Driving vacations through Europe is no small feat. There are differences in traffic signals, few signs, and language barriers to contend with. At least in Italy they drive on the same side of the road as the United States. Weaving through traffic in cities like Rome and Milan can be difficult, but the countryside poses its own set of obstacles. When planning driving vacations, spots along the way can be tricky to navigate. But, if you’ve got your heart set on doing it yourself, don’t be discouraged!
If you’ve looked into driving around Italy, you have probably already heard horror stories about the streets of Rome. To start with, the traffic during peak times is bumper-to-bumper. There aren’t really “lanes” for drivers to adhere to, so everyone crowds into the streets trying to rush to their own destinations. This can lead to some terrifying bobbing and weaving. Before you go on green, you should look both ways a few times to make sure the coast is clear.
Rental car companies are very aware of the dangers of driving in Rome. If you do decide to rent a car in the city, you can bet your insurance will be almost twice the cost of renting the car. You may actually save money by taking taxis or hiring a driver.
Experiencing the bucolic countryside is a must for many tourists. While driving vacations in the country is much easier than in Rome or even Milan, there are still things to be aware of. Maps of the countryside don’t provide much detail, and there is a general lack of signs in rural areas. You should give yourself at least twice as much time to travel than you anticipate. If you don’t, you could very well miss that wine tasting you booked or lose your spa reservation.
Staying in a beautiful villa in Tuscany is the pinnacle of many people’s driving vacations. Spots like San Gimignano, a medieval town nestled in the province of Sienna, are sure to be unforgettable. However, you can’t drive within the town walls. They do have parking areas, but they quickly become packed with daytime tourists.
Be aware of the facts before you plan out any European driving vacations. Spots like Rome will be a major hassle to get through and places like San Gimignano may not allow driving at all! With proper research and planning your trip could be the experience of a lifetime.
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