Please sign in to post.

Train or Car??

I have done some calculating and the cost of point to point rail tickets vs. car rental (split three ways and including gas calculated at about $6/ gallon) are very comparable. The rail tickets are about $60 more per person than the car rental. We will be traveling from Venice to Florence to Siena to Orvieto to Cinque Terre to Aosta and finally to Milan. Would the car be the better choice in terms of mobility and flexibility? Or is it easier and more relaxing to take the trains and rest between destinations?
Thanks for your input.

Posted by
320 posts

I may be a heretic - but I prefer the car. I can go when and where I want to go. I go where the trains do not go (Tuscan hill towns for instance). Driving in Italy is not that big a deal. My last time there (2004) I made sure to rent a diesel car - better mileage and lower fuel costs. I am sure that just as many folks prefer the train - I just like to create my own schedule that is flexible. If you want to ride the train you have to be at the station when the train is there . . . .Have fun!

Posted by
112 posts

That choice really is up to you. Do you want to venture off the beaten path where trains don't go? Just go where you feel like, or get lost and stop wherever you end up? Trains are generally frequent enough to worrying about the schedule isn't so much an issue, and it is nice to "leave the driving" to someone else and just relax, and stare out the window. Or better, try to strike up a conversation with others. There's pluses and minuses to both sides. I've taken so many trains now that unless I'm going some place I've never been, I'd rather have a car (or I take buses) to go places off the rail routes.

Posted by
934 posts

I agree with Jon.Cars give you more freedom to stop when you want.In cities we find a parking place and use buses or trains to get around but in the countryside you cant beat the freedom of a car.

Posted by
6 posts

I would agree that a car is better if you want to stray off the beaten path. When I was in Rome, several of us rented a car for two separate weekends, and we were able to see lots of things we could never have seen otherwise. There are so many amazing little towns and views in Italy, you'll see things out the window and just want to stop and get out! If you can afford the car, and are not spending the vast majority of time in the cities (where driving is a nightmare), then I'd go for the car.

Posted by
25 posts

Everyone else seems to be saying car, but if this is your first trip to Italy, don't bother with a car! It will be more of a headache than it is worth. Please take my word for it! Public transportation is very easy to use in all major cities. If you are looking to relax, I would suggest a car.

Posted by
30 posts

I agree with Brant.....personally I would not take a car in Italy.......except for tuscany, umbria area's. We did all trains. I have been told the road to cinque terre is rather difficult.....small, etc. The italians driver are.......let's say....interesting. Our private guides even remarked about them. We enjoyed not having to navigate and spend time enjoying the beautiful scenery. Marilee

Posted by
1127 posts

I wouldn't take a car. Parking it no easy to find. You are not factoring in parking costs or the fact that you will be driving in an unknown terrority. I would definately take trains until you reach to Siena. There is point in having a car in large cities.