With good weather, great food and epic crags, Italy rock climbing holidays are pretty special. From the mountainous north to the Mediterranean Islands the best Italian crags offer climbing for all styles and abilities.
Guide to Italy rock climbing holidays
Any trip to Italy is going to 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. But Italy rock climbing holidays will appeal to most climbers who are away to climb and have a break.
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 to climb. Alternatively Italy is ripe for a climbing road trip.
Best Italian crags
Here is a brief rundown of the top areas to head to for Italy rock climbing holidays.
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 3000 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 you’ll find short beginner sport crags next to kilometer long trad routes.
In the winter it turns into a ski area 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.
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 good bouldering in this region, with Val di Mello and Val Messino the main centres. The Great Lakes of Italy can easily be explored from Milan.
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 reached 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. Aosta is 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.
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. The climbing at Finale Ligure is high quality and diverse with both single and multi pitch and ranging from F3 to F8 in difficulty.
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.
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.
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.
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, plus opportunities to climb untouched rock.
Rock climbing holidays in Italy are a 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 holiday discounts as you could save a fortune.