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Umbria on your own – very easy to get around
Umbria is very easy to reach by plane or train and then you can either rent a car or continue by local trains or busses. However, if you want to visit the smaller villages a car might be the better option. But it is definitely not necessary to book a package with a tour group. There are hotels, guesthouses, agriturismos in abundance and you will always find a bed, provided you don’t travel in Italy’s high season, which is July and August. I was here in April (2008), didn’t book any bed in advance and always found very lovely places to stay.
If you live close to Italy, you might consider bringing your own car. I rented a car with Europcar at the airport in Bologna (as I normally don’t like to waste too much time for approach). My Fiat Punto did cost me 400 Euro for the whole 22 days, but I booked it already back home with my Lufthansa City Service travel agency, so it might cost a bit more. I can only highly recommend to rent a car as small as possible if you are not used to the narrow roads which are very much popular in this part of Italy. Even with my tiny Punto I often didn’t dare to drive through these so small roads. On the other hand usually there are many parking lots outside of the cities and villages so it is easy to drop off the car and walk.
Autostrada 1 (Napoli - Roma – Firenze – Bologna – Milano) leads along Umbria’s western border (near Orvieto).
The two-lane highway E45 (SS3, SS3bis, SS75) forms a circle from Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, Terni, Todi and back to Perugia.
The other roads (SR roads – strada regionale) are normal one lanes in each direction, and form a quite good network throughout whole Umbria.
One word regarding petrol stations: they are not abundant in the countryside. So if you plan to drive the backstreets, make sure to check your petrol and fuel, even if the tank is half full. Often, petrol stations in the countryside are closed on Sundays. However, as SS3 is always near, you can find stations there at the exits.
Umbria can be reached easily by plane. Roma’s international airport at Fiumicino is approx. 50 km south of Umbria’s southern border. Bologna and Ancona’s airports are also served by international airlines like Lufthansa, KLM, British Airways, Iberia, Airfrance, Continental, Delta, United Airlines and Alitalia as well as some low-cost airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet.
Alternatively, from European destinations, Roma’s Ciampino airport, Perugia’s Sant’Egido airport (between Perugia and Assisi) and Rimini’s Federico Fellini airport are the choices for flights with low-cost airlines. All airports are served by trains and located close to motorways or highways.
International, all airlines:
Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino airport, Roma,
Aeroporto G. Marconi, Bologna,
Aeroporto Falconara, Ancona;
Regional, low-cost airlines:
Ciampino airport, Roma,
Aeroporto Regionale Umbro Sant’Egido, Perugia,
Federico Fellini, Rimini.
From what I have heard, Italy’s train network is superb though I cannot report from own experience. Trains go from Perugia to Terni, Terni via Spoleto to Assisi, Orvieto to Firenze or Roma, but that’s it. The tiny villages in Valle Umbra and Valnerina are not served by train.
I also cannot report about the bus system from own experience, but I saw a lot of local/regional busses on the road. My travel books did list bus connections for almost every location. Some, like Abbazia San Pietro in Valle, however, are not served by bus, but there is always the option to ask the bus driver to let you off somewhere.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
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