Guide to Italy Rock Climbing Holidays: Best Italian Crags

May 03, 2024 BY AWE365 Team

With good weather, great food and epic crags, Italy rock climbing holidays are pretty special. The best places to rock climb in Italy include regions such as the Dolomites, Aosta, Scilly, Sardinia, Tuscany and the Italian Riviera. From the mountainous north to the Mediterranean, the best Italian crags offer climbing for all styles and abilities.

**This article was originally written in August 2017 and updated in May 2024**

Guide to Italy rock climbing holidays: Best Italian crags Flickr image by nordique

7 Best Places to Rock Climb in Italy

Guide to Italy Rock Climbing Holidays

Any trip to Italy will feel more relaxed than visiting some of its northern European neighbours. This is because Italians won’t be rushed – except when behind the wheel of a car when they are always in a hurry.

So on Italy rock climbing holidays you can expect a laid back approach, long lunches, late mornings and even later nights. This might not appeal to those who like to be at the face from dawn til dusk. Of course you can set you own schedule, but climbing in Italy is great for mixing relaxation with great crags.

The best Italian crags are spread all over the country, from the Dolomites in the far north to Sicily in the south. So when planning a climbing trip to Italy it is best to choose an area. Alternatively Italy is ripe for a rock climbing road trip.

7 Best Italian Crags

Here is a brief rundown of the top areas to visit for the top 7 destinations for rock climbing holidays in Italy.

Guide to Italy rock climbing holidays Dolomites one of the Best Italian crags Flickr image by blackwing.de

Dolomites

The Dolomites are part of the Southern Limestone Alps, running along Italy’s northern border with Austria. They are one of the world’s most attractive mountain ranges, with spectacular deep valleys and high cliffs. They are rightly a Unesco world heritage site.

The peaks in the Dolomites are typically steep, rising out of the mountain valleys in spectacular style reaching up to 3,000 meters. They offer some great climbing, with walls of up to 800m waiting to be climbed. The Dolomites have some of the longest multi-pitch climbing routes in the world with great sport and trad options.

What makes the Dolomites one of the best destinations for Italy climbing holidays is the sheer variety. It offers all styles from bouldering to high alpine trad routes and mountaineering. And you’ll find short beginner sport crags next to kilometer long trad routes.

In the winter you can ski in the Dolomites, so there are chairlifts to help you reach the crags and plenty of facilities. Selva Val Gardena or Ortisei in the western Dolomites are a great place to base yourself with a multitude of climbing routes nearby. Further east Cortina d’Ampezzo is a rather swanky town that makes a good base.

Guide to Italy rock climbing holidays Dolomites one of the Best Italian crags Flickr image by roman.petruniak

Great Italian Lakes

Heading east, some of the best Italian crags can be found in the mountains around Italy’s great lakes. There are lots of limestone crags to explore, especially around Lake Garda in the Arco area.

There is also some best bouldering in Europe in Val di Mello not far from Lake Como where they hold an annual bouldering festival. The Great Lakes of Italy can easily be explored from Milan.

Aosta Valley

In the northeastern tip of Italy you will find the Aosta Valley bordering France and Switzerland. Here you’ll find the famous ski resorts of Courmayeur, Cervinia and Alagna, and three of the Alps greatest peaks – Mont Blanc the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa which can all be climbed from Italy.

But you don’t have to summit a major mountain in order to climb in the area. There are over 60 documented crags in the Aosta area offering something for all. There are well maintained sport routes and long trad climbs, plus of course high alpine mountaineering. Summer adventure holidays in Aosta are easy to reach from Turin.

Finale Ligure, Italian Riviera

You’ll find the world renowned climbing destination of Finale Ligure on the coast halfway between Genoa and the French border. Here white limestone climbing can be combined with beach holiday on the Italian Riviera. So the perfect destination for Italy rock climbing holidays.

Guide to Italy rock climbing holidays Finale Ligure one of the Best Italian crags Flickr image by belboo

There are over 3,000 climbing routes in a 10 square kilometres area, so it is easy to see why this is considered a top spot with some of the best Italian crags. Finale Ligure is regarded as one of the best rock climbing destinations worldwide. You’ll find high quality rock and diverse routes, with both single and multi pitch and ranging from F3 to F8 in difficulty.

Tuscany

Heading south down the coast to Tuscany you’ll find over 80 crags and thousands of climbing routes. From easy sport climbs for beginners to multi pitch 550m high faces.

Some of the climbing is bolted other trad, but all of it is set in the beautiful Tuscany countryside. The area is well known for its historic medieval villages and as a centre for arts. Florence is a good place to fly into and well worth a visit.

Island of Sardinia

The island of Sardinia is a great place to climb, with both the interior and its coastal cliffs offering plenty of possibility. There are lots of well-established bolted sport climbing routes, and some great bouldering.

Guide to Italy rock climbing holidays Sardinia one of the Best Italian crags Flickr image by Mikey Bean

It is a great destination for Italy rock climbing holidays, particularly if you want to combine it with other activities. Sardinia is great for watersports such as windsurfing and kiteboarding, it also has some of the best surf conditions in the med. You can also hike, bike and dive in Sardinia, making it one of the best Italian activity holiday destinations.

Island of Sicily

In the far south, the island of Sicily offers hugely varied climbing and year-round sunshine. Due to the weather it has probably the best Italian crags for winter rock climbing. You’ll find lovely villas to rent in Sicily, and outside the main holiday season there are bargains to be had.

In the north, the area around Trapani is the place to head for limestone cliff climbing. Near the capital Palermo is Monte Pellegrino, with some big limestone walls and plenty of established routes. This is one of the best places to climb in Italy  if you prefer untouched rock.

The top Italian crags offer the chance to discover the country beyond the food, beaches and culture that most people visit for. There is great climbing to be had from the stunning Dolomites in the far north to unexplored faces in the extreme south of Sicily. Plus plenty of crags in between – road trip anyone?

We hope you found this guide to Italy rock climbing holidays interesting. Be sure to check out our rock climbing holidays in Italy to book  trip.

 
Alagna, Alps, Aosta Valley, Cervinia, Cortina D'Ampezzo, Courmayeur, Dolomites, Europe, Finale Ligure, Florence, Italian Alps, Italy, Lake Garda, Matterhorn, Mediterranean Sea, Milan, Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Ortisei, Palermo, Sardinia Island, Selva Val Gardena, Sicily Island, Trentino Alto Adige, Turin, Tuscany, Val Gardena
Bouldering, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing
Beginner, Expert, Intermediate, Multi Pitch Climbing, Sport Climbing, Trad (Traditional Climbing), UNESCO (World Heritage Site)
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