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Italy holidays: The best holiday destinations in Italy

Italy holidays are famous the world over for sublime cuisine, fascinating history and art, and beautiful cities and coastlines. It's one of the most popular places for a holiday in Europe, with visitors coming back again and again. Whether you're on a family adventure to tour Rome's Colosseum, a weekend city break to Milan or a luxury holiday with a stay at the chic resorts of the Amalfi Coast, Italy is a destination that always delivers.

If you're planning a trip to Italy, then you're in the right place. No matter which type of holiday you're after, you'll find all sorts of inspiration below, from the best travel destinations in Italy to what you should see and eat while you're there. This is also where you'll find all our very best and cheapest Italy holiday deals.

Get ready to feel inspired - Italy awaits!

The most popular holiday destinations in Italy


Often referred to as the 'Eternal City', Rome is the capital of Italy and former centre of the mighty Roman Empire. Visitors flock to Rome for its history and seemingly endless selection of restaurants and nightlife venues. This chaotic but stunning city has everything you need for a perfect city break: culture, history, great food and easily accessible attractions.


Capital of the picturesque rural province of Tuscany, Florence is known as a great destination for art and culture. Take it all in when you're sipping espressos or cocktails at one of the city's wealth of cafes. Why not combine a stay in the city with a trip out into the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside for wine tasting or a quick getaway to a wellness retreat?

Amalfi Coast

Considered to be one of Europe's most fashionable coastal destinations, the Amalfi Coast offers everything from secluded bucket-list accommodation to eye-popping clifftop villages. Go celebrity spotting at luxurious spots like Positano or visit some of the smaller, quieter villages along this beautiful coastline. There are endless small beaches and coves just waiting to be discovered.


Considered to be one of the major fashion capitals of the world, this northern Italian gem also happens to be a great place for food and unforgettable attractions. Flights to Milan are very affordable, making this city the perfect backdrop for an action-packed weekend away. Milan is also known as a gateway to Lake Como, which is a popular day trip from the city.


Often cited as the best city for a taste of traditional Italy, Naples' hilltop views and charming architecture will enchant any traveller. Naples is an up-and-coming city break destination and it's easy to see why. Known for serving up the world's best pizza, the beautiful islands of Capri and Ischia are just a short boat ride away if you fancy an island beach escape.


The largest island in the Mediterranean, the island of Sicily is a top choice, especially for history lovers and for anyone in search of the ultimate beach holiday. Catania, Palermo, Syracuse and Taormina are all popular places on the island, as are tours to Mount Etna, one of Europe's largest active volcanoes. Many visitors choose to hire a car and explore the island's sights at their leisure.

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A Roman adventure

The Italian capital is a popular spot for families looking to soak up culture, as well as anyone interested in art or looking for a wide range of Italian cuisine. Roman pizza is famously crispy and delicious and you'll be spoilt for choice when seeking out tasty gelato too. Highlights include the Colosseum, Vatican City (with the world's biggest Catholic cathedral and a huge complex of museums), the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.

The latter is a superbly well-maintained building that was a Roman temple before being converted into a church. As with the other gorgeous churches and cathedrals in Rome, it's totally free to enter. Although some of Rome's biggest attractions are a bit expensive, it's still easy to plan a cheap city break to Rome.

Things to do in Rome

  • Experience ancient history at the legendary Colosseum: Once capable of hosting up to 50,000 spectators, these mesmerising amphitheatre ruins, which once showcased gladiator fights, is one of the city's most popular attractions.

  • Toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain: Locals believe that tossing a coin into this famous fountain will bring you good luck. The fountain is made from marble, which is illuminated at night, resulting in a magical effect.

  • Walk amongst ruins at the Roman Forum: These vast ruins once formed the centre and most important buildings of the mighty Roman empire. It's easy to wander around this atmospheric place for hours.

  • Visit a former Roman temple: The Pantheon is one of Rome's most famous buildings. It began its life as a Roman temple and has been in continuous use as a religious building ever since. Bonus: it's free to visit!

Discover more things to do in Rome


The beauty of northern Italy

Milan is the largest city in northern Italy, where crowds flock for Fashion Week in February and September, and visit all year round for the city's pretty architecture and sophisticated vibe. Lake Como is a popular day trip; this destination is home to colossal celebrity holiday homes as well as lakeside villages and attractions. Venice is an alluring and unique city on the water, where you'll take boats instead of taxis; don't forget to visit the magnificent St Mark's Square.

Northern Italy offers endless variety. If wandering around this region's beautiful cities isn't for you, then head further north and check out some truly spectacular landscapes. There are mountains and ski resorts in South Tyrol, peaceful lakes such as Lake Garda and the stunning hills and mountains of the Dolomites. This is what makes northern Italy a great place to spend some time in nature. Or why not combine both types of holidays? Public transport in Italy is excellent and both Milan or Bergamo make great bases for any type of holiday.

Culture and cuisine in southern Italy

For many visitors, the south is the best place for taking in the traditional way of life Italy is so famous for. Naples is a must-visit destination, but smaller towns such as Paestum, which dates to Ancient Greek times, and the clifftop-perched Tropea are this region's hidden gems. Holidays in Italy can encompass everything from vibrant, busy cities to tranquil escapes among Europe's most beautiful scenery. Wherever you choose to go, the food, atmosphere and history are sure to enchant you and leave you wanting to see even more of this gorgeous country.

On the east coast is the region of Puglia. Here you'll find excellent food, stunning beaches and the signature trulli houses. The cities of Bari and Lecce make great bases to explore the area, but make sure that you also venture to the small towns of Alberobello, Monopoli and Otranto. There are loads more, making Puglia a great choice for a variety-filled break. One of Italy's most popular destinations is Sicily, an island off the southern tip of the mainland. Almost every town here has its own unique charm, while the cities of Catania and Palermo draw the crowds for good reason.

Top things to do in Italy

An easy 2.5-hour flight from the UK will bring you right into the heart of the Mediterranean. Filled with history, breath-taking natural sites and 'La Dolce Vita', it may seem impossible to decide where to travel to on your holiday. We've picked four places that should be on your bucket list when planning a visit to Bella Italia.

Eat pizza in Naples

Naples is a vibrant city in the south of Italy overlooking the sea; the beautiful islands of Capri or Ischia are only a short boat ride away. With its budget-friendly prices, Naples is a popular destination and offers visitors the chance to experience authentic Italian lifestyle and friendly, welcoming locals.

Naples' historic centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but this city is also famous for its Neapolitan pizza.The pizza is made using locally grown tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, and it's known for being the original thin-crust pizza. For a memorable experience, visit Dal Presidente where former US President Bill Clinton once enjoyed a delicious pizza in 1994. Sorbillo and L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele are two of the most famous pizzerias - just be prepared to queue!

A 30-minute train or car ride from Naples will bring you to the ancient city of Pompeii. This city was buried beneath the ashes of a volcanic eruption in 79 AD and now provides incredible insight into this ancient time. Visitors can explore immaculately preserved houses, streets, Roman baths and more.

Float away in Venice

The romantic capital of Italy is famous for its waterways. That's because Venice has no streets, only canals, which means that you'll get to navigate the canals via a water taxi. Alternatively, you can take a vaporetto water bus through the Grand Canal, catching glimpses of bridges and traditional houses as you travel along.

Indulge in an Italian tradition by taking part in the famous Carnival of Venice. Usually starting 40 days before Easter, this colourful carnival and its iconic masks will be an unforgettable experience.

Before you leave, don't forget to visit St Mark’s Basilica. This magnificent church is considered to be one of the most unique churches in Italy. Fittingly nicknamed 'the Church of Gold', the shining basilica is a proud display of ancient Venetian wealth. Just keep in mind that Venice sees very high numbers of tourists every year and can often be crowded. Book ahead for any attractions you'd like to visit. If you'd like to escape the crowds, Bologna, Florence and Verona are all popular day trips from Venice.

Get your heart beating in Siena

Spending any amount of time in magical Siena is guaranteed to make you feel like you've been transported to another world. This city is considered to be the beating heart of Tuscany and is especially renowned for its historic centre, which features imposing Gothic architecture, with some buildings dating to as early as the 12th century.

Siena is a perfect place for a long, quiet stroll, where you can soak up the sights, sounds and smells as you explore this truly beautiful city. When you've worked up an appetite, you‘ll find plenty of delicious cuisine on offer in the city's numerous restaurants and bars.

Siena is also famous for the Palio horse race, which takes place on Piazza del Campo twice a year on 2 July and 16 August. The build up to the race includes a procession with flag wavers and police on horseback, all leading up to the nail-biting race between 10 bareback horse riders! Our tip: arrive early to reserve your spot.

Lose yourself in the charm of Milan

You might be surprised to find out that Italy's biggest church won't be found in Rome or the Vatican City - it's actually located in Milan. Milan's cathedral, referred to as Duomo, was built over six centuries ago and, when you go to the top, you'll be treated to amazing views over the whole city.

Another big highlight of every Milan trip has to be the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. This mural is on display at the Santa Maria delle Grazie and depicts one of the most recognisable scenes from biblical history. Remember to book ahead for this experience.

Milan is also famous for its shopping malls and fashion; you can find something for every kind of budget in this city. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of Milan's most famous - and oldest - shopping arcades. So, whether you're looking for Italian designers, vintage items or second-hand shops, get ready for some retail therapy as you can find some real treasures in Milan.

Getting around Italy

The best way to explore Italy is via the country's reliable rail system, which will allow you to travel to your favourite sites in a way that's both relaxed and affordable. It's a win-win, plus you'll get to enjoy the passing Italian landscapes as you travel.

For travellers who enjoy a little more freedom, you can find car rental providers at airports and in most cities.

Where to stay in Italy

If you'd like to experience something a little different and more authentic, then a guesthouse could be your ideal fit. These are very popular and offer a true local experience. Be prepared for a different morning experience, though, as an Italian breakfast usually consists of nothing more than a coffee and some biscuits to start the day.

For the adventurous, agriturismo (otherwise known as a farm holiday) offers a different version of a bed and breakfast. Located on farms outside cities, you'll usually need a car to be able to access them. Don’t worry - you will not be expected to do farm work. Instead you'll be provided with fresh organic meals while enjoying the countryside and having the opportunity to take part in activities such as cooking classes.

Apart from these unique options, Italy offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit all travellers, whether you're travelling solo, as a couple or as part of a group.

Book accommodation in Italy