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Northern Italy itinerary 10 days

Northern Italy is one of my favorite places in Europe. Its stunning nature and the most outstanding European mountains are the Dolomites. Not only that, but it’s also famous for its incredible lakescute towns and cities, and the most touristy must-see city, Venice.

I visited the Dolomites and northern Italy, as it’s been my dream to make a road trip through all these stunning places. After spending over 14 days in northern Italy, I’ve put together this itinerary so you can explore its highlights.

So take this road trip based on my experience and have a great time!

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Overview Of The Northern Italy Itinerary For 10 Days

Here is a quick overview for the ultimate Northern Italy itinerary for 10 days:

DAY:DESTINATION:
1.Milan ⇒ Verona
2.Day Trip From Verona: Pasta, Gelato, Wine-Tasting
3.Verona ⇒ St. Ulrich Ortisei (Dolomites)
4.Seceda (Dolomites)
5.St. Ulrich Ortisei ⇒ Rifugio Lagazuoi (Dolomites)
6.Rifugio Lagazuoi ⇒ Venice
7.Venice & Murano Island
8.Venice ⇒ Bassano del Grappa ⇒ Malcesine (Lake Garda)
9.Malcesine & Limone Sul Garda
10.Drive Around Lake Garda ⇒ Sirmione ⇒ Milan

Map Of The Northern Italy Itinerary

Here is a map of this northern Italy road trip. Save it to your phone and navigate to the places once you travel:

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How To Get To Northern Italy

The best way to get to northern Italy is to travel to Milan. It’s the biggest city in the area, has one of the biggest airports in Europe, and many connections to the nearby countries and cities.

Flying to Milan is the fastest and most convenient way to reach Northern Italy. It has great international connections.

Get the best flight deals to Milan via Skyscanner here.

If you’re arriving in Milan from nearby countries like Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria, or southern Italy, you should consider taking a train.

Check Trenitalia for connections within Italy; when arriving from Switzerland, look up trains via SBB. I recommend taking the Railjet train (my favorite) from Austria.

Check out the best train connections to Milan via Trainline here.

If you’re on a budget, you can also take a bus from neighboring countries. It’ll be a long journey, but the cheapest. Flixbus has great connections to Milan from major European cities.

Look up bus connections to Milan via Busbud here.

How To Get Around Northern Italy & Make This Itinerary

The best way to explore Northern Italy is by car. There is no better option than making a road trip. So I recommend you rent a car in Milan and embark on the journey.

It’s especially worth it driving through the Dolomites. Even if you don’t visit anything, just driving through its tiny mountain roads is an experience of a lifetime. You’ll love every second of it. The views are spectacular, the environment amazing, and the cute little Italian towns are worth the stop.

There are trains between major cities like Milan, Verona, and Venice. The rest of the places on this itinerary are reachable by bus. But you’d lose a lot of time waiting for the connections.

So rent a car in Milan for 10 days and make your 10-day itinerary. You can then return it to Milan.

RENT A CAR FOR YOUR ITINERARY

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PRO TIP: Check ratings of the company you choose before booking (ratings can be off). Go on Google, see ratings of the car rental company, then book on Discover Cars.

0. DAY: MILAN ⇒ VERONA

If you want to stay in Milan, arrive one or two days before starting your itinerary. It’ll be an excellent place to fight the jet lag and relax.

Then, rent a car in Milan and embark on the journey. At the beginning, you’ll drive from Milan to Verona.

Distance Milan ⇒ Verona: 2 hours by car (160 kilometers/100 miles)

Verona

Verona belongs to my favorite cities in Italy. It’s not because of the Balcony mentioned in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet poem. It’s because of its beautiful architecture and atmosphere. Unfortunately, many people, for some reason, choose to skip it when traveling in Italy. 

Now, you’ll get to explore its beauty.

So check in to your accommodation and head for lunch or dinner in the city center, depending on your arrival time, and get a first glimpse of the city.

Where To Stay In Verona: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

SAN GIACOMO B&B – budget-friendly apartment
HOTEL MILANO & SPA – mid-range hotel
HOTEL ACADEMIA – luxury hotel
NH COLLECTION PALAZZO VERONA – luxury hotel

Restaurants In Verona

🍕 Trattoria Pizzeria Impero
🍕 Trattoria al Pompiere
🍕 Antica Bottega del Vino
🍕 Locanda 4 Cuochi

Travel Itinerary Planning Services

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👉 READ ALSO: Milan To Amalfi Coast: Ultimate Travel Guide

1. DAY: VERONA

Good morning to Verona. Today, you’ll have the entire day to explore the city with its hidden gems.

Ready? Let’s go.

Sightseeing In Verona

🔆 Juliet’s House
🔆 Piazza delle Erbe
🔆 Torre dei Lamberti
🔆 Piazza dei Signori
🔆 Castelvecchio
🔆 Arena di Verona
🔆 Garden Giusti

northern italy itinerary 10 days Verona
Me exploring Verona

Verona’s best ‘attraction’ is walking around, strolling through its tiny historical streets, and seeing some locals on their balconies.

So take it easy, and enjoy the city this way.

I recommend seeing the famous Juliet’s House (in Italian called Casa di Giulietta) in the morning with its balcony and Juliet’s statue (to avoid crowds). This house was featured as the residence of the Capulet Family in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Thanks to its balcony, Verona attracts thousands of visitors each day.

Verona main square & Torre dei Lamberti
Verona Main Square & Torre dei Lamberti

The house dates back to the 14th century. Many visitors come here specifically to leave notes and love letters on its walls, asking Juliet to solve their issues (mainly related to romantic relationships).

You can also visit its museum and learn more about Shakespeare’s story and the house.

Suggested Itinerary For 1 Day In Verona

Admire the Piazza delle Erbe’s cute cafes and stunning architecture. Sometimes, it hosts markets so you can buy souvenirs.

From there, admire the Torre dei Lamberti built by the Lamberti family in the 11th century. It houses four bells, is 84 meters high, and offers panoramic city views.

Check out the Piazza dei Segnori, too. I recommend eating the best pizza in the restaurant Trattoria Pizzeria Impero.

Then walk to the Castelvecchio, the most important museum in town. It was built in the mid-1300s by the Scala family. Nowadays, you can explore many Renaissance sculptures, weapons, armor, jewelry from the past, and ancient bronze bells.

Verona
Verona

Finally, check out the famous Arena di Verona. It’s the ancient Roman theater, one of the largest arenas in the world, and the best-preserved structures in Europe. It’s been used as a filming location in several movies, including Quo Vadis and Letters to Juliet.

Nowadays, many performances are organized on its stage. It can accommodate up to 30000 spectators.

NOTE: Check out if there is a performance in the Arena di Verona in the evening. I highly recommend you experience it.

Verona Guided Tour

Join this guided tour of Verona and learn more about its history and culture with a local guide.

2. DAY: DAY TRIP FROM VERONA: PASTA, GELATO, WINE

Verona is a perfect place for some great day trips. What would a visit to Italy be without participating in a cooking classgelato class, or a wine-tasting tour? So for now, we’ll stay in Verona, and you’ll have the entire day to make a day trip of your choice.

I’ve picked the top 3 day trips from Verona so you can choose which one you feel like doing.

One of them is private pasta making in an Italian home. You’ll learn how to make Italian pasta and eat it with locals in their homes.

The other activity is gelato-making class. You’ll learn how to cook fresh fruit sorbet and make your Italian gelato. After, you’ll get to taste what you’ve made.

The last tour is visiting a family-run winery and experiencing wine tasting in their vineyards. You’ll taste the most delicious Italian wines, enjoy spectacular views, and see the 17th-century old cellar where they produce the wine.

So book one of these three activities for today, and enjoy Italian culture fully.

3. DAY: VERONA ⇒ ST. ULRICH ORTISEI (Dolomites)

Today, we’ll drive from Verona up to the northern part of Italy. It’s time to explore the most beautiful mountains in Europe – the Dolomites.

In the morning, drive from Verona to St. Ulrich Ortisei.

Distance Verona ⇒ St. Ulrich Ortisei: 2 hours & 20 minutes by car (188 kilometers/116 miles)

If you want, you can stop in Trento on the way. You can have lunch or taste Italian delicacies, such as prosciutto, salami, pesto, and cheese, in local shops. Then, continue driving to St. Ulrich Ortisei.

St. Ulrich Ortisei (Dolomites)

Welcome to the Val Gardena, one of the most beautiful parts of the Dolomites. We’ll stay overnight and explore the best attractions tomorrow.

St. Ulrich Ortisei is a small Italian town in the middle of the Dolomites. It’s famous for its excellent outdoor activities, winter skiing, and summer hiking trails.

The most famous mountain to visit in this region is Seceda. You can take a funicular and a cable car up and enjoy the stunning atmosphere. Tomorrow, we’ll explore this place.

For now, check in to your accommodation, enjoy the beautiful atmosphere with mountain views, walk around the town, and relax.

northern italy itinerary 10 days sankt ulrich ortisei dolomites italy
St. Ulrich Ortisei, Dolomites – Italy

Where To Stay In St. Ulrich Ortisei: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

B&B VILLA ANGELINO
HOTEL GENZIANA
HOTEL ANGELO ENGEL

Restaurants In St. Ulrich Ortisei

🍕 Cascade Ristorante Pizzeria Bar
🍕 Restaurant Pizzeria Terrazza
🍕 Mauriz Keller – Restaurant – Pizzeria

4. DAY: SECEDA

Good morning to Val Gardena. Today, we’ll visit one of the most beautiful mountains and enjoy hiking with delicious food.

Seceda was my favorite place in the Dolomites that I visited. It’s part of the so-called Odle Group, a subrange of the Dolomites mountains. You might also see the term Sëceda in the local Ladin language.

Its elevation is 2,519 meters (8,264 feet), making it a perfect spot to admire the mountain views.

I’ll never forget getting up, seeing the beauty, and staying at the local mountain hut. I sat on the grass, ordered Italian delicacies (Bombardino and apple strudel with vanilla sauce), and kept staring at the mountains. It feels like heaven, and I’ll say it once more – Dolomites are the most beautiful mountains in Europe.

Seceda northern Italy itinerary 10 days Dolomites
Seceda – Dolomites – Italy

How To Get To Seceda

So in the morning, take a cable car from St. Ulrich Ortisei town to the Furnes. From there, take a huge cabin car up to Seceda.

You don’t have to book your tickets in advance. Just go in the morning and pay directly at the counter.

Take Cable Cars: St. Ulrich Ortisei Town ⇒ Furnes ⇒ Seceda

Things To Do In Seceda

Once you’re up at the Seceda, take your time to walk up to the viewing point, Panorama Seceda. A big compass shows where other big European cities and mountain peaks are. You’ll be able to see Switzerland and Austria from there, too.

Then walk towards the famous Seceda Ridgeline and take some nice photos.

After, head to the mountain hut called Baita Sofie Hütte. They have the best apple strudel with vanilla sauce. You can also eat lunch and have it for dessert. Don’t forget to try Bombardino, the famous Italian sweet drink made from alcohol and egg yolk liquor. Add whipped cream on top.

Seceda Baita Sofia Hut bombardino Italy
Views from Baita Sofia Hut with Bombardino, Dolomites

If you want to do some hiking in Seceda, here are my top picks:

🏞 Seceda Panorama Trail
🏞 Odle High Route
🏞 Adolf-Munkel Trail

 

Other two activities you can enjoy are mountain biking and paragliding.

After, enjoy another evening in St. Ulrich Ortisei, get some good food, and relax.

5. DAY: ST. ULRICH ORTISEI ⇒ RIFUGIO LAGAZUOI (Dolomites)

Have some delicious breakfast, and hit the road again. This is the most scenic ride on your entire road trip. So have your camera and phone ready.

You’ll be passing through the famous Sella Ronda. It’s a skiing route around the Marmolada mountain in the Dolomites. You’ll cross several mountain passes and drive through curved roads. Stop whenever you can and enjoy the views. Pay attention to the bikers as they’re everywhere, cycling on the side of roads.

Drive to the Falzarego Pass. Leave your car there. We’ll be visiting the beautiful mountain hut called Rifugio Lagazuoi.

Distance St. Ulrich Ortisei ⇒ Falzarego Pass: 1 hour & 15 minutes by car (48 kilometers/30 miles)

Falzarego Pass

Once you’re at the Falzarego Pass, you have two options to get to Rifugio Lagazuoi: hike up or take a cable car.

Falzarego Pass has a small hut where you can use the bathroom, change clothes, have a coffee or a cake, and buy souvenirs. From there, you can continue up to Rifugio Lagazuoi. 

The big parking next to the hut is free of charge.

Passo Falzarego Dolomites on the northern Italy itinerary 10 days
Passo Falzarego – Dolomites – Italy

Rifugio Lagazuoi

Rifugio Lagazuoi, an Italian word for a mountain hut, is located on Mount Lagazuoi. It’s mainly famous for its role in World War I. You can explore the impressive outdoor Lagazuoi War Museum below the mountain hut.

You’ll see the hiding spots of soldiers with wooden doors. Just imagine how the Italians and the Austro-Hungarian forces were fighting and shooting from those mountains.

Once you’re at the Rifugio Lagazuoi, take some time to walk around and enjoy the incredible views. After, have a delicious Italian lunch inside.

PRO TIP: If you want, you can first take a cable car up. Then, walk back to the Falzarego Pass and see the entire outdoor museum. You’ll only see a few shooting spots when you walk around the Rifugio Lagazuoi.

Rifugio Lagazoui Dolomites on the northern Italy itinerary 10 days
Me enjoying views at the Rifugio Lagazoui – Dolomites

Stay Overnight At The Rifugio Lagazuoi

If you want, you can stay overnight in the Rifugio, which is an amazing experience. You can enjoy the sauna at night, watch the stars, and wake up to stunning mountain views.

NOTE: Rifugio Lagazuoi is only open from June to September, so plan your trip accordingly.

👉 RIFUGIO LAGAZUOI – book rooms on their website at least 4 months in advance (they’re almost always fully booked)

Rifugio Lagazoui hut Dolomites
Rifugio Lagazoui Hut

Alternatively, if you don’t like staying up in the mountains, return to the Falzarego Pass and drive to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Distance Falzarego PassCortina d’Ampezzo: 30 minutes by car (18 kilometers/11 miles)

Where To Stay In Cortina D’Ampezzo: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

HOTEL COLUMBIA & SPA
RADISSON RESIDENCES SAVOIA PALACE
HOTEL LAJADIRA & SPA

6. DAY: RIFUGIO LAGAZUOI ⇒ VENICE

Good morning to the Dolomites. Whether you stayed at the Rifugio Lagazuoi or in Cortina d’Ampezzo, it’s time to leave the Dolomites today.

We’ll drive from the Dolomites down to the sea, visiting the romantic city of Venice.

This will be another stunning ride. I loved driving through the impressive mountains and slowly descending to the sea. You’ll see a castle ruin, mountain lakes, and spectacular mountains. So enjoy until you come to the sea and reach Venice.

Distance Falzarego Pass ⇒ Venice: 3 hours by car (195 kilometers/121 miles)

Once you drive to Venice, I recommend leaving your car at the Piazzale Roma Parking garage. It’s the closest to the center.

Remember, Venice is a car-free town, where the main transportation is the water taxi called the Vaporetto.

Where To Park In Venice: Piazzale Roma Parking

Piazzale Roma Parking is the one closest to the city. It’ll be slightly more difficult to reach it because of the traffic, but you’ll be fine.

Parking Price: 11 Eur for 3 hours, 21 Eur for up to 24 hours

Once you park your car, take the most important stuff for your 2 nights in the Venice center. Take only the things you need and leave everything else in the car. You’ll only return to the car the day after tomorrow, so plan accordingly.

Once ready, take a water taxi (Vaporetto) from Piazzale Roma to San Marco. It’s the water taxi line 2 (red one). It leaves from the Piazzale Roma ‘G’ platform. You can buy tickets on the spot.

Venice northern Italy itinerary 10 days
Venice & Views From A Vaporetto – Italy

Venice

What would an Italian itinerary be without visiting the most famous city of all, Venice?

It’s time to enjoy the city of romance and ride the Venetian Gondola.

Tomorrow, we’ll also visit Murano Island, famous for its glass-blowing factories. I love visiting this island and seeing how they produce beautiful glass things. So this is one thing you can’t miss in Venice.

Let’s dive into things you should see while you’re here.

Sightseeing In Venice

🔆 St. Mark’s Square
🔆 Rialto Bridge
🔆 St. Mark’s Basilica
🔆 St. Mark’s Campanile (Bell Tower)
🔆 Doge’s Palace
🔆 Gondola Ride
🔆 Murano Island – glass-blowing
🔆 Arsenal

Venice Gondola Ride
Venice – Gondola Ride

Suggested Itinerary For 1 Day In Venice

Once you arrive in Venice, check in to your accommodation and head to the city to explore it for half a day. First, go to St. Mark’s Square and enjoy its atmosphere.

Sometimes, there are musicians next to the restaurants, so enjoy the music and admire St. Mark’s Basilica and its Bell Tower (called Campanile in the Italian language).

If you want, you can also visit the St. Mark’s Basilica with the Doge’s Palace. To do so, I suggest buying skip-the-line tickets. The lines are always super long, and you would waste time waiting to enter.

Venice St. Marks Square & Bell Tower Campanile
Venice St. Mark’s Square

What I highly suggest you see is Arsenal. During the 4th Crusades, Venetians built a massive fleet of ships to transport the Crusaders and feed the knights. Venice constructed a naval facility called Arsenal (translated from Arabic as the house of manufacture).

Later, this Arsenal became the center of the Venetian state and the world’s largest military installation producing weapons. Just imagine how much power Venice had in the past. It’s impressive to see the Arsenal and learn about its history.

In the late afternoon, ride the romantic Gondola through the Venice canals. It’s one thing I enjoy doing in Venice, even though I’ve already done it 5 times. It’s a special occasion and a unique experience.

Venice Gondola Ride

Book the gondola ride in Venice here and experience the best gondola ride in the city.

Where To Stay In Venice: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

HOTEL AI PIAVE
ALL’ ANGELO ART HOTEL
HOTEL DONA PALACE

Restaurants In Venice

🍕 Venissa Ristorante
🍕 Trattoria da Romano
🍕 Pizzeria Principe
🍕 Riva Rosa

👉 READ ALSO: 9 Best Hotels In Amalfi Town Italy

7. DAY: VENICE & MURANO ISLAND

I hope you had a great day in Venice yesterday. To be completely honest with you, Venice can be overcrowded and sometimes loses the atmosphere. It’s a tourist hotspot and not really my favorite city. But visiting it onces in a lifetime is worth it.

What is even better is the nearby Murano Island, which we’ll visit today. After breakfast, take a water taxi to Murano Island and see the glass-blowing show.

You can go alone or take an organized group tour, visiting Murano and Burano Island.

Take a water taxi (vaporetto), Line 7, to Murano Island. It takes 27 minutes to get there.

The vaporetto Line n. 7 runs every 30 minutes, starting at 10:14 am. I recommend coming to the port at St. Mark’s Square earlier to get the ticket for the vaporetto ride. Or you can also buy the tickets in the evening before (better). The last vaporetto from Murano Island is at 4:45 pm.

Sightseeing On Murano Island

🔆 Glass Blowing Factory
🔆 Museo Del Vetro – Glass Blowing Museum
🔆 Campo Santo Stefano

🔆 Glass Blowing Factory

The most important thing to see on this island is the glass-blowing art. So you can’t miss visiting one of the local factories and, with some, even try making your own glass. Book some of the glass-blowing shows and experiences on Murano Island.

Some excursions include a water taxi from St. Mark’s Square, so you don’t have to worry about anything.

Venice Murano Island glass blowing show Italy
Glass-Blowing Show in Murano Island – Italy

🔆 Museo Del Vetro

If you’re still interested, visit the glass-blowing museum (Museo del Vetro). First, you’ll learn the Venetian techniques and art of glass blowing, a tradition for centuries. After, you can also buy some unique glass pieces as a souvenir for your home.

 

🔆 Campo Santo Stefano

Campo Santo Stefano is mainly famous for its blue glass sculpture in the middle of the square. It’s officially called the ‘Comet Glass Start.‘ Walk to the square and take some photos.

Once you’ve seen the glass-blowing art on Murano Island, head back to St. Mark’s Square,

Enjoy the evening in Venice, have delicious dinner, and relax.

Guided Tour To Murano & Glass-Blowing

Join this guided tour to Murano & Burano Islands from Venice, ride on a private boat, enjoy the glass-blowing show, and hear interesting stories from your guide.

8. DAY: VENICE ⇒ BASSANO DEL GRAPPA ⇒ MALCESINE (Lake Garda)

Good morning to Venice. Today, we’ll be heading to our last destination. On the way, we’ll visit one charming town few people know about.

So take your luggage and the Vapetto line no. 2 to the Piazzale Roma parking in the morning.

After, start driving to Bassano del Grappa town.

Distance Venice ⇒ Bassano Del Grappa: 1 hour & 15 minutes by car (96 kilometers/59 miles)

Bassano Del Grappa

This cute Italian town is mainly famous for its beautiful covered wooden bridge over the River Brenta, grappa liquor produced in the area, best pizzetta, and ceramics.

I’ve brought you here to see its picturesque bridge over the River Brenta. Walk through the historic town and enjoy its atmosphere.

Stop at the Bottega del Pane for lunch to try the most delicious pizzetta. Afterward, walk around the town and buy some grappa liquor to try later once you reach today’s destination.

northern italy itinerary 10 days Bassano del Grapa
Bassano del Grapa – Italy

Then, have a coffee and continue driving towards Lake Garda. I’ll use the official Italian name in this itinerary: Lago di Garda. It’s the largest Italian lake.

Distance Bassano Del Grappa ⇒ Malcesine: 2 hours & 10 minutes by car (167 kilometers/104 miles – drive via Vinceza & Verona)

Lago Di Garda & Malcesine

Lago di Garda has many small towns to visit. For tonight, we’ll sleep in the town named Malcesine.

On the way from Bassano del Grappa, you’ll drive alongside Lake Garda. Once you arrive in Garda, the road leads alongside the lake, and the scenery is spectacular. So enjoy it until you arrive in Malcesine.

Then check in to your accommodation and have a good dinner. Tomorrow, we’ll explore the town and enjoy the lake.

Lago di Garda Italy
Lago di Garda – Italy

Where To Stay In Malcesine: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

BREATHTAKING VIEW APARTMENTS
HOTEL VEGA
WELLNESS HOTEL CASA BARCA
LUXURY APARTMENTS NATURA

Restaurants In Malcesine

🍕 Ristorante La Cambusa
🍕 Ristorante Pizzeria Italian da Nikolas
🍕 Taverna dei Capitani
🍕 II Covo della Taranta

👉 READ ALSO: How To Get To Capri Italy: Full Guide

9. DAY: MALCESINE & LIMONE DEL SUL (Lake Garda)

Good morning to Malcesine. Today, we won’t be driving, so you can relax.

In the morning, I recommend taking a boat to the other side of the lake, a town called Limone Sul Garda.

Enjoy the beautiful boat ride, which takes about 30 minutes.

PRO TIP: You get the best views of the towns and enjoy Lake Garda the most from a boat. So this is a must-to-do activity.

Once you arrive in Limone Sul Garda, take your time to walk through the town.

Limode del Sur Lago di Garda Italy
Limode del Sur – Lago di Garda – Italy

Sightseeing In Limone Sul Garda

🔆 Stroll its streets
🔆 Walk the promenade
🔆 Eat delicious gelato
🔆 Visit Lemon Museum
🔆 Explore local shops

Limone Sul Garda is a tiny place at Lake Garda with just over 1000 inhabitants. The best way to enjoy it is to stroll through its streets, eat as much gelato as possible, and explore local shops with local production

My favorite activity is going to the local stores and tasting various Italian products. You can taste things from prosciutto to homemade sausages, Italian cheesepistachio cream, other cream varietiesliquors, and more.

After, visit the Lemon Museum to learn how they grow and how locals care for them.

In the afternoon, take the boat back to Malcesine.

Malcesine Lago di Garda northern Italy itinerary 10 days
Malcesine, Lago di Garda

Sightseeing In Malcesine

🔆 Scaliger Castle
🔆 Cable Car To Monte Balto
🔆 Malcesine’s Harbour
🔆 Stroll its streets

Scaliger Castle is the most beautiful medieval castle on the shores of Lake Garda. It was constructed to control navigation on the lake.

I highly recommend you take a cable car to Monte Balto. It’s truly spectacular. Firstly, it offers unique views of Malcesine town. Then, as you’re approaching the top of Monte Balto, the northern part of Lake Garda opens up in front of you. These views are breathtaking.

Once you’re on the top, walk around, enjoy the views, and soak up the atmosphere.

After returning to Malcesine, walk through its promenade to see the Scaliger Castle from a different side and enjoy the sunset.

In the evening, have a good dinner in one of the local restaurants.

Lago di Garda Italy Lake Garda northern Italy itinerary 10 days
Me exploring Lago di Garda and its cute towns

10. DAY: DRIVE AROUND LAKE GARDA ⇒ SIRMIONE ⇒ MILAN

On the last day of your road trip, we’ll do a scenic drive around Lake Garda, the largest Italian lake, and drive back to Milan in the evening.

FUN FACT: Drive around Lake Garda is 150 kilometers long and takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.

In the morning, hit the road again and drive north alongside Lake Garda until you reach a small town called Riva del Garda.

Then, continue driving south. Today, you’ll drive almost around the entire lake. You’ll pass by Limone del Sul, which you visited yesterday. Drive further until you reach Tremosine Sul Garda.

Below, I’m giving you a few stops and highlights of the drive.

📍 Tremosine Sul Garda

Tremosine Sul Garda is a unique spot as it offers some of the best views of Lake Garda. However, the most beautiful town in this part is Pieve, also known as the paradise of cliffs.

I suggest stopping to enjoy the views from the observation deck named Terrazza del Brivido. Or enjoy coffee in some of the local restaurants in Pieve.

📍 Strada Della Forra

Tremisone is mainly famous for its beautiful road with tiny bridges. It’ll be the next sight to see while driving. Just above Pieve, you’ll reach the Strada della Forra road when you continue driving south.

Make sure you open the windows as you drive through the cave tunnels to hear the stream and waterfalls. This is the most spectacular part of the entire ride today. So enjoy.

PRO TIP: When you’re in Malcesine on day 9. ask locals if the Strada della Forra leading from Pieve is open. Sometimes, it’s closed, so make sure what’s the status.

📍 Spiaggia Toscolano Beach

If you want to enjoy the lake, stop at the Spiaggia Toscolano beach for a while. Go for a swim or have a moment to look around.

Then, continue driving all the way south to Sirmione. It’ll be our last stop at Lake Garda before leaving.

PRO TIP: I recommend stopping at this Parking lot in Sirmione: Via XXV Aprile, 98, 25019 Sirmione BS, Italy.

Sightseeing In Sirmione

Sirmione is the most visited city on the lake, which is often very crowded. It’s very popular with cruise ships, taking customers here for a day trip. Yet it’s still nice to see and a good spot to have lunch.

🔆 Castello Scaligero
🔆 Cruise around by boat
🔆 Explore the medieval city center
🔆 Take comboio to Grotte di Catulo
🔆 Visit Grotte di Catulo

The best way to see the city is to stroll through its tiny streets, see local shops, and enjoy the best coffee and croissants.

BEST COFFEE & CROISSANTS: You must go to Caffè Grande Italia for the best croissants. They also make delicious cappuccino, so try it out for yourself.

Sirmione Lago di Garda Lake Garda Italy
Sirmione

Another great way to see it is by hopping on a boat and doing a small cruise around the peninsula. This is the best way to get unique views of the city.

You can take a boat tour around Sirmione from this spot; Piazza Giosuè Carducci, 2, 25019 Sirmione.

Taking a comboio (touristic train) towards the Grotte di Catulo is a lot of fun, too. You can take it from ‘II Trenino Delle Grotte.’ In the end, you can explore the Roman excavation Grotte di Catulo. These are Roman ruins that have been standing here since the 1st century BC.

Restaurants For Lunch In Sirmione

🍕 La Roccia
🍕 L’Accanto
🍕 II Vicolo (hamburgers)

Drive To Milan

In the evening, drive back to Milan. Or if you want, you can stay an additional night at Lake Garde.

Distance Sirmione ⇒ Milan: 2 hours by car (132 kilometers/82 miles)

This will be the end of our itinerary. I hope you get the most out of it, enjoy every second, and see as many places as possible.

👉 READ ALSO: How To Make A Day Trip From Rome To Amalfi Coast: Full Itinerary

14-Day Itinerary For Northern Italy

If you have more than 10 days, that’s perfect. In this case, I recommend adding Milan for a day (one day is enough). Spend an extra day in the Dolomites and go hiking or relax in a spa hotel. And visit Lake Como for 2 days before returning to Milan.

Here is an ideal 14-day itinerary for Northern Italy:

DAY:DESTINATION:
1.Milan
2.Milan ⇒ Verona
3.Day Trip From Verona: Pasta, Gelato, Wine-Tasting
4.Verona ⇒ St. Ulrich Ortisei (Dolomites)
5.Seceda (Dolomites)
6.Hiking In Val Gardena (Dolomites)
7.St. Ulrich Ortisei ⇒ Rifugio Lagazuoi (Dolomites)
8.Rifugio Lagazuoi ⇒ Venice
9.Venice & Murano Island
10.Venice ⇒ Bassano del Grappa ⇒ Malcesine (Lake Garda)
11.Malcesine & Limone Sul Garda
12.Drive Around Lake Garda ⇒ Sirmione ⇒ Como (Lake Como)
13.Lake Como
14.Como (Lake Como) ⇒ Milan

7-Day Itinerary For Northern Italy

If you have less time than 10 days, that’s also fine. You can still follow the basic itinerary as I designed above. I recommend skipping one place on the itinerary – either Verona or Venice – or spending only half a day driving around Lago di Garda (instead of staying there for 2 nights).
Here is my suggested 7-day itinerary for Northern Italy:

DAY:DESTINATION:
1.Milan ⇒ Verona
2.Day Trip From Verona: Pasta, Gelato, Wine-Tasting
3.Verona ⇒ St. Ulrich Ortisei (Dolomites)
4.Seceda (Dolomites)
5.St. Ulrich Ortisei (Dolomites) ⇒ Malcesine (Lago di Garda)
6.Malcesine & Limone Sul Garda
7.Drive Around Lake Garda ⇒ Sirmione ⇒ Milan

Practical Tips For Visiting Northern Italy

To help you plan your trip to northern Italy even more, I’ve got some further tips for you. See how many days you should spend, when the best time to visit is, what to pack, and what budget you’ll need.

Passport & Visa To Italy

Check the expiration date of your passport. Most airlines don’t even take you on board if your passport expires in 6 months. Avoid issues with boarding and on the road. Ensure your passport won’t expire in the next 8 months.

Check if you need a Visa to Italy. iVisa will give you detailed information on whether you need a Visa and other necessary documents to travel.

Click here to see what kind of travel documents you need for Northern Italy.

How Many Days Do You Need For Northern Italy?

10 days is the perfect time to visit northern Italy and also the minimum time. If you can, spend up to 14 more days in the Dolomites or places you’ll enjoy the most.

But generally speaking, 10 – 14 days is the perfect time to explore northern Italy.

Best Time To Visit Northern Italy

The best time to visit northern Italy is June and September. These months have great weather, everything is open, and they’re less crowded than the peak summer months.

July and August are also good times, but expect many tourists, especially in cities like Venice or the Dolomites.

I don’t recommend visiting northern Italy in the winter, as some places are closed, and the scenery isn’t as beautiful as in the summer.

If you want, you can go skiing in the Dolomites in the winter – it has some of the best ski slopes in Europe.

Dolomites Italy
Dolomites – Italy

👉 READ ALSO: Italy In Summer: What To Do & Where To Go By An Expert

Tips For Driving In Northern Italy

Northern Italy has well-developed highways between major cities like Milan, Verona, Trento, and Venice.

Roads are smaller, narrower, and curvy if you drive through small towns alongside the lakes and the Dolomites. So, it gets a bit challenging.

However, you’ll be fine if you pay attention and give way.

Here are some of the tips I have for you to when road-tripping through northern Italy:

🚔 Italian highways don’t have a vignette – you pay for the toll at the toll gate when driving through the highway.

🚔 Italian highways are called ‘Autostrada‘ – I recommend stopping at Autogrill station to get delicious croissants and coffee.

🚔 The speed limit on the highway is 130km/h; on bigger roads outside of cities, 90km/h, and in cities and towns, you can travel a maximum of 50km/h.

🚔 If you’re from the US or outside of Europe, you need an International Driving License to be able to drive in Italy.

🚔 It’s compulsory to wear a seatbelt.

driving in northern Italy Dolomites tips

What To Pack For Northern Italy

Northern Italy is the most diverse region in Italy, so you need to pack for different weather conditions, places, and situations.

You’ll visit the Dolomites and need hiking clothes for it. You’ll spend some time in the romantic towns of Verona and Venice and relax at the lake, so you’ll need some beach stuff.

Here is a quick packing list for northern Italy for you:

🎁 T-Shirts
🎁
Shorts/Skirts
🎁
Dresses
🎁 Good shows for walking
🎁
Sandals
🎁
Flipflops
🎁 Swimming Suit
🎁
Hat
🎁
Sunscreen
🎁
Hiking boots/trekking shoes
🎁
Hiking Pants/Shorts
🎁 Small Backpack For Hiking
🎁
Trekking pools
🎁
Download Maps.me (for hiking in the Dolomites)
🎁
Sunglasses

I’ve also designed a printable packing checklist for your trip to Italy. It’ll help you stay organized and plan your outfits for different parts of Italy.

Get my free packing list for Italy & the Dolomites by clicking on the image below:

👉 READ ALSO: What To Pack For 12 Days In Italy: Complete Guide

Cost Of A Road Trip In Northern Italy

The budget for a 10-day Northern Italy itinerary per person (mid-range traveler) is $1535. This is a very realistic budget for mid-range travelers who want to stay in nice hotels, rent a car and travel conveniently, enjoy hiking, and each location’s activities.

Here is a breakdown of this itinerary budget for each travel category (assuming you travel as a couple):

Accommodation: $90 per night in a nice mid-range hotel = $900 per person
Car Rental: $220 for 10 days = $110 per person
Gas: approx. $350 for the entire trip = $175 per person
Food & Drinks: $25 per day p.p. = $250 per person
Activities & Attractions: approx $10 per person per day = $100 per person

So the total budget for a 10-day trip to Northern Italy, without restricting yourself too much and enjoying everything the region offers, is $1535 per person.

Budget Breakdown For Different Traveler Styles

Here is a quick overview of the budget for every type of traveler:

➡ 10-day itinerary budget for backpackers and travelers on the budget: $700
➡ 10-day itinerary budget for mid-range travelers: $1535
➡ 10-day itinerary budget for luxury travelers: up to $3000

NOTE: This is an approximate budget based on my calculations and spending during my 10-day trip to Northern Italy. The budget will vary based on every traveler’s preferences.

FAQs

I’ve also answered some of the most frequently asked questions about northern Italy. Check my answers below:

Where Is The Best Place To Fly Into Northern Italy?

Milan is the best place to fly into to explore Northern Italy. It’s the biggest city in the region with great international connections, whether you’re arriving from Europe, the USA, or Asia.

What Is The Best Way To Get Around Northern Italy?

The best way to get around Northern Italy is by car. Northern Italy has many beautiful towns and hidden gems (including the Dolomites), where buses and trains don’t go. So the best is to rent a car in Milan and drive around. You’ll be flexible and can get everywhere.

Is 10 Days In Italy Enough?

No, 10 days isn’t enough for the entire Italy. If you only want to visit a few places, then 10 days are fine. But Italy is big and offers so many beautiful places. So I recommend staying at least 20 days to explore the highlights.

How Easy Is It To Drive In Northern Italy?

Driving around Northern Italy is fairly easy, depending on where you go. Driving in the Dolomites is slightly more difficult because the roads are curvy and steep, and you’ll pass many mountain passes.

There are also many small villages, and the roads alongside the lakes (Lago di Garda) are tiny. But overall, if you pay attention, it’s fairly easy.

WRAP-UP: Northern Italy Itinerary

This is my ultimate northern Italy itinerary for you. It’ll show you some of the country’s highlights, with various activities. You’ll explore a lot of history and culture, enjoy delicious food and stunning mountain views in the Dolomites, and relax at Italy’s largest lake – Lago di Garde.

I made this road trip by myself and still reflect on it – it was one of the most magical times of my life. I’m sure you’ll love it, too.

If you have any questions or need help planning your trip, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

ITALY: Interested in more articles for Italy?
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