Wednesday 23 August 2017

Best places to visit in Italy - Itinerary of where to visit, stay, travel and do (for just £999pp)

Fancy a rail tour of Italy but don't know where to start? Why not try my 21 day tour which spans from Tuscany to Lake Garda visiting some incredible places on the way. This post is best viewed on a tablet or computer since it is packed with information. 

Cal McTravels itinerary of a 21 day trip to Italy, spanning from Rome to the mountains of Lake Garda

Jess had always hampered on about visiting Italy, claiming their ice cream, pasta, pizza and alcohol were all the best in the world (well except limoncello, no one likes that, I swear they just try and feed it to tourists to see the look on our faces). So when I agreed that we would finally visit this land of the awesome we then couldn't decide on which part to visit first.

With so many cool places it got me thinking, why not just do a tour of Italy? How hard can it be to fly to one place and train it up through the beautiful countryside. 20 minutes later, I present Jess with the Cal McTravels tour of Italy, a 16 City extravaganza! Being quite delighted with myself that I managed to create this awesome tour in such efficient time you can imagine how devastated I was when Jess poo-pooed it saying, you don't see real Italy by just visiting city after city! Back to the drawing board, this time with the brains (Jess) involved.

The next few days were spend finding little villages and towns that came highly recommended to visit, by the end of the week we had the new Jessie J approved tour of Italy ready to book.

This tour actually turned out so good that I considered selling this itinerary, but then I guess no-one would ever see it, so instead here it is for free for all to enjoy!

If your looking to max your value on a 21 night trip then I would highly recommend booking as many hotels you can with Well you will receive 1 reward night after your 10th booked night (credits after you have stayed) to the average value of each booked night. This means after this trip is done you could have 2 reward nights to use on your next trip!

The places to Visit

You will be amazed what you can pack into 21 days and this tour is not just your run of the mill tour of Italy - thanks to Jessie J its frickin awesome and takes you from the capital Rome, to small mountain towns, then onto the lakes and mountains to drown in Prosecco!

A detailed map showing a tour route through Italy

1. Rome

Jess and Cal Mc at the Colosseum in Rome

2. Spello

The view from the stunning mountain town of Spello in Italy showing the old buildings within the walled city
Bright flowers in an old walled town, Spello in the Italian countryside.

3. Cortona

Rooftop view of Cortona in Italy
The main square in Cortona, Italy, Cal McTravels

4. Siena

The view from the top of the Siena Tower in Italy,  Cal McTravels
Siena Square looking up at the tower you can climb.  Cal McTravels

5. Florence

Duomo in Florence by Cal McTravels, 21 day tour of Italy
Bright vintage fiat 500 in Florence,  Cal McTravels
The Diamond bridge in Florence,  Cal McTravels

6. Pisa

Pretending to hold up the leaning tower of Pisa ,  Cal McTravels

7. Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre buildings on the seaside, a guide to where to visit in Italy to Tour

8. Milan

The best places to visit in Italy

9. Lake Garda

riding a boat in Lake Garda
Cal McTravels having dinner at sunset at Lake Garda, best places to visit in Italy
swimming in Lake garda, 21 day tour of Italy, where to visit and where to stay. Cal McTravels

10. Venice

The waters of Venice and bridges
Cal McTravels guide to where to visit in Italy

Cal Mc and Jess in Venice


Farmhouse in Valdobbiadene where you can get free bike hire and cycle the prosecco
Prosecco Vieyards in Italy by Cal McTravels. Where to visit in Italy
looking out onto the green wine fields

How to Travel?

In every way possible, trains, planes and automobiles! For the first part of the trip trains will keep you moving between points but once you reach the lakes it will be time for a boat and bus to navigate the rugged landscape. No trip would be completed without a little driving, so for the visit to Valdobbiadene you will be hiring a car for a couple of days.

Download the SkyScanner App to check for flights or visit Google Flights, most major UK airports fly to both Venice and Rome from around £50 each way.

For trains book via the Tren-Italia site and travel on the early morning trains, that way you wake up, spend a couple of hours on the train and arrive mid-day to explore the new destination (avoid all inter-rail or 3rd party sites, its much cheaper to book directly with the rail-line).

  • Outbound Flight = Book a 1 way flight to Rome, From £50 
  • Inbound Flight = Book a 1 way flight from Venice back home, From £50
  • Trains = Book your tickets on Trenitalia Here £100 for all trains 
  • Lake Garda Boat = Book your Ferry Tickets Here for all travel on water Lake Garda 
  • Lake Garda Bus = Check the Timetable Here for the buses
  • Car Hire = I used Enterprise for my rental but there are various available

The Itinerary - where to stay & what to do!

This trip is all about getting out and seeing Italy so for the most part you wont be needing that 5* Spa hotel, instead save your cash and book some standard cheap hotels keeping your money for some awesome accommodation at Lake Garda and Valdobbiadene.

Ok, so this is what you should follow each day, click on the hotels name to link to the booking site.

a detailed guide on where to visit in Italy and how to travel there by Cal McTravels

1. Rome 

Stay = Casa Tua Vaticano (near the Vatican City)
Cost = From £66pn
Duration = 3 nights

What to do = There is so much to do here but I would recommend booking some tours ahead to avoid huge ques, we booked a tour of the Colosseum and used the underground to explore the city. We also walked all the way round the Vatican City so we could say we have walked round a whole country!

2. Spello

Travel = Train from Roma - Spello = £10
Stay = Nuovo Alberogo II
Cost = From £39pn with breakfast
Duration = 1 nights

What to do = Get lost in the ancient roman mountain town drinking wine at Sofia's, check out my   "5 things you have to do in Italy" for more details on what you should do here!

3. Cortona

Travel = Train from Spello to Camucia-Cortona then you can get the 10 min bus which runs every 30mins to the town (Timetable Here).
Stay = Hotel Italia 
Cost = From £47pn with breakfast
Duration = 1 nights

What to do = With a similar feel to Spello but with a very medieval feel, see a show in the very old theatre or enjoy the whole place to yourself once the day tours head off at 4pm.

4. Siena

Travel = Train from Camucia-Cortona to Siena then use the longest escalators in the world in the shopping mall once you get off the train to reach the entrance to the old town.
Stay = Hotel Duomo (located within the old town walls)
Cost = From £68pn with breakfast
Duration = 1 nights

What to do = Climb the tower in the square which is terrifying and claustrophobic but worth it for the incredible views, also eat out at one of the traditional Italy restaurants.

5. Florence

Travel = From Siena to Florence
Stay = Hotel De Lanzi
Cost = From £58pn with breakfast
Duration = 2 nights

What to do = Visit all the fancy jewellery shops on the famous Ponte Vecchio and a must do is the Vintage Fiat 500 Tour in the Tuscan Hills! Check them out on my top things to do in Italy here.

6. Pisa

Travel = Buy a ticket leaving early from Florence, spend the day in Pisa and then book an onward train from Pisa to La Spezia.

What to do = This is a just a day trip on the way to Cinque Terre, spend 4 hours here seeing the leaning tower and getting that standard Pisa photo!

7. Cinque Terre

Travel = Get yourself a day pass on the train that links the 5 villages here, this allows you unlimited travel on and off the train all day (trains run late at night).
Stay = Hotel Mary (in La Spezia)
Cost = From £54pn
Duration = 2 nights

What to do = Stay in La Spezia and visit all 5 of the sea side villages using the train which cuts right through the hills, find out more about this and what to do in each village here on my post "what to do in Cinque Terre".

8. Milan

Travel = From La Spezia to Milan
Stay = Palazzo delle Stelline
Cost = £67pn
Duration = 1 night

What to do = Grab yourself a beer at one of the outdoor squares and chill out to live music or book yourself a time slot to view the Last Supper Painting Here 

9. Lake Garda

Travel = Train From Milan to Desenzano del Garda then Boat from Desenzano to Torri del Benaco (boat timetable here).
Stay = Residence Ca' del Lago (in Torri del Benaco)
Cost = From £150pn (1 bedroom apartment with kitchen)
Duration = 4 nights

What to do = Stay at the Residence in Torri del Benaco and live like a local, picking up fresh food and cooking dinner in your wee apartment. After Dinner head up to the sky bar for incredible views of the sunset over the mountains. There's a nice little pool here too or you could just head down into the lake for a refreshing ice cold dip!

10. Venice

Travel = Bus from Torri del Benaco to Garda then to Verona (bus timetables here) then train to Venice.
Stay = Eurostars Residenza Cannaregio 
Cost = £100pn
Duration = 2 nights

What to do = Get very lost in the maze which is Venice!

11. Valdobbiadene - Procecco Region

Travel = Train from Venice to Venice Airport then hire a car.
Stay = Relais Dolcevista 
Cost = £120pn (includes bike hire and breakfast)
Duration = 4 nights

What to do = Stay at this farmhouse conversion which has an outdoor spa pool and free bike hire to drunkenly cycle around all the prossecco wineries! Check out my post "5 best things to do in Italy" for more details.

Total Cost 

Well after 7 days of battering my keyboard there you have it! The "Jessie J" Approved Cal McTravels Tour of Italy! Remember 21 days is just what we did so if you have more time by all means add a few days to some of the places you think look best (If I had more time I would have spent it in Cinque Terre or Florence).

Travel = £300pp
Hotels = £700pp
Total = £1000pp



  1. Well, it’s a nice one, I have been looking for. Thanks for sharing such informative stuff.

    1. Hey Aura, sorry for the late reply and thank you for your kind comment. I hope the post was helpful and you managed to use some of the Ideas for your trip to Italy.


      Cal Mc

  2. Wonderful pictures you have shared with us. These are really best places to visit in Italy. Thank you so much for posting. This post is very interesting.
    Italy Travel tips


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