Italy is a country with a mixed and varied terrain. North of the country has a variety of stunning snow-capped mountains, while the south is home to active volcano, Mount Etna in Sicily.
So when it comes to having a holiday with more than lazy beach days, Italy has plenty to offer for every type of adventurer.
While Tuscany is known for being a truly idyllic retreat, home to charming towns and rustic villages, it also offers range of opportunities to explore the stunning landscape for the more outdoorsy holiday maker.
Most famously known for the wine of the same name, Chianti is a beautiful area of Tuscany, which is excellent for cycling. You can even cycle the Chianti wine trails and indulge in a little wine-tasting along the way. The plush green hills and rural landscapes promise phenomenal scenery as you cycle around the quiet roads and rural trails.
If you’d rather explore the area on foot, the region offers an abundance of great hiking opportunities. Some of the most popular walking routes are in the Anello del Rinascimento (the Renaissance Ring). Walking these paths are a great way to see various parts of Tuscany, from the rolling countryside, olive groves and sprawling vineyards to medieval towns, charming villages and churches.
A trip to Mount Etna is perfect for those with a sense of adventure. Climbers will enjoy the enthralling opportunity to climb the live volcano and enjoy the stunning landscape views as they make their ascent.
There are over 65 other climbing areas in the region comprising of different sport and multi-pitch routes. The seaside resort of San Vito Lo Capo offers mainly sport climbing, with fantastic views over the sea.
There are also guided tours and hikes up Mount Etna for those wishing to discover Europe’s highest volcano by foot.
If you’d like to mix your sense of adventure with a little culture, there’s also the opportunity to discover Sicily’s cultural landmarks and areas of interest by bike, with multiple trails and paths leading you through the stunning landscapes to Sicily’s hidden treasures.
There’s an abundance of things to see and do at Lake Garda for those looking for more than a beach holiday. Aside from being visually stunning, Lake Garda is considered something of a haven for windsurfers. Owing to constant winds blowing from south to north during the day, the windsurfing opportunities here are available throughout the year.
Mountain biking is also a popular activity in the area and is available throughout the year on various paths and trails around Mount Baldo, where the routes appeal to both novice and expert bikers. Many people also enjoy hiking here and, again, there are routes for hikers of a range of different levels. The views of Lake Garda from the top of the peak are nothing short of breath-taking.
Winter also offers the opportunity for skiing and snowboarding. Usually capped with snow from late December until the end of March, Mount Baldo offers two slopes for skiers of different experience. There are also easier slopes for novices and families.
What the bloggers think:
Sian Lewis, Editor @ The Girl Outdoors
As well as the more obvious draws of overdosing on spaghetti, saying hi to the Pope and riding around on a Vespa pretending you’re in Roman Holiday, Italy’s also got its own brand of chilled-out outdoors adventures to offer active travellers. I love heading out of Rome to the Terme Dei Papi thermal pools for a swim in the hot and healing sulphuric water, or high-tailing it to Tuscany for a spot of horse riding, hiking and biking in the incredible sun-soaked hills.
Fiona Russell, Editor @ Fiona Outdoors and Sunday Mail Outdoors Columnist
Family ski holidays – and groups that include several families – can pose a problem as you try to please a wide range of ages and abilities. But when you hit on the right location, that dream of many fabulous days in the great outdoors really can come true. One such trip that was so successful for our family, and three others, that we returned two years in a row was to the Italian “Milky Way” (Via Lattea) ski area.
There was something for everyone with fabulously long and flattering blue ski runs, many of which headed through pretty and sweet-smelling pine trees, to challenging reds and daredevil blacks.
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