Italy's best hikes

From the cliff-hanging trails of Amalfi to the colossal granite spires of the Dolomites and volcano climbs in Sicily – Italy is a boot made for walking

Here are seven of the country's best hikes, with info on how to tackle them.

Sentiero Azzurro, Cinque Terre

An easy-to-moderate trail that takes you through the ice-cream colored fishing villages Cinque Terre in about three or four hours.

Take in jaw-dropping views as the trail teeters past vines, olive groves and terraced hillsides, hugging the contour of the coastline cliffs along the sapphire Ligurian Sea.

The route is best walked east to west, from Riomaggiore to Monterosso, and if you're not up for doing the whole thing, you can walk as far as the middle village, Corniglia, and get a train back.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Dolomites

A moderate hike of about three-to-four hours that runs through the cloud-scraping spires and limestone towers of the Dolomites, some of Europe's most compelling walking country.

The trail weaves to Rifugio Lavaredo, then climbs up to Forcella di Lavaredo (2454m) with pop-up views of the Tre Cime – a trilogy of photogenic peaks shaped like bishops' mitres.

Get an early start to appreciate the trail at its silent best (it can get busy, especially during the summer months) and avoid afternoon thunderstorms.

Sella-Herbetet Traverse, Gran Paradiso, Piedmont

A more demanding journey that lasts about 9½-10 hours, this classic one-day hike takes you right to the heart of the Parco Gran Nazionale in the Granian Alps.

The ascent is 1180m and the trip is virtually downhill all the way back. The views are breathtaking: spiky peaks, small glaciers lining the eastern skyline, and the mighty Ghiacciaio Tribolazioni.

Herds of ibex and chamois graze on steep patches of grass and you should also hear and see marmots. Only tackle this one on a clear day – you’ll need to be surefooted and have a head for heights.

Selvaggio Blu, Sardinia

Often hailed as Italy's toughest trek, the Selvaggio Blu requires mountaineering experience. Threading its way along the Golfo di Orosei on Sardinia's east coast, this is an epic, off-the-radar trek.

The multi-day hike takes you along one of Italy's wildest and most isolated coastlines, with deep gorges, impenetrable vegetation, cliffs dipping up to 800m and unrivalled views of the Mediterranean.

Be warned: signs and water are desperately lacking, trail finding is tricky (even with GPS) and the going can be tough with abseils of up to 45m and UIAA grade IV+ climbs.

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