Best Ways to get around Tuscany
Whether you are heading into rural Tuscany with its hilltop villages, vine clad slopes and olive groves or spending time in Florence or Pisa to admire the stunning architecture of the cathedrals and churches you need to consider the best ways to get around Tuscany. Whilst it is not a particularly large area, some villages are remote and best accessed by car.
If you plan to limit your stay to the main cities then the rail network is ideal. Linking all the major cities and most towns it’s one of Tuscany’s easiest forms of transport and is both convenient and affordable. The stations are right in the centre of the cities and usually have bus links very close by.
Florence, Tuscany, Italy by Chris Yunker
However be aware that if you travel to smaller towns, especially hilltop towns, the stopping off points are likely to be at the bottom of the hill which will necessitate some other way of getting to your final destination.
Hiring a car gives you the freedom to explore all that this delightful region has to offer. Whilst driving in cities can be rather fraught, with chaotic roads and difficult parking, a car comes into its own when you head out into the countryside. Many of the highways are toll free and the roads are generally good. However some of the signs can be confusing and it is rather easy to get lost.
This is where a GPS comes in handy. Once you hit the hilly areas, the roads become more challenging as they wind up and down the slopes. Giving you the opportunity to admire some spectacular views and breathe in the picturesque charms of the hilltop villages, these roads can require caution so take your time and drive carefully. There is no rush!
Another option is to travel by bus. With terminals in every city they service virtually every town in Tuscany. However you need to be aware that schedules out in very rural areas can be erratic, you will need to check the timetables carefully. You may find yourself stranded at night at the bottom of the hill and having to rely on your feet to get you up to the top. It’s advisable to carry a small flashlight and keep your luggage to a minimum when going by bus.
If you are a fitness fanatic, one way of seeing Tuscany is by using pedal power. Organised cycle tours are becoming more and more popular with bikes, meals and accommodation all pre-booked for you along your route. You do need to be fit to do this as the roads are very hilly and often you will cover up to 50km a day.
If you want to limit the amount of cycling, many trains have sections for bicycles although you may have to book these in advance.
Other forms of transport include motorbikes and the iconic Italian scooter. It very much depends on your travel plans and your preference to decide on the best ways to get around Tuscany for your visit.
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Sue Wright is an avid traveller and writer and has spent many years working with travel companies including Travel and Leisure Group / travelandleisure.co.uk. She has spent the last eight years living and working in Cyprus.