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Brava Italia! Winner of our top place to go in 2023

Brava Italia! Winner of our top place to go in 2023

The photos and five-star reviews that have been pouring in from Italy this year meant that we weren’t that surprised to see it take our top place to go prize for 2023. We just can’t get enough of Italy really, a country that sometimes feels as if it has been designed to perfection, with hidden pockets of prettiness that never fail to surprise and delight. Grazie mille to all our Italian friends who have helped us make 2023 a top year for their beloved country. From Sicilians to Sardinians, Tuscans to South Tyroleans, they have supported our cyclists across the Dolomites or along the Via Francigena, and fed our hikers with fine fare along the Amalfi Coast or Via Spluga. To name but a few. Here are our most popular natural adventures in Italy this year, based on our most booked tours. 

Walking the Amalfi Coast and mountains

Our collection of Amalfi Coast holidays is like a panetonne packed with the sweetest of ingredients. However, this rambling recipe is the one that comes out as the top place to go this year, an eight day self-guided tour starting in Bomerano and finishing in Positano. The bar of beauty is set high early on, with your second day’s walk taking you to Monte Tre Calli, the highest part of the trail, overlooking the Path of the Gods. After that, expect an array of exquisite daily trails, with classics like the Path of the Gods itself, the Maestra dei Villaggi and of course, the glitz, glam and gorgeousness of Amalfi, Ravello, Praiano, Positano. Our second most popular holiday in this region takes in many of these beauties as well as the island of Capri and Pompeii. 

We had a wonderful week walking the Amalfi Coast. The walks were well planned and you really got away from the crowds most of the trip. The accommodation locations were all great for walks, eating out and seeing the sights…All in all a fantastic trip.“ – Five-star review of the Amalfi Coast and Mountains from Walking Girls, Reading, UK. 

Walking along the Path of Gods, or Sentiero degli Dei. Whatever your view, it’s dei-lightful.

Via Spluga

This six day, self-guided walking holiday wins our top dog holiday this year, as it’s also one of our most popular dog-friendly tours. Traditionally, the four-legged companions traversing this ancient trail would have been mules, but dogs are more than welcome on this 70km Via Spluga long-distance trail between Switzerland and Italy. Although this is most definitely alpine walking, it’s a moderate walking holiday, so you don’t have to push yourself or your pet to the limit. The highlight is the Spluga or Splügen Pass (2,115m) in the Lepontine Alps, connecting these two countries with the most beautiful of borders. After that, you descend through the forests and meadows of Val San Giacomo all the way to Chiavenna in the northern Italian region of Lombardy.

Absolutely stunning scenery – We ventured on this trail in October 2023 and would recommend. The walking length daily was perfect…we saw very few other walkers and on three of the days the walk was peaceful with stunning views, varying through pine forest, broadleaf woodland, river valleys, mountains, gorges and alpine villages. The hotels were of a very high standard and the half board option for food was excellent with high quality food…. the luggage transfer was seamless.” – Five-star review of the Via Spluga, Happy walkers, Crowthorne England

The ancient valley town of Chiavenna, along the Via Spluga, is just one of Italy’s many hidden pockets of prettiness.

The Path of the Gods: Bologna to Florence

The Path of the Gods, or Via degli Dei, from Bologna to Florence really is a gobsmacker. Not to be confused with the one on the Amalfi Coast, this one takes you through the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and way off the beaten path into a landscape of five mountains, each named after a Roman god or goddess. You don’t need to worship anything but nature to really appreciate this walking trail, however, which is, thank the gods and goddesses, available from the beginning of April until the end of October. 

Our fifth fantastic walk with The Natural Adventure! Wonderful walk through glorious and historic countryside. Excellent accommodation and very good support from Marco who helped us to shorten some walks because of the heat and some foot soreness! Descriptions of the walks were accurate and useful for daily planning. The app works very well for navigation.” – Five-star review of the Path of the Gods from Ermie in Perth, Australia. 

The Path of the Gods between Bologna to Florence is an ancient Roman way.

Puglia on foot or by bike

Puglia’s walking and cycling trails pull off a perfect duet of both cultural and natural heritage. Walk between the two UNESCO towns of Matera and Alberobello, with their respective ancient rock churches and trulli stone houses, and then leave buildings and bustle behind to saunter through the coastal idyll of Dune Costiere Regional Natural Park. With plenty of sunset swimming spots along the way. Our most popular walking holiday in Puglia is Walking from Matera to Lecce, with our Cycling in Puglia highlights holiday coming up close in the slipstream, which takes you through Alberobello but also the wine region of Locorotondo and along the coast all the way to the historic town of Gallipoli. Explore coastal grottoes one day and the Baroque beauty of Lecce the next. 

I appreciated your intelligent choices of routes to walk and towns to visit and your organisation of the entire trip. The app worked beautifully, the hotels were excellent, and the transport worked perfectly as well. It was an enjoyable and very efficient introduction to the places and pleasures of southern Italy.” – Old Dude (their name, not ours!), Chicago. 

A unforgettable view over the trulli houses of Alberobello in Puglia.

Cycling the Cilento Coast

Cycling was big in Italy in 2023, but bike bells will be dinging en masse in 2024, as the country celebrates the Tour de France starting in their country for the first time ever. Although the Grand Depart is in Florence, this Cycling holiday along the Cilento Coast wins a top place to go prize this year, taking you through Campania, south of Salerno and, in many ways, a world away from its neighbouring Amalfi Coast. Spend a week cycling in Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, the second largest in Italy. Covering as much as 65km per day including the Paestum Plain, known for its impressive Greek temples, a collection of traditional fishing villages, and an array of vineyards, olive groves and gorges, you can also speed along the Cilento on an e-bike. You can also see our other most popular Cilento Coast tour, a walking holiday over eight days, here

We did a customised four day trip following mostly the coastal route because of time constraints. We would consider doing it again and spending more days…the jewels of the trip were the little towns we went through and explored, the pizzerias we stopped to lunch at, and the people we were able to meet along the way. Exactly what we were hoping for in an Italian bike tour.” – Doug L, California

The beautiful village of Santa Maria di Castellabate in southern Italy’s Cilento region.

Ciao 2023 and so much more for 2024

With a growing number of new Italy tours for 2024, including cross-country skiing in the Dolomites and walking the Cammino di San Nilo in Cilento, Italy’s prized position is going to be a tough one to beat next year. Italy also brings the year to close by singing its achievements out loud, having had its cultural heritage of opera singing recognised on a UN cultural heritage list as a Living Art Form. So all in all, it’s time for Italy to take a bow.