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There’s a regal atmosphere in Turin (or Torino if you prefer), a lingering effect from when the royal House of Savoy lived here. Grand boulevards, museums, baroque palaces and sophisticated shops and restaurants create one of the most enticing travel destinations in Europe. Turin’s location in northwestern Italy’s Piedmont region puts it right next to the Alps, France, the Mediterranean and myriad other attractions. This is one place where a car hire can expand a trip into an adventure.
Who to Book With
No matter how you arrive in Turin there will be a number of options for renting a car. Most of Europe’s big name rental outfits are found in Turin’s airport, outside of Turin’s three train stations and scattered around the business hubs of the city. There are also several Italian firms on hand like Blurent. Turin is one of Italy’s busiest cities so it’s always a good idea to go online and book your rental beforehand to ensure you get the right car at the lowest rates.
Best Time to go
The weather in Turin is more like continental Europe than the Mediterranean. Its summers are hot and sunny, while winters are cold and dry. Most of the rain falls in the spring, but September and October can be very pleasant months for a visit in terms of temperatures (20°C on average) and blue skies. The busiest season is typically the summer, however, when holidaymakers descend on Turin as they romp around the Alps.
Need to Know Essentials
Bring the following documents when picking up your rental vehicle:
- A valid EU or UK driver’s license or International Driving Permit
- A second form of photo ID
- The credit card used in the online booking
- A print-out of the booking confirmation if possible
Driving in the heart of Turin presents a number of difficulties. The historic city centre has several ZTL (restricted driving area) zones where you won’t be able to enter. No one is guarding the ZTLs, but camera and police checks catch most violators and hand out a stiff fine. The Blue Zones are what visitors want to focus their attention on. These are city-run car parks marked by blue lines that provide convenient parking around the centre of town. Hourly parking fees range from €1.30 to €2.50 depending on location, and tickets can be bought from automated machines on site or local shops. In addition to the Blue Zone lots are private guarded parking lots with fees ranging from €0.40 to €1.30 per hour.
The inner city of Turin is laid out on a grid with larger boulevards forming a larger grid connecting the neighbourhoods. Driving in the city isn’t hard by Italian standards, but congestion should be expected during the weekdays and around popular sites. The E70 and E64 highways form a ring around three sides of the city, connecting to larger motorways like the A32 and A55. Keep an eye out for snowy road conditions during the winter months.
The GTT operates an efficient system of buses, trams and a short metro line, with an almost excessive variety of ticketing options. Taxis pick up the slack, but are nigh impossible to hail on the streets. Fortunately, Turin’s city centre is very walkable so drivers can simply park their cars at one of the many lots and enjoy the city on foot.
Tickets for the GTT trams and buses come in many forms and fall under either the urban or suburban category. An ordinary urban ticket costs €1.50 and is good for unlimited travel for 90 minutes from the time it is first used. Suburban fares are €1.70. You can save money by purchasing a booklet of five tickets (€6.50) or 15 tickets (€17.50). There is also a useful daily ticket at €5, two-day tickets at €7.50 and three-day tickets at €10 for unlimited travel on GTT lines. All tickets can be bought from tobacco shops or automated machines at stations. The GTT website has updated information on fares.
The Torino and Piemonte Card is another useful option for visitors. This 2, 3 or 5-day pass covers all GTT transport and allows free entry to the city’s many museums and other sightseeing attractions. The cost is €25 (2 days), €29 (3 days) and €34 (5 days). It can be bought at tourist offices and participating shops.
Turin has three train stations managed by Trenitalia but Porta Nuova is the main one, located just south of the city centre along Piazza Carlo Felice. There are around 20 trains a day from Milan, Rome, Venice and Genoa both fast and slow. Porta Susa is the other main train station, located west of downtown on the Piazza VXIII Dicembre. This station handles trains from around Italy’s Piedmont region but is also the terminus for the thrice-daily TGV from Paris.
There are plenty of taxis working in Turin but you’ll be hard-pressed to succeed in hailing one down on the street. Taxis are usually called, and be aware that the metre starts running as soon as the cab companies like Pronto Taxi accept your call.
Buses & Trams
Turin enjoys a very good system of buses and trams operated by GTT. The extensive route network covers the city and its outlying suburbs from early morning until late at night. Tickets must be purchased before boarding, either from vending machines, tobacco shops or ticket kiosks at stations.
While Turin has loads of interesting things to see and do within its borders, there is even more Savoy history and culture to experience in the outskirts. With a car hire you can tour palaces, cruise through the Alps or even shoot down to the Mediterranean in little over an hour.
The Savoy Palaces - These are an incredible legacy of Turin’s royal heritage. Take a driving tour of these 16th-century beauties like Rivoli Castle, Racconigi Castle and the hunting preserves of Stupinigi Park and La Mandria Park. The grounds and gardens are just as spectacular as the residences themselves.
The Alps - These begin just north of Turin, offering virtually unlimited driving fun through Europe’s main mountain range. Easy and incredibly scenic day drives are possible to Grand Paradiso National Park or Orsiera Rocciavre Park for some hiking. Famous Italian resorts like Via Lattea are also nearby for a buzz in summer or winter.
The Mediterranean Sea - This is just an hour south of Turin via the speedy comfortable A6 motorway. Spend a day touring the ancient port of Genoa or chilling out on a beach near Abenga. It’s even totally feasible to drive to France’s lovely resorts of Nice and Antibes for the day.