Adventure Through Italy's Central Apennines

Head to Abruzzo for an adventure through lunar landscapes, mountain meadows and wooded riverbanks

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Trip Ref #10546

Adventure Through Italy's Central Apennines

Head to Abruzzo for an adventure through lunar landscapes, mountain meadows and wooded riverbanks

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Italy

ANNUAL LEAVE

3 days off work

SEASON

May-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Rome–Fiumicino International Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Classic

Lodge · Hotel

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY

Challenging

With some long, steep ascents, you'll need good fitness and a head for heights. No previous experience is needed for canoeing or e-biking.

Hike through the imposing peaks of Italy's great wilderness, known as the 'green lung' of Europe

Scramble to the teetering summit of Corno Grande (2912m), the highest mountain in the Apennines

Canoe the crystalline Tirino River and pedal across the remote Campo Imperatore plateau

Day 1

Into the wild

Driving

3hrs

Hiking

3hrs · 7km · 350 up · 350 down

Meet your host at the airport and enjoy the scenic drive to Roccamorice, an ancient stone village nestled within the picturesque Maiella National Park in Abruzzo. Still largely undiscovered, the region of Abruzzo undoubtedly deserves the title of 'Europe’s green lung' thanks to its three national parks and 37 nature reserves. Check into your ecolodge and meet up with your guide, who will brief you on the adventure to come. Then head out for an easy afternoon hike to get your first taste of Abruzzo's natural beauty, walking through the scenic Giumentina Valley and amongst ancient sacred hermitages carved into the rock.

Day 2

Walking on the moon

Hiking

8hrs · 16km · 850m up · 850m down

Fuel up on breakfast ready for a challenging trek along the rocky peaks of Maiella National Park. Starting from Pomilio Refuge, you'll climb to Anfiteatro Murelle (2596m), hiking through dense pine scrub and the endemic plant species which miraculously survive in this lunar landscape. If you’re lucky you may even spot the endangered Marsican bear, wolves, Apennine Chamois, deer or golden eagles as you look out over the peaks. Reach the imposing rocky amphitheatre of Murelle and enjoy jaw-dropping views over a barren, desolate, moon-like environment. On a clear day, the sea is even visible in the distance. Head back down to the valley, where a beer and a well-earned meal awaits.

Day 3

Italy's 'Little Tibet'

Canoeing

2hrs · 5km

Cycling

3hrs · 25km · 300 up · 300 down

Drive to Capestrano where you'll find the azure waters of the Tirino, Europe’s clearest river. In canoes, paddle gently upstream toward the source of this peaceful and serene river, then tuck into lunch at a local agriturismo. In the afternoon, head to Gran Sasso - one of the largest protected areas in Europe - where you'll set out on a sunset e-bike ride across the remote Campo Imperatore plateau. This boundless karst plain, surrounded by mighty peaks, is nicknamed Italy's 'Little Tibet'. Afterwards, enjoy a tasty dinner and get some rest ready for tomorrow's epic summit hike.

Day 4

Summit Corno Grande

Hiking

8hrs · 11km · 960m up · 960m down

After breakfast, drive to the trailhead for the hike to summit Corno Grande (2912 m) - the highest mountain in the Apennines. Setting off from Campo Imperatore, the path quickly climbs up towards the saddle of Monte Aquila with views of the karst plateau and the peak's limestone walls in the distance. Tackle some steep exposed sections and scramble closer to the top of Corno Grande for a view of Europe's southernmost glacier down below. Once at the summit, enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and views of a lifetime. Descend steeply into the valley and celebrate your achievement with a hearty meal. You made it!

Day 5

Calascio and the fortified stronghold

Hiking

3hrs · 7km · 250 up · 250 down

Driving

3hrs

Spend your last morning in Abruzzo on a leisurely hike to the fortified hamlet of Rocca Calascio, exploring the ruins of the castle (which featured in the fantasy film Ladyhawke) and passing the octagonal church of Santa Maria della Pietà, surrounded by fields of colourful crops. Savour a last local lunch in the picturesque village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio before bidding farewell to Abruzzo and heading back to Rome. Arriverderci!

Included

Guides

Local, English-speaking expert guides

Accommodation

2 nights in an ecolodge, 2 nights in a hotel

Meals

All breakfasts and 4 dinners

Transfers

Transfers to and from Rome Airport, and everything in between

Equipment

Fathom Giant Ebike and helmet plus all canoeing gear including life vest, paddles and waterpoof bag

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Lodge · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Lodge · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Breakfasts will be a classic international affair with cereals, bread, pastries and regional products.

Lunches are not included. On Day 2 and Day 4 you will be able to buy packed lunches from either the guesthouse or local shops to take with you on the trek. On Day 3 and Day 5 you will have the chance to try some delicious local restaurants and an agriturismo.

Evening meals are included at your accommodation and you'll be tucking into traditional Italian dishes such as maccheroni alla chitarra (a special type of spaghetti), soup with orapi (wild spinach) and beans, gnocchetti and grilled meat. The wider region has a strong sheep-rearing culture, so plenty of local dairy products are available such as pecorino, ricotta, caciocavallo and a rare goat's cheese called marzolina.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Roccamorice

For the first two nights you'll stay at Dimore Montane in the municipality of Roccamorice, an ancient and picturesque stone village nestled within Abruzzo's Maiella National Park. This comfortable ecolodge provides warm Italian hospitality and cuisine, making it a magical spot to rest in the mountains.

Castel del Monte

The final two nights will be spent in Castel del Monte, a small hamlet which ranks amongst Italy's most beautiful villages. Here you'll stay at the comfortable 3-star Hotel Miramonti (or an alternative of a similar standard), with twin-share or double rooms, a restaurant, a bar, and free WiFi.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge (subject to availability). See Optional Extras for the price.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome

11:00 on Day 1

Ends

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, Rome

16:00 on Day 5

Transfers

On Day 1 you will be collected from Rome Fiumicino airport. Your host will inform you about exact pick-up logistics and timings prior to your trip, but please make sure you book a flight that lands by 11:00 at the latest. You will then be transferred to your hotel in the town of Roccamorice, approximately three hours away from Rome.

On Day 5, your host will drive you from the village of Castel del Monte to the airport in Rome, for onward flights departing after 18:00.

Travel options

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome is well connected via numerous flights across the UK and Europe. US travellers can fly direct to Rome from various major US airports including New York, Miami and LA.

Train travel to Rome is an easy and enjoyable alternative for those looking to avoid flying on this trip. Rome Termini Railway Station is well connected to various major hubs across Italy and in neighbouring France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. Travellers from the UK can take the Eurostar to Paris, followed by the TGV to Turin and then a Frecciarossa (Italian high-speed train) to Rome, all in a single day (or with overnight stays in Turin or Milan).

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)
  • Waterproof liner for rucksack

CLOTHES

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Down jacket
  • Hiking trousers
  • Lightweight trousers with pad
  • Technical t-shirts
  • Hiking boots (worn in)
  • Running shoes for the ebike and canoe
  • Warm hat
  • Thin gloves
  • Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen)

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle(s) - 2 litre
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 123kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

This trips requires a good level of fitness and is ideal for steady-footed, keen hikers with a head for heights: there are some narrow, exposed sections to contend with on Day 4. The hikes on Days 2 and 4 are of moderate to challenging difficulty with steep, loose sections and lthough the distances are not too great, the amount of ascent and descent is considerable. However, the views along the way make the journey more than worthwhile! No previous experience is required for canoeing and e-biking as these activities will be conducted at a more leisurely pace and for shorter durations.

E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular across Europe and on this trip you'll get the chance to test one on a short ride through Campo Imperatore. Generally speaking, e-bikes are bicycles with a battery-powered assistance that comes via pedalling. When you push the pedals, a small motor engages and gives you a boost to help you tackle more challenging climbs or rough terrain. It very much feels like a natural extension of a rider's own pedalling power. They have a max speed limitation and you can also opt to use your e-bike without any support to feel your legs burn, if you prefer!

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion and are non-compulsory on this trip. Of course, if you feel that your guides provided an exceptional experience then you are welcome to tip as much as you feel is appropriate.

The tap water in this part of Italy is safe to drink. Please bring along a reusable bottle or two to take with you on the wildlife tracking excursions.

Temperatures in the Abruzzo Mountains in the summer months average 20° / 68°F. May and October will be cooler, with averages of around 15° / 59°F. Rainfall is lowest in July and highest in May and October, so be sure to pack a rain jacket, though the region gets a lot of unbroken sunshine in the summer.

No. You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you, and then a small daysack to carry personal items during each day of hiking.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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