Will my Garmin work in Italy?

I use my Garmin all the time here. wondering if i can download Italy maps and use it in my car rental while in Italy. Will the adapter which fits into my Cig. Lighter at home work on the rental?

Posted by Karen
Laguna Niguel
31 posts

I have a Garmin 265WT and have read conflicting accounts of whether or not the GPS will work in Italy without an external antenna. (something to do with the windshield of European cars?) The model I have does not have an external antenna option; we are renting an Opel Zafira. Anyone have experience with or without an external antenna in a rental car?

Posted by Fred
Loveland, colorado, United States
7 posts

Go to Garmin.com, click on "Maps" input the Garmin Model you have, where you want to go and "use On the Road" The maps will come up. You probably will need a " City Navigator Europe NT, part Number 010-10680-50. You want to buy the SD card not the DVD. This way you plug the SD card into your GPS and use it while it works from the card. I strongly recommed you call Garmin, they are very helpful. Yes it will work in your rental car. Once you have established what you need, go to Amazon.com and input the part number, you'll get it cheaper. You will then have a GPS map of most of Europe as well.

Posted by Jenner
Springville, UT, USA
8 posts

I have used my Garmin Nuvi 750 several times in Europe. You can buy an SD Card loaded with the Europe map on eBay or from Garmin for a little more. Just insert the SD card and you will have access to both Europe and North America maps together.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21057 posts


Before commenting on whether you'll need to download Maps, it would help to know which model Garmin GPS you're using? If it's one of the "basic" units with only North American Maps, I suspect it's going to be VERY expensive to add European Maps. In some cases, it's less expensive just to buy a model that is supplied with Euro Maps.


I've used my Garmin Nuvi 370 in vehicles in the U.K. and never had any problems using this without an "external antenna". I've never heard of any issues with the windshields in European cars? Where did you hear of this problem?

As Kent mentioned, it's not likely that the 265W is equipped with Euro Maps. That model appears to be configured according to the country that it's sold in. The model sold in the U.S. will ONLY be equipped with North American Maps, while the models sold in New Zealand, Australia or Europe will be sold with Maps for each of their respective areas.

The Nuvi 275T (SRP $299.99) is preloaded with both North American and European Maps.


Posted by Kent
Pacific Northwest
8885 posts

For others thinking of buying a GPS for use in Europe, I would say that Ken's analysis (above) seems correct (as usual): that (on the facts we've discovered so far) it appears to be significantly less costly to buy a GPS that comes from the factory with a Europe map pre-loaded, versus buying one that doesn't and then paying the substantial extra money for the Europe map. The math in our recent research on this: Someone asked about the Garmin Nuvi 265WT, which does not come with a Europe map pre-loaded. I recently saw that model on sale for $265 at Costco (presumably about as low a price as you're going to get for that mode?). The Europe map for that model is $150 at the Garmin website, plus shipping, I suppose. That's a total of $415 for the GPS ($265)+ Europe map ($150). That's $415 compared to Ken's $299 for the Garmin Nuvi 275T that comes with a Europe map already pre-loaded, a savings of well over $100.

Posted by Roy
Fredericksburg, VA, USA
406 posts

Cricket - I just bought the Garmin Nuvi 275T from www.crutchfield.com for $239 (I found a $20 off coupon code on the web). I bought it now in advance of a trip to France in September so I would be familiar with its use. To me, it's perfect for my needs - it's not widescreen, so it fits easily in a shirt or pants pocket. And it has a surprising number of features for a "low end" unit.

Kent's advice is dead on - why get a North American only GPS when you can get one with the European map already pre-loaded? All of the Garmin models that have a "7" in them have the European maps - X7X. There are a number of discontinued models, such as the 370 and 670, that are good buys, and Garmin offers one free map update upon registration, so your "old" GPS will work just fine.

Good luck!

Posted by jim carroll
spandiards bay, province, canada
1 posts

hi. just loaded free map up date to my nuvi 255w .can;t tell if it was loaded in. when i turn it on still showing 2008 t0 2009. any way to tell/ thanks

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1158 posts

All cars in the world use a 12v system and your plug in will work.

Posted by Scott M.
Dallas, TX, USA
1166 posts

It might be better, and cheaper, to upgrade to a newer model that has European maps already installed. A GPS is indispensible while driving in Italy, and I highly recommend to anyone to purchase their own and learn how to program and use it before they leave on their trip. There is no compatibility problem with using it in Europe, although it is illegal to use the FM transmitter function to broadcast the audio through your car stereo. The upper models will also have a "traffic (speeding) camera" locator, which are everywhere along the Autostrada.

This Garmin link is good to help narrow down your choices according to features.


Posted by RB
Coraopolis, Pa, USA
666 posts

We used my Garmin 265w last summer with minimal problems. I purchased the European map sd card on Amazon and it was about $40 cheaper than Garmin. I did not need an external antenna. It worked extremely well, but we did encounter some glitches. It told me to turn where there were no streets and roundabouts were interesting, sometimes. Also, we stayed at my neighbors home in Nusco an hour outside of Napoli and getting off of the hill using the gps was an adventure. I think evil spirits reside near there to discabooberate these devices. My parents were Calabrese and never had anything good to say about the region, anyway.

Seriously, the 265w proved to be invaluable and it will now accompany us on our annual trips.

Buon viaggio,


Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21057 posts


Good point! When discussing GPS units, I usually mention that it's a good idea to pack along a good Map (Michelin?) to double check the directions. I haven't yet figured out why the GPS unit provides such "goofy" routes at times.

I've tested my Garmin Nuvi to drive from my house to the main highway, and it usually comes up with a totally ridiculous and convoluted route. I always travel with a GPS unit these days, but in some cases the "navigator" sitting on top of my shoulders provides the absolute BEST directions.


Posted by RB
Coraopolis, Pa, USA
666 posts

I would like to clarify my previous post. I have a Garmin 260w and not a 265w.

Additionally, the Costco near where I live sells the 260w for about $150 and Amazon.com sells it for $114. The NT European map sd card sells for about $112 on Amazon, as well. That sum for both is $226 and a lot of times it comes with free shipping from Amazon.

I prefer the 260w to other models because it has a wider screen. The Amazon website also provides a chart comparing all of the features for each individual model. I do not work for Amazon, I'm just passing along info I've researched.

Buon viaggio,


Posted by steve
gaston, oregon, usa
842 posts

Our TomTom 920 came equiped with all the maps...no need to pay an additional cost for EU maps.

It is almost two years old, and each time I hook it up to my computer they downlaod free map upgrades. They just recently downloaded a new software upgrade.

We have used it in France, Portugal, Germany, and for a cross country US trip. It has always performed flawlessly.

Posted by Tamara
209 posts

"I think evil spirits reside near there to discabooberate these devices."

It really does seem like that, doesn't it?!

The Garmin maps for Italy are useful, but not the best. An atlas and a working knowledge of which town is next on the way to your destination will be important for avoiding some of the more "creative" routes that the GPS likes to take. Sometimes it will be beneficial to "force" the GPS to take a certain route by adding an intersection or town as a "via point" in order to avoid the ridiculous route that it cooked up for you to your destination.

That thing that looks like a bike trail? The GPS has directed us down that, across a field, to the gravel road that runs along the highway (but never connects with it), and pretty much everything except straight in to a lake, but I wouldn't put that past it either.

Definitely bring your atlas along in the car!

Posted by steve
gaston, oregon, usa
842 posts

Ken, you are sooooooooo correct! For our recent trip to France I went and bought the Michelin mapbook, and promply filed it with my other books.........too big and heavy to schlep around.

As soon as we got to France I went to a service station and bought a folding Micheline map.

It was great!

And yes, the route that the GPS picks from my home to the main hiway is really convoluted. The computer in your head is always the best one (or so I tell my wife....)

Posted by William
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
5 posts

The best GPS is a Paper Map and a good sence of diriction. If you don,t know N.S,E,or West that the Sun comes up in the East and goes down in the West.or You can,t find your back side with both hads have fun in Italy and your gas bill after your hair has tuned grey and your nurves are shoot. If lost just ask someone who has lived there all thier life. There more than likely to be from the States Retierd witching you drive in circles looking for the big W in your own MAD Mad World.

Posted by Rich
Santa Rosa, Cal, Usa
2 posts

Garmin takes the slow roads. We are driving in rural France. Dordogne region. Garmin is taking us on back roads which are very slow. Display often shows the speed limit is 90 kph whereas road only safe at 40 to 60 kph. So bam in says trip wii take say one hour but it actually takes about twice as long. BEWARE apparently garmin assumes if road has no posted limit,which these farm roads don.t, then speed defects to 90 kph and it computes "shortest" route assuming you can go 90 kph. Remedy is to use paper maps and try to follow them using garmin for assistance, at least that,s what we will try next. Got euro maps on eBay for about $40 . Despite above issue garmin has been invaluable. Don,t drive here without a GPS!!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11440 posts

The last post was tacked on to a thread that has been sleeping since Thanksgiving 2009. Rich from Santa Rosa, you might like to start your own thread about satnavs. I also note that you are speaking about France but woke up a thread in the Italian section of the helpline. BTW, you can solve your sat nav's route choices in the device's settings.