There are some things you just can’t experience from the window of a tour bus or passing by on a train. Some of the most remarkable places in Italy are best reached on foot. Consider making time for a walking holiday in Italy. Or step outside the city to explore some of the best hiking trails in Italy.
We’ll take you through some of the best hikes in Italy — from hiking trails in the Dolomites to the Cinque Terre trail.
Let’s ease into our options with one of the easier hikes on the list — walking the Cinque Terre villages. The trail is located on a rugged stretch of the Ligurian section of coast along the Italian Riviera. Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: a National Park that contains a series of five villages: Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, and Manarola.
Built on steep cliffs, these villages have become linked by a series of hiking trails. Inaccessible by car, Cinque Terre’s five villages are a popular place to visit in Italy. Due to their location in the national park, the areas have not been overdeveloped and possess stunning hiking trails.
Walk the Sentiero Azzurro cliffside hiking trail to see breezy ocean views and sailboats dotting the harbours far below. Take a stop in one of the villages to enjoy some fresh seafood or the local specialty of pesto. It takes approximately six hours to hike the entire route, though you can stop in any of the villages for a rest.
Hiking in Northern Italy provides some stunning views. But to access those views, you may need to take a more challenging hike. The Dolomites’ Via Ferrata is not for the faint of heart. Via Ferrata or ‘iron route’ is so named because it uses a series of iron cables, clips, and iron steps for hikers to travel safely. Billed as safe for anyone from eight to 80 years old, you’ll want still be in good shape and hopefully not afraid of heights.
There isn’t a single Via Ferrata; there are a variety of routes in the Trentino area of the Dolomites, leading to different mountain peaks and viewpoints. You’ll have a variety of different options, depending on what you’re looking for. Get ready to see some of the most spectacular groups of mountains in the area — including: the Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Dolomites; the Brenta Group; and the Sella Group. These routes aren’t simply breathtaking from a natural standpoint, they also have a historical context — many of the routes were created for soldiers to traverse mountainous areas during World War One.
Looking for a bit more excitement while hiking in Italy? Italy hiking trips can be a bit more intense if you choose to summit to the top of Stromboli, an active volcano with views of the island of Sicily. A perfect volcanic cone, you’ll need a guide if you want to go higher than 400 metres up Stromboli’s side. Once you make it to the top, you can enjoy a vast panorama of the whole island of Sicily and the oceans surrounding it.
A popular way to enjoy the view is to plan your climb so you can take in the view at sunset. Watch the volcano’s activity as day changes to night, complemented by the sunset’s amazing view when the horizon is as far as your eye can see. A must-have experience for any hiker visiting this incredible island.
Pack your hiking boots
Whether you’re up for a leisurely amble in the countryside, or a more rigorous mountainous adventure, Italy is filled with remarkable opportunities explore mountains, lakes and historical villages on foot.