hikes in Italy
Hiking in Italy
Looking for the best places to go hiking in Italy? From the craggy peaks of the Dolomites to the plunging cliffs of the Amalfi coast, Italy boasts some of the best walking trails in Europe. The Italian Alps, slightly wilder and more rugged than their Swiss and Austrian neighbors, provide some of the most spectacular scenery in the country, while further south, you’ll find delightful coastal trails, towering volcanoes, and sun-kissed hills just perfect for scrambling.
The best way to experience this beautiful country is to pull on your walking boots and get out onto the trails, and the sheer diversity of terrain means you’ll be spoilt for choice! Whether you want to scale the dizzying heights of the Dolomites or wander through the picture-perfect villages of Cinque Terre, there’s something here for everyone.
To help you find the best hikes in Italy, we’ve put together all the information you’ll need to plan your trip. So pack your bags, grab your hiking gear, and get ready to explore the trails of this fabulous hiking destination!
Types Of Hiking In Italy
Italy offers something for all walkers, whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for an easy stroll. The Alpi Marittime Natural Park, the Dolomites, and the Amalfi Coast regularly attract seasoned hikers and climbers and offer some challenging routes set in spectacular scenery.
However, if you’re looking for a relaxing walking holiday, there are plenty of less strenuous options! The green rolling hills of Lombardy offer some wonderful low-elevation walks, and Tuscany provides the best opportunity to combine hiking with a vineyard tour or a visit to some of Italy’s charming villages and towns. Whether you’re traveling with the family, or simply looking for some peace and quiet, Italy is the perfect destination for a hiking holiday!
Easy Hikes In Italy
- Enfola Peninsula Hike: There are plenty of easy hikes in Italy - perfect if you’re a beginner, or just looking for a leisurely day out. For picturesque coastal views, head to Tuscany and the infamous island of Elba, where Napoleon Bonaparte spent a period of exile in 1814. Some might say that Napoleon had it lucky – Elba boasts stunning sea views, white sandy beaches, and green hills. What’s more, this easy Enfola Peninsula hike will take you right over Mount Enfola, and offers some of the best views on the island.
- Lago di Carezza Hike: If you’re looking for a really spectacular bucket list hike that isn’t too demanding, try the stunning route around Lago di Carezza. You’ll find emerald waters surrounded by green spruce forests, all set against a backdrop of jagged, grey mountains. This 3.5km hike will take you through the forest and around the lake, where you can admire the wonderful scenery of the Dolomites with ease.
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo Hike: If you’re heading to the Dolomites, don’t miss this wonderful Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike. The route passes by several rifugios that offer fabulous food, and the scenery is simply stunning. For those looking for an easy beginner hike, this is an excellent option, as the route can be shortened and you’ll still experience the best that the Dolomites have to offer! Alternatively, if you’d like to take it slow, why not stay the night at one of the several rifugios along the way and enjoy a spectacular sunset in the mountains?
Family Hikes In Italy
- Valnontey River Trail Hike: Finding good family hikes in Italy is easy – there are plenty of accessible routes with lots to see and do along the way. The Valnontey River Trail hike is a firm favorite with children, and one of the best family hikes in Italy. It’s an easy route that follows the Valnontey River along the valley, passing by waterfalls, glaciers, and towering mountains. Don’t miss the breathtaking icefalls at the end of the route!
- Valle Dei Mulini Hike: Kids are also sure to love this Valle Dei Mulini hike close to the Amalfi Coast, a region that oozes history and culture. This route will take you inland from the sea, passing through lush greenery, bubbling waterfalls, and ruined paper mills, a remnant of the region’s rich medieval past.
- Lago di Braies Hike: The Lago di Braies is one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes, and this easy hike is a wonderful day out in the Dolomites for families. According to legend, the intense turquoise waters of the lake are caused by lost treasures and jewels, lurking in the mud at the bottom. Although it’s usually too cold for swimming, it’s possible to hire a boat in the summer months and row out on to the water for a wonderful view of the lake and mountains. A fabulous day out for the whole family!
Day Hikes In Italy
- Lago di Loie Hike: The circular route of the Lago di Loie hike is one of the best day hikes in Italy and a good challenge for more adventurous walkers. The peaceful, crystal waters of the lake are simply stunning, and this epic trail offers some of the best views of Mont Blanc that you’ll find in Italy.
- Sassopiatto and Sassolungo Hike: If you’re looking for a breathtaking hike high in the Dolomites, this is the trail for you. You’ll need plenty of energy to complete the 16km route, but the incredible vista of the Dolomites will provide ample reward for your exertions. Listen out for the whistle of the local marmots – if you’re lucky you may even see one scurrying up the mountain!
Challenging Hikes In Italy
- Nuvolau Hike: For the very best of the Dolomites, and a real physical challenge, try the spectacular Nuvolau hike. Nuvolau offers an incomparable panorama, taking in the craggy peaks of the Dolomites and boasting 360-degree views across the mountains. This gorgeous spectacle is your fitting reward after a steep climb to the top!
- Rifugio Pagari Hike: One of the most challenging hikes in Italy is this Rifugio Pagari hike, deep in the heart of the Alpi Marittime Natural Park. This is the highest accessible Rifugio in the park, and offers plenty of activities for lovers of nature and hiking. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the local ibex and alpine rock ptarmigan!
Best Hikes In Italy
- Cinque Terre Hike: The Cinque Terre hike is, without doubt, one of the best hikes in Italy. This stunning trail winds its way through a series of picture-perfect villages on the coast of Liguria, passing by quaint and colorful fishing harbors and terraced vineyards. You can choose to hike a couple of shorter sections or take in the whole route in one day. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!
- "Path of the Gods" Hike: The "Path of the Gods" hike is not only one of the most famous hikes on the Amalfi Coast, it’s also one of the best hikes in Italy. Its reputation is certainly well deserved – prepare for stunning coastal views, vertiginous cliffs, and terraced hillsides. You may be walking along humble, ancient mule trails, but you’ll feel on top of the world.
- Vallone Argentera Hike: The Argentera is the tallest peak in the Alpi Marittime Park, and this hike is the best way to get up-close-and-personal with the mountain. Although it’s a stiff climb, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views in the Italian Alps (and that’s saying something)!
- Lago di Sorapiss Hike: The walk to Lago di Sorapiss is one of Italy’s finest hikes, taking you through picturesque scenery all the way to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The intense blue color of the Lago di Sorapiss is the main draw, but the route itself is a joy to walk, passing by forests and caves, with fabulous views of the Dolomites.
- Monte Croce From Palagnana Hike: Tuscany’s beautiful scenery makes it a paradise for walkers, and this hike up Monte Croce from Palagnana is one of the region’s best. This hike is short but sweet, and is usually quiet, making it the perfect place for some peaceful contemplation. We’ve offered two options: a circular route, or a more straightforward out-and-back trail. The choice is yours!
- Punta Campanella Hike: Step back in time on this Punta Campanella hike! This moderately easy trail will guide you past the ruins of ancient Roman and Greek temples, not to mention the Saracen tower that dates back to the 14th century. This part of the Sorrentine Peninsula is said to be the place where Odysseus met the Sirens, and it’s been enchanting visitors since antiquity. We’re sure you’ll be captivated too!
- Laghi Arbergh Hike: For sheer variety, you can’t do better than the Laghi Arbergh hike. Deep in the heart of the Alpi Marittime Natural Park, the Arbergh Valley offers lush greenery, tall beech forests, colorful sandstone rocks, and an incredible range of biodiversity. This is a thrilling day hike through some of Italy’s finest scenery.
- Radda Loop Hike: It goes without saying that Italy is a paradise for wine lovers, and Tuscany’s picturesque vineyards are a lovely place for a stroll and a glass of wine. The Radda Loop hike offers the possibility to combine your walk with a visit to a vineyard, where you can sample some of Italy’s finest produce!
- Lago Pellaud via the Grand Ru Ring Trail: Located just on the border of the Gran Paradiso National Park, the Lago Pellaud via the Grand Ru Ring trail is one of the most beautiful hikes in Italy. You’ll walk through the beautiful Rhemes-Notre-Dame Valley, where you can see snow-capped mountains, tumbling waterfalls, and historic villages. The perfect hike to get away from it all.
- Viel del Pal Marmolada Hike: If you want to get a great view of the Dolomites, but aren’t quite ready to take on a grueling climb, the Viel del Pal Marmolada hike is an excellent option! This moderately challenging hike is accessible for most people, and gives wonderful views of Marmolada and the rest of the Dolomites. The route was once used by flour and bread merchants to move between the valleys, so you’ll be stepping back in time to walk in their footsteps.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Italy?
Italy offers hikes for all seasons, and even in the depths of winter you can find places where it’s possible to do some great walking. However, most visitors choose to head for the hills in one of the ‘shoulder seasons’ on either side of the hot Italian summer.
April-May and September-October are the perfect times to go hiking in the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Liguria, Sardinia, and Sicily, when you’ll find warm, sunny weather but the temperatures remain pleasant. It’s possible to hike here between November and March when the scenery can be spectacular, although many businesses will be closed and the weather may be wet and cool.
If you must come in summer, head for the higher regions of the Alps and the Dolomites, where you’ll find some respite from the scorching heat. The season for hiking in the Alps is from mid-June to the end of September, although the season may be slightly longer if the snows melt early and the weather stays warm until late October. If you’re looking for some winter walking, grab your snowshoes and visit the Dolomites or Mount Etna in January and February.
Unless you’re an experienced hiker, it’s a good idea to hire a licensed guide to show you around – check out our recommended tours in Italy for more inspiration!
Best Regions For Hiking In Italy
Italy’s diverse landscape provides some spectacular possibilities for hiking, but how do you choose which region to visit first? From Liguria to the Alps, Italy offers so much varied terrain and so many fabulous trails it can be difficult to pick a favorite. To help you decide, we’ve put together guides to the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, Liguria, the Gran Paradiso National Park, Tuscany, and of course, the Alps - Alpi Marittime Natural Park. The choice is yours!
How To Plan A Trip To Italy
If all this has got you reaching for your hiking boots, then start planning your trip to Italy today! We’ve got guides to all of Italy’s best hiking regions, including the Amalfi Coast Guide, the Alpi Marittime Natural Park guide, and the Dolomites guide, with everything you need to know to prepare for your hiking trip.Read More