On tour in Italy

6 Italian experiences you can only get through coach touring

Wouldn't it be nice to go on a holiday to Italy where someone else takes care of all the logistics, carries your bags for you and saves you the hassle and stress of hiring a car, navigating and driving in an unfamiliar country?

Coach touring does all these things - and so much more. Reaching places where a train or plane cannot, you can sit back and immerse yourself in the country you’re visiting, whether you’re gazing out at the incredible scenery, making use of the onboard WiFi to look something up, or practising your Italian with the person sitting next to you. But there are so many other benefits you may not know about - and not just the fact you can indulge in the odd limoncello if you fancy it.

Here are six reasons why the best way to see Italy is by coach.

1. The views are bigger and better

Higher than the cars and with wide windows all around your seats, coach travel gives you a first-class view of the stunning Italian scenery. Travel in spring and you can see even more, with unencumbered vistas through budding hedgerows. So what can you expect to see?

In the south, there are the stunning coastal roads that link the Baroque city of Lecce and whitewashed trulli houses of Alberobello, while Central Tuscany offers rolling hills, terraced vineyards, olive groves and red-roofed villages. Northern Italy has its pristine lakes, mountains and the Gardesana, one of the most beautiful roads in Europe, which offers views of the elegant villages, monuments and Roman architecture of Lake Garda's little towns. With an experienced driver taking care of the transport, you won't need to miss a minute.


2. You'll become a master of Italy

Want to be an expert on an area? Travel through it on an escorted tour. Your time on the road is put to good use, as your Tour Director will explain all the local customs, history, politics and art – all brought to life with wit and anecdotes. Visiting an exhibition by a well-known artist? You’ll hear the defining moments of his or her life and most famous works on your way there. Confused about all the Italian hand gestures? You’ll get the chance to practice your non-verbal communication as your Tour Director will demonstrate the basics. Now there’s something to take home and impress your friends and family with.


3. The locals want to meet you

To really get under the skin of a place, you need a native to show you around. Meet our local guides! Their passion is infectious: they can bring to life the quirky history of Turin’s Mole Antonelliana Museum of Cinema, direct you to the stall in Palermo’s food market that sells the tastiest cannoli - and make sure you don't pay too much for silk in Lake Como. This is their patch - and they love nothing better than to show off all that's amazing and unique about it.


4. You can leave the queueing for other people

Nothing feels quite as satisfying as walking past a long line of people waiting to buy a ticket for a top sight. No, don’t feel guilty – they should have booked onto a coach tour, like you, where entrance to all excursions are prearranged. Whether it’s already included, like the Castellana di Grotte caves in Puglia (left) or an optional choice, you won’t need to research opening times, ticket types, plus all the logistics of parking and transport. It’s all taken care of.

We’ve been taking people around the world for more than 50 years, and have built up some pretty strong relationships with local suppliers. So not only will you get excellent value for money, you’ll also benefit from the occasional added extra that can’t be purchased by your average tourist on the day.


5. You'll find the hidden gems

Want to discover the tucked-away villages and well-hidden secrets of Italy? Step this way. Whether it’s the dramatic white salt plains of Marsala in Sicily, the hidden corners of Venice (above) or a remote hilltop republic of San Marino in the northern mountains, the research has already been done for you on a coach tour. All you have to do is charge up your camera to make the most of those off-the-beaten-path sights.


6. You make new family

Making friends is easy on a coach tour. You'll soon find out who shares your interests and you'll find yourself in meaningful conversations or fits of laughter with new people on the various different excursions you pick. With a perfect balance of group activities and free time to explore, you might choose to head into town with some of your new comrades - or simply enjoy some me-time: it's really up to you.


The best Italy coach tours