Spring into Action with Activity Holidays in Italy

by - 5:38:00 PM

Italy is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, with around 45 million tourists visiting every year and with so many vibrant cities and sites of great historical importance and cultural splendour it is easy to see why. However, whilst exploring iconic sites like the Coliseum and Trevi Fountain in Rome or the Leaning Tower of Pisa are joyous experiences they are only one side to this great country.

Italy has natural beauty in abundance and from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the rough-hewn Amalfi coastline it simply begs to be explored. A classic Ferrari may excite some people but for me the very best way to get up close and personal to this spellbinding magnificence is either on foot or by bicycle and there are no shortage of options for active holidays in Italy.

Walking has one major advantage over two – and especially four – wheels and that is that you have no excuse not to stop (regularly!) to sample the fine local wines. The country has around 20 major wine producing regions and whether in Puglia or Piedmont, Sicily or Sardinia, you will find you are never too far away from a vineyard. By their nature these tend to be picturesque areas to walk around, the gentle sun-drenched slopes laden with vines, perhaps an olive grove here or a citrus orchard there.

For those who prefer their scenery a little more rugged the Amalfi Coast is sure to tick all the right boxes. This is Italian glamour at its best, with towns such as Positano precariously built into the cliff side, seemingly defying gravity in places. Pretty little fishing villages painted in white and shades of pink provide restful stops to refuel with some of the simplest but most exquisite seafood you could wish to devour and the magical island of Capri is also easily accessible: a delight not to be missed.

Capri is a treasure chest of flowers, plants and birds, with over 800 species of flora and numerous bird species, including the fastest bird on earth (in a dive), the peregrine falcon. With dazzling rock formations and Capri’s famed grottoes, exploring is fun for all ages; the island is also home to several annual festivals, including the recently created Tango festival which takes place in June. More information about this wonderful island can be found by checking out the Capri tourism site.

Heading back to the mainland but staying in the South, Puglia is fantastic to discover on two wheels. It is relatively undiscovered (as much as anywhere in a country with 45 million tourists can be) and cycling between and through its historic towns and sleepy fishing villages and up and over the gently undulating hills is about as relaxing an experience as one can have.

Much of the land is agricultural, with tomatoes, olives, peppers, and of course grapes all grown here, which makes for interesting riding but an exquisitely fresh and delicious lunch. With wild herbs growing and perfuming the warm air you’ll soon be ready to eat. Stopping for sustenance in somewhere like Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a real delight,with the narrow streets of the atmospheric historic centre offering no end of small trattoria at which to indulge.

From there take a half-day bike ride and you can be at the beach, dipping your toes in the enticingly azure Adriatic Sea and this is another great thing about a holiday in Italy. As the country is relatively small, its rugged mountains, sweeping hills, exciting coast and endless vineyards are almost always within reach of wherever you are based. So, if you like walking, cycling, great wine, dazzling food and world class scenery, I think you've just found your next holiday destination.

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