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Ferries to Italy

Found at the base of southern Europe in the Mediterranean, Italy is composed of the main island along with the islands of Sicily and Sardinia - as well as numerous other smaller island groups.

There are several things to do in Italy aside from visit its numerous museums and Roman ruins; Italy is famous for its fashion capital Milan, its canals in Venice, its vineyards, and the dramatic ruins of Pompeii.

Restaurants, shopping centres, cafes, bars and nightclubs are all commonplace throughout the country, giving the visitor a wide variety of choices.

It’s not just the culture and sightseeing opportunities that attract the tourists to Italy though. A Mediterranean climate, thousands of kilometres of coastline and sandy beaches attract sun seekers from all around.

Italy is perfectly situated for arrival by ferry with frequent and cost effective services on offer.

Whether you are travelling to the mainland or looking for onward travel to any of the famous islands such as Sardinia, Sicily, Elba, Ischia or Capri as well as some of the less well known destinations of the Aegadian, Pontine or Aeolian Islands you are sure to find a crossing to suit your plans.

Ferries sail to Italy from virtually all surrounding countries with connections offered from Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece in the Adriatic and Ionian Sea while from the other side of the country you can travel from Spain, Tunisia, Malta and Morocco.

The major ports to the north east and east side of the country include Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi. The shorter crossings along the Istrian coast tend to use small passenger only vessels whereas on the longer trips, for example from Greece or Albania, you’ll tend to find that the ferries are larger and with more amenities which results in a more enjoyable on-board experience.

On the other side of the country you’ll find ports running from Genoa and Savona in the north, along the coast down to Livorno, Civitavecchia (Rome), Napoli and Salerno. International services depart from Barcelona, Tangier Med and Tunis. The crossings are generally pretty long in terms of time at sea, but are very popular and run regularly. Due to their popularity of these crossings, you’ll generally find more than one company to choose from.

If you’re looking to travel on to an Italian island then again you certainly won’t be short of choice with numerous ferry companies, routes and departure times on offer. The main ports on the Western coast of Italy take you to all of the key destinations. Generally you’ll find that the port geographically closest to the island you’re heading to is going to be the main port of departure, the exceptions being the larger islands of Sardinia and Sicily which are reachable from all of the major ports along the west coast of Italy.

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Popular Ferry Operators

  • Grimaldi Lines
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Italy reviews

  • "Comfortable, clean and punctual"

    The ferry was comfortable, clean and punctual. I marked down the catering because, as far as I remember, there wasn't any

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  • "Fast ferry, but be sure to get out at your stop in time!"

    The ferry was good, fast, punctual enough, spacious and comfortable. But we (and couple others) had "funny" problem. We went to lower deck and when our stop came they announced it adding "stay in your seats", so we stayed. After very short stop (no people were getting out around us) ferry went on to the next stop. Thank God that it was very near and it was the last stop, so we could come back with the same ferry rather fast.

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  • "Plain Sailing"

    A utilitarian ferry service completely at odds with the glamour and drama of the islands it serves. If, like me, you were anticipating the time on board being a joyous and memorable part of your holiday then you're in for a disappointment. These are working ferries providing a service to locals and we tourists are just tagging along. Think Staten Island and you'll be close to the mark. But they're frequent, pretty reliable, and they get the job done with the minimum of fuss. And all the Aeolians are so beautiful you'll have completely forgotten about the ferry within moments of landing. So, the opposite of the memorable experience I was anticipating, but just as useful for all that. So get your tickets bought and see the beautiful, dreamy, wafty, Aeolians. And buy your tickets at the quayside. There's no shortage of spaces and they're much cheaper than online.

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  • "Getting to stromboli"

    The trip across was relaxing had to change at lipari another beautiful island. The trip back.was fine. There is no shop on the boat where you can buy water so take your own

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Onboard the ferries

Find out what it's like onboard the ferries before you travel.

Ship guides, videos & reviews

Routes and Ports in Italy