Hit the road and explore the exhilarating, emblematic and beautiful landscape of Italy. Renting a car in Italy is easy–you will be rewarded by the sites and surprises you will find hidden in the Italian landscape, that can only be seen by car. With the freedom to stop where you want, when you want, driving in Italy is fun, unique and exciting.
There are a number of picturesque routes and road trips you can take in Italy, and you would be surprised how many day trips in Italy you can accomplish in a short time. Take a driving vacation in Italy from Milan to Cinque Terre in just one day to see what the beautiful northern Italian scenery has to offer. With these suggested routes you can extend your adventure, and take in more than just two places. It is more difficult to fly from Milan to Cinque Terre as the airports do not stop close enough, Pisa Airport is the closest airport to Cinque Terre and flights from Milan take three hours, but you will need to find transport from Pisa to Cinque Terre, as it is still an hour away. It is actually quicker to drive, and it’s lots more fun!
Known for its fashionistas and classy culture, Milan is a great city to base yourself in and experience the finer side of Italy. While Cinque Terre captures the other side to Italian life, with its five rustic fishing villages situated perilously on top of beautiful rugged cliffs that line the Mediterranean sea. You cannot afford to miss either!
Milan to Cinque Terre Route One
Driving time: Approx. 3.5 Hrs
Take the A7 highway from Milan heading south, drive for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes following the E62 south. Take the SP161, the SP160 and finally the SP165 to arrive at Parco Naturale delle Capabbe di Marcarolo located in Bosio. The beautiful natural landscape takes you far away from the hustle and bustle of Milan. Made up of 820 hectares of mountainous terrain and mere kilometres from the coast, the sparse area has very few inhabitants, and is a peaceful mountain range ready to be explored.
From the park head back on the A7, the main highway mentioned earlier, and drive via the A12 and S. Michele to Portofino. The journey should take around one hour and a half. This is a great place to stop for lunch with views of the beautiful Mediterranean and upscale Portofino is a sight to see. Lined with exclusive seaside villas, exquisite terraces and pastel-colored homes, everything is gorgeous in Portofino. Grab a cappuccino port-side and relax in awe of the incredible yacht-filled harbor.
Drive a further 45 minutes along the coastal A12 highway to reach the beautiful coastal fishing villages of Cinque Terre.
Milan to Cinque Terre Route Two
Driving time: Approx. 4 Hrs
For this alternative route, take the A1/E35 south out of Milan, and continue on the highway for just over an hour until you reach the exit for Emilia/SS9 via Calzolai/Piazza Cavalli and the city of Piacenza. The Roman city has a picturesque old town in the center of the “pleasant place” (as it was known by the Romans) with a Gothic town hall and august churches.
If you are a foodie, then the next stop Parma is for you. You can take the SS9 road from the main A2 highway into the city, which is just a 50 minute drive from Piacenza. Famous for its Parma ham, Parma is a great stop for lunch; try La Bucca (Via Ghizzi 6) for some authentic Italian ham. But the city has a lot more to offer than just ham, from its beautiful Romanesque churches to its contemporary art galleries and 19th-century theaters, Parma is a cultural paradise. Its young university population, that attend one of the oldest universities in the world, are sure to be hosting an event or two if you are in need of some entertainment.
There are plenty of stops you can make in the La Spezia region, including Lerici and its surrounding cliffs that line a beautiful beach. A rustic town of gorgeous villas on the Italian Riviera, both Lord Byron and Shelley found inspiration here, and it is even the final resting place for Shelley. To get here take the SS9, then the A15 onto the SS1 until you get to Strada Statale (SP331) where you can exit for Lerici (it is about 1.5 hours from Parma). Try to visit the Castello di Lerici while you are here, with its outstanding views of the surrounding Italian landscape, the 12th-century castle is also home to a bizarre collection of dinosaurs.
The final leg of your trip takes you along the coast and up to your final destination Cinque Terre, this should take no more than half an hour. Take the SS1 followed by the SP10 to reach the beautiful region of coastal paths and hidden treasures of Cinque Terre.
A Driving Vacation in Italy with Auto Europe
When you’re ready to embark on the fun-filled journey from Milan to Cinque Terre, give Auto Europe a call, at 1-888-223-5555, and let us help you with all your travel needs. With over 60 years as a travel industry leader, Auto Europe strives to provide travelers with not only the best rates on international airfare, hotel accommodations, and luxury car rentals in Italy, but also a variety of helpful travel guides, tips & tricks, and valuable travel information.