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Can I go walking in Italy? Walking and trekking in 2020

6 minute read

Walking, trekking and other outdoor activity holidays in Italy – travel, accommodation and other facilities are open and possible, but with certain restrictions. This page will help you find up-to-date information for walking, trekking and other outdoor activities during 2020.

On Monte Sirente, Abruzzo

General travel requirements and restrictions

It is no longer necessary to demonstrate that your journey is essential, and no additional form of authorisation is required to enter Italy from the UK or European Union, transport options permitting.

Non-UK/EU/EFTA citizens still face entry restrictions to Italy. Travellers who come from a permitted country but were outside the EU bloc in the two weeks prior to entering Italy must quarantine for 14 days.

For details relating to useful tourism information see the Italian Tourism website.

The Italian authorities have not imposed any quarantine measures on permitted persons entering the country. Depending on how the pandemic develops, it is possible that health-related measures at the border may be introduced for persons entering or leaving the country.

How to travel to Italy

Eurotunnel - Le Shuttle
For full current information and links to required forms and documentation.
If you are not flying directly to Italy, it is possible to travel by train directly across Europe. UK train travel to Italy is on French railways via Paris, then on Italian railways from there. London to Milan would take approx 10 hours, and is expensive and time consuming. A cheaper option when using public transport would be by bus to Paris, then night train, taking approx 22 hours.

Flights to Italy
Flights to Italy continue to operate, however there are restrictions, and you should check with your chosen airline to ensure you have everything you need.

Ferries from UK to France
P&O ferries travel advice

DFDS ferries travel advice

Brittany ferries travel advice

Covid-19 and public transport

Masks must be worn at all times when using public transport, both in the UK and in Italy.

On buses, long-distance coaches, ferryboats, ships and trains it’s always necessary to wear a mask, keep a safety distance to strangers and only take specified seats. The number of passengers may be limited.

Stretching from the Alps in the north to the 'toe' of Italy in the south, the variety of landscapes and climate makes Italy a fantastic year-round walking destination. As with France, visiting the north, and ideally walking at altitude will help to keep you cool during the summer months.

If you're looking for quieter areas of the Alps, then Italy's Stelvio National Park would make a good choice, as would the Giant's Trail (February 2021) and Tour of the Bernina and Alta Via Valmalenco. The Dolomites is of course Italy's crowning glory, and there are many options, from Shorter Walks in the Dolomites, to longer walks of up to three days in Walking in the Dolomites, as well as Trekking in the Dolomites covering Alta Via 1 and 2, with outlines of the AV3-6 routes. If you're more of a climber, the there are two guidebooks for Via Ferrata of the Italian Dolomites. To the west of the Aosta valley lies the Gran Paradiso, covering a challenging 148km trek also called Alta Via 2 as well as 28 day walks. Finally, round to the far south and west, the Maritime Alps offer fantastic walks and short trekking possibilities. Love the Italian Lakes? There are two books now, one for Lake Garda and Iseo, the other for Lake Como and Maggiore.

Moving south through Italy, the Apennine chain can be explored, either side of which lie the Abruzzo and Sibillini to the east, and Umbria and Tuscany to the west. Threading through 550km if rural Italian countryside from Assisi to Rome is the beautiful Way of St Frances, and coming soon is one of three guides to the Via Francegina – the first volume, (called volume 3!) will be published in March 2021. Travel further south and enjoy walks in the Cinque Terre, and the Amalfi coast, or further still to reach Sicily and Sardinia.

Message from Gillian Price in Italy:

"As you can imagine, walkers and climbers are back out there in the Italian Alps. All the paths and refuges are open as usual with a few minor but important changes for the summer of 2020: fewer beds available in dorms (to respect distancing), reservation for overnight stays and meals compulsory, masks needed indoors, showers not always available (you may need to make do with a cold wash) - check with the refuge when booking, sleeping bag needed (as opposed to sleeping sheet) though some huts have blankets or eiderdowns for rent.

Bivouac huts are closed this year as impossible to sterilise premises after use.

Hotel and B&B accommodation is business as usual with distancing and masks indoors. On public transport (trains, buses, lifts) seating is currently half capacity and you need to buy your ticket before boarding. You also need to book for long-distance trains and buses."

Gillian further writes:
"A further note re. refuges: a friend just phoned - is heading off to do the Alta Via Valmalenco (in my Bernina guide) in Lombardy and says not all the refuges there insisted on a sleeping bag, otherwise a sleeping sheet is fine. But do check when booking."

How will Covid-19 affect mountain huts and refuges?

Italian mountain huts will be open during summer 2020, however various restrictions will be in force, to ensure maximum safety. The Club Alpino Italiano has this link for further information. All hikers and trekkers should follow these basic guidelines:

Maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres, and provide details to your mountain leader or refuge for future tracking of possible infection. Wear a mask if it is not possible to keep your distance (for example on public transport) and wash or disinfect hands regularly. Stay at home if you have symptoms.

Reduce risk of accident by staying on marked trails and taking care when crossing snow, and when staying in a refuge, the additional requirements are;

  • Only visit huts in a healthy condition.
  • Reserve your place to sleep - no overnight stays without a reservation.
  • Bring your own: hut sleeping bag, pillow case, disinfectant hand gel. Soap, towel and protective masks. (Attention: CIA huts have duvets and blankets removed and you have to take your own sleeping bag with you.)
  • Take your rubbish back down to the valley.

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