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The ultimate Northern Italy road trip guide inclusive best campsites

Northern Italy Road Trip - Cinque Terre Riomaggiore Couple

This summer, we got the chance to travel with a campervan for the first time, and we decided to go on a road trip through northern Italy. This blog post includes the best places we visited during our Italy road trip and the best Campsites to stay overnight along the route.

Italy is one of the dreamiest and most romantic countries for us. We explored many old and beautiful towns and had the best food, including lots of Gelato. 

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Day 1 – 3 Dolomites

Our first stop on the ultimate northern Italy road trip is the beautiful Dolomites. This region of Italy reminded us a lot of our home Switzerland. It offers beautiful hikes and landscapes and the most magical blue lakes like Lago di Braies (Prager Wildsee). We highly recommend visiting the Dolomites to all adventurers and hiking lovers.

Top things to do in the Dolomites 

Best Campsite in the Dolomites

If you want to be one of the first people at Lago di Braies, we recommend staying in the parking right next to it. It’s not much of luxury there and definitely best if you have a campervan with a toilet/shower inside. But it’s cheap, and you can walk 2 min from your van before sunrise and experience the most magical moment.

Lago di Braeis Dolomites Italy

Day 3 – 6 Venice

Venice is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and charming cities we have ever been to. All these lovely little streets where you can get lost and enjoy your surroundings combined with countless cute little bridges to cross the canals and the singing gondoliers make this city very special.

Top things to do in Venice

  • Piazza San Marco and Saint Marco Basilica
  • Bridge of Sights
  • Ponte di Rialto
  • Gondola Ride through the canals
  • Get lost in the beautiful streets of the city

Best Campsite in Venice

There is a parking spot called Venezia Tronchetto Parking at the city’s entrance, the closest place to park your home on wheels. It costs 60.00 Euro per night, which is a cheap way of staying in Venice. But be aware there are no toilets/showers because it’s only a place for parking vans, not a campsite. So it’s best to have a van with a toilet and shower inside if you stay here. But you will have electricity and water to fill your tank included. You can get to the city center by the water bus in about 30 min from the parking.

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Day 6 – 9 Tuscany

It’s hard not to feel like in a romantic movie when exploring Tuscany. Whether we were relaxing in a natural hot spring or strolling through a dreamy city, tasting wine, or watching magical sunsets, every minute we spent in Tuscany was magical.

Top things to do in Tuscany

Best Campsite in Tuscany

We found the ultimate campsite in Tuscany at the Agriturismo Podere Dell’Albergo. They offer space for campervans to park, and guests can use the bathroom, eat at their guesthouse, and even use the pool. It was so perfect for us, and the view from the campsite was unbeatable. In general, we recommend staying at one of the many Agriturismo in Tuscany. It is a much more personal and beautiful experience to stay with a family than in a hotel. We could have stayed here for weeks.
Best places to visit in Tuscany - Agriturismo Baccoleno Winding Road
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Day 9 – 11 Rome

Oh, Rome! What a magical city. There is so much history to find and so many things to explore. Not to mention the incredible food choices.

Top things to do in Rome

These are the top sights you can not miss when visiting Rome.

  • Visit the Colosseum
  • Trevi Fountain
  • The Pantheon
  • Vatican City

Best Food in Rome

Italy is famous for the most delicious food, and we must say in Rome we found some very delicious restaurants.

And don’t miss Rome’s best Gelateria dell’Angeletto, which has the best Gelato we had on our whole trip. Also, with a big choice of Vegan Gelatos.

Top Tip: Their Vegan Nut Cream Gelato is so good! It tastes like Nutella but even better.

Best Airbnb in Rome

In Rome, we decided not to stay at a campsite and park our van for a few days to stay in an apartment in the city. The reason for that is that the campsites are quite far out of the city, and traveling back and forth would have cost us too much time. Also, we enjoyed the comfort of an apartment in the city so much. We found the best Airbnb in Rome, which was very cozy, at a great location, and had a fair price.

Rome Square with Fountain

Day 11 – 13 Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre the five famous and colorful towns in northern Italy. They offer lots of cute streets to stroll, hiking trails, delicious food, sunbathing on the rocks around the towns, and swimming in the crystal clear and blue water.

Top things to do in Cinque Terre

The best thing to do in Cinque Terre is, obviously, visiting the five colorful towns called Riomaggiore, Manarola (our favorite), Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare.

There is a hiking trail with spectacular views which you can follow while you go from one town to the other. Alternatively, you can buy a day pass for the train, which costs 16.00 Euros per person and allows you to drive around between the towns.

Best Campsite in Cinque Terre

When it comes to camping in Cinque Terre, it got a bit tricky. There is no way you can drive to these towns by car, especially not with a big one. We drove to La Spezia, parked the car on a parking lot, and drove to Cinque Terre by train. When we returned in the late evening, we decided to sleep there on this parking because the next camping would have been too far, and we wanted to return to Cinque Terre in the early morning. Well, it wasn’t too comfortable, but it’s doable when you have a campervan with a toilet/shower inside. If you stay longer, you will surely find a nice campsite close by. We recommend the app park4night to find the best spots.

Italy Cinque Terre Vernazza
Italy Cinque Terre Riomaggiore Sunset

Day 13 – 14 Portofino

Before we were heading back home, we spent our last day in Portofino, and we totally fell in love with this place. The water is so clear and blue, and there are lovely places to relax along the coast. We decided that we definitely want to come back here for longer one day.

Portofino is another colorful lovely town you can explore. We decided to spend our day outside of the city by relaxing on the rocks and ocean swims. The bay where we took these photos with the beautiful colorful houses is called Baia Cannone.

Best Campsite in Portofino

Same as in Cinque Terre wild camping with your van around Portofino is a bit difficult. There are barely any places to find. We stayed at a parking spot which is next to Gio e Rino beach and which was the closest for us to walk to the Baia Cannone where we wanted to go swimming in the morning. We had an ocean view for dinner, met other vanlifers and the night was free so we were happy with this find.

Budget for a 2 weeks Italy road trip

  • Campsites: from free up to 60.00 Euro per night
  • Airbnb in Rome for 2 nights: 175.00 Euro
  • Food around 50.00 Euros per day (mostly cooked in the van)
  • Highway fees: We paid 80.00 Euro for 14 Days
  • Gasoline: 220 Euros for 14 Days
  • Train in Cinque Terre: 60.00 Euros for 2 days and 2 people
  • Boats in Venice: 30.00 Euros for 2 people

For this two weeks road trip around Italy, we paid around 1’500.00 Euro for two people. This is a low budget journey because we mostly cooked our meals ourselves and often wild camped overnight. This should give you an idea about how cheap an Italy road trip can be.

Conclusion

Italy really has our hearts. It’s one of these countries we keep going back to. It is effortless and close to get there for us from Switzerland, and there is so much to experience in Italy. During these two weeks, we had everything we could dream of during a summer road trip from hikes in the mountains to gelato in romantic Venice, sunset picnics in Tuscany with a good glass of wine, historical sighs and dreamy strolls around Rome, and refreshing dips in the Ocean in Cinque Terre and Portofino.

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We are Lea & Stefan traveling and discovering the World together. We both care much about nature and health what accompanies us on all our adventures.

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