What to Know about Group River Cruises in Italy

A group of people pose for a photo outside the Colosseum

There are few things better than traveling to Italy in the spring and summer.

The Italian food, the incredible weather, and the stunning historical sights all beckon even the biggest homebodies. Traveling in Italy with a group of friends, family, or even colleagues makes the experience even richer and more adventurous! Spending time in Italy with a lively group of folks that you know is especially magical and fun.

A group of cyclists pose for a photo alongside the river in Rome, Italy

If you’re traveling in Italy with a group, consider enjoying a group cruise along one of Italy’s beautiful rivers! There are pricey river cruise companies out there, like Viking or Tauck, or you can organize it on your own and take full control of your itinerary. Either way, it’s a great way to see the country and its impressive cities, all from the comfort of a boat.

Before we review the various boat tours at your fingertips, let’s look at some of the many bike, walking, and food tours that Fat Tire Tours offers in our Italian offices in Rome, Milan, and Florence.

Italy Tours to Book

At Fat Tire Tours, nothing brings us greater joy than showing you around our favorite European cities and telling you incredible stories about each place. Our local guides are experts, and relish in telling you about the city.

A group of 4 listens to the guide during an e-bike tour in Florence

In Florence, the Private Florence Bike Tour is a delightful way to experience this Renaissance city and all the stunning architecture and art it has to offer. This tour includes cruising around the city with your guide and seeing historical sites like Ponte Vecchio, Il Duomo, Santa Croce, and much more.

In the Eternal City––aka Rome––there is SO much to do! This city thrums with life and adventure, from the mopeds zipping around the city to fun nightlife. Our various Rome tours allow you to see it all––The Colosseum, the Vatican, Italian wines, and delicious Italian food.

In Milan, the Italian fashion capital, we offer private food tours, wine tastings, Skip-the-Line Cathedral tours, and Segway tours. Check out our Milan tours before you head to this chic city.

Cruises to Book: Yacht Charters, and exploring Amalfi Coast, Venice & Beyond

If the river waters are calling your name, be sure to book a boat cruise in addition to your Fat Tire Tours experience!

Italy is known to be an especially romantic place, and if you’re traveling with a group of couples, a boat cruise a great way to capitalize on the romance vibes of Italy. Yacht rentals, in particular, are a glamorous and romantic way to hit the water.

Amalfi Coast

If you’re going to the Amalfi Coast (a favorite among celebrities like George Clooney, and a UNESCO-listed place), book a private boat to see the area from the water. Once you’re back on land, explore all the scenic paths, top-notch wineries, and adorable little towns. The picturesque coastlines of the Amalfi Coast will have you wanting to stay forever.

Colorful homes along the coast in Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

In Cinque Terre, which contains multiple centuries-old Italian villages by the sea on the Italian Riviera, you’ll see tons of fishing boats and various types of boats popping up along the coastline. Like the Amalfi Coast, this is also a gorgeous place to explore by boat with your group.


Venice is a unicorn city: There’s truly nowhere like it in the whole world and it must be seen to be believed. Venice is the capital of the country’s Veneto region, and the city is built on over 100 small islands in the Adriatic Sea. There are canals upon canals here and people get from place to place by foot or by boat.

Venice at dusk

There are many water-going options, like the famous Venetian gondolas. You can also rent a boat, and there are classic boats that seat up to 20 guests––perfect for large groups. You can even go so far as to rent a vintage boat, like an old English ship from the 1800s!

Group Travel Tips for Italy

Traveling in a group is such a fun experience, but it is not without its challenges! To make a group trip a great success on which everyone has a good time, be sure to try to accommodate everyone’s main “trip wish” ––whether it’s seeing a certain monument, or going shopping in a particular area, or trying a fancy restaurant. Also, don’t schedule every single moment of the trip. Allow for flexibility and spontaneity. And remember, it’s okay to split up, too!

Splitting up from time to time, depending on how large your group is, can also make dining out more manageable, as some European restaurants may be smaller and unable to accommodate large groups.

To simplify lodging while traveling in a group in Italy, you may want to rent an entire house or villa, or multiple, depending on the size of your group. This is a fun way for everyone to have their own space still, but also have plenty of interaction with each other. It’s better than a hotel because you’ll have your own kitchen and dining area. And in Italy, food is such a huge part of the travel experience!

Additionally, you may want to consider hiring a travel agent or travel consultant who can advise you on various Italy-related travel ideas. And if you’re hoping to make your group trip to Italy a more budget-friendly trip, consider going in the off-season, which for Italy is March or October and November. For group travel, the app Splitwise is hugely helpful as a way to manage trip budgets and keep track of shared expenses.

Regardless of how you structure the trip, you’re bound to have a beautiful time in Italy!

Anne McCarthy
 is the Editor in Chief of the Fat Tire Tours Blog. She is a contributing writer to the BBC, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Variety, Wired, and many more. She splits her time between the U.S. and Europe.

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A family by the eiffel tower.