Thursday, October 26, 2017

2 Weeks In Italy: Itinerary

When people ask me to suggest a country in Europe for a 2 weeks vacation, which is full of highlights and easy to get a visa. I’ll say Italy. This country is truly a perfect destination for all interest, either you are into culture or art, wine or pizza, architecture or nature, Italy got you covered.
2 weeks in Italy itinerary
This itinerary is one specially designed for those who couldn’t extend their holidays and would like to move fast, refuse to give up any of these enchanting cities: the capital of Rome, the romantic Venice, fashionable Milan, foodie’s Naples, Shakespeare’s Verona and bubbling Tuscany. Best of all, I’ve put this itinerary to the test when I personally used a similar itinerary (I dropped Tuscany countryside) in my 80 days journey around Europe.

A 2-Weeks Itinerary In Italy

1. Venice  

       I had decided to make Venice my first stop due to a dirt cheap flight ticket (less than 20) I spotted using this method after applying these tips. Of course, I jumped at the offer, only to discover that this is indeed a perfect starting point for 2 weeks in Italy.
#Venice, #Italy. I know it sounds #cliche , but when I say I like Venice, it doesn't mean that I am denying the fact that it is over-commercialized, crowded, crazily hot, expensive and some-say-smelly during #summer time. Instead, I fell hard for the #hiddencanals, the little hole in the wall, the #backstreet where I sat overlooking the #canal with my Pasta Nero di Seppia, the cicchetti-to-go, the warm locals I've met and spent the whole morning with, the coolest bookstore by the canal, the flooded San Marco-Square where I literally had to swim accross, the narrow streets where i got lost in... We gotta go a little bit further to fall in love, with something, someone, some place. Definitely not an overrated city for me. #solotravel #europe #meettheworld #letsgoeverywhere #ootd #wanderlust #malaysian
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       Despite arguably being the most scenic city in the world, Venice has a fair amount of critics, putting the city down as a tourist trap due to the overwhelming crowd, expensive food and some say, smelly canals. Their reasons are understandable, but not unavoidable. For that, I strongly advise my readers to spend your first 2 night on the Island itself, not at the other side of Ponte della Libertà (the bridge that connects the urban side of Veneto with the historical center). Some may argue that hotel rooms are pricey on the island. Yes, but that doesn’t mean budget accommodations geared towards backpackers doesn’t exist! Besides, you will be able to start your day earlier, saving you from the crowd and queue time, and isn’t time money?
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Where to stay: Youth Hostel near San Marco Square >> (1-2 nights, depends on your time and date of arrival)
Day 1: Venice historic center
Day 2: Burano, Murano, Lido

       And now that you are done with all the sights you wanted to see on the island itself, feel free to move your base to the more economical side of the region across the bridge, Mestre. Now, you should know that Venice is not all about canals, just 1-hour drive north you’ll be surrounded by the Italian Alps. So if you are interested in snow-capped peaks, I recommend adding a day trip to the Dolomites in your itinerary.
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Where to stay: Hotel in Mestre, Giovannina >> (2 nights)
Day 3: Day trip to the Dolomites and National Park (Read this itinerary>>)
Day 4: Verona

2. Verona (A day trip from Venice)

       As the famous setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona, the city of love deserves a stopover (usually between train journeys from Venice to Milan and vice versa) or day trip. The most significant attraction of the city is undoubtedly Juliet’s balcony at Casa di Giulietta, where you can most probably see couples taking wedding shots during your trip. But Verona is far more than just a balcony. Do climb up the terrains to the amphitheater, spent some time window shopping at Via Mazzini, go around exploring picturesque back lanes and more!
2 weeks in Italy

       After you are back from Verona, head back to the hostel, pack up and make your way to the bus station. We are catching an overnight bus to Naples. What is so great about overnight buses? In my opinion, it saves time and accommodation cost, which usually takes a huge amount off your budget. If you are wondering if it is comfortable enough to spend a night on the bus, I’d say it is definitely not for very light sleepers, but it is air-conditioned, featuring large seats with enough leg space and best of all, it is always quite on the bus as there are no annoying action movies playing on the screen when you are trying to sleep, neither are there unethical passengers chatting away loudly on the bus (there are some tourists unaware of the norm in Europe on one of my overnight bus journeys, the co-driver sternly warned them "Turn down the volume or off the bus"!).
2 weeks in Italy itinerary

Read more: 

       Also, this is a step-by-step tutorial on how to score the cheapest bus tickets in Europe using GoEuro. You can also download their Europe travel app here for easier reference.

       After reaching Naples, I transferred to Almafi Coast on a scenic but rather old train.

3. Almafi Coast

       Here, it is recommended to buy a day pass which allows you to board all buses along the Almafi Coastal road. I first headed to my hostel in Sorrento, deposit my backpack and hopped on a bus to discover the region. I ended my day with a spectacular sunset view from Positano.
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Where to stay: Delux Hostel >> (1 night)
Day 5: Sorrento, Almafi, Ravello, Positano

4. Capri (A day trip from Sorrento)

       The island of Capri is a dream come true for me. 07 PMR takers, remember the short story “The Lotus Eater”? The island of Capri doesn’t only capture the heart of the author and Thomas Wilson (a character), it also successfully captured mine… in my case, on paper!

       Since I went with a hydrofoil directly from Sorrento, I left my bags at the port for a fee (6), and at the end of my day, I went back to the port, collect my bags and board a hydrofoil to Naples.

Where to stay: La Controra >> (1 night)
Day 6: Capri and Anacapri

5. Procida (A day trip from Naples)

       Before going on a trip to Italy, I’ve been through internal debate deciding between Procida or Pompei. I know I would love the historical Pompei too, but at the end, my heart was set for the least touristy Procida, and I am more than happy with my excellent choice. I’ve spent half a day exploring the waters on a kayak, enjoying a homemade picnic lunch with Italians, going up close to Coricella, and made some cool friends! Procida is such a hidden gem and if you have time, don’t miss a kayak adventure, ranked 1st on TripAdvisor.
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       Then you’ll still have enough time to roam the streets in Naples, try out the most authentic pizza in the world and then catch a night bus to Pisa. Fulfilling day? To the maximum!
2 weeks in Italy itinerary

Day 7: Kayaking in Procida (Read this itinerary >>)

6. Pisa

       Until now, I understand that we have been traveling at a really fast pace. You might experience travel exhaustion, I am not kidding, so it's time to slow down a little. Pisa is a student town that boasts some interesting nightlife, now … when I say nightlife, I mean enjoying a bucket of ice cold beers in squares, chatting in food bars throughout "Happy Hours" and such, nothing too crazy.

       In Pisa, you can have a good rest (to be honest, I napped the whole afternoon away) after visiting the obligated leaning tower of Pisa… However, ditch the cliche “supporting/ kicking the tower post” (besides, you’ll look silly on the lawn)… let your creativity run wild instead!
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Where to stay: Pisa B&B >> (1 nights)
Day 8: Tower of Pisa

7. Cinque Terre (A Day Trip from Pisa)

       Cinque Terre, directly translated into 5 villages, is one of the most instagrammable destination in all of Italy. If you are visiting Cinque Terre independently, go to La Spezia and catch a train to Riomaggiore. But, if you decided to follow an organized tour, pick the one that includes a cruise (that will allow one to see the shape of each village from the water), and a stopover at Porto Venere, my favorite stopover of the day.
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Day 9: Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Monterosso, Porto Venere (Read this itinerary >>)

2 weeks in Italy itinerary

8. Florence 

       The Renaissance city should be on the list of any art or history-buff. Stroll the old town and you’ll find numerous highlights in every corner. My favorite part of the city is Piazzale Michelangelo where couples enjoy a couple glasses of champagne (bring your own) while marveling at the skyline of Florence.

Where to stay: Plus Hotel >> (2 nights)
Day 10: Florence Cathedral, Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio and more.

9. Tuscany countryside (A Day Trip from Florence)

       While in Florence, do what most tourist will do — a day trip to the countryside and you’ll be spoilt with an endless wine selection. For Muslim travelers, wander one of its many vineyards and you’ll be taking home some amazing photos.
Day 11: Vineyards

10. Rome and the Vatican City

       No one leaves Italy without visiting Rome… I mean, of course, you can, it's YOUR vacation anyway. But if you are already in Florence, Rome is just a 3 hours bus ride away!
2 weeks in Italy itinerary

       Follow the footprints of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holidays, and you’ll be happily lost in the scenes of your favorite white-and-black classic movie.

      The Vatican city is a must-visit, sitting high on my bucket list for some time, and if you’ve always wondered where does the Pope live, definitely make a point to visit the Vatican City. I prebooked a beat-the-crowd early morning tour and enjoy the privilege to roam the empty hallways before tourists start gushing in, and if you have the budget, I advise that you do so too. You really wouldn’t want to be stuck in the crowd, I’ve seen it, its ugly. Remember, no photographs allowed in the Sistine Chapel!

Where to stay: Yellow >> (2 nights)
Day 12:  Colosseum, Fountain of Trevi, Piazza de Espania and more.
Day 13: Other landmarks in Rome and Vatican City (read this itinerary >>)

2 weeks in Italy itinerary

11. Milan

       End your Italian adventure in the city of fashion, Milan. One good reason is that Milan is a hub for international flights and you’ll most definitely get a cheap flight out of Italy from Milan. If you are into museums, don’t miss Pinacoteca di Brera and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology. I did not climb to the roof of the Duomo because I was lured away by food and gelato, but I highly recommend that you do so.
2 weeks in Italy

       Now you can jump on a flight back to your home country tonight but if time is on your side, spend one more night in the city and catch your flight the next day.

Where to stay: Mio Hostel >> (0-1 night, depends on your time and date of departure.)
Day 14: Duomo di Milano, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Sforzesco castle and more.

A Summary: 2 weeks in Italy

Day 0: Arrive in Venice, sleep in Venice
Day 1: Explore Venice, sleep in Venice
Day 2: Explore Venice, sleep in Mestre
Day 3: Day Trip to The Dolomites, sleep in Mestre
Day 4: Day Trip to Verona, sleep in night bus to Naples
Day 5: Explore Almafi Coast, sleep in Sorrento
Day 6: Day Trip to Capri, sleep in Naples
Day 7: Day Trip to Procida, sleep in night bus to Pisa
Day 8: Explore Pisa, rest well, sleep in Pisa
Day 9: Day Trip to Cinque Terre, Train to Florence, sleep in Florence
Day 10: Explore Florence, sleep in Florence
Day 11: Day Trip to Tuscany, Train to Rome, sleep in Rome
Day 12: Explore Rome, sleep in Rome
Day 13: Visit Vatican City, Explore Rome, sleep a night bus to Milan
Day 14: Explore Milan, sleep in Milan
Day 15: Home

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Thank You for Reading! This "2 weeks in Italy" Itinerary is based solely on my honest opinion and personal experience. 
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