Travelling to Italy

There are several ways of getting to Italy from the UK.  How you choose to travel will depend on your priorities, your budget and how much time you’ve got.  It needn’t be difficult and it needn’t be very expensive and the travelling can be part of the fun of the holiday.

 

Unless you’re unlucky (or reckless), nothing is likely to go wrong on your trip to Italy.  Nevertheless, for peace of mind, it’s worth taking out travel insurance.


Package holidays to Italy

The simplest way to enjoy Italy is to enrol on a package holiday and let the tour company organise everything for you. This can be very relaxing and it can also be the cheapest option.

 

The excursions arranged by tour companies often give you easy access to places and experiences you might not have tried by yourself.  However, if you prefer to be more independent, you can be.  Although you arrive and leave with everyone else, while you are at your destination, you are free to do your own thing.

 

Italy by air

If you want to travel to Italy independently, probably the easiest - and certainly the quickest - way is to fly. The UK is well served with flights to Italy and you can find some very good deals. As with most destinations, the biggest choice is from the London airports but you can get an affordable direct flight to somewhere in Italy from practically every UK regional airport. The budget airlines cover a huge number of these routes but the other airlines also have good offers from time to time.  It helps if you are flexible with your dates, so it’s usually more cost-effective to book your flights before you book your accommodation.  It’s also useful to book your airport parking in advance.

 

When you are booking a flight, it’s worthwhile finding out how far away the airport is from your ultimate destination. For example, if you are going to Milan, Linate airport is more or less in the city and you can just hop on a normal bus straight into town. Malpensa is rather further out - and some airlines even take you to Bergamo airport for Milan.

 

Arrivals board at Palermo airportHowever, if the airport you fly to is not within the range of local public transport, there will be a special bus service to take to into the city. This will almost certainly be efficient and reasonably priced, so don’t feel you’ve got to take a taxi.  Unlike with standard buses (see Travelling around Italy), you buy your ticket as you get on to the airport-city bus.  This bus will almost certainly take you to the central railway station but it may also make other stops along the way.  It’s useful, therefore, to get your map out, so you can be sure to get off at the stop closest to where you want to go.  On the way back, be aware that the timings listed on the bus stop may not be completely accurate and it’s sensible to allow a bit of extra time.

 


While you're hanging about at the airport and during your flight, you can use your time productively by learning some Italian.


Italy by train

Departures board at Milan stationIf you have more time, you can travel to Italy by train. You can find train timetables and book your tickets or buy a pass online before you go. You may choose to take a few days getting to Italy and enjoy the stops along the way. If not, you can get from London to Milan in about 12 hours.

 

If you live on mainland Britain, it’s usually easy to get a train to London.  From there, you can hop on a Eurostar to Paris and after that Europe is your oyster.  The Italia Rail website shows you all your options for getting to Italy by interesting rail routes.


See the page on Travelling around Italy for information about train travel in Italy.

 

 

 

Italy by car

Again, if you’ve got time, it can be nice to amble down to Italy by car. You can choose to take your car on the train for all or part of the journey or you can take a ferry and drive the whole way. Depending on your route, you can go through five or more other countries before hitting Italy. Since these are all EU members, it’s very easy to do this and it’s fun to watch the signs and billboards changing language as you go.

 

Once you are in Italy, car is a good way to travel between cities and out into the countryside.  If you don't want to drive all the way to Italy but a car would be useful to you when you're there, the obvious answer is to hire one at your destination. This doesn't have to be difficult or horrendously expensive. Just remember to take your driving licence with you.

 

See the page on Travelling around Italy for information about driving in Italy.


Italy by bus

It is also possible to reach Italy by bus/coach. This is a cheap option, which can be rather tiring but also great fun.  For timetables and to book tickets, check out Eurolines.

 

Ferries

There are good ferry services to and from the Italian islands, across the big lakes and to and from other countries. It is always advisable to book in advance, particularly for more serious journeys.  You can do this easily online through AFerry.

 

 

Relevant articles

The Articles about Italy section of this website contains articles from external sources about Italy-related subjects that may be of interest to you. The following article is relevant to travelling to Italy:

 

Benvenuti! Cruise Italy and the Mediterranean

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