How to organize the perfect ferry trip in Italy

Info, Tips & Tricks

If this year you’re thinking about reaching your dream destination in Italy by ferry, you might need some tips to organize the perfect trip. On Ferryhopper, you will find all the info you are looking for:

Green hills surrounding a beach on the island of Lipari, Aeolian Islands

A verdant coast on the island of Lipari in the Aeolian Islands

Traveling by ferry in Italy: ports and ferry companies

Every year, Italian ports welcome visitors from all over the world. Catching a ferry from an Italian port is sometimes the only way to visit some of the country's most unique places!

Most ferry companies in Italy operate year-round but there are seasonal routes and operators too. There are ferry routes between mainland ports, as well as to the islands and other countries from Italy. 

Find out useful information on Italian ferry companies, as well as the most popular ferry connections and schedules below.

Ferry companies operating in Italy and available routes 

Italy has 57 national ports and countless smaller harbors along its 8000 km coastline. There are more than 50 ferry companies operating in Italy, serving ferry routes to the islands and across the archipelagos.

If you decide to travel to Sardinia or Sicily by ferry, you should know that some of the major companies operating to and from the ports of both islands are Tirrenia, Grimaldi Lines, GNV, Corsica Ferries, Siremar, and Caronte & Tourist.

Ferry connections to the islands of the Gulf of Naples (Capri, Ischia, and Procida) and the villages of the Amalfi and Sorrento coasts are offered by many companies such as SNAV, Caremar, Alilauro, NLG (Navigazione Libera del Golfo), Medmar, Positano Jet, and Travelmar.

Among the best-known ones operating ferry connections to the island of Elba (Tuscany) and Tremiti Islands (Puglia) are Toremar, BluNavy, Moby Lines and Gruppo Armatori Garganici.

From Italy you can also travel by ferry to other countries such as Greece, Croatia and Spain! Thanks to ferry companies including Minoan Lines, European Seaways, Ventouris Ferries, and Jadrolinija you can discover some of the best destinations in the Mediterranean Sea!

Useful info: in addition to conventional ferries, some Italian companies have hydrofoils in their fleet. Discover the difference between a ferry and a hydrofoil and choose which option suits you more!

Hydrofoil sailing in the Italian sea

High-speed hydrofoil sailing off the Italian coast

When are ferry schedules in Italy announced?

Ferry companies in Italy announce their schedules depending on the season. Ferry connections active throughout the year are usually available to book at the end of summer. Timetables for seasonal routes in Italy may become available closer to the start date instead.

Have a look at the latest Italian ferry schedules for 2024!

Why can't I find all the active connections for the current year?

If you want to plan your ferry trip to Italy in advance but still can't find the most updated itineraries for the season, don't worry!

You should expect most ferry routes for the summer period to be online between late February and early March. If you can’t find results for your desired route, check Ferryhopper’s search engine again at a later date.

What’s the best time to book ferry tickets and travel to Italy?

In order to find available ferry tickets, and get the most of offers and discounts, we recommend that you book your ferry tickets in advance.

For crossings active all year round that involve longer routes, we recommend that you book at least 6 months in advance. Some companies, in fact, promote special fares during the winter, especially for the more expensive routes.

If you’re thinking of exploring Italy by ferry off-season, you will also enjoy better prices, as fares tend to go up, especially in the summer months.

For some very popular routes active only during high season, (such as Amalfi - Capri, Sorrento - Ischia or Ischia - Positano), it would be better to book as soon as possible. Being mostly operated by small hydrofoils, you might not find available seats on board!

Boat the the port of Positano, Italy

The port of Positano situated in a unique landscape

Top Italian destinations and popular ferry routes 

From the north of the country all the way to the south, Italy has many popular destinations attracting travelers every year, as well as treasures still waiting to be found!

Top destinations in Italy for 2024

But what are the most popular Italian destinations to reach by ferry this year?

The islands of the Gulf of Naples win first place and are a perfect option for spring and summer. Procida is the flagship, as it was also named the Italian Capital of Culture for 2022! From here you can then travel to nearby Ischia and Capri, and then take the ferry to the Amalfi Coast to discover Amalfi and Positano.

Off the central-southern coast of Italy, you'll find the Pontine Islands, easily accessible from Lazio and Campania, and ideal for a romantic weekend getaway. Thanks to the Ponza - Ventotene ferry connection, you can also move between the 2 major islands in less than 1 hour.

Another trendy destination is Sardinia! Among pristine beaches, nature, and villages, it welcomes all travelers with much to see and do!

But that’s not all! Moving towards the Adriatic Sea, you certainly can't miss one of the most beautiful places, part of the Gargano National Park: the Tremiti Islands. Perfect for a gateway of one or more days, you can reach this tiny archipelago all year round from the port of Termoli and from the port of Vieste during the summer.

Now, if you’re looking for a mild climate, lively events, and majestic beaches, the island of Elba is the perfect choice. You can go camping and trekking, and it is also ideal for families with children looking for a quiet place. 

You can also hop on a ferry to Giglio from Elba and enjoy a day trip. Explore the narrow streets of Giglio Castello and discover the mesmerizing underwater caves of Giglio Island!

And what about the islands of Sicily? Between the Aeolian, Aegadian, and Pelagie Islands, you are truly spoiled for choice! You can visit them both in summer and winter starting from larger or smaller ports in Italy.

Popular ferry routes in Italy for 2024

Have a look at some of the most popular ferry connections for 2024 to reach your dream destination in Italy:

More tips for a perfect ferry trip in Italy

Here are 5 tips to make your ferry trip in Italy better than your actual vacation! Well, not really, but here we go:

  1. During the summer, Italian ports tend to be quite crowded. We advise you to arrive at the port well in advance, especially if you decide to take a car or campervan on board.
  2. If you’re affected by seasickness, we recommend that you bring some travelgum with you, as the sea can get quite rough.
  3. If you haven’t chosen your next holiday destination yet, you should take a look at our page featuring the top destinations. Get inspired and book your tickets now!
  4. Check our guide to find useful information about the vehicle regulations on ferries in Italy to better organize your ferry trip.
  5. Download the Ferryhopper App and manage your trip with a few taps and swipes!

The green coast of Elba

The pristine landscape of the island of Elba

Book cheap ferry tickets to Italy online

On Ferryhopper, you can book ferry tickets online with no hidden fees and get around easily between the ports of Italy. Take a look at our Map of ferries, compare ferry companies and rates, and plan your trip hassle-free!