What is Northern Italy known for?
Northern Italy has many claims to fame, from historic cities and culinary traditions to its diverse landscapes. Here, you'll find art-filled cities like Milan and Venice that are just a short drive from incredible nature. You'll also find the most picturesque towns and villages in beautiful natural settings like the Lakes District or the rugged cliffs of the Riviera.
When is the best time to visit Northern Italy?
The best time to visit Italy depends on what you'd like to see and do:
Outdoor Adventure: If you plan to spend the majority of your visit outside, April to October is the optimal time to visit. The sunny spring, summer, and early fall months bring long days and warm weather, which are perfect for outdoor activities like our walking and cycling tours. As it's further north, winter in Northern Italy can get pretty cold, especially up in the Dolomites.
Food- and Wine-Tasting: Although you can enjoy Italian cuisine any time of year, May through October are among the best times to visit. You can spend more time outdoors among the vineyards, see the harvest in the fall, and go for hikes between bites (more room for more food) in fair weather.
Culture, Museums, and Art Galleries: If the main goal of your trip is to immerse yourself in local art, there's no bad time of year to visit as you'll likely be spending the majority of your time indoors. However, visiting in the fall or winter means you'll find fewer crowds at popular museums and attractions.
Less Crowded: Italy is an extremely popular destination, meaning that the summer high season can be very crowded. Planning your visit for spring (April and May), fall (September, October, and November), and even winter brings fewer crowds and more space for you to enjoy your trip.
Do I need to learn Italian to visit Northern Italy?
Although it's a good idea to learn some basic phrases (like thank you, please, I would like..., etc.) to help you communicate with the locals, most Italians in the major tourism areas like Venice, Milan, and the Riviera speak English. Traveling with a tour guide on one of our small-group trips, you'll also have someone who can assist with translating.
How many days do I need in Northern Italy?
Five days to a week is usually enough to do all the highlights, plus have some free time, in a particular region or city. But if you plan to explore multiple regions in one trip, you'll likely want to plan for up to two weeks of travel.
Do I need a visa to visit Northern Italy?
As an American citizen, you can enter and explore Italy for up to 90 days as a tourist without a visa. You will need a valid passport.
How do I get around Northern Italy? Can I do a self-guided walking tour?
From intercity train travel to buses and ferries, Northern Italy offers a well-developed and connected transportation network. Many travelers also opt to rent cars to get around at their own pace. This makes Northern Italy, and Italy in general, a great destination for solo trips and self-guided walking tours, as you can take things at your own pace.
What are the benefits of small-group tours in Northern Italy?
Offering a more intimate travel experience, small-group tours are another great way to explore Northern Italy. Small-group tours with a guide benefit from having a local expert to provide information and background on each destination and experience, as well as having all your accommodations and transportation arranged and booked in advance. This type of tour is also ideal for a family vacation, as the itinerary is already planned with free time built in.
Is Northern Italy safe for travelers?
Apart from pickpocketing at crowded tourist sites and in some major cities, Northern Italy is very safe for travelers.
Do I need a COVID-19 vaccine to visit Northern Italy?
Currently, you do not need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter Italy. It is recommended that you be vaccinated and up-to-date, however.
What should I pack for my Northern Italy 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.
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.