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Best Hiking Trails in Italy

Overview

Italy is a boot-shaped country in Western Europe that is known for many things and hiking its rugged mountainous landscape, running the spine of the boot, is one of them.  There are thousands of km of hiking trails to choose from throughout the country, from the stunning Alps and Dolomites in the north (including the popular Italian Lakes region and Aosta Valley) to the very popular Cinque Terre, the lesser visited Tuscan Alps, the mountains of Central Italy such as Abruzzo National Park, and then south to beautiful Amalfi Coast, Calabria, Sicily and wild Sardinia.  There are hikes for everyone in Italy.  The best months to hike in Italy depend on the region, but generally the summer months are best for the north while spring and fall are best for the south.  Read below for more details on where and when to go hiking in Italy.

Capital: Rome

When To Hike in Italy?

Apr – Oct: Lower altitudes and southern latitudes can do earlier (ie. Apr/May) and later (ie. Oct). For higher altitudes and northern latitudes it’s June – Sept.  Summer months can be too hot in the south while perfect timing for the north.
Nov – Mar: Rain/snow.  For higher altitudes and northern latitudes, Oct – May are often too cold/snowy for hiking

Climate: Range of climates; Mediterranean (hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters) in many parts of the south and continental (warm summers, and cold, snowy winters) for northern areas

 

Italy Monthly Weather

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy – Medium: A lot of the well known parks have marked trails and maps and it’s easy to go hiking there, but other areas, particularly in the south and Sardinia, trails are not well marked or non existent. Some of the national parks sites look really useful, while others not so much. There are about 600 mountain huts (rifugi) in the country.

Transportation required: Car; public transit to many hikes

Where to stay in Italy: Impossible to list all the possible towns/cities to base yourself for hiking, here are just a few

  • Italian Lakes – Como, Menaggio, Bellagio
  • North – Bergamo, Brescia, Udine, Riva del Garda, Ceresole Reale, Saluzzo
  • Italian Riviera – Genoa, Portofino, La Spezia
  • Tuscan Alps – Massa, Pistoia
  • Central Italy – Sora, Piedimonte Matese
  • Amalfi Coast towns – Ravello, Amalfi, Sorrento
  • Calabria – Reggio Calabria
  • Sicily – Cefalu
  • Sardinia – Cala Gonone

Top Places to Hike in Italy

Almost the whole country lends itself to hiking. The most popular areas are in Northern Italy (the Alps including Dolomites, offer spectacular hiking); Liguria (Cinque Terre); Tuscany; Central Italy; Amalfi Coast. Lesser known are the areas in the south, such as in Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia. Highest Mountain: Monte Bianco (4810 m), shared with France (Mont Blanc) in the Alps.

Filter out hiking places of Italy by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Calabria

Amalfi Coast

  • April – May; Sept – Oct are the best months; summer months are very hot
  • Very popular area, and many established trails in the various national, natural and regional parks, although sometimes maps not always helpful – Hikes Amalfi Coast

Sardinia (Sardegna)

Sicily

  • While Mt Etna gets all the glory here, the other main areas to mountain hike are the Nebrodi and Madonie mountains (extension of the Appenines) – Visit Sicily; Guide to Climbing Mt Etna
  • April – May; Sept – Oct are the best months, with the exception of hiking Mt Etna
  • Parco dell’Etna (Mt Etna) – Parco dell’Etna 
  • Parco dei Nebrodi – Parco dei Nebrodi 
  • Parco delle Madonie – Ente Parco delle Madonie 
  • Riserva Naturale Orientata Fiumedinisi e Monte Scuderi

Central Italy

Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

South Tyrol/Trentino region

Lombardia

Valle d’Aosta

Piemonte (Piedmont)

Liguria

  • May – Oct
  • Small region on the coast bordering France
  • Parco Naturale Regionale delle Alpi Liguri – Parco Alpi Liguri 
  • Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre – group of five cliff-dwelling and seaside villages with trails running through them – Parco Nazionale Cinque Terre  

Italy's Long Distance Trails

There are numerous long distance trails in Italy, these are just a very small sample:

Italy's Walking & Hiking Resources

Italy Hiking Books: There are lots of books, a small sampling below

General

  • Lonely Planet Best Day Hikes Italy 1, by Gregor Clark and Brendan Sainsbury, 2021, Lonely Planet
  • Italy’s Grande Traversata delle Alpi: GTA: Through the Italian Alps from the Swiss border to the Mediterranean, by David Jordan, 2023, Cicerone Press

Dolomites

  • Day Walks in the Dolomites: 50 short walks and all-day hikes in the Italian Dolomites, by Gillian Price, 2023, Cicerone Press
  • Trekking in the Dolomites, Cicerone Guide, by Gillian Price, 2016, Cicerone Press

Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

  • Alpe-Adria Trail: from the Alps to the Adriatic; Hiking through Austria, Slovenia, & Italy by Rudolf Abraham, 2020, Bradt Travel Guide

Valle d’Aosta

  • Walking in the Aosta Valley: Walks and scrambles in the shadows of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa, by Andy Hodges, 2022, Cicerone Press
  • Walking and Trekking in the Gran Paradiso: Alta Via 2 trek and 28 day walks, Cicerone Guide, Gillian Price, 2018, Cicerone Press
  • Trekking the Giants’ Trail: Alta Via 1 through the Italian Pennine Alps: Beneath Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa, by Andy Hodges, 2021, Cicerone Press

Lombardia

  • Walking in Italy’s Stelvio National Park, Cicerone Guide by Gillian Price, 2013, Cicerone Press

Italian Lakes

  • Walking Lake Como and Maggiore, by Gillian Price, 2019, Cicerone Press
  • Walking Lake Garda and Iseo, by Gillian Price, 2019, Cicerone Press

Central Italy

  • Walking in Tuscany: 43 Walks Including Val d’Orica, San Gimignano, and the Isle of Elba, by Gillian Price, 2018, Cicerone Guide
  • 50 Hikes in and Around Tuscany: Hiking the Mountains, Forests, Coast and Historic Sites of Wild Tuscany and Beyond, by Jeff Taylor, 2007, published by W.W Norton Inc.
  • Trekking in the Appennines: The Grande Escursione Appenninica, by Gillian Price, 2015, Cicerone Press
  • Walking in Abruzzo, Cicerone Guide, by Gillian Price, 2019, Cicerone Press

Southern Italy

  • Walking on the Amalfi Coast, Cicerone Guide, by Gillian Price, 2019, Cicerone Press

Sicily

  • Walking in Sicily: 46 walking routes including Mt Etna, and the Egadi and Aeolian Islands, by Gillian Price, 2022, Cicerone Press

Sardinia (Sardegna)

  • Walking in Sardinia: 50 Walks on the Ogliastra coast, Supramonte and Gennargentu mountains, Cicerone Guide, by Paddy Dillon, 2011, Cicerone Press
  • Sardinia: A Rother Walking Guide, by Mithra Omidvar and Gill Round, 2011,  Rother Guide
  • Authentic Italy Guide Series, by Touring Club Italiano

 

Italy Hiking Associations:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Italy:

  • Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) – Amalfi Coast
  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo – Dolomites
  • Corno Grande – Abruzzo
  • Stromboli – Aeolian Islands, Sicily
  • Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path) – Cinque Terre
  • Gorrupu Gorge – Sardinia
  • Lago Loie – Gran Paradiso National Park
  • Corna Trentapassi – Italian Lakes region
  • Monte Forato – Apuan Alps, Tuscany

Easy Hiking Trails in Italy:

  • Greenway of Lake Como
  • Mount Vesuvius
  • Amalfi Coast hikes

 

Italy Hiking Websites:

 

Italy Weather websites:

 

Italy Official Tourism Site:  

  • Agenzia Turismo Italia – Italy  

 

Italy Hiking Apps: 

 

Italy Hiking Maps: 

What Else To Do

  • Food
  • Ancient Roman Empire
  • Art
  • Fashion
  • Film
  • Literature
  • Cars
  • Beaches

Other Important Points

  • In northern Italy, many things are in German due to proximity to Austria & Switzerland
  • August is the month off (as in many parts of southern Europe)