Julie Italy 26 Comments

For those who want to combine a few Italian cities with some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe, you’ll love this northern Italy itinerary.

After a few days in Venice, you’ll spend four days exploring the Dolomites, a world-class hiking destination filled with some of the best outdoor scenery in all of Europe. Not a big hiker? Not to worry. There is still plenty to do here that involves little to no hiking.

From the Dolomites, visit lovely Verona, Milan, and spend a day at Lake Como.

In this guide, we lay out a 10-day northern Italy itinerary, with tips on how to modify it, depending on your interests and how much time you have.

Places You Will Visit on this Itinerary:

With more time, or some modifications, you can also add in Lake Garda or more time in the Dolomites. 

Italy Itinerary Map Venice Dolomites Lake Como

Northern Italy itinerary map

About this Northern Italy Itinerary

This itinerary works best from the months of June through September, when the hiking trails are open in the Dolomites.

In the Dolomites, the first snow begins to fall sometime in October and continues through May, so during this time, the hiking trails will be covered with snow.

If you like skiing, this northern Italy itinerary works well from December through March, when the Dolomites become one of the best places in Europe to go skiing.

You can do this itinerary all year, but during the months of November, April, and even May, you will be very limited in what you can do in the Dolomites, as this area transitions between a hiking and skiing destination.

For this itinerary, it is best to rent a car. The entire itinerary can be done as a road trip or you can rent a car just for the Dolomites. We will get into the details of this in a little bit.

This northern Italy itinerary is a point-to-point trip. It starts in Venice and ends in Milan, but it can just as easily be done in the opposite direction. If you need to start and end in the same location (for example, if it is easier to find flights in and out of one airport), that can be done as well. It’s easy to travel between Milan and Venice by train, so you can get back to your starting point without much time, effort, and money.

It may look like I put a lot of time into the Dolomites (because I did 😉). On our first trip to the Dolomites, we had three days and once there, we wished we had a lot more time. The Dolomites looks like a small area on a map, but there is a LOT to do here. If you don’t want to spend four days in the Dolomites, you can take out a day and add it to Venice or spend a day at Lake Garda.

Renting a Car for this Itinerary

The best way to get around the Dolomites is by car. You can travel on your own schedule and get to places where it is difficult to get to by bus. It is possible to get around by bus, but buses have limited schedules and do not always run on time.

The cheapest option is to rent a car just for the Dolomites portion of this trip. Pick up the car on the morning of day 3, when you leave Venice, and then drop the car in Verona. From Verona, it is easy to do the rest of the trip with public transportation.

Alternatively, you can rent a car for the full 10 days. This is a more expensive option, since daily rental fees typically cost more than train tickets, plus you will have the added parking fees and hassle of parking in Verona and Milan. But you will have a little more flexibility for Lake Como.

As for picking up your rental car, you can do it on day 1, if you are arriving to the Venice airport. Pick up the car from the airport, drive to Venice, and park it in a parking garage during your time in Venice (you won’t need it). On the day you drive to the Dolomites, you will save a little bit of time, since you will not have to get back to the airport to pick up the car. But this is more expensive, since you are paying for 2 days of a rental car plus parking fees.

If you plan to pick up the car on the day you drive to the Dolomites, the best place to rent the car is at the Mestre train station followed by the Venice Marco Polo airport. Pick up the car ideally between 8 and 9 am (but even earlier is better), to give yourself as much time as possible in the Dolomites. It’s a little more of a hassle on this day but it does save money.

Best Dolomites Hikes | Northern Italy Itinerary

Hiking in the Dolomites | Northern Italy Itinerary


10 Day Northern Italy Itinerary

Northern Italy Itinerary Day 1: Arrive in Venice

Ideally, plan to arrive in Venice early in the morning, or even the night before, to make the most of this day.

If you arrive in the morning on a red eye flight, this first day can be challenging. Drop your luggage off at your hotel and spend the afternoon sightseeing in Venice. I do not recommend making big plans today (no St. Mark’s Basilica or Doge’s Palace visits) because you might be exhausted.

If you will be arriving Venice very early in the day (for example, you are already in Europe and won’t be dealing with jet lag), or the night before, you can follow our 2 Day Venice Itinerary. However, for those arriving on a red eye flight, you will have just the afternoon for sightseeing.

These suggestions for your time in Venice follows our 2 Day in Venice Itinerary, starting with day 2 and then doing day 1. I switched the days since day 1 of the itinerary is a big sightseeing day and not everyone will have the time and energy for it.

Getting from Marco Polo Airport to Venice

If you will have a car, park your car at Tronchetto Parking. This large parking garage is located in Venice in Santa Croce. We parked here on one of our visits to Venice. The parking garage can hold 4500 vehicles. Learn more here.

To get from the airport to your hotel in Venice, you can take the bus, a taxi, a vaporetto, or a water taxi. This article does a great job describing the numerous options, which can be overwhelming to choose from. I also recommend asking your hotel for the best way to get to the hotel. 

You can also book one of the transport options below.

Powered by GetYourGuide


Midday: Lunch and the Rialto Bridge

Once you have checked into your hotel, have a quick lunch and then make your way to the Rialto Bridge. Depending on where you are staying in Venice, you can get here on foot or ride the vaporetto.

The vaporetto is a water bus that runs along the Grand Canal (and also out to the lagoon, Murano, Burano, and Lido). It’s a cheap way to get around Venice and the views are amazing, as you cruise along the Grand Canal.

It costs 9.50€ for a one-way ticket (good for 75 minutes) or 25€ for a 24-hour ticket.

The Rialto Bridge is a covered footbridge that is lined with shops. From here, you get one of the best views of Venice, and it is a nice way to start your visit to this city. A visit here is quick, taking 10 to 15 minutes for the view and lots of photographs.

Grand Canal of Venice | Northern Italy Itinerary

View from the Rialto Bridge | Northern Italy Itinerary

T Fondaco Terrace

Sitting next to the Rialto Bridge is the T Fondaco Terrace. The terrace is free to visit and you have a great view overlooking the Grand Canal. For the best experience, book your ticket online. You will have to book a time slot in advance, and when to do this depends on your arrival time in Venice today. 

Grand Canal Venice | Northern Italy Itinerary

Grand Canal of Venice from T Fondaco Terrace | Northern Italy Itinerary

Pont dell’Accademia

From the Rialto Bridge, ride the vaporetto to Pont dell’Accademia. From this bridge, you get another iconic view of Venice and the Grand Canal.

Venice Grand Canal | Northern Italy Itinerary

Ponte dell’Accademia view | Northern Italy Itinerary

Afternoon and Evening

For the remainder of the day, we have a few more options of great things to do in this area of Venice.

From Ponte dell’Accademia, it is a short walk to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. From the cupola of this basilica, you get another spectacular view of Venice. Get updated hours before you go and you can learn more about how to visit this basilica in our Things to Do in Venice article.

Best Things to Do in Venice | Northern Italy Itinerary

View from Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute | Northern Italy Itinerary

In the afternoon, you can also stroll through the Dorsoduro neighborhood and/or ride a gondola through the canals of Venice.

For dinner, we recommend Osteria Enoteca San Marco (one of our favorite restaurants and it is located near St. Mark’s Square), Impronta (a seafood restaurant popular with locals and tourists), Ristorante Ca’Dolfin (gets rave reviews and is located in Canareggio), and Restaurant Quadri (a Michelin-starred restaurant).

Where to Stay in Venice

For suggestions on where to stay in Venice, take a look at our Venice Hotel Guide. You will stay in Venice for two nights.

Northern Italy Itinerary Day 2: Venice

On this full day in Venice, you will visit some of the most popular tourist attractions: St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and St. Mark’s Square. For more details about this day, refer to day 1 of our 2 Day Venice Itinerary.

9 am: St. Mark’s Basilica

St. Mark’s Square dates back to the 9th century AD. It is a gorgeous basilica, both inside and out. Lines can be long to enter it, but it is worth it, both to see the golden interior and to stand on the terrace for a view across St. Mark’s Square.

The basilica does not open until 9:30 am, but we recommend getting here at 9 am, or even a little earlier, to avoid a long wait in line. If you don’t want to wait in line, you can book your ticket online in advance or join a skip-the-line tour.

This very highly rated tour has skip-the-line access to St. Mark’s Basilica, it includes the terrace, and it also includes Doge’s Palace (the next stop on today’s itinerary).

A visit to St. Mark’s Basilica (once you are inside), lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, to walk through the basilica, see the Pala d’Oro, and take in the view from the terrace.

Get the full details on what to see and do in our Guide to St. Mark’s Basilica.

Saint Marks Basilica Mosaics

Mosaics on St. Mark’s Basilica | Northern Italy Itinerary


Saint Marks Basilica Terrace | Northern Italy Itinerary

On the terrace of St. Mark’s Basilica | Northern Italy Itinerary

Doge’s Palace

The Doge’s Palace served as the residence for the Doge, the seat of the government, and a palace of justice. Now, it is a museum.

As you tour Doge’s Palace, you will cross the Bridge of Sighs. From this window, prisoners on their way to execution would have one final view of the city.

The Doge’s Palace is located next to St. Mark’s Basilica. Again, expect long lines here. You can either join the ticket line (expect a long wait), book your ticket in advance (highly recommended!!), or visit on a guided tour.

Get updated hours and pricing on the official website.


There are lots of restaurants located in and around St. Mark’s Square but most of these are overpriced and mediocre. We recommend Ai Do Leoni, which is next to St. Mark’s Basilica and serves sandwiches and small plates of pasta.

Restaurant Terrazza Danieli. Hotel Danieli is a luxurious 5-star hotel located on Riva degli Schiavoni. You can have lunch or dinner on the rooftop terrace with views of the Venetian Lagoon. This is the priciest lunch option on our list.

The Campanile

Ride the elevator to the top of the Campanile for the best 360° view of Venice. To avoid waiting in line, you can purchase your ticket in advance on the official website.

Venice Campanile View | Northern Italy Itinerary

View from the campanile | Northern Italy Itinerary

Stroll the Canals of Venice

For the rest of the day, you are free to explore the canals of Venice.

Strolling the canals is one of the best things to do in Venice and there are several ways to do it. You can either wander the canals on your own or take a walking tour.

I recommend starting on Riva degli Schiavoni, which is a wide promenade that runs along the Venetian Lagoon. As you cross Ponte della Paglia look down the canal for the iconic view of the Bridge of Sighs. As you continue east on the promenade, you will pass Hotel Danieli and to your right will be gorgeous views across the canal.

As you stroll through Venice, go shopping, have a glass of wine or aperitif at a café, snack on cicchetti, or hire a gondola.


Gondolas in Venice | Northern Italy Itinerary


In the evening, have dinner. See Day 1 of this northern Italy itinerary for restaurant suggestions.

Northern Italy Itinerary Day 3: Dolomites

Morning: Drive to the Dolomites

In the morning, check out of your hotel. Pick up your rental car, either from the parking garage in Venice, the Mestre train station, or from the airport.

From Venice, it is a 2-hour drive to Cortina d’Ampezzo, in the Dolomites. It is a beautiful drive, especially the final 45-minutes, as you drive along winding roads into the mountains.

Afternoon: The Dolomites

We have tons of information on the Dolomites, which you can see in our Dolomites Travel Guide. I recommend referring to this as you pick out what you want to do in the Dolomites.

Here are a few handy articles:

You will have the afternoon free to do something, whether that is a hike or a scenic drive or a cable car ride.

Spend the afternoon by hiking one of the nearby trails. For this afternoon, we recommend something short and not too far away: Lagazuoi to the Falzarego Pass or the Cinque Torri with the optional add on Rifugios Averau and Nuvolau.

If you don’t want to go hiking on your first day, and the skies are clear, ride the Freccia nel Cielo cable car to Cima Tofana. This cable car station is located in Cortina d’Ampezzo and from the mountain station you have jaw-dropping views of the Dolomites.

Afterwards, explore the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, check into your hotel, and then have dinner.

Cinque Torri Hike

Cinque Torri | Northern Italy Itinerary

 Lagazuoi Dolomites | Northern Italy Itinerary

Lagazuoi, Dolomites | Northern Italy Itinerary


Cortina d'Ampezzo

The view of Cortina d’Ampezzo from the Tofana cable car | Northern Italy Itinerary

Tonight, stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo. We stayed at the Grand Hotel Savoia, which is a beautiful 5-star hotel in Cortina. The Dolomiti Lodge Alverà gets exceptional reviews. Restaurant Rifugio Ospitale is located outside of town but is also very highly rated. And if you need a pet friendly apartment, take a look at Cristallo & Faloria Suite Apartments. For more recommendations, take a look at our Dolomites Hotel Guide.

Dolomites Travel Guide

Northern Italy Itinerary Day 4: Dolomites

Spend the day either hiking near Cortina d’Ampezzo or visiting Lago di Braies.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the most popular hikes to do in the Dolomites and you can easily add on the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike | Northern Italy Itinerary

Tre Cime di Lavaredo | Northern Italy Itinerary


Cadini di Misurina Hike | Northern Italy Itinerary

Cadini di Misurina viewpoint | Northern Italy Itinerary

If you like hiking, we highly recommend the Croda da Lago Circuit, Lago di Sorapis, and the Cinque Torri + Rifugios Averau and Nuvolau, if you didn’t do that yesterday.

Croda da Lago Circuit

Croda da Lago Circuit | Northern Italy Itinerary


Lago di Sorapis

Lago di Sorapis | Northern Italy Itinerary

Lago di Braies is a beautiful lake to visit and great for families and those who don’t want to do a lot of hiking. The cover photo for this itinerary was also taken at Lago di Braies.

Dolomites Itinerary | Northern Italy Itinerary

Lago di Braies | Northern Italy Itinerary

If skies are clear, consider riding the cable car from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Cima Tofana for one of the best views of the Dolomites.

Sleep in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Northern Italy Itinerary Day 5: Dolomites

Today you will drive across the Dolomites to Val Gardena. For more information, refer to day #7 of our Dolomites Itinerary.

From Cortina d’Ampezzo, drive over Giau Pass or Falzarego Pass to Marmolada. Then, ride the cable car to Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Dolomites.

Marmolada View

The view from Marmolada | Northern Italy Itinerary

From Marmolada, drive over Passo Fedaia and Passo Pordoi, two beautiful scenic drives in the Dolomites. Once at Passo Pordoi, you have the option to ride the cable car to Sass Pordoi, for more big views of the Dolomites, and to hike to Piz Boè, one of the easiest 3,000+ meter peaks to summit in the Dolomites (5.3 km/3.3 miles, 2 to 4 hours).

Sass Pordoi View

Sass Pordoi | Northern Italy Itinerary

Drive over the Sella Pass and check into your hotel in Selva di Val Gardena or Ortisei.

In Selva di Val Gardena, Hotel Tyrol has an excellent location and gets wonderful reviews. We had dinner twice at Hotel Freina and this hotel also gets exceptional reviews. For a splurge, we recommend the Granbaita Dolomites, a luxury hotel with a wellness center. For more recommendations, take a look at our Dolomites Hotel Guide.

Northern Italy Itinerary Day 6: Dolomites

Today, you have several options to choose from.

If you like hiking, hike the Puez-Odle Altopiano. This 17 km (10.6 mile) hike takes 6 to 9 hours and starts in Selva di Val Gardena. It’s a big day hike but it is our favorite in the Dolomites.

Best Dolomites Hikes

View from the Puez-Odle Altopiano trail | Northern Italy Itinerary

You can also spend the day in Alpe di Siusi, hiking or biking between the rifugios, dining on Italian food, and enjoying the view of Sassolungo. Or, venture to Val di Funes, to hike the Adolf Munkel Weg and/or walk the Santa Maddalena Trail for gorgeous views of the Santa Maddalena church.

Alpe di Siusi | Northern Italy Itinerary

Alpe di Siusi | Northern Italy Itinerary


Val di Funes

Val di Funes | Northern Italy Itinerary


Geisler Alm

Geisler Alm, Adolf Munkel Weg | Northern Italy Itinerary

Tonight, sleep in Selva di Val Gardena or Ortisei.

Northern Italy Itinerary Day 7: Verona

From Selva di Val Gardena, it is a 200 km, two-and-a-half-hour drive to Verona. If you leave by 9 am, you will arrive in Verona just before noon.

Optional: On the drive to Verona, you will be very close to the Santuario Madonna della Corona. A visit here adds on another hour of driving, plus time to visit the church, which takes about an hour.

Santuario Madonna della Corona

Santuario Madonna della Corona | Northern Italy Itinerary

Madonna della Corona is a church that clings to the side of a mountain. To get here, you will park in town and it is a 0.8 km (0.5 mile) downhill walk to the church (or you can take a bus). For more information on how to do this, click here.

Spend the afternoon strolling through the streets of Verona. For a full list of things to do, check out our Guide to Verona, but the top sights include Piazza Bra, the Verona Arena, Ponte Pietra, Torre dei Lamberti, and Juliette’s House. An afternoon is plenty of time to see these sights.

Verona | Northern Italy Itinerary

Verona | Northern Italy Itinerary


Love Verona

Verona | Northern Italy Itinerary

In the evening, have dinner and check into your hotel. Arena Suite is a 4-star hotel in the city center that has large rooms and gets exceptional reviews. Relais Balcone di Giulietta is another highly rated hotel located next to Juliet’s balcony. And Hotel Torcolo “Residenze del Cuore” is a centrally located budget hotel that gets very good reviews.

You will spend one night in Verona.

RENTAL CAR: You can drop your rental car in Verona (and travel by train for the rest of this itinerary, which is the cheapest, most environmentally friendly option) or keep it until the end of your trip. If you have a car and plan to stay in the city center, ask your hotel for advice on where to park. Some hotels will have designated parking, either with or without an additional fee.

Northern Italy Itinerary Day 8: Milan

In the morning, travel to Milan. By car, it is a 160 km drive that takes 2 hours. Or, you can take a train from Verona to Milan (roughly 1.5 hours with ticket prices ranging from $17 to $27 USD).

Once in Milan, the main things to do include a visit to the Duomo (walking on the rooftop is an awesome experience), seeing DaVinci’s “Last Supper,” and visiting the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

For DaVinci’s “Last Supper” you must book a time slot in advance. If you can’t get one, consider joining a tour.

One Day in Milan Itinerary

For full details of this itinerary, plus suggestions on how to visit the Duomo and see the “Last Supper,” refer to our One Day in Milan Itinerary.

From the train station, take the metro to Santa Maria delle Grazie for your scheduled viewing of the “Last Supper.” Remember to arrive 20 minutes before your appointment. If you can’t reserve a time slot on the official website, here is a one hour tour that includes your admission to see the “Last Supper.”

Next, take the metro to the Duomo. From Duomo Square, visit the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Tickets to tour the Duomo and the rooftop can be purchased at the Duomo or online in advance.

10 Day Italy Itinerary with Milan | Northern Italy Itinerary

Milan Duomo | Northern Italy Itinerary

In the evening, check into your hotel and have dinner. You will stay in Milan for one to two nights, depending on how you plan to visit Lake Como.

Northern Italy Itinerary Day 9: Lake Como & Bellagio

There are two ways to visit Lake Como today. You can either day trip from Milan, just visiting Lake Como for the day, spending another night in Milan. This has the advantage of not packing and unpacking again, and if you have a flight home from Milan tomorrow, you will already be in town.

Alternatively, you can spend the night in Bellagio or Varenna, which are on Lake Como. This is a good option for those who want to spend the night in a beautiful lakeside town. However, you will have more travel time tomorrow to get to the airport.

Both options can be done with public transportation and by car.

Planning your Lake Como Day Trip

For full details on how to do this, refer to our Lake Como Day Trip guide and Things to Do in Bellagio.

From Milan, you can travel by train to Varenna (about 1 hour) or travel by train to Como (about 45 minutes) and then take a ferry to Bellagio, Menaggio, and Varenna (about 45 minutes). Which one you choose really depends if you want to cruise up Lake Como or just get to Varenna as quickly as possible.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: You will use the ferry to get between Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio, so you aren’t missing out on anything by not cruising from Como to Bellagio. If you take the train to Varenna, you will have less travel time, which you can then use for a private boat tour of the villas.

If you still have a rental car, drive to Bellagio (1.5 hours) or Varenna (1.5 hours).

Once in the area of Bellagio, Varenna, and Menaggio, you will get around by ferry, which runs frequently and it doesn’t take long to get from town to town.

For the best experience, we recommend arriving in Bellagio or Varenna by 10:30 am, to give yourself enough time to visit the area.


Bellagio | Northern Italy Itinerary

 Bellagio Day Trips from Lugano

Bellagio | Northern Italy Itinerary


Varenna Italy

Varenna | Northern Italy Itinerary

Plan on spending about 2 to 3 hours in both Varenna and Bellagio. There is not a whole lot to see in Menaggio, so this can be skipped. It is also worth it to hire a boat to cruise by the villas, or even tour one of them. We have more info on how to do this in our article Things to Do in Bellagio.

This evening, return to Milan or check into your hotel in Bellagio or Varenna.

Day 10: Fly Home

Fly home from Milan or Venice.

If you have a flight leaving from Marco Polo Airport (Venice), from Milan it takes a minimum of 3.5 hours to travel by train and just over 3 hours by car. Unless you have a late afternoon flight, you will either have to leave very early in the morning or travel to Venice the night of day 9.

How to Modify this Itinerary

With Less Time

If you have less than 10 days, then remove a day or two from the Dolomites. You can also skip Verona, but it is a wonderful city and one of our favorites in Italy.

Here is a sample 7-day itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Venice
Day 2: Venice
Day 3: Dolomites
Day 4: Dolomites
Day 5: Drive to Milan
Day 6: Lake Como day trip
Day 7: Fly home

With More Time

With more time, you can add extra days to Venice, the Dolomites, or Lake Como. If you enjoy hiking, put as many days as you can in the Dolomites (in our opinion, it’s a better use of time than adding on Lake Garda, mentioned next).

You also have the option to add Lake Garda.

Castello Scaligero di Malcesine

View from Castello Scaligero di Malcesine, Malcesine, Lake Garda


Lake Garda

Castello Scaligero, Sirmione


Riva del Garda Torre Apponale

Riva del Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, and it sits between the Dolomites and Milan. There is plenty to keep you busy here for three days, and the minimum amount of time that we recommend is one day in Lake Garda.

You should also know that Lake Garda is an extremely busy place to visit in the summer, more so than Lake Como, at least in our experience. We prefer Lake Como over Lake Garda, which is why we designed this northern Italy itinerary with Lake Como. However, if you like the idea of visiting Lake Garda, here is a sample itinerary, if you have 12 days in Italy.

Day 1: Arrive in Venice
Day 2: Venice
Day 3: Dolomites
Day 4: Dolomites
Day 5: Dolomites
Day 6: Dolomites
Day 7: Northern end of Lake Garda (stay in Riva del Garda)
Day 8: Southern end of Lake Garda (stay in Sirmione)
Day 9: Verona
Day 10: Milan
Day 11: Lake Como day trip
Day 12: Fly home

I put Lake Garda before Verona since you save a little driving time by visiting the north end of Lake Garda first. Plus, having a car makes it much easier to get around Lake Garda and transfer from Riva del Garda to Sirmione, and then once in Verona, you can drop the rental car if you prefer. It’s also a little easier to get from Verona to Milan by train.

For more information on how to plan your time, check out our Lake Garda Itinerary.

Italy Travel Guide Florence

How to Get Around Italy

For this itinerary, you will get around by rental car and train.

For information on renting a car, including rental car fees, drop fees, and things to know ahead of time, take a look at our article Important Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Europe.

To check train schedules and to book your trains online, Italiarail.com is the easiest website to use. Just be aware that they charge a €5 booking fee to use their website. You can avoid the €5 fee by using Trenitalia.com, but this website is more difficult to use.

Average Trip Costs

Here are some estimated costs per person (all prices are in USD during peak travel times).

Hotel costs:

  • Budget Hotel, double room with two people: $50 – $150
  • Mid-Range Hotel, double room with two people: $150 – $300
  • Luxury Hotel, double room with two people: $300+

Train Travel: To travel from city to city, train fares range from $15 to $60, depending on the distance traveled and the speed of the train. Regional trains can take twice the length of time to cover the same distance as a high-speed train, and cost half as much, but you will be sacrificing sightseeing time. I think it is best to cut costs by staying in a cheaper hotel or eating out less often, so you can take the faster train and have more time exploring the city.

Meals: Meals cost $10 to $30 per dish, depending on the restaurant. To save money, stay in a hotel that offers breakfast, put together picnic lunches, and skip the drinks at dinner.

Entrance Fees: On this itinerary, entrance fees average out to roughly $50 USD per day, for the days that include a city visit. That does not include tours, only entrance fees. In the Dolomites, it is free to go hiking, but there can be parking fees and fees to ride the cable cars.

Miscellaneous: Factor in approximately $50 USD per day for miscellaneous fees, such as short taxi or Uber rides, souvenirs, etc.

Designing Your  Own Italy Itinerary?

This Italy itinerary is a great starting point for designing your own custom itinerary. For more tips and tricks to help you plan the perfect trip, consider reading this article:

7 Things to Know When Planning Your First Trip to Europe

More Italy Itineraries:

Here are a few more itineraries for Italy:

To see all of our articles about Italy, take a look at our Italy Travel Guide. For more great itineraries in Europe and around the world, visit our Travel Itineraries page.

If you have any questions about this northern Italy itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Italy

VENICE: Learn more about Venice in our article Best Things to Do in Venice. We also have guides about How to Visit St. Mark’s Basilica, where to get the Best Views of Venice, and how to spend Two Days in Venice.

DOLOMITES: For links to all of our articles about the Dolomites, take a look at our Dolomites Travel Guide.

VERONA: Verona is a beautiful city in northern Italy. Learn how to spend one perfect day in Verona.

MILAN & LAKE COMO: Learn how to visit Milan on a day trip or while traveling between the Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice. Lake Como and Bellagio are two more beautiful places in Italy that are great day trip destinations.

LAKE GARDA: Get started with our article Best Things to Do in Lake Garda. Learn how to plan your time with our Lake Garda Itinerary. We also have information about things to do in Sirmione and Riva del Garda.

We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, and Puglia.


More 10 Day European Itineraries

If you are looking for more ideas on how to spend 10 days in Europe, these itineraries may interest you:


Northern Italy Itinerary Dolomites Venice


Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.

All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.

Comments 26

  1. Avatar for Dipa chauhan
    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      With 2 to 3 days, you could add on Lugano. If you have a full week, you could do Lugano + the Jungfrau region or the Jungfrau region + Zermatt or the Jungfrau region + Lucerne and Zurich. When making your decision, look up train times from Milan to where you would like to visit in Switzerland. And you can look at our Switzerland itinerary for ideas on how to plan your time. Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for EmilyJ

    This is fantastic!! We would be doing it backwards so if I have it correct it would be:

    Day 1 – Fly into Milan
    Day 2 – Day trip to Lake Como
    Day 3 – Milan to Verona on train?
    Day 4 – Get a car to drive to Dolomites. Do you have a car rental recommendation from Verona?
    Day 4-8 – Dolomites. Would you recommend staying in 1 town or multiple?
    Day 9 – Venice
    Day 10 or 11 – Fly out of Venice

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Emily. Yes, that looks great! I recommend looking at picking up a rental car in Milan or Verona. The Milan airport, an rental car office in Milan, or a rental car office in Verona are options. We typically use Avis, Hertz, or one of the other bigger carriers, and Tim prices them out and then makes a decision. Milan airport could be the cheapest, but then you’ll have it for 2 days where you don’t really need it. Then return the car once you get to Venice. In the Dolomites, you could do either, one location or two. With as much time as you have, I think 2 would be better. If you haven’t seen it, here is our Dolomites itinerary, which has multiple ways to plan your itinerary, and how to do it staying in 2 locations. Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for EmilyJ

        Thanks! We’re thinking of staying around Lake Como instead of Milan and doing a day trip to Milan, maybe staying in Tremezzina or Varenna. We don’t love big cities so feel this may be better for our family but would love your thoughts! I see the itinerary on this page but don’t see the link for your Dolomites itinerary. Thanks again, your details are incredibly helpful!

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Hello Emily. If you prefer to stay in a smaller town (I totally understand that!) you can day trip to Milan. I am not familiar with Tremezzina but I am familiar with Varenna and I know a train connects Varenna and Milan. If you choose Tremezzina, just confirm that it is easy to get to and from Milan by public transportation if you don’t plan to have a rental car for this part of your trip to Italy. And here is the link to our Dolomites Itinerary. Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Latha

    Also Julie, do you recommend staying 2 nights in Lake Garda instead of Verona, as we love lakes and natures.. so we can explore Lake garda area Day 1 and 2 and head out to Selva on Day 3.. please suggest.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      That’s a good question. In August, Lake Garda is going to be very busy. That is a time when a lot of Italians go on vacation and Lake Garda can be at its busiest that month. If you really like lakes, you can stay at Lake Garda versus Verona, but you will see a lot of lakes once you get to the Dolomites. From our summer experience at Lake Garda, and how crowded it was in July, I’d prefer to stay in Verona, but that’s just my preference. You can look at our Lake Garda to do list and itinerary to see if anything really jumps out at you. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Latha

    HI Julie, We got better flight connections on going to Verona first so we are thinking this way
    Day 1- Stay in verona – we reach by 2pm.
    Day 2- Stay in Verona
    Day 3 & 4 – Start driving to Selval – Stay in Selva
    Day 5 & ,6 & 7 – Stay in Cortina
    Day 8 and 9 – Vanice
    Day 10 – fly back..
    My question is , do you recommend taking rental car in Verona airport use it until we drop in Vanice? because initially we were thinking to rent car Bolzana.. but we will be going to Bolazana on Sunday rental car may not be open,… And also if we want to visit Modonna Della carona church , do you recommed on DAY 3 on our way to SELVA or Day 2 when we Stay in Verona? for this do you recommend renting car driving ? or take tour to go there? waht is best time and cost effective. How much drive will that be? will there be enought parking at church? Really appriciate any suggestions here. Thanks for all your help

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Latha. Your itinerary looks great. If it were me, I’d rent the car at your arrival airport or in Verona and drop it in Venice. That saves you the trip to Bolzano, which will eat up some of your valuable Dolomites time. As for when to visit the church, it depends on if you would rather have a leisurely day in Verona (saving it for day 3) or prefer to get right to the Dolomites on day 3 (thus visiting it the afternoon of day 2). Either way works fine it’s just really up to your preference. You can drive there from Verona (about 1 hour drive). In this guide, under the section for the church, we give some details on where to park. It will be a downhill walk to the church and an uphill walk back to your car (good warm up for hiking in the Dolomites) or you can take the short bus ride to the church from town (same area as the parking lots). There is no parking near the church. Since you have a car, it will save you money over a tour (with just fees for gas, a small parking fee, and I can’t remember if there is a fee to enter the church but there might be). Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Latha
  5. Avatar for Latha

    Excellent details. Thanks for all your time. We want to visit Dolomites in Aug. Want to know how hot it will be? as there is no shade will it be too hot? do u recommed going last week of June?

    We are thinking of following plan
    DAY 1- Land in Vanice,
    Day 2- Explore Vanice,
    Day 3 and 4 Stay in Cortina D Amprezzo,
    Day 5 and 6 – stay in Ortisi
    Day 7 – Drive to Bolzana and drop the rental car and take train to Milan – Stay in Milan
    Day 8- Explore Milan and stay night
    Day 9- Fly back home.

    I have few questions regarding rental car: Do you know if driving in US and Italy same side and similar driving rules, will driving licence from US will cover for driving in Europe? and taking rental car in Vanice how do we do that, do u recommend taking it from airport and pay 2 days parking or do you recommend taking the rental car on the day of leaving, is it easy to commute form hotel in Venice to airport? And also i saw you recommended Lake como from Milan it is really done in half day do you think it is worth.. we saw many lakes in Banff so not sure it is different and u recommend it?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Latha. Your itinerary looks great. In August, the average high temps are in the 70s (Fahrenheit) and cooler at night. That’s average, so there is a chance it could get hotter than this, but the Dolomites tend to be one of the cooler parts of Italy. In Italy, they also drive on the right, as in the US. As far as picking up the rental car in Venice, it’s your preference when to pick it up. If you pick it up right away (from the airport), you’ll be paying to park it for 2 days, but they on day 3 can drive to the Dolomites early (this is what we did). In Venice, you can park in the Tronchetto garage or San Marco garage. In this guide, we list how to get from the airport into Venice if you won’t have a car and it will work in the opposite direction as well. Lake Como is very nice and worth it if you want to see Bellagio and Varenna. The lake scenery won’t be as nice as Banff but it’s the small towns and villas that make Lake Como special. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Latha

        Thanks so much Julie for your quick response. Really appreciate all your time on this. This helps me to book tickets sooner. Also do you recommend any good places to stay in Vanice and Milan as we will not have car in those 2 places. And also also catching train from Bolzano to Milan do we need to book early? is there any Uber concept in Europe so we can go from Trian to hotel and hotel to airport as we will be dropping rental car in Bolzano, assuming they will let us drop there. Once i book the tickets i will share day to day attractions to cover each place so you can guide us. Really want to day tons of Thank you for all your time . Let me know if there is any support i can do to do this help.

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Hello Latha. For hotel recommendations in Venice, take a look at our Venice Hotel Guide. We don’t have specific recommendations for Milan but you can look on Booking.com. We have used Uber in Italy in 2022 so it can be a good way to get around in cities. Taxis can be an option as well. I recommend booking your train tickets in advance, which you can do on Italiarail.com, since one of the legs (Verona to Milan) is on a high speed train and I think it is best to book these in advance. Cheers, Julie

          1. Avatar for Latha

            Thanks Julie. one last question reg driving licence , do we need international license. or US license is good for renting car

          2. Avatar for Julie Post

            Yes, you will need an International Driver’s License for Italy. This translates your license from English into Italian and other languages. You will also need to bring your US license because the IDL does not replace it, it supplements it. Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Jennifer Budd
    Jennifer Budd

    Amazing content as always! I really appreciate all the work you put into your website and sharing so much information. We are thinking about visiting the Dolomites the first two weeks of June. We would rent a car from Milan or Venice and drive to the Dolomites but we would also like to experience a small hut to hut hike.
    What are your thoughts about combining a driving itinerary with a hut to hut hike? We would have about 10 days total so I was thinking a 3 day hut to hut hike. The only down side is our vacation is the first 2 weeks of June so I am concerned that will be too early in the season.
    Thank you for any insight you can offer.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Jennifer. I think adding on a hut to hut hike in the Dolomites sounds wonderful. We don’t have experience doing this in the Dolomites, but did something similar a few weeks later when we hiked the Walker’s Haute Route. June is a little early but if the area doesn’t get a lot of snowfall (which has been happening more and more in recent years) you may be OK. You will have to start by looking at when the huts open for the season. It might be best to end with the hut to hut hike, since that will then be approaching mid June and more likely that everything will be open. You could look into hiking a part of the Alta Via 1. I’m not sure which section would be best but there is some overlap with single day trails in the area. If you have any other questions, please let us know. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Lauren Spitz
  8. Avatar for Kate K
    Kate K

    Hi! Amazing blog post, thank you so much. I wanted to get your insight on what you think of this itinerary for Venice, Dolomites, and Lake Como at the end of September. These are our top 3 places out of the itinerary above that you recommended. Is this possible?

    Day 1 – fly into Venice (will likely be jet lagged)
    Day 2 – explore Venice
    Day 3 – drive from Venice to Dolomites and do a day of hiking, drive back to Venice (~4hrs round trip in car)
    Day 4 – Train from Venice to Milan (3.5hrs), train to Lake Como (1.5hrs)
    Day 5 – Explore Lake Como, train back to Milan (1.5hrs), if time explore Milan, fly to London in evening. (Alternatively we could fly to London on Day 6, but we wanted to get a full day of London on Day 6)

    Thank you!!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Kate. Yes, I think this all looks good. You could potentially spend a few hours in Milan on day 4, when you travel from Venice to Lake Como. We did something similar and it worked very well. That would free up your time to fly to London on day 5. Having been to both Milan and London, I think it’s better to have more time in London. Cheers, Julie

  9. Avatar for raul Jacoby
    raul Jacoby

    My wife and I are senior citizens (79 & 75 yrs old) but are still active. We like to hike, bike and kayak and a looking for an agency can help us plan this trip. In some cases we may be on our own with a guide and at other times we would join a group for some of thee activities.

    Are you able to assist us in planning this trip. We are interested in lake Como and the Dolomites.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Raul. Thanks for writing in. Unfortunately, we don’t have a service where we help people plan their trips, other than the information we publish on this website. But you can share it with a travel agent who could help book your hotels, transportation, and guides. Cheers, Julie

  10. Avatar for Beverly Cavera
    Beverly Cavera

    Hi Julie
    We are returning to Northern Italy September 14 via Milan. We depart October 1 from Milan. We have not spent any time in Northern Italy. We are not interested in returning to Venice, we have been there many times. This may be our last trip together because my husband was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor last July as we were sailing in Croatia. It is terminal. Surgery and 7 weeks of radiation treatments were done last Fall. He is currently on chemo pills and IV chemo infusions. Our trip will be between his IV infusions. I will be giving him his oral pills during the trip. I will rent a car in Milan and be the lone driver. Looking at your itinerary is it possible to do a circle trip to the Dolomites after visiting Lake Como? We are really traveling to Northern Italy because we are ( were ) hikes and climbers and we have not seen the Dolomites. My husband is 79 years old but very fit except for this terrible disease. I think if we just take our time so he can rest it will be tolerable.
    Last May we used your itinerary and your recommended tour guides to see Egypt. Our guides were amazing. It was an incredible 3 weeks of exploring. We even spent an extra week at the Red Sea. We are divers and snorkelers. Thank you

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Beverly. I’m sorry to hear about your husband and I have been following your story on Facebook. Thank you for writing in with recommendations from your trip to Egypt…that is a huge help for us and our website. If you are hikers then you will love the Dolomites and it is definitely a place to see. Yes, you could do a trip through the Dolomites, staying in either Cortina and Selva or the smaller towns that are nearby. Somewhere between 7 and 10 days is a nice amount of time here, which could also give you time for Milan and Lake Como. In the Dolomites, there is a very nice mix of short, easy trails accessible by gondola and longer trails, which you can see in our Dolomite Hiking Guide. We also have a Dolomites itinerary, if you want a little more advice on how to plan your time in this specific region. I hope you and your husband have a very nice trip and if you have any other questions as you do your planning, please let us know. Cheers, Julie

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *