What is Northern Italy known for?
Diverse landscapes, culinary traditions, and historic cities just scratch the surface of all you can see and do in Northern Italy. Milan and Venice overflow with art, architecture, and cultural institutions such as the famed La Scala opera house. In towns and villages throughout the countryside, local wines and regional cuisine await. Outdoor sports enthusiasts flock to the Italian Alps for hiking and trekking through spectacular scenery.
Food-wise, each region in Northern Italy offers its own local specialities, from Piedmont's rich variety of delicious antipasti to buttery fontina cheese from the Aosta Valley. Dishes to relish range from fresh seafood in the coastal zones to hearty alpine meals with plenty of meats and cheese up in the mountains.
Northern Italy encompasses some of the country’s major wine-producing regions. Each has its own key grapes and varieties, such as barolo from Piedmont, amarone from Veneto, and lambrusco from Emilia Romagna. Our culinary-themed tours like A Taste of Italy - Walking in Emilia Romagna and the walking tour around Piemont offer deep dives into the gastronomic delights of each region.
When is the best time to visit Northern Italy?
With long days and warm weather, April to October is the best time to visit Northern Italy. Our walking and cycling tours around the region take place throughout the spring, summer and early fall to ensure the best weather and plenty of daylight for outdoor activities.
Should I do a self-guided walking tour or a small-group tour?
You can choose to explore Northern Italy with fellow travelers on a small group tour, as part of a family vacation, or to go solo on a self-guided trip. Self-guided travel in Italy allows you to take things at your own pace, while group tours with a guide benefit from having a local expert to provide information and background on each destination and experience, really adding to your understanding and enjoyment of Italy.
Either way, all the accommodations for your trip are arranged and booked in advance, so even self-guided travelers will have an itinerary to follow but without the stress of planning. Free time is also included on group tours.
What is included in my Northern Italy tour?
The specifics of what is included vary from tour to tour, but accommodations and some private transport options are included across the board. On guided tours, one of Explore’s expert guides will be with you every step of the way, offering guided activities and information. Included meals vary by itinerary.
What is the physical difficulty of the walking and cycling tours?
The physical difficulty ranges from mild to demanding depending on the tour. Most of our Italian walking tours are easy to moderate, with the most challenging option being the multi-day Tour du Mont Blanc mountain trek. The cycling tours like the Dolomites, Lake Garda and Venice itinerary are all fairly easy, with no major ascents or descents. Individuals in good shape and good health should have no problem with the physical activities on the tours.
What should I pack for my trip?
You can find more tour-specific packing recommendations on your tour page. But in general, breathable, comfortable and sturdy shoes for either cycling, hiking or walking are a must. Layered clothing that you can take off as the day heats and cools is also recommended, as well as waterproof jackets, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.