Best time to visit: April, May, June, September, October
Average high: 18˚C
Average low: 10˚C
Price of meals: 3/5
Holiday type: Adventure / Beach / Culture / Family / Party / Romantic
Italy is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, offering something for everyone: the remains of a culture and history spanning more than 3,000 years; pristine coast and beaches; alpine lakes and the mountains of the Alps and the Apennines; and world-famous fashion, design and cuisine. It is of little wonder the country is called “the beautiful country”.
Known as the Boot for the shape of its peninsula in the heart of the Mediterranean, the nation also encompasses the tall and rocky island of Sardinia near the Balearic Islands, and the vineyard-rich Sicily.
Along with Greece, Italy is regarded as the birthplace of Western culture, whose political, philosophical and artistic influence can still be felt today. The country is brimming with UNESCO World Heritage sites, from Roman ruins and natural landscapes, to the eerie remains of Herculaneum and Pompeii beneath the volcano of Vesuvius. Many of these sites can be found in and around Rome itself, making it one of the best destinations for a quick weekend getaway.
Each of Italy’s most popular cities, including Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice, all offer their own unique charm and history, while balancing traditional architecture with modern cleanliness. The wide selection of restaurants, cafés and bars and modern transportation systems make them perfect destinations for families, friends and couples to explore in comfort.
The more mountainous north is popular for skiers and hikers, but nature and landscape lovers will not want to miss the pristine alpine lakes, such as Lake Como. The centre of the country is where most of the popular cities and historical sites can be found, with city tours offering easy day trips on a regular basis. Meanwhile the south offers some of the Mediterranean’s best beach resorts for those wanting to relax in the warm sun and crystal water.
Despite being in the northeast, Bologna offers some of Italy’s warmest weather in the summer, but those looking for a colder break should wait for the winter months when the nearby Dolomites are covered in snow and open to skiers and snowboarders. Milan and the northwest also enjoy a real range of temperature thanks to the mountains at its borders. Consequently, temperature varies quite dramatically throughout the year and the summer can get very humid. As you move south and away from the mountains and towards the flatter coastline, the country enjoys a more typical Mediterranean climate.
Like any capital city, you can expect to pay a little more for meals and drinks in Rome than most other parts of Italy. A single course meal averages €15 while a three-course meal will cost between €20 and €35. Beer ranges between €3 and €5.50 but coffee and water are quite cheap at €1.20 and €1, respectively.
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