will find better than average access arrangements there, including lift access to both the Colosseum and the Vatican dome. Most of the big art galleries in Italy are wheelchair accessible. However, the situation becomes more difficult as you get further out into the countryside. Trains have special arrangements for disabled travellers in Italy, but this sometimes involves having to book a special compartment 24 hours in advance. Check the internet for tour groups offering special tours for disabled travellers in Italy.
Gay and Lesbian in Italy
Things are better for gay and lesbian travellers in Italy than they used to be, although you should be prepared for a less tolerant reception in the rural parts than in the big cities. However, even in places such as Rome, which are pretty accepting of gay and lesbian visitors, be discreet, and avoid public displays of affection. However, there are some great gay clubs in Rome, and the gay scene in Milan has produced some of the best nightclubs in the country. Gay men are better provided for than gay women, with very few women only clubs and bars to be found anywhere in the country.
Honeymoon in Italy
There are some truly world-class destinations for honeymoons in Italy. There can be few cities better suited to a romantic city break than Venice, and several hotels offer enticing honeymoon packages – at a price, of course. Honeymoons in Florence and Rome are popular, as are island honeymoons on Capri, and beach honeymoons on the Amalfi Coast. A quieter option that’s becoming more popular in recent years is a honeymoon in Puglia, a lesser-visited but handsome southern region that provides a great getaway for couples looking for more peace and seclusion than they’d get from a romantic city break in Italy.
Stag Destination in Italy
A city break in Milan is a popular venue for stag and hen weekends, but an increasingly popular option is to rent a villa in the countryside nearby. This allows you easy access to the bars and nightclubs in Milan, and can be a huge saving if you’re coming on a large stag and hen weekend to Italy, and are looking for a good way to keep the cost of accommodation down (and leave more room in your wallet or purse for the bar bill). If you’re looking for something more refined, stag and hen weekends in Florence are a popular alternative, if touring the museums and seeing the cultural sights is more your thing than experiencing a full-on stag and hen party holiday in Italy.
Naturism in Italy
Naturism holidays in Italy tend to be discreet and limited to a few high-class resorts. The choice isn’t particularly wide, you may find trouble locating a naturist resort in Italy where English is as widely spoken as you may be used to; however, what clubs and resorts there are tend to be in quite beautiful, rural locations, often well-appointed camp sites. Some naturist resorts in Italy provide activities such as bike riding and nature walks, and some have private beaches. A couple of resorts in Italy have dedicated naturist sections, even if they are not fully fledged naturist resorts themselves.
Hiking Activity Holiday in Italy
Italy is great hiking territory. The rugged mountain regions in the north are a popular destination for hiking holidays in Italy, although these tend to appeal more to the experienced hiker. The lesser-known Abruzzo region in Italy’s midlands contains three national parks, which are some of the most highly rated destinations for hiking holidays in Italy, without being too crowded with visitors. This region has the added advantage of being close enough to the capital that you could book-end your Abruzzo hiking holiday with a city break in Rome. Hiking holidays in Tuscany offer some stunning routes while passing through more manageable terrain, as do the quiet villages and unspoiled countryside of Umbria. Another popular option in this region is hiking from Pisa to Lucca, a walled medieval town in which cars are banned. If you’re feeling intrepid, a hiking tour of Sicily allows you to take in some spectacular mountain scenery on foot, including the island’s active volcano, Mount Etna.
Well-being and Spa in Italy
You can take some great spa breaks in Italy. Some of the busiest full-service spas in Italy are to be found in the Neapolitan Riviera, and while these tend to be well-equipped and luxurious, they can also get quite crowded with appreciative (and chilled out) guests, all looking to treat themselves on an Italian spa getaway. Look to more secluded parts of the coast for the more individual and unique spa getaways in Italy – although the more exclusive the spa, the heftier the price tag. Italy being a food-loving nation, you might find a more relaxed attitude to mealtimes here than at some health farms in other countries, which can make the idea of an indulgent spa break in Italy seem particularly appealing to those of us who are just looking for relaxation.
Golf Activity Holiday in Italy
Rated as one of the top destinations to play golf in the world, Italy boasts some truly beautiful world class golf courses. Golf courses in Italy range from those located high in the Alps in Lombardy and Piemont to those like the San Michelle Golf Club, making good use of its beautiful seaside location to entice golfers. Like you needed another reason to travel to Italy.
Italy golf package vacations usually revolve around the northern regions, between Milan and Venice in the Lakes District. Food, art, hiking – these can wait until after you hit the links. The lakes the region is named for, including the famed Lake Como; trickling rivers, verdant hills - they all come together here, and the many golf courses in Italy do their best to take advantage of the country’s scenic landscape.
While most Italy golf package vacations are found in the charming northern regions, you can still find some great courses the further south you travel. Both the Napoli and Porto D’Orra Golf Clubs outside Naples offer some of the country’s best golfing.
But the central areas like Tuscany and Lazio are where you’ll experience the true joy of a golf holiday. Italy doesn’t get much better than these regions, and the golf courses here are no exception. The brilliant greens and hilltop views that make Tuscany one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country are on full display along the Tuscan golf courses – the standouts include Toscana Il Pelagone and Poggio Dei Medici (just a short trip from Florence). Mix recreation with culture with a stay in Tuscany, visiting the beautiful courses during the day and sampling the great wines and pasta at night.
Skiing - Snow Boarding in Italy
Italy, Cortina has been rated one of the top ten destination in the world for skiing this year. Perhaps this is where Alberto "La Bomba" Tomba got his start. Cortina's ski resorts match any others in the Alps and the city served as the host of the Olympic Games in 1956. Similar to Zermatt, Switzerland, life in Cortina revolves around a traffic-less street. One of the world's first ski resort cities, Cortina is also Italy's most stylish place to be for any skiing enthusiast or amateur.
Touring - Driving holiday in Italy
Italy's Northern Lakes shimmer in an area of outstanding natural beauty spanning over regions. Featuring the lakes of Garda, Como, Maggiore and the less-touristy Iseo, the alluring lakes won't fail to please on a tour driving holidayr, from moorish wine and picturesque villages to mountainous backdrops and striking gardens. The most Eastern of the Italian lakes is Lake Garda, and the most popular tourist draw.
Tour Lake Garda if you want to sample scenery and cultural diversity or spend warm, sun-blessed days taking boat trips across the lake. Lake Como is widely regarded as the prettiest lake, the sparkling gem of which is Bellagio, deemed the most beautiful town in Italy, and Lake Iseo lies in the one of the best wine growing areas in the North with vineyards and cellars for exploration in abundance.
The Lake Maggiore Express departing from Domodossola makes an excellent day trip, taking a romantic path through the winding Centovalli (100 Valleys) to Locarno in Switzerland. From there hop on the boat to Stresa, taking in the Borromeo Islands along the way. No wonder Italy is on our top ten list for tour driving destinations!
Cycling Activity Holiday in Italy
Italy is truly a paradise for cycling. Cycling in this beautiful country is a near national sport where many locals cycle for pleasure and leisure as well as exercise. The terrain and scenery here are simply unmatched: from flats to rolling hills to steep climbs, Italy has it all. With courteous drivers and plenty of choice for all terrain levels of cycling expertise, a cycling holiday in Italy is an excellent choice. We also recommend cycling holiday’s in Sardinia.
When to go?
Cycling routes in Italy can be cycled all year round, but the ideal seasons to try are spring and autumn. Try and avoid the central summer period, when the weather is generally quite hot, and the winter, which can be relatively wet and cold. In terms of standard time zones, Italy is one hour ahead of UK and the Summer time in Italy comes into effect each year from the last Sunday of March to the last Sunday of October.
A couple of starting points…
Land of tourism and legends, sport activities and history. Variety of landscapes, flora and fauna, architectures and cultural traditions. The Piedmont is an ideal destination for a bicycle tour, combining gastronomy and famous wines with scenic bicycling through rolling hills dotted with vineyards, castles, and Roman ruins. Barolo, Barbaresco, and Asti are not just the names of great wines: they are real towns that we will explore.
The Riviera dei Fiori can offer many qualified solutions for open air and sport tourism. In particular, trekking and mountain bike lovers are increasingly attracted by the quiet itineraries and the breathtaking views of Imperia's hinterland, rich in natural and historical-cultural sites. The main protagonists are the Ligurian Alps with their precious botanical endemism and a rich fauna, distinguished by foxes, wild boars, er,nines, chamois, alpine hares, marmots and golden eagle. Discover this territory which is indeed comparable to more famous mountains areas: through the ancient tracks of transhumance, ex military roads, panoramic and adventurous.
Lombardy is one of the largest regions in Italy, rich in works of art, and the beauties of nature. The region can boast charming hilly areas, large lakes in the foothills of the Alps and a great variety of mountain scenery. The plain also presents natural habitats of considerable interest, the Valle del Ticino Park being ideal for pleasant walks or cycling excursions in the woods alongside the river. In such a limited space it is impossible to list all the monuments, churches and abbeys, the castles, palaces and villas in the cities of Lombardy and scattered all over the region.
The Veneto is a land of generations-old cycling heritage and traditions. Soft green hills, dreamy lagoons, sleepy villages and pulsating cities and of course the splendid villas of the famous architect Palladio will accompany you in your discovery of the region around Venice. Furthermore, there is a vast network of cycle tracks that offer routes for all riding levels as well as ideal options for those looking to mountain bike. The hilly areas, where you can enjoy the pleasure of being in close contact with nature, also offer the possibility of long bike rides.