Whether you are looking for a short weekend city break, an overland adventure, a summer beach holiday or a gap year in Italy, this country is the perfect destination.

If you are planning a trip to Italy for the first time there are hundreds of popular destinations you can visit, and choosing where to go can be difficult.

Most international tourists visit Italy during spring and summer due to the warm weather but this really is an ideal year round destination.

If you are interested in travelling to Italy we have put together a list of the 6 best places you should see.


1. Rome


Are you looking to discover ancient history? Head to Rome.

This is one of the most iconic cities to visit in the world with famous attractions and highly rated restaurants.

There are lots of ways to get around, you can walk, go by sightseeing bus or travel on the underground. Rome city centre isn't too big and from the main Termini station you can walk to see the main local sights.

There are so many places to see in Rome and the city is diverse in terms of sightseeing. Essential must visit places include the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Parthenon and Vatican City. You might like to visit one of the many green parks such as Villa Borghese.

There are lots of high quality restaurants with prices for all budgets as well as ice cream parlours around every corner.

If you plan to stay a little longer in Rome you might like to go by train to visit the coast and beaches which are located around 30-60 minutes by bus far from Rome centre. Popular places to consider include Formia, Civitavecchia and Nettuno.


2. Venice

Grand Canal, Venice

There isn't anywhere in the world like Venice, this is a magical city surrounded by water and it is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. If you are keen on a honeymoon in Italy, Venice is highly recommended.

If you love sea views, boats and would like to see someone totally unique, Venice is must visit destination.

Don't worry about Venice not having any roads, you can get around by the vaporetto water bus which connects most of the city and allows you to take luggage and hand bags onboard. 

From the train station you might like to walk to the popular Cannaregio zone and wander the many bridges and canal paths - be sure to take comfortable footwear as you'll do lots of walking.

Highlights of Venice include:

  • Get Instagram perfect photos of the colourful houses on the island of Burano
  • Saint Mark's Bell Tower at sunset
  • Visit the Basilica in Saint Mark's Square
  • See the iconic Doge's Palace and Palazzo Ducale
  • Head to the Rooftop of the new Fondaco dei Tedeschi

Venice really is a unique location and you will struggle to find any cities similar. As well as the main tourist hotspots, it can be a wonderful experience just to wander the streets and get lost. There are lots of hidden gems to discover in Venice.

The city is really scenic in the evening where you can wander around and see canals lit up and people sitting outside the bars, cafes and restaurants. Prices vary around the city for sightseeing, food, drinks and entertainment but whatever your budget, Venice is a must.

During peak summer time it is recommend you book accommodation well in advance as spaces fill up and prices can be really high. A budget option is to stay near the main train station, or even stay in one of the nearby towns and cities and take a short train ride in. 


3. Sicily

Caltagirone, Sicily

Sicily is a special and unique island in Europe attracting millions of tourists every year and famous for the active volcano Etna, lush green scenery and also scenic beaches.

The atmosphere in Sicily is different than other places in Italy, for example when you wander around the scenic remote villages and you are likely to see lots of stray cats running around which is quite bizarre.

Expect stunning scenery, friendly people and some of the tastiest Italian food you can try. Be sure to learn some basic Italian travel phrases as not many people here speak English.


4. Milan

Lake Como

Milan is a great destination for a city break, during the warmer months you can explore the tourist attractions and lakes, whilst in winter you can go skiing and snowboarding.

Some of the best places to visit in Milan include the Duomo, the Navigli District, 'The Last Supper' andthe San Siro Football Stadium.

If you are looking for day trips from Milan, there are the beautiful lakes including Como, Maggiore, Garda,Orta and Iseo. You might also like to plan a trip to explore Verona.


5. Sardinia

Sardinia beautiful white sandy beach

Sardinia is one of the most scenic islands in the world and has spectacular beaches, which are often described as some of the best in the world.

Sardinia is a popular summer holiday destination and by visitng you can choose to stay in so many amazing hotels and resorts.

When in Sardinia you can enjoy local pretty villages, fresh air, ocean views and the stunning coastlines.

Some of the best beaches to see include:

  • La Pelosa Beach
  • Spiaggia La Cinta
  • Cala Mariolu
  • Porto Giunco
  • Poetto
  • Cala Goloritze


6. Naples and the South

Cinque Terre

If you are keen to explore the beautiful south of Italy you should really try to visit Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Stromboli, Ischia island and Capri.

You can visit Stromboli from Naples harbour, this is a small island containing an active volcano. Despite the volcane, Italian people still live here and this is a facsinating place for tourists to visit.

Capri is one of the most romantic and famous places to see in the whole of Italy and can be visited on a day trip or longer excursion. Capri is a small island but a very interesting place to explore.

Located near Naples you can also visit Ischia island, a lesser known destination but one which will undoubtedly be one of the highlights.For something a little different you can also join a sailing and dolphin conservation volunteer project in Ischia.


Plan Your Trip to Italy

Hopefully my guide for where to visit in Italy hasgiven you some ideas for where to add to your itinerary. Of courses some more unmissable destinations include Tuscany and Florence - but where you go really depends on your interests. If you would like to discover the highlights there are lots of Italy group tours available to book with weekly departure dates.

By Susanna Lappalainen