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Hiking in Italy



Photo: Bloody Nick (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Planning walks in Italy sends many a seasoned hiker into the throes of bliss whether they’ve set foot on the country’s trails or not. The boot-shaped nation is famous for world-class hiking after all. 

With so much on offer, it’s challenging to decide which region to explore. The breathtaking Dolomites with their snow capped mountains and rolling, chocolate-box valleys? How about the extraordinary trails that wind through majestic Tuscany? Or, perhaps the dramatic cliffs above the Amalfi coast are calling?

Italy has a fantastic array of footpaths and trails all over the country from its long-distance mountainous hikes to its rural rambles along the back of grapevine terraces. You can base yourself in a quintessentially Calabrian town and do day hikes or backpack through the Apennines for weeks. 

Hikes in Italy take you through fantastic landscapes with plenty of pasta to keep you going, no matter how far you have to go. 

Top 20 best walks and hikes in Italy

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From the mountains to the Mediterranean

Italy has three major mountain ranges, each worthy of their own dedicated adventures. The Dolomites and the Italian Alps dominate the northern border and provide world-class hiking throughout the year. Walks in Italy’s northern mountains include multiple long-distance trails as well as day hikes. One thing is always the same; the views are unbelievable. 

The northern ranges are immensely popular for their picture-perfect valleys, rugged peaks and exquisite lakes but the Apennines have even more variation in character. This north-south running mountain range stretches the entire length of the mainland and has many different sections. Heavily forested with summer pastures and snow on the highest peaks, you’ll find some of the best hiking trails in Italy within the range. 

Italy’s coastline is vast and it has two large islands, Sicily and Sardinia, not to mention the many smaller islands. Italy’s coastal hikes have everything from the quaint colourful villages of the Cinque Terre and Amalfi to the jagged volcanic shores of Sicily. The Mediterranean is as much a part of Italy’s culture as the land itself and it offers a refreshing dip to cool off on a hot day. 

The best seasons for hiking in Italy

Choosing when to explore Italy’s hikes is just as important as where you go. Italy is blessed with some fairly incredible weather but that also means hot summers. Inland and in the south, summer temperatures can exceed 30 ℃ (86 ℉), making hiking a challenge in all but the highest places. 

Popular hiking spots can be very busy during the peak season. However, Italy still has plenty of fantastic options to escape the crowds. The northern mountains have ideal summer temperatures for walking and a huge variety of paths. Think green valleys, floral meadows and blissful mountain views. 

Spring and autumn are wonderful for hiking adventures all over the country. The mountain temperatures are still great for hiking and the warmer regions are cool enough for comfortable treks. No matter which season you hike in, there are always wonderful views and accessible routes.

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