Italy packs an impressive diversity of landscapes and climates. This is what makes it such an attractive destination for keen hikers – and so desirable a location for a second home in the country. Here, you'll find a collection of the most beautiful views, and you'll be helped along the way with clement weather, world-class dining experiences and a solid tourist infrastructure. Let's look at some of the country's best walking routes, from hiking in the Dolomites to strolls along the Amalfi Coast.
It doesn't get much closer to a picture postcard than the Cinque Terre. This stretch of coastline features a series of stunning and dramatic rocky coves, each one housing a tiny seaside town. The multi-coloured properties are among the most bewitching in all of Italy, and almost every one of them enjoys panoramic views out across the jewel-like ocean.
The hiking trail linking the towns is not too long – only around 12km – but the terrain is tough. While it's not quite as ferocious as the Italian mountains, the up-and-down nature of this trail combines sweeping cliff-top views with traditional beachside towns and is part of the reason behind its superlative beauty.
Anyone who has ever spared a thought for luxury living will likely already be familiar with Sardinia. With stunning white beaches, captivating coastal drives and ancient historic attractions, the island is well-known as one of Italy's most exclusive holiday destinations.
One of the more popular hiking routes in Sardinia treks down the island's east coast. The sheer landscapes demand a level of mountaineering experience, making this one of the tougher routes out there. Return to base camp in the evening, though, and you'll be greeted by the finest seafood in all of Europe. Sardinian classics include:
Seafood fregola with saffron – an aromatic but light dish, ideal for lunches
Culurgiones – a flavourful filled pasta dish
Su Porcheddu – one for the carnivores, consisting of a roast suckling pig
The jewel of the Italian mountains, the Dolomites present equally beautiful (and equally challenging) hiking. Dolomites hiking may be tough, but it treats you to awe-inspiring views thanks to the unusually pale carbonate rock formations.
One of the Italian mountains' most demanding hikes, a two-week trek through the heart of the landscape, begins in the gorgeous town of Cortina. Here, the plethora of hiking options, grand local cuisine and skiing opportunities combine to make Cortina property some of the most attractive in the Alps.
When people dream of owning a second home in Southern Europe, it's normally the Amalfi Coast that they're thinking of. Rolling hills studded with lemon trees drop steeply into glittering oceans, creating dream-like panoramas along the coast. A popular base for hikers is the idyllic town of Positano, where you can refuel in the evenings with freshly made pasta enjoyed with views out to the isle of Capri.
Whether you prefer mountain landscapes, coastal strolls or even getting up close and personal to a volcano, hiking in Italy is bound to cast a spell and leave you itching to return.