Our five-stop northern Italy Itinerary will take you from the bustling streets of Milan to the small canals of Venice, and everywhere in between! To make your trip as easy and stress-free as possible we break down transportation, hotel recommendations, and what to do in each city. This Northern Italy travel itinerary is based on our 10 day trip by train with a few tweaks to make it perfect for future travelers. So get ready for a magical time eating, and walking your way through the best cities in Northern Italy!
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10 Day Northern Italy Itinerary Breakdown
Milan ⸰ 2 Nights
Bergamo ⸰ 2 Nights
Verona ⸰ 2 Nights
Bologna ⸰ 2 Nights
Venice ⸰ 2 Nights
We chose to take on Northern Italy by train and it was super easy and comfortable! All the major cities on our 10 day Italy travel itinerary were accessible by public transportation, and the train was also a great way to see the beautiful Italian countryside.
Be aware that there are different prices based on whether you book direct or indirectly. The cheaper options are often the indirect trains, but they can take twice as long to get to your destination. If you have the funds to do so renting a car is another amazing way to see the best cities in Northern Italy!
→ Planning a Trip to Italy: 10 Step Easy Travel Guide
2 Nights in Milan
Start your travel itinerary for Italy by arriving in the giant city of Milan. Italy has an international reputation for being cutting edge in the fashion industry, and Milan is at the heart of that. From the gleaming storefronts to stunning historical architecture, this is the perfect place to start before hitting all the best cities in northern Italy.
Northern Italy by Train Tip: When you arrive at Malpensa which is the main international airport of Milan, you will be around an hour away from the city. Buses run every 30 minutes from the airport to Milan’s main train station, and tickets can be bought onboard for 10 Euros.
- Window shop in the global capital of fashion and design.
- Visit the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral).
- Stroll through Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest active shopping mall which looks like a museum!
- See one of the world’s most famous 15th-century murals at Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.
→ Milan Canals: The Art of Aperitivo in Navigli
→ 10 Things to do in Milan Italy on Your First Visit
Where To Sleep
Bulgari Hotel Milano – Recognized as one of the best luxury hotels in the world, you’ll be staying in an oasis in the heart of the city. Rooms offer views of the gardens and have modern designs with high-tech features.
Nhow Milan – This unique hotel stands out for its fun modern design and custom fitted rooms. It serves a wide-ranging menu at the restaurant, and is also only 8 metro stops from Central Station if you’re traveling Northern Italy by train.
Babila Hostel – Great location with all major attractions within walking distance. Rooms and beds in dormitories are available with free breakfast.
Check out the latest prices for where to stay in Milan here!
Next Stop: Bergamo Italy
How To Get There: 45 minute train ride from Milano Centrale
2 Nights in Bergamo with Day Trip to Lake Como
Bergamo is a booming city that is made unique by the walled Citta Alta. Sitting on top of a hill that overlooks the city, you’ll be awestruck by the beautiful views and architecture. When we visited in early May we were stunned to see the snow-capped peaks of the Italian Alps in the distance. Bergamo also has the perfect small town feel to soak sights after Milan, and change it up on your awesome travel itinerary for Italy.
- Stroll through the impressive San Giacomo Gate which protects Bergamo.
- Walk the city walls over lower Bergamo and gaze at the massive mountains in the distance.
- Take in the history of Citta Alta as you hop from pizza shops to bakeries.
→ Bergamo Alta Guide: The Unique Old Town in Italy You Can’t Miss!
Day Trip to Lake Como
For your second day in town consider a day trip to the famous Lake Como which is just an hour train ride away. There are only a handful of times that the train runs and you’ll need to be on the first one. However, if you plan it right you can spend all day in the Italian sun as you cruise by ferry around the lake.
Route: On the train Bergamo to Lecco transfer to train Varenna Esino. From here you can explore the town or take the ferries to Bellagio and Menaggio. Just make sure not to miss the train back to Bergamo, or you’ll be stuck for the night!
Where To Stay
GombitHotel– In the heart of Bergamo Alta, this super upscale hotel combines modern luxury with old Italian architecture. Enjoy your stay in the heart of Old Town with beautiful views to match.
Hotel Piazza Vecchia – What’s better than staying right near the main square? This authentic 14th-century townhouse will put you right in the middle of all the action in Bergamo Alta.
B&B Entro Le Mura – Nice accommodation close to the main square and many great Bergamo restaurants. Enjoy the welcoming rooms with views of the mountains and city.
MammaMia – If you are looking for a little more space then these apartments in Bergamo Italy may be just your style.
For more hotels in Bergamo Italy you can find the latest prices here!
Next Stop: Verona Italy
How To Get There: 1 to 2 hour train (depending on direct or indirect)
2 Nights in Verona
Verona Italy is a magical city filled with small walking streets, amazing history, and the home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The size makes it perfect to explore on foot! This is great because there are no cars allowed in the main areas.
One of the many highlights is crossing the famous Ponte Pietra bridge (built in 100 BC), and walking up to the Verona castle for a view of one of the best cities in Northern Italy!
- Get a Verona card and explore the historical sights including the Verona Arena and Torre dei Lamberti.
- Visit the Castelvecchio, an art museum inside an old castle.
- Eat your way through the city (food recommendations in our post below!)
- Hike and take in the sunset from the San Pietro Castle overlooking Verona.
- Day trip to beautiful Lake Garda, and truly experience Northern Italy by train.
→ 16 Fun Things to do in Verona Italy: One Day History Guide & Food Tour
Where To Stay
Hotel Milano & SPA***S – There are plenty of ways to see a Roman Amphitheater on your 10 day Italy travel itinerary… But how about from a rooftop jacuzzi?? This luxury hotel has it all and more right in the city center.
Marconi Rooms and Apartments – Fun medieval-style vibe in the heart of Verona. Spacious rooms and a unique rooftop terrace.
Posada Verona Hostel – Just outside the main city, but still within walking distance of all the great restaurants and attractions. Private rooms and dorm beds are available.
Check out the latest prices for where to stay in Verona here!
Next Stop: Bologna Italy
How To Get There: 1.5 to 3 hour train (depending on direct of indirect)
2 Nights in Bologna
We didn’t originally plan to visit Bologna on our 10 day Italy travel itinerary, but it ended up being one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Now we’re not just saying that because we had the best pizza of our lives in this city, but that was a huge bonus! Bologna radiates with life as it’s home to many students and young professionals.
At any time of day, you can see people of all ages enjoying the city and feasting on yummy food. By adding this to your Northern Italy travel itinerary, you’ll quickly see why it’s being called the culinary capital of the country!
- Walk Bologna’s Portico di San Luca to the Sanctuary of the Madonna.
- Join the locals and enjoy a drink on the steps of the Basilica of San Petronio.
- Find Italy’s second leaning tower.
- Visit the famous Mercato Delle Erbe.
- Eat your way through the culinary capital of Italy!
→ A Food Lovers Day in Bologna Italy
→ Walking the World’s Longest Portico to the Sanctuary of the Madonna
Where To Stay
Grand Hotel Majestic gia’ Baglioni – Set in an 18th century palace with antique furnishings and modern luxuries. This five star hotel has an amazing location in Bologna, but is so nice you’ll never want to leave.
Residenza Bianconcini – Stay in a historic Italian building just steps from all the action of the city. Unique rooms with wooden features, and a wonderful breakfast with homemade cakes!
Dopa Hostel – One of the most popular and stylish hostels in Bologna. You’ll have your pick of dormitories or private rooms, and be just 800 meters from the Bologna Towers.
For more places to stay in Bologna you can find the latest prices here!
Next Stop: Venice Italy
How To Get There: 1.5 to 3 hour train (depending on direct of indirect)
2 Nights in Venice
There is no city in the world like Venice! From the maze of small streets to the long canals and grand squares, it’s one of the only places where being packed with tourists still won’t ruin its charm.
When it rains the city floods and long planks are set up to avoid the rising inches of water. Yet when it’s sunny the entire city sparkles in the light. This is hands down the most magical place in Italy and will make the perfect end to your 10 day Northern Italy itinerary.
- Get lost exploring the canals and small winding streets of the city.
- Cross Rialto Bridge for one of the best views of the Grand Canal, and one of the best parts of your Norther Italy travel itinerary.
- Schedule a time to take in the free city view from T Fondaco rooftop-terrace.
- Jump on a half-day tour of Murano, Burano and Torcello.
→ Venice on a Budget: Where to Eat & Drink For Under €3 Euros
→ 15 Fun Things to Do in Venice on Your First Visit
Where To Stay
The Gritti Palace – Set right on the Grand Canal, this stunning hotel is known as one of the best in the city. Expect nothing but high-end luxury with rooms featuring antiques and Murano glass.
Scalon del Doge – This bed and breakfast is located in a 13th century building overlooking the Grand Canal. Decorated in a typical Venetian style, you’ll feel like you’re staying right in a Venice fairy tale!
Generator Venice – Just a quick 10 minute ride by to St. Marks Square, you won’t find a cheaper or more stylish hostel in Venice. Dorms and en suite rooms are available, and it’s close to the station if you’re traveling Northern Italy by train.
For more places to stay in Venice you can explore the latest prices here!
Ready to pack your bags and move to Italy yet? I recently loved reading “A Dream of Italy” which is the perfect fun vacation book!!
Have any recommendations for the best cities in northern Italy? How about any questions on our trip? Let us know what your ideal 10 day Italy travel itinerary would be in the comments below!
Brigitte and Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Italy Travel Planning
Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Rome to Venice for under $30 USD!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic Italian road trip!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities around the world. Book a Florence winery tour, Capri Boat trip or street food tour with a local guide in Rome!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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Looks fabulous. Staying at least a couple of days in each location is by far the better way to go.
We agree! So much to see in the North… We loved taking our time to enjoy it!