21 Natural Attractions in Italy

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Aside from world-class cuisine, historical monuments and ravishing men (preferably serving ice-cold Aperol Spritz), Italy holds some of the most astounding natural landmarks in Europe. These carefully curated 21 natural attractions in Italy display the very best the country has to offer.

Nature in Italy is as diverse as the local dialects. Mountains grace the planes of the north (hello Dolomites!), craggy shorelines dotted with tiny little houses (Amalfi coast anyone) and active vulcanos waiting to be explored (Mount Etna is calling) are there for the picking.

Veer away from the overcrowded cities and head out into the spectacular natural beauty the country holds. Bring a pair of hiking boots, a rainjacket and a sense of adventure because these 21 natural attractions in Italy will usually require a bit of hiking to get to


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How to get around the natural wonders in Italy?

Some of the natural attractions in Italy are reachable by public transport, but oftentimes a car is required as they are remote and public transport (if available) might run infrequently. That being said, a few of the national parks have excellent connections run by the parks themselves.

BUS & TRAIN: The best advice I can give is to always check online to see if there are connections and then purchase tickets in advance.

CAR RENTAL: Compare prices & book online

  •  International Driving License, the famous IDP (International Driving Permit)The certificate is not issued in Italian, but it is accepted in English! The IDP usually lasts 180 days and is issued by the Traffic Department of your country (if you have the European Driver’s License, you don’t need to worry about it!).
  • Age: Drivers must be at least 18 years old. Drivers younger than 21 might be subjected to an additional young drivers fee
  • Insurance: Ensure your car is ensured to at least a part of third-party liability

Driving an Electric Car in Italy: With over 8000 charging stations, it is perfectly possible to organize a road trip through Italy with an electrical car. Northern Italy has an increasing amount of electrical charging points, Southern Italy is still farther behind and will require more planning.
Find your charging station.


21 Natural attractions in Italy

From the Dolomites in Northern Italy to the active volcanoes on the Aeolian Islands around Sicily, there is no lack of natural wonders in Italy. In fact, the list could very rapidly become seemingly endless leaving one with the distinct feeling of FOMO.

To make things as easy as possible for you, the below 21 natural landmarks are a good mixture of known and virtually unknown places in Italy. Split into Northern, Central and Southern Italy to ensure you have both a clear overview and the possibility to scroll directly through the region of Italy that is most relevant for your trip.

Northern Italy Natural Landmarks

In recent years Northern Italy has become widely popular with both city lovers and travelers looking for natural places in Italy. The majestic regions of the Dolomites and the lake district (Lago di Garda, Lago di Como) are often the regions of choice for nature lovers.

Travel a little further north, bordering France lies the unspoiled region of Val d’Aosta with holds some of the best nature in all of Italy, with a fraction of the tourists. Time to explore what natural wonders the north of Italy holds.

Read More: Planning a road trip through Northern Italy? Find my one to two week guide which includes many of the below-mentioned natural wonders in Northern Italy sprinkled with the best cities.

Lakes in Northern Italy Lago di Carezza Dolomites
Lago di Carezza is the prettiest lake in the Dolomites

1. KARERSEE / LAGO DI CAREZZA (TRENTO ALTO ADIGE)

Where to stay: Sustainable hotels in Bolzano
Interesting tours: Best of the Dolomites: One day private tour from Bolzano
Nearest airport: Verona (VRN)

As lakes in northern Italy go, this one is pretty special. Located in the western Dolomites in the German/Italian-speaking region of South Tyrol is the stunning emerald green Lago Di Carezza (Karersee). 

This fairytale cyan jewel of a lake has a wonderfully mythical backstory, in which a wizard tried to seduce a mermaid by casting a rainbow over the lake between the surrounding mountains. When all did not go to plan, the wizard threw the rainbow into the lake and the mermaid disappeared for an eternity. Giving this natural wonder the alternative name, The Rainbow lake. 

While at the lake it is important to know that swimming is prohibited. Every effort is made to preserve natural wonders in Italy and Lago di Carezza is no exception. Instead, you can opt to hike around the lake, an easy 20-minute stroll that takes you from start to end and offers up unrivaled scenic views.

Planning a trip to the Dolomites: Most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites you do not want to miss and where to stay in the Dolomites sustainably are good reading to plan your trip.


Lago di Garda the most beautiful lake in Italy

2. LAGO DI GARDA (TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE)

Where to stay: Sustainable hotels in Riva del Garda
Interesting tours: Guided day hike; e-bike tour; Lake Garda wine tour
Nearest airport: Verona (VRN)

Perhaps one of the most infamous natural wonders in Italy is Lago di Garda or Lake Garda. Found right in the center of Northern Italy it reaches up toward the mountains and spans over 370 square kilometers (143 square miles). The backdrop of the snow-capped mountains and tiny dotted villages perched on the cliffside adds to the fairytale charm of the lake.

The largest and most famous town is Riva Del Garda. This picture-perfect town is surrounded by steep cliffs and mountain ranges and makes for the perfect pied-à-terre for exploring Lago di Garda.

Good to know: Riva del Garda is the perfect location for the GardaTrek, which offers up three loop trails that vary in length. All of which will take you between this famous lake and the undulating mountains. For the more adventurous there are endless activities including mountain bike trails, rock climbing, and watersports.

Travelers keen to partake in guided outdoor activities can choose from a top-rated guided day hike around Lake Garda or a panoramic e-bike tour. For a slow-paced stay then there are plenty of quaint shops stocking traditional Italian trinkets, museums, and plenty of fabulous Italian restaurants that the most avid foodie will love.

Budget tip: Look into the Garda Guest Card to get access to a variety of discounts for activities and tickets for public transportation in and around the lake.


3. DOLOMITES MOUNTAIN RANGE (TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE)

Where to stay: Val Gardena is perfect for first timers
Interesting tours: Day tour from Venice to Cortina, Full day tour Dolomites from Lake Garda
Nearest airport: Verona (VRN) or Venice (VCE) airport

To the east of the northern Italian Alps, you will find the most beautiful mountains in Italy. The 200-million-year-old Dolomite mountain range is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Stretching from Veneto Trentino-Alto Adige through Sudtirol (South Tyrol) and Friuli Venezia Giulia, this vast mountain range encompasses almost 150,000 acres and 18 pale gray sharp peaks of jagged rock.

This unique natural feature of Italy is unlike the Mediterranean vibe you come to expect from Italy. Think lush pastures, vast meadows and valleys dotted with villages made up of wooden houses. Both the cuisine and the language are more akin to Austria and Germany than anywhere else in Italy.

The Dolomites are a wonderful example of the stunning Italian scenery at its best and are made for hiking. Visiting the Dolomites means spending a lot of time trekking the undulating mountain passes, gazing out at pristine serene lakes and greeting friendly cows with large rattling bells on their neck.

Planning a trip to the Dolomites: Where to stay in the Dolomites sustainably has a comprehensive overview of the best areas and most sustainable hotels for each type of traveler.


Natural Attraction in Italy - Cascate del Serio

4. CASCATE DEL SERIO (LOMBARDY) – A HIDDEN NATURAL ATTRACTION IN ITALY

Where to stay: Valbondione (close) or a sustainable hotel in Milan (further our)
Nearest airport: Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP)
Regional Website: Serio Waterfalls

Impressive waterfalls anyone? Cascate del Serio is one of the most impressive natural landmarks in Italy. The 315-meter (0.2 miles) high falls are the highest in Italy and the second highest in Europe. They also have a very interesting story as to their creation. In the early 1900s, the water supply from the Serio River to these epic falls was cut off creating a dam, which became the largest artificial lake in Bergamo. 

Several decades later it was agreed the dam would be opened once a year and the majestic power and beauty of the falls would be unleashed for people to see. This now happens 5 times a year between June and October. 

Good to know: Getting to the falls is easy but does involve hiking. If you head toward the village of Valbondione in the province of Bergamo you can follow plenty of signs that take you to the falls.

The 3-kilometer (2-mile) trail takes you along a shaded tree-lined dirt path (this can be done in sneakers). It should take about an hour to reach the lookout point, which is well situated opposite the falls. The waterfall flows for around 30 minutes, thundering down the jagged mountainside at breakneck speed.


Naosca waterfall Gra Paradiso National Park one of the beautiful natural places in Italy

5. GRAN PARADISO NATIONAL PARK (PIEDMONT & VAL D’AOSTA)

Where to stay: Aosta, Cogne, Valsavarenche or a sustainable hotel in Turin
Nearest airport: Turin Caselle Airport (TRN) & Aosta Airports
Park Website: The National Park | Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso (pngp.it)

The expansive park is another of Italy’s natural attractions that is quite simply unmissable. Spanning over 700 kilometers (435 miles) you will find the Gran Paradiso National Park in the Graian Alps of Piedmont and the Aosta Valley in northwest Italy.  

The park boasts 57 silently thunderous glaciers and limitless intimidating peaks for adventurers to scale. All provide the most stunning vistas. The park centers around Mount Gran Paradiso, which is the 7th highest peak in all of Italy.

It is also home to expansive alpine meadows which are beautifully flowered in spring, transcending waterfalls, and serene streams. When not marveling at the nature in Italy showcased at this park you can expect to see thriving wildlife from wolves to lynx, to eagles.  

While the park is best explored by car there are plenty of other options if you are looking for a more sustainable trip. It is a bike-friendly space favored by mountain bikers, with plenty of bike-friendly trails to choose from.

Alternatively, you can hike the trailheads or take the Gran Paradiso Trek-Bus which connects the lower municipalities of Gran Paradiso Valley. Purposely designed to promote environmentally friendly tourism.


The Mont Blanc is one of the most famous natural wonders in Italy & France

6. MONTE BIANCO / MONT BLANC (VAL D’AOSTA)

Where to stay: Val Veny, Courmayeur
Interesting tours: Day Tour Monte Bianco & Courmayeur from Milan
Nearest airport: Turin (TRN), Milan Malpensa (MXP)

When it comes to natural wonders in Italy, there are few as well known as Mont Blanc. This infamous mountain is shared by Italy and France, both countries are connected by a 12km tunnel, the Italian side of the tunnel arriving in Courmayeur in the lesser known mountainous Val d’Aosta region.

It is possible to scale the jaw-dropping Mont Blanc. As the highest point in Europe standing a staggering 4,810m above sea level the summit is covered in snow and ice all year round. The high altitude combined with the permanent snow means only the most experienced and adventurous climbers are able to scale to its soaring peak. 

That said, there are other options for recreational climbers and hikers to enjoy this popular natural landmark in Italy. The most famous route is the Tour Du Mont Blanc, which takes the adventurous on a 170km circuit, and passes through three countries. (France, Italy and Switzerland).

Natural Attractions Central Italy

Nature in central Italy is often overshadowed by its glittering cities and expansive wineries. Yet half an hour outside of both Florence and Rome lie some of the countries prettiest waterfalls and flowerfields.

Take a day trip to Umbria (better yet, spend a week!), catch the sunset in Val d’Orcia or head off-the beaten path in Abruzzo. Nature in Italy is stunningly versatile and this becomes abundantly clear when traveling around Central Italy.

7. CASCATE DELLE MARMORE (UMBRIA)

Where to stay: Terni
Entrance fee: €8 ($9)
Nearest airport: Perugia Airport (PEG)
Website: Cascata delle Marmore

Much like Cascate del Serio, Cascate Delle Marmore is another natural feature in Italy that has been manipulated by man for industrial purposes. Yet, it has resulted in the creation of bucket-list-worthy natural landmarks in Italy.

Similar to Cascate del Serio, these falls are turned on and off. However, this takes place several times a day at Cascate Delle Marmore. By doing this it ensures water levels remain under control and the waterfall leads to a hydroelectric power station, powering up Terni’s industries. 

These astounding falls, located near the city of Terni are guaranteed to take your breath away. You can be immersed in deafening silence one minute and then shrouded in thundering crashes the next as the water changes from an innocuous trickle to a thundering torrent in the blink of an eye.

The waterfalls are 165-meters (0.1 miles) high and best of all, you can climb all the way to the top. Various colored routes crisscross the park (hikes range from 1h to 3h depending on the route you take). Bring comfortable sneakers and a rainjacket.

Plan a trip to Umbria: Discover the storybook medieval villages in Umbria you don’t want to miss


8. TERME DI SATURNIA (TUSCANY)

Where to stay: Sustainable hotel in Siena or the town of Saturnia
Nearest airport: Perugia Airport (PEG)

Terme di Saturnia was, until recently, one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to the natural wonders of Italy. However, the demand for producing the most stunning instagrammable content and enjoying the most unique moments in time has seen these natural springs in Italy reach new heights of notoriety. 

Found about an hour from Siena and a few kilometers from the town of Saturnia, this Sulphuric spa has been enjoyed for millennia, as far back as the days of the Ancient Romans. 

This dreamy natural thermal spring is made up of a complex of small pools and waterfalls. You can indulge under cascading waters that reach 37°C (99.5°F), alternatively, take the time to relax in the warming cyan pools as the mist ascends in front of you. All the while you can benefit from many health benefits including alleviating aches and pains and aiding respiratory problems.

Good to know: The picturesque terme you have seen on social media are called Cascate del Mulino. They are completely free to enter.



9. CASTELLUCCIO DI NORCIA (UMBRIA)

Where to stay: Agriturismo in the village of Castelluccio di Norcia
Nearest airport: Perugia Airport (PEG)
Check timing for Fioritura: Official Website

What was once a glacial lake is now a lush plateau, with a singular village, Castelluccio di Norcia, perched on a high rock right in the middle. To add to this scenic Italian nature destination the plateau is surrounded by peaks and the undulating barren slopes of the Sibillini Mountains in central Italy. 

Castelluccio di Norcia is a unique village of ancient streets and old buildings that dates back to the thirteenth century.  Following an earthquake, the village is now largely ruinous but restoration efforts are being made.

Without a doubt, the best time to visit is between late June and mid-July. The green fields bear witness to a natural phenomenon that sees them transform into a magically picturesque scene aptly named the ‘Flowering of Castelluccio’

The plateau consists of lentil fields, which during the flowering bloom into a glorious feast of color. The plateau is overrun with a carpet of vibrant yellows, blues, purples, and reds. It is a stunning spectacle that makes Castelluccio di Norcia one of the most intriguing nature places in Italy.

Plan a foodie trip to Umbria: Explore the various traditional Umbrian dishes to try when visiting Umbria. The region is heavily meat-based but as a vegetarian myself I made sure to include all the delicious vegetarian Umbrian food I savored.


10. VAL D’ORCIA (TUSCANY)

Where to stay: Sustainable hotel in Siena or the famous agriturismo (pictured left)
Interesting tours: San Gimignano, Montalcino & Wine tasting from Siena; Val d’Orcia day trip from Rome
Nearest airport: Perugia Airport (PEG)


Val d’Orcia epitomizes the iconic landscape for which Tuscany is so well known. There is no end to the perfectly curated rolling hills, precisely planted cypress trees, and iconically beautiful hilltop villages you would expect. It is no wonder this natural wonder of Italy became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

Located in the province of Siena approximately 2.5 hours from Rome, you can undertake scenic drives through rolling landscapes to visit the medieval villages and Renaissance towns this valley is famed for.

All of the pretty hilltop villages in this quintessentially Tuscan region have their unique offerings. You can expect to marvel at medieval streets, captivating courtyards, unrivaled countryside views, and the traditional architecture of churches and museums.

So, park up and allow yourself to get lost amongst a maze of pretty streets, cobbled walkways, and traditional stone buildings decorated with colorful flowered hanging baskets. 


Natural landmark in Italy outside of Rome Giardino di Ninfa
Giardini di Ninfa is a beautiful natural landmark in Italy nearby Rome

11. GIARDINO DI NINFA (LAZIO)

Where to stay: Sustainable hotel in Rome
Tickets: Entrance to the park & Caetani Castle €25 ($26)
Nearest airport: Rome Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO)
Website: Giardino di Ninfa

Giardini Di Ninfa, or garden of nymphs, is built on the remains of a medieval town with which it shares the same name. Over the last century, the Caetini family has painstakingly renovated the ruinous town into a botanical Oasis that has become one of the most sensational natural places in Italy. 

The transformation first echoed the magnificence of a traditional English garden by planting oak trees, beeches, and cypress trees but as the century passed a plethora of foreign species were introduced including tropical plants and traditional American walnut and maple trees. Today, you can enjoy a variety of blooms, colors, and scents that accentuate the restored ruins. 

The gardens are found about 1 hour and 20 minutes south of Rome. They are only open on set days a year, so checking the website is a must before you visit. Tickets must be bought in advance online and all visits are by guided tour only.


Lago di Barrea Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo Italy

12. PARCO NAZIONALE D’ABRUZZO (ABRUZZO, LAZIO & MOLISE)

Where to stay: B&B in Pescara
Nearest airport: Abruzzo Airport (PSR)

The National Park of Abruzzo is so named because the vast parkland is found mostly in the Abruzzo region. That said, the park stretches over the regions of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise. This park was founded in 1923 and is considered one of the most important nature reserves in Italy. For wildlife lovers, it is guaranteed to be a bucket list destination. 

The park is so important because it protects many rare wildlife species. Thousands of visitors descend on this special park every year to get a glimpse of Apennine wolves, Chamois, and Marsican Brown Bears, which are sadly declining rapidly.

As a visitor to the park, you can also partake in multiple outdoor activities including, trekking, cycling, horse riding, and even cross-country skiing. One minute you could find yourself facing the towering mountains Petroso and Marsicano and then next you are snaking alongside the fast-flowing river Melfa.
 
This is one of the best untouched natural places in Italy to immerse yourself in all things outdoors, wildlife, and nature.


Castello degli odescalchi Lago di Bracciano

13. LAGO DI BRACCIONO (LAZIO)

Where to stay: Sustainable hotel in Rome; Small B&B on Lake Bracciono
Interesting tours: Truffle hunting with lunch
Nearest airport: Rome Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO)

Lake Bracciano is one the most captivating natural features of Italy that always finds favor with sweltering Romans looking to escape the formidable city heat. Approximately fifty minutes outside of Rome, it makes for the perfect day trip to experience a taste of Italy’s more laid-back side.

Lake Bracciano is a gorgeous and expansive volcanic lake that hugs the shoreline of Bracciano, Anhuillara Sabazia, and Trevignano Romano. The town of Bracciano is a medieval spectacle where you can get lost amongst winding alleys, immerse yourself in traditional Italian charm, and marvel at the views of the glassy lake.

During your stay, be sure to visit the historic castle of Odescalchi, which remains standing and functioning since its erection in the 15th Century. 

When at the lake swimming has to be one of the most popular past times, together with a trip out onto the water in a pedal boat. This is best followed up with a retreat to your sun lounger to bask in the glorious Italian sunshine to the beautiful backdrop of the lake. Finally, be sure to dine under the shaded patios of the lakeside restaurants, Aperol Spritz in hand. It doesn’t get much more Mediterranean than that.

Southern Italy Natural Attractions

Nature in Southern Italy is less picture-perfect and more unbridled. Think craggy coastlines plunging into crystal clear waters, various archipelagos made up of tiny islands and of course, active vulcanoes that mirror the warmblooded temperament of Southern Italians perfectly.

Public transportation in Southern Italy is less well developed than Central and Northern Italy. These natural attractions in Southern Italy are sprawled out and will, in some cases, require you to have your own wheels to get to them.

Read before you go: Driving in Sicily is your survival guide to navigating both the roads and the somewhat erratic driving styles in Southern Italy.

San Vito Lo Capo Ziganro National Park Sicily

14. RISERVA DELLO ZINGARO (SICILY)

Where to stay: Tonnara of Scopello or a sustainable hotel in Palermo
Interesting tours: Explore San Vito Lo Capo & the Zingaro Reserve from Palermo
Nearest airport: Palermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport (PMO)

Riserva dello Zingaro was established in 1981 and became Siciliy’s first protected area. The reserve is located between the beaches of Scopello and San Vito Lo Capo. Getting there will require having your own car due to the relative remoteness of the reserve.

Park the car in the ample parking lot and pay the guard €5 ($5) in cash to receive a map of the area and your entrance ticket. Once inside revel in the rugged cliffs and crags that hug the shore overlooking turquoise waters and delicate coves.

The most popular activity once in the reserve is to partake in the 7km gentle hike along the seaside. This manageable hike will offer up breathtaking coastal views and gateways to majestic coves and beaches that are lapped by translucent crystalline waters; perfect for swimming in.

Good to know: There is no shuttle from one end of the reserve to the other, therefore the total length of the hike is 14 kilometers. Make sure to bring your own food & drinks as there are shops or eateries inside the reserve.

Plan your trip to Sicily: Learn everything about where to stay in Sicily (and which areas to avoid), the prettiest villages in Sicily or plan out the delicious traditional Sicilian dishes to eat.


The most impressive of all natural attractions in Italy is the Scala dei Turchi in Sicily
Scala dei Turchi is one of the most impressive natural attractions in Italy

15. SCALA DEI TURCHI (SICILY)

Where to stay: Small sustainable hotel in Agrigento or Palermo
Interesting tours: Combine Scala Dei Turchi & Valley of Temples from Palermo
Nearest airport: Palermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport (PMO)

Scala Dei Turchi is one of nature’s most incredible creations and firmly planted at the top of the best natural wonders in Italy. Translated to mean ‘Turkish Stairs’ these limestone chalky cliffs saw Arab pirates seek safety thousands of years ago. Over time, the elements have transformed this cliff edge into a spectacular natural rock staircase not found anywhere else in the world. 

This impressive slice of nature is found in the very south of Sicily and has become a tourist hot spot for sunbathing, swimming and cliff jumping. Sadly in recent years the landmark has become damaged due to over-tourism. In 2022 vandals defaced the monument with red paint (it has since been removed).

Food for thought: Consider taking in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the steps from the neighboring beach instead of clambering on top of the milky steps. The beach is to the right of the steps and can be reached by descending a gentle slope, complete with two bars and a lido.


Blue Grotto in Capri Campania Italy
The Blue Grotto in Capri is the most visited natural wonder in southern Italy

16. BLUE GROTTO (CAMPANIA)

Where to stay: Small B&B on the island of Capri; Sustainable hotel in Sorrento
Interesting tours: Small boat tour to Capri & Blue Grotto from Sorento
Nearest airport: Naples Capodichino Airport (NAP)

The Blue Grotto can be found on the Island of Capri, a beautiful island worthy of a visit in itself. The only way to reach Capri is by water, with transportation departing both Naples and Sorrento. The island boasts three grottos white, green, and blue. Blue Grotto is known in Capri as ‘Grotta Azzzura’ and is one of Capri’s biggest tourist attractions. 

The Grotto has become an infamous natural Italian landmark, which has resulted in access to the site becoming more difficult. If you want to visit this natural beauty you can expect wait times, queues, and expenses but you can also expect a truly unique natural wonderment.

The Grotto is a natural sea cave that is approximately 18 meters (60 feet) deep, 55 meters (180 feet) long, and 23 meters (75 feet) wide. You have to enter the grotto on a rowing boat and you will need to either lie on your back or otherwise lower yourself below the height of the boat to get into the cave.

Despite the unconventional access, once inside you will be treated to the most spectacular sight. A cool, calm, and tranquil setting that is the most vibrant and beautiful blue imaginable. Your 5-minute stay in the cave will be set to the tuneful traditional Italian songs courtesy of the skipper. 


Tavolara Island Sardinia Italy
Tavolara Island in Sardinia, Italy

17. ARCIPELAGO DI LA MADALENA / MADDALENA ARCHIPELAGO (SARDINIA)

Where to stay: On the Maddalena Archipelago itself
Interesting tours: Island tour with a sailboat
Nearest airport: Olbia Airport (OLB)

The Archipelago di La Maddalena is a group of islands nestled between Corsica and Sardinia consisting of 7 main islands and a few other smaller islets, with only three of the biggest islands being inhabited. These islands were declared a National Park in 1994 and to this day remain one of the most breathtaking and unspoiled parts of Italy. 

Take a boat from Sardinia to the largest island, La Maddalena. The small island is surrounded by a scenic 20km road which is well worth a stroll (breathtaking views await). Maddalena is connected with the neighboring Caprera Island by a bridge, crossing the bridge takes a mere 5 minutes by car. 

A must for all visitors to the islands is to visit the pristine beaches. The crystal clear waters are celebrated by locals and tourists alike. For a truly memorable experience be sure to take the small ferry across the translucent strait to the isle of Budelli and witness the most fascinating pink beach, the Spiaggia Rosa. Here you will see one of the true natural wonders of Italy, the clear blue sea gently caressing seldom seen pink sand. 

Sustainable exploring by boat: There is nothing a beautiful as exploring the islands via boat. Consider taking a tour with a sailboat, a much more eco-friendly option than the regular boattours.


Natural Wonders Italy Grotta della Poesia Puglia

18. GROTTA DELLA POESIE (PUGLIA)

Where to stay: Sustainable hotel in Otranto; Locally run B&B in Lecce
Interesting tours: Kayak inside the cave
Nearest airport: Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI)

Grotta Della Poesia is another of the natural Italian landmarks that have become ‘discovered’. What was once a hidden gem of Puglia in sunny Solento is now a much sought-after and busy tourist destination. This pristine pool is located in the Roca Vecchia village on the Adriatic coastline between the cities of Lecce and Otranto.

Translated to mean ‘cave of poetry’ the grotto is a natural pool that is filled with vibrant blue water fed from tunnels to the open sea. The pool is part of the archaeological site of Roca Vecchia, to which you will need to pay an entry fee of €3 ($3). 

Once inside you can scale the craggy limestone cliff edges of the grotto and peer over the incredibly high formations that loom over the brilliant blue water beneath. If you’re feeling brave enough, take the plunge and plummet yourself into the world’s most beautiful natural swimming pool below.


Mount Etna in Sicily Italy

19. MOUNT ETNA (SICILY)

Where to stay: Sustainable hotel in Catania; Locally run B&B in Taormina
Interesting tours: Mount Etna Summit Guided Crater Hike
Nearest airport: Catania–Fontanarossa Airport (CTA)

The proliferation of Mount Etna is not confined to its locale of the small island of Sicily, it is one of the most renowned natural wonders of the world. Mount Etna can be found towering above the city of Catania and remains the only active volcano in Europe and a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Visitors to this natural landmark of Italy will be able to attest that it does indeed remain very active. So much so that it is not uncommon for tours to the summit to be restricted or canceled. Scaling Mount Etna is possible in a variety of different ways: All of which start at 1900 meters altitude in Rifugio Sapienza (both guided and non-guided tours).

Hiking to 2900 meters can be done without a guide, past this point, it is mandatory by law to take a guide for safety reasons (remember the volcano is still active).

When booking a tour make sure to verify if follow items are included price for cable cars (€35/$35 return), if relevant a 4×4 jeep ride (€65/$65 return), and rental of warm clothing.

Plan your trip to Mount Etna: There are a lot of tour options. The most popular ones are the morning or sunset day trip from Catania (includes a wine tasting); combined Mount Etna & Taormina day tour


Amalfi Coast Southern Italy

20. AMALFI COAST (CAMPANIA)

Where to stay: Small B&B in Ravello; B&B in Procida; Sustainable hotel in Sorrento
Interesting tours: Path of Gods hike from Sorrento
Nearest airport: Naples Capodichino Airport (NAP)

The Amalfi Coast is one of Italy’s wonders that is celebrated the world over. A scenic stretch of coastline in Southern Italy that can enable you to enjoy natural landmarks of Italy such as Pompeii and the Blue Grotto but also the glamor and quintessentially Mediterranean vibes of Sorento, Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi itself. 

Time to explore these charming Mediterranean towns can be perfectly balanced with chill-out time on Maiori Beach, breathtaking treks, and sailing to the evocative Furore Fjord. 

The Furore Fjord is a narrow fjord that cuts into the coastline, leading to the town of Furore and a tiny tucked-away beach that was once a fishing village. You can access the Furore village by road but for a truly eye-catching experience enter via the translucent waterway under the monolithic stone arch for which it is famous. 

Good to know: The Amalfi coasts gets extraordinarily busy in the summer season. Head to the lesser-known villages of Ravello and Procida to escape the crowds.

Budget Tip: Amalfi Coast is not a budget destination. An alternative to staying on the expensive Amalfi Coast is staying in budget-friendly Naples and simply taking a day tour from Naples to the Amalfi Coast.


National Park in Italy Parco Nationale de la sila in Calabria

21. PARCO NATIONALE DE LA SILA (CALABRIA)

Where to stay: Camigliatello; Lorica
Nearest airport: Lamezia Terme (SUF)
Official website: Parco Nazionale della Sila

In the center of unknown Calabria in Southern Italy lies an unrept slice of nature: Sila National Park. The park was formally established in 1997 and is packed full of beautiful trails offer up stunning landscapes, exciting mountain paths, and enchanted valleys. 

When hiking through this natural Italian wonder you will be treated to a vast area of diverse plants and species that exude a harmonious mix of colors and shades that change with the seasons. You can walk amongst animals that roam freely, natural springs, castles, sanctuaries, and ruins. There are quite literally hundreds of kilometers of trails waiting to be walked. 

If you are looking for an alternative to hiking then the park can also offer up bike tours, horseback riding, canoeing, cross-country skiing, sailing, and much more. The park is an outdoor mecca of adventure and natural beauty waiting to be explored. 

The various natural attractions in Italy on a map

Have a look at the interactive Google Map to get an idea of the various natural wonders of Italy covered in this guide are located.

Map of natural features in Italy
Map of natural features in Italy

To conclude on natural landmarks in Italy

Even the most ardent city lover will be bound to find at least one natural attraction in Italy to fall in love with. From mountains to craggy coastlines and rushing waterfalls the country has something for everyone.

This guide to the natural attractions in Italy has tried to cover each part of the country (from the far north all the way down to Sicily) to ensure that no matter which part of Italy you end up visiting, there is always the opportunity to take a day trip direction nature.

MORE TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR VISITING ITALY

FOOD: Scrumptious vegetarian food in Italy per region (+how to read the menu)
NORTHERN ITALY: A comprehensive one to two week roadtrip itinerary
DOLOMITES: Which areas to stay, sustainable accomodations and charging points
UMBRIA: 10 Medieval villages you cannot miss in Umbria
SICILY: A local guide to things to do in Palermo (& what not to do)
SICILY: The very best churches in Palermo with impressive views

Natural attractions in Italy: Pin it
Natural Landmarks in Italy
Natural wonders in Italy

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Caroline Muller

Thanks for dropping in! With this blog I hope to harness the power of travel to do good in the world. Think connecting with local cultures, sustainable tourism and in-depth guides to known and lesser-known adventures. 

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