This page looks at ways to reach Italy. Wherever you are travelling from, the quickest and cheapest option is almost invariably air travel. However, we also suggest some alternatives for those who prefer not to fly.
Fly to Italy
To detail every global route to Italy would be a vast task, so our flight lists and information concentrate on travel to Italy from the UK and Ireland. From many other countries, including the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, there are also direct flights to Italy, which you can research and compare on various flight comparison websites, such as:
> Expedia UK
From the UK and Ireland the most obvious way to travel to Italy is by air. A large number of Italian destinations are served by direct flights and you can reach almost any part of Italy in just two to three hours, sometimes paying less than £60 for a return ticket, taxes and charges included. Despite airport hassles and baggage restrictions, this is still the easiest method to travel to Italy. You will generally find it cheaper to use a budget airline. The principal low-cost firms offer good coverage of both the UK and Italy, with flights serving regional airports in both countries. Ryanair in particular have made Italy a major part of their business, offering internal flights between Italian airports as well as routes into the country. Easyjet also operate a good range of flights, while smaller airlines and tour operators’ charter flights offer practical alternatives from smaller UK airports. However, if you want to fly in more comfort, or the budget airline timetables don’t suit you, it’s worth checking the website of British Airways, who sometimes have good offers and fly to more convenient airports. Personally we avoid Italian carrier Alitalia, since their financial problems lead to frequent strikes by staff, and grounded flights.
On our Budget Airports page, we list the destinations in Italy which you can reach using direct flights from the UK and Ireland, using the cheap airlines Ryanair and Easyjet as well as BA. While BA fly to large cities, Ryanair have the greatest coverage. Both Ryanair and Easyjet operate flights to some small and interesting destinations as well as the major cities like Rome, Venice and Milan. We provide a handy guide for budget airline destinations in Italy, with suggestions for nearby holiday spots, and advice making the most of a cheap break.
If you book a bargain flight with Easyjet or Ryanair, don’t expect luxurious seats or free food or entertainment. Seat space is cramped and service can be basic. Bring your own food if you want to save cash inflight, and try to bring only cabin luggage if you’ll be in a hurry on arrival. Whatever the inconveniences, however, the fantastic prices make budget trips a possibility for everyone, and it’s worth making the most of these prices while they stay low.
Ryanair fly from Stansted to a large number of Italian airports, and also operate lots of flights from other UK and Ireland airports to destinations throughout Italy.
Easyjet also serve lots of Italian airports, including a few convenient one which Ryanair don’t cover, like Venice Marco Polo (the nearest airport to Venice) and Naples.
Thomson Flights: Thomsonfly currently fly to a handful of Italian destinations from various UK airports: Venice Marco Polo, Pisa, Lamezia Terme, Catania, and two airports in Sardinia: Alghero and Olbia.
Of the scheduled airlines, British Airways generally offer the best deals for Italy flights. Their website is simple and colour-coded to help you find the cheapest flight options.
As experienced travellers will know, Expedia UK can come up with some fairly good deals and save time on shopping around. However, do your own search of the budget airlines first.
You may save time or money if you research the location of the airport and transport options. For example, Easyjet’s Milan flights use Linate Airport, close to the city, while Ryanair fly to Bergamo, some distance away. You can save money travelling to Stansted Airport by booking cheap coach travel with Terravision, who also operate airport buses from Milan Bergamo, Rome Ciampino and Pisa airports.
Travelling by train from the UK to Italy is a slower but more scenic option. The Eurostar service between London and Paris means you can make the entire journey by rail, over one long day, two days or by overnight sleeper train from Paris.
> Train tickets to Italy (Rail Europe)
> Rail travel from the UK to Italy – a detailed article with times and routes
> Trains in Italy – travelling by train within Italy.
Travelling to Italy from the UK by car is not a very practical option, unless the long drive through France is to be part of the adventure. ViaMichelin’s estimated driving time from London to Rome is just under eighteen hours. Once upon a time you could load your car onto a plane in England, fly to Switzerland, then drive through the Alps to Italy. Nowadays even loading your car onto a train is not a particularly easy option – you will need to reach Germany or Holland in order to catch a motorail train which will take your car into Italy, although there is also a Calais-Nice motorail service, which would at least spare you most of the driving through France.
> ViaMichelin (driving routes)
On this site
The Man in Seat 61 – European rail travel advice