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13 January 2020
Most people focus their time in Italy on three things: gelato, pasta, and pizza. It’s safe to assume that any trip here will leave you feeling full and satisfied - not to mention ten pounds heavier. But as it turns out, there’s a way to burn off all those calories.
Hiking in Italy allows you to explore everything from the peaking Alps to cliffside villages to rolling countrysides. As you walk under the Tuscan sun, trek through mountainous terrain, and hike alongside seaside villages, you’ll have plenty of chances to chow down on pizza and sip on wine.
This complete trekking map of the top 15 best hiking and trekking tours in Italy will help you get started. We've included short hikes and long-distance treks all over the country with a main focus on the Italian Alps. Happy hiking!
If you’re ready to take in some life-changing scenery, very few places in Italy compare to Valtellina in Lombardy. It’s located in the center of the Alps and is surrounded by the infamous Dolomites Italy hiking spots. Factor the pristine hiking trails in with the amazing location and you get nothing short of the best hiking Italy has to offer.
If you're up for a challenge, focus on the high altitude trails of Valtellina. The best long-distance trek in the area is Alta Via Della Valmalenco. It spans 68 miles from Disgrazia to Bernina and Pizzo Scalino. It is broken down into 8 segments, so you don't have to do the full trek if you're not up for a weeklong adventure.
No, we’re not referring to the delicious Italian cheese and meat-filled delicacy when we refer to Stromboli. In this scenario, Stromboli is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It’s located on a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea and has been in constant eruption mode for the past 2,000 years. But this doesn’t keep people from hiking Mount Stromboli.
Although most Stromboli trekking tours can be completed in 5 or 6 hours, it can be quite challenging to reach the summit. It reaches an elevation of more than 3,000 feet, and it’s a steady uphill incline pretty much the entire way. Bring a headlamp since the journey back down is often done in the dark.
We’ve already talked a bit about the high altitude Alta Via trails for hiking in Italy Dolomites, but let’s focus on one specific high-altitude trail: Alta Via 1. This is the trek of a lifetime, spanning almost 75 miles starting from Lago di Braies. This is one of the most sought-after hiking Italy excursions, so it’s highly recommended that you book ahead of time if you plan on staying in refuges.
The island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea is home to one of the most breathtaking hiking vacations known to man: Selvaggio Blu. The literal translation is the Wild Blue, this epic hike offers stunning views of Italy's most untouched coastline. This is a challenging hike and only intended for avid hikers, but if you have mountaineering experience, go for it.
While hiking in Italy, always set aside some time for Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is a string of 5 seaside towns along the Italian Riviera with magical colors and endless fresh seafood. It's also home to some of the best spots for hiking in northern Italy. Out of all the Cinque Terre hiking trails, an all-time favorite is the Sentiero Azzurro.
This 7.5-mile hike passes through all 5 Cinque Terre villages, but that's only one reason we love it so much. The views throughout are spectacularly overwhelming, and at the end of the day, you won't have to rough it in a camping tent. There are plenty of Airbnbs, hotels, and B&Bs to choose from after you gorge yourself on a massive seafood dinner.
The Amalfi Coast is a destination for honeymooners and adventurers alike. Translated to the Path of the Gods, Sentiero Degli Dei is truly a hike that is worthy of the Gods. Although it’s short, it’s an amazing way to take in all that Positano has to offer. Out of all the Italy hiking trails to choose from, this offers the best combination of mountain peaks and sweeping seascapes.
The starting point for Sentiero Degli Dei is in Bomerano. There’s no need to hire a guide or book accommodation since the entire hike can be completed in as little as 2 hours. To get the full effect of the Path of the Gods, take as much time as you need wandering through lemon plantations and appreciating colored terraced hillsides.
Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso is one of the largest national parks in the country, but it's more well-known for the fact that it's home to Corno Grande. Corno Grande is a loop trail that spans about 5 miles up the highest peak in the Apennines. Throughout this hike, you'll get to take in views of mountains, glaciers, and the Adriatic Sea.
Via Francigena is often compared to the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Just like Camino, this is a long-distance pilgrim path that spans hundreds of miles - actually, it stretches a whopping 1180 miles from Canterbury to Rome. In theory, you could walk the entire thing, but most hikers choose to spend time on the scenic portion of the Via Francigena.
As one of the longest hiking trails in Italy, you can pick and choose segments of that you’d like to focus on. Our suggestion is to hike from San Miniato to San Quirico. This portion runs through the heart of Tuscany, and it’s the perfect destination to indulge in gelato and chianti.
Gran Paradiso National Park hiking tours in Italy make their way through little “patches of heaven” - at least, that’s what the Italians say. But there’s a good chance you’ll agree with this statement as you embark on a journey through Gran Paradiso’s Aosta Valley. This is some of the best hiking in northern Italy, and you might even catch a glimpse of the Alpine Ibex.
The classic Aosta Valley trek takes you through peaceful alpine meadows, thick woodland trails, and steep mountain passages. Throw snowy peaks and cascading waterfalls into the mix and you get nothing short of paradise - just as the Italians say.
Florence is the center of all things Tuscany, and one of the ultimate ways to take it all in is to walk along the Renaissance Ring. The Renaissance Ring makes its way around Florence stops at castles, churches, monasteries, and even medieval historical sites. The entire trail is about 105 miles long, but it’s easy to portion it out and take it little bits at a time.
Similar to the Cinque Terre hiking trips, embarking on Renaissance Ring Italy hiking tours doesn’t mean you have to give up on modern-day comforts. If you’re not the type of person who enjoys sleeping under the stars, you don’t have to. Since the trail borders the hustle and bustle of Florence the entire way through, you can always count on finding good places to eat and comfortable places to stay.
You already know that hiking in Italy Dolomites is a sought after goal held by the 99.9% if the world’s hiking community. Aside from Alta Via 1, the main attraction of the Dolomites is Lake Garda. This is the largest body of water in Italy, offering everything from turquoise waters and rocky mountains to ancient ruins and historic settlements.
It can be difficult to choose between hiking in Italy Alps or Dolomites. We’re not going to tell you that one is better than the other (since they are both magnificent in their own ways), but we will tell you that the Dolomites hike called Tre Cime di Lavaredo is a must, especially for novice hikers who are looking for something moderately easy.
Like most hiking in Italy, the best time to visit Tre Cime di Lavaredo is in the summer months. The blooming wildflowers are a beautiful contrast to the rocky backdrop of the Dolomites. It's easy to do a self-guided tour since the entire trail is well-marked with clear signs that are easy to follow. This is the perfect option for a family hiking trip in Italy.
Mount Vesuvius is Italy hiking at its best, especially for ancient history lovers. Mount Vesuvius is famous for burying Pompeii when it violently erupted in 79 AD. This is a short and easy hike, but it's still pretty unbelievable to be able to say you climbed to the top of the Volcano that caused so much destruction.
You can make it to the top of the volcano in as little as half an hour. From the top, you'll get panoramic views of Pompeii and the surrounding area. Afterward, be sure to visit the ruins, which to this day remains frozen in time.
Hiking Sella Herbetet in the Gran Paradiso is strenuous, but it's 100% worth the effort. You'll come across several stunning lakes as you explore the heart of Gran Paradiso. This is the perfect place to spot wildlife, like the curious marmots or regal alpine ibex. This is a place of natural beauty, so don't forget to bring your camera.
Similar to Stromboli, Mount Etna is a very active volcano that erupts regularly. There are tons of hiking trails at the foothills of Mount Etna, or you can gather up the courage to hike the higher elevation hills at 4,500 feet. This is the perfect opportunity to explore caves, ravines, and even lava seas that have been around for thousands of years while hiking in Italy.
You won’t regret signing up for a guided tour of the volcano. There’s no shortage of Mount Etna hiking tours to choose from, but the one with the best ratings is Go-Etna. If you’re not in the mood to break a sweat, don’t rule out Etna altogether. Another option is to take a cable car to the top, or you can sign up for a jeep tour.
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