Top 7 Outdoor Adventures in Italy

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

Although Italy is more commonly associated with pizza, pasta, and a ridiculous amount of wine, believe it or not, there are various adventurous activities that you can do when you’re not too busy indulging in the things mentioned above. Having traveled to different parts of Italy in various occasions, Italy is surprisingly filled with many hidden gems perfect for those that enjoy adventure…and a good meal! So without any more delay, here are top adventurous things to do in Italy. 

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1. Explore Caves in Le Marche

The Le Marche Region of Italy is home to one of the most spectacular caves in the country. The Grotte di Frasassi has various stalactite and stalagmite formations that span out through multiple caverns. In fact, a fun fact that about this place is that one of the underground caverns can fit the 5th largest church in the world (Duomo di Milano) inside it. Apart from that, you also have the Grotta di Monte Cucco which is one of the world’s deepest cave systems. The website of the Grotte di Frasassi allows you to take virtual tours of the caves which is pretty cool!

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2. Go Hiking in the Dolomites

During our last visit to Italy, the Dolomites was a place that we said we would have to return to in the nearby future. We spent a couple of days in Bolzano, a small little town whose proximity from the Dolomites made it our first choice as a home base. These majestic mountains is perfect for hardcore adventurers as there are loads of things to do! Apart from the beautiful hiking, you can ski, snowboard, parasail, kayaking and even go biking. The hiking here is made up of an infinite number of trails which can be done self-guided or by joining tour operators. There are tons of day hikes in the Dolomites as well as longer journeys, too. We only did a small portion of the Dolomites and were completely dumbfounded by the beauty! Trust us-a visit to this place is a must! There most challenging feat? Climbing the Via Ferrata, or “iron way.” This original World War I mountain route is accessed through iron cables, bridges and ladder.
Related: The Best Ways to Travel Around Europedolomite mountain italy

3. Go Kayaking in Naples

Now I know Naples might seem an odd city to choose to go kayaking from but the coastline there was still pretty interesting to see and other travel blogs agree. Head out early and check out the many tours that Napoli is offering. A few of them even give you the chance to explore the nearby Procida Island where you can head to Capri. From there, they have beautiful open water kayaking, caves, and a great view of the Faraglioni di Capri, a famous rock formation in the area. I thoroughly enjoyed my time kayaking and would love to do it more along the rest of the stunning Italian coastline.

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4. Tour Rome on Two Wheels

Biking is one of my favourite outdoor activities as you can go at your own pace. Even if you’re traveling at a high speed or just taking a leisurely cycle around, it is one of the best ways to explore any city. Rome, being the central hub for history and culture is the perfect city to cycle around. In fact there are many bike rental places and bike tours that have opened recently due to its popularity. Treat yourself to a Rome city break, hop on a bike and cruise along the Colosseum, you will not be disappointed! Apart from biking around Rome, don’t forget to check out our City Break Rome Guide, which shows you how to make the most of Rome in 48 hours!

Related: Rome City Break Guide: The best Of Rome in 48 Hours

Editor’s Note: Traveling around Rome? Check out our personal recommendations on the Best Places to Stay in Rome things to do in rome

5. Go Scuba Diving and Explore the Sunken City of Baia

Located near Napoli, the Parco Sommerso di Baia is a flooded city lying just south of Rome. Unlike most dive sites, this place isn’t known for its reef or coral formation but rather the fact that you can see buildings and statues that are still intact today. This is definitely a hidden gem in Italy, and I imagine it to be a pretty stunning sight as you can see pillars and mosaic floors from ancient villas which belonged to emperors. If exploring sunken ancient cities isn’t your thing, you can also head to the Cristo del Garda for some awesome freshwater diving.

6. Extreme Heli Skiing in Piedmont

For those extreme adventurists who needs a dose of adrenaline, Italy offers lush smooth alps, perfect for heli skiing. Now I won’t lie to you, until doing my research for this article-I didn’t even know heli skiing was a thing. Naturally, I looked into it and man, it looks amazing! You can ski in Valle Stura which is one of the few remaining valleys across the whole of the European Alps protected from development where you can enjoy the pure sensation of powder skiing in a secluded wilderness. Sounds amazing? Well try including getting dropped off by a helicopter to these raw, untouched slopes!

Related: Top Adventure Playgrounds in Europe heli skiing italy

7. Paraglide Over Colorful Valleys in Italy

Fly over Castelluccio, Umbria which is one of the highest villages in the Apennines. Known for its colourful valleys filled with flowers, paragliding here is in amazing experience that would be pretty hard to top. Make sure that you go here from late May to early June to see the flowers in full bloom. I recently went paragliding in Ecuador where I saw stunning views. I can only imagine what it would be like to fly over endless fields of flowers.

There you have it. So whether you’re cycling through ancient buildings and structures, exploring sunken cities, or flying over fields of flowers, Italy has many adventures and a bit of everything for everyone! However, no matter how action packed your trip to Italy is, don’t forget to relax, enjoy the good food, and take in everything that the country has to offer.

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