The summer of 2016 (can’t believe it’s already that long ago) my best friend and I decided to go backpacking through Italy. The decision was pretty spontaneous, and we didn’t do too much research beforehand. But we had an amazing time and fell in love with Italy’s culture and beauty. Everything is at a different pace then back home in Norway. Italians seem to be true enjoyers of life, and they are so kind and warm. Through this post, I want to share our travel route and some pictures of the beautiful country. I hope you’ll find it inspiring!
HOW TO GET AROUND
So first of all, getting around in Italy proved to be way simpler then we had expected. They have really good train connections that ran often, were affordable and the trains are in pretty good conditions. You’ll have a lot of options on what train to take, and we always just checked the day before and went there 30 min before our train departure to purchase the tickets at the station.
Other options are Flixbus which is pretty affordable if you book 24 hours before departure, and a plus for the bus is that they have electrical outlets AND Wi-Fi! I would especially recommend them if you plan to go from, ex. Genova to Nice as it’s more affordable than the train on that distance. Just make sure to be at the terminal a bit before. We had some trouble figuring out exactly where the bus stop where.
So we did three days in Venice. I would definitely recommend you to be out in good time to find accommodation here. We planned everything pretty last minute and ended up settling for a camping area outside the city. It worked out pretty well as there were buses running all the time and not more than 10-15 min away, but for another time we would definitely go for something in the city itself.
You should buy a travel pass for the water taxi, for the amount of time you’re staying there. It is expensive, but it gets you around quicker, and you’ll be able to see more. There are some beautiful Islands a short boat ride outside Venice center, among them, are Burano, Mura, and Lido. Definitely worth checking out. Lido even has a beach if you feel like having a day away from the city.
We just spent a couple of hours in Bologna before we took the train to Florence. It goes without saying that a few hours definitely wasn’t enough time to see what this beautiful city has to offer.
My favorite part of Bologna, as far as I got to know it, was the beautiful central square of the city called Piazza Maggiore dating all the way back to the 15th century. It’s located about a 15 minutes walk from the train station and surrounded by beautiful buildings. The most dominant one being the Basilica di San Petronio. On the picture above you can see me standing on one side of the square in front of the basilica. The church is actually an unfinished project, started in 1390 and never finished something you can see easily on the facade. Keep in mind that having a look inside requires that your dress in clothes that cover your knees and shoulders.
Considering Bologna is a student city, I would love to go back during the semester to see it full of life:) We still got to walk the streets and see some beautiful buildings during our few hours there.
If you feel intrigued to visit Bologna, read this guide to how to spend two days in Bologna!
Florence was one of my absolute favorite cities that we passed through. Every street is full of beauty, there are so much fascinating history and art here, cute restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Not to mention the city lies in the wine district Tuscany. We spent three days in the city but would’ve loved to stay longer.
Do a walking tour or try to meet some locals that can give you some intel about the amazing history of the city! And definitely, see it from above! ps. lots of museums are free first Sunday of the month!
Pisa was pretty cool to see, but there is not that much more to see. It’s a cute town, but pretty touristy. We arrived early and chilled on the lawn while we watched more and more tourists arrive. Afterward, we had lunch before we headed to Lucca.
Lucca is a cute little town with really well preserved medieval architecture if you go there I recommend you to rent a bike and use it to see the city. Its small, so we only stayed for one night, but it’s really worth the trip if you’re in the area!
We ended our trip in Italy with the 5 cities on Cinque Terre before we headed off to France. Cinque Terre consisted of 5 cities, that are all really close together, and it takes from 5-10 minutes with the train in-between them. There are also several hiking trails that visitors can choose to take in-between two or several of the cities. Characteristic for all the towns are the colorful houses and the mountain and the seaside. If you choose to go here, I would really recommend you to stay in one of the towns. Then you’ll be able to see it through different hours of the day, and not just during the touristic hours of the day. We only had a day here, before we had to meet up with a friend in France, but I would really recommend two. I also have a more in-depth post about Cinque Terre, one of my favorite spots in Europe.
From Cinque Terre, you could continue to, by example Positano, Genoa or Milan if you have more time than we had. If you are in the Cinque Terre area and ready for something new, you can head to France to explore another country, with amazingly beautiful nature!
All in all Italy, once again, blew me away with its beauty and culture, and I hope to go back there to explore more, and ill happily go back to Cinque Terre, Florence, and Venice, the highlights on the trip for me.
Please let me know if you have any questions about backpacking through Italy, or if this was helpful for you!
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