Getting around Barolo and Barbaresco – are you ready for an adventure?
One of the toughest parts of planning a trip to Piedmont is organizing how to get around Barolo and Barbaresco. In Tuscany there are bus options and easy access to cabs to see the villages. Not so in the Langhe. If you are doing a trip to the Piedmont wine region make sure you have prepared for transport well in advance. Options include rental car, driver and / or guide services, or by cycle or vespa. In this article we cover things to know and vendor options.
Visiting the Langhe
Barolo and Barbaresco are part of the rural southern winemaking area of Piedmont known as the Langhe. These primary wine making zones are about 20 km / 12 miles apart at their closest points. But, it can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour to go from various parts of Barolo to Barbaresco (or vice versa) by car. This is because it’s so rural as well as hilly and windy. It is beautiful vineyard landscape to see, but can be difficult to navigate so carefully consider how you will get around Barbaresco and Barolo.
Barbaresco and Barolo Map
Where should I stay in the Langhe?
I’m planning a post on lodging options, but for now let’s talk functionality. If you plan to primarily visit Langhe wineries we recommend staying in either Alba or one of the Barolo or Barbaresco villages. We find a lot of travelers who stay in Asti find it difficult to explore the Langhe because of the drive time.
Staying in Alba: If you don’t want to rent a car the primary wine town of Alba makes for a great home base as it is directly between Barolo and Barbaresco. It is about 30,000 people in population, so it’s not big, but you will find plenty of places to eat and sleep. And, more producers are opening tasting rooms in the historic center, centro storico. You can get to Alba by train and bus.
Staying in Barolo or Barbaresco: Plenty of lodging options are available in and around the villages. We recommend having a car for this as it can be difficult to get to these countryside villages without one. Most are quite small with limited amenities. If you are looking for some villages with a little more going on in terms of restaurants, wine bars, a pharmacy, etc., check out Neive in Barbaresco and La Morra in Barolo. Or, leave me a message for questions on specific locations.
Getting Around Barolo and Barbaresco By Car
Car Rental or Car Hire
Car rental is an option at all the major airports, but if you don’t want a long term car hire you can do a short term rental for getting around Barolo and Barbaresco. Prices are around 100 euros a day.
Things to know:
- Reservations: Book in advance, especially during high Piedmont travel season.
- Communication: Please be patient as staff may not speak English. Most usually know enough to get you on your way. If you have booked lodging through a hotel or feel comfortable with your hosts, ask them to help secure your rental car needs for getting around Barolo and Barbaresco.
- Opening Hours: Be cognizant of opening and closing hours at the location. Many area businesses, including rental car locations, still practice the two-hour lunch break and close up shop between 12:30 and 15:00 (3:00 pm). And, most do not open on Sundays.
- Getting to the car rental location: You may need to organize transportation to the rental car location to pick up your car. You can get taxis at the Alba or Asti train stations or ask your hotel to order you one. Remember that in Italy if you call for a cab the meter starts when they leave to pick you up, not when you get in the car.
- Identification: Make sure you have a valid drivers license and passport.
Alba Car Rental Locations
- Avis – Alba, Corso Asti, 50, Alba (CN), Italy , +39 0173 211652
- Europcar, Strada Porini 5/b, Alba (CN), Italy, +39 0173 366335
- Morini Rent Corso Unitá d’Italia, 16/a (CN), Italy, +39 0173 328080
Asti Car Rental Locations
- Hertz, Corso Casale 322, Asti (AT), Italy, +39 0141 230517
- SIXT, Corso Alessandria, 207 (AT), Italy, +39 0141 168 1100
- Avis – Asti, Via del Lavoro, 48 Asti (AT), Italy, +39 0141 479720
Driver and guide services are an option for travelers who don’t want to drive themselves when getting around Barolo and Barbaresco. It’s a good idea given the windy, hilly country roads – and, GPS isn’t always accurate.
Things to know:
- Itinerary Planning: Getting around Barbaresco and Barolo with a driver service means you are responsible for your itinerary, including wine tasting appointments, villages / cultural stops, and lunch reservations.
- Prices: Varies by pick-up location and the number of guests. Expect to pay at least 300 euros for an eight-hour day. Prices can go up to 500 euros and more, so we suggest either working with a travel planner, your hotel, or getting a few quotes to secure the best price.
Personal Guide Services
Things to know:
- Tours: At this point there are few joinable wine tours for Barolo or Barbaresco based in the area itself. I believe you might find some if you are staying in Turin or Milan.
- Price: Travelers generally pay per person, prices vary.
- Itinerary: The guide or leader will organize your itinerary. Our Piedmont wine tours are customized based on our guests’ interests. We book tasting appointments, lunch, arrange for village stops, hiking excursions, cooking courses, and more. If you are interested in just hiring a driver and getting support in booking tasting appointments, we can help. Contact us here.
Getting around Barolo and Barbaresco by bike
Things to know:
- Terrain: Getting around Barbaresco and Barolo by bike ride means a lot of steep hills on two-lane roads with limited shoulder – and sometimes limited visibility. The only real ‘easy’ level of riding here is through flat towns like Alba and Asti.
- Cycle Routes: Find Barbaresco and Barolo cycle routes here.
- Hotel Rentals: Most hotels have bikes available for guests. Ask when at booking and confirm if they are complimentary or if there is a fee.
- Communication: Many shopkeepers do not speak English, but they know enough to get you situated with sizing and a proper set of wheels.
Services: Bike and vespa rental. Bike repair. Can arrange guided tours.
Contact: Corso Langhe, 17, Alba (CN), +39 0173 440462, firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 8:30 to 19:30 (7:30 pm), Sunday by appointment.
Prices: Bike, 15 euros / day; Vespa, 70 euros / day; they can arrange delivery with your hotel.
Services: Bike rental, bike repair.
Contact: Via Vivaro, 10/c, Alba (CN), +39 0173 290524
So, there you have it, some of the best ways to get around Barolo and Barbaresco. Next week we’ll talk Piedmont wine tasting tips.
Let us know what other questions you have about visiting the Langhe and getting around Barolo and Barbaresco!
Read more from our Piedmont Travel Guide:
- When is the best time to visit Piedmont?
- How to get to Alba: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
- Grape Lessons: What is Nebbiolo?
- Detailed wine map of Italy