Anyone who's visited or dreamed of traveling to Venice knows that it's rich in history, stunning architecture, and amazing food. What you may not consider is the abundance of wonderful walks and hikes within the city and beyond. The scenery within a few hours of the Metropolitan City of Venice is awe-inspiring from crystal-clear lakes to Italy's Dolomites to vast regional parks. In such an expensive city, hiking is one of the best free things to do in Venice, that's for sure.
The Italian Alps can be intimidating, especially to a beginner or someone who isn't in the best shape. The good news is that even in the Alps you can find easy to moderate hikes of varying lengths to suit your needs. Before you head out on any trip, even if it's easy, make sure you drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Venice so that you can enjoy your exploration unencumbered.
No matter your preferences, Italy's countryside has the perfect adventure for you. The various trails, other than those in the city, are best left to the period between May to October, and the window gets shorter in the high mountains. Pick one of the routes below and head out on your next Venice hiking experience.
Our Top Hiking Trail Picks in Venice
Tullen Peak and Adolph Munkel Trail
A towering mountain range in the Italian Alps, the Dolomites offer a magical hiking experience for all levels from easy to extremely challenging. Any tourists that can make the trip to tour the area two hours north of Venice will be rewarded with breathtaking views at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you can manage a six-mile circuit, the Adolph Munkel Trail is one of the best walks that's rated easy to moderate. Hiking this loop trail from Zannes offers spectacular views of snow-capped peaks and it is best hiked in June or October when it's not as busy. Rated moderately difficult, the Tullen Peak Hike in Puez-Odle Nature Park features views of the highest summit in the Odle d’Eores, and although the majority of the trail is moderate, the final climb to the peak is steep and exposed. Overall, the elevation varies within 3,600 feet and you should plan to spend between seven and eight hours on this eight-mile route.
Cadini del Brenton
Although technically part of Italy's Dolomites, the Cadini del Brenton easy trail deserves an additional mention. The perfect tour for your holiday, this hike takes visitors over rocky potholes and the stream that flows through them. The result is a magical series of rocky pools and waterfalls of the Mis stream that flows into Lake Mis. The pools are surrounded by mountains offering the perfect setting for a peaceful walk and some fantastic photos. The length of the trail through the valley is less than a mile and should take roughly 30 minutes.
Lago di Garda - Lazise to Bardolino
Fans of easy hikes will love the walk a small section of the area around part-way around Lake Garda about an hour and a half from Venice by car. You can also reach the lake by train as both Peschiera del Garda and Desenzano del Garda have stations that welcome trains from Venice. Although you can reach Lake Garda by bus, it's not the ideal way to travel. It's much longer and will require at least one change.
The scenic lake is dotted with colorful villages, working boats, and distant green mountains. Start at the lovely town of Lazise and head north towards Bardolino along the lakeshore. The path is about three miles one way. To go there and back, plan to spend at least two hours. If you need a rest, there are benches set up along the way. For more of a challenge, continue on from Bardolino to Garda. This will add roughly two miles one way to the journey.
The Road of 52 Tunnels
The road of 52 tunnels is just that - a path that takes hikers to up to 52 tunnels. If you have the endurance, you should aim to visit each of the tunnels, but that can take up to eight hours covering ten miles. The elevation gain is about 3,200 feet, so this hike is recommended for moderate to experienced hikers as it carries a difficult rating. Regardless of your experience level, you'll need a flashlight, headlamp, or fully charged cell phone to navigate through the longer tunnels and good walking shoes.
The trail travels on a high mountain road, so temperature fluctuations are expected. Bring food, water, and flexible clothing. The trail is not a loop so you'll have to either come back the way you came or opt for a slightly shorter route back to the parking lot behind the mountain. There is parking just below the first tunnel and you'll need a car to get here. It's just under two hours from Venice.
Parco San Giuliano
With stunning views over Venice and the lagoon, Parco San Giuliano is a well-manicured park just outside the city center. Wandering the asphalt paths is easy and the park is a great spot for an impromptu picnic. The vast lawns and one-mile trail through the park make this place appealing for anyone incapable of a longer hike. There is relatively no elevation gain, and you can expand out from the initial path if you prefer. This park is ideal for families due to the easy walk, children's play area, and it even has a couple of restaurants. Just be prepared to share the paths with cyclists and joggers, since many locals enjoy this park, too.
Mestre - Bosco Ottolenghi - Tessera - Fiume Marzenego
Near Mestre, just 15 minutes by car from Venice, the walk through Bosco Ottolenghi, Tessera, and Fiume Marzenego is a difficult one. It spans 14.5 miles, although it has little elevation gain. The trail forms a loop around these four towns and offers an escape from other tourists since the trail is generally sparsely populated. Difficult by virtue of the distance covered, this trail features river views and a glimpse of small-town Venetian life.
Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei
The Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei is a vast regional park that's just under an hour from Venice by car. The park offers over 25 designated hiking trails suitable for all levels, from what they call tourist (easy) to EE for experienced hikers. Expert hikers will enjoy the No. 1 - Alta Via dei Colli Euganei Trail that departs from Villa di Teolo. The hike is a loop that can possibly last up to 12 hours and cover more than 25 miles. The views from Mount Arragon and Mount Pirio are just of the rewards along this day-long path.
For moderate hikers, the No. 11 - Mt. Cinto Trail is an easier option. Another loop trail, this one is considerably shorter and covers about three miles. Average hikers will complete this trail, starting from Cinto Euganeo, in about an hour and a half. The amazing views of olive groves and vineyards are worth the climb up Mount Cinto's southern slope.
If easy hikes are more your speed, head to the No. 13 - Monte San Daniele Trail. Although you can expect panoramic views from the San Daniele hill, the elevation gain on this trail is only about 230 feet and lasts about an hour.
If you're planning a visit to the Museo del Vetro, Murano's glass museum, consider staying a while for a charming walk around this artistic island. Great for everyone from beginners to experts, Murano Island gets quite busy during the peak travel season since it's an easy trip from the mainland. While there is no specific trail or path to take, when you explore Murano, make sure to follow a route that includes the Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato built in the seventh century, and stick to the outer streets. These streets will offer the best views over the Grand Canal and the Venetian Lagoon.
As you meander through the shop and gallery-lined streets, be prepared to stop because chances are good that a beautiful piece of glass artwork will catch your eye. Wander into the store to get a better look and pull the trigger on a one-of-a-kind Venice souvenir.
Venice City Walk
When tourists flock to Venice, their main region of focus is generally the Centro Storico. The historic center of Venice is where many must-see attractions reside. The Piazza San Marco has the Doge's Palace, Basilica San Marco, and the National Archaeological Museum, along with a lot more. This square that's densely packed with history will provide the ideal destination or starting point for a walking tour of Venice. Start as early as you can to avoid the crowds and plan to stop halfway through the day for a meal and a rest. If you enjoy brunch, visit the Best Brunch In Venice: The Definitive Guide.
If you're lucky enough to have multiple days to spend in Venice, you can always spread your Centro Storico excursions over a couple of days at least. As you travel around, watch out for dead ends and narrow alleys leading only to a canal. Another excellent place to explore is the streets around the Rialto Bridge. Start on the bridge and head northwest past the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi and Chiesa San Giacomo di Rialto, thought to be the oldest church in the city. Continue along Ruga de Oresi to end up at the Mercatino dell'Antiquariato di Rialto, the fish market that hosts a vintage and antique market open on the second Sunday and Monday of the month. A quick stop at the Chiesa San Giovanni Elemosinario on the way to the market also wouldn't go amiss.
Situated in the Venetian Lagoon, Giudecca Island is a fishbone-shaped group of eight interconnected islands that's the perfect place to tour a little off the beaten path. Giudecca is the closest and biggest island to Venice and to see the best the island has to offer, plan to spend about two hours navigating the area. Take the ferry crossing from the terminal southeast of Piazza San Marco and you'll land on the eastern end of Giudecca. A tour heading west all the way to Sacca Fisola, an artificial island, will take about 30 minutes without stops. If you need help getting to and from the island, visit how to get around Venice.
The hike across Giudecca Island is an easy one using paved roads and sidewalks. It's ideal for beginners, but the breathtaking canal views back toward Venice and the amazing sights have something for everyone. As you navigate from east to west, be sure to stop at various churches along the way, like the Church of the Santissimo Redentore. Before heading out from the ferry terminal, take a moment to look back toward Piazza San Marco and snap a few photos of the square and the easily identifiable bell tower of Basilica San Marco.
Easy Hikes in Venice
The easiest hikes in Venice are the ones through the islands, like Murano and Giudecca, and walks through the old city center. The paths are paved and mostly flat and ideal for beginners or intermediate levels. The nice thing about these walks in the city is that you can tailor them to you. Although they won't be as peaceful as getting out into the mountains, you can stop any time at a local cafe for a break, a meal, and a bathroom. Many apps and websites offer downloadable maps with varied city routes. Using your own two feet is truly the best way to explore Venice.
Intermediate Hikes in Venice
The best intermediate hiking trails near Venice are at the Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei. The Mount Cinto Trail is just one of about a dozen moderate hikes with beautiful views, lush greenery, and historical significance. A perk of hiking here is that it's one of the closest vast natural areas to Venice. The Dolomites National Park also features some of the best intermediate hiking trails in the Veneto region.
Difficult Hikes in Venice
Hikers seeking a challenge should definitely head to the Dolomites. The sheer size of them is impressive and the mountain landscape offers the opportunity to find the ideal difficult route. You can easily spend the whole day or just a few hours exploring the park. Some visitors even stay for a week. To create an extra challenge, since many of the trails link up, you can extend any of the existing routes.
Regardless of your experience or fitness level, hiking around Venice has something that will appeal to everyone. From the peaks of the Dolomites to a city walk around Venice, the Veneto region is a rarity in Europe due to its highly populated cities along with peaceful natural areas. The contrast between the busy Venice train station and the quiet park areas is ideal for both a relaxing and exciting holiday. Although you may want to focus your Venice trip inside the Centro Storico, a trip just an hour or two away can be extremely rewarding.
Before you set out on a journey, just make sure you have a few things, even for city walking. Comfortable hiking shoes or boots are a must and water is essential. Bring your phone or camera to capture yourself among the stunning scenery, and appropriate clothing keeping in mind that temperatures can change drastically in the mountains, especially.