We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Need advice on route for 26 days in Italy + London, Paris

Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Need advice on route for 26 days in Italy + London, Paris

Hello experience travellers,

Me and my wife going to Europe in September and need advice on what's the best mode of transport and route to go about our destinations.

Here are a list of places that we would like to visit in Italy (in no particular order).

- Milan (1 or 2 nights)

- Lake Como (2 nights, stay in Varenna?)

- The Dolomites (unsure)

- Siena (unsure)

- Cinque Terre (2 nights)

- Florence (3 nights)

- Rome (3 nights)

- Venice (1 or 2 nights)

Lastly, we are are flying in/out of London, and Paris is a must for the missus.

- London (3 to 4 nights)

- Paris ( 4 to 5 nights)

Feel free to add in any places that you think is worth while visiting.

Level Contributor
4,161 posts
391 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Need advice on route for 26 days in Italy + London, Paris

I would suggest to use trains (except for Dolomites) as historical centers are often pedestrian or with limited access (so called ZTL - area with traffic limitations).

Fast trains are very good and cheap if booked in advance (www.trenitalia.com or www.italotreno.it).

Where are you landing? From where are you leaving to London or Paris? For example if you land in Rome and leave from Milan you may do: Rome-Florence-Cinque Terre-Venice-Lake Como-Milan.

My other suggestions are:

- in Venice you should spend almost 2 nights

- Varenna is a nice little town from where you may take a ferry to the other side of the lake (Bellagio for example)

- Siena may be a daytrip from Florence

- if you wish to visit the Last Supper in Milan bear in mind that reservation is mandatory

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
Level Contributor
37,719 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Need advice on route for 26 days in Italy + London, Paris

For your Italian trip, I suggest that you either fly into Rome and out of Venice, or the reverse. Assuming you fly into Rome, the logical order would be:

Rome to Florence. Add a night to your stay in Florence, and visit Siena (or another Tuscan town, such as Lucca) as a day trip. Florence is absolutely bursting at the seams with tourists in September. If you're not terribly interested in art, you might want to stay in Siena or Lucca and visit Florence as a day trip. Lucca is in the best position for proceeding to the Cinque Terre. You can also visit Pisa in half a day from Lucca, and it's a very nice town, with a massive town wall, on top of which there is now a park. You can rent bikes to cycle along the top of the wall, or in the town.

The Cinque Terre is also sinking under the weight of tourists in September. If you stay a few nights, you'll be able to get away from them all, hiking on the high trails, where few tourists venture. You have to be fairly fit for this, as there's a good deal of climbing, and you should have good shoes.

Milan should be next. Varenna is only an hour from Milan by train, so you might want to consider staying there and visiting Milan as a day trip. You should spend at least three nights in Varenna if you want to do this.

Venice would be next, and you could fly back to England from there. You could also do the itinerary in the reverse direction, of course.

If you want to visit the Dolomites, they're easily reached from Venice. This is the only part of the trip where I think a car would be advisable, if you decide to go there. If you don't want to rent a car, you could stay on Lake Garda, and get around the lake by boat. Lake Garda is just slightly west of the Dolomites, and the northern end of the lake is quite mountainous. Lake Garda is easily reached from Verona, and you could go there before going to Venice. There are also some day tours of the Dolomites from Venice, but I don't know how worthwhile they are. I would ask about this in the Venice Forum.

It's hard to tell you how many days you should stay in each place without knowing your interests. I've tried in the above to cut down the number of changes of hotel by turning some destinations into day trips. It seems as though you'll have about two weeks in Italy, so I wouldn't add any more destinations.

Three nights is very little for Rome and London, especially since it seems that one of your nights in London will be just an overnight before flying home. The f

I would consider something like the following:

Three nights in Rome, three nights in [Lucca, Florence, Siena], two nights in the Cinque Terre, three nights in [Varenna, Milan], three nights [Lake Garda, Dolomites], two nights in Venice. I would prefer four nights in both London and Rome, myself, so maybe you should consider cutting out the Cinque Terre, lake Como or the Dolomites.

Level Contributor
12 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Need advice on route for 26 days in Italy + London, Paris

Thanks for your comments. Based on the feedback I've updated my course as such...

Day 1 - Arrive in London (7am), fly to Rome

Day 2 - Rome, sleep in Rome

Day 3 - Rome, sleep in Rome

Day 4 - Rome, sleep in Rome

Day 5 - Travel to Florence, sleep in Florence

Day 6 - Florence, sleep in Florence

Day 7 - Day trip to Siena, sleep in Florence

Day 8 - Day trip to Lucca, sleep in Florence

Day 9 - To Cinque Terre, sleep in Vernazza

Day 10 - Cinque Terre, sleep in Vernazza

Day 11 - Travel to Varenna, sleep in Varenna

Day 12 - Day trip to Milan, sleep in Varenna

Day 13 - To Venice, sleep in Venice

Day 14 - Venice, sleep in Venice

Day 15 - ???

Day 16 - To Paris, sleep in Paris

Day 17 - Paris

Day 18 - Paris

Day 19 - Paris

Day 20 - Paris

Day 21 - To London, sleep in London

Day 22 - London

Day 23 - London

Day 24 - London

Day 25 - Departure from London (10pm)

However, I'm a little uncertain between day 11 - day 15. Should I...

Cinque Terre > Milan > Venice > fly to Paris


Cinque Terre > Venice > Milan > Train to Paris

I would probably enjoy the views with Mountains, lakes and sea side towns, more towards nature rather than historic buildings.

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
Level Contributor
37,719 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Need advice on route for 26 days in Italy + London, Paris

I think it's better as it is; it's a very long and tedious trip from Vernazza to Venice, about six hours, with four different trains, and usually requiring backtracking to Florence. From Varenna to Venice is still pretty long, about four hours, but with only one change of train, in Milan, which is an easy station to change trains in.

I think you should add one night to Varenna, because on your only full day, you'll be visiting Milan, and won't have much time to explore the lake. I don't know where you'll get this extra night, except maybe by cutting a night from Florence or Paris.

You can work out sample train schedules here:


On the long-distance trips (Milan to Venice and Rome to Florence, especially) you can save a good deal of money by buying your tickets four months or so in advance. I would get the tickets that use regional trains after arriving in Italy.

I know you said you're constrained to fly into and out of London. I'm sure you have a reason, but if at all possible, I would try to fly into Rome and home from London. This is called a multi-city itinerary and usually costs about the same as a round-trip from a single city. If that's not possible, I'd try to add the London to Rome flight to your original itinerary rather than buying a separate ticket. And if that's not possible, make sure the London to Rome flight isn't from Gatwick if you're arriving at Heathrow, and leave four or more hours between flights, because if the first flight is late and the itineraries have been bought separately, your ticket to Rome may turn into an expensive bookmark. Also, I've had horrendous delays at Heathrow, both at immigration and at baggage collection, and at security. When your tickets are on a single itinerary, your luggage is checked through to destination, but if they're on separate itineraries, you'll have to collect it, go through customs, check in for the next flight (at a different terminal) and go through security. It can take a long time even when your first flight is on time.

I must say that I haven't gone through immigration at Heathrow in about eight years, though, so maybe it's improved. Even so, when I have flights on two separate itineraries, I usually spend a night in the first city. Maybe I'm overly cautious.

5. Re: Need advice on route for 26 days in Italy + London, Paris

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:17 am, July 25, 2014