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The Best Italian Road Trip Routes
by Bianca Neal-Shaw
8 min read

The Best Italian Road Trip Routes

The Best Italian Road Trip Routes
Explore the best road trip routes in Europe and all of the most beautiful stops along the way. Of the most beautiful roads in Europe, scenic drives in Italy top the list. Dive into which routes to take and what to do along the way.
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Italy is a country that is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, historic cities and some of the best road trip routes in Europe. With its winding roads and picturesque landscapes, Italy offers some of the most breathtaking driving routes in the world. In this article, we’ve picked out a few of the top driving routes in our favourite destinations, highlighting the best of Italy's natural and cultural treasures along the way. 

Whether you're looking for a leisurely drive through the countryside or a thrilling adventure through the mountains, there is a stop for everyone on these delightful Italian road trips.


Renting a car in Italy

To make your Italian holiday absolutely seamless, you’ll be pleased to know that The Thinking Traveller is happy to offer an in-villa car rental delivery service. This means that you can have your rental car delivered directly to your luxury villa in Italy, saving you the hassle of arranging transportation to a rental car location. Our team works with trusted local car rental companies to ensure that you receive high-quality, reliable vehicles during your stay in Italy. With this convenient service you can explore Italy, road trip along stunning driving routes and bask at scenic destinations — all at your own pace and with the comfort and convenience of your own rental car.


Sicily road trip routes

Sicily is home to some of the most scenic driving routes in Italy, with winding roads that take you through captivating villages, lush vineyards and dramatic coastal cliffs, all which can be fully experienced on your way to one of our luxury villas in Sicily. Thanks to our in-villa car rental delivery service, renting a car in Sicily is effortless.

Whether you're looking for a leisurely drive through the countryside or an adventurous family road trip along rugged mountain passes, these are some of the best road trips in Sicily.

Palermo to Cefalù

Perhaps one of the most scenic drives in Sicily, the trip from Palermo to Cefalù is a stunning coastal road that winds through picturesque towns and along rugged coastline. The total distance to Cefalù is approximately 70 kilometres east, and the drive takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Starting in Palermo, take some time to explore the city's stylistic Liberty style architecture before heading out of town. As you drive along the coastal road, take in the stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and stop in the charming fishing village of Casteldaccia for lunch.

Once you arrive in Cefalù, stretch your legs at one of the breathtaking beaches, then stroll through the winding Mediaeval streets of the old town, or hike up to La Rocca for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

This road trip offers a great balance of things to do in Sicily, complete with natural beauty, cultural attractions and historic sites. Palermo's bustling city centre contrasts with the peaceful small coastal towns, and the stunning views along the way will leave you in awe. Cefalù's beautiful shoreline and historic centre offer the perfect ending to this memorable road trip.

Taormina to Mount Etna

Travelling from Taormina to Mount Etna by car is an incredibly scenic journey — a common thread you’ll notice when driving in Sicily. With about 50 kilometres separating these two destinations, you can expect about one hour of driving time, where the natural beauty of the area becomes increasingly evident.

The route begins in Taormina, an enchanting hilltop town that is rich in history and culture. Here, visitors could explore the ancient Greek Theater, which offers stunning views of the nearby Ionian Sea.

As you make your way towards Mount Etna, passengers will be treated to awe-inspiring views of the volcanic landscape and rolling hills. Upon reaching the volcano, visitors can experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure by taking a cable car or jeep tour to the summit. Along the way, the tour passes through lava fields, ash-covered slopes and ancient forests, providing an unparalleled look at the natural beauty of the area.

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Syracuse to Noto

One of the shorter road trips to make our list, the distance between Syracuse and Noto is approximately 32 kilometres, and it takes around 40 minutes to drive between the two towns. Syracuse is home to many ancient ruins found throughout the Archaeological Park of Syracuse, including the Ear of Dionysius — a massive cave carved out of a limestone cliff. After you’ve ambled through the historical relics long enough, head to Noto, perhaps stopping in Avola along the way for some of its notorious almonds.

Noto is a picturesque town known for its Baroque architecture, which you may recognise from the second season of The White Lotus. You’ll notice as you promenade along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the main street in Noto, this road trip is perfect for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts. Explore some of the most impressive ruins and Baroque buildings in the region before checking into your luxury villa in Noto.

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Puglia road trip routes

Discover the enchanting region of Puglia on a road trip, so you can explore the region at your own pace, taking in the sights and sounds of Puglia's historic villages, rolling countryside and crystal-clear waters. Renting a car in Puglia is as easy as booking our in-villa rental car delivery service, so there’s no hassle with traditional car rental methods. Whether you're interested in ancient architecture, picturesque beaches or world-class food and wine, complete your road trip with a stay at one of our luxury villas in Puglia, where you can take in your surroundings and explore at your own pace.

Bari to Valle d’Itria

Among the most scenic drives in Italy, the road trip from Bari to Valle d'Itria takes just over an hour with plenty of dreamlike vistas en route. Before you depart Bari, explore the historic Old Town and visit the Basilica di San Nicola to get a feel for the 11th-century Romanesque architecture. Heading south, you’ll stumble upon Alberobello which is a unique village known for its rounded limestone houses with conical rooftops, known as trulli houses. Another enchanting village in Valle d’Itria is Locorotondo, known for its white-washed houses with pitched roofs and winding walkways, where you’ll feel perfectly at peace exploring each street.

Ostuni to Lecce

The road trip from Ostuni to Lecce is a merry journey covering a distance of around 100 kilometres and takes just over an hour and a half. This route is riddled with some of southern Italy’s most prized pearls of architecture. The Cathedral of Ostuni, for example, is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. It is located at the highest point in the town and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

On the way to Lecce, stop to enjoy a swim in the sea or soak up the sun on the sandy beaches of Gallipoli. When you arrive in Lecce, you’ll quickly take note of the impressive Baroque architecture, which may be most appreciated at the stunning Basilica di Santa Croce. It’s the architectural feats contrasted by sumptuous sandy beaches that makes driving in Puglia such a wonder.

Otranto to Santa Maria di Leuca

Prepare to be in awe on the scenic drive between Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca, which will take you on some of the most beautiful roads in Europe. The road trip covers about 50 kilometres and takes just over an hour, all of which can be spent enjoying the incredible coastal towns along the way. Otranto is a coastal town on the Adriatic Sea, with inviting sandy beaches perfect for unwinding. If you’re able to peel yourself away from the tranquillity of the beach, you’ll soon drive into Santa Cesarea Terme, a small town famous for its hot springs.

Santa Maria di Leuca is located at the southernmost tip of Puglia, where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet. Visitors can admire the stunning lighthouse and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae. This road trip is a beautiful example of things to do in Puglia, inspired by breathtaking scenery, charming coastal towns, beautiful beaches and, of course, exceptional luxury villas.

With The Thinking Traveller's in-villa car rental delivery service, renting a car has never been easier, allowing visitors to relax from the moment they arrive. Our team of experts can also help you choose the perfect villa that is easily accessible by car, ensuring a comfortable and convenient stay that allows you to take the most scenic drives in Europe at your leisure.

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We pride ourselves on our exceptional service and attention to detail, making sure that every aspect of your trip is carefully planned and tailored to your preferences. Contact us today to start planning each stop of an Italian road trip route that is sure to leave your sense for adventure completely fulfilled.