• Tom Gehrels

Adventure Coordinators A-List: Italy


As part of our commitment to giving you unbiased adventure travel advice, here is our A-list of the best adventure tours in Italy.

Italy, Oh Italy - land of la Vita Bella! Where style and flair live next to Michelangelo and Bellini. Where ancient Roman ruins stand next to Renaissance churches. Where picturesque hilltop towns look over verdant vineyards. Where good food and wine are a way of life.From the canals of Venice to the museums and churches of Rome, from the sheer mountains of the Dolomites to the stunning Amalfi Coast, from the villages and volcanoes of the deep south to the villas of Lake Garda. Come and explore Italy with us!

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Best overall sightseeing trip

Hands down the best overall sightseeing trip is G-Adventures'/National Geographic's Iconic Italy. It hits all the classical highlights, including Cinque Terre, Florence, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Better still, it starts in Venice and ends in Rome, so if you wanted to add time on your own, you can do just that. The runner-up in this category, and it was a tough choice, is Exodus' Highlights of Italy - while it visits Lake Como and Assisi, it bypasses the Cinque Terre.

Best luxury trip

In the luxury category, the winner is Tauck with their 2-week Classic Italy.

Best quickie trip

If you only had 10 days and wanted to see as much as possible of Italy, including Venice, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Umbria and Rome, then look no further than Intrepid's Italy Experience. For more comfort, check Peregrine's Secrets of Italy.

Best off-the-beaten track trip

An undiscovered part of Italy is Puglia, in the heel of the country's boot. Expect whitewashed hill towns, traditional farmland, fine cuisine and sweeping Mediterranean coastline on Exodus' Puglia: Discover the Heel of Italy

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TUSCANY & CINQUE TERRE

It is the classical Tuscan view of poppy fields and stately cypress trees leading you into a vista of town walls and fortified towers high up on a hill. Enter the town and wander its cobblestones streets, visit its galleries and shops and sit down for a gourmet meal. This is La Dolce Vita, Tuscan style.

Meanwhile, on the Cinque Terre, Cliffs plunging into the sea, colourful villages clinging to the mountain side, walking trails wending their way through walled farmyards down to the sea. The Cinque Terre is one of Italy's most famous and most picturesque areas.

Best overall sightseeing trip

In Tuscany, our money for the best overall sightseeing trip is on Peregrine's Magical Tuscany and the Portofino Peninsula.

Best cycling trip

For the best cycling trip in Tuscany we chose Exodus' Tuscany Cycle Siena & Chianti. It includes Siena and Florence and also plenty of smaller hilltop towns.

Best hiking trip

For best hiking trip it was a toss-up, but UTracks comes out ahead as they maximize their walking by letting the trip start in Florence and end in Sienna. If you wanted to see those cities, you would need to add days to their Classic Tuscany Guided Walk. On their Chianti Walking & Wine, Exodus builds in a day in each of these cities, which is nice, but you get less walking. If you want to concentrate on the Cinque Terre, consider

Best comfort trip

If you like a spot of walking and good food while staying in comfortable hotels, CW Adventures' Tuscany & Umbria is the trip for you.

Best luxury trip

In the luxury category, Tauck wins hands-down with their Tuscany & Cinque Terre trip.

Best off-the-beaten track trip

Exodus gets you off the beaten track with their Discover Northern Tuscany, a week of leisurely walks and cultural visits in a lesser-known part of Tuscany.

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DOLOMITES

Craggy peaks towering up to the sky, where wooden farmhouses dot the orchard-clad valleys, where hiking trails lead you from mountain huts to spa resorts to glorious vistas. These are the Dolomites, part Austrian, part Italian, with a culture all its own.

Best cycling trip

Yes, there is cycling in the Dolomites! Cycle through the valleys while absorbing the spectacular mountain scenery on Exodus' Dolomites Centre-Based Cycling . If you are looking for luxury, then Backroads Dolomites Bike Tour is our trip of choice.

Best trekking trip

For our best trek in the Dolomites we selected Utracks Dolomites Guided Walk, which takes you from hut to hut in the higher altitudes.

Best center-based trip

Best foodie trip

Best comfort trip

Best hiking trip

It is rare for one tour to tick four boxes, but Exodus' Classic Dolomites does just that. Stay in a four-star hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant for your entire trip and explore the area on foot from there.

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AMALFI COAST

Steep mountains rising from the turquoise Mediterranean, slopes covered in lemon groves, white-washed villages lining deep valleys where they meet the ocean. Discover covered alleys leading to hidden courtyards and sit down for a glass of wine or some gelato. Follow ancient footpaths and stairs up the hills to hamlets tucked away in forest-covered hills. Hike up to a vantage point and marvel at the views over this, the Amalfi Coast.

Best overall sightseeing trip

Enjoy the stunning coastline, culture and history of the Amalfi Coast on Exodus' Highlights of the Amalfi Coast.

Best cycling trip

We love Exodus' Cycle Cilento & the Amalfi Coast as it takes you through the beautiful Cilento National Park.

Best hiking trip

Peregrine's Spirit of Amalfi comes out on top for its mix of walking and sightseeing and the fact they stay on the coast for a few days. It is why they beat the ever-popular Walking the Amalfi Coast by Exodus.

A good runner up, for the fact they include Rome, is UTracks' Rome & the Amalfi Coast on foot.

Best center-based trip

High on the list of hiking trips is the ever-popular Walking the Amalfi Coast by Exodus. It uses a 3-star family-run hotel up in the hills above the coast as a base from where you explore the area on foot.

Best comfort trip

For a more inclusive 4-star walking experience, consider CW Adventures' The Amalfi Coast & Capri.

Best luxury trip

Best foodie trip

If you prefer luxury, and love great food and walking, look no further than Backroads' Amalfi Coast Walking & Hiking Tour

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SICILY

Meeting point between East and West, Africa and Europe, Islam and Christendom, Sicily has been a melting pot of cultures since the days of the ancient Greek. Seas where fishermen haul their daily catch on to the beach, a smoking volcano, intriguing towns and cities, ancient ruins and a hinterland all its own, Sicily is a mesmerisingly beautiful island and a highlight for many visitors to Italy.

Best overall sightseeing trip

Best overall sightseeing trip is a toss-up between Exodus' Treasures of Sicily and Peregrine's Spirit of Sicily. The former is shorter but travels right around the island, whereas the latter explores more of the natural beauty while foregoing some of the temples on the south coast.

Best cycling trip

We offer two cycling trips in Sicily. Exodus Cycling in Sicily uses 3-4 star accommodation. If you prefer a luxury, all-inclusive experience, then choose Backroads' Sicily Bike Tour.

Best hiking trip

The best all-round hiking trip is CW Adventures' Island of Sicily. Much lower in cost, yet still very comfortable is UTracks Volcanoes of Sicily. We chose the latter over Exodus' Sicilian Volcanoes as UTracks trip starts and ends in easy to reach places, unlike Exodus' trip.

Best foodie trip

Sicily is world-renowned for its cuisine, which you can explore on Exodus' Sicily Food Adventure.

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