Active tours to Italy

Adventurous and sporty tours of Italy, from bike tours and countryside walks to mountain treks and horseback trips

Whether its a bike tour of Sicily or a walk along the Cinque Terre, a horseback ride through Tuscany or a hike through the Italian Alps or Dolomites, there are plenty of opportunities to have an active vacation in Italy.

Active tour operators in Italy

REI Adventures (www.reiadventures.comREI) - America's greatest co-op chain of outdoors gear stores also offers active vacations all around the world. Though their real strong suit is domestic adventures, their catalog does hit all seven continents—including several classic Italy hikes (Cinque Terre, Tuscan Hilltowns, Mt. Vesuvius to Mt. Etna).

REI tours do tend to be pricier than most, but come with impeccable credentials and glowing reviews. They can be ideal for those for whom being active on their trip is as important as the destination itself.

PartnerIntrepid Travel (www.intrepidtravel.comGap) - This fantastic Australian company marries an independent travel style (staying in cheap guesthouses, traveling by public transport) with the expertise of truly knowledgeable guides.

Intrepid has a larger than usual commitment to sustainable tourism, and travels in tiny groups, often limited to 8-12.

Intrepid is a bit less about the physical activities and more about the cultural experiences. There are usually around 30–35 Italy trips on tap each year—though half of those will be longer overland treks across Europe and/or the Middle East (with Italy making up just a slice of the two– or three-week trip), and a handful are self-guided walks (no group to follow, just you, your itinerary, and your pre-booked accommodations).

Intrepid really does run a different breed of group tour. Let me put it this way: When my parents—who travel widely and on their own and normally would never have even considered taking a group tour—suddenly found themselves with airfare to Japan but no time to plan a trip, I suggested they try booking with Intrepid. They did—and they have raved about it every since. Nearly seven years later, they still keep in touch with their guide via email.

PartnerG Adventures (www.gadventures.comPartner) - G Adventures boasts 1,000 trips in 100 countries, from the more tour-like Comfort and Original trips to the gnarlier Active and Overland ones. G Adventures also believes in smaller group sizes.

Drawbacks: no airfare (yet), and quoted prices are not as inclusive as some others (read the fine print to find out about lots of on-the-ground costs, often including most meals).

They offer between 15 and 20 Italy trips each year (see box on the right)—some focused more on sightseeing; others more physical and active (lots of hiking and biking), and a few include Italy as part of grander overland treks across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

PartnerInfoHub ( - Not a tour company, rather a kind of aggregator of trips offered by tour companies. It casts one of the largest nets over the industry, listing some 14,000 tours offered by 4,000 operators in more than 100 categories—everything from artists' workshop to llama trekking, nudist resorts to biblical tours, language schools to personal guide services.

InfoHub's search engine returns results listed by trip rather than by company (for example, it lists nearly 100 bike tours in Italy, but those are offered by just 15 companies). Still, I guess if you could care less the name of the outfitter and are just looking for a selection of 10-day bike tours across Tuscany and Umbria, this is the best way to do it. You don't book trips directly. You are essentially sending away for a brochure (or a contact) from the actual tour companies.

Djoser ( - Perhaps since they're Dutch (and Europeans get longer vacations), Djoser offers longer trips and looser schedules, admirably not trying to pack too much into too short a time. You get to pick your group style: travel with other North Americans or with an international group (some conducted in English, others in Dutch and English). Always two or three Italy trips on tap—mostly walking tours, and mostly in Southern Italy and Sicily.

Ciclismo Classico ( - The best and biggest bike tour outfits serving Italy, started by a Cornell anthropology grad (which has nothing to do with anything other than I am one, too—but I would recommend this outfit regardless). Though they now offer rides in other parts of the world, Ciclismo Classico started in Italy and it is still their hallmark product, with more than 30 tours ranging all across the peninsula from 6 days in Tuscany to 11 days biking across Italy, and a follow the Giro d'Italia race to Easy Pedaling in Puglia.
» more on Bike Tours

Active Gourmet Holidays ( - Mixing active pursuits—walking and biking, mostly, with some golf and yoga—with one-day cooking classes, longer cooking courses, wine tasting, and other culinary adventures. Nifty idea.

When you want just a day of adventure, not a whole tour

Sometimes you just want a one-day bike tour of the Tuscan countryside, or a simple half-day walking tour through Ancient Rome. Any tourist office in Italy will be happy to share with you the local outfits who can provide this service. Here are some active adventures from our partner Viator that last only a few hours or one day.


  • Rome
  • Florence
  • Venice
  • Pisa
  • Milan
  • Bologna

» More tours in Rome

» More tours in Florence

» More tours in Venice

» More tours in Pisa

» More tours in Milan

» More tours in Bologna


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