Italy packs a punch in the “romantic getaway” department—the country has colorful towns, incredible food, friendly people… and wine. But what about those of us who like a little adrenaline mixed in with their gelato?
Not to worry: Italy has plenty of options for thrillseekers. Here are the five best.
1. Climb the Via Ferrata
Italy’s Via Ferrata (“iron way”) is not for hikers who are afraid of heights. Created in World War I for Italian soldiers defending against Austrian invasion, this hair-raising network of iron cables, rope bridges, and ladders makes its way up some of the sheerest cliff faces in the Dolomites. Thankfully, the main trails on the Via Ferrata can be done in a day—good news for anyone who gets a bit wobbly in the knees.
Travelers who prefer solid ground can opt instead for a hut-to-hut hike through the region. The trek from Sexten to Rifugio Gardenaccia is a spectacular five-day trip, and adventurers can either camp or stay in “refugios” along the way. Start any trip into the Dolomites with a day and night in the charming town of Bolzano, which sits at the base of the huge peaks.
The Dolomites also boast some of the most extreme mountain biking in the country: head to the Apennine Mountains for the most rewarding trails, and stay in the town of Abruzzo to get a taste of everyday Italian life in the region.
Our friends at Explore! offer a budget-friendly eight-day “Hiking in the Dolomites” itinerary that includes a trip along the Via Ferrata.