A Guide to the Best Ways to Experience the Stunning Mountains of Italy
Italy has three major mountain ranges: the Italian Alps, the Apennines, and the Dolomites. The beautiful mountains of Italy offer amazing scenery and environments that are perfect for an enjoyable holiday. No matter what time of year you choose to visit, you can have an incredible time in the mountains or even in the valleys, with mountains towering about you.
There are many different ways you can explore the mountains and experience them in a memorable way. Different modes of travel, places to stay, and activities can all offer something unique, so you can experience the mountains of Italy from various perspectives. If you’re thinking about taking a trip to one of the stunning mountain ranges in Italy, consider these really fun ways to do it.
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Experience the Stunning Mountains of Italy #1
Go on Spring and Summer Hikes
Hiking in the mountains is something you can do in any country that has them. Italy has some of the best hikes for anyone who enjoys exploring new places on foot. The Dolomites are a particularly good option if you’re looking for somewhere with hikes suitable for a range of different abilities. Whether you want to go on half-day or day hikes, or you’re looking for opportunities to go on longer walks, you can find something that works for you. Spring and summer are obviously the best seasons for hiking, but autumn walks can be enjoyable too and even a walk through the snow could be fun.
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Ski in the Winter
In the winter, the mountains of Italy become perfect for skiing. Ski season roughly runs from November to April, although the snow will be best at certain times, which can depend on the year. Some resorts can get pretty crowded, especially on weekends, but there are quieter times when it’s not so busy too. If you want your ski trip to be a little quieter, avoid the winter holidays up until around the first week of January. Going mid-week will often result in a quieter stay too, especially if you pick a resort frequented by locals, who will mostly visit at the weekend.
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Enjoy the Roads and Mountain Passes
Italy’s mountains offer endless opportunities for incredible road trips. If you enjoy travelling by road, there are some beautiful mountain passes that make for fun and attractive drives. A motorcycle tour across Italy could take you through the twists and turns of the country’s mountain roads. Riding a motorbike has to be one of the best ways to enjoy these mountain roads, and they’re some of the best roads to experience on a motorcycle. Of course, they’re not for the light-hearted or anyone who’s afraid of heights.
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Bike the Trails
Some people like their bikes to be a little slower. If you prefer to cycle on a push bike than ride a motorbike, Italy’s mountains have a lot to offer for you too. There are plenty of mountain trails that are perfect for mountain biking. You can choose from a range of different routes and rides, with options for shorter or longer trips. Some of the most popular places for mountain biking in Italy’s mountains include South Tyrol and the Dolomites, which are both excellent regions for exploring a range of trails.
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Love the Lakes and Coast
Sometimes spending time in the mountains isn’t about going up them and then back down them again. If you’re someone who prefers to have a more relaxed trip rather than an active one, you might like to stay by some of Italy’s beautiful lakes or coastal destinations, with the mountains providing an amazing backdrop and incredible views. Lake Como is the third-largest of the Italian lakes, located at the foot of the Alps. There are multiple choices of places to visit around the lake, from the resort town of Bellagio to the city of Como, from where you can take a funicular to the mountain town of Brunate.
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See the Area By Rail
Seeing a country by rail can be one of the most interesting ways to do it. Travelling by train often means going at a slower pace, giving you more time to see beautiful scenery without having to concentrate on the road in front of you. When it comes to railways in Italy, you can take the train to various mountain locations, as well as explore some of the smaller, more hidden railways. There are funiculars that will take you up steep mountainsides and even a train that gives you the best views of the Dolomites and local castles during the journey.
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Combine with Neighbouring Countries
Visiting some of Italy’s mountains can be ideal to combine with trips to neighbouring countries. The Alps stretch 1200 km across Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Slovenia.
You could have the perfect opportunity to start or end your journey in Italy, following the curve of the mountain range through these different countries. Witness how different countries look and feel the same, or differ, even though it’s the same mountain range.
You’ll be able to explore how the culture has developed in different parts of the mountains, and even see how some places may seem more like other countries, rather than the country they officially belong to!
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Try Some Extreme Sports
Some people look for thrill and excitement when they’re travelling. Italy has these things in spades, with a large range of extreme sports on offer. The country’s mountains can offer opportunities to do activities like white water rafting and kayaking, parasailing, climbing, base jumping, bungee jumping, and various other thrilling sports.
The varied heights of the mountains lend themselves to lots of opportunities to try out new pursuits, that can provide both excitement, and might even get you started on a brand new hobby.
If you’re interested in climbing, Italy has over 400 via ferratas (protected climbing paths), and more than half of them are located in the Dolomites.
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Relax at a Spa
Visiting the Alps or the Dolomites doesn’t have to be all action. Anyone who prefers their holidays to be a little more sedate might prefer to relax at a spa when they visit instead.
There are many spa hotels that make the perfect place to unwind, with breathtaking surroundings that are sure to make your stay even more enjoyable. You can benefit from facilities such as rooms and pools with beautiful views, spa treatments, yoga classes, and much more.
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Explore the Local Cuisine
Getting to know a region’s culture through its food and drink is often the best way to find out what it’s all about. It can teach you history, language, and local customs, and it’s a great way to get closer to local people too. By enjoying the local food in Italy’s mountain ranges, you can understand many things about different areas of the country.
Depending on where you are, you could get very different experiences. In the Apennines, you can expect to find traditional products, such as honey, cheeses made from sheep milk, local herbs, and signature dishes like tortelli and polenta with mushrooms or wild game. In the Alps and Dolomites, expect to find a large crossover with Germanic food thanks to the proximity to Austria and Germany.
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Visit the Towns
Nature is beautiful, but sometimes you need a town to fulfil your needs. You’re sure to find plenty of wonderful places to visit, including lots of charming towns and villages, nestled among the mountains of Italy. Towns of different sizes can be great places to find local restaurants, cafes and bars, to go shopping, and enjoy local cultural events and activities.
The beautiful mountains of Italy offer you amazing places to visit, no matter where you choose to go and what time of year you choose to visit. Experience them in your own way to make the most of your time there.
Lake Braies Feature photo by Matthias Schröder
PIN: Experience the Stunning Mountains of Italy in 11 Exciting Ways