The Italian Alps are an enticing wonderland of jagged mountain scenery, lush alpine meadows, charming villages and glistening lakes. Here are 10 reasons why you should visit.

The Italian Alps sweep in an arc from Monaco in the west to Trieste in the east. While they may not have the highest peaks or the deepest valleys of their northern neighbours, what they lack in records, the Italian Alps make up for in varied and beautiful scenery.

Spend your days staring at razor-sharp vertical peaks; glistening glacial lakes and mountain-framed alpine meadows. Hike impressive trails, sail on mansion-fringed lakes and cling to breath-taking Via Ferratas. And as the day ends and the sun dies saunter through beautiful Italian villages to dine on mouth-watering pasta and local wines.

There are so many things to do in the Italian Alps. But, if we had to pick just a few, then here are 10 reasons for making this your next holiday destination.


Soaring spires of Tre Cime di Lavaredo

There are few more dramatic mountains in the world than Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Three towering peaks, standing side by side, rise above a sea of boulders. Their near-vertical sides soaring to pointy peaks.

The most iconic views of these Italian mountains can only be seen hiking the Tre Cime loop. But, the paths are easy and the rewards are breath-taking. Various perfectly positioned rifugios offer a refreshing lager, a warm coffee and delicious Italian food. It’s the perfect half-day out.


Reflecting waters of emerald green lakes

High up in the mountains and surrounded by jagged peaks, the Italian Alps are packed with stunning green-blue lakes. Best viewed in the early morning or late afternoon (when the wind is low), the shimmering dramatic alpine scenery is reflected in cool rippling water.

The dazzling colour is created from water that flows down the valleys carrying white particles collected from glaciers scraping against mountains.

The three best lakes are Lago di Braies, Lago di Sorapis and Lago Carezza. Two are conveniently set by the road. Lago di Sorapis requires a 2-hour hike. But all are magnificent.


Jagged peaks of the Seceda Ridgeline

The Puez-Odle mountains are like a mangled saw. Bent and twisted pointy teeth form a jagged ridge of mountains. Nowhere else in the Italian Alps can you see such a mish-mash of soaring peaks fighting for your attention.

Even better it’s easy to get to. Take the Furnes-Seceda cable car up to the summit, walk for a couple of hundred metres and this dramatic ridgeline towers in front of you. It’s grassy ridge, narrow pathway, and craggy summit have rightly become an Instagram favourite.


Mixing with the wealthy on Lake Como

As the mountains of Italy drop into foothills and rushing rivers carry more and more water they finally form great lakes. The greatest and most magnificent of these is Lake Como.

It may only be the third largest of the great Italian lakes but taking a boat out is pure joy. Beautiful Italian towns cling to its steep sides with lakeside mansions dotted between immaculately sculptured gardens.

The rich and wealthy have made this their home since Roman times. Even James Bond has ruffled some feathers in this most classic of Italian scenery. So get a ferry or hire your own boat and go explore.


Instagram famous churches of Val di Funes

Instagram has brought fame to Val di Funes. This once quiet valley, tucked into the northern Italian mountains, now sees hundreds of travellers arrive to capture the iconic views of its two churches.

San Giovanni and Santa Maddalena sit in rolling hay meadows still farmed in the traditional fashion. But it’s not just the bucolic country scene that makes them special. Rising almost vertically behind them are the jagged peaks of the Puez-Odle massif.

Head here at sunrise or sunset and the churches with their imposing backdrops are beautifully lit. A photographer’s dream, an unforgettable vista and a favourite on our Instagram channel.


Picture perfect village of Bellagio

Is there anything more picture-perfect than an Italian town on a lake? And if so surely the most beautiful is Bellagio. Known as the pearl of Lake Como, it is strategically located where the junction of the Y shaped lake divides into two branches.

Peering out from its perch on the lakeshore, the facades of its golden villas, houses and churches reflect in the rippling blue waters.

Hidden behind these buildings lies a cute and intriguing village. Narrow laneways and twisty staircases conceal designer boutiques and local artisan shops selling the best silk in Europe. So explore the tiny town, grab a seat on the lakefront, order and Aperol Spritz and while away the afternoon.


Sampling wine in the Trento Valley

The Trento valley is impressive. Fortresses peer over the steep-sided walls and little villages with cute churches perch on ledges or hide in crevasses. But the real joy of coming here is to sample the wine.

Vineyards spread all along the valley floor produce some of the finest wine in Italy. Surrounded by beautiful pastel-coloured buildings, little gardens provide the ideal setting to sample the local drop.

Our favourite is Alois Lageder in the village of Magré, a family vineyard run on biodynamic principles. They serve a delicious take on modern Italian cooking in a beautiful sunny courtyard. Well worth a stop on any journey through the Italian mountains.


Alpe di Siusi framed by Italian Alps

At 2,000m in altitude, Alpe di Siusi is the largest high meadow in the Italian Alps. Its swaying grasses, backed by some of the most magnificent mountains in Italy, are a lush green in spring and a golden brown in autumn.

The best way to see the area is by hiring an e-bike. That way – without too much huffing and puffing, and with zero emissions – you can see all the highlights of this Instagram friendly destination.

Fortunately, you don’t need to cycle up the meadow. A cable car carries you up 800m from the town of Ortisei. Even better, the free-wheeling journey all the way back down is an exhilarating ride.


Via Ferrata on Brenta Dolomites rugged peaks

The Italian Alps are the home of Via Ferrata, meaning ‘iron path’. Climbers are secured onto a steel cable that runs along near vertical rock faces. Using the cables, plus iron rungs, pegs, carved steps and ladders, inexperienced climbers can make their way along narrow ledges and difficult peaks.

Via Ferratas have been linked together in the Brenta Dolomites creating extensive multi-day hiking tours with overnight stays in mountain refuges. It’s a nail-biting adrenaline-filled excursion. But even if that does not take your fancy, you can always just sit in a rifugio, and watch others tackle the course.


Vistas from the cable car at Sass Pardoi

The Italian Alps are not like the rest of the Alps. They are striking because of their unique shape and pale Dolomite rock. The rock was formed from fossilised coral reefs about 250 million years ago. When the African and European tectonic plates collided they were forced up into mountains.

The collision created a diverse array of shapes. And nowhere can you see this diversity better than from the top of the cable car that climbs from Passo Pordoi to Sass Pordoi. From here, observe table-top mountains, undulating grassy meadows, soaring pointy peaks and desolate moonscapes.

It’s the best of the Italian mountains in one breath-taking panorama.

Our favourite moments in the Italian Alps

We’ve been to the Italian Alps several times, unable to resist the impressive mountain scenery and fantastic hiking trails. It’s one of our all-time favourite destinations and we’ve loved each trip. Here are a few of our favourite moments.


We didn’t do much to earn this view, the car-park is just across the road. But nevertheless, there is something special about towering mountains perfectly reflected in the crystal clear waters of an emerald green lake, like the beautiful Lago di Carezza.


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After a cheeky late afternoon beer, we walked a high valley trail down into Val di Funes. As the sun started to set, we were greeted with the smell of fresh cut grass and thick pine forest. The magnificent church of San Giovanni backed by soaring pinnacles of rock, completed an idyllic scene.


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Just a few kilometres away from the hordes exploring Lago di Braies, we found ourselves surrounded by flower carpeted meadows, hut strewn grasslands and gleaming snow-capped mountains. The crowds of Lago di Braies were a distant memory.


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It had been a glorious but tiring walk high up in the Brenta Dolomites through spectacular scenery. When all was said and done we took a break, stared back at the paths we had walked and the craggy tops we had conquered and felt smugly satisfied.


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For our detailed guides about how to visit the area, go to our Alps page.

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