Italy boasts truly breathtaking and diverse natural sights. From colossal mountain ranges to rich valleys, lakes, and captivating coastlines, it is a paradise for hiking and trekking enthusiasts. An exhilarating walk-through nature can boost your energy, reduce stress, and elevate your mood.
For any hike to be a great adventure, planning is crucial. Remember that even the easiest route is still nature. Do some research to bring appropriate clothes and shoes, take plenty of water, essential gear, a digital survival kit for navigation and emergencies, and a positive attitude.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Dolomites
The awe-inspiring Cime di Lavaredo, or Three Peaks of Lavaredo in English, are three iconic limestone pillars high in the Italian Dolomites. Apart from the imposing rocks, the landscape is made of verdant valleys dominated by grazing cows and occasional lakes. You will also find several picturesque rifugios, or mountain huts, where you can rest and try some traditional Italian cuisine.
Tre Cime is a 10-kilometre circular trail around the peaks and takes around 4-5 hours to complete. This is a moderately difficult hike. Parts of it are flat and easy, whereas others lead uphill. That said, the journey is not too arduous, and you will meet families with children and pets on the way.
May through October is the best time to visit Tre Cime. However, as one of the most popular hiking destinations in the Dolomites, warm weather and clear skies usually mean large crowds.
Alta Via 1, Dolomites
A 120-kilometer-long route through the Dolomites, the Alta Via 1 is perfect if you want an epic multi-day trek. Trekkers usually take around 10 to 15 days to complete the walk. As you progress, various breathtaking landscapes will change before your eyes. There are also several historic WWI sites along the path.
The trek’s difficulty is moderate to demanding, as the length makes it physically challenging for inexperienced hikers. You can exit at multiple points if it proves too difficult.
Wild camping is not allowed, but there are plenty of well-equipped rifugios. The best part is that carrying tents and food kits is not necessary. Just make sure to bring enough water.
Due to weather conditions, Alta Via 1 has a short season, from late June to mid-September. A summer day can go from a clear blue sky to a sudden rain shower or storm. Some parts of the trail may even have snow.
Sentiero degli Dei, Amalfi Coast
Sentiero degli Dei, or the Path of the Gods, follows the captivating Amalfi coast. It is a short 8 km hike that takes under 5 hours. The trail stretches between the village of Bomerano in the mountains and Positano, a romantic town on the coast.
The difficulty is easy to moderate. If you go from Bomerano, it is mostly a gentle walk downhill. Starting from Positano means you need to ascend about 500 metres. Be aware that the trail includes a set of 1700 steep stairs that are unsuitable for people suffering from vertigo. Always bring water and go early in the summer, as there is very little shade on the route. A sun hat and sunblock are recommended. In the spring and fall, pack a rain jacket.
Stromboli Volcano, Sicily
A hike to the summit of an active volcano is definitely a unique adventure. This is a moderately difficult hike of around 8 kilometres and takes approximately 5-6 hours. On the top, you will have the opportunity to see the crater of an active volcano and witness mini eruptions. Arrive after sunset for the best experience but bring a flashlight for the return trip. Although a popular destination, keep in mind that the volcano is not entirely harmless. Stromboli had a major eruption in 2019.
Renaissance Ring, Florence
Experience enchanting nature combined with art, historic villages, monasteries, and castles on the Renaissance Ring trail. Not to mention all the food and wine you can enjoy on the way. The 170-kilometre route encircles the famous city of Florence, taking you on roads and gravel tracks through the tranquil countryside. You can complete the entire trek, which takes around a week, or particular sections. The Renaissance Ring comprises several stages, allowing you to choose how you want to experience the great Renaissance city and its surroundings.
The best seasons for hiking and trekking are generally from spring to fall, but it is crucial to research the area and weather conditions before you start packing. While summer days are mostly bright and hot, you will likely need protection from both the sunny and wet weather. Summer is the peak season for nature lovers, meaning that trails may be crowded and rifugios booked solid. Spring and fall offer a more relaxed atmosphere but prepare for a rainier hike.
Do not forget to check the difficulty of a trail, remoteness, and available amenities. Water is vital to bring with you, but food might be optional. All the routes listed above include rifugios and restaurants.
Finally, always keep a map, flashlight, GPS, and phone in your backpack.
Italy offers quite a lot to explore, from natural beauties and historical sites to its long artistic tradition and exquisite food. Hikers and trekkers can choose from an abundance of beginner-friendly and more demanding trails and experience Italy on foot.