Walking in Tuscany: Top 10 Best Hiking Trails in Tuscany

Discover the beauty of the Italian countryside on a walking vacation in Tuscany...

01 March 2023

walking in tuscany

Tuscany is a key region in central Italy spanning an area of about 8,880 sq mi., renowned for its beauty and vast, rural countryside landscapes. While the historical city of Florence is its capital, Tuscany itself is characterized by quaint hilltop towns, dense forests and the Apennine Mountain range, while also offering a stunning coastline and sparkling blue seas. This is no doubt the reason the region inspired many an artist, drawn to its effortless beauty and diversity.  

There’s much to discover on a luxury vacation to Tuscany, but thanks to the variation of the Tuscan landscapes, if you’re into the great outdoors, we’d highly recommend checking out some of the amazing hiking trails in Tuscany. The great thing about walking in Tuscany is that there are many established trails and routes just waiting to be explored, so you're spoiled for choice when it comes to scenic outdoor adventures. If the weather’s nice, why not take a picnic and make a day of it? Whether you’re traveling to Italy as a family, or are heading on a romantic getaway, a vacation to Tuscany that includes taking in the impressive landscapes with your loved ones is always going to be time well spent. 

Our Regional Expert and Italy Travel Specialist, Gwen Nicol, said what makes a walking tour in Tuscany so special is:  

The scenery is stunning. Rolling hills, cypress trees, medieval villages, grannies on a stoop sweeping and making pasta, wine tasting, olive oil tasting, picnics at a farm - it’s truly the embodiment of Italian culture and picturesque. It’s what you think when you imagine Italian culture. Hikes aren’t just hikes - they’re a way to experience this culture.” 

Top 10 Hiking Trails in Tuscany

Walking in Tuscany is one of our favorite activities, allowing you to take in some of Italy’s most stunning landscapes at your own pace. So, if you’re keen to book a walking vacation in Tuscany, you’ll want to take note of some of the best routes and trails below: 

1. Via Francigena 

The Via Francigena hiking trail with hills around it

Distance: 220 miles
Difficulty level: Moderate

This ancient pilgrimage trail dates back to medieval times, starting at the northern tip of the Canterbury region at the Passo Della Cisa, and heading south through beautiful Tuscan areas such as Lucca, Siena, and Monteriggioni before finishing in Rome. The route - which would take at least a couple of weeks to hike in its entirety - takes you along quiet lanes, cobbled tracks and woodland trails. As you follow the path, you’ll be privy to some of the most incredible views of the seemingly endless hills and vineyards that form the region - particularly the UNESCO site Val d’Orcia. What’s more, there are plenty of gorgeous medieval towns to explore along the way.

2. Via Degli Dei 

A small country house in the mountains

Distance: 81 miles 
Difficulty level: Moderate 

Known by locals as ‘the path of the gods’, this Tuscany hiking trail spans almost 81 miles through the Apennine Mountain ranges, from Bologna through to Florence. Despite taking you through a mountainous region, most of the trek is formed on gravel tracks and lanes, making it fairly manageable to hike, with lots of places en route offering refuge by way of food, drink, and accommodation. Be warned though, there is a 10-mile stretch between Madonna di Fornelli to Monte di Fo which is pretty steep, wild and untamed, with the highest point being Banditacce, sitting at 4,000 ft.

3. Chianti Wine District  

Hills of vineyards and farmland at dusk

Distance: Varies depending on route 
Difficulty level: Easy 

You may know it best for its wine, but Chianti is also a wonderful location for walking in Tuscany. The Gaiole area in particular is one of our favorites, offering a signposted network of around 14 different hiking trails through the famous Chianti countryside. The Via Sanese is a popular route, which travels through both Val di Pesa and Chianti. 

On these routes, you’ll be able to take in castles, vineyards, and plenty of rolling countryside, with stop-offs along the way through charming hamlets and country estates. We’d recommend hiking in the Mugello area, particularly if you’re basing yourselves in Florence. Here you can admire the incredible landscapes and learn more about winemaking through the many farms and traditional cellars. This area is a great one for those looking for more laidback, manageable hikes.

4. Grande Escursione Appenninica  

A hiking trail going up a mountain range

Distance: 265 miles 
Difficulty level: Moderate-challenging 

The granddaddy of hiking trails in Tuscany, this epic high-altitude route starts in Umbria and runs all the way to Liguria. Most of the trail runs through Tuscany’s Apennine peaks, weaving through rugged limestone peaks and huge beech forests. Although it’s a favorite with mountaineers, famed for its notoriously tougher sections and inclines, a lot of the trail is accessible to all and offers clearly marked paths with incredible alpine views and scenery. It’s a very long route, separated into 23 different sections, so we’d recommend just choosing part of it to hike. Luckily, it's also well covered in terms of rest stops, cafes and accommodation throughout the various villages. A great choice if you’re a wildlife lover, you may even spot eagles, wolves, red deer, and wild boar here. 

5. Foreste Casentinesi National Park 

A hiker standing in a forest

Distance: 30 miles 
Difficulty level: Moderate 

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in an area that offers everything from dense forest to impressive waterfalls, lakes and peaks, this may be the route for you. This national park is so enchanting, it is said to be a source of inspiration for Michelangelo.  

Situated in the east of Tuscany in the Arezzo province, this protected area offers plenty of variety for excited trekkers, featuring 11 three-day circuits, each with access to overnight farm stays or hostels. We’d recommend the route that runs around Camaldoli Forest for tranquil woodland scenery as well as an ascent to Monte Penna, a stunning mountain offering unparalleled views of the forest. There are also several stops perfect for meditation and quiet contemplation, such as the Sanctuary of La Verna and the Hermitage of Camaldoli.  

6. Apuan Alps Regional Park 

Horses grazing on the side of Monte Matanna

Distance: 30 miles 
Difficulty level: Moderate-Challenging 

The Apuan Alps regional park comprises a 30-mile-long chain of mountain peaks that reach a maximum height of 6,096ft. With this region, you have the option of exploring mountains, coastline and caves with hikes that aren’t too long or challenging. Despite the terrain, hiking here is generally manageable for most, with routes signposted and not requiring any specialist equipment. Having said that, there are some lengthy inclines and descents more suited to experienced hikers.  

Monte Forato is a highlight here, with a 6-mile circular trail taking you to its summit, offering glorious views of the coast towards the French border and then inland to the Apennine ridge. Another great hike option is Grotto all’Onda, a 6-mile route which takes you from Camaiore in Lucca to a famous cave at the summit of Monte Matanna.  

7. Renaissance Ring 

The Certosa-del-Galluzzo museum on a hilltop

Distance: 110 miles 
Difficulty level: Moderate-Challenging 

If you’re basing yourselves in Florence, this route is a great one to try, although, given it's over 110 miles long, you may wish to choose just part of it to tackle. The trail encircles the city, taking you through rolling hills, verdant countryside, and several small towns surrounding Florence. It's accessible to cyclists as well as walkers and is divided into eight sections, making it easy for you to choose which you’d like to tackle. 

We’d recommend the first section, around 9 miles, which starts at the majestic Calenzano Castle and climbs up towards Vaglia. It’s a steep climb, but it’s definitely one of our favorite hiking trails in Tuscany, providing breathtaking views of both Florence and the majestic Apennine Mountains.

8. Vetta Mare  

Porto Ercole’s marina

Distance: 94 miles 
Difficulty level: Moderate 

Situated in Maremma, in the south of Tuscany, the Vetta Mare hiking trail winds all the way from the peak of Monte Amiata, through the Tuscan countryside, to the beautiful beaches of Porto Ercole. If you’re looking for walking in Tuscany that offers a variety of vistas and landscapes, including both countryside and coastal, this is a great choice. Divided into seven different stages, each section is made up of around 9-13 miles and is clearly signposted by paths, making it suitable for most walkers as well as cyclists. 

If you’re into history and culture, you won’t want to miss a visit to the Sovana Archeological site, home to the fascinating Etruscan tombs which date back to the 6th century BC. 

9. Lunigiana  

Malaspina Castle and the surrounding mountains

Distance: Dependent on route 
Difficulty level: Moderate-Challenging 

Situated in northern Tuscany, Lunigiana is made up in part by the Apennine Mountain region, and as such, tends to be quite hilly. Parts of the Apuan Alps park and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park fall within this region, making it a stunning part of Tuscany for hiking and walking tours, as well as mountain biking and wildlife watching. 

You’ll need a decent level of fitness to tackle these routes, as most feature steep uphill climbs, although some shorter, less difficult climbs are possible here. The Il Costone route is one of these - a 6-mile hike from Equi Terme train station offering easily accessible paths and views of mountainside, caves, and woodland. 

10. Garfagnana Valleys 

The medieval village Barga with mountains in the background

Distance: Dependent on route 
Difficulty level: Average fitness required, dependent on route 

Situated in the province of Lucca in northwestern Tuscany, the Garfagnana Valleys are characterized by the Serchio River, mountainous, dense woodland and lush green valleys, making it a beautiful area in which to hike or mountain bike. There are also many enchanting villages and towns nearby to be explored, including Barga and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. 

Our top highlights are the fortress and medieval walls that dominate Castiglione Garfagnana, and two mysterious caves in the Apuan Alps region, Grotto del Vento (Cave of the Wind) and Antro del Corchia, the third deepest cave in Italy. 

Our Italy Specialist Gwen Nicol talks about her experience riding bikes through these trails 

Often we’ll take bikes or e-bikes and ride the trails with a van following behind carrying spare bikes and picnic supplies so we can take advantage of the open air while ensuring we have all the necessary supplies.” 

Start Planning Your Trip today

Hilltop views, castles, walled cities, farmland, and ancient ruins – there’s no shortage of hiking trails in beautiful Tuscany, Italy. If you’re planning a vacation that includes plenty of hiking and time spent outdoors, consider our Limitless Italy or Perfect Pairings Rome and Umbria tours, or, talk to a dedicated luxury travel expert today who will be happy to help craft you the perfect itinerary.

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