Italy is the home of the European self-drive, its scenic interior and coastal beauty best seen at your own pace. From the rolling Tuscan countryside to Sicily's charming backcountry, the open road awaits. Wind your way around the northern lakes region, pausing at Como and Maggiore, or head off the beaten track to Puglia, in the lesser-visited south. Or, follow the glitterati to the Amalfi Coast, where the turquoise sea meets dramatic cliffs dotted with pretty, white-washed villages. The beauty of a self-drive holiday in Italy is the opportunity to link together these highlights in one spectacular trip, or simply dip in and out as you choose.
Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast
Tuscany's picture-perfect scenery makes for a special kind of road trip. Back country routes wind their way through medieval towns and sun-soaked vineyards. Perhaps start in Pisa, with its oh-so-famous tower, before heading into the hills to explore San Gimignano’s centuries-old towns and the Roman amphitheatre of Volterra. And, moving south to the Amalfi Coast, there's a number of scenic drives to take advantage of, in between pastel-coloured towns clinging to sheer cliff faces. The Blue Ribbon Drive is a highlight, sweeping along the coast through tunnels and around cragged rocks that meet the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea.
Northern Italy and the lakes
Italy's famous lakes are some of the world's most beautiful, and with such close proximity to each other, a self-drive is a great way to see the region. There's plenty to admire as you sweep your way around the shores of Lake Como or Maggiore, passing through tunnels under the gargantuan Alps and skirting verdant vineyards. The main attractions are the lakes themselves, Garda completing the list of big-hitters, and our most popular itinerary brings you to all three. It's worth noting that the smaller, lesser-known lakes are just as picturesque, well-connected by road for easy access. Wherever you go in this region, there's everything from lake dips and boat rides to grand architecture and authentic Italian food to enjoy.
Sicily is a diverse destination, boasting white-sand beaches, ancient ruins and of course, the mighty Mount Etna volcano. A criss-cross network of roads bring you to some of the island's most impressive landmarks – the thousand-year old Valley of the Temples at Agrigento and the Roman amphitheatre at Taormina are highlights. It's a large island, best taken in over a number of days, giving you the opportunity to experience both its idyllic coastline and its fertile interior.
Of course, there's plenty more to see in Italy, especially when you have the freedom to plan your route by road. Consider a focus on Florence and Tuscany, or perhaps a taste of what's on offer in Umbria. Puglia is another hidden gem, with just as much charm as the busier, tourist meccas of Rome and Venice. There's plenty of inspiration below, or if you need a hand, contact our travel specialists today. With first-hand knowledge of the destination, they're here to help plan your perfect Italian self-drive.
Our top itineraries for Italy Self-Drives
With the flexibility to explore at your own pace, link Sicily’s highlights with spectacularly rural drives and stays in some of the island’s premier hotels. You’ll take in everything from Cefalù’s white-sand beaches to Agrigento’s temple wonders and Taormina's ancient grandeur.
Sicily's rich past has given rise to a uniquely contrasting history and it's a similar story when it comes to its food and wine. You’ll take it all in with stays in boutique properties and pretty country drives, with the island’s famous gastronomy showcased in wine tastings and open-kitchen dining.
Calm blue lakes, snow-crested mountains, grandiose villas and some of Italy's finest Belle Époque hotels provide the backdrop to this tailor-made driving holiday through beautiful northern Italy. Its bookended by stays among Milan's ultra-fashionable repose and Verona's fabled past.
Top offers for Italy Self-Drives
Stay 4 pay 3 at Cala Del Porto & Stay 3 pay 2 at Santa Croce – Save up to £425pp
Book by: 29 February 2020
A self-drive combining the white sands of the Tuscan coast with the Renaissance excess of Florence. You'll enjoy stays in two of the country’s finest hotels.