Piedmont & Liguria
Due to the hilly terrain of Piedmont, we strongly recommend that our guests rent a car. Alba itself is great for pedestrians and cycling excursions, but in order to visit some of the spectacular vineyards, restaurants and historical sites that make Piedmont famous, a car is essential. We would also advise hiring a sat nav with your car… saving yourself from spending all your data on Google Maps! We would also advise bringing a back-up map just incase. Please note that even though Barolo and Barbaresco areas are only separated by about 20 km, journey times can take much longer than you’d think, due to the hilly and winding roads. We can of course arrange private transfers, but due to the rural location, these tend to be very expensive and do push up the cost of a trip quickly. It you are staying in the centre of Alba, then it is definitely possible to avoid hiring a car. But if you want to explore the surrounding UNESCO countryside, then having your own set of wheels gives you a wonderful freedom. Car hire in Italy is also generally good value.
Both Turin and Milan have an abundance of car rental companies, the majority of which are based a short shuttle from the airport terminals.
In Liguria it’s certainly easier to avoid hiring a car, as the majority to the colourful seaside fishing villages have their own train station, making the crescent-shaped coastline a great train-hopping journey. With flights and trains into Genoa, this is a great place to start your trip of Liguria and there are frequent trains from Genoa out to the coastal towns and the famous Cinque Terre! If you do intend to hire a rental car, then be mindful that the majority of the hotels will charge extra for parking, normally around €20-30 extra per night. This is because these little villages are pretty dinky and there are not ample parking spaces. The road along the Ligurian coastline can be quite narrow and windy, so best suited to a confident driver. If you are visiting inland parts of Liguria, which are not accessible by train, then a car is certainly recommended and will enable you to get-off-the-beaten-track. Likewise, if you are combining Piedmont with Liguria, then it is relatively easy to drive between the two; it takes circa 2 hours. Alternatively, you could drop your car off in Genoa, spend a couple of nights here, before heading out to the beach by train. There are lots of options for getting around here – including boats between the fishing villages!
Depending on where you are staying in this region, car hire may be suitable. If you are visiting for a city break, then we would advise getting the train and taxis, as parking can be difficult in the city centres and you will likely have to pay extra. If you are staying in town then you will likely get around mostly by foot, but there are also many taxis if you are tired of walking! If you are combining towns, such as Bologna, Modena and Parma, then there are very efficient and great value trains between these foodie spots. If however, you are staying in a more rural location or planning to head out to the Adriatic coast, then hiring a car may be sensible, although we can always arrange private transfers should you wish.
Puglia is largely a rural and agricultural area, with long dusty roads and olive groves which stretch for miles. Things are relatively spread-out here, which means that it tends to be best accessed by car. In most parts of Italy, public transport is pretty good and you can generally reach things by bus or train, but Puglia is a bit of an exception to this rule. Whilst there are many train stations, if you want to stay in a traditional masseria (which can be in the middle of nowhere!) or one of the tiny hilltop villages, then you may find access by public transport a little tricky. The good thing is that car hire is generally pretty cheap here and most places have parking. If you are staying in the historic centres of towns however, parking is usually off-site and for an additional charge. We can advise you on this. Likewise, we can arrange private transfers, but please note that these can be expensive. If you are just visiting Puglia for a short city break, for example to Lecce, then we would definitely suggest getting the train straight from the airport, as parking is expensive and you can access everything by foot anyway. However, if you’re planning a longer trip, taking in different areas, towns and villages, having a car is almost essential, unless you have a big budget for transfers.
Please note the following points when booking car hire (independently or through us):
- You must have credit card to present at check-in for car hire. The (refundable) security deposit will be pre-authorised against your credit card. If you use debit card, you will incur additional charges for ‘additional protection’ circa €30 per day.
- If you drop off your car at a different airport from the one you collected it from, an additional ‘one way’ fee is normally charged when you return the car at its final destination. This is in addition to the car hire cost paid in full at the time of booking and can be quite costly, so always best to check first.
- Make sure you have taken out comprehensive travel insurance and that it covers your rental car and listed drivers
- They drive on the other side of the road in Italy (to the UK). Advice on driving in Italy here.
Some suggested rental companies below. Or, you can use a website such as www.autoeurope.co.uk
- Argus Car Hire
- Holiday Autos
- Argus Car Hire
This is by no means an exhaustive list – please let us know if you would like us to arrange car on your behalf. Please contact us for extra information on trains and buses, and if you would like us to book extra transfers.