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Road trip to Italy

Level Contributor
3 posts
12 reviews
Road trip to Italy

As my husband doesn’t like to fly, we’ve never really travelled that far. However next Summer we are planning an epic drive through France and Switzerland to Italy staying in a different place each night. We plan to drive 2-3hrs, have a stop off, then a further few and arrive at a hotel around early evening. We’ll be staying at Arras (via Dover), Nancy (via Reims), Lake Lucerne (via Mulhouse), Bardolino (via Como), Venice (via Verona), Chamonix (via Milan), Dijon (via Mont Blanc), Arras (via Troyes) and back home. So if anyone has any recommendations for things to see and places for lunch at the stop points and for an evening visit and meal at the overnight places that would be really useful or just general tips for the trip with two kids aged 13 & 11. Thank you

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23 replies to this topic
Chorley, United...
Destination Expert
for Venice
Level Contributor
19,288 posts
124 reviews
1. Re: Road trip to Italy

Rather you than me with two at 11 and 13 in the car for so long. Venice you will need to park your car as the whole of the city is pedestrianised - cars and canals do not mix. You could stay at a Hotel on the mainland and travel in from Mestre by bus or train to see Venice but you do not say how long you intend to stay in the area. There are car-parks - in Mestre opposite the train station and then a short hop on the train to Santa Lucia station in Venice on the banks of the Grand Canal. Or, you could cross the lagoon on the long bridge and take the signposted turn to Tronchetto which has a large multi-storey car park and then take the No 2 vaporetto which will take you either down the Grand Canal or alternatively, in the other direction down the Giudecca Canal. Or, you could even follow the bridge to the end in Piazzale Roma and park n one of the smaller car-parks there but teh prices increase dramatically the closer you get to Venice.

South East England...
Level Contributor
5,570 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Road trip to Italy

We use: https://www.viamichelin.com/ on our annual drive from the UK to Lucca, Tuscany for routes, toll costs, times etc. Do be aware that most towns and cities in Italy have ZTLs (limited traffic zones), if you're not familiar with these then I suggest you have a read of this helpful TA article with more information on ZTLs and driving in Italy as even foreign registered cars aren't exempt: https:/…Driving.In.Italy.html


Destination Expert
for Rio de Janeiro
Level Contributor
25,601 posts
28 reviews
3. Re: Road trip to Italy

You may want to rethink your itinerary. Staying at a different place each night means you'll be spending almost all of your time in the car and not really experiencing the cities you plan to visit.

A minimum of two nights in each place would be my suggestion.

Venice in one, two or three days:



Venice Map of Attractions:


Nova Scotia
Destination Expert
for Nova Scotia
Level Contributor
14,257 posts
172 reviews
4. Re: Road trip to Italy

This is not the way to see Europe. The term epic disaster comes to mind. Here is one example:

You would drive to Venice stopping in Verona on the way meaning you would not have time to properly see Verona. Then the next day you would drive all the way to Chamonix??!! When would you explore Venice.

If I am reading this correctly you have eight nights and less than eight full days. That is enough to really see two places. You could have a lovely stay in France based two places or your choosing.

Destination Expert
for Rome
Level Contributor
13,919 posts
746 reviews
5. Re: Road trip to Italy

I agree with Maryann-ns: it's not a way of travelling which does justice to Europe. You'll spend most of your time driving (mostly on plain roads and motorways: I don't believe so much in the myth of the "scenic ruote"), checking in and out hotels, and unpacking and packing again your luggage.

Moreover, you underestimate important difference between these cities. Maybe a place like Chamonix can be visited a fairly good way in few hours, but staying in Milan or in Venice for less than one day means wasting one's time. European cities were mostly projected when cars didn't exist and often have very complex topographies: Venice is just the most impressive case, but not the only one. In most cities also reaching the centres driving is very difficult and takes a lot of time.

Level Contributor
12,618 posts
56 reviews
6. Re: Road trip to Italy

hi...strongly recommend that you reconsider 'stopping in a different place very night'....that is a recipe for misery and even more so with kids. And why would you want to do that?.....you'll be packing and unpacking, changing hotels and sitting in your car ALL the time...there won't be much enjoyment of any of the places you are going to. You really need to take a breath...you are trying to see way too many destinations and countries for your timeline...think about what you'd like to experience, rather than what you'd like to cover. Grab a guidebook and create a lovely trip in Italy (or in one of the other countries).

Barcelona, Spain
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Berlin
Level Contributor
21,906 posts
7 reviews
7. Re: Road trip to Italy

It sounds awful to me, even for two adults, let alone with kids in the car. I agree with the others, this needs a big re-think.

What is the point of driving on and on and on like this? It's not just the change of hotels every night (we have done trips with some one-night stays in hotels) it's that you are covering such big distances that you will only get a glimpse of the places you list.

South East England...
Level Contributor
5,570 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: Road trip to Italy

Maybe it's just me (and I might be getting this very wrong) but I took it from the title that the OP would be spending a night at each destination en route to/from Italy, like we do, where they would then spend a longer amount of time at their Italian destinations?


Burbage, United...
Level Contributor
476 posts
269 reviews
9. Re: Road trip to Italy

Oh dear, why do you want to do this to yourselves and your poor children? Have you any idea how awful it is to spend a so called holiday just driving? Please, please rethink. If you want to go to Italy and back without too much driving and no flights use the train. For Italy two weeks would be the minimum. Alternatively, why not have a lovely holiday in, for example, Brittany or Normandy for the eight nights you suggest?

Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Venice, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Level Contributor
12,116 posts
566 reviews
10. Re: Road trip to Italy

Up to you but more of a horse race than an itinerary. Get a map, plot it all out, see how goes it for you. Not my kind of a vacation.

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