Northern Italy is stunning, captivating and incredible. If you want help narrowing down your shortlist of where to visit in Northern Italy, read on!
1. Rocca Maggiore Castle, Assisi – The Stunner
Set into the hillside in rural Umbria, Assisi is a town so beautiful that you will want to stop the car before you have even reached it to take in its elegance and charm. The town itself is characterful and impossibly relaxing with cobbled streets, stunning buildings and many a lunch stop at which to sit in the sun and enjoy the local cuisine.
Rocca Maggiore is Assisi’s castle, set atop the hill and with stunning views for miles around; an experience that absolutely must not be missed.
2. Lake Garda – The Jaw Dropper
Be sure to hire a car and explore the lakes on your own terms. Lake Garda is less busy than Como and the scenery you will see on your journey will be some of the most beautiful you have ever experienced – think jagged mountains against crystal blue waters but on a scale that you cannot even comprehend before you have experienced it in person.
3. The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence – The Stomach Flipper
Not one for the faint hearted (or the claustrophobic). Carb up at breakfast and make your way to the Santa Maria Cathedral in Florence, or Duomo as it is known. Over 400 steps will take you up to the bell tower for views across Florence that will make your jaw drop and your head spin!
4. Ponte di Castelvecchio Bridge, Verona – The Romantic Frolic
Even setting aside the story that it is famous for, Verona is a very romantic city. It seems to have everything – the historical colosseum, the modern shopping streets, the quaint side streets and the best vegan food! (Be sure to read my blog here to discover the best vegan restaurants in Northern Italy).
The Ponte di Castelvecchio bridge is a stunning red brick bridge, offering views across the river Adige. The bridge leads to the eponymous castle which has beautifully manicured grounds that are well worth a wander.
5. Portofino Harbour – The Celebrity Eye Spy Spot
Portofino has to be up there as one of the most stunning villages in Italy. It is lined with pastel painted buildings, and the harbour is adorned by a wide range of sea vessels from wooden rowboats to polished tall ships and lavish yachts.
Enjoy an ice cold drink along the harbour as you take in the glamour and beauty of one of Italy’s celebrity hot spots.
6. Corniglia, Cinque Terre – The Charmer
Park up in Monterosso and take the train to the villages of the Cinque Terre.; a must while you are in Italy. All of the villages have oodles of charm but Corniglia is different to the rest; it is a fascinating and quaint village. There is one heck of a walk up a seemingly never-ending set of steps (take water!) to get to the village but it is so worth it to explore the narrow streets lined with characteristic shops and refreshing gelato stands.
7. Funicular Cable Car, Como – The Ultimate View
The town of Como is beautiful; vibrant and cosmopolitan albeit a little bit busy, especially during the summer months! Head there early to avoid the crowds and after enjoying a coffee on the waterfront wander around the lake to the funicular cable car. The cable car is inexpensive and well worth enjoying, for the views at the top are simply breathtaking. Not to mention being possibly the most glamorous Instagram shot you could post (“Just chilling at Lake Como…”).
8. St Mark’s Basilica, Piazza San Marco, Venice – The Tourist Trap
I know, I know, this is the ultimate tourist spot but that being said – there is a reason why it is so famous! Behind the hustle and bustle is the Church of St Mark; a structure so intricately designed and decorated that it will leave you awestruck.
Venice itself is a little bit like going to Disney. It’s something you’ve just gotta do once in your lifetime and it’s absolutely worth the visit but a couple of days will probably do you just fine!
9. New Town, Monterosso al Mare – The Cocktail with a View
Many may opt for the Old Town in Monterosso, which is fantastic for shopping and market browsing, however the New Town gets my vote. The seafront is garnished with beautiful flowering trees, and the pastel coloured buildings that Cinque Terre is famed for.
Enjoy the view of the white sandy beach and the turquoise ocean from a beachfront cafe or bar.