Walking holidays in Tuscany

The great thing about walking holidays in Tuscany is that you can explore at your own pace with endless hillsides, woods, and coastlines from where to settle down for a slice of Pecorino, pot of olives, or a cheeky drop of Chianti. Fields bedecked with sunflowers, and plump grapes on the vine make for a delicious accompaniment to any stroll, and going on an organised walking tour allows you to combine the laidback feel of the countryside with the region's rich cultural heritage.

Walking & wine tasting in Tuscany

Some of the best walking holidays in Tuscany are pleasantly leisurely affairs. Wine tasting, and languid lunches taken at local restaurants, offer the sustenance to push on through forests and vineyards before you retire to soak up the scenery from a sun lounger by the pool. A week-long walking and wine tasting trail might lead you from the medieval market places of Greve in Chianti to the towers of San Gimignano via woodland wandering, and a tasting session at a prestigious wine school in Siena. You’ll walk as part of a small group, in the company of a knowledgeable local guide.

Cooking classes make an ideal accompaniment to wine tasting as something to do away from the walking trail, or you might spend a day exploring the galleries of Florence before sipping a glass of Chianti on a balcony as the Tuscan sun begins to set. Tuscany walking routes are created for those who prefer gentle reclines to steep inclines. They typically offer a balance of cultural sightseeing and laid-back walking, with afternoon wine tasting.

Mountain trekking in Tuscany – Garfagnana & Apuane

Head to the north of Tuscany and walking holidays take on a far more mountainous backdrop with the Garfagnana region, bordering the Apuan Alps and Apennines, conjuring up moderate trekking trails within relatively easy reach of Lucca and Cinque Terre. The beech woods of the Orecchiella Nature Reserve, in particular, offer a riot of colour in their seasonal scenery. A steady ascent to Pania di Corfino is rewarded with views that demand you pause to take them in, prior to making the descent to the village of Corfino by way of a well-used mule track.

More beech forest trails and unbridled vistas extend throughout the Apuan Alps Regional Park, with an optional ascent to the summit of Monte Sumbra taking you to dizzying heights well above 1,500m. The pilgrimage route from Vagli Sotto, near the submerged town within Lago di Vagli, is another excellent option, with San Viviano's hermitage providing just one of many points of interest alongside less-frequently used footpaths here.

Pilgrimage walking on the Via Francegiana

A week’s walking in Tuscany can take you along a stretch of the Via Francegiana, an ancient pilgrimage route that extends from Canterbury in England to Apulia, the ‘heel’ of Italy’s ‘boot’, via France and Switzerland. Tailor made, self guided walks along the Tuscany section of the Via Francegiana can begin in Lucca and continue via San Gimignano to Siena. Gorgeous scenery awaits you, from vineyards and olive groves, to fortified villages clinging to hilltops, thermal pools, and fields that turn ravishing shades of gold in the setting sun.

Although the route is not so well-known as the Camino de Santiago, you will still meet other pilgrims going in the same direction, or the opposite way. And, of course, the Via Francegiana comes with its own ‘Pilgrims’ Passport’ which you get stamped to mark your progress, and which will fetch you a small discount in many bars and restaurants along the way, too.

Coastal walking in Tuscany

North of the seaside town of Talamone, in the Parco Naturale della Maremma, you’ll find some of the best-kept beaches in Tuscany – the enduringly popular Marina di Alberese maintains its pristine appearance by restricting visitor numbers throughout the summer. Outside of July and August, the sand dunes and dense Mediterranean forests stretching south from Marina di Alberese car park are virtually deserted, with ramshackle beachcomber shacks scattered around. Stroll accompanied only by the sound of lapping waves, and the robust fragrance of pine trees.

Walking in Maremma Regional Park

Walking holidays in Maremma Regional Park give travellers a chance to tackle ten different sign-posted trails ranging from 4km to 16km, with restricted access allowing for fewer crowds in one of southwest Tuscany’s best-preserved natural regions. Further walks in the area include a couple of circular routes from San Quirico d'Orcia via the ruins of Vitozza and the precariously placed town of Sorano, as well as the Roman road that leads through the Fiora Valley en-route to the ancient Etruscan tombs of Vulci.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Tuscany or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

What do walking tours in Tuscany involve?

Small group tours, or self-guided walking?

Our walking tours in Tuscany give you the option of either joining an escorted, small group tour which is usually based in one place for a week, or making your own way on a tailor made, self-guided trip during which you’ll be staying somewhere different most nights. In the latter case, of course, your luggage can be transferred from hotel to hotel so that you can walk unencumbered. You will be given detailed maps and route notes, but should you need any support it’s just a quick phone call away.

Small group tours, typically with numbers capped at between 12 and 16 people, are led by brilliant local guides, who do far more than simply show the way. Your guide is your window to the region, to stories of Tuscany’s past, to its traditions and beliefs. They’ll help interpret menus at non-touristy inns where you stop, and make the introductions as you pass through small villages.

How fit do I need to be?

While the pace is leisurely with plenty of breaks, you will want to be in reasonable shape for guided walking in Tuscany as the group stays together throughout. Some days will involve some steep ascents and descents, but overall if you’re a regular walker you should have little difficulty.

With self-guided walking holidays in Tuscany you go at your own tempo, stopping off for a rest under a shady tree, or a revitalising glass of vino, whenever you please. Routes can be adjusted according to how far you want to walk in a day, and whether you’re after flat terrain or a bit more of a challenge.

When to go

Most Tuscany walking holidays take place between April and October. At either end of the season you can expect a bit of rain but nothing too dramatic. In July and August steer clear of the more popular routes, and you can find a sanctuary of solitude up in the hills, amid scenes of rural bliss. The wildflowers of spring (April to early June) are lovely, but perhaps the best season of all for walking is autumn (September to November), with stunning golden hues in the foliage, and the wine harvest in full swing all around you.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Tanocanario] [Intro: Nigel Hoult] [Walking & wine tasting in Tuscany: Nigel Hoult] [Coastal walking in Tuscany: Markus Bernet] [Small group tours, or self-guided walking?: Rob van Hilten]