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Car or Train

Discussion in 'Living Room' started by MTR, 17th Oct, 2015.

  1. MTR

    MTR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    How would you do this, we are going to be travelling around Italy should we train it or hire a car.

    I know there pros and cons. I would prefer to have hire car at airport, but those crazy italian drivers and roads... very narrow, hey we are not talking Australian roads.

    Concerned about safety

    Anyone, any thoughts
     
    Last edited: 17th Oct, 2015
  2. Casteller

    Casteller Well-Known Member

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    I drive in Spain a lot, and have driven in Italy. A lot more freedom and save a lot of time with a car outside the cities. So it depends if you want to spend more time in the cities, or countryside/coast. If you're just going city to city train better, but if you want to see smaller places a car better. Could split it and have a car half the time.

    You have to drive a bit more defensively, about 20% of drivers I reckon don't use the indicator at all. And they tend to jump traffic lights by a few seconds sometimes, so don't assume red means red. Plus they park anywhere, double park for half an hour or so no problem, cops don't care (unless its a bus lane). Horns used a lot, weaving motos in cities a menace have to watch out for them, I have seen many moto crashes in Spain some right in front of my eyes.
     
  3. Bayview

    Bayview Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like this is where they got the idea for GTA.:p

    Back to original OP; get a car.
     
  4. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    Do you have an itinerary yet? That will help provide the answer. I've been to Italy 4-5 times and have done both and a mixture

    If it's largely the big cities, then train is easier as long as you pack light. The train is cheap, comfortable, stress-free. An off-the-top itinerary akin to Rome - Florence - Pisa - Venice with or without Sorrento/Amalfi Coast/Cinque Terre is all easy with train and buses.

    A car in the big cities (and surprisingly the small cities) can be a pain: busy, other side of the road, hectic, parking, and the small cities tight and unyielding. Remember places like Venice have NO cars.

    If you get off the mainland e.g. Sardinia or Sicilia, then definitely get a car.

    I suspect a little of both might be best.


    A tip for italy: no cars will stop at a pedestrian crossing- you just have to WALK :)


    I love Italy.
     
  5. wombat777

    wombat777 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Generally driving in Italy was not too bad. I drove for a day last year from Turin to Florence with a stopover in Pisa.

    Off/on-Ramps for the highways were the scariest ( way too short ) and traffic moves fast on the lanes that you need to merge into or leave. This is exacerbated by the exit ramps often having tight small turns.

    Do pre-research on places to park as finding parking can be tough. I did that for Pisa. Only spent a couple of hours there to look at the tower area and was able to use a relatively cheap public carpark with this quirky view behind the surrounding apartment blocks.

    image.jpeg

    For satnav Sygic Europe is a cheaper version of the Tom Tom app which has maps included in the app. Don't rely on google maps as it will chew up your data.

    That said, I much preferred travelling by train. Trains were relatively reliable. Use the rome2rio.com website to research your journeys. Ideally prebook tickets at home before you go. I used railguru.com.au. Rail passes are not as popular these days.

    The other great thing about rail and not having a car is you will do lots of walking. Helps to counter the wine/pasta/pizza/gelato. I got back from my holiday several kilos lighter ( although walking around Mount Blanc for 7 days helped with that ).

    Another tip - save PDFs of all your travel bookings and associated documents in Dropbox. Good to have them organised somewhere you can quickly locate them.
     
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  6. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    I'd definitely say train, I've seen how Italians drive.
     
  7. Chilliblue

    Chilliblue Well-Known Member

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    Being one of those crazy Italian drivers, it depends on the type of holiday you want to do. If staying near the cities and the regionals, then train and bus is the way to go and often you get to experience a whole different side of the country.

    However, if you plan to meander and what to stop wherever your fancy is taken then drive. Just remember to take a recording of your hire car before and after as insurance and make certain you hold an International Licence

    Really driving in Italy is no different to Australia there are idiots everywhere.
     
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  8. eyespy1

    eyespy1 Member

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    Depends on where in italy ypu are going and how confident a driver you are. i remember arpund amalfi , roads very narrow over steep cliffs....i wouldnt want to be driving there. If the area you are going to is serviced well by trains then i would choose that. I read that down south in sicily area trains may cover all the areas ypu want to see.
     
  9. MTR

    MTR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for helpful feedback.

    Most of the time will be in Lake Como as we plan to spend time with my relatives who from this area.
    Will go to Switzland around Lugano and St Moritz then off to Florence Luca and finish off at Almafi Coast.

    Have not finalised itinerary but above is pretty much what we want to do/see.

    It's difficult to decide which way to go.

    MTR:)
     
  10. Ed Barton

    Ed Barton Well-Known Member

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    If it's relatives I'd definitely say a car - you want to be able to come/go when needed.

    Funny off-topic story:
    In a night out to a pub for dinner in the west country we left my dad at the pub. There were several car loads of relatives having dinner at the local pub. It wasn't until hours later, and a knock on the door by the cops that we realised that we had left my dad at the pub - everyone else thought someone else took him home.
     
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  11. MTR

    MTR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Too funny:)
     
  12. Cimbom

    Cimbom Well-Known Member

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    We spent 3.5 weeks in Italy earlier this year and didn't hire a car. Keep in mind that with many of the bigger cities like Rome, Florence, etc, you cannot drive in the central/historic parts of the city without a special permit. AFAIK it is very difficult to get this as a visitor.
     
  13. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    Como?

    Car.

    I'd plan to ditch it in Florence.

    If you haven't been to Venice, you simply must, especially if you are already up North. Verona was unexpectedly worth a visit too.

    Florence is brilliant.

    Presumably you will fly into Milano then? Otherwise, spend a couple of days in Rome because you won't enjoy it as much if you don't do it first (busy, noisy, dirty - but awesome).
     
  14. MTR

    MTR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I absolutely hate Venice, dirty, expensive and I really don't understand why people love it so much. I guess we are all different.

    Florence is wonderful. Not even looked at flights, but will do shortly.

    We are really just sticking to north of Italy or close by as there is so much to see and don't like rushing around from town to town. Next time it will the south of Italy.

    Next trip will be Taormina, Sicily, spectacular

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=...X&ved=0CCcQsARqFQoTCM6dhvnbysgCFWXHpgod8AoNwA
     
  15. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    I loved the romance of Venice, everyone should go once. But I didn't need to go back.

    We didn't like Milan at all.

    We felt like the only tourists on Sardinia, but didn't make it to Sicily. Next time.
     
  16. Ed Barton

    Ed Barton Well-Known Member

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    What's so special in Venice? Apart from water roads why go there?
     
  17. geoffw

    geoffw Moderator Staff Member

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    Maps.me is a nice little maps app which enables you to download a whole country in one go and then not have to download anything again. It's good for leaving placemarks of where you've been.
     
  18. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    I would go with a car for sure. There are so many little places you can stop with a car, little detours to places with not many people around.
    Another tip if changing countries is to drop off the car near the border, train across, and pick up another car. We did that San Remo-Nice, easy on the train.
    Obviously if you're returning to the same location it's not an issue.
    So many beautiful lakes around there and Switzerland, jealous!
     
  19. JacM

    JacM VIC Buyer's Agent Business Member

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    It's fun to experience a little bit of both I think (train and car). If you are going to hire a car, I highly recommend getting excess insurance. Driving around in countries like Italy/Spain/France where streets are super narrow, I spend my whole time worrying about getting a scratch on the car. I've also heard that even to replace a windscreen wiper you'll be charged the full excess on your insurance. At about 4 british pounds per day it is a worthwhile thing to remove the stress and just enjoy your holiday. Here is an example of one such company: http://www.insurance4carhire.com/daily-car-hire-excess-insurance
     
  20. MTR

    MTR Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    Also, most credit cards will cover travel/car insurance??