If you look at Italy on a map, it looks like a very fashionable boot dipped in three seas: the Adriatic on the east coast, the Ionian in the south and the Tyrrhenian on the west coast. Which means that Italy is home to some of the most spectacular coastal views in the world.
When you’re tired of fighting your way through the throngs at the Uffizi in Florence or getting pummeled by the people looking for that perfect Instagram photo in front of the Trevi fountain in Rome, why not opt for a change of pace? Slow it down and plan a walking tour of Italy’s coastlines.
Monte Conero, Marche
Let’s start on the East Coast, and one of the most beautiful spots on the Adriatic: the Riviera del Corno. Before you hunker down with your towel and your book on one of the Riviera’s spectacular beaches, get a bird’s eye view of the area by taking one of the 18 paths available to you in the Monte Cornero regional park, just south of Ancona.
Ranging from 20 minutes to four hours, the hikes in Monte Cornero have it all: beautiful forest trails, historical points of interests such as the petroglyphs, the roman caves and the Abbey of St. Peter, and last but certainly not least, magnificent views of the Adriatic from the Conero cliffs.
We recommend the “Le Due Sorelle” or Two Sisters hike, where you’ll get a glimpse of the two white sea stacks that jut out from a small cove — they’ve come to symbolize the region.
The Infinity Trail, Cinque Terre, Liguria
Looking for a slow travel way to experience the Cinque Terre region of Liguria, famous for its picturesque fishing villages perched on cliffs above a dazzling blue sea? Look no further than the Infinity Trail, one of Italy’s best hikes. At 23.6 miles, this path begins in Portovenere and ends in the town of Levanto. It will take you through all the little villages that make up Cinque Terre: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, and past the cultivated terraces and dry stone walls that give the region its distinct landscape.
Or you could opt for one of the many shorter trails in Cinque Terre National Park. Either way, you’re guaranteed to meander through spectacular forests, mountains, cliff sides and ocean views — not to mention the quaint villages and beautiful beaches of the Ligurian Riviera.
Pathway of the Gods, Amalfi Coast, Campania
A convenient day trip from Naples, you can’t visit the south of Italy and the Amalfi Coast without walking part, if not all, of the Sentiero degli Dei, or Pathway of the Gods. The hike begins in the village of Bomerano and ends in Nocelle, just before Positano, in total about 5.5 miles. Imagine human made terraces with citrus and fig orchards, scrub vines, majestic cliffs and the ridiculously blue sea waters below. In short: it’s the perfect Italian hike.
Stromboli Volcano, Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Italy might be known for the archeological wonders of the vast Roman empire, but it also has some amazing geographical features that are well worth a visit. For instance, how often do you get to go see a live volcano? This hike will take a bit more doing as it is on the island of Stromboli and requires a guide. However, the extra trouble is worth it. To get started look up one of the many organizations in San Vincenzo that organize guides.
The hike is around three hours to the crater, which is almost 3,000 feet above sea level. About halfway up, you’ll begin to see little rivers of rust-coloured lava flow down. You’ll also be treated to some truly breathtaking views of the coast. On clear days you’ll see all the way to Mount Etna, another famous volcano in the area.
Masua Pan di Zucchero to Cala Domestica, Sardinia
Speaking of islands, another amazing hiking area is on the island of Sardinia. If you’re an experienced hiker who isn’t afraid of the occasional need to repel down cliffs, you could plan to hike the Selvaggio Blu, one of the most difficult treks in Italy; it’s a four day journey on the limestone coast through forests, gorges and caves.
However, if you’re looking for something a little less death-defying, a moderately challenging but gorgeous hike is the Miner’s trail at a comparatively reasonable seven miles. It will take you for a loop on the beautiful coast, past the famous jutting limestone with its juniper scrub and salt air and to the “Pan di Zucchero” or “Sugar Loaf”. You’ll also pass a lot of interesting archeological sites linked to the region’s mining history.
Put on your walking shoes
There’s no better way to get to know a place than to walk it. These are just a few of Italy’s awe-inspiring hiking trails. Why not start planning your next walking holiday in Italy? Not only will you experience some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, you’ll also walk off all the amazing Italian food you’ll indulge in along the way.