Summer in Italy: what to do and what to see? Here is Visititaly's guide to beaches, villages, and hiking routes.
Have you been thinking about where to go for your next summer holidays? Undecided between trekking in nature, a tour through medieval villages surrounded by rolling green fields, or a classic getaway by the beach?
Visit Italy is here for you. We give you some suggestions on what to do and where to go to spend this summer in Italy. Here is our guide to not-to-be-missed attractions along the peninsula.
Summer in Italy: beaches in Italy
For many people, summer and sea is the indispensable combination for the perfect holiday. You will be spoilt for choice in 7500 kilometers of coastline, with romantic coves, surprising hidden oases, and famous beaches. If you cannot wait for salty air, sparkling waves, and for those dazzling sunsets that the Mediterranean can generously provide, here is a small selection of some of the most beautiful beaches to visit this summer. Are you ready? Let's dive in!
The UNESCO natural world heritage site of Cala Goloritzé in Sardinia is a super instagrammable bay in the Gulf of Orosei. It features pristine waters, a beach of small white marble pebbles, and the famous pinnacle of Monte Caroddi, the high monolith that is the focal point of Cala Goloritzè. Getting there is not so easy, it will take you about a couple of hours to walk the path that leads to the beach. Boats are not allowed to approach the bay, so the only alternative to trekking is walking from the nearby coves.
Ripa Barata is a small bay of pebbles and rocks surrounded by the Mediterranean maquis on the northern coast of Elba Island, between Marciana Marina and Sant'Andrea. A cove — in the middle of high cliffs overlooking a crystal clear sea — that can only be reached by boat or through a path embedded in lush vegetation. The beach is generally not very crowded, so it is the perfect destination for a day of relaxation. The bay is also suitable for scuba diving.
One of the most beautiful seaside destinations in Liguria is the beach facing the Benedictine abbey of San Fruttuoso in Camogli. Here, a submerged bronze statue of Christ is the unusual wedding location chosen by adventurous lovers to pledge eternal love at the bottom of the sea. You can get to this bay sited in Portofino Park by taking one of the ferries from Camogli and Santa Margherita Ligure. Otherwise, hike the long and astonishing trail from San Rocco.
Famous for being home to the largest European archaeological park, the town of Selinunte, on the south-western coast of Sicily, boasts beaches with golden sand and blue water in an intimate atmosphere. Here, the Riserva Asinello stands out as a quiet and wild oasis. The small sandy coves you will come across have no services or refreshment points, so don’t forget to put some water and a packed lunch in your bags.
If these tips are not enough for you, read here.
Summer in Italy: villages to visit in Italy
Italy's villages are a priceless heritage of history, art, and traditions to discover (or rediscover) even in summer. The authenticity and the slow time of these places will make your Italian tour special. In whatever region you are during your summer in Italy, you will easily find a fascinating town to explore. Let's have a look at some of them.
Bard is a tiny (3 km²) medieval hamlet with a fairytale atmosphere in Valle d’Aosta. The main street is lined with centuries-old refined mansions (Casa Ciucca, Casa della Meridiana and Casa Valperga, Palazzo Nicole and Casa Challant). During the summer, the town centre is the setting for exciting costume parades. Like in a Disney movie, the mighty fortress of Bard shapes the landscape of this borgo. You can reach the castle by walking along the scenic path or taking one of the panoramic lifts. Today, the fortress is a cultural centre hosting museums, exhibitions, and educational spaces for children.
Sited on the coast of the Marche region, the ancient town of Grottammare is a must-see for anyone wishing to combine a cultural experience and a seaside holiday (the shallow waters are ideal for families with children). The mediaeval core stands on a hill overlooking the pastel-coloured houses of the coastal area. You will love wandering along the streets and alleyways of Grottammare, enjoying delicious food and unforgettable corners. We recommend a stop at the Tarpato, a terrace on the Adriatic which will give you a magnificent view of the coast.
Continuing south, Acerenza in Basilicata is a picturesque village near Potenza at the centre of tales and myths involving the Templars, the Holy Grail, and even vampires. During the Crusades, this was a crossing point for knights heading to the Holy Land. The aura of mystery surrounding this picture-perfect town spreads from the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta e San Canio Vescovo. According to legend, the crypt seems to hide the prodigious chalice of the Arthurian cycle. Moreover, some scholars suggest that the monumental Cathedral is the tomb of Count Dracula’s daughter, Maia Balsa. Indeed, Vlad III of Wallachia has been linked with sculptures and bas-reliefs representing creatures biting unfortunate victims on the neck. During your stay in Acerenza, enjoy a glass of a world-famous red, the Aglianico del Vulture DOC produced in the area. And don’t forget to taste the rich local cuisine.
Want to learn more about Italian villages? Read here.
Walking routes in Italy
Italy is a land of paths, and travelling on foot is one of the most exciting and intense experiences to have at least once in a lifetime. As travel bloggers, globetrotting influencers, and gurus of the slow lifestyle tirelessly repeat, it is not the journey that matters but the destination. Then, there is nothing better to live the authenticity of the journey than to set out and walk on one of the itineraries immersed in nature across the peninsula.
The Via Francigena is one of the most famous pilgrim routes in the world. It covers over 2000 km from southern England to Rome. The Italian section is made up of forty-five stages dotted along the peninsula and crossing landscapes and villages that sum up the country's great natural, architectural, and historical diversity. Choose your itinerary according to the length and difficulty of the route. The pilgrim's silhouette or the initials VF mark the trail. Don't forget to get your Credenziale, which will give you access to overnight accommodation at favourable prices in affiliated facilities.
If you're in Sardinia, consider taking on the Cammino delle 100 torri (Walk of 100 towers), 1300 km of sea views along the entire perimeter of the island, passing through towns, true wildernesses, and scenic beaches. You can start from any town (Cagliari, Arbatax, Olbia, Castelsardo, Porto Torres, Alghero, Oristano, Carloforte) and enjoy many activities: trekking, hiking, camping, cycling and, of course, swimming in the splendid sea surrounding this land. The 105 coastal towers you will meet are what remains of the ancient Sardinian defence and communication system. It is a unique way to discover the island in its most iconic places and those less known and hidden.
The Cammino dei Briganti is a route also suitable for families. The name hints at the history behind this land. Its 100 km loop itinerary crosses the places once frequented by brigands in the villages and woods of Lazio and Abruzzo. It consists of seven stages to walk on foot or ride by bicycle in 5-7 days, with arrival and departure from the borgo of Sante Marie. An adventurous experience that the youngest visitors will love too.
Ideal in spring and summer, the Cammino delle Pievi in Friuli Venezia Giulia is a suggestive route with twenty stops. The hike runs through the historic parishes of Carnia, the north-western mountain territory embedded in this Italian region. You will see luxuriant woods, rural churches perched on high spurs, watercourses, and enchanting panoramic views.
For those who don't have much time (it takes just 4 hours), the incomparable setting of the Amalfi Coast offers one of the most delightful paths to walk this summer in Italy. The 10 km of the Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) winds its way up and down through vertiginous landscapes (you’ll walk at an altitude of 500 metres above sea level). The advice is to avoid the hottest days when finding shelter from the heat is more difficult. However, the impressive panorama will richly reward the effort.
If you want to learn more about the best walks to do in Italy, here are our top 10.