While planning your trip to Italy, one of the first things to consider is how you are going to get around. If you don’t know the country you are traveling to well, figuring out the best means of transportation can be quite confusing. That’s why we are here to provide you with all of our travel tips and tricks about the top ways to get around in Italy so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
Thankfully, there are plenty of means of transportation to choose from here in Italy such as cars, high-speed trains, planes, buses and even boats. Many major cities here also have a well-connected system of public transportation that is easily navigable. The question is, which of these options is best for you? This of course depends on where you plan to visit, your preferred style of travel, and budget. Keep reading this travel guide to learn the pros and cons of different transportation methods available in Italy for reaching places both near and far.
Is Uber Available in Italy?
Uber is legal in Italy, but it is only available in certain locations
This question gets asked a lot, and for good reason. While Uber might be your go-to way of reaching your destination at home, it is a bit different here in Italy. To answer the question- yes, it is possible to use Uber in Italy, but with limitations.
As of now, Uber is only available in Rome and Milan. Additionally, only Uber Black is offered which can get quite pricey and cause long wait times if you are ordering from the app. While using Uber is not illegal like some rumors suggest, you have to take the pros and cons into consideration. Pros: you get to ride in an up-scale vehicle with a certified NCC driver. Cons: It is expensive, may require a longer wait time than taxis, and it is not available everywhere.
Taxis Are Convenient For Traveling Short Distances
Taxis are easy to find in large cities, plus you can even order them from an app on your phone!
If you aim to travel from one point in a city to another and don’t feel like waiting on the sometimes unreliable public transport, a taxi is probably the best way to go. Keep in mind that taxis are not waved down on the street like in New York City. Instead, they line up at taxi stands scattered throughout most major cities. Alternatively, you can order a taxi straight to you on your smartphone through mobile apps such as FREE Now or MyTaxi which work almost exactly like Uber or Lyft, but with certified taxi drivers. You also have the option to pay through the app. Pretty cool, huh?
If you are planning to travel a longer distance on your trip to Italy, don’t even think about hailing a cab because prices can skyrocket. Keep reading to discover alternatives that will get you where you need to go.
Renting a Car Has Pros & Cons
While renting a car gives you loads of freedom, the costs of driving on your own can add up
Dreaming of road tripping across Italy? While it is possible, there are a few things to keep in mind regarding the pros and cons of renting a car. First, if you are not an EU citizen, you will have to obtain an International Driving Permit with your national automobile association such as AAA before arriving in Italy or else you could risk fines if stopped. Also note that most cars in Italy are manual, so if you don’t know how to drive a stick shift, be sure to request an automatic vehicle. To learn more about the rules of renting and driving a car in Italy visit autoeurope.com.
Now that we have covered the logistics of how to drive in Italy, lets get on to the pros. First off, obtaining an International Driving Permit and renting a car in Italy gives you enormous flexibility. It may allow you to reach a small town or village that isn’t accessible otherwise. It also allows for spontaneous stops in places that catch your interest!
However, there are cons to driving a car yourself as well. On top of whatever you pay to rent a car in the first place, you also have to consider the price of gas, which is quite expensive in Europe. Furthermore, on almost all major highways in Italy you’ll come across toll booths which can add up as you go. Lastly, parking and traffic can be a nightmare in busy cities, not to mention stressful if you don’t know where you are going!
Traveling By Train Has Many Advantages
Italy offers many high-speed train options which boast scenic views
My personal favorite way of getting around Italy is traveling by train. Most cities are connected to a local train station making train travel convenient, easy, and relatively fast. While regional and intercity trains get you where you need to go, faster trains also exist that allow you to travel Italy in style. Train tips: TrenItalia and Italo both offer high speed trains and direct trains that significantly reduce travel time making them perfect options for a quick day trip. Note that you are also able to make seat reservations in advance.
While you may have to make a change or two if you are going somewhere more remote, you can find direct train lines through most major cities. Best of all, you don’t have to go through extensive security screenings like you do in the airport when traveling by train. You simply arrive twenty or thirty minutes prior to departure, board and find your seat, show your train ticket to the conductor, then relax! Plus, traveling Italy by train has another perk as well; the views that you’ll see along the way are absolutely incredible!
Lastly, if you plan to travel extensively in Europe or Italy, it may be a good idea to purchase a rail pass. Check out the Eurail Italy Pass for trains exclusively in Italy or the Eurail Global Pass if you plan to travel to multiple counties. Prices vary depending on destinations and the number of days you plan to use it.
Long-Distance Buses are Affordable but Time-Consuming
If you can spare the time, traveling in Italy by long-distance bus can save you a lot of money!
While bus travel may not be the most glamorous, long-distance buses get you where you need to go and save you loads of cash. Plus, these days most buses feature free wifi, assigned seating, a bathroom, air conditioning, and cooling. Not too bad, right? In fact, a direct bus can sometimes be faster than trains that require additional stops because they travel to destinations that are hard to reach without a car. For these reasons, it may be a good idea to consider long-distance bus companies such as Flix Bus, which offers great deals on travel in Italy.
Why Traveling by Plane May be the Way to Go
Traveling by plane can be affordable if you plan and book in advance
Believe it or not, flying can sometimes be less expensive than taking the train- of course depending on your destination and how far you book in advance. While Italy is smaller than the state of California with an area of just 116,350 square miles, it still can take over half a day to drive from one end to the other without stopping. Thus, if you are planning on traveling long distances but want to save on travel time during your trip to Italy, this is definitely the route to go.
Companies such RyanAir and Wizz Air offer great deals on flights in Europe and Italy. Additionally, Alitalia is well known for providing flights to various Italian cities and destinations across the world. However, do research on the place you want to reach as you may be able to find cheaper flights online using third party websites such as Sky Scanner. Another strategy to save money is choosing flights that don’t depart during peak season. Also keep in mind that if you choose to fly, you will still have to figure out how to get to your next destination from the airport.
Italy by Boat – It May Not be Common, But it is Possible!
Getting where you need to go by boat is a beautiful sight in Italy!
Ok so traveling by boat is not as common as other means of transportation, but it is possible especially if you are traveling in Venice or one of Italy’s stunning islands such as Sicily, Capri, or Sardinia. In Venice, known as the city of bridges, water taxis are a popular means of transportation. Simply purchase your tickets, line up, and get on! The alternative to taking a boat in Venice is walking across endless bridges with all of your belongings, but you can be the judge of how you prefer to travel in this city built on water.
Ferries also exist in Italy which regularly run between the mainland and Italy’s surrounding islands and coastline towns. Many ferries even allow you to bring your car onboard if you happen to rent one for your Italian journey. Choosing to take a ferry could save you a lot of money over flying and provide you with gorgeous views of the sea, as long as you don’t get seasick!
The Iconic Italian Scooter
Italy is famous for its colorful Vespas, but make sure you can handle driving one of these adorable scooters before committing
The iconic red Vespa may be a dream for anyone who has watched a movie about Rome, but just how realistic are they? Cute? Absolutely! Convenient? Definitely. One of the biggest pros about renting a scooter is the parking. Since they are so small and compact, you can usually find a place to lock them up right next to your destination!
However, the real question is are these scooters safe? If you proceed with caution, they can be. However, if you are driving one of these in a busy city for the first time, it may be overwhelming as locals are notorious for speeding, even in heavy traffic. Just be sure you know the traffic rules and if you are legally allowed to drive a scooter in Italy before choosing this option.
Bikes are Great for Sightseeing
Not all cities in Italy are bike friendly, but if they are, riding a bike is a great way to explore!
While some cities are more bike-friendly than others, biking through the streets of Italy can be an extremely memorable experience. For example, Florence is very bike-friendly as you will often find daily commuters biking past the famous Duomo. However, biking is practically impossible in places like Venice, Italy, not to mention illegal. Can you imagine getting a bike across all of those small bridges?
Some cities in Italy – that aren’t built on water that is – conveniently offer new bike sharing apps. Using these communal city bikes saves you the hassle of buying or renting one at a shop. Regardless of the fact that they might not be the quickest way of getting around Italy, bikes are fairly cheap and a fun alternative for sightseeing and traversing the streets- as long as the city allows it!
Our Guide to Inter-City Public Transit
When traveling within a large city in Italy, you can usually purchase a ticket at a local tabaccheria or transport hub that covers all of your public transit needs for a set amount of time such as one hour, one day, one week, a month or even more. This pass includes public transit via the metro, buses, and trams. However, all cities differ so make sure to research public transit in your destination of choice before arriving.
Unfortunately, strikes on public transit, trains, and planes are all to common in Italy so remember to check if there are any strikes scheduled in any of the cities you plan on visiting to avoid potential chaos.
Taking the Metro is Quick & Easy
City metros can be super useful if you are traveling within a bustling city
One of the most frequently used methods of transportation is the metro. You can spot these stations by the giant red and white “M” logos located outside of each station. These underground railways have different lines with convenient stops. Best of all, if you just barely missed the first one, there is always another following close behind.
Major cities that are largely populated such as Rome, Milan, Turin, Perugia, Genoa, Naples, and Catania all have operating metro systems. Find more information on the specific routes, stops, and hours at mapa-metro.com.
Buses are Unreliable- Most of the Time
City buses are nice- if they decide to arrive!
Let’s be honest, taking a city bus in Italy isn’t always the most reliable. While the screen could say that a bus is arriving in five minutes, it could arrive an hour later- if at all. However, sometimes you can get lucky and when you do there is no better feeling! Here is a little tip for bus travel; check and see if more than one bus route can get you where you need to go and take whichever one arrives first.
Trams Get You Where You Need To Go
Trams add charm to the streets of many picturesque Italian cities
Last but not least on our exploration of Italy travel are public trams. These small trains resemble cable cars and are a cute and convenient way of getting around in a city. While most of the time there is plenty of room to stand or sit, trams are known to get quite packed during rush hour. Don’t let this scare you off however, claim your spot like a true Italian!
Explore Italy on a Tour With Us!
We are known here at What a Life Tours for providing top-rated experiences in various cities and regions across Italy. Our friendly staff is happy to help you set up transportation services to, from, and between our many fabulous destinations. For more information on arranging transportation or to schedule a tour check out What a Life Tours or contact us by phone +39 06 88975757/+39 334 7273299 (WhatsApp), or email at [email protected]!