20 tips for interesting places to visit in Northern Italy (+ map)

co navštívit v severní Itálii

Northern Italy, with its romantic lakes, majestic mountains, historic cities and world-famous monuments, is a destination that no traveller should miss. In this guide we will show you the most beautiful places, cities and attractions to visit in Northern Italy.

Imagine you are standing on top of the Alps, with a panorama of snow-capped peaks and green valleys stretching out below you, and a bright blue sky above you. You can smell the scent of the pines and hear only the sound of the wind playing with the needles.

Wander the cobbled streets of ancient cities such as Verona, Padua and Bologna, where you’ll find historical monuments, artistic gems and cosy cafés on every corner. You stand on the shore of one of the many alpine lakes, overlooking elegant villas and small fishing boats gliding across the water.

All this and much more can be experienced in northern Italy. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the best places you shouldn’t miss on your visit. And maybe you’ll fall in love with northern Italy as much as we did.

Things to see and do in Northern Italy – Map

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map of Northern Italy with tips on the most beautiful places and attractions to visit. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places mentioned in the Northern Italy guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

Interesting places to visit in Northern Italy

1. Milan

Let’s face it – Milan is not one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Rome, Florence or Venice are far ahead with their beauty.

Still, Milan is worth a visit. A lively, elegant city at the heart of one of Italy’s most beautiful sights – Duomo Cathedral . Climb to its breathtaking rooftop and enjoy the view of the Piazza del Duomo and the historic centre of Milan.

Duomo di Milano monuments in Lombardy
Duomo di Milano

To the left of the cathedral is the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, which is the oldest still functioning shopping centre in Italy. Richly decorated with a large glass dome. Luxury and opulence literally oozes from this place.

what to see in Milan / where to go in Milan / Milan sights

Read more: top places to visit in Milan and useful tips including a map. To help you plan your trip to Milan, we’ve created an itinerary for 3 days in Milan, including a map. Do you have less time? Check out the itinerary for Milan in 2 days or the itinerary for 1 day in Milan.

Accommodation in Milan 😴

milán ubytování
B&B Hotel Milano Ornato

Cheap and comfortable hotel with good accessibility

milán ubytování
Hotel Ritter

Quiet 3* hotel in the centre, just 5 minutes from the metro

2. Bergamo

Bergamo is located near Milan in Lombardy. Thanks to Milan, Bergamo is overlooked by many tourists. And although it has been growing in popularity in recent years, it is still an authentic city that will literally delight you with its friendly and warm atmosphere.

View of Bergamo from the bell tower in Città Alta
View of Bergamo from the bell tower in Città Alta

Bergamo absolutely blew us away with its beautiful sights, the labyrinth of medieval streets in Città Alta and the lively atmosphere in Città Bassa. If you have the time, I recommend to walk through it during the day and at night, when it is beautifully lit.

View of Bergamo from La Rocca Fortress
View of Bergamo from La Rocca Fortress

Where to stay in Bergamo:
Hotel Città Dei Mille
: A traditional-style hotel with excellent access to the station and the old town. Right in the heart of Città Alta lies
Hotel Il Sole
: A cosy hotel with a restaurant serving delicious local cuisine.

Check out the most beautiful places to visit in Bergamo and other useful tips.

3. Verona

Verona is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in northern Italy. Located on the banks of the Adige River in Italy, the City of Love will captivate you with its stunning architecture, picturesque streets and rich culture.

Ponte Pietra in Verona
Ponte Pietra in Verona

Verona has everything you’d expect from an Italian city – a long history, beautiful sights, a lively atmosphere, delicious cuisine and winding streets where you’re constantly getting lost. The centre of Verona is compact and easy to walk around in 1 day.

Arena di Verona is one of the most beautiful monuments in northern Italy
Arena di Verona is one of the most beautiful monuments in northern Italy

Where to stay in Verona: Hotel Milano is a fantastic hotel in the historic centre with a rooftop terrace overlooking the Arena di Verona. Newly furnished
Hotel Leopardi
offers a rich breakfast, a spa and free on-site parking.

Read: 20 tips for the most beautiful places in Verona or plan your trip with the Verona 1 Day Itinerary.

4. Venice

Monumental basilicas and opulent palaces that house breathtaking art collections, romantic canals that you can take a gondola ride over or cross on one of the iconic bridges, and plenty of alleyways to wander. Welcome to Venice!

St Mark's Basilica in Venice

Venice is unique. They have their own specific atmosphere that you can’t find anywhere else. Start in Piazza San Marco with the magnificent St Mark’s Basilica, bell tower and Doge’s Palace which is richly decorated.

Weave through the narrow streets, cross the Rialto Bridge and enjoy a gondola or water bus ride to reach other islands and sites around the centre of Venice.

view from the bell tower of St. Mark's,Venice

Find out more: the most beautiful places to visit in Venice, including useful information on how to enjoy your visit to Venice. To help you plan your trip, we’ve created an itinerary for 1 day in Venice or an itinerary for 2 days in Venice.

Accommodation in Venice 😴

ubytování benátky
Hilton Garden Inn Venice Mestre

Modern 4* hotel with parking and restaurant

levné ubytování benátky
Hotel Delle Rose

Cheap, clean accommodation with parking

5. Padua

Padua is a city that lives in the shadow of Venice. This has an advantage – you can explore the city much more leisurely than in neighbouring Venice.

Padua was founded even earlier than Rome. Moreover, at the end of the First World War it was the second richest city in Italy after Rome. It has a rich artistic and historical heritage with numerous preserved monuments.

padova northern italy
padua northern italy attractions
Basilica of St. Anthony, Padua / things to see in northern Italy

See the Basilica of St Anthony, the San Giusticia Cathedral, the Palazzo della Ragione with its magnificent medieval town hall, the Scrovegni Chapel with its frescoes (the first masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance) or the botanical garden of the University of Badua, the oldest in the world.

6. Lago di Como

Lago di Como is one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy. Celebrities such as George Clooney, Giovanni Versace, Lionel Messi and Madonna have their homes here.

View of Bellagio from the ferry, Lago di Como
View of Bellagio from the ferry, Lago di Como

It will entertain you with its picturesque towns with narrow streets, colourful houses lining the coast and clear water reflecting the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

Relax by the water with a delicious Italian gelato, take an evening stroll along the landscaped promenade, go hiking or take a ferry trip to some of the most beautiful towns on Lago di Como , including Bellagio and Varenna.

Varenna, Lago di Como
Varenna, Lago di Como

Where to stay at Lago di Como: Hotel Abbadia is located on the western shore of the lake a short walk from the beach and has excellent access by train or ferry (or car) to Varenna, Bellagio or Bergamo and Milan. Residence Alessandra is ideal for those looking for private accommodation in apartments with kitchenette. The accommodation is located in the north-west of the lake and offers a swimming pool and a garden.

Read: The complete guide to Lago di Como in Italy.

7. Lago di Maggiore

Lago di Maggiore is another beautiful lake, surrounded by mountains, which can be found northwest of Milan. Like Lago di Como, the island’s surroundings offer a wealth of possibilities, from hiking and swimming to exploring its neat little towns.

View from the promenade in Stresa of the Borromean Islands, Laggo di Maggiore
View from the promenade in Stresa of the Borromean Islands, Laggo di Maggiore

Take a stroll along the promenade in Pallanza or Stresa, or take a trip to the Borromean Islands, made up of Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Isola dei Pescatori. Each of the islands has a completely different atmosphere – Isola Bella with its baroque palace, mosaic caves and exotic gardens, Madre Island with its English-style botanical park and the fishing island of Pescatori with its winding streets.

Pescatori Island, Lago di Maggiore
Pescatori Island, Lago di Maggiore

8. Dolomites

The Dolomites, considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain range in the world, thanks to their green flowering meadows combined with sharp peaks that will take the breath away of even the most mountain-averse.

Tre Cime, Dolomites / what to see in northern Italy
Tre Cime, Dolomites / what to see in northern Italy

The lakes in the Dolomites are famous for their crystal clear water, which mirrors the surrounding limestone peaks. The high mountain roads take you to altitudes that will leave you breathless at the sight of snow-capped mountain peaks. Stroll through the Alpine meadows, visit the sites of the First World War or take a cable car ride almost to the sky.

Seceda, Dolomites
Seceda, Dolomites

Where to stay in the Dolomites: B&B Hotel Passo Tre Croci is a modern 3-star hotel strategically located directly on Passo Tre Croci in Cortina d’Ampezzo, from where you can visit Tre Cime, Passo Giau, Passo Falzarego or Lago di Sorapis. Hotel Portavescovo is located in the centre of Arabba, which is perfectly situated for exploring the eastern and western Dolomites. The hotel also has a swimming pool, sauna and half board. If you prefer private accommodation, look for Apparthotel Sellaronda . These are fully equipped apartments, which are also at a great price.

Read: The most beautiful places and routes to visit in the Dolomites or plan your holiday with our guide to the Dolomites.

9. Lago di Garda

Welcome to Lago di Garda in Italy, an alpine lake with crystal clear waters that are lined with charming towns and imposing alpine peaks. Lago di Garda is a popular destination in northern Italy, and I’m not surprised because it offers so many great things to do.

View of Riva del Garda from the Venetian Bastion
View of Riva del Garda from the Venetian Bastion

Enjoy a swim in the crystal clear water or a ferry ride, follow one of the many hiking or cycling trails and soak up the charm of the colourful towns with small harbours where you can contemplate and watch the surrounding bustle. From the Scaliger Castle in Sirmione to the winding streets of Tremosine, you’ll experience fantastic views around Lago di Garda.

View of the Sirmione promontory from Scaliger Castle
View of the Sirmione promontory from Scaliger Castle

Near Lago di Garda is one of the most famous theme parks in Italy – Gardaland . It is popular and especially in high season there are queues, so it is better to book tickets in advance. On the other hand, it offers adventure and adrenaline attractions for young and old alike.

There are also several water parks in the area – Parco Cavour is one of the best, where you can enjoy giant slides, wave pools, rafting and pools with sandy beaches.

Read more: the most beautiful places to visit near Lago di Garda + map.

Accommodation Lago di Garda 😴

ubytování lago di garda
Hotel Leonardo da Vinci

All-inclusive resort with private beach

ubytování v soukromí lago di garda
Residence Centro Vela

Modern apartments with restaurant

10. Bologna

Bologna, the heart of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, is a great destination for those looking for an authentic Italian atmosphere away from crowded tourist destinations like Rome or Venice.

Bologna / what to see in northern Italy
Bologna / what to see in northern Italy

Bologna is famous for its towers and 38 kilometres of arcades where you can cool off on hot summer days. The red and orange brick houses give it a completely different character from other towns in Italy. They also earned her the nickname “Red Bologna”.

The University of Bologna dates back to the 11th century, making it the oldest university in the world. The local student population gives the city a lively atmosphere.

And if you love good cuisine, you’ll love it here. Try the spaghetti Bolognese, salami Mortadella, lasagne, tortellini or tagliatelle.

Bologna is a major transport hub in Italy – trains provide easy access to a wide range of destinations including Florence and Venice or the smaller, historic towns around Bologna – Modena, Ferrara, Parma, Reggio nell’Emilia or Ravenna by the sea.

Where to stay in Bologna: Hotel Cosmopolitan Bologna Located outside the centre, about 10 minutes’ drive from the historic centre, this hotel offers great value for money. Combo Bologna offers modern accommodation in single or shared rooms, just a short walk from the train station for easy access to the centre and the airport.

11. Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre features five fishing villages wedged into steeply terraced cliffs along stretches of rocky coastline. Each of the villages has its own unique character – Monterosso with its beautiful beach, the rich nightlife of Vernazza, the hillside vineyards of Corniglia, the colourful boats and caves of Manarola and the medieval castle of Riomaggiore.

Where to go in Italy / what to see in Italy / what to see in Italy

All the villages have houses in pastel colours and harbours full of fishing boats. It is an area full of dramatic views, vineyards and olive groves, criss-crossed by hundreds of kilometres of hiking trails. Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful places to visit in northern Italy.

The villages are rich in agriculture and fishing, so you can enjoy local wine, olives, cheese, pasta, seafood and homemade bread.

Manarola, Cinque Terre / where to go in northern Italy
Manarola, Cinque Terre / where to go in northern Italy

Even those who are into hiking like us will enjoy it. The most famous hiking trail is the 12 km long Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail, Route 2), which connects all 5 villages. The trail is charged at a price of 7,50 €.

The Sentiero Alto (High Route, Route 1) is also well known, with a total length of 35 km. The route is not difficult and unlike the Blue Trail, you will meet fewer tourists.

Where to stay in Cinque Terre: Real Rooms is a cosy, clean accommodation a short walk from La Spezia train station, from where you can easily reach Cinque Terre.

12. Genoa

Genoa, or Genoa, is the largest port in Italy, which is somewhat overlooked compared to other Italian cities. The city was home to the famous navigator Christopher Columbus.

Genoa / best places to visit in northern italy
Genoa / best places to visit in northern Italy

Wander through the historic centre, full of narrow, winding streets called caruggi. Here you can explore countless historic buildings, squares and museums, including Piazza Raffaele de Ferrari with its bronze fountain in the centre. The old town is vast and you can easily spend a few days wandering the streets. Or climb to the Belvedere Castelletto lookout for one of the best views of the city.

View of the colourful houses lining the Spiaggia di Boccadasse, Genoa
View of the colourful houses lining the Spiaggia di Boccadasse, Genoa

When you’re in town, don’t miss aquarium in Genoa (Acquario di Genova), one of the greatest attractions in northern Italy. Located in the harbour of the old town, it is home to more than 15,000 animals including fish, marine mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians. The main attraction is a giant tank for stingrays, sharks and dolphins.

13. Gran Paradiso National Park and the Aosta Valley

Gran Paradiso National Park, the first national park in Italy, is located in the heart of the Italian Alps near the border in north-west Italy. If you love nature, hiking or just need to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this park is the perfect destination.

Gran Paradiso National Park and the mountain town of Cogne / Kam in northern Italy
Gran Paradiso National Park and the mountain town of Cogne / Kam in northern Italy

With snow-capped peaks, mountain pastures, crystal-clear lakes and lush forests, you can wander for days and often not see a soul.

Visit the Cascate di Lillaz or Cascata di Noasca waterfalls. Take a ride along the Nivolet Pass, which leads through breathtaking scenery and ends at the beautiful alpine lakes.

Lillaz Waterfalls, Gran Paradiso National Park
Lillaz Waterfalls, Gran Paradiso National Park

The Gran Paradiso National Park lies partly in the Aosta Valley, a region along the borders with Switzerland and France, wedged between the Alpine peaks. The whole area, together with the Gran Paradiso National Park, is a hidden gem of northern Italy that has not yet been discovered by the masses.

To the north of the park is the Pont d’Aël, a partially glass-floored bridge that has stood here for centuries and overlooks a deep canyon. The historic town of Aosta is also worth a visit, with remains from Roman times, including the Teatro Romano.

Teatro Romano, Aosta
Teatro Romano, Aosta

14. Turin

Turin, an elegant city located in northwest Italy at the foot of the Alps, is often overlooked at the expense of other Italian cities. With its rich history, delicious cuisine and beautiful architecture, Turin is a destination you should add to your list of places to visit in northern Italy.

Turin / best places to visit in northern Italy
Turin / best places to visit in northern Italy

Turin is home to many important historical monuments and museums. One of the most important is the Royal Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You should not miss a visit to the Egyptian Art Museum, which is the second largest of its kind in the world, after Cairo.

Egyptian Museum in Turin
Egyptian Museum in Turin

For car enthusiasts, the Museo dell’Automobile, located on the outskirts of Turin, is the ideal destination. While wandering around the centre, don’t miss a visit to the Mole Antonelliana, an iconic building in Turin that now hosts the National Film Museum.

If you’re looking for sumptuous architecture, north of Turin is La Venaria Reale, one of the largest UNESCO-listed palaces in Europe.

Turin / best places to visit in northern Italy
Turin / best places to visit in northern Italy

For one of the best views of Turin and the surrounding area, take the cable car to the Superga Basilica. Go to Juventus or Turin FC or enjoy hiking in the Alps that surround Turin.

Where to stay in Turin: Hotel Cascina Fossata & Residence The hotel is a newly decorated and comfortable hotel with free parking and good access to Turin city centre.

15. Stelvio National Park

When I think of northern Italy, the beautiful alpine scenery is the first thing that springs to mind. Stelvio National Park is one of these places. If you want to see stunning panoramas, alpine valleys dotted with traditional huts, picturesque churches and diverse wildlife, make sure you stop here for a few days.

Stelvio mountain pass / best places to visit in northern Italy
Stelvio mountain pass / best places to visit in northern Italy

Hiking trails start at 650 m and climb up to 4000 m above sea level. This makes the local fauna, flora and nature very diverse. On the way you will meet deer, chamois, marmots or ibex.

You don’t have that much time? Drive through the national park via the Passo dello Stelvio (Stilfserjoch), the highest mountain pass in Italy and the second highest in the Alps. It’s free and you’ll enjoy fantastic views effortlessly.

Stelvio mountain pass / best places to visit in northern Italy

Read: The most beautiful places to visit in Lombardy.

16. Portofino

Portofino is a picturesque fishing town on the Italian Riviera, famous for its beautiful harbour landscape and the colourful houses that line its coastline. This small but significant town is often rated as one of the most beautiful ports in the Mediterranean.

View of Portofino from Castello Brown
View of Portofino from Castello Brown

Highlights include Castello Brown, a historic fortress where you can enjoy spectacular views of the harbour. The area around Portofino is a protected area, which is interwoven with hiking trails and bays with crystal clear water. Visit the Baia di Paraggi bay or the magnificent Abbazia di San Fruttuoso monastery, anchored among the rocks on the coast.

Paraggi Bay
Paraggi Bay

17. Miramare Castle

Miramare Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Italy. Located on a cliff by the Adriatic coast, it offers spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding area.

Miramare Castle Italy
Miramare Castle / Attractions in Northern Italy

You can stroll in the park full of rare and exotic plants and enjoy the view of the castle with its white walls and towers, which are a perfect example of Tudor Gothic.

The castle was built in the 19th century by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria and his wife Charlotte of Belgium.

The area around the castle is a protected site that is home to many seabirds.

Miramare Castle Italy
Miramare Castle / Attractions in Northern Italy

18. Trieste

Trieste is located in the very east of northern Italy, near the border with Slovenia. An important port on the Adriatic Sea, it lies on the border of the Latin, Germanic and Slavic worlds, which is reflected in its cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Historically, Trieste was an important centre of the Habsburg monarchy, which is still commemorated today by magnificent buildings and monuments such as the magnificent Piazza Unità d’Italia or the imposing Miramare Castle, which lies nearby.

Piazza Unità d'Italia, Trieste / things to see in northern Italy
Piazza Unità d’Italia, Trieste / things to see in northern Italy

While wandering around the city, visit one of the cafés, including the historic Caffè San Marco and Caffè degli Specchi, which developed during the long years of Habsburg rule.

And where to go around Trieste? Nearby is the unusual pilgrimage church of Monte Grisa, from where there are spectacular views of the coast. Or go hiking in the Val Rosandra, through which the turquoise Rosandra River flows.

19. Lago d’Iseo and Val Camonica

Lago d’Iseo is the fourth largest lake in Lombardy, located west of Lago di Garda. The main attraction is the island of Monte Isola, which is the largest lake island in Europe. It is a place where you can experience perfect peace without cars.

Lago d'Iseo / the most beautiful places in northern Italy
Lago d’Iseo / the most beautiful places in northern Italy

Lago d’Iseo is surrounded by beautiful alpine scenery that offers breathtaking views of the lake. If you like hiking, you’ll find something for yourself here. If you’re looking for historic towns, visit Lovere, with its landscaped promenade and narrow streets.

Just half an hour from Lago d’Iseo is the Val Camonica, a narrow valley carved around the Oglio River that stretches from Ponte di Legno in the north to Lago d’Iseo in the south. Today the valley is called Valle dei Segni.

Val Camonica Lombardy

But it’s not just any valley. Here you will find one of the richest collections of petroglyphs in the world – 200,000 – 300,000 carved paintings dating back up to 10,000 years, many of which are very legible even today.

It is the first Italian site to be inscribed on the UNESCO list due to its unique value.

The best area for discovering petroglyphs is around the town of Capo di Ponte and between Darfo and Edolo. The ticket gives you access to 5 archaeological parks. The best is the Parco Nazionale delle Incisioni Rupestri di Naquane in Capo di Ponte.

Visit the village of Bienno, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. From the Passo di Crocedomini mountain pass, you can enjoy spectacular views of Val Camonica and the surrounding villages.

Crocedomini Pass, Val Camonica
Crocedomini Pass, Val Camonica

20. Grazzano Visconti and Castell’Arquato

Grazzano Visconti is a beautiful medieval village, but not at all historic. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century at the behest of Giuseppe Visconti, an Italian film director and producer. The aim was to create an idea of medieval life for visitors.

Grazzano Visconti / best places to visit in northern Italy
Grazzano Visconti / best places to visit in northern Italy

Yet you feel like you’ve been transported back a few centuries. You can wander the local streets, visit the castle or sample the local cuisine.

Nearby is the beautiful village of Castell’Arquato. Here, you can already smell the real history in the local streets. The village is small, but absolutely charming. The surrounding hills are covered with vineyards overlooking the Apennines, which form the backbone of the whole of Italy.


These were the most beautiful places and attractions to visit and see in Northern Italy. Do you have a question? We’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More information about Italy

ROME: Rome is one of the most popular cities in Europe. Here’s a list of the best things to see in Rome. Build your 3-day Rome itinerary and see how to save in Rome.

TUSCANY: Tuscany is one of the most popular parts of Italy. You can’t miss Florence on your visit to Tuscany. Make your itinerary with a list of things to see in Florence. Pisa is another wonderful city to see in Tuscany.

Read even more tips on travelling in Italy.

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