Whilst Italy is often visited for its traditional culture, historical architecture and renowned attractions, the wild mountains and vertiginous coastlines can often be the perfect setting for a hike and even a gentle stroll.
Throughout this country, there are many beautiful walking trails where you can see this region from a different perspective. Whether you are looking down on a small traditional town or exploring the coast, there are many trails for avid walkers alike.
When visiting this region, you wonít have trouble finding the perfect place for a day hike or a longer trek. Walking can often be seen as a holiday in itself or a lovely way to spend a morning before an afternoon of wine tasting or seeing outstanding art and architecture. This country is covered in trails, so below we have picked out some of our favourites, which are close to our luxury villas in Italy.
The Cinque Terre is made up of five towns; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, which from a distance appear to cling to dramatic coastline. These towns are all connected by paths which attracts thousands of hikers each year. You can explore them within a day, as well as having enough time left over to explore the streets of the towns, and even dip a toe in the warm Mediterranean Sea. The Cinque Terre is a fantastic hiking destination for all abilities, and as those who wish to skip the more difficult walks can take a bus or boat ride to the same destination. Be sure to indulge in some local wine and fresh seafood, whilst exploring these quaint towns, you wonít be disappointed!
The Dolomites mountains dominate the countryís landscape, and can be found in the northeastern corner, just north of Venice, then stretch to the town of Bolzano. This trail is particularly good if you are travelling with your family, as the trails have been extremely well-marked and have every level of difficulty. Throughout the mountain, you can find restaurants with playgrounds, which serve hot food and have an extensive wine list.
Small alpine towns line the valley, and ski lifts run throughout the summertime, taking avid hikers up the mountain to trails. If you are visiting Italy in the summer, and donít want to get too hot, hiking the Dolomites is a great option because of its altitude.
The Italian Lakes
There is nothing more beautiful than being able to look upon a lake and mountain backdrop. Hiking Lake Camo is the perfect backdrop for your hiking adventure, Lake Maggiore is more off the beaten path and Lake Lugano can be accomplished from a base at either Lake Camo or Lake Maggiore as the lake lies between the two. When hiking Lake Garda you will be able to see some of those iconic views of the Dolomites, as this lake is closer to Venice than Milan. It is a large lake with fantastic hiking trails for lake and mountain lovers. The trails around these lakes may not be as well marked as the Dolomites, but they are usually fairly quiet. We suggest hiring a local guide or getting a good map to help you navigate. For those who are looking to visit in the spring, summer or autumn, the Italian lakes are a great destination. Throughout the hotter months, the breeze from the lake will keep walkers and hikers cool enough, and if not, a dip in the lake wonít go amiss.
Sicily offers its hikers an off-the-beaten-track experience as there are many trails throughout this region. Hike up Mount Etna near Taormina, take a ferry to the volcanic island of Stromboli and book a hiking tour up the volcano. For those who prefer a woodland setting, both the Madonie and Nebrodi parks are crisscrossed with trails, it might be best to hire a local guide as these paths arenít so well marked. Some of the prettier trails can be found in south east of Sicily, and are in the flat and easy Vendicari Nature reserve along the coast. The nearby Pantalica Gorge can offer hikers an archaeological experience in addition to the beautiful trails.
If you are heading to Italy and want to get a little off-the-beaten-track, then spending time hiking in Tuscany is ideal. If you are looking to hike near Florence, then the Renaissance Ring trail would be perfect, or for a wine-themed walk, you can walk between medieval villages in Chianti.
If hiking in the peak of summer, Tuscany can get rather hot as there arenít mountain or seaside breezes to keep you cool. Autumn and spring are both wonderful times of the year to go hiking in Tuscany.