At the end of 2017, I decided to see Italy in all of its glory and spent eight days travelling up and down the country with one of my best pals. We went to Rome, Pisa, Milan and Venice. We did this via Interrail and plane for less than £500 (including accommodation)… How? Keep reading to find out.
Prices and booking our holiday
First of all, this is what we did:
- Flew into Rome
- Stayed in Rome for four nights
- Took a day trip to Pisa
- Got the train to Milan
- Stayed in Milan for three nights
- Took a day trip to Venice
- Flew home from Milan
We opted for the one country Interrail pass, and that allowed us to travel up and down Italy without the stress of trying to book tickets. We booked our flights and hotels via British Airways and chose the ‘customise your trip’ option. We managed to get return flights and a four-star hotel in Rome and a four-star hotel in Milan for £288. Our Interrail passes were around £110-130 and we chose the three days of travel option.
Planning our itinerary
We discussed this prior to booking any flights so we had some indication of what we were planning to do each day. We decided to base ourselves in Rome and Milan as they had most of the tourist attractions. We knew a day trip to Pisa was enough as there’s literally only one thing there (pictures to come). And as someone who previously visited Venice, I thought a day was more than enough to see everything.
Now for the boring logical bit – we researched the train times between each of our locations too and found that the distances between our day trips were realistic. Once we knew that our day trips were viable options we started booking everything.
So here’s an overview of what did in each location.
This was by far the place with the most to do and see – it can be somewhat overwhelming so it’s always best to plan ahead. Because we were on a budget and had a lot to see in a week we opted out of tours and excursions. Seeing these landmarks was enough for us; Rome is a naturally beautiful place and it feels rich in history. (Probably because its original architecture is still in tact!)
Highlights: Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, The Vatican, The Pantheon and The Roman Forum.
Pisa allowed us to experience authentic Italian culture – there were some tourists but not many. It was great to soak up the atmosphere and they had a lovely mini Christmas market too. With this location we really only had one objective in mind and that was to get the cringey tourist picture next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa… we were successful in our attempt and produced this marvellous collection.
This was possibly my favourite part of the trip as Milan was somewhere I always wanted to visit. It’s grand in every sense of the word – the architecture is beautiful and the shopping lived up to every expectation. We really lived our best life and I highly recommend shopping in Alcott if you see one around.
Highlights: Milan Cathedral and The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Venice is a great place for a laid back weekend break, however, a day trip is another story! As previously mentioned we used Interrail to travel across Italy and it was great. But the downside is that you have to be on an exact train (kind of like advance tickets). We had so much drama on this day and I’m laughing in hindsight but at the time I don’t think Terry or I had ever been that stressed lol. Trying to navigate your way around Venice with Google Maps is absolute banter because you’ll directed to dead ends and canals with no bridges. Despite this, we managed to see everything, look in a few shops and decided to make our way back to the train station over an hour ahead of time.
You’d think this would be enough time as it was only a 20 minute walk (if you knew where you were going anyways). We were getting stressed because we were walking around in circles following the Google Maps app and both of our phones were practically dead. We tried asking people where the train station was and no one understood. Finally one self-assured and austere Italian lady said ‘follow me’ and that was it. We looked like a couple of stray puppies marching behind but she managed to get us to the train station. We made the train with maybe a minute or two to spare. It was quite the experience I must say. It was all worth it though as Venice is very picturesque and full of life.
Highlights: St Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge.
Now, enjoy some pictures of me next to various backdrops featuring water and bridges… you’re welcome.
So, there you have it, a week of Interrailing in Italy. I highly recommend it – you get to see everything Italy has to offer and your Instagram content is going to be sweeeeet! Plan ahead, make sure you have internet on your phone and get ready to have one of the best travel experiences of your life.