A hiking holiday in Umbria is one of the best ways to explore this region of Italy which neighbors popular Tuscany. Think about it, doesn’t Italy offer great food and wine, scenic hilly trails, quaint accommodation, wonderful shopping and the ability for both self guided and a guided hiking holidays.
For my hiking holiday in Umbria i stayed in the walled town of Norcia located near Sibillini National Park. This medieval town offers lots of accommodation, pedestrian friendly streets (no cars permitted) which wind past scores of shops to the main square which is surrounded by the town hall, a museum and a number of churches.
You can easily begin with a drive into the nearby mountains of Sibillini National park. Plenty of hikers visit this area so the hotels are used to providing a car or mini buses to take people on their excursions. In my case I was with a guided walking group with HF Holidays who supplied the guides and transfer bus.
You can hike the entire 120 km long distance trail in the park staying at Refugio located along the way and we met many doing just that or day trips like we did. The Refugio are the mountain huts (actually most are very nice) offering accommodation including meals to long distance hikers. It normally takes about nine days to hike the entire route.
Or you can take day trips like we did on the many of the hilly trails which circle the vast open plain of the Piano Grande (Grand Plain) so there are some splendid views including the opportunity to see the Adriatic Sea on occasion. You will require a hiking GPS or guide books as there are many connecting trails, most without signs and things can get confusing.
Expect to see horses running loose but keeping a respectful distance and also herds of sheep watched over by the Sheppard and his dogs.
There are plenty of trails in the area for a one or two week hiking holiday in Umbria. For a change of pace you can also head over to nearby Spoleto for an enjoyable day walking through the town (its uphill) and the cathedral (further uphill) and the castle (yes, even further uphill) before taking a Roman bridge across the gorge to join the trail system. Others will want to head to the religious center of Assisi which has a popular trail to a nearby mountain town.
With your hiking GPS in hand and some great Italian food in your pack a hiking holiday in Umbria should be on your list of must do destinations.