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Best walks in Italy

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Shaped like a boot, Italy promises a wealth of delights for walkers: glistening lakes, soaring mountains, rolling countryside, gorgeous Mediterranean beaches, a string of national parks, and sublime scenery. It’s also perfect for those wanting off-the-beaten track adventures as well as those who want to slow down the pace by visiting pretty hilltop villages and discovering famous wine-growing regions.  

And once you get a taste of la dolce vita, you’ll want to return again and again.  

Here’s our seven must-do walks in Italy. 

Mount Subasio, Umbria

Assisi to Spello, Mount Subasio, Umbria

Deep green valleys, mighty mountains, and ancient Roman architecture set the scene for some incredible walks in Umbria, the so-called Green Heart of Italy. Follow in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi and make your way to the town of Spello with a walk along the trails of Mount Subasio, also known as the Holy Mountain. There are two recommended routes to take, both departing from Assisi. The first is a 7.5-mile hike that meanders through the vineyards and olive groves behind Villa Fidelia – a grand Baroque manor complete with exotic gardens and expansive grounds. The second trail takes you on a harder, 9-mile route with more elevation that enjoys jaw-dropping views over the Umbra Valley, eventually passing the ornate Abbey of San Benedetto. Once in Spello, explore a warren of medieval streets and visit the church of Santa Maria Maggiore to admire frescoes painted by Pinturicchio, Umbria’s most famous artist. 

Walk this stretch of the St Francis Way on our Trails of Medieval Umbria trip. Find out more about this history-rich holiday here.

Piedimulera, Italy

Anzasca Valley and Mount Rosa, Lake Maggiore

While Lake Garda grabs all the attention in Italy, Lake Maggiore is equally magical. At over 41 miles in length, it’s backed by the snow-topped Alps and is known as Italy’s Garden of Eden for its lush botanical gardens. While strolls around these scenic shores are all well and good, a visit to this part of Italy isn’t complete without venturing into the Anzasca Valley and the foothills of Mount Rosa. Set out from the pretty village of Piedimulera and follow the Anza River as it winds its way through thickly forested hills and sky-piercing peaks towards Macunaga. This remote mountain village is home to the Walser people, an ethnic group that proudly retain their own language and traditions. 

Trek through this magnificent mountain landscape on our Best of Lake Maggiore holiday. Find out more about this relaxing lakeside escape here.

Alta Murgia National Park

Alta Murgia National Park, Puglia

A trip to Puglia combines walks in southern Italy’s stunning countryside with seriously good food and fascinating history. Walkers won’t want to miss Alta Murgia National Park. This vast stony landscape is one of Italy's last wild steppes, crowned by the showstopping Castel del Monte. Sitting atop a shapely hill, this UNESCO-listed fortress was built in the 13th century and stands like a mighty beacon beckoning you through miles of wildflower meadows, olive groves, and Trulli houses – the traditional conical-roofed huts the region is famed for. Along the way, you can stop for authentic Apulian cuisine at a host of former farmhouses turned agriturismo hotels.  

Explore this mighty medieval citadel and its surrounding landscape on our Hidden Treasures of Puglia and Matera holiday. Find out more here.

Malcesine cable car to Monte Baldo

The Ventrar Path, Lake Garda

Backed by the rugged peaks of the Dolomites, the sparkling waters of Lake Garda have attracted poets, painters, writers, and royalty for centuries. Not only is it the largest of the Italian Lakes, but the most popular, too. One of the best ways to admire Italy’s most famous lake is aboard the Malcesine cable car to Monte Baldo. As it climbs to a height of 1,780m above sea level, it gently rotates for 360-degree views over the lake and surrounding mountains. At the top station, you can pick up the Ventrar Path, a route of winding mule tracks and wooded trails that rewards with fabulous views over the Alto Garda (High Garden) region.  

Walk this scenic Alpine footpath on our Best of Lake Garda holiday and we’ll round off the experience with a boat trip across the lake. Find out more about this fabulous break here.

Rocca Aldobrandesca

Val d’Orcia, Tuscany

The magnificent and iconic Val d’Orcia is Tuscany's quintessential landscape. Golden fields fold between green olive groves, while rolling hills are scattered with terracotta-coloured towns and medieval villages. So eye-catching is the scenery here that it earned a place on the UNESCO list. A circular walk from Rocca d’Orcia village follows the course of the Orcia River and ascends a ridge for stunning views of Monte Amiata to the south. On the way back, visit the village of Castiglione d’Orcia and its 15th century castle, the Rocca Aldobrandesca. It’s a steep climb to the top, but worth it for the picture-perfect panoramas. 

Discover one of Italy’s most iconic landscapes on our Essential Tuscany tour. Find out more about this scenery-packed holiday here

Discover the Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore to Portovenere, Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre (meaning Five Lands) is the collective term for the string of five UNESCO-listed fishing villages overlooking the Liguria region’s Italian Riviera. Together they form one of northwest Italy’s most eye-catching national parks connected by a superb network of coastal walking paths. One of the park’s most photo-worthy walks is the 8-mile route between Riomaggiore and Portovenere. Set out from Riomaggiore towards the14th century Sanctuary of the Madonna of Montenero and from this popular viewpoint you can ascend to a col (saddle ridge) known as Telegrafo. You can follow the ridge all the way into the pretty square of Campiglia for a spot of lunch before taking a spectacular coastal path high above the sea that eventually leads down to the harbour at Portovenere.  

Walk this scenic route on our Discover the Cinque Terre holiday and we’ll round off the experience with a boat trip along the coast. Find out more about this fabulous break here

Zingaro Nature Reserve

Zingaro Nature Reserve, Sicily

The largest island in the Mediterranean rewards visitors with cultural riches, culinary delights, and walking opportunities aplenty. The real magnet for walkers visiting Italy’s sister island is Zingaro Nature Reserve. Located on the island’s north coast between rugged limestone mountains and the sea, it’s home to yellow sorrel, dwarf palms and almond trees, and a host of bird species. Trek a circular route through this pristine biosphere and between mid-walk dips in the Med, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for rare Bonelli’s eagles flying overhead.  

Explore this pristine nature reserve on our Sicily Food & Hike holiday and we’ll round off the walk with a tour and tasting session at a family-run olive oil mill. Find out more about this fantastic break here.

Looking for a walking break closer to home? Book a guided holiday at one of our country houses and discover the best the UK countryside has to offer.

3 Night Shropshire Hills Guided Walking

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7 Night Southern Yorkshire Dales Guided Walking

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7 Night Isle of Wight Guided Walking

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3 Night Peak District Guided Walking

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Published 17th January 2024