Hiking in Italy: How to Prepare & Where to Go
The beautiful country of Italy has a plethora of walking and hiking trails for the adventurous traveler. If you’re looking for a great place to get close to nature, consider going to Italy for your next vacation. There are many trails for the amateur, as well as plenty of places for the serious, experienced hikers as well. Here’s a short introduction to what you need to hike in Italy, as well as looking at two of the best hiking spots for you to consider.
Preparing for Italy
So, what do you need to hike in Italy? Along with the regular hiking needs, like plenty of water, food and snacks, sunscreen and other necessities, hiking in Italy requires a few additional items. Like any hiking trip, make sure that you have a good pair of shoes and adequate equipment for the terrain. Be aware that some places in Italy may require special shoes, like Stromboli where one needs shoes with ankle stability to climb through the volcanic ash. Hiking in Italy is also unique in that there are often many different unmarked trails that branch off of the main trail. A good map—perhaps two or three—or a hired guide are definitely in order as you don’t want to get lost.
Places to See:
These mountains, located to the south of the Italian Alps, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009. The area has over 90,000 acres of land, with trails for every hiking level. There are many picturesque villages nestled in the rocky crags, as well as beautiful wild vistas overlooking alpine lakes, and many sights of the amazing landscape of these incomparable mountains.
When planning your trip to the Dolomites, consider the timing of your trip. This may be the difference between having a great trip or just an okay experience. Madeline Jhawar, author of the blog Italy Beyond the Obvious, offers these tips for visiting the Dolomites: “I’d avoid August unless you prepare for higher prices and crowds. The Dolomites are a major tourist destination so, as with all tourist destinations in Italy in August, they get crowded and expensive. If you can’t do July, try end of June or the beginning of September.”
The mountains also have many different trails, so be sure to map out your hiking plan before going. Hiring a guide is also a good idea, so consider checking out local tour companies like the Dolomite Mountains who can help you plan and execute your trip safely. If you do decide to go it on your own, consider buying a guide such as Walking in the Dolomites.
The Cinque Terra is a charming region on Italy’s Western coast. It consists of five small villages that cling to the cliffs overlooking the water. The Cinque Terra is usually considered one region as the villages are so close together that you can hike to them all in one day. They are all connected by a series of hiking trails, with trails for all levels of hikers. The Via dell’Amore (“Lover’s Lane,” basically) is one of the most famous routes to walk, an easy 20-minute stroll between two of the villages. The High Trail is the most difficult hike, which requires a guide or a very detailed map. This region is extremely picturesque, with plenty of beautiful views of the ocean, vineyards, and the five quaint little towns.
If you do decide to visit the Cinque Terra, check to see if you are going during the busy season. During the busy season, you will definitely have to book your rooms in advance. Remember that the five towns of Cinque Terra are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore; sometimes hotels in nearby cities will claim to be part of the Cinque Terra, when in fact they are not.
The Dolomite Mountains and the Cinque Terra are just two of the many spectacular places to hike in Italy. These are quite famous destinations that offer opportunities for everyone from the beginners to the advanced hikers, so if you’ve never been hiking in Italy before, these two destinations are great ways to begin. Perhaps they will inspire you to come back and visit more of the amazing hiking spots in the gorgeous country of Italy. Happy hiking!