I've been fortunate to spend a lot of time in Italy - mainly eating and enjoying the cultural heritage - but also hiking in the Dolomites and along the many awesome mountain and coastal trails in Italy.
Here is my round-up of the best hikes in Italy.
I've tried to categorise them into different terrains, including mountain hikes like the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and Alta Via 2 in the Dolomites to coastal trails like the Sentiero degli Dei and Cinque Terre. I've also included a few trails in Sicily and Sardinia.
Let's jump in.
Note: I haven't included famous hikes like the Tour du Mont Blanc and Walkers Haute route, even though these pass through Italy.
Best Hikes In Italy
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The Tre Cime di Lavaredo hike is a spectacular trail in the Dolomites.
It is probably my favourite day hike in Italy as it is relatively easy and accessible, and offers incredible views.
The most famous is of course the iconic three mountain peaks. The circular route covers 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and takes about 4 hours to complete, depending on pace.
Ideal hiking months are from June to September, with July and August offering the best weather conditions. The trail is suitable for most hikers with a moderate fitness level, as it features well-maintained paths and moderate inclines.
Alta Via 2
The Alta Via 2 hike, also known as the "High Route 2," is my favourite long-distance hiking trail in Italy. Stretching over 160 kilometers (100 miles), the trail sojourns through the Dolomites and typically takes 10 to 14 days to complete.
Most hikes stay overnight in mountain huts, but there are also campsites.
The best time to hike the Alta Via 2 is from June to September, when the weather is favourable, and trails are mostly clear of snow. July and August tend to be the busiest months, so I recommend avoiding these months, especially if you want to stay in the huts.
The Alta Via 2 is a challenging trek, and I would say it is only suitable for experienced hikers with a good fitness level, as it includes steep ascents, descents, and exposed sections.
Hikes in the Gran Paradiso
Gran Paradiso National Park, nestled in the Italian Alps, offers loads of hiking opportunities - far too many for me to mention all of them.
To give you a flavour though, a popular day hike is the Lago di Ceresole route, which covers 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and takes around 4 to 5 hours to complete.
If you're looking for a longer hike the the Alta Via 4 trail is a great option. This Gran Paradiso hike stretches 75 kilometers (46.6 miles), takes around 7 to 9 days to complete, with overnight stays in mountain huts.
The ideal hiking season in Gran Paradiso is from June to September, with July and August being the warmest months. However, these months can also be crowded, so consider visiting in June or September for a quieter experience.
Sentiero degli Dei
The Sentiero degli Dei, or the "Path of the Gods," is an beautiful hiking trail situated on the picturesque Amalfi Coast in southern Italy.
This scenic trail stretches approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) and offers some of the most stunning panoramic views of the Mediterranean coastline. The average hiking time for this moderately challenging trek is about 3 to 4 hours, depending on the pace and experience of the hiker. It is suitable for most people with a moderate level of physical fitness
The trail begins in the quaint village of Bomerano (Agerola) and ends in Nocelle, a small hamlet near Positano.
The best time to embark on the Sentiero degli Dei is during the spring and autumn months, specifically from April to June and September to October. During these periods, the weather is generally mild, and the trail is less crowded, making for a more enjoyable hiking experience.
The Cinque Terre hike is a stunning coastal trail in northwest Italy, connecting five charming villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Spanning 12 kilometers (7.5 miles), the hike takes around 5 to 6 hours to complete, depending on pace and stops.
You can hike the Cinque Terre in any direction, but I recommend taking the Blue Trail from Riomaggiore going north instead of from Monterosso heading south.
The best time to visit is from April to October, with May and September offering mild weather and fewer crowds. The trail comprises various difficulty levels, making it suitable for most hikers with moderate fitness.
It's essential to wear proper footwear and carry water. Enjoy panoramic sea views, colorful villages, and terraced vineyards while exploring this captivating region.
Hike the Corno Grande
Corno Grande is the highest peak in the Gran Sasso mountain range in Italy's Apennine Mountains. I was lucky enough to hike it a few Summers back and it is a great experience.
I took the Direttissima route, which is the most popular trail and spans approximately 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) with an elevation gain of 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). The hike takes about 4 to 5 hours round trip, depending on pace and experience.
The ideal time to hike Corno Grande is from June to September, with July and August providing the most stable weather conditions.
I found the hike pretty easy, but for some people it may be challenging and only suitable for hikers with a good fitness level, as it includes steep inclines, scree slopes, and a short scramble near the summit.
Hikes around Mount Etna
Mount Etna in Sicily is Europe's highest and most active volcano.
For many people, hiking around an active volcano is crazy!
But to be honest this hike was one of my favourite in Italy as you get to explore lava fields and craters, all while enjoying stunning views of the Mediterranean.
There are a number of trails on Mount Etna. Popular routes include the Sartorius Craters trail, a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) loop taking about 2 hours, and the Schiena dell'Asino trail, a 12-kilometer (7.5 miles) hike taking approximately 5 hours. For a more challenging trek, the summit ascent spans 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) and takes around 7 hours, including a cable car and 4x4 bus ride. I did the latter, and it's a tough day out, but well worth it!
Sella del Diavolo hike
The Sella del Diavolo hike in Sardinia is my top pick if you decide to visit this Italian island. "Sella del Diavolo" translates to "Devil's Saddle," referring to the saddle-shaped rock formation at the peak.
It's a relatively short hike that spans approximately 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) and takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. The trail begins just outside the city of Cagliari and is well-marked.
Hikes in Italy FAQ
1. What is the 5 town hike in Italy?
The 5-town hike in Italy refers to the Cinque Terre hike, which connects five picturesque coastal villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
2. Is Lake Como good for hiking?
Yes, Lake Como is excellent for hiking, offering various trails with stunning lake views, lush landscapes, and charming villages.
3. What is a famous hike on the Amalfi Coast called?
A famous hike on the Amalfi Coast is the Sentiero degli Dei, also known as the "Path of the Gods," offering breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline.
4. Is Sorrento good for hiking?
Sorrento itself is not a prime hiking destination; however, it serves as a great base for exploring nearby hikes on the Amalfi Coast and in the Monti Lattari Regional Park.
5. What is the most famous hike in Italy?
There isn't one single most famous hike in Italy, as the country boasts numerous renowned hikes such as the Cinque Terre, the Dolomites' Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and the Amalfi Coast's Sentiero degli Dei, each famous for their unique landscapes and experiences.
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