How to Get Around Italy and Surrounding Countries

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Italy and surrounding countriesOne of my passions is travel. I especially love when I travel with my family, whether it is with my immediate family or my extended family. I have been very blessed so far in my life to have been able to travel to various parts of the world with my family, including my dream destination of Italy.

I never thought that moving to the middle-of-nowhere Kansas with my husband’s job would provide us amazing travel opportunities, but it did. In 2007 they sent us to Germany for a couple of weeks. In 2010 we traveled to Austria for three weeks. It was during this trip that I truly fell in love with Europe.

If you are from the United States or familiar with the United States you know that as a whole it is not that easy to get around from place to place. Sure, certain cities have subway systems and systematic bus routes, the Amtrak train is a possibility, but when looking at the country as a whole, our transportation is lacking. Now take a 13 hour plane ride over the Atlantic Ocean to Europe and they have things figured out!

While on my three-week trip to Austria we took advantage of almost every form of transportation available to us. Getting around Europe is easy. Come learn how to get around Italy and surrounding countries. It is affordable and simple to do.

How to Get Around Italy and Surrounding Countries

Europe Rail

Italy and surrounding countries

Getting from country to country in Europe is so easy. The Europe Rail train system has tons of stops, great prices and makes traveling so easy. We had two weekends squished in the middle of the three weeks we were in Austria and they were not wasted. On one of those weekends we hopped on a Europe Rail train and visited Budapest, Hungary. Because of the European Union there is no hassle when going into different countries, they don’t check your passports. It’s similar to going from state to state in the United States. You use your passport to get into the country and then you are good to go as long as you travel within the European Union.

Hop On Hop Off Tours

Italy and surrounding countriesIt seems to be a popular thing to have Hop on Hop Off bus tours in the various big cities around Europe. We only had one day in Hungary and so the easiest way to see everything in the city was to take a bus tour. I highly recommend these tours because they have audio dialogue in the language of your choice as the busing is touring the city. They also make stops at all the historical places you want to see and at select shopping districts so you can do a little souvenir shopping. This tour was really affordable and also included a 1 hour boat ride on the Danube River. It was so amazing!

Subway System

Italy and surrounding countriesIn Vienna, Austria, since that is where we spent the majority of our time, we became very familiar with the transportation system. I LOVE the way things work there. You buy one pass (for as many days as you need) and it is good for the city buses, the street trolleys and the U-Bahn (subway). This makes travel so easy and very affordable. We were able to visit all of the historic places throughout Vienna by using their amazing public transportation.

City Buses

Italy and surrounding countries

In Vienna there were bus stops or trolley stops basically everywhere. Getting around was so easy. We even found a bus that was designated specifically for trips to IKEA. This bus was in the center of the city. We had time one day to hop on this bus and visit IKEA for the very first time. It was pretty amazing and we are now addicted.

Besides the IKEA bus, stops are frequent and will also take you to all of the subway stations. Maps for the bus routes and subway routes are prominently displayed inside the bus, at the bus stops and you can get a flier with all the information as well. There were a couple of days I was on my own with my two kids. Because it was so easy to get around I was brave and ventured out with them.


Italy and surrounding countries

As I previously mentioned trolleys are included in the cost of your public transportation ticket. These were fun to ride as they are on tracks and drive down the middle of the street. Trolleys don’t stop as often as the buses so they were good for getting places quickly. These trolleys drove the perimeter of the city of Vienna. We often used them as a tour to see the outlying buildings and sights.

Rental Car

Italy and surrounding countries

Italy and Surrounding Countries

During our other available weekend we decided to rent a car and drive to Venice, Italy… well more correctly we drove to Mestre and then took a train to Venice – it is an island after all. We decided to drive because it was a cheaper way for the 6 of us to travel to Italy and we were only going to be there for about 36 hours. The drive from Vienna to Venice is about 6 hours. It is a beautiful drive through the Austrian and Italian Alps. I was surprised how even parts of Italy looked like Kansas because of the farm lands we were passing. There were vineyards, churches, old farm houses and tons of beauty. Once we arrived in Mestre we parked our car in the long-term parking lot at the train station and hopped on the train to Venice. This ride is about 7 minutes long.

Boats in Venice

Italy and surrounding countries

Venice, Italy is the city of canals. There aren’t any cars or buses in Venice. The mode of transportation here is by various kinds of boats. The easiest, quickest and cheapest way to get from place to place is by Vaporetto. This water taxi serpentines down the Grand Canal making stops along the way. Since this is the easiest mode of transportation it is common for tourists to be traveling with all of their luggage on the Vaporetto.

Riding in a Gondola in Venice has been made popular by movies. This is a fun and a unique way to see Venice, though it is very expensive costing about 100 Euro (not including a tip!). I really wanted to do this when we were there, but I decided seeing one was good too, and riding the Vaporetto was just as fun, and a lot less expensive. There is nothing like cruising down the Grand Canal, no matter what method of transportation you are using. It was surreal and a dream come true. I was crying the whole time because I couldn’t believe I was there.

Small motor boats are owned by the locals. If you look in my collage you will notice that in the canals were parked tons of little motor boats. Walking around Venice was fun, but wouldn’t be fun if we lived there. The paths are windy and it’s like a maze. There is no direct route anywhere. Taking a little motor boat will get you where you need to go as quickly as possible (within the 10 mph speed limit in the city limits) and get you directly there because they are small enough to travel in the smaller canals. The Vaporetto only has stops long the Grand Canal so if your hotel or lodgings are off the main canal you will have to walk to get there.

If you are planning your trip to Europe, Congratulations! I’m so excited for you to experience all of the amazing sights, history and beauty it offers. I think you will find, regardless of what country you are visiting, that getting around is easy to do. You will be able to see so much and travel so far because the public transportation system rocks!

Stefanie is a wife and mother of three cute kids currently living in Kansas City, MO. You can find her blogging about travel, recipes, crafts and more at Making of a Mom.

Topic: How to Get Around Italy and Surrounding Countries

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About Dawn

Dawn is a stay at home, homeschooling mother of 4. She writes for Blogging Mom of 4, Mommy Needs Her Coffee and Blogging is a Trip.

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  1. wendy desrochers

    It really just breaks my heart that we don’t have a passenger rail system like they have in Europe in our country… I would take the train everywhere and enjoy it so much, if it was affordable and efficient… SIGH!!! Maybe someday….