Italy is filled with so many incredible cities to see, if you’re heading North we recommend following along with our complete Northern Italy itinerary. This itinerary will take you through some amazing cities, from the coastal region of Northern Italy and up to the Italian Alps. While this Northern Italy itinerary is for a two week trip, it can be easily adjusted to be a longer or shorter trip. While a car would make this a great road trip, you can also use the trains to see all these places with the exception of the Dolomites.
Northern Italy Itinerary Overview:
- Day 1-4 | the Dolomites
- Day 4-7 | Venice
- Day 7-8 | Verona
- Day 8-10 | Florence
- Day 10-13 | Cinque Terre
- Day 14 | Travel home
Day 1-4 | The Dolomites
The Dolomites are a mountainous region located in Northern Italy. With the Dolomites wedged between the Austrian mountains and Italian plains, it not only makes for a very unique and stunning landscape but it allows makes for a large Austrian influence. Hiking in the Dolomites feels like a bucket list experience and one that we highly recommend. When planning out any outdoor adventures, we always consult AllTrails for trail information and updates.
Highlights for your time in the Dolomites:
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo loop hike. The Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the most iconic mountain ranges and the symbol of the Italian Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, if you choose to do one thing in the Dolomites we highly recommend opting for the Tre Cime Di Lavaredo loop hike. This hike will showcase the jagged mountain ranges perfectly, along with many other stunning views.
- Lago di Braies. Lagi di Braies is one of the most popular lakes to visit and hike in the Dolomites. There is an option to do an easy 4km hike around the lake, or you can simply enjoy the views.
- Lago di Sorapis. Lage di Sorapis is another popular lake to explore, the main difference is this hike you have to hike to access. Due to the hiking, this lake has less of a crowd when you arrive.
- Seceda Ridgeline. The Seceda Ridgeline is a stunning ridgeline accessed via gondola.
- Cadini di Misurina. This is another very popular hike, partially due to its accessibility but also because of the stunning views. The hike is 4km and relatively easy, this is a great hike where you get the views without all the work.
Day 4-7 | Venice
Venice is one of the most unique cities we have been too and quite possibly our favorite city in Italy. We highly recommend spending 2-3 days here wandering around and getting lost in the streets.
Highlights for your time in Venice:
- Bridge of Sighs. This bridge has a unique history to it as this is the bridge that prisoners would walk across when going to jail.
- Rialto Bridge. This is the oldest bridge in Venice and one of the few that crosses the grand canal. The views of the canal from the top are iconic and should not be missed.
- St. Marks Square. This historic piazza is lined with restaurants and cafes, making this a great spot for an afternoon break.
- Doge’s Palace. This palace features Venetian Gothic architecture and has a lot of history to is as well.
- Get out on the canals. Whether you opt to pay 80 euros for one of the man powered gondolas or you pay 8 euros for the shuttle boat, we highly recommend you get out onto the canals at least once.
Day 7-8 | Verona
Verona is best known as the home of Romeo and Juliet. While this Shakespeare play is fictional, he did base it off of this town and not to miss a tourism opportunity – Juliet’s balcony can be found in this town. Romeo and Juliet aside, this town is filled with history, architecture and great shopping. You can easily see everything in a day, so we recommend spending a night while enroute to Florence.
Highlights to see in Verona:
- Juliet’s balcony. You can actually walk up and onto Juliet’s balcony.
- Verona arena. The Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheater that you can walk around and explore. While this is a smaller Roman Arena than the Colosseum in Rome, it’s still great to explore.
- Piazza delle Erbe. This is a historic square in Verona that often houses a market as well. We recommend grabbing some souvenirs and fresh fruit here.
- Funiculare di Castel San Pietro. This funiculare is a short gondola that will take you up to Castle San Pietro. Yes you could also walk up to this lookout point, but for 1.50 euro I think this is worth doing at least one way.
- Castle San Pietro. If you’re looking for sweeping views of Verona, this is the spot to be.
Day 8-10 | Florence
The next city on the itinerary is Florence. Florence is the capital of Tuscany, the birthplace of the Renaissance and home to some incredibly famous art. With all this said, Florence is also filled with great food and has a small city feel that makes it popular among travelers.
Highlights to see while in Florence:
- Duomo and Brunelleschi’s Dome. This is arguably the most famous building in Florence making it a must see.
- Giotto’s Bell Tower. Looking to get your steps in? We recommend climbing to the top of this bell tower to enjoy some incredible views of Florence.
- Lorenzo Market. This is an outdoor market and a great spot to barter for some deals.
- Ponte Vecchio. This is the oldest bridge in the city, a perfect spot to take a break as you stroll along the river. If you’re willing to brave the crowds, stroll along the bridge to do some shopping.
- Piazzale Michelangelo. This is a square that overlooks the city of Florence, we recommend enjoying the sunset from this spot.
- Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi is an art museum that houses some incredible and famous works of arts.
- Accademia Gallery. This museum is visited largely to see Michelangelo’s famous Statue of David.
- All’Antico Vinaio. This was the best sandwich spot we came across during our Italian road trip.
Day 10-13 | Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre Italy is a string of seaside villages located on the Italian Riveria coastline. Cinque Terre translates to ‘five lands’, which is very appropriate as Cinque Terre is made up of five seaside towns. The towns from North to South are: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore. Corniglia is the only town without water access, the town is located 100m above sea level on a cliff. We highly recommend spending 2-4 days in the region so you can have the chance to explore all five villages.
Highlights of the five towns of Cinque Terre:
- Riomaggiore. Explore around the harbor looking in on the town, visit Kepris for pizza, visit Old School for gelato and, lastly, walk up to Castello di Riomaggiore to explore.
- Manarola. Walk up to Manarola Scenic Viewpoint for the views and then enjoy a meal at Nessun Dorma.
- Corniglia. Head to Viewpoint Corniglia for some coastal views, opt to enjoy a meal at either Restorante La Posada or Dau Tinola.
- Vernazza. Walk along the waterfront and the harbor for views of the town, head over to Ananasso Bar for pastries, Relax at Vernazza beach, hike the blue trail for unbeatable views overlooking the town.
- Monterosso al Mare. Enjoy the seafront promenade and wandering the streets of ‘old Monterosso’, hike up to Cimitero di Monterosso for views of the town, relax at one of their three beaches.
If you need more information on planning a trip out to Cinque Terre, we have a complete guide on that as well as a guide to the five towns of Cinque Terre.
Want to Extend your Northern Italy Itinerary?
As with every trip, there is no possible way to see all the incredible areas that Northern Italy offers. If you want to adjust or add to your Northern Italy itinerary, we highly recommend adding in either Lake Como or Lake Garda as well as Milan.
Tips for you Northern Italy Itinerary:
- As with all current travel, these towns are bustling with tourists. If you’re looking to enjoy some crowd free time wither visit in shoulder season or wake up early.
- Bring a reusable water bottle. Throughout the cities of Italy there are outdoor fountains with drinking water, we found these the best option for water.
- Book tickets in advance. If you’re looking to do any museums or attractions in these cities, we recommend booking the tickets in advance as you can choose a time slot and avoid lengthy lines.
- Book trains early. If you’re traveling between these cities by train, we recommend booking this as early as possible. Like airline tickets, train tickets will fluctuate and steadily increase the closer you get to the date.