A car tour through italy – la dolce vita

Where to go on your next summer vacation? Sri lanka, south america? Or why not simply a round trip through italy with your own car – the land of pizza, pasta and good wine? Our experiences, route and tips for 3 weeks in italy!

Planning a round trip through italy by yourself: which means of transport?

We wanted to make a round trip with a camper for a long time. That’s why for a long time we flirted with renting a VW camper on paulcamper.Com. But since we were traveling in the high season and the daily rentals of these campers explode at this travel time, this was also unnecessary for us. Finally we borrowed a car privately. The rear seats expanded, it offered an incredible amount of space for all our equipment. We throw in a mattress and nothing stands in the way of our round trip through italy.

By car through italy

A car means 100% mobility. And this is exactly what we enjoyed very much during our round trip through italy. No dependencies on schedules, delays and the flexibility to pull over at a nice place and enjoy the view. The italy round trip with the car has saved us laborious lugging of pieces of luggage. With each onward journey our camping equipment could simply be thrown into the trunk and on we go. Of course, this mobility also means a responsible use of the vehicle and the willingness to sit behind the wheel for a few hours.

italy round trip by train – the interrail italy pass

At the beginning of our travel planning we wanted to buy an interrail italy pass. it is possible to buy it from 3 to 8 days of travel (days spent on the road). travelers up to 27 years get the youth rate. Interrail is a cheap way to travel by train through italy. In the end, however, we decided against the interrail pass for the following reasons:

  1. We wanted to be as mobile as possible
  2. Interrail travel requires light packing and tedious lugging of the necessary camping equipment
  3. Some campsites are located outside the city centers, which would have made it difficult to get to campsites (if necessary. If there would have been more costs because of necessary cab rides)

For travelers who are moving within city centers and rather stay in apartments or airbnb’s instead of camping sites, the interrail italy pass is a great (and maybe the better) alternative!

By plane to and through italy

For those who can easily commit to a few italian places or who don’t have three weeks of time, various italian cities can also be easily reached by plane. surrounding sights can then be reached by public transport.

plan an individual round trip through italy by yourself – where to go?

southern italy, tirol, veneto or tuscany? As we had more than 2,5 weeks time we wanted to
we do not limit ourselves to any of the italian regions. on the internet you will find between the countless package tour providers only in painstaking research work great sites that report on their experiences and their italy highlights as individual travelers.

An individual car tour through italy – our itinerary for 3 weeks

(1) lake garda – lazise – camping spiaggia D’oro with direct location at the lake
(2) umbria – preci – camping ill collacio
(3) calabria – tropea – camping marina del convento with direct access to the beach
(4) salerno with a side trip to pompei
(5) adventure amalfi coast ending in sorrento. Camping nube d’argento on the edge of town with incredible views of the gulf of naples
(6) tuscany – siena – camping colleverde. Via the route del chianti to florence
(7) tuscany – florence
(8) trentino – lago di tenno (lake tenno) – camping lago di tenno with a few minutes walk to the lake and as an ideal starting point for hiking tours.

our round trip through italy leads us via lake garda (1) first to umbria (2). Umbria is the green heart of italy and is characterized by the many mountains, the lush green and the small villages, surrounded by green hills. to say it in advance: this first stop should remain one of our favorite stops. We stayed at the campsite il collaccio on the edge of the national park monti sibillini. The area near the sleepy village of preci offers many signposted hiking trails that invite you to hike for hours. The friendly staff is happy to help with any questions and has many other helpful information and tips for travelers.

from there on to the tip of the boot – 900 km and 10 h night drive further south to tropea (3). Here we spend hot days on the beach, stroll through the higher town and make a trip to the beautiful capo vaticano.

From there we only go north. We continue by car to salerno (4), which will be the starting point for our adventure on the amalfi coast. On to sorrent (5), a pretty little fishing village situated on the gulf of naples. Our campsite nube d’argento, is located a few minutes outside sorrento but offers incredible views of the sea and vesuvius.
Via pompeii and its ruins we continue by car to the north of tuscany to siena (6). In the middle of tuscany and the route del chianti we continue from siena to the tuscan capital florence (7). From florence we then set off for our last stop on our round trip through italy – lago die tenno (8). A mountain lake with turquoise waters, not far from lake garda.

17 days, 3900 km later, with many impressions and great memories we arrive home again.

The best travel guides for a round trip through italy

The search for a suitable italy travel guide for our car round trip turned out to be similarly difficult as the online research. in bookstores you can find many guidebooks of the different regions – sicily, veneto, tuscany. The search for a suitable, appealing travel guide for all of italy, on the other hand, was much more difficult. Due to fewer alternatives, I decided to buy the national geographic italy guidebook. In terms of content, you can certainly find better quality guidebooks. Due to the appealing design and the placement of many pictures, this travel guide offered us a lot of inspiration for our italy round trip and an incredibly good overview of the individual regions of italy, which are worked out in different chapters separated by color.

For a round trip by car, the ADAC travel guides are of course always a good choice. If you want to limit yourself to a single region of italy, you have a wide choice and can help yourself to countless different publishers: from lonely planet, to MMV, to marco polo.

Our secret tips for a round trip through italy

Italy offers such a variety of landscapes. Between lush mountains, barren landscapes with sweltering heat and azure seas, there’s something for every taste. As highlights and also secret tips we would like to introduce a few of the less known places of italy.

our italy highlights: umbria in the heart of italy

Our first stop should remain our highlight of the italy itinerary. Umbria is a little touristy, beautiful and surely underestimated area. The lush hills on which the small italian villages are perched offer great views on the many beautiful hiking trails in the region. In the small village preci you can get delicious coffee for 1 EUR. Here we stay at a wonderful camping site, with one of the most beautiful views that a sleeping place can offer.

our italy highlights: lago di tenno in the north of italy

You want to relax at the end of your italy tour but you don’t want to be in the tourist crowd of the garda lake? Then drive a few kilometers further north into the mountains to lago de tenno. Just a few minutes from the lake is a beautiful campsite. besides swimming in the turquoise waters surrounded by mountains, the place offers countless other activities such as stand up paddling and hiking.

our italy highlights: tropea at the tip of the boot

The region of calabria in the south is one of the poorest regions of italy. In some places tourism has taken hold for a few years now. the picturesque town of tropea is one of them. This beautiful town with its small alleys and countless restaurants with Italian flair is situated directly on a steep coast. The beautiful sea invites you to swim all day long.

a trip to capo vaticano not far from tropea offers unbelievably beautiful views of hidden bays between hundreds of prickly pears.

Helpful tips for a round trip through italy

  • The toll roads: in the beginning we wanted to avoid the expensive toll roads. On long stretches we have the one or other time nevertheless fallen back on these. But sometimes this is unnecessary! before you continue your journey, check your navigation system to see how long it will take to drive on country roads and highways. On a few stretches, it simply wouldn’t have been worth paying the toll, since driving on the highway doesn’t take significantly more time.
  • Great impressions on country roads: in fact, italy’s country roads make the journey a real experience. You get glimpses of rural life and you can pull over, which would not be possible on the highway.
  • Camping equipment: most campsites have wonderfully shady spots and you can make yourself comfortable under lush trees. Nevertheless, there are also exceptions. So be sure to pack a sun sail that can be attached to the trunk. We often had to struggle with the heat in the italian july sun.
  • The car battery: the car’s fuse should be removed immediately after arrival at the campsite so that you are not prevented from continuing your journey due to an empty battery. Through open doors and chargers we had to get a jump start before we got the idea to take the fuse out of the parked car.
  • The gas prices: if you go to the most touristy parts of italy (like the amalfi coast), it’s a good idea to fill up before you get there. On the costa amalfitana we found only one gas station, which makes the wallet with 1.90 EUR/liter very quickly shrink.
  • gas stations: gas stations are very unevenly distributed in italy. In the northern italian region of emilia-romagna, you can find them on every corner, while in other regions you have to travel several kilometers to the nearest gas station. a small canister of motor oil won’t hurt either, in case the oil light starts to glow while driving through the italian pampas.
  • The itinerary: take into account the days of the week when planning your trip! This mistake has become our undoing on the amalfi coast. Do not travel to the most touristy places in Italy on weekends and if possible, even outside the main tourist season.

Do you have any other helpful tips for a car tour through italy?? If so, please let us know!


Super tips.. Thanks! We want to do a round trip in italy with our family of 4 next year with our bus and a tent!

christina barrotta

This is a great idea! & we enjoyed italy very much, especially umbria was great and very relaxing. have a great time and all the best until then.

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