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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  • 2 Post By markharf
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  #1  
Old 30 Jun 2023
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Italy in august

Hi all
Wife and I are flying into Milan and renting a bike for a month from Agostini. Planning on heading south with no particular plan then across to Croatia and up to Austria for the moto gp then back to Milan.

Everything I am seeing is saying that we are mad. Too busy too hot, we are not going to be able to get any accomodation restaurants will be booked out.

Is it as bad as all that.

We don’t want to prebook any accomodation as we don’t know where we will be at the end of each day.

We usually couchsurfing air BnB or cheap hotels.

Camping isn’t an option this trip.

Anyone tips or advice for a couple of clueless Aussies?
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  #2  
Old 30 Jun 2023
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Too busy, too hot, and you forgot too expensive. A lot depends largely on how flexible you can be, whether you're there to see the same places everyone else is headed for, and to some extent how flush your bank accounts are. You'll usually find places to stay, if you're persistent, and stuff to eat--you won't starve or get eaten by bears. But it's not something I'd ever do.

Hope that's helpful.

Mar
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  #3  
Old 30 Jun 2023
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Hi Mcguyver,

Indeed unfortunally Europe is a overcrowded place, especially western Europe roughly between the North sea / Baltic sea and the Mediterranean sea. July and august always have been the most busy months, both because the school holidays and the summer weather. September would have been a better month.
On a motorcycle you are a little bit better off then as a car driver because it is a bit easier to pass traffic and traffic jams.
There are some things you can do to escape the worst traffic tho. For example you could google ¨black saturday¨ then you will see when the most traffic is in and in which direction (north or south). This is especially true for transit countries like France and Germany.
Going away from the main roads and drive more through the countryside will also get you out of most traffic. As Mark said, avoid the most touristic places or maybe google those places you want to visit. It is well possible there will be some websites where you can see what the most busy days and times are.
I think you are not doing much transit but if so, for transit I would recommend driving at night. Driving in the mornings and relax at the hottest part of the day is also a possibility. You can also trying to find the websites of italian/croatian road administrations and automobile clubs. They probably have tips, advice and information.
In short: august is not the best month but it is not impossible.

Have a nice and save trip.

Rögnvaldur
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  #4  
Old 30 Jun 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcguyver View Post
We don’t want to prebook any accomodation as we don’t know where we will be at the end of each day.
Have you done that kind of travel before, in that kind of environment? Where accommodation will be limited, and you are likely to spend quite a large share of your evening going from hotel to hotel looking for an available room, quite likely to be forced to travel out of town and away from the nice things you wanted to see? Forced to do your sightseeing in the middle of the day without much of an opportunity to leave your helmets and riding gear in the hotel while you walk about in shorts and tshirts?

Plus of course the heat, and the fact that a lot of Italy does completely shut down for Ferragosto - the shitty tourist places will still be open, but the self-respecting restaurateurs will be away.

You can't rely on AirBNBs with last-minute bookings - the hosts are likely to have other plans than checking you in at dinner time with no prior warning.

---

As someone who has travelled in Italy in August (ugh), and who has just done the Italy-Croatia-Austria-Milan trip on a motorcycle, my recommendation would be to plan out your overnight stops and prebook them. Be conservative with the amount of kilometers you schedule for each day, and for the places where you want to slow down and look around - big attractive cities like Florence, Dubrovnik, etc. - make sure you take two nights' accommodation at least, and have a full day off the bike.

The romance of never knowing where each day will end is very nice when you are traveling e.g. in a campervan, or going across somewhere like Norway where you can pitch a tent two corners off any road and have a reasonable chance of privacy and a great view. But you will be on a bike, in a densely populated area during high tourist season. You will be MUCH happier having a pre-researched pleasant destination to aim for, and if you get there a bit earlier in the day, that's all the better! And it definitely does NOT preclude you from detours, changing the path that you take to your destination at the last minute, because you see there are roadworks or you're too tired for switchbacks.
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  #5  
Old 30 Jun 2023
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Originally Posted by AnTyx View Post
Have you done that kind of travel before, in that kind of environment? Where accommodation will be limited, and you are likely to spend quite a large share of your evening going from hotel to hotel looking for an available room, quite likely to be forced to travel out of town and away from the nice things you wanted to see? Forced to do your sightseeing in the middle of the day without much of an opportunity to leave your helmets and riding gear in the hotel while you walk about in shorts and tshirts? (etc)

Very much agree with that. My first two motorcycle trips to Italy in August were 50 and 52yrs ago and AnTyx's vision of 'tourist hell' is exactly what we experienced. And if it was that bad back then ... The Adriatic coast, roughly from Venice down past Rimini, almost needs a second floor to cope with the numbers, with the other big ticket destinations not far behind. For your own sanity plan ahead and think of it as an expedition into the human jungle rather than the romance of the open road.
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  #6  
Old 30 Jun 2023
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Italy in august

I’m not liking the sound of this. If there is any light it’s that we re more about the roads and scenery than the tourist destinations.

Unfortunately it is what it is.

We will try and make the most of it.

Will be avoiding the big cities.

I did want to visit the Almaty coast. Will see how it goes.
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  #7  
Old 30 Jun 2023
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The Croatia coast (although I admit I haven't been there for a few years) is very much less crowded than the Italian one. My observation is that it's because the Croatian coastline is rocky whereas the Italian one is primarily sandy and shallow sloping. That attracts families with children as it's safe for kids to play.
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  #8  
Old 1 Jul 2023
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Hey,

if Milan is set as fly in/out and Austria is set for the MotoGP, I´d avoid everything coastal med south of Milan during August. You'll melt in 40°C traffic, be ripped off wherever you go, if you show up w/out bookings. Italy or Balkans won't make a difference, Croatian side of the Adria is a total stop´n´go traffic jam during peak season. Maybe Albania and Montenegro are less traveled.

I´d choose a clockwise loop around/across the Alps instead. Start Milan towards Liguria, Genova will give you a glimpse of beach life during August. It's kinda like a theme park with very inch monetized by renting out umbrellas. Route Napoleon zig. zacking the French Italian border north of Nice has lots of empty tracks and affordable accommodation with better food. Mid-altitude ski resorts do not fully close and offer nice value for money during summer. You'd be fine with booking via booking.com around lunch time for the night and find accommodation under 100€.

Avoiding expensive Switzerland I'd then go from Grenoble towards Germany´s Black Forest, staying between Bresacon and the Swiss border, heading towards the Moto GP via Austria and return to Milan via Dolomites.

You could still plan a bathing trip and pack your speedo, lots of beautiful lakes less travelled all around and the Ligurian coast isn't less "Italian" than the deep hot southern Amalfi coast.

Best tip for a southerly route would be riding across the mountainous central ridge of Italy (Arezzo, Perugia, L´Aquila along minor roads). More or less the area inside the Mille Miglia route. Less hot, less crowded, but still it's August in Italy and best to avoid then, if you are not breeding and are bound to school holidays for travel.

Amalfi coast south of Naples is best traveled March - May and from late Sept - early Nov.

Enjoy your trip

Get inspirations for alpine passes here:
https://www.dangerousroads.org
https://www.visitcarinthia.at/motorc...h-of-the-alps/
https://motorcycle-diaries.com/en/bl...-alpine-passes

Anecdote about Italy in August: When interviewed about the thrive, energy and ambitions during creating the Bugatti EB110 (this short Italian episode, before VW got hands on the brand) in that brand new design factory with engineers from Ferrari and Lamborghini, one of the engineers said:"..we were so ambitious, we even worked in August..." Something unthinkable for an Italian. Every Italian is on holiday in Italy during August, plus the Germans, the Swiss the Austrians and the int. tourist from Asia on their Europe-in-3-days-trip.
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  #9  
Old 1 Jul 2023
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Just adding this: today's paper had an article about the drastic increases in tourist visits to Italy during the past year or two. That means all the descriptions above, which are based on past experiences, are already out of date--it's now worse. Much worse.

Still...if you're determined, you'll probably live to tell about it. Post back here when your trip is under way.
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  #10  
Old 5 Jul 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TodoTerreno View Post
Hey,

if Milan is set as fly in/out and Austria is set for the MotoGP, I´d avoid everything coastal med south of Milan during August. You'll melt in 40°C traffic, be ripped off wherever you go, if you show up w/out bookings. Italy or Balkans won't make a difference, Croatian side of the Adria is a total stop´n´go traffic jam during peak season. Maybe Albania and Montenegro are less traveled.

I´d choose a clockwise loop around/across the Alps instead. Start Milan towards Liguria, Genova will give you a glimpse of beach life during August. It's kinda like a theme park with very inch monetized by renting out umbrellas. Route Napoleon zig. zacking the French Italian border north of Nice has lots of empty tracks and affordable accommodation with better food. Mid-altitude ski resorts do not fully close and offer nice value for money during summer. You'd be fine with booking via booking.com around lunch time for the night and find accommodation under 100€.

Avoiding expensive Switzerland I'd then go from Grenoble towards Germany´s Black Forest, staying between Bresacon and the Swiss border, heading towards the Moto GP via Austria and return to Milan via Dolomites.

You could still plan a bathing trip and pack your speedo, lots of beautiful lakes less travelled all around and the Ligurian coast isn't less "Italian" than the deep hot southern Amalfi coast.

Best tip for a southerly route would be riding across the mountainous central ridge of Italy (Arezzo, Perugia, L´Aquila along minor roads). More or less the area inside the Mille Miglia route. Less hot, less crowded, but still it's August in Italy and best to avoid then, if you are not breeding and are bound to school holidays for travel.

Amalfi coast south of Naples is best traveled March - May and from late Sept - early Nov.

Enjoy your trip

Get inspirations for alpine passes here:
https://www.dangerousroads.org
https://www.visitcarinthia.at/motorc...h-of-the-alps/
https://motorcycle-diaries.com/en/bl...-alpine-passes

Anecdote about Italy in August: When interviewed about the thrive, energy and ambitions during creating the Bugatti EB110 (this short Italian episode, before VW got hands on the brand) in that brand new design factory with engineers from Ferrari and Lamborghini, one of the engineers said:"..we were so ambitious, we even worked in August..." Something unthinkable for an Italian. Every Italian is on holiday in Italy during August, plus the Germans, the Swiss the Austrians and the int. tourist from Asia on their Europe-in-3-days-trip.

Thanks so much for this.

Yes our plan is too stay as high as possible and just do short stints in the mornings to a new destination.
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  #11  
Old 5 Jul 2023
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Originally Posted by mcguyver View Post
I did want to visit the Almaty coast. Will see how it goes.
Amalfi, I assume. Did that years ago in, I suspect, the best way possible: by private catamaran departing from Salerno. It's shared, was a hundred euros per person at the time - inevitably more now - and the captain sails along the coast for most of the day, stopping in a cove or two for swimming breaks, you get all the lovely views, and there was even a few hours' stopover on Capri to stretch and walk around. Other than my insufficient respect for suncream, it was an excellent experience, and I think much better than trying to take a (big) bike through the tourist traffic would be.
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  #12  
Old 8 Jul 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcguyver View Post
I’m not liking the sound of this.
I've done the length of Italy (north-south) in the summertime, and like you, I don't like to plan my night stops ahead of time. I ride along until early afternoon (between 1:00 and 3:00 PM), and then start looking for a place to stay.

You can make that work in August, but not if you look for places to stay in coastal areas or in big cities (which you stated you plan to avoid).

What I do is use phone apps like TripAdvisor and Booking.com to see what is available in the area I want to stay in. This saves phoning around or stopping and inquiring at hotels. "Most of the time" - meaning, about 4 nights out of 5 - I can find an acceptable place to stay within about an hour's ride from where I am when I start looking. About every 5th night, I crap out, which means either paying a lot more than I want to pay for premium accommodation, or paying a lot less than I want to pay for a flophouse, or having to ride for a couple of hours more to get to a location that has accommodation available.

It's hot as Hades in central & southern Italy in August - think 'January in South Australia'. In the north part if Italy (Dolomite mountains) the temperature can be very pleasant. If you want to go to central italy in the summer months, consider staying away from the coasts and riding up in the Apennine Mountains. Much less crowded, far more interesting riding.

So, to sum up, much of what has been said about the perils of riding in Italy in August is true, but it can be done... although August would never be my first choice of month to ride anywhere in Europe, simply because everyone is on vacation in August.

Michael

PS: Get a European SIM card for your phone. I highly recommend the Orange Holiday SIM Card, which is available either as a physical SIM or an eSIM. It works everywhere, and it's fast. Just make sure that your Australian phone is 'unlocked' to enable use of a SIM or eSIM from another provider.
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