A Bucket-list for the Best hikes in Italy
Italy offers a large variety of trekking options – from many days of hiking on mountainous terrain and variable weather while you trek from village to village, to some trails considered the most beautiful hikes in Italy, where you enjoy endless Mediterranean views and warmer temperatures.
There are so many reasons to visit Italy – the landmarks, the food, the people, the history – and also, the search for outdoor adventures. The hikes in Italy are spectacular and with a very diverse landscape to explore.
From the stunning coast of Cinque Terre to the colossal granite spire of the Dolomites, to the exciting volcano climbing in Etna, to hike the cliffs trails of Path of Gods – Italy offers some incredible options for hiking for every taste.
I have been to Italy a couple of times, but I am always finding new reasons to go back, and to continue to explore one of my favorite countries on this Planet!
With towering mountains, gorgeous sandy beaches, active volcanoes, stunning coastline – Italy is an incredible destination that needs to be explored on foot, and with that in mind, here I am sharing 15 amazing hikes in Italy that you have to experience when you visit Italy next time!
Enjoy this incredible list and safe travels!
In this guide of Best hikes in Italy, you will find:
- 10 Essential Tips for hiking in Italy
- Must pack items to go hiking in Italy
- 15 of the Most Incredible hikes in Italy
- BONUS SECTION: Trip Planning Resources with all you need to plan and book your hike in Italy and to make your experience as easy, safe, and fun as possible
10 Essential Tips For HIking in Italy
- No Cell Phone Service: Cell phones do not work in most places in the backcountry and GPS is sometimes unreliable – Consider carrying a Satellite Phone with Maps and GPS Navigation.
- Plan Ahead: Know your hike and your terrain. Plan for the journey by researching the area on the web. Chances are good that the park’s site will offer loads of online information about their best season, activities, trails, and even numbers for contacting the local rescue services. Some of these sites will even offer printable trail maps
- Avoid Sunburn: Wear head and arm coverings in sunny or high altitude areas, and use sunblock.
- Difficult Hiking Trails: “Difficult Hiking Trails” are characterized by steep elevations, increasingly difficult terrain, and longer distances. Only experienced hikers should attempt these trails
- Be physically prepared: Many of these hikes are easy and can be done by anyone. A couple of the hikes are epic and I recommend following a Plan for Hiking Fitness preparation prior to attempting any long or challenging hike.
- Be careful with what you pack: The most important rule of hiking—be smart about what you pack. A beginning hiker generally becomes exhausted carrying a sack full of trail munchies, a phone, three sweaters, and a high-end camera.
- Bring plenty of water: Remember you will be outdoors in the sun you will need to drink a lot of water. My LifeStraw Filtered Water Bottle has been my lifesaver for all my trips. I can refill this bottle anywhere and it comes with a carabiner to connect it to my daypack.
- Check the Weather: Check the current weather forecast and be prepared for quickly changing conditions.
- Travel safe: Don’t forget to buy Travel Insurance. Considering that anything can go wrong with any trip, we don’t want to risk the fun, right?
- Leave no Trace: Be a responsible traveler, it is all about enjoying nature and ensure you help to preserve the environment.
Must Pack Items For HIking in Italy
- Portable water bottle: Remember to bring and drink a lot of water and if you need to refill, have a LifeStraw Filtered Water Bottle is the best option.
- First-aid kit: Always remember to pack a first-aid kit for your hikes.
- Day-Backpack: I love my day-backpack and it is very handy for any hiking.
- Headlamps: Carry a flashlight or headlamp even on a day hike. If you have trouble on the trail, darkness may fall before you can finish your hike.
- Wear sturdy shoes for hiking: The most important thing is to protect your feet and avoid twisting your ankle and get injured. I recommend investing in a good hiking boots brand such as Teva, Salomon, or even Keens.
- Moisture-wicking clothing: These clothes help to pull the sweat away from your body and stay cool and dry during your hiking such as light hiking pants & long sleeves shirts.
- Warm-Layers: Early morning or late night can get cold so it is important to bring layers, a lightweight puffy jacket is a must!
- Packing for winter hiking: During winter make sure to have a good quality hiking jacket and pack a warm pair of pants for your hike.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses: It is always important to protect yourself against the sun. Bring a hat with a good face cover like this one and don’t forget to pack a pair of polarized sunglasses
- Bring along some food or snacks: It’s a good idea to pack trail mix or cereal bars to munch on during your hikes.
- Bring your Camera: You will see some incredible views during your hiking, so don’t forget your camera, or check some great value options here
15 Incredible Hikes in Italy
1- CINQUE TERRE HIKE: One of the top hikes in Italy
Let’s start this amazing list with one of the top hikes in Italy, the Cinque Terre hiking (or Five Villages).
There is 120 km of trails along the Cinque Terre coastline, and 48 hiking trails to choose from. In order to access the trails of the Cinque Terre, you must possess a Cinque Terre Card.
Considered not only one of the most beautiful hikes in Italy but also the whole of Europe, the trail is located on a rugged stretch of the Ligurian session of coastal along the Italian Riviera.
Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a National Park that has a series of five villages: Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, and Manarola.
The villages are built on steep cliffs, and they are linked by a series of hiking trails that are not accessible by car. Due to its unique location, this area has not been overdeveloped and has stunning hiking trails.
During this picturesque hiking, you will be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the coastline and the colorful buildings and houses. You will hike through hillsides, vineyards, and olive groves.
Make sure you stop in the villages during your hiking in Cinque Terre to have a homemade gelato or try some local specialties such as fresh seafood and pesto.
Most of the hikes in Cinque Terre involve trails, but also, lot of stairs, therefore, be prepared to tackle steep inclines and descents all day.
2- SASSOLUNGO | LANGKOFEL: An incredible Dolomites hike with stunning views
From the start of the Sassolungo/Langkofel trail, three sharp peaks of grey rock protrude out of the lush green meadows; painting the scene that makes this one of the most alluring hikes in Italy.
The peaks are Sasso Piatto, Punta Grohman, and Sassolungo herself, and they are cinematic companions on the hike circumnavigating the Sassolungo/Langkofel massif.
Throughout the hike, the everchanging views are captivating. From cows grazing on the gently swaying grasses of the highest large Alpine meadow in Europe, Alpe di Siusi; to the rocky and barren peaks of the Dolomites mountains; and to fragrant pine forests bathed in light.
Perched 300 metres above the main trail, the optional diversion to Rifugio Vicenza is a barren place surrounded on all three sides by towering rockfaces.
The Sassolungo/Langkofel hike is relatively difficult due to the duration, however there are no tricky sections, and it can be completed with anyone of moderate fitness. Throughout the hike there are several well positioned rifugios to stock up on calories, take a rest and enjoy spectacular mountain views.
3- TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO LOOP: Day hike at Dolomites
Aside from their sheer beauty, the area is full of easy day-hikes right at the foot of the mountains. Just 20 miles from Cortina, you can make your way to the start of the hike by car or even by shuttle (there is an entrance fee into the park if entering by vehicle).
The hike is rather flat and suitable for all, but I guarantee you the 360 views you will get as you work your way around the mountain are just incredible.
There are several rifugi (mountain huts) you can stop at for a meal on your way. If you’re a fan of history and looking for a little more adventure, there are numerous via ferratas (assisted climbing routes) in the area that go through the various trenches and tunnels used by soldiers during World War One.
4- GORROPU GORGE : One of the best hiking in Sardinia
5- MONTE VESUVIUS: A short hike with rich history in Italy
Located east of Naples in the Campania region, Mount Vesuvius is an active somma-stratovolcano that is most famous for its destruction of Pompeii and other nearby cities in AD 79.
Though its reputation was formed long ago, it maintains a status for being one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world since 3 million people live in the eruption radius.
Despite this, many come to hike up Mount Vesuvius when traveling in Italy.
The hike starts at the Vesuvio National Park parking lot where you pay to enter before climbing 850 ft. in 1 mile. It is a short 35-minute hike filled with gorgeous views of the Gulf of Naples, the national park, and nearby cities of Pompei and Naples.
The views are incredible but the history alone makes it a hike in Italy that you cannot miss!
6- LAKE COMO TO MONTE SAN PRIMO: Stunning views at this Italian hike
If you’re looking for the best hikes in Italy, then Monte San Primo, and the whole Lake Como area, should feature on your bucket list.
Lake Como is famous for its cute towns like Bellagio, however the hiking beauty is really what it’s all about.
With its 46km in length, 146km squared in size and distinctive “Y” shape, Lake Como is surrounded by mountains and is full of gorgeous viewpoints. There are loads of trails for every level, however my personal favourite is Monte San Primo.
Monte San Primo is 1682 metres high, and there are various trails that you can choose from to reach the peak.
Personally I recommend taking the steeper and direct route up through the woods, and then the longer, more gradual and more scenic route down that goes along the mountain ridges.
The hike itself is fairly challenging, especially if you take the steeper way up, but the views are well worth it.
Once you reach the top you get a 360 view over all the surrounding landscape. From the top of San Primo you can see all of Lake Como and the surrounding mountains all the way to the Swiss Alps on one side, whilst on the other you can see the Pianura Padana all the way to Milan.
7 - PATH OF GOD: A stunning hike with the Amalfi Coast views
One of the best hiking routes in Italy is the Path of the Gods. It is a walking route that will amaze you!
It used to be the only way to get from the town Bomerano to the town Nocelle.
The path begins in Bomerano, there’s a bus stop here that buses from Amalfi go to. From there you can follow the white/red signs that say “02”.
During the route you will see amazing nature and the stunning views of the Amalfi coast!
At the end of the hiking route you will end up in Nocelle. From here it’s only a short walk down some steps to the beautiful coastal town of Positano, which is phenomenal place to visit.
Also, when you visit this place, make sure to check out the many amazing photo spots in Positano.
Positano is a great place to stay, but there are also buses that can take you back to Amalfi.
9 - CORNA TRENTAPASSI IN LAGO D"ISEO: One of the most jaw-dropping hikes in Italy
Have you ever climbed a mountain that inspired Leonardo da Vinci? Here’s a chance!
According to many historians, Trentapassi is drawn in the background of Leonardo’s famous Mona Lisa painting.
Corna Trentapassi is a beautiful mountain situated on the eastern side of Lago d’Iseo in the province of Brescia.
At 1248msl, this steep and rocky peak juts a thousand meters above the shores of the lake, offering spectacular panoramic views.
The hiking paths are well signed. It is recommended to take the path 263 for the ascent and 265 for the way down. The difficulty rating for this hiking in classified by path 263 – difficult (EE in Italian – for experienced hikers), path 265 – easy to intermediate (E in Italian – for hikers).
Upon your arriving to Vello, renting a car is the best option, even though a train connection with Brescia is available. There’s free parking on Via Alcide de Gasperi, just at the northern end of the short road tunnel – right where the hiking path starts.
There are two great restaurants you should visit if you in the area – Two great restaurants – Trattoria Glisenti and Ristorante ai Frati.
10 - PIETRA DI BISMANTOVA: Great options for hike the region of Emilia-Romagna
The region of Emilia-Romagna is packed with beautiful landscapes and easy hiking spots, thanks to the Apennine Mountains, which initiate here.
In the province of Reggio-Emilia, above a village called Castelnovo ne’Monti stands the beautiful Pietra di Bismantova.
The Pietra di Bismantova is a characteristic mountain of the Reggio Apennines, being 1042m high. It looks like a narrow plateau with sleep walls which stands isolated from the mountain range of the Appenine, offering an incredible 360° view on the surrounding lands, fields and forests.
Pietra di Bismantova is perfect for a day trip from the surrounding town such as Ferrara, Bologna, Piacenza or Modena.
The most popular trail hike is considered easy, and you don’t need special tracking equipment to reach the top. It’s a great place if you just want to get away in nature during your trip for a few hours.
There are multiple tracking trails, some involve via ferratas’ as well, and there are also plenty of rock-climbing spots around the cliff.
On the way down, there’s a refugio, a traditional mountain restaurant called Il Refugio della Pietra, where you can stop for lunch. If you do, try the traditional Gramigna alla Salsiccia, which is a traditional dish in the province of Reggio-Emilia!
11 - CAMOGLI TO SAN FRUTTUOSO ABBEY: Hiking with the scenic Italian Riviera views
12 - PORTOFINO TO SAN FRUTTUOSO: A hike not to miss on the Italian Riviera
Established in 1935, Portofino Natural Park offers more than 70 km of hiking trails with some of the most beautiful hikes in Italy.
The Porto Fino to San Fruttuoso hiking trail is located in the coastal line in the beautiful Italian Riviera region.
This hiking starts at the picturesque village of Portofino, a place known as a historic fisher village-like Cinque Terre, but now it’s attracted by beautiful vivid houses and picturesque harbor.
In the beginning, the track goes along with olive and grape fields. All the pathway is in Portofino National Park. The trail has magnificent views of the Italian Riviera coast, due to its winds all the way next to the sea.
Hiking ends in historic San Fruttuoso, a small place with beautiful places to visit, in the famous Italian Riviera area.
That exact place is accessible on foot along hiking paths or by boat. San Fruttuoso is known for the abbey, isolated beach, and underwater statue Christ of the Abyss.
13 - APUAN ALPS: A magnificent hiking in the Tuscany region
Considered one of the most unique hiking in Tuscany and also, in Italy is Apuan Alps, offering the perfect seaside views and the majestic peaks, with spetacular caves, incredibly green lakes and landscape that seem almost alpine.
Located between the provinces of Carrara and Lucca.
The picturesque Tuscany town of Barga is the main crossroad of the paths but also 1-hour away from the most convenient starting point of the hike, Pruno.
Pruno itself is an excellent place to accommodate hikers with its cozy hostel. From the North to the South Apuan Alps cover the amazing distance of 55 km.
This natural park is recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highest peak is Pania della Croce with 1,858 meters, which covers even the views of Corsica on sunny days where the hiking is known as averagely difficult one.
The easier tracks are located near the villages of Camaiore with the highest peak Monte Gabberi (1,140 m), Monte Prana with the chestnut woods or Monte Procinto close to the village of Stazzema. At the village Pian della Fioba finds its place the fabulous botanical garden of the same name.
Many caves can also be found here, aren’t the Mediterranean mountain villages sufficient reason to explore? The splendid seaside views just add to the charm.
14 - PARCO REGIONALE MARTURANUM: Hike in Italy with archeological and natural sites
One of the best hikes destinations in Italy is without-a-doubt Parco Regionale Marturanum in Barbarano Romano.
Parco Regionale Marturanum is a nature preserve located in the heart of Tuscia, an ancient Etruscan region in central Italy, blends into the lush vegetation with almost 3,000 years of history.
Not to be confused with Tuscany, Tuscia is located in the northern part of Lazio, between the regions of Umbria and Tuscany. It is about a two-hour train ride away from Rome, making for an easy day trip.
Parco Regionale Marturanum is perfect for nature and history lovers alike, as the park boasts 1240 hectares of moss-covered trees, babbling brooks, and, best of all, ancient Etruscan caves and necropolis.
The ancient archaeological remains date from the Bronze Age to the Roman Era. You can easily spend up to a full day hiking and exploring.
The network of paths that will lead you between Barbarano Romano and Blera, two beautifully-preserved medieval villages both worth visiting in their own right.
For an authentic stay, try Nina’s Guesthouse in Barbarano Romano, which is an entire apartment with a beautiful loggia overlooking the village.
Parco Regionale Marturanum is a wonderful hidden gem in Tuscia that should not be overlooked.
15 - MOUNT ETNA: An exhilarating opportunity to hike an active volcano in Italy
Hiking Mount Etna is one of the best hikes in Italy because you have the opportunity to hike one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is also the highest active volcano outside the Caucasus. Its highest point is 3,326 m / 10,912 ft.
How high you can hike depends on the volcanic activities. The highest crater you can climb to these days is situated at 2,900 m / 9,515 ft.
You can start your hike from 1,923 m / 6,310 ft where the bus drops you, at Sapienza Refuge. For the entire hike, you will need 5 – 6 hours. In case, you want to save time, you can take the funicular to 2,500 m / 8,202 ft.
The landscape on the way up is extremely diverse. The start is the steepest and rockiest. Then, the landscape changes after 2,500 m / 8,202 ft. You will see how the black lava changed the landscape. Everything is black and sandy.
As you ascend, the place feels like you are on the moon, it’s sandy, and also there are big rocks scattered everywhere. You will see several volcanic cones and sometimes you will see nothing because the steam clouds coming from the fumarole will cover everything around you.
The colorful crater at an altitude of 2,900 m / 9,515 ft is the highlight of the hike which you can walk around.
The weather on the way up can drastically change as well. Depending on the weather, it can start sunny. Then, as you go up, it can get colder, cloudy, foggy, windy, rainy, and even snowy.
Make sure you wear proper gear – hiking shoes, long trousers, hoodie, windbreaker, gloves, backpack with enough food and drinks for the entire hike.
TRIP PLANING RESOURCES
PLANNING A TRIP TO ITALY
If you are going to travel to Italy, pre-planning, research, and understanding what you are looking for in a destination will help make your travels far more successful and safe. Here is some further information I think you might need to plan your trip to Italy:
- A great place to start is on my TRAVEL PLANNING – where you can find the 10 easy steps to plan and book your trip easy and safe.
- Visit Italy Travel Guide for more information and exclusive itineraries and guides for your Italy trip.
- If you are visiting Italy for the first time, you may also check the Best Landmarks in Italy
- You may want to include some of the most beautiful Italian Coastal Towns in your itinerary.
- Now, if you are planning for some serious hiking make sure you check the Complete fitness preparation guide for hiking on vacation.
ITALY GUIDE BOOK
Some of the excellent guide books that helped me to prepare in advance for my trips to Italy.
WHEN TO VISIT ITALY
The best time to visit Italy is during spring and fall when the temperatures are comfortable and there are fewer crowds:
SPRING: Temperatures start to warm up in spring, going from the late teens to mid-twenties, although it’s still advisable to wear layers in case of colder spells.
SUMMER: The summer months of July and August see higher temperatures and visitor numbers reach their peak. Temperatures are normally around 81 °F and often reach over 88 °F at the height of the day.
FALL: Temperatures cool down gradually, so September is still very pleasant, with an average of around 77℉. Expect crisp fall leaves and some sunnier days, but plan for wet weather too.
WINTER: Temperatures in the south remain mild in winter. However, northern Italy is normally wet and cold, and it’s not unusual for snow to fall, especially in the mountains.
WHERE TO STAY IN ITALY
Italy has so many incredible options for accommodations. In order to choose the right accommodation for you, you will need to consider your personality, budget, and the kind of experience you want to have while visiting Italy.
The traditional choice when visiting any new place is a hotel. Italy has tens of thousands of choices all over the country, which come in all shapes and sizes from a small pensione to a seven-star hotel.
You’re most likely to choose a hotel if you are staying in a city. Most of Italy’s hotels are small, family-owned enterprises and as a big supporter of the locals, this is always my first choice when I travel to Italy.
Booking.com is my go-to hotel, guest-houses, and BB searches around the world. They have over 2 million properties in 220 countries – from hostel to luxury properties, and they have a 24-hour cancellation policy that I have used several times.
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR YOUR ITALY TRIP
Considering that anything can go wrong with any trip, we don’t want to risk the fun, right? Risks are of breaking down, losing your luggage, or even worse, having an accident and getting injured.
I recommend and also use reliable insurance through World Nomads. You can just do a quick quote below, and you will be surprised to find out how little it can cost, for the benefit you will get.
RENTAL CAR IN ITALY
If you are planning to rent a car for your trip in Italy, I recommend requesting a quote and comparing prices from different car providers to get the best deal.