Travellers heading to Europe have always dreamt of stepping their feet in the romantic and historic Italy. This beautiful country attracts millions of visitors per year, who are craving to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum in Rome or the Duomo Cathedral in Milan. Couples come to Italy for romance above the waterways in Venice or under a sunset in Florence. It seems like there are unlimited beautiful sites to adore in the thousands of churches in Italy. This country is so long geographically that you will need to spend weeks or even months just to see the main attractions. Here are some useful transportation tips to help you travel efficiently around the country.
Travel fast by plane
The Italian national airline is Alitalia. Several foreign carriers, such as Meridiana, Lufthansa, Wizz Air and Ryanair offer the cheapest deals for various routes to and from Italy. I highly recommend traveling with Ryanair. You can find flights for 10-20 USD from France or Spain to/from Italy as well as within many big touristy cities (e.g., Milan, Rome, Pisa, etc.).Their luggage policy is good, though queuing for boarding usually takes a long time. Ryanair does not operate in all airports of Italy.
Travel efficiently with trains
There is good international train connection between most nearby countries including France, Germany, Austria, Spain and Switzerland. If you only have a short time in Europe and wish to explore as many cities as possible, get an Interrail Pass for unlimited trips with most train companies throughout Europe. Some night trains require booking in advance. Interrail Passes are cheaper for passengers under 26 years old. I recommend booking single journeys 4-6 weeks in advance. Traveling in southern and eastern Europe is usually cheaper this way, but you need to research for good deals.
There are different train types within Italy including high-speed trains (e.g., Frecciarossa, Frecciargento, Frecciabianca, Eurostar Italia), regional trains (e.g., Regionali, Regionali Veloci) and international trains (e.g., Eurocity, Euronight). High-speed trains are the most expensive in comparison with other types of transportation, but you can save some money on accommodations by taking night trains. Remember to always validate your ticket by stamping it in one of the yellow boxes marked Convalida. If you forget to do this, you will be fined, even though you have already paid.
Travel cheap with buses
To travel on buses between Italy and the surrounding countries, it’s best to go with Eurolines. Great deals can be found on GoEuro or CheckMyBus. Commuting within different cities in Italy is cheaper with bus companies such as Terravision, Flixbus or Megabus than Eurolines. You can get deals as low as 2 USD for a 2-hour ride between Florence and Bologna by booking approximately 1 month in advance.
Travel comfortably by car
Car sharing is common in Italy with sites like Blablacar, Road Sharing or CarpoolWorld. However, if you wish to be an independent traveller, it’s common to rent your own car. Taking a road trip around Italy is common for both Italians and foreigners. Europcar is a good operator to rent cars throughout Europe.
Travel romantically by boat
Approaching Italy can be a wonderful experience by boat. There are regular ferry connections between Italy and Greece, Malta, France and Spain. Transportation via waterways in Venice is something spectacular to experience.
Travel healthily on foot
If you stay at a hostel, the first thing to do before checking in is to ask for a city map. Most hostels give out free city maps and recommendations of the best places to go, see and eat around town. You should also download offline city maps or take free walking tours organised by locals who are experts on the city.
Public transportation within big cities like Milan, Rome and Florence is usually easy to use. All you need is a handy map and day pass or a set of single zone tickets if you wish to get around on foot more often than tram or bus.
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