Is Lecce Worth Visiting? Here’s what I did in Puglia’s Stunning Historic City

Is Lecce Worth Visiting? Here’s what I did in Puglia’s Stunning Historic City

Lecce is often called the Florence of South Italy. It is in Puglia, where I ended up spending an entire month.

Puglia is Italy’s upcoming travel destination. It was already a popular destination for Italian travelers but now the rest of the world is noticing Puglia too. I highly recommend it as an important stop in my Italy road trip itinerary.

This is because too many people have already visited the Amalfi coast, or Tuscany or the canals cities, so many seek something new.

Italy’s famous historical cities like Florence and Rome are often the background setting for many books and movies, and I wanted to visit them too. But in this age of Instagram, I often see photos of these destinations jam-packed with summer travelers.

So if you’re like me and seek easier destinations without hoards of crowds, but are still a hopeless romantic at heart and love historical streets, then you’re going to love Lecce.

So is Lecce worth visiting? Yes, this baroque gem on Italy’s southeastern heel is an amazing destination and I will tell you why.

Planning a last-minute trip to Lecce? I have got you covered! Here’s a quick list of what to book before you travel to Lecce.

Top hotels in Lecce

Labyrinth of Pretty Streets in Lecce’s Old Town

The baroque streets of Lecce, Puglia, Italy
The baroque streets of Lecce, Puglia, Italy

Ever wanted to walk around on a historical labyrinth-like network of streets? You can do that in Lecce.

You may not believe it but I don’t like going from one landmark to another when I visit a famous city. Instead, I like to take my time to walk around and get a feel of the place without keeping a track of the landmarks. This is how I spent my first day in places like Porto, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Prague, Barcelona, and Istanbul.

Lecce is the perfect city for walking without a purpose and getting lost. The streets are stunning and you will find a lot of interesting shops & houses.

Getting lost in the Labyrinth of Pretty Streets in Lecce, Puglia, Italy
Getting lost in the Labyrinth of Pretty Streets in Lecce, Puglia, Italy

The thing I loved the most about walking on the streets of Lecce was that most of the area was shaded even in the peak summer because of the way the houses along the streets are built. So, even though it was close to 35-38 degrees in Salento in August at the time of my visit, the shade tremendously helped.

When you get tired of walking along the maze of the historical streets, relax in one of the cafes with outdoor seating that spills over to the lovely cobblestone sidewalks.

The main shopping street of Lecce, Puglia
The main shopping street of Lecce, Puglia

The main street of the Old Town in Lecce was crowded, unlike the inner streets that I fell in love with and photographed. There are vendors on both sides of the main street and they sell interesting handmade things that one can find in a lot of touristy cities all over Europe. This particular street wasn’t my favorite but I still wanted you to see a picture of it.

Lecce’s Has Many Historical Landmarks

Lecce has a lot of historical buildings
Lecce has a lot of historical buildings via Pixabay

The city of Lecce city has a beautiful old town with historical buildings with Baroque architecture. Ever heard of the “Lecce Stone“? It is a famous limestone that Lecce is known for, that is sold all over the world for sculptures. The buildings in Lecce are made with this Lecce Stone.

The style of Lecce’s baroque architecture even has its own name – barocco leccese (Lecce baroque). Expect to see a lot of intricate carvings on columns, gargoyles, arches, and literally every part of the old buildings.

Just like the city of Rome, Lecce also has a Roman amphitheater that dates back to the 2nd century.

Near the Roman Amphitheater in Lecce, Italy
The Ruins Near the Roman Amphitheater in Lecce, Italy

Lecce has a lot of historical buildings and landmarks, I don’t expect you to visit every single one of them but as you walk around Lecce’s historical center, you can check them out from outside.

I have mentioned some points of interest in Lecce that you can keep a note of as you walk around in the old town.

Anfiteatro Romano – the Amphitheater

Roman amphitheater in Lecce in Puglia, Italy
Roman amphitheater in Lecce in Puglia, Italy

Lecce has a historical amphitheater right in the middle of the historical center. I mentioned it already that it dates back to the 2nd century, but here’s the crazy thing.

Anfiteatro Romano was hidden all the time but discovered just in the early 20th century and only half of it was excavated because there’s a building that’s on the other half.

Anfiteatro Romano - the Amphitheater in Lecce, Puglia, Italy
Anfiteatro Romano – the Amphitheater in Lecce, Puglia, Italy

Walk around it and enjoy this beautifully preserved piece of history. It is a sunken amphitheater and you will enjoy photographing it from interesting angles.

Piazza Sant’Oronzo

Piazza Sant'Oronzo with sunken Roman Amphitheater
Piazza Sant’Oronzo with sunken Roman Amphitheater via Pixabay

Piazza Sant’Oronzo is the city square within the baroque historical town. This piazza has a number of interesting landmarks including a statue of Sant’Oronzo. The roman amphitheater is a part of it. You will see a lot of interesting carvings out of white limestone, the Lecce stone.

When you walk around in Lecce’s historical quarter just about anywhere, almost all the streets will lead you to Piazza S Oronzo.

Basilica di Santa Croce

Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce
Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce

Basilica di Santa Croce is the most famous historical church of Lecce which dates back to the 1600s. It is an exceptional example of Baroque architecture at its best not just from the outside but also from the inside. There’s a very famous church by the same name in Florance too!

The facade is highly detailed and features a circular window and intricate figures. As per Marchese Grimaldi, the facade of Basilica di Santa Croce looked like a lunatic was having a nightmare. I don’t know about you, but comments like these make me super curious!

It took three competing artists 150 years to complete the design of Basilica di Santa Croce. If you decide to go inside, it costs 6 EUR and it is worth it, because of the paintings and exquisite interiors. The basilica is very calm from the inside.

Duomo di Lecce (+ Bell Tower)

The Bell Tower of Duomo di Lecce, Puglia
The Bell Tower of Duomo di Lecce, Puglia via Pixabay

Duomo di Lecce is Lecce Cathedral in English was built in 1144 and rebuilt in 1659. The full name is Cattedrale Maria Santissima Assunta e S.Oronzo, which means it is dedicated to Virgin Mary.

Duomo di Lecce is located in the center and can be accessed from the Piazza. This cathedral has a bell tower, which you can spot from a distance.

Duomo di Lecce, Cattedrale Maria Santissima Assunta e S.Oronzo in Lecce
Duomo di Lecce, Cattedrale Maria Santissima Assunta e S.Oronzo in Lecce via Unsplash

Duomo di Lecce also features an elaborate facade like many other nearby churches. There are many columns that are adorned with climbing angels figures.

If you are a Dan Brown fan, then you will enjoy the stained glass Virgin Mary artwork and also a triangle with an eye inside.

Porta Napoli

The Barouque Old Town in Lecce city in Puglia, Italy
Porta Napoli in the Barouque Old Town of Lecce city in Puglia, Italy

Porta Napoli is a historical arch, that was once the gate of the walled city of Lecce. Walk around it and admire the area around you.

For a stunning photo, use the arch as a frame and click through it instead of clicking trying to capture the entire arch.

Santa Chiara - the Church of Saint Clare, Lecce, Puglia, Italy
Santa Chiara – the Church of Saint Clare, Lecce, Puglia, Italy

Apart from the above-mentioned spots, Lecce’s historical center has many more churches and historical landmarks such as the Obelisk (Obelisco), Santa Chiara (the Church of Saint Clare), and Paisiello Theatre.

Just like Rome or Florance, you can not visit every single one of the landmarks while you are there, so just pick a few.

Take a Break in Giardini Pubblici Giuseppe Garibaldi & Parco Giochi

Why have I included a public park on a list like this? Well, that’s because I’m showing you reasons to visit Lecce, and the city is extra everything so even the city park is super extra.

Lecce’s city park is lovely, and make sure you take a break here. If you are traveling with children, they will thank you for it. It is right next to Basilica di Santa Croce, so you won’t miss it.

Lecce’s public park – Giardini Pubblici Giuseppe Garibaldi features a fountain, many trees, plants, and benches. Pack a few snacks like arancini and calzones to enjoy a picnic here.

If you are traveling with children, they will thank you for bringing them here because this park also has a playground inside for children – Parco Giochi.

This park has enough benches and things for small children so that you can easily spend an hour or so with them.

Eat Pasticciotto, Cozze Gratinate, Frutti di Mare & Gelato

Caffè ghiacciato with Pasticciotto, Salento, Puglia, Italy
Caffè ghiacciato with Pasticciotto, Salento, Puglia, Italy

What’s the best part of traveling to a new destination? For me, it is trying new food that’s unique to that destination. In this sense, Lecce did not fail me.

I will publish another post about my favorite food in Puglia because I noted down at least 20+ names of Puglien dishes. However, in this section, I’d like to mention a quick list of famous foods of Lecce.

Pasticciotto is a famous pastry of Lecce that has a custard filling. It is the most popular breakfast of not just Lecce but the entire Puglia region. Enjoy it with espresso or Caffè ghiacciato (iced coffee).

Cozze Gratin - Mussels baked with Parmesan - food in Puglia, Italy
Cozze gratinate – Mussels baked with Parmesan – food in Puglia, Italy

I have tried mussels in many destinations all over the world but the ones in Italy have the best flavor. I also tried another version of this with squids and shrimp and that was super yummy too. Of course, it helps that Puglia has a massive coastline on three sides so expect to eat super fresh seafood here.

Frutti di mare Pasta - Seafood Pasta in Puglia, Italy
Frutti di mare linguine – Seafood Pasta in Puglia, Italy

Seafood in Italy is called “Frutti di Mare”, which literally translates into “fruits of the sea”. When in Puglia, expect the best Frutti di Mare risottos, pasta, and also pizzas. Frutti di mare linguine was my typical dinner in Salento.

Mandatory Gelato break in Lecce, Italy
Mandatory Gelato break in Lecce, Italy

One can’t go wrong with Gelato and Lecce old town has some amazing gelato shops. I often picked coffee gelato and loved the icy kick. My husband and daughter both picked the fruity flavors. I went back for more and loved the fruity flavors too.

Experience Typical Italian Summer Nights with Wine

Restaurants with outdoor seating in Lecce, Puglia, Italy
Restaurants with outdoor seating in Lecce, Puglia, Italy

How to make the most of a romantic destination like Lecce? Go for a romantic meal in one of the restaurants with outdoor seating and sip wine.

If you want to do it the way Italians do, you will sit for as long as you can while you savor antipasti with wine. As the night progresses, you can ask your server for recommendations for the fresh catch of the day for dinner.

Summer isn’t the best time for red wine but I highly recommend Puglia’s Primitivo reds, you can’t go wrong with them. Of course, Prosecco works if you are looking for something bubbly.

White wine lovers should try Moscatello Selvatico. On a few occasions I tried the Rosè wine of Salento, it was just called Rosè Salento and was super refreshing.

Make a Side Trip to Torre Sant’Andrea

The stunning Sant'Andrea beach in Puglia, Italy
The stunning Sant’Andrea beach in Puglia, Italy

Just 25-30 kilometers away from Lecce is my favorite beach in Salento. It is called Torre Sant’Andrea. As for me, this is the most beautiful beach in Puglia, and I am happy that I got to visit it.

If you are road-tripping in Italy, then a stop at Torre Sant’Andrea is a must-do if you want to cover Puglia at all.

The sandy part of Torre Sant’Andrea beach is small and looks like paradise. The water here is turquoise blue, super clear, and refreshing. The sand is perfect and soft.

But the real beauty of this beach lies in the arches and rock formations (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea), for that you have to go over the rocks and walk a little. (Kind of like the beaches of the Algarve in Portugal)

The arches and Rock Formations of Sant'Andrea - I Faraglioni di Sant'Andrea - Puglia
The arches and Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea – I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea – Puglia

The walk that goes over the rocks from the sandy beach to the arches is lovely because of the views. There is also a food truck with affordable snacks on top of the rocks as you hike toward the arches.

We did this with our 3-year-old daughter and we didn’t have hiking shoes and it worked. If you do this with small children, you have to be overly cautious because they will get hurt if they fall here.

The Many Cliff Jumping and Swimming Spots at Torre Sant'Andrea Puglia
The Many Cliff Jumping and Swimming Spots at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

I saw a lot of people cliff-jumping here. The water was insanely clear and I wanted to cliff jump too, but we decided not to because we were here with our toddler.

The drive from Lecce to Torre Sant’Andrea took us just half an hour but the challenge was finding a decent parking spot here. We eventually did but it wasn’t shaded.

I have an entire post about visiting Torre Sant’Andrea, make sure you check it out to better plan your visit.

Another stunning location on the coast near Lecce is Grotta della Poesia (Cave of Poetry). It isn’t far from Torre Sant’Andrea. I couldn’t go because the outing was already too long for my toddler but I hope you do.

Where to Stay in Lecce

I will be honest, my family and I did not stay in Lecce. Instead, we stayed in my husband’s family’s house in Porto Cesareo, which is on the coast. We did visit Lecce often because it is a very big city and we found reasons to come back here over and over.

Rooms aren’t cheap in Italy and definitely not in Lecce. But I did see some cute hotels and Bed ‘N Breakfast places. Check out:

How to go from Bari to Lecce?

Lecce is closer to Brindisi than Bari. Brindisi also has an airport, so you can fly directly to Brindisi instead of Bari if you want to visit Salento (the heel of the boot of Italy).

It is possible to reach Bari from Lecce using local transport. Go to Bari Centrale station, and from there the buses leave a few times a day to Lecce Stazione. These buses take around 2 hours to reach Lecce from Bari, and they also stop in Brindisi on the way. The bus route is along the Salento coast, so you will enjoy the views.

If you are driving in Italy, then you can reach Lecce from Bari by driving on the scenic SS16 highway that goes along the coast.

If you decide to take the smaller inside routes to avoid the highway, you will see a lot of prickly pear cactuses that have turned into giant trees, old olive trees, and a lot of vine farms.

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The Ultimate Italy Road Trip: 2 Weeks Itinerary (with Amalfi Coast)

The Ultimate Italy Road Trip: 2 Weeks Itinerary (with Amalfi Coast)

How can anyone not fall in love with Italy? Not only it is picturesque, but there’s so much more to it that just the visual beauty. It is the feeling one gets when they visit this country which makes it special. Italy is romantic, culturally beautiful, and offers delicious food.

There is a reason why some of the most famous books and movies are set in a backdrop of famous Italian towns. Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples – some of the most famous historical cities and towns in the world are in Italy. Not just that, Italy also has the Italian Alps, the Dolomites, and a massive coastline on three sides! Yep, it has it all.

The Stunning Positano on Amalfi Coast, Italy via Unsplash

The first time I visited Italy, it was just North Italy. We landed in Venice and drove to Trentino in our rental car. The second time was in South Italy where we spent one entire month in Puglia. We actually drove from Germany to Puglia but realized it would have been easier to just fly to Bari or Brindisi and drive a rental car from there.

For the purpose of travel, it is important to understand what are the regions of Italy. You can pick and choose some of them or get a taste of them all. Here are the regions in Italy that you can visit –

  • Northeast Italy, (the Dolomites, Trentino, Venice and Bologna)
  • Northwest Italy, (Cinque Terre, Milan and the Alps)
  • Central Italy, (Tuscany region and Rome)
  • Southern Italy, (Naples, Puglia, Amalfi and Capri)
  • The islands – Sicily and Sardinia.

If you ever see the list of the most visited countries in the world, Italy usually is in top 5 year after year. It is because there is so much to see & experience in every single region of Italy.

Keep in mind that to properly explore each region of Italy, you would probably need at least two weeks each. However, this itinerary focuses on the entire Italy, so I will help you move from one region to another and tell you the best of each. That’s the difference between a region-specific itinerary and a country-specific itinerary.

Matera in Puglia, Italy road trip two weeks itinerary – via Pixabay

If you think you will get to visit Italy multiple times, then by all means pick just one region or maximum two for each trip. If you’re going to visit Italy just once or twice in your life then I suggest you visit more than just 2 regions because they all have something to offer.

Don’t try to cover it all, it isn’t possible to do so. Instead, pick a few destinations and spend some quality time in each place that you visit so that you don’t feel rushed or drained out.

Starting Point for Italy Road Trip:

So where should you start your epic Italian road trip? It depends on a few things. The starting points will change based on how you enter Italy – flying or driving.

Italy road trip itinerary Map for Pinterest
Italy road trip itinerary Map for Pinterest

Italy has many airports from the North to the South. If you want to start your trip in North Italy then I suggest you fly to Venice or Verona and rent a car from there. You can also fly to Naples or Bari to start your trip from South Italy and make your way to the North. Or fly to the middle – Rome, Florence, or Pisa and just do the North or the South for your Italy road trip 2 weeks.

Alternatively, you can also pick a section of Italy and do a smaller road trip that focuses on just that area. For example, the North Italy road trip would include the top three points that I have mentioned below, the middle would include Tuscany and Rome and South Italy road trip would include Rome and below like Puglia and Amalfi Coast.

For ease of understanding, we have created this route that starts in Venice. It is very easy to rent a car from Venice airport and drive from there. We did that already!

Circular Italy or Straight Route for Italian Road Trip?

If you’re driving to Italy, then it will make a lot of sense for you to follow a straight route. You can enter Italy from the North and move to the South. Or the other way around.

If you are able to rent a car from one place and return it to another, then I highly recommend you go for a straight route. It will save you a lot of time. However, this option isn’t usually available, so most of you will end up following a circular itinerary.

How to approach this itinerary?

This is a fast-paced itinerary that includes a lot of destinations within Italy. Some of them are optional, so you can figure out which ones to leave and skip. For example, you can pick one out of the Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast and spend a long time in other destinations.

Hotels in Italy are expensive but if you’re a seasoned road tripper, then you most likely have a tent with you. All the below destinations have camping spots. Park your car and pitch your tent there. You can take the public transport to explore the cities.

1) Venice (and Burano) – 2 Days – the Canals of Italy

Grand Canal in Venice - Northern Italy by Train
Grand Canal in Venice – Northern Italy by Train

You can’t drive inside Venice, so why is it a part of this itinerary? Because Venice is the most romantic city of Italy and it needs to be a part of this epic itinerary.

If you’re flying to Italy and renting your car, then I suggest you rent your car on the day you leave Venice to save money. You can check for prices here or book one and pick it from Piazzale Roma. However, if you’re driving to Italy from another country then you will have to park your car in one of the below options.

In order to visit Venice, you will drive to the entrance of the city Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto, and park your car there. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of space and it is Europe’s largest car park. Yes, it is expensive to park here because it is EUR 30 per 24 hours.

[Box] Want to save some money? Park your car near Mestre Railway Station and take a 10-minute train ride to Venezia St.Lucia. This way, your parking costs, and journey will be less than 5 euros. [/Box]

There aren’t any roads beyond Piazzale Roma, so you will have to continue by walking or by getting on a boat.

A bridge over a pretty canal in Venice, Italy
A bridge over a pretty canal in Venice, Italy

I have included two days in Venice but if you want, you can take half a day to explore Burano. It is smaller, colorful, and very close to Venice. Here’s what to do in Venice:

Walking is the easiest way to explore Venice. The most popular spots in Venice are around St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge. However, I suggest you get lost on purpose and explore the narrow alleys. Here you will find the best photo spots because of fewer tourists. If it gets sunny, cover your head and eat gelato to beat the heat.

Sunset Gondola Ride:

Gondola Ride in Venice- Italy road trip via Pixabay

You can’t visit Venice and not do a Gondola ride. Yep, Gondola rides are super expensive so you make the most of it by doing it at the most romantic time – the sunset. The point of a gondola ride isn’t transportation but enjoyment.

You can save money by doing the Gondola ride with 1 or 2 other people and doing it before the sunset time. Here are the options I have handpicked for you:

Find a restaurant with a view:

Most of the restaurants with nice views are going to be very expensive but I can help you find a moderately affordable one. To actually get a table with a view, you need to always book in advance. Once you’re here, try the squid ink pasta. Try one of the following:

  • Trattoria Altanella in Giudecca,
  • Gianni in Giudecca,
  • Da Fiore in Campo S. Polo,
  • Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti in Dorsoduro.

See Scala Contarini del Bovolo

The view from Scala Contarini del Bovolo, Venice via Unsplash

Climb the spiral stairs and click a few photos of the view from the top. It is a famous building that was once a gothic palace.

Visit Rialto Food Market

Venice is touristy but visiting a famous food market will give you somewhat a local experience. The locals come here to buy fresh fruit, veggies and fish. It is best to arrive here early because the market hours are 7:30 am to 1 pm.

Campo Santo Stefano

Find an outdoor cafe on Campo Santo Stefano and enjoy your afternoon or evening with cicchetti & Spritz. Cicchetti is a small snack plate. You don’t need to order cicchetti, but the servers will bring it for you if you order your drinks (Spritz).

See Doge’s Palace

the Chamber of the Great Council in Doge’s Palace Venice via Unsplash

Doge’s Palace is an important historical landmark in Venice. This was once an official residence for the Doge of Venice (the elected leader of the historical Venetian Republic). It was originally designed to be a residential palace for Nepolean.

Doge’s Palace is an interesting spot for those who like history, but it is also a photographer’s dream because of its stunning interiors, especially in the Chamber of the Great Council. Believe it or not, the world’s largest canvas painting is located in this room. But remember, you can’t use flash when you photograph this.

Book Your Entry for Doge’s Palace

While inside the Doge’s Palace, you should also walk on the iconic Bridge of Sighs, which is located here. You will also see St. Mark’s Square and Correr Museum.

I have handpicked two entry ticket options for you for Doge’s Palace:

  • Doge’s Palace Entry Reservation Ticket: This is the official ticket and costs EUR 28 in May 2022. It is a “skip-the-line” ticket.
  • Doge Palace with Terrace Access: This is also a “skip-the-line” ticket but it also includes an expert guide, who will not just take you to Doge’s Palace but also St. Mark’s Basilica. Please be aware that the entry to St. Mark’s Basilica is free but this tour includes the access to the terrace of the Basilica for the views. The cost is EUR 79 in May 2022.

Scuola grande di San Rocco

See the interiors of Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Your jaw will actually drop when you see the grandeur and the arty details.

Day Trip to Burano

Burano (Italy)
Burano (Italy)

Burano is a cute little canal-side town with stunning colorful houses. It has become popular over the recent years because of Instagram.

You can prebook your boat ticket for Burano for a day trip from Venice and the boat will also take you to the nearby Murano and Torcello.

How to save money in Venice?

Eat in Pizzeria ae Oche – a chain with affordable pizzas. Don’t eat or drink in the main touristy areas, head to Dorsoduro for cheaper eateries and buy your own supplies from bakeries and supermarkets to save money. Another way to save more money is by skipping the Gondola ride.

2) Cinque Terre – 2 days – the Colorful Fishing Villages

The colorful houses of Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
The colorful houses of Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy – CCO Image by heidi_ziller from Pixabay

Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso are five colorful fishing villages that are collectively called the Cinque Terre. The entire Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In order to arrive at the Cinque Terra, you can drive to Riomaggiore, Manarola, or Monterosso and park your car there. If you’re nervous about driving in this hilly terrain, then park in La Spezia and take a train from there. In any case, if you want to move from one village to another, the best way to do it is by train. It is easy and affordable.

Remember – don’t get your car inside the Cinque Terra. Leave it outside and take the train.

Five villages at on cliffs and little hills, so there’s a lot to do in the Cinque Terra. Don’t get overwhelmed by the list of things that you can do. Just pick 1-2 villages and enjoy your time there.

Here’s a bit of an introduction about the five villages, so that you can pick the one that suits you and book a room there.


Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre - Northern Italy by train
Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre – Northern Italy by train

It has a fun vibe for nightlife, unlike a few others on this list. Riomaggiore is closest to La Spezia so it can sometimes feel crowded. It has budget accommodation options. It is as stunning as Manarola.

There’s a lot to do in Riomaggiore – you can do cliff jumping, enjoy the bar scene or just go for a stroll and get lost. The main street is called Via Colombo, and that’s where you will find everything. You can also check out the ancient Castello, which is one of the monuments of the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre.

If you’re into hiking, then hike to Monte Nero, which is right above Riomaggiore. This hike takes around 50 – 60 minutes. Here’s some information about it.

You can also hike from Riomaggiore to Manarola – these two are actually the most famous villages of the Cinque Terre. This hike should take you normally 15 minutes but check the information because sometimes this path is closed.


Manarola, the Cinque Terra Italy via Pixabay

Manarola is quieter and is normally visited by couples and photographers. Out of them, the one the most photographed one is Manarola because of the above-pictured sunset spot. But don’t underestimate the beauty of the other 4.

Make sure you click epic sunset photos while you’re in Manorala. No, I don’t mean photos of the sun when it is setting, but the golden hue on Manorala’s pastel houses on the cliff. You will find this spot as soon as you’re there. Photographers line up here with their fancy gear and tripods at sunrise and sunset time.

If you like swimming, then you can find some caves and swimming holes on the Blue Trail in Manarola. To access all of it, you will need a swimming pass. But there are some you can do without the pass too.


Corniglia, the Cinque Terra, Italy road trip via Pixabay

It is the highest village and is therefore famous for its views. You need to climb 365 steps in order to reach Corniglia – yes one for each day of the year. There’s a bus that’s run by the Cinque Terre National Park that takes people up to Corniglia and back. 

Corniglia is less visited as compared to the other four but is popular amongst hikers. It is possible to find budget accommodation here.

While you are in Corniglia, hike the Blue Trail, and you will find a stone beach with easy access to water. Doing the entire Blue Trail can be challenging but if you do, you will arrive in Vernazza.


Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italian Road Trip itinerary via Pixabay – road trip Italy 2 weeks

Vernazza is often called the most beautiful of the five Cinque Terre villages. It is also visited by a lot of photographers and couples. If you visit Vernazza then spend some time enjoying the stunning views that this village is famous for.

If you arrive in Vernazza from Corniglia by hiking, then you will cross Prevo – it has a stunning viewpoint that overlooks Guvano Beach. At 208 meters above sea level, it is the highest spot of Sentiero Azzurro.

You will be surprised to know that Vernazza has a great bar scene. It also has a small sandy beach, which makes sense for family travelers to visit since it is comfortable for children. There are two clock towers in the town and the maze of small streets will be a delight to anyone who loves getting lost in small places.

While you’re in Vernazza, visit Franco’s Ristorante “La Torre”. It is in a castle on the trail to Corniglia.

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare, Italy – via Pixabay

Monterosso has a proper big sandy beach and fancy hotels. It is a bit flatter compared to the others so is a good option for those who have mobility issues and families with small children.

Monterosso is actually two towns – Old Monterosso and New Monterosso (Fegila). The big sandy beach is in New Monterosso. The new town is flatter but the old town has that typical Cinque Terre looks and vibes.

You can walk from one village to another – check the list of walking trails here + useful information.

Where to stay in Cinque Terra:

3) Tuscany – 2 days – Art, Culture, and the rolling hills

Sunset in Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Sunset in Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Tuscany is romantic, arty, historical, and naturally beautiful. But wait, isn’t most of Italy? True but Tuscany is special because the Renaissance art movement began and flourished before it moved on to most of Europe.

Being a nature lover, I’m also interested in the other side of Tuscany – the rolling hills. So, when you visit Tuscany, drive around here and see the small villages because here you can truly admire the natural beauty of Tuscany. Get yourself a nice villa, see the vineyards and castles.

Tuscany's famous rolling hills - Italy by train
Tuscany’s famous rolling hills – Italy by train

Honestly, if I were visiting Italy for the first time and I wanted to just focus on one area, I’d do a Tuscany road trip. There’s everything in Tuscany that Italy is famous for – historical buildings, art, nature, castles, and vineyards. On top of that, Tuscany is a little laid back.

Here’s what you can do while you’re in Tuscany. You can pick and choose some of the activities that I have mentioned below.

Visit one of the Old Cities – Florence / Lucca / Siena

Florence, Tuscany – Italy Road trip itinerary

Tuscany’s old cities are stunning for art lovers because of the Renaissance art and sculptures. Out of all of them, I suggest you pick just one to keep your itinerary easy. For that purpose, I suggest Florence.

See the Statue of David by Michelangelo in Florence

Michelangelo’s Statue of David is a Renaissance masterpiece and shouldn’t be missed while you’re in Tuscany. This 17 feet marble statue is the star of Florence, the way Mona Lisa is to Paris.

Michelangelo’s Statue of Liberty is located in Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence. This museum also has some other pieces by Michelangelo and many other Florentine artists.

Art lovers would enjoy Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, Uffizi Gallery, and Museo Galileo

Val d’ Orcia – the Rolling Hills

Val d’ Orcia, Tuscany, Italy – via Pixabay

Tuscany’s most famous landscape are the rolling hills and one of the best way to see them is by driving to Val d’ Orcia. The rolling hills landscape is not just Instagram famous but also depicted in many Renaissance paintings.

Val d’ Orcia is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a 2 – 2.5 hours drive from Florence. You can stay in Florence during the entire time of your time in Tuscany, or split your time between Val d’ Orcia and Florence.

Pienza is the place that you would want to check out in Val d’ Orcia. This village is situated very high so you can get a good view of the rolling hills from here.

Saturnia Hot Springs or Terme di Saturnia

Saturnia Hot Springs in Tuscany via Pixabay

While in Tuscany, visit the stunning thermal springs of Saturnia. They are actually 3 hours away from Florence city, so it makes sense to visit this place on your way out of Tuscany but before you arrive in Rome. Alternatively, if you decided to stay in Val d’ Orcia, then Terme di Saturnia is just 30 minutes drive.

Believe it or not, there is no entry fee and these thermal springs are open 24 hours a day every day. It can’t get better than this. Just find the parking spot and put it on your navigation system to arrive here. Spend half a day here or more, depending on how much you love being in the water.

The best time to reach Saturnia hot springs is before 9 am so that you can miss the majority of crowds.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy via Pixabay

Visiting the leaning tower of Pisa is on many people’s bucket lists because of the Leaning Tower. Yes, it is a very touristy thing to do and there’s nothing else to do in Pisa BUT that shouldn’t stop you from visiting it if you really want to. After all, it is just 45 minutes from Florence by car or train!

Pisa is a small city, and you can cover most of it by walking. Most of what you would want to see is situated in Campo dei Miracoli. It is a student town and as a result, the nightlife is fun.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is called Torre Pendente in Italian. Go ahead and click a super silly touristy picture here. Believe it or not, you can actually climb the tower but you need to reserve your tickets in advance.

If you’re in Pisa in the middle of June, you can actually stay to watch the stunning Luminara festival. Thousands of candles are lit at sunset time along the Arno River. Watch this spectacle if you can.

Hike to Lake Calamone

If you’re not visiting Terme di Saturnia, then you can consider visiting Lake Calamone. It is located in the TEA National Park, at the base of Mt. Ventasso.

To start your hike to Lago Calamone, park your car at Bar il Faggio. The walk from there to the lake is just one hour. For more information, check this page.

4) Rome – 1 day

The bejeweled Rome in Italy
The Bejeweled Rome in Italy

Rome can’t be fully explored in a day, but also Italy can’t be explored in 2 weeks!

Honestly, it makes more sense to do Rome properly on an entirely separate trip. It isn’t the best Road trip stop because of the parking, so if you want to skip Rome, then you should. I just wanted to include Rome for those who would want to do it anyway, considering it is on the way when you move from Tuscany to Amalfi.

Rome is high-priced in terms of stay and food, therefore it gets expensive to stay here longer. But if you can afford it, extend your trip by all means. Did you know there are more than 900 churches in Rome?

Saint Peters Basilica Rome, Italy road trip – via Pixabay

Honestly, I wouldn’t even include the Vatican City and the churches in this itinerary because of time constraints. But just so you know, the most famous one is St. Peter Basilica. To enter this, one has to walk up to the Vatican and stay in a long security line.

Like many other famous cities (Lisbon, Moscow, Porto, Pula, Istanbul, San Fransisco, Edinburgh, etc.), Rome is built on seven hills. It means, there are plenty of viewpoints that can be found. Also, unlike most touristy European cities, Rome is massive. The entire historic center of Rome is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of the fashion capitals of the world with an amazing shopping scene and buzzing nightlife.

If I were to spend just one day in Rome, I’d forget about the top things to do, and just walk around because there are interesting sights everywhere.

Trevi Fountain 

Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy road trip itinerary via Pixabay

This is probably the busiest part of Rome and yet it is a legendary landmark. This fountain is in modern Rome, right next to the main train station. Walk around here but keep your belongings close to yourself because Rome has many pickpockets.

Explore the ruins of ancient Rome – Colosseo

The most obvious thing to do in Rome is to explore ancient Rome, it is the area around Colosseo. For this, get via dei Fori Imperiali Street and everything you would want to see is on both sides of this street.

Start with the Colosseum, then move on to Piazza Venezia. Next, you can check the Roman Forum, Trajan’s Forum, Arch of Constantin, and Flavian Palace.

Old Rome – Pantheon

Pantheon dates back to 125 AD. Of course, if you’re a Dan Brown fan then you would have probably read about all these places in the book called Angels and Demons. Yes, the book does make sightseeing more interesting but remember, it is just fiction.

There are other attractions that are nearby, like Castel Sant’Angelo – but I don’t want to include too much in the list because it will just overwhelm you.

South Rome

You can skip South Rome but if you have time, then you can check out the Baths of Caracalla, Rome City Walls, and the Circus of Maxentius.

Viewpoints in Rome

Since Rome is built on seven hills, there isn’t a shortage of viewpoints. You can look for Janiculum hill in Western Rome, the Pincio at the end of the Borghese Gardens, Vittoriano in Piazza Venezia, and Zodiaco in Monte Mario.

Campsites Near Rome

Let’s face it, you shouldn’t enter Rome in your car because of parking problems. Instead, find a camping spot that’s just outside Rome and then explore the city by public transport. Here are two camping spots that I recommend:

  • Happy Valley
  • Camping Tiber

Check this post for a list of places to stay in Rome.

Optional: Stop in Naples for a pizza on your way

Pizza quattro formaggi – Napoli style in Puglia, Italy – road trip Italy 2 weeks

The Pizzas of Naples are world-famous. If possible, try to stop here for a meal or a snack on your way to the next spot to experience a legendary Neapolitan pizza. It is essentially Margarita Pizza that’s made with a particular kind of tomatoes and mozzarella.

The Napoli Pizza follows the guidelines of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. It has the protected status granted by the Italian Standardization Body.

I won’t go into the technicalities but keep your mind open and embrace the simplicity of this pizza. The beauty of the taste of this pizza lies in the best quality ingredients and an amazing base.

5) Amalfi Coast – 3 days – Positano

Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy via Unsplash

How can you visit Italy and not see the most praised coastal area – the Amalfi Coast? Keep in mind that it tends to get very busy even during the shoulder months because of its popularity. Amalfi Coast is an expensive destination because it attracts mostly high-income travelers.

The Italian road trip itinerary is designed in such a way that you can skip a part of it. If you think Amalfi Coast is blowing up your budget, then feel free to skip it because the other destinations are equally stunning too! Honestly, if you are visiting the Cinque Terre or Puglia, then you can safely skip the Amalfi Coast.

Ever seen pictures stunning coast with colorful houses, bougainvillea flowers, and low-hanging lemon trees all around? That’s Amalfi Coast. It actually is a group of 13 fishing villages, all of which are collectively UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Whether you decide to stay here or not, make sure you experience driving on the “Amalfi Drive”, which goes along the coast from Vietri sul Mare to Positano.

In order to explore the Amalfi Coast, we suggest you make your base in Positano. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to see even half the villages, just focus on one or two and enjoy your time there.


Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy road trip via Unsplash

Positano is situated horizontally on the face of cliffs that face the sea. It is a better idea to find a place to stay here instead of in Amalfi Town. From here, you can visit Amalfi Town by ferry.

The two beaches of Positano are Spiaggia Grande and Fornillo. Spend some lazy hours here to enjoy the landscape.

Do the Path of the Gods hike that is from Bomerano to Positano with stunning views. You can reach Bomerano on a bus from Positano to start the hike.

While in Positano, try the Limoncello. It is a locally-produced lemon liqueur.

Amalfi Town

The World Famous Amalfi in Italy via Pixabay

Amalfi Town is the heart of Amalfi Coast. Take a ferry from Positano and spend a few hours here to see what the buzz is all about. The main Amalfi town beach gets crowded but you can spend some time here to enjoy the vibe.

6) Puglia – 3 days – Bari, Matera, and Polignano a Maren

The stunning Sant’Andrea beach in Puglia, Italy

Having spent a month in Puglia last summer, I can claim that this is a place that you wouldn’t want to leave. There are stunning beaches, old cities, the Instagram-famous Alberobello village, and Florence of South – Lecce city. The seafood in Puglia is mind-blowing!

Puglia was once Italy’s secret but has come up with a bang in recent years. It has risen to prominence in popular culture.

The 2021 James Bond movie (No Time to Die) was shot in Puglia’s stunning Matera. Moreover, the Red Bull cliff diving championship took place in Polignano a Maren. Of course, people googled the location for the next days and Puglia went high in Google searches!

Honestly, 3 days are not enough for Puglia, but if you want to include it in your Italian road trip itinerary, then I will tell you exactly where to go.

You can’t do them all, but pick just 2-3 places and enjoy your time well.


The Streets of Bari, Puglia via Unsplash

Bari is Puglia’s largest city and it has a stunning old town. Sure, this itinerary already has many old towns but this one is very different because it is in South Italy.

Bari’s old town is called Bari Vecchia. It was the heart of the city even in pre-Roman times. Explore the maze of narrow streets here and enjoy the sights.

Many people make Bari their base as they explore the nearby destinations of Puglia. But I don’t suggest Bari as your base, check the next point.

Polignano a Maren

Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy

Instead of Bari, I suggest you make Polignano a Maren your base. It is a stunning beach town with historical buildings that are situated on the cliffs. You can just cover almost the entire city on foot because it is small.

Polignano a Maren, Puglia, Italy road trip itinerary via Unsplash

Almost every restaurant or bar in Polignano a Maren faces the sea.


Trulli Village – Alberobello, Puglia in Italy

Alberobello is just 30 minutes from Polignano a Maren. It is a Trulli village and is a UNESCO world heritage site. So what’s a Trulli? It is an architectural feature of Puglia, a unique way of building temporary or sometimes full-time houses.

You won’t need a lot of time for Alberobello. Just arrive here and spend 1 hour walking around to see the Trullo. You can combine Alberobello with 1-2 other places that are in your South Italy road trip itinerary, like Matera or Lecce.

Alberobello is unique! You won’t see a place like this in all of Italy, so try to include this in your Italy road trip itinerary if you can.


Matera, Puglia, Italy itinerary via Unsplash

If you thought Alberobello was unique, wait till you see Matera. It has rock-cut settlements and they are well-preserved. These settlements are a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Matera’s cave houses are called Sassi, and they are dug into limestone rocks. Yes, a little like Turkey’s Cappadocia. They are believed to be some of the first settlements in the Italian peninsula because some of them date back to 7000 BC.

While in Matera, see Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano. This is where you will see the loveliest landscape. Matera was the main shooting location for the James Bond movie – No Time to Die.


The Arche and Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea – I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea – Puglia

Drive to Sant’Andrea from Bari or Polignano a Mare to visit my favorite beach in Italy. The drive will take you around 1 hour 45 minutes so leave early.

Torre Sant’Andrea beach is stunning and it has many sections. There is a nice sandy part that’s perfect for families and several rocky parts that are super stunning.

Make a day trip here and spend a few hours here exploring this area. You can also cliff jump here.


Exploring the Historical Lecce city in Puglia, Italy

Lecce is called the Florence of the South. It is an ancient city that I absolutely fell in love with! All the buildings here are beige and it is amazing to walk in Lecce’s old town. It definitely isn’t as busy as Florance.

Lecce has its own style of Baroque architecture, it is called Barocco leccese (Lecce baroque). Be sure to see Basilica di Santa Croce. It looks like it is right out of a Dan Brown book, and as per Marchese Grimaldi it looked like a lunatic was having a nightmare. Makes you curious to see it?

I have an entire post about visiting Lecce, be sure to check it out.

If you do end up visiting Lecce, walk around here and enjoy the stunning old town. Get a table outside in one of the restaurants and enjoy Lecce’s famous foods – Cozze Gratin, Frutti de Mare Pasta/risotto, or Pizza and Pasticciotto.

Tips for Italy Road Trip:

  • Keep a small overnight bag ready in your car for places where you need to park your car and move further by train, like the Cinque Terre or Venice.
  • You will find free water in designated water fountains in every single town or village in Italy. Make the most of it and drink this water.
  • Parking can get very expensive in famous cities like Rome, Venice, etc – so feel free to skip them. More than just difficult, sometimes it isn’t possible to find a parking spot at all.
  • Observe the traffic rules, even if the locals around you aren’t doing so. The fines are heavy and sometimes people also receive a 1-3 day driving ban.
  • The alcohol limit is 0.50g/L and is zero for those who are under 21 or have a driving license that’s not older than 3 years.

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Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia: Info + Tips for Puglia’s Most Beautiful Beach (Italy)

Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia: Info + Tips for Puglia’s Most Beautiful Beach (Italy)

South Italy’s Puglia has always been a popular destination for Italians but it has been receiving international attention for the last 3-4 years. There are many reasons why one should visit Puglia, and the beaches are an important factor, especially THIS particular one.

The stunning Sant’Andrea beach in Puglia, Italy

Looks familiar? Well, this is usually the cover picture for most of the Puglia travel articles in the media. The good news is that the pictures don’t lie at all, this place is simply mind-blowing.

If you are in touch with me on Instagram, then you surely know that I spent a month in Puglia, South Italy. Most of that time was spent in Salento. Wondering what’s Salento all about?

Puglia is often called the heel of Italy’s boot because that’s exactly how it looks on the map. Salento is the bottom-most point of that heel.

Out of that one entire month in Salento, if there’s one place that will forever stay etched in my mind as the most spectacular place in every way, it is Sant’Andrea – both the beach and the rock formations. I did visit a lot of beaches during my one month in Salento, and I think Sant’Andrea is the most beautiful beach in Puglia.

Sant’Andrea Puglia, Italy – Panorama

Before we go further, I’d like to tell you that this area can be divided into the following parts:

  • The Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea) – 5-10 minutes from the parking place
  • The Sandy Beach (Spiaggia della Punticeddha) – 5-10 minutes from the parking place
  • The Rocky Beach (Torre Sant’Andrea) – Depends on which part you want to go to.

This isn’t official segregation, but something I have made to help you. I couldn’t find a lot of English articles before visiting and I didn’t realize that there’s so much to see and experience here before visiting. There is a lot more beyond these three segregations but I didn’t end up visiting further.


The Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea)

If we talk about beaches with stunning arches and rock formations, what are the places that come to your mind?

Most likely France’s Etretat, Portugal’s Lagos, Germany’s Rugen Island, and Thailand’s Phra Nang Cave beach but somehow Puglia’s name never comes up. Maybe it is a good thing!

The Arche and Rock Formations of Sant’Andrea – I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea – Puglia

I have visited most of the places that I have listed above but for me, Italy’s Sant’Andrea was beyond anything I had ever seen in terms of scale and magnificence.

Expected to see massive arches, lagoons, towers, and crazy rock formations. There are also tower-like rocky islands that emerge out of the blue-green water.

The Sandy Beach (Spiaggia della Punticeddha)

The Sandy Beach at Sant’Andrea Puglia – Spiaggia della Punticeddha – Puglia, Italy

Sant’Andrea’s rock formations are famous, but the sandy beach will surprise you. It isn’t big but it is lovely since it has rock formations on all sides. This beach is called Spiaggia della Punticeddha – that’s what you need to put on Google Maps to find it.

The sand on Punticeddha beach – Spiaggia della Punticeddha is very soft and light. The water is clear and very blue, so it feels unreal. The beauty of the rocks around will take your breath away but the best part of the rock formations can be viewed if you swim further away or climb towards the tower area.

The Rocky Island at Sant’Andrea Puglia – Spiaggia della Punticeddha

There is also a small island of rocky formation that you can swim to from Spiaggia della Punticeddha. If you are here with small children then get a floaty, so that you can take them with you till there.

Spiaggia della Punticeddha gets crowded with families in the summer because that’s the only part of this entire area that’s safe for children. Try to reach here early if you want to have at least some area to yourself.

The Rocky Beach (Torre Sant’Andrea)

The Stunning Rocky beach at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

Just between Sandy beach (Spiaggia della Punticeddha) and the rock formations (I Faraglioni di Sant’Andrea), there is a rocky beach. This Rocky beach isn’t just one beach but has several small segments and each is better than the other.

The Rocky beach at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

The parts that are easy to get to are obviously not so empty but not even half as crowded as the sandy beach that I talked about in the above section.

There are parts that are not very easy to get to, and for me, the water looked much clearer there. You can climb, or you can try swimming in that area in order to reach it.

Tips for visiting Sant’Andrea Puglia

Get Your Climbing Shoes

In order to visit the most lovely spots here, you have to climb a little. The climb isn’t steep and was also done by my 2.5-year-old girl.

Make sure you wear proper shoes. If you lose balance and fall, you can seriously hurt yourself here because the rocks are hard and not smooth.

Sant’Andrea – Puglia’s Coastline – South Italy

If you’re planning on cliff jumping, then waterproof shoes help. You will find “swimming shoes” for just 5 euros in most of the small beach towns in Puglia. Of course, the price will rise as you move to more touristy areas.


For me, the first spot of Sant’Andrea that we saw was gorgeous and I didn’t imagine that I’d want to leave that, but after an hour of being there, we decided to explore.

We realized that the more we explored, the better the landscape around us became. The shapes of the rock formations changed after every few steps.

We visited Sant’Andrea with our 2.5-year-old daughter so our climb was a bit limited. If you are adventurous and enjoy climbing, then you will surely see a lot more than we did.

In order to reach a new spot, you won’t have to climb a lot or walk a lot. All the places are just 5-10 minutes away from each other.

Parking Gets Full Early in August

Parking Spot I Faraglioni Sant’Andrea Puglia

The peak travel month in Puglia is August. That’s the time when not just Italians but most of the Europeans are on their annual summer break.

The car rental prices go very high at this time and naturally, the parking spots fill out fast. Arrive early to find a good parking spot or be ready to spend some time driving in circles in order to find one. Or, you can arrive a little late at 4 or 5 pm when most of the people start to leave.

We arrived at 4 pm at Torre Sant’Andrea parking and found a spot after taking just one round, but we were lucky since many people were leaving at that time.

Arrive Early or Late in the Summer

The Sandy Part of Sant’Andrea gets crowded

Ever seen popular Italian beaches in the summer? They are usually fully jam-packed and one needs to hunt to find a place to put the mat.

The peak season crowds at Sant’Andrea,Puglia, Italy

The comfortable sandy part of the beach at Spiaggia della Punticeddha is small. It gets very full so if you want to spend even a little time here, then the best time to arrive at the beach is as early as 8 am or as late aa 4 pm.

The clear water near the rocks at Sant’Andrea beach, Puglia, Italy

Of course the rocky beach area near Torre Sant’ Andrea doesn’t get crowded because it isn’t uncomfortable to sit there unless you manage to get a thick rug or a chair. You have to climb with your stuff or swim with it to reach the rocky beach.

Cliff Jumping in Sant’ Andrea Puglia

The Many Cliff Jumping and Swimming Spots at Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia

What do you find on beaches with rock formations? Cliff Jumping spots!

If you want to do cliff jumping, then you will be happy to know that there are plenty of spots near Torre Sant’Andrea that vary in height.

Stay Safe if you Cliff Jump

I have mentioned this before in my Puglia article but I feel it necessary to remind you to be safe if you choose to do cliff jumping. Don’t ever force yourself into an activity that you’re not comfortable doing.

If you want to cliff jump, then you have to make sure you jump straight, or else you will injure yourself. My husband suffered from two fractures in his spine after cliff jumping in Puglia from Porto Selvaggio.

Visiting with Children? Get a Floatie

The view of the family beach at Sant’Andrea, Puglia, Italy

If you are visiting this beach with small children, then you will be able to explore much more with a floaty. You can put your child or children on the floaty and swim with them as you explore the different rock formations around.

We forgot to carry our floating hammock in our car and ended up buying a floaty here for Karma. We resisted buying it till the very end but realized we had to if we three were to swim together for a while instead of staying on the beach.

Shops Around the Beach are Expensive

The shops around the small sandy beach sell everything you’d need on the beach. Beach mats, sunglasses, floaties, sand toys, snacks, etc. But try to bring your stuff with you because the shops are expensive here.

Affordable Food Truck near the Parking

Taralli Pugliesi – the popular Puglian snack from the food truck at Torre Sant’Andrea parking

If you spend a few hours on the beach and swimming, you will naturally get hungry. There is a food truck near the beach parking. It is actually near the small water fountain from where you can fill up your water bottles.

If you want snacks and beer, then you will be happy to know that you will get them at the food truck for an affordable price. You can get paninis, french fries, and similar small snacks.

Visit Grotta della Poesia – a Cave Pool that’s 5 KMs Away

I will be honest, I didn’t get to visit Grotta della Poesia but it doesn’t mean you should miss out. I didn’t even know of its existence. A day after visiting Sant’Andrea, I saw information for Grotta della Poesia and I kicked myself for not knowing before and missing out.

Grotto means cave in Italian, and Grotta della Poesia means “Cave of Poetry” – isn’t it romantic? The rock formations create a natural pool with a tunnel that goes into the sea, that’s Grotta della Poesia.

In order to see Grotta della Poesia, you need to pay an entrance fee of €3 per person and must show a valid Green Pass.

Torre Sant’Andrea Puglia Corona Restrictions

Like most of the places in Italy, you need to show a valid Green Pass to enter busy public areas here. Italy has recently changed its Green Pass restrictions, it is now only for vaccinated people and not those who have just recovered from the illness.

I didn’t see anyone checking for a green pass in the Torre Sant’Andrea area but my friends who visited Grotta della Poesia mentioned that it was checked there.

Where is Torre Sant’Andrea?

Sant’Andrea is on Salento’s East Coast. It is in Lecce province and is around a 20-30 mins drive from Lecce city. Torre is an Italian word that means tower. Most of the beaches in Puglia have medieval towers that are sometimes photogenic.

How to Reach Torre Sant Andrea Puglia

The best way to reach Sant’Andrea is by driving to it. This is how it works for most of the European destinations unless you’re visiting the main big cities like Lecce or Bari. If you’re arriving in Puglia by air, then rent a car so that you can drive to amazing places like Sant’Andrea instead of being restricted to just a handful of destinations that are accessible by public transport.

Where to Park for Visiting Sant’Andrea Beach & Rock Formations

There is a parking area near Torre Sant’Andrea which gets full very early during the high season. Most of the people park along the road that goes to Torre Sant’Andrea. This is the same road that has a van camping spot that’s called Area Camper I Faraglioni Sant’Andrea.

Honestly, the road itself gets full but if you have time or patience to look for a place to park, then you will find one. As mentioned before, arrive early or late in order to find a place for your car.

Final Thoughts about Torre Sant’Andrea, Puglia

Puglia is getting more popularized every year and even more so in 2021 because of the Red Bull Cliff Diving event in Puglia. Of course, the event took place in a very busy area of Puglia but if you want to see something special that’s not as busy as the rest of Italy, then make sure you don’t miss Sant’Andrea.

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Why Visit Puglia? I fell in Love with Puglia in Italy, Here’s Why

Why Visit Puglia? I fell in Love with Puglia in Italy, Here’s Why

Ciao Puglia, can I stay with you forever? I spent a month in Puglia in 2021, here’s my love letter.

So, it finally happened. After talking about it for years, I finally got to visit Puglia in 2021 – the heel of Italy’s boot. Not for a week or two but an ENTIRE MONTH. I sure am glad that I married a half-Italian.

A little background, my husband’s father’s family is from Salento in Puglia and they even have a place to stay there on the beach. After hearing about this place ever since I got married, I ended up visiting six years after being married to San.

My Father-in-law is from Leverano, Puglia, Italy

Honestly, it wasn’t my first time in Italy. I was in the Trentino region before but most of the Italians told me that “the real Italy only starts from the south of Rome”. Really? I thought that was a snobbish thing to say.

Anyway, I was all set to have a very “average” experience in south of Italy in every sense but I was in for a surprise. It’s because I have visited a lot of amazing beach destinations and paradise islands, moreover, I have also visited countries that are known for their amazing food and I thought I’d find Italian food very “plain and basic” – but hey, I was wrong.

So, Where is Puglia in Italy?

Ever seen the map of Italy? It looks like a high heeled boot. Being in the absolute south of Italy, Puglia is the heel of that boot. So, it has coast on two sides so it means plenty of sun (and fun).

To make things confusing, Puglia is also sometimes called Apuglia.

Reasons to Visit Puglia, Italy

1) Puglia’s Coastline is Massive

My fav beach spot in Porto Cesareo, Puglia

Puglia has the longest coastline if you compare it to any other region of the mainland Italy. There’s the Adriatic sea, the Ionian Sea, gulf of Taranto and the Strait of Otranto on all the sides, so it means plenty of beach time.

No doubt there are many other things to do in Puglia, but beach-ing is something you will end up doing the most while you’re here. I don’t know about you but when I go for a beach vacation, then I don’t want to go to the exact same beach every single day. If you’re like me then you will be spoilt for choice in Puglia.

Puglia’s Coastline – South Italy

In fact, Puglia’s Salento region has so many beaches that I couldn’t even visit a fraction of them in one month. I visited many of them but I had to leave many others on my list for my next visit. But hey, Puglia’s beaches aren’t just your typical sandy beaches. There’s a lot of other stuff going on, read on!

2) Cliffs, Arches, Caves – the Coastline has More Than Just Beaches

Puglia’s coastline will give you more than just beaches. You will see other amazing natural wonders like arches, caves, cliffs, and insane rock formations that will stun you.

When I saw the rock formations in Sant’Andrea with stunning arches and I swan in the caves of Porto Selvaggio, I wondered why aren’t these places more famous than they are? Maybe it’s a good thing!

I have seen the arches of Étretat, France, Rugen Island’s high sea cliffs, insane rock formations of Zumaia in Spain and also Ireland’s Achill Island stunning sea-cliffs but I actually got to witness something way more spectacular in Puglia. And what’s insane is that in Puglia, all these stunning places with amazing rock formations that are so different from each other are in the same region.

Vieste in Gargano National Park, Puglia, Italy – CC0 via Pixabay

See the picture of Vieste in Gargano National Park. It reminded me of Thailand’s famous Phra Nang cave beach with limestone formations.

The beach that we visited everyday ion Porto Cesareo had multiple freshwater springs in the shallow part of the water near the shore, it was an amazing experience to cool off in them.

3) Puglia’s Culture will Amaze You

Locally Orchestra at Sant’Rocco festival Leverano, Italy

If there’s one country that’s so culturally powerful that everyone has to experience it at least once, it has got to be Italy. What’s better is that everything gets highly exaggerated as you move further South.

Art on the streets of Leverano, Puglia

In terms of culture, family, food, art, architecture and music – they all play an important part individually and collectively. This is something you will witness at every step, every bite, every sip and on every face. Italians take pride in their culture

It is hard to describe how it is to experience a new culture. I come from a country where culture plays a very visible part (India) and I felt something similar in Italy. Even if you arrive in Italy with a closed mine, over time the country will win you over because you can’t help but fall in love with it.

4) Puglia’s Food will WOW You

Cozze Gratin – Mussels baked with Parmesan – food in Puglia, Italy

I did experience the country’s food scene in North Italy and I was definitely aware of the fact that the food gets even better as one moves to the South from Rome. I love seafood and I usually prefer asian food over European any day. So, I didn’t expect to fall in love with Italian food in a way that I did.

Pizza quattro formaggi – Napoli style in Puglia, Italy

Italian food outside Italy is highly altered with loads of cheese, cream and butter. In reality Italian food in Italy is much lighter, even the pizza. One might say that the best Italian pizzas can be found in Napoli, but the best food overall definitely comes from South Italy.

Salento (Puglia) has the best Seafood in Italy

If you’re used to the typical “creamy” Italian food and if that’s what you’re seeking, then you will be disappointed. But if you’re ready to experience food that’s made with just a handful of simple ingredients and yet tastes divine, then Puglia is the place for you.

Frutti di mare – Seafood Pasta in Puglia, Italy

Some of the local specialities that I loved are:

  • Cozza Gratin (mussels baked with parmesan on top)
  • Pulpetti (Meatball)
  • Pulpo (Octopus) – Italians make the tastiest octopus
  • Handmade Pasta
  • Frutti di Mare Pasta or Fruitti di Mare risotto (Fruitti di mare means fruit of the sea, or seafood)

Honestly, I was knew I’d like the food in Italy but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I normally prefer complicated Asian dishes with a lot of spice but shockingly loved everything in Puglia.

5) Puglia’s Trullo (or Trulli) in Alberobello – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Trulli houses in Alberobello Puglia, Italy via Pixabay

If you’re active on Instagram then you’ve surely seen pictures of Puglia’s Trulli. Most likely the location of the picture was Alberobello.

A Trullo is a traditional dry stone hut that can only be found in the Apuglia region of Italy. Trulli is the plural term of Trullo. Trulli are protected under UNESCO World heritage law.

Some Trulli were built as early as the 17th century as a temporary shelter by farmers and labourours. Some were also built as a permanent place to live.

Trulli Village – Alberobello, Puglia in Italy via Pixabay

Trulli aren’t just found in Alberobello, but also in Locorotondo, Fasano, Ostuni, Cisternino, Martina Franca, and Ceglie Messapica. The ones in Alberobello are the most famous ones because there are many of them together and are highly photographed.

Can you rent a trulli and sleep in it? Sure, you can in Alberobello. Once upon a time a local bought a lot of abandoned Trulli, renovated them and started renting them out to visitors. The locals in Alberobello still live in their Trulli and have converted some to host others.

6) Puglia Has a Lot of Historical Landmarks

The Historical Old Town of Lecce in Puglia

Puglia has a lot of history, and you don’t have to visit just the famous Historical Towns like Lecce, Ostuni, Otranto, etc – but even the smaller towns have a lot to offer.

No doubt the famous bigger towns are spectacular but I found some of the similar-looking buildings and landmarks in the smaller ones without any tourists.

The Baroque Old Town in Lecce city in Puglia, Italy

Did you know that Lecce city in Puglia is called the Florence of the South? Broadly speaking, it is in the Salento part of Puglia. Lecce is also a province and a city. We’re talking about the city here.

Lecce city boasts a stunning old town with  Baroque architectural buildings. The buildings here are made with a famous limestone that’s called “Lecce stone” and is sold all over the world for sculptures. It also has a Roman amphitheater that dates back to the 2nd century.

Another notable historical town in Puglia is Martina Franca, which is also in Salento. Martina Franca has a beautifully preserved baroque old town with stunning gates, narrow streets, Piazzas (the squares), and palaces.

Imagine seeing the charming historical buildings next to the beach! Yes, most of the beach towns have historical buildings. No matter where you go, you will most likely see a historical tower (Torre) near the beaches in Puglia.

7) Puglia’s Streets Are Stunning

A stunning bougainvillea fringed street in Leverano, Puglia

I have this thing for streets. I love photographing them, love walking and getting lost and discovering more in the process. If you love streets as much as I do, then you’re going to adore Puglia.

Exploring the Historical Lecce city in Puglia, Italy

Some of the streets that I walked on in the old towns of Lecce, Leverano, and Copertino are said to be 1000 years old and were built during the time of the Roman Empire.

Cobbled streets that are lined with hold houses on each side with a lot of landmarks, it made me feel like I was walking around in a museum city. What is even better is that most of these streets were fringed with flowering vines like bougainvillea.

The above are just some of the 100s of street photos that I clicked in Puglia. When I came back to Germany after Italy, I was shocked to see I had so many street photos. Even more than the beaches!

8) Coffee Lover or Not, You Will Love the Coffee

My cappuccino with cornetto in Porto Cesareo, Puglia, Italy

Strangely the cafes in Italy are called bars. Even if you love coffee or hate it, you will LOVE the coffee culture in Italy. Now before you say that this point is true for most of the Italian destinations, well here’s more. Puglia’s cafes (or bars) have some interesting things that can just be found here and not in other parts of Italy.

Caffè Mousse in Leverano, Puglia, Italy

Most of us know about espresso – the little Italian coffee which is the base of cappuccino. I normally drink cappuccino back home in Germany but in Italy I fell in love with so many different ways to enjoy espresso. I’d like to mention a few that I regularly ordered:

  • Caffè ghiacciato – espresso with ice. Some will add a bit of almond syrup for sweetness and I enjoyed the marzipan kind of flavor.
  • Caffè granita – it is the normal slushie but it is made with coffee. YUM and super cooling.
  • caffè mousse – even though they called it mousse, but the texture is more like a softie ice cream. Some bars make it in coffee flavor and others in vanilla flavor and add cold espresso on top. This was my favorite.
  • Gelato Coffee flavor – this gelato that has a decent amount to get anyone caffeinated. I loved having my coffee in this form on some days.

You know what goes well with coffee? Breakfast of course. Italy with its elaborate meals has somehow a simple breakfast – pastry with coffee. I love how the cafes are full every morning till mid noon with people who visit for early to late breakfast. The most popular breakfast pastries were Pasticciotto and Cornetto.

Caffè ghiacciato with Pasticciotto, Salento, Puglia, Italy

If you don’t like sweet breakfast (like me at the beginning of my Italy trip) and want something salty, then ask for “rustico”. It is a pastry that’s stuffed with mozzarella and tomato. This is usually hidden in a very small section because most of the people order something sweet.

The cafes aren’t just open at breakfast time but till late at night. You can also order “aperitivo” and beer. Many places will also give you a few snacks (free) with aperitivo.

9) Puglia Has an Abundant Local Produce – Olive Oil, Wines, Figs

Primitivo Grape growing in Salento, Puglia, Italy

Why does everything taste better in Italy? A lot of that is because of the country’s abundant fresh produce. Tomatoes, olives, figs, lemons, oranges, apples, grapes, cactus-fruit, garlic, chili-peppers, lettuce, extra virgin olive oil, wines, breads and so many other things are freshly produced right here in Italy.

Guess what, Apulia has one of the highest concentration of fruits and vegetable production in Italy. You can taste the freshness in the food and the richness when you buy them from the supermarket to cook at home. Not just the fruits and the vegetables, even the fresh seafood and meat tastes much better here than the rest of Europe.

Olives on an Olive tree in Puglia, Italy

Things like olive oil, Primitivo red wine, cookies, handmade pasta make excellent gifts for your family and friends after your visit to Puglia. Don’t forget to buy these things for yourself too before you leave.

If you drive around in Apuglia, be ready to pick fruits from trees that are growing in public spaces and have fruits that are ready to be picked. We picked a lot of figs and cactus fruit, which were growing everywhere in summer. They tasted much better than the ones in the supermarkets.

If you’re picking your own cactus-fruit (prickly pear) then you need to be extremely careful. Make sure you wear the thickest gloves.

10) Adventure Lovers will Love Puglia

Porto Selvaggio Caves & Kayaking, Puglia, Italy

Cliff Jumping, Scuba diving, canyoning, snorkeling, kayaking – you name it, you’ve got it. Puglia has it all to keep adventure lovers entertained.

Puglia not only has sandy beaches but high sea cliffs too. There are some spots that are perfect for cliff jumping. The water clarity is impressive and with just swim goggles, we had a memorable experience in one particular location that reminded us of snorkeling in the Philippines.

Did you know that Puglia is also the location for Red Bull Cliff diving tournament for 2021? Those who follow the tournament love the location. The exact location for the Red Bull Cliff Diving 2021 is Polignano a Mare near Bari in Puglia. No doubt it is stunning but it isn’t even the most amazing cliff jumping spot that Puglia has to offer.

Cliff Jumping in Porto Selvaggio, Puglia, Italy

There are places on Puglia’s coast where one can find caves (or grottos). You can literally cliff jump, swim and go inside the grotto. We did that in Porto Selvaggio in Salento.

Stay Safe while cliff jumping: I’d like to mention that one needs to be very careful when cliff jumping. If you follow me on Instagram then you surely know that San had a cliff jumping accident in Puglia and he fractured his vertebrae. He was in an intensive care unit in a hospital in Lecce for almost a week after this.

He is an excellent swimmer and diver, so what went wrong? Even the slightest wrong entry while cliff jumping can have dangerous consequences.  This is a warning to all my adventure lover friends, please be careful and don’t do cliff jumps from higher than 10 meters (he did from 20 meters). If something doesn’t feel right then there’s no reason to push yourself to do it.

11) Puglia has Warm Weather = Real Summer

A Beach near Torre Lapillo, Puglia, Italy

Living in Germany, I miss real summer when one doesn’t need to carry a light jacket, just in case it gets chilly. Thankfully Puglia’s summer reminded me of India’s summer, where summer meant warm weather every single hour of the day or night.

Summers season in Puglia is long and one can expect sunshine almost every single day. Yes, it does rain and when it does, then it rains a lot. But then again, the sun shines the very next day.

12) Puglia is a Shopping Heaven

Shopping in Porto Cesareo, Puglia

One of the things that I crib about after moving to Europe is about shopping. I love flea markets and handmade things, and I found a lot of amazing dresses, shoes, bags and home decor for cheap in Asia, but never in Europe. Even though I did find flea markets in Amsterdam and vintage shops in Hamburg, but nothing was affordable at the same level as Asia.

Guess what, there’s a weekly market in most of the towns in Puglia where one can get everything – clothes, shoes, food, household things, etc. I didn’t think I’d buy anything and my visit was purely for photography purposes but I came back home with 4 bags.

Imagine my surprise when I found amazing dresses for 7 Euros and shorts for 1 Euro. Yes, just ONE Euro. The Italians are known for their amazing sense of style and I found some amazing clothes even in the small town markets.

13) Puglia’s Beauty Salons are Awesome (and CHEAP)

Who visits a salon on a vacation? I did because it was a month long vacation. Also, I will do so again even if it is a short trip because the beauty salons in Italy are amazing and ridiculously cheap.

Living in India, I visited salons for things like haircuts, styling, waxing, etc, monthly. I don’t in Germany because they are crazy expensive (and most aren’t good). Believe it or not, I paid just 45 euros for a haircut & color and just 30 euros for waxing. Insane!

14) The Festivals of Puglia

San’Rocco Fireworks in Leverano, Puglia

We visited Puglia in August and got to witness a few festivals. We witnessed San’t Lorenzo, Ferragosto and San’Rocco and all of them involved fireworks. The locals came out of their homes and sat all over the beach in groups. The town centers were lit up and some of them also had elaborate stalls that were set up.

San’Rocco Festival Celebration in Leverano, Puglia

I did mention in my earlier point about Italy’s culture and I’d like to mention how strongly it shone in front of our eyes when we saw people celebrate.

15) The People

There’s definitely something about the weather effecting the mood of the people, and it is always evident when one visits a warm country. I felt this the first time when I traveled to Portugal and Spain after spending a month in colder parts of Europe, and I definitely felt it in South Italy.

The people of Puglia are extremely warm, friendly, expressive, lively and most of all – approachable. They don’t shy away from a conversation after finding out that one doesn’t know their language, they still find a way to communicate. My little girl made more friends in our one month in Italy than she has ever made in Germany (and we live here!).

Locals who saw me on the beach everyday came up to me eventually to introduce themselves and to chat a little, even if we didn’t speak the language. By the end of my second day in Salento, I was saying Ciao to everyone who lived around our apartment (and there were many). They are all just so approachable, friendly and they acknowledged me each time I walked by.

What’s the Best Time to Visit Puglia

Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Italy

Puglia’s summer months are long so you can visit from May to September. The beaches get crowded in August but in terms of weather, that month is really good. Also, if you want to experience Puglia’s lively culture then August is the time when most of the festivals and celebrations happen.

August is the month when most of the European countries go for their summer vacation. Puglia is a very popular destination for Italians, hence you may not find an empty spot for your mat on the popular beaches. To avoid crowds, visit Puglia in the months of May, June, July or even September.

Leverano’s lively Piazza in Summer – Puglia, Italy

I have been told by my husband’s family that Puglia’s towns feel completely dead in the winter months and most people stay indoors. The liveliness of summer and staying outdoor ends when winter arrives. Of course the whole culture of restaurants with outdoor seating ends but they still remain open with indoor seating.

Airports in Puglia

There are two airports in Puglia – Bari and Brindisi. Bari is served by more flights and a lot of budget airlines too. Brindisi is served by fewer airlines. Brindisi is closer to Salento – the gem of Puglia. That’s where everything is – the best beaches, the stunning old towns like Lecce because that’s the Southmost province.

Check Car Rental Prices in Italy

If you can’t find a flight to Bari or Brindisi for Puglia, then you should know that some people fly to an airport in Tuscany instead. From there they rent a car and drive to Puglia.

Where to Stay in Puglia as a Base

Bahia Porto Cesareo – Sandy beach in Puglia

A lot of first timers stay in Bari and drive to the nearby beaches but honestly that’s like just like viewing the top layer. Sure, Bari is lovely but if you want to experience the best of Puglia, then you have to make your base somewhere in Salento.

Porto Cesareo was an amazing base for us because we were right on the beach. We could see it from our balcony and went there at every opportunity. Porto Cesareo has an amazing stretch of sandy beach

Also, from Porto Cesareo we could just drive to all the famous landmarks, towns and beaches in just an hour (mostly). The city centre does get extremely crowded in August, but the trick is to stay away from the centre.

Lecce is also an amazing place for a base for those who don’t need to wake up on the beach. Lecce has the best food, the most amazing historical landmarks and you will feel like you’re walking in a museum. Lecce is literally in the middle of Salento so you can drive to the east coast, the west coast or the absolutely Southern tip from here.

To experience Puglia like a local then find base in a smaller town like Leverano or the nearby Copertino. These towns aren’t on the beach but they are just 15 mins drive away. Both these cities have a stunning old towns and you can create some magical photos without crowds. Here the restaurant scene is even better because there are just locals. Of course, it helps if you can speak a few words of Italian.

How to Travel within Puglia?

By car. Really there isn’t a better way because not everything is connected well with public transport. If you live in Europe then you can just drive to Puglia from your place of residence. We did from Germany. Yes the duration was crazy long but it can be a fun road trip with stops.

Check Car Rental Prices in Italy

A better option would be to arrive in Puglia by air and rent a car (click here to check the prices) from Bari or Brindisi airports. The car rental prices shoot up very high in August, so it is better if you in a group of 3 or 4, so that you can split the cost.

How Many Days do you Need for Puglia?

A lot. I spent a month and I still didn’t see all the famous spots. If you want to see at least some of them, then spend no less than two weeks. If you just have a week then don’t stress yourself in trying to do too much. Focus on a handful of places and do them well.

Is Puglia Crowded or Touristy?

The answer depends on when you visit and where you visit (like most destinations). Most people fly and stay in Bari as their base so of course it is crowded there.

A lot of Italians and Europeans in general visit in Puglia in August. During that month most of the popular places to visit in Puglia are crowded. However, if you know of some less visited places then you can find empty areas in Puglia in August too.

Pin it – Why visit Puglia in Italy

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9 Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe (that aren’t Grada or Bled or Camo)

9 Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe (that aren’t Grada or Bled or Camo)

Ever seen a list of the most visited destinations in the world? Most of them in the top 10 are in Europe. Yep, Europe is one of the most touristy continents. Why do I even mention it? Read on.

When a destination becomes even mildly famous in Europe, it kind of turns into Disneyland. It is not just with destinations that have been famous for decades – such as Amsterdam, Paris or Prague – but also newly famous destinations thanks to the power of Instagram such as Bucharest.

Same happened with the most famous lakes in Europe too. Yes, I’m talking about the ever famous Lake Grada of Italy, Lake Bled of Slovenia and Lake Camo of Italy again. Yes, they are definitely lovely but it is hard to enjoy the raw natural beauty of these lakes when the area all around is so developed and busy.

If you’re anything like me, then you seek peace and raw natural beauty of a lake destination instead of the hustle bustle of an overly developed town. Moreover, you would want to see the lake without too many boats in or around it.

For me, a stunning lake is the one that’s in the wilderness – or even better mountains. It is not surrounded by developed towns but you can only see empty areas if you sit next to the water. An absence of commercial boats is definitely an added advantage because it adds to the peace element. Calm and clear water so that you can see inside. Yes, that’s what it takes for a lake to be truly stunning.

Maybe I sound like a nature snob, but the thing is exploring natural landscapes is our thing. San and I are living in Germany and we often travel within the Europe on our campervan. We avoid big cities and instead head to National Parks. And guess what, some of the most beautiful lakes in Europe are found in National Parks. Yes, we have seem many European lakes and we’d like to tell you about the most beautiful ones.

The easiest way to reach most of these lakes is by car. If you live in Europe, then you can drive your own car to these destination. Alternatively, you can fly to the nearby destination and rent a car. Traveling by car is usually cheaper and more convenient in Europe.

Check Car Rental Prices in Europe

Click the above button to see a comparison of car or van rental prices for your preferred destination from many different providers.

Europe’s Most beautiful Lakes


1) Lake Bohinj, Slovenia (Triglav National Park)

The spectacular Bohinjsko jezero - Lake Bohinj in Slovenia

The spectacular Bohinjsko jezero – Lake Bohinj in Slovenia

Slovenian’s Lake Bled gets all the attention, but Lake Bohinj is the one that will truly take your breath away. This lake has all it takes to be on top of our list. Bohinj is the highlight of Triglav National Park so you can rest assured that the natural beauty of the area around the lake is preserved. 

So what makes Lake Bohinj so special? The water is insanely clear, it is away from the main towns and is surrounded by big mountains.  Mount Triglav is the highest peak of the Julien Alps. Yep, so Lake Bohinj is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Alps. Bonus point – Lake Bohinj has some ridiculously stunning beaches.  

Mountains, clear lake and pretty beaches - Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

Mountains, clear lake and pretty beaches – Lake Bohinj, Slovenia

You can not just sit on the side of Lake Bohinj on one of its beaches and not get stunned by the jaw dropping beauty of the mountains around it. They are so high! I wasn’t even able to capture the complete height of the mountains even with a wide angle camera except only at one spot where I walked way far back.

One of the many beaches along Lake Bohinj - Bohinjsko Jezero - Slovenia

One of the many beaches along Lake Bohinj – Bohinjsko Jezero – Slovenia

There are definitely many stunning lakes around the world but not many that you can camp right next to. Yes, you can actually put up your tent or park your camper van next to the lake in  Camp Zlatorog Bohinj. For all these reasons, Lake Bohinj is one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe.

For more information, read my post about Slovenia’s Lake Bohinj.

2) Black Lake, Montenegro (Durmitor National Park)

Black Lake - Durmitor National Park near Žabljak, Montenegro

Black Lake – Durmitor National Park near Žabljak, Montenegro

Many visit Montenegro for its beaches but in our experience this country’s mountains is so much better. Montenegro’s Durmitor Mountain range within the Dinaric Alps is a destination that will wow you over.

Within the Dinaric Alps, there’s a protected area called Durmitor National Park which has many glacier lakes. One of the most famous glacier lakes here is called Crno jezero (the Black Lake) near Zabljak, which should actually be called the Blue Lake. The water is extremely clear and is blue-green in color. 

Crno jezero or Black Lake entry area, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Crno jezero or Black Lake entry area, Durmitor National Park, Montenegro

Black Lake is actually a set of twin lakes that is joined by strait. There are trees and mountains around most of the lake so the resulting landscape is super stunning. There is also a walking path around the twin lakes with many benches. You can walk around both the lakes in 1,5 hours if you make a few resting stops.

You can’t swim in the Black Lake or Camp right next to it. For more information on Black Lake, read my post about Durmitor National Park.

3) Lake Zaovine, Serbia (Tara National Park) 

I was 4 to 5 months pregnant when San and I went to Serbia

Swimming in Lake Zaovine in Tara National Park, Serbia

A lot of the lakes in this list are surrounded by high mountains and pine trees but Serbia’s Lake Zaovine is a bit different. Yes, there are mountains but they aren’t as high on all the sides and we definitely did not see pine trees. As a result, there is a high visibility of the landscape around Lake Zaovine. 

Lake Zaovine is in Serbia’s Tara National Park, which is literally on the border of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is situated in Tara National Park which is known for its mind-blowing viewpoints. 

Lake Zaovine in Tara National Park, Mokra Gora, Serbia

Lake Zaovine in Tara National Park, Mokra Gora, Serbia

Talking about touristy, this place definitely isn’t. It is perhaps the least touristy destinations that are mentioned on this list. As a result, you can have the gorgeousness of this lake to yourself like we did. You can swim in it, spend a few hours around it, click endless photos without bothering about other tourists. For us, Zaovine is one of the best lakes in Europe for swimming.

For more information about Lake Zaovine, read my post about Tara National Park, Serbia.

4) Lago di Tovel, Italy

Lago di Tovel in Trentino, Italy

Lago di Tovel in Trentino, Italy

Yes, Italy’s lakes are super famous and touristy, but Lago di Tovel isn’t. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t gorgeous. It has the bluest water and was semi frozen when we visited in spring. It is surrounded by snowy mountains and has everything you imagine in a typical alpine lake. The best part, you can usually see a reflection of the snowy mountains on the surface. 

Lake Tovel is in Italy’s Trentino region which is known for the Dolomites. As with most of the lakes on this list, it is in a protected area – Adamello-Brenta nature park. As per the legends, this lake was once red in color. Spooky!

Lago do Tovel - the stunning lake in Val di Non, Trentino - Italy

Lago do Tovel – the stunning lake in Val di Non, Trentino – Italy

It is possible to walk al around Lago di Tovel in 1.5 – 2 hours to discovered other scenic spots. We couldn’t because I was pregnant when we visited and I wasn’t in a mood for so much exercise. The lake is triangular in shape. No, you can not swim in Lake Tovel.

In order to get to Lago di Tovel, you need to visit Italy’s Trentino region. Stay in Val di Non to enjoy its romantic beauty and drive to Lago di Tovel. 

For more information about Lake Tovel, read my post – Lago di Tovel, Italy or read about Val di Non.

5) Plitvice Lakes, Croatia (Plitvice Lakes National Park)

Crystal Clear Water - Plitvice Lakes Croatia

Water so clear that you can see the bottom of the lake – Plitvice Lakes Croatia

How can I write a post about the most beautiful lakes in Europe and not mention the Plitvice Lakes? It is a National Park in Croatia with 16 lakes that are formed on different levels that are interconnected. They are on different levels and as a result there are waterfalls and cascades. These lakes are stunning with insanely clear water.  This area is truly a natural wonderland.

The 16 lakes of the Plitvice Lakes complex are divided in two segments – the Upper Lakes and the Lower Lakes. Some of the lakes are really big but in my experience the smaller lakes were better than the bigger ones because you could really see the clarity. 

Plitvice Lakes National Park has 7 hiking routes that vary in length. Because of the size of the national park, not all trails cover all the lakes but just 1 of them does. That’s the hiking route we took but it took us all day and we ended up walking for 15-20 kilometers in total. You can also pick one of the smaller trails. I mention all of the Plitvice Lakes’ hiking routes in detail in my post. Be sure to read it before you go. 

San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

San and I in Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Maybe you were only looking for Europe’s most beautiful lakes but for me it is an added bonus when you get to enjoy the beauty of the waterfalls too. Yes, you will find a lot of them in this national park.

Sadly you can not swim in the Plitvice Lakes but it is really a good thing because that’s how the water is so clean and the biodiversity is truly protected. These lakes collectively are some of the cleanest lakes in Europe. The water is so clean that you can actually see the bottom of the smaller lakes.

Perhaps the Plitvice Lakes are the most touristy lakes on this list and the crowd peaks in the months of August and July. But you can visit them in other months and that will help you avoid crowds.

For more information, read my post about the Plitvice Lakes where I also mention how to avoid crowds.

6) Seealpsee, Switzerland

Recommended by Continent Hop

Seealpsee Switzerland - Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe

Seealpsee Switzerland – Most Beautiful Lakes in Europe

Switzerland’s Seealpsee that’s sat at an altitude of 1141 meters above sea level, is one of the prettiest lakes in Europe. The lake is located amongst the Appenzell Alps in Switzerland and reflects the nearby surroundings like a glass mirror.

To add to the magic, this alpine lake doesn’t get a lot of visitors. The only ones to be found here are ones that head off on the Wasserauen -Seealpsee hike.

You could take a picnic here and in summer possibly go for a boat ride; however, the postcard-perfect location is best enjoyed by taking a walk around it and admiring the dense trees and the glass reflections in the lake while the cows lazily graze around. On some days, the clouds almost descend on the lake, making it look unbelievably stunning.

There’s numerous options for stay here if you’d rather not spend just a single day at the lake.


7) Xhema’s Lake, Valbonë, Albania

Valbona Lake in Albania - Travel the Balkans - by Robert Figgen

Xhema’s Lake in Valbona, Albania – Travel the Balkans – by Robert Figgen

Albania’s Valbonë River and the Albanian Alps create a stunning natural landscape in Valbonë Valley National Park. The most famous lake in national park is Shkodër (Lake Skadar) and that’s massive. But there is a smaller lake in Valbonë village called Xhema’s Lake which is stunning. 

It is easy to reach Xhema’s Lake from Valbona village. You will see the signboards in the village itself and from there it is a 30 minute walk. The lake is super clear and blue. The water is icy cold. It is surrounded by limestone cliffs that adds to a strange rugged beauty to this spot.

Please keep in mind that Xhema’s Lake dries up in late summer heat and it is a better idea to see it in spring or early summer. The above picture was clicked in late June. The locals say that the lake is at it’s best in spring because that’s when the winter ice freshly melts and as a result the water is clear blue.

Here’s more information about Valbona Valley National Park.


8) Eibsee, Bavaria, Germany

Recommended by Happy to Wander

Eibsee =, Bavaria, Germany by Happy to Wander

Eibsee, Bavaria, Germany by Happy to Wander

When it comes to lakes, Germany doesn’t have a shortage of them and some of the best ones are in Bavaria. While Bavaria’s Königssee is definitely a more famous one, we’d like to mention Eibsee on this list, which is smaller.

Eibsee is special because not only it has crystal clear water but you can also see the Zugspitze (the highest mountain peak in Germany). It is said to be one of the purest and most beautiful lakes in Bavarian Alps.

You can visit Eibsee in all the seasons, each has something unique to offer. This lovely alpine lake freezes in winter and the water starts melting in spring. Summer is a very good time to visit with a family because the weather is warm. Bonus: you can swim in Eibsee in summer. Autumn can be a really interesting time to visit because of the contrast of warm red leaves against the cold blue water. 

Autumn Foliage around Eibsee, Germany

Autumn Foliage around Eibsee, Germany [Pixabay]

The landscape around Eibsee is rocky and you should take some time out to walk around the lake. You can reach Eibsee from Munich. We suggest you read Bayern Ticket Guide by Germany’s travel specialist – Happy to Wander.


9) Lago di Braies, Italy

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, Lake Braies in north Italy

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, Lake Braies in North Italy

Did we save the best for the last? Maybe. Yes, it is the second one from Italy on our list and totally deserves to be here because Lago di Braies is one of most beautiful lakes in the Alps. It is also called the Pragser Wildsee.  

Lago di Braies is often called the “pearl among the Dolomite lakes”. As with most of the alpine lakes on this list, you can enjoy a surreal landscape of mountains too.

Lago di Braies suddenly became extremely famous because of Instagram. This resulted in a massive spike of visitors and traffic jams. Thankfully there is now a restriction on the number of visitors from 10 am to 3 pm. If you arrive by car, you can only visit if you get a parking place in one of the valley car parks in Fanes-Senes-Braies Nature Park. Another way of visiting would be by booking a bus ticket to the lake in advance from Dobbiaco or Monguelfo. Another option would be to hike from Ferrara to the lake.

During your visit to Lago di Braies, you can take some time out to walk around the lake. The walking path is 4 kms and this way you can get to enjoy the surreal beauty of this lake from different perspectives.

Did something catch your eye? Let us know which one of the above mentioned European lakes you have visited already or are planning on visiting next. Comment and let us know.

Northern Italy by Train Itinerary: Where to Go + How to do it + Info

Northern Italy by Train Itinerary: Where to Go + How to do it + Info

An epic Northern Italy Itinerary that has everything – lakes, mountains, historical towns,

Italy has always been the centre of attention because of its beauty and culture. Year after year, it ranks in the top 10 as one of the most visited countries in the world. Italy is where you can really experience it all – the best food, beaches, mountains, canals, art, architecture, luxury cars, and history. Can you believe Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world?

Italy’s amazingness isn’t just due to its rich culture or fascinating history, or even the scenic beauty. It is more than that.

It is about experiencing the mediterranean climate, the joy of sitting on a chair along the street in one of the cafes while sipping espresso, tasting the simplicity of food that’s cooked with just 3-5 ingredients, seeing the locals communicate with energetic gestures and listening to the musical sound of Italian chatter. 

An outdoor restaurant in Tuscany, Italy

An outdoor restaurant in Tuscany, Italy – CC0 by Nina Evensen from Pixabay

If you look at the map of Italy, you will notice the country is shaped like a boot. It is surrounded by water on almost all sides, except the top of the boot. As you go down from the top of the boot to the toe, you will see how the landscape changes from mountains and alpine lakes, to vineyards, and to the beaches. 

Broadly speaking, the regions can be divided into the below sections, and in brackets are the most famous destinations of the regions so that you can get an idea – 

  • Northeast Italy, (the Dolomites, Trentino, Venice and Bologna) 
  • Northwest Italy, (Cinque Terre, Milan and the Alps)
  • Central Italy, (Tuscany region and Rome)
  • Southern Italy, (Naples, Puglia, Amalfi and Capri)
  • The islands – Sicily and Sardinia.

Each region of Italy offers something completely unique, and there is so much to experience in this incredibly exciting country. You don’t even need to go to the most popular destinations to enjoy the beauty of Italy. 

Beautiful village Tavon in Val di Non, Coredo, Italy

Beautiful village Tavon in Val di Non, Coredo, Italy

Even if you’re in one of the most unknown towns that doesn’t have a single person who speaks English, you will have an incredible time. Italians have a skill of communicating well with their exaggerated hand gestures, so language isn’t usually a barrier.

Moreover, almost all the towns have pretty streets and lovely town squares with something historic. Most of the city centre also have a free water fountain where you can fill up your bottles.

No doubt all the regions of Italy have something to offer, but the north of Italy is where you will find many of the country’s famous destinations and that’s what this post is all about. Yes, I’m talking about the Lake Como, the Renaissance city of Florence, the canals of Venice, Cinque Terre’s colorful coastline, the majestic Dolomites and the fashionable Milan. 

You can travel internally in the North of Italy in many ways but getting around by road is the best option to experience the natural beauty. 

In particular, getting around by rail is easy and convenient. You can sit back and relax as you gaze out from your window and see the beauty of the country. This is why rail holidays to Italy are super popular. They are relaxing, luxurious and can provide you a good value for money.

Check Car Rental Prices in Italy

Another option is to arrive in Italy by air and rent a car from the airport. You can check and compare the car rental prices here from many different car rental companies.

Northern Italian Train Destinations + Itinerary

Northern Italy has an amazingly extensive train network that connect many of the country’s top destinations. We have made a train itinerary for you that can be shortened or lengthened based on your preferences. You can start this itinerary from top to bottom – Venice to Rome, or the other way round from Rome to Venice. 

The below map is just a very broad depiction of this route map. At this time Google Maps doesn’t let users create a route map with multiple train stops and this is why I have selected a driving map to give you a general idea.

We have mentioned 5 main parts of Northern Italy and optional destinations around those parts that are worth visiting. For instance, if you’re more into art or history and are super short of time, then you can just do Venice, Florence, and end your trip in Rome. However, we suggest you do a mix of both – the big cities and smaller towns so that you can experience Italy’s true natural beauty.


Here are some of the places that you can visit on a rail itinerary in this part of the country. 

Venice (Optional: Trento, Lago di Grada, Lago di Braies) – 3 – 4 Days

Grand Canal in Venice - Northern Italy by Train

Grand Canal in Venice – Northern Italy by Train – CCO via Pixabay

When thinking of Italy, Venice is always one of the first destinations that spring to mind. This floating city is known for its network of canals and bridges. Because of its geographical placement, it is the perfect way to start (or end) your Italy by train itinerary. You can explore the northeastern and northwestern parts of Italy very easily with your starting point as Venice. 

Being a major tourist destination, Venice is well connected by train routes. In fact, the easiest way to reach this city surrounded by water is by train, and you can take one from Austria, Slovenia or Germany. You can also arrive here on a ferry from Pula in Croatia. Or, you can just fly to Venice airport to start your Italy train trip. 

A bridge over a pretty canal in Venice, Italy

A bridge over a pretty canal in Venice, Italy – CCO – by travelspot via Pixabay

Forget about cars here – Venice is all about getting around via boat. There really is no place in the world quite like Venice, and it should definitely be added to any Italian travel itinerary. 

Besides the beautiful canals and gondolas, Venice is also known for many famous landmarks and attractions. These include the Doges Palace, St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Rialto Bridge, the Campanile di San Marco, and many more. The buzz and energy experienced when walking around Venice is unlike any other city. After you spend around 2 days in Venice, then consider getting out to see the mountains.

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, or Lake Prags, Lake Braies in north Italy

Lago di Braies or The Pragser Wildsee, North Italy – CC0 by vaiunruh via Pixabay

Venice can is a good starting point for you to see Italy’s mountains to see the Lake Grada or Lake Braies or the Dolomites. You can start off in Venice, head to Lake Grada (stations are Desenzano del Garda / Sirmione). If you have more time on your hands, then you can extend this part of your trip to experience the scenic towns around Lake Garda. Or go further up to Trentino.

If you’d like to see the Dolomites, then we suggest you take a train to Trento and consider going further up north to experience the Trentino region. You can include places like Val di Non, the spectacular lesser known Lake Tovel and also Alpe Cimbra. This part of Italy has some of the best lakes in Europe. We actually drove here from Venice with our rental car in 2018 and loved it.

Lake Como (Optional Lake Orta & Milan) – 2 Days

The lovely Lake Como in Italy

The lovely Lake Como in Italy – CC0 – by EzPzPics via Pixabay

Italy has some amazing lakes and you can find the most famous ones in the north. These lakes are big, beautiful with the perfect alpine backdrops. They have been attracting travelers for many years.

Thanks to their stunning natural scenery, pretty lakeside towns, ancient villas, perfect gardens, and 19th-century hotels, a holiday along the Italian lakes is all about a luxurious and laid back experience. In the last part we spoke about Lake Grada and Lake Tovel, that are in Trentino region but here we will tell you how to visit Lake Como and Lake Orta.

Don’t let Italy’s more famous destinations like Rome and Venice make you leave out Lake Como in your itinerary. Lake Como (or Lago di Como) is awesome and it will make you fall in love with Italy.

Stay for a few days in one of the little towns along Lake Como and you wouldn’t want to leave. Remember the idyllic Naboo from Star Wars II Attack of the Clones? It was filmed along Lake Como. 

Varenna, Lake Como, Northern Italy by Train itinerary

Varenna, Lake Como, Northern Italy by Train itinerary – CCO Image by travelspot via Pixabay

Lake Como is the most well known of the lakes in Italy. This enormous body of water is speckled with the most charming towns, speedboats, grand hotels, and phenomenal views. This far northern part of Italy is very close to Switzerland, so it offers a completely different atmosphere altogether. 

Lake Como has a shape of an inverted “Y”, so the legs are towards the south. The most scenic villages along Lake Como are up in the north because of the mountains.

Lake Orta, Italy by train

Lake Orta, Italy by train – CC0 by Fabio Valeggia via Pixabay

If you would like to experience the magnificent lakes, then taking a rail holiday is one of the best ways to do it. You can experience the Lake Como by taking a train to Como Nord Lago, Como Nord Borghi or Como San Giovanni. You can extend this part of your trip to also visit the Lake Orta by taking a train to Pettenasco.

Depending on your route, you may have to stop at Milan or change trains here. Why not stay for a day in Milan and experience the country’s fashion capital?

The Cinque Terre (Optional Turin) – 3 Days

The colorful houses of Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy

The colorful houses of Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy – CCO by heidi_ziller via Pixabay

The Cinque Terre is one of the most impressive coastal destinations in Italy. This stretch of scenic coastline is dotted with five of the most magnificent little towns in Italy. These are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Monterosso. Out of all these towns, Manarola is the one that you see on most of the pictures. 

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre – CC0 by Zotx via Pixabay

The Cinque Terre is best known for its beach, harbors, hiking trails, local wines, and perfect pastel-coloured villages. There are no cars in the Cinque Terre, and each town is connected via train. This makes rail travel the best way of reaching this area. If you are planning a railway itinerary in northern Italy, including a stop at the Cinque Terre is easy.

Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre - Northern Italy by train

Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre – Northern Italy by train – CC0 by Felix Wolf from Pixabay

From Milan or Como Nord Lago train stations, you can head to Turin. Either stay here or get on a train to Rapallo. From Rapallo, you can take a ferry to experience the Cinque Terre villages. Alternatively, you can also take a train from Rapallo to Monterosso.

Another option is to take a train directly from Germany to Cinque Terry by travel via the Rhine Gorge and Gotthard Pass to experience the best of Cinque Terre. 

Florence, Tuscany (Optional Umbria) 3 – 5 Days 

Sunset in Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Sunset in Florence, Tuscany, Italy – CC0 by Mark Gilder via Pixabay

Tuscany and Umbria are two Italian regions that cover some of the most attractive sights and points of interest in the country. Did you know that the Renaissance art movement started from Italy? It happened right here in Tuscany.

Both Tuscany and Umbria form a part of Italy is that’s very green. In fact, Umbria is also called the “green heart of Italy”, so you will get to experience the nature, the history and the art scene in Tuscany and Florence together.

The real beauty of this area is outside the cities and town – that’s where you will get the typical picture postcards style landscapes.

Tuscany's famous rolling hills - Italy by train

Tuscany’s famous rolling hills – Italy by train – CCO by monica_valladares from Pixabay

Nestled in the rolling green hills and scenic landscapes of these areas, you will find cities like Florence, Siena, Assisi, Pisa, and Perugia. Between the art, food, wine, history, and natural beauty – there are so many things to experience around here. 

Suggested: Visit Lecce, the Florance of South Italy [Puglia]

These regions are conveniently located, being within easy reach of major cities. This makes a train journey around these regions very easy. To experience this region by train, you need to arrive in either Perugia (for Umbria) or Florence (for Tuscany).

Tavernelle - Perugia - Umbria, Italy

Tavernelle – Perugia – Umbria, Italy

If you’re arriving here from the Monterosso or Rapallo train stations because you were visiting the Cinque Terre, then you can take a train directly to Lucca, make a quick side trip to see the leaning tower of Pisa and then head to Florence – a city where it all began.  To experience the best of Tuscany, you can stay for a few days in Florence and then take a train to Siena to explore the Chianti vineyards. You may want to read this Florence travel guide to gather more information about this legendary destination.  

If you have some time on your hand then you can visit Umbria right after Tuscany. From Siena, you can enter the Umbria region by taking a train to Perugia and head to Assisi and Spoleto from there. You can also make a trip to Lake Lucerne or visit Capri from Florence. If you don’t want to spend too much time in Tuscany, you can just visit Florence for a quick visit from Rome.

Rome (Optional Castel di Tora or Naples, Pompeii) – 2 Days

The bejeweled Rome in Italy

The bejeweled Rome in Italy – CC0 by Nimrod Oren via Pixabay

Rome is Italy’s capital and most well-loved destination. This ancient city has so much going on, and any holiday to the country should definitely include a stop here. Every single thing in Rome has a history, even a bench along the street.

Rome is characterized by its world-famous landmarks and history, delicious cuisine, vibrant streets, and architectural beauty. Wherever you walk in this city, you will be faced with postcard-perfect scenes. With its renowned museums, churches, Colosseum, Vatican City, piazzas, fountains, and more, Rome offers the ultimate Italian experience. Being the capital city, Rome is very well-connected and easy to travel to. 

Even the streets in Rome are lovely

Even the streets in Rome are lovely – CC0 by djedj via Pixabay

While in Rome, you can also easily visit the Vatican City. You don’t even have to make a day trip because it is right there.

Just 50 KMs away from Rome is the stunning Castel di Tora along the Turano Lake. It is a medieval village with lovely narrow streets and stunning viewpoints. The best part is that it next to the water. Include Castel di Tora in your itinerary if you have a little more time in Rome and you’d like to get away from the maddening crowds.

Rome is also a good starting point to see the Northern Italy if you want to start this itinerary from reverse, that is, from south to north. Start at Rome, head to Perugia, then Florence, then to Bologna and finally Venice. You can also alter this route by heading to the Cinque Terre villages at the end instead. Rome can be a part of many different kinds of train itineraries and you can also consider starting in Switzerland.

In case you want to take a peek at the gems of southern Italy, then you will be happy to know that they’re not far from Rome. It will take you just 3 hours to reach Naples and the Pompeii ruins.

Northern Italy Train Travel

The destinations above are some of the most popular stopping grounds in northern Italy. However, you can still customize your trip by adding stops at places like Milan, Bologna, San Gimignano, Verona, and Trentino. Starting your trip in either Venice or Rome, and traveling between these destinations is easy to do. 

Final Thoughts about Northern Italy by Train Itinerary

If you are planning to explore Italy, then getting around by train is one of the best ways to do it. Italian rail holidays are convenient, and they offer fantastic views and experiences along the way. Traveling by train in Italy is quick and comfortable so it makes a lot of sense.

The northern Italy is full of incredible places to visit and varied regions. Visiting some of the above mentioned destinations will give you an excellent taste of Italy that you will remember for life.

Did follow our Northern Italy itinerary?

Tag @drifterplanet on Instagram and hashtag it #drifterplanet. We will be happy to share your journey with our audience.

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