Things to Do in Abruzzo: Hiking, Swimming, Eating Locally, & More

May 5, 2023

There is no shortage of amazing things to do in Abruzzo. Known as Italy’s greenest region,  Abruzzo featuers both the Adriatic coastline and the Apennine Mountains. If you like outoor adventures and off-the-beaten-path travel, Abruzzo should definitely be on your radar!

Filled with miles of unspoiled parks and countryside, the southern region of Abruzzo offers tons of green travel options. And, of course, green travel isn’t just about reducing the carbon footprint while on vacation—it’s also about supporting local businesses, and really getting to know the land and the people who live there. Since Abruzzo tends to be off the beaten path for most travelers, there are even more authentic ways to do that here than elsewhere in Italy.

green and brown mountains under blue sky during daytime

Gran Sasso d’Italia is a mountain range that contains the highest point of the Apennine Mountains. Photo credit: Daniele Franchi

Best things to do in Abruzzo

If you like the outdoors and off-the-beaten-path travel, you’ll love Abruzzo! You won’t find a grand tour of famous sites in this region… but you will get a genuine feeling of what daily Italian life is like, plus get to experience rolling hills, spectacular mountains, and stunning beaches.

Explore Abruzzo’s national parks

Abruzzo is especially famous for its parks, which cover about a third of the region. Head to Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e dei Monti della Laga, and Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino to get in touch with the “green heart of Italy.” In particular, we’d like to highlight Majella National Park (Parco Nazionale della Majella), a UNESCO Global Geopark with incredible landscapes.

These parks aren’t just green; they also boast some of Europe’s tallest mountains. The Apennines are perfect for skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, and so high that you can see both the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas from their peaks.

man in black jacket and brown pants sitting on rock formation during daytime

Abruzzo, Italy has no shortage of incredible natural areas. Photo credit: Federico Di Dio photography

Swim or relax at the amazing beaches

Looking for something more relaxing? Another great thing to do in Abruzzo is explore one of the region’s many beaches along the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea. Many are known for their crystal-clear waters and are great for snorkeling. Plenty of hiking trails are near the beaches, as well. Overall, Abruzzo has a variety of beautiful beaches to choose from, with something for everyone. Some of the top beaches in Abruzzo include:

  • Spiaggia di Punta Penna: Located near the town of Vasto, this beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and golden sand. It’s a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
  • Spiaggia di Torre Cerrano: This sandy beach is located in the town of Pineto and is part of a protected marine area. It has a long stretch of beach, and the waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Spiaggia di Silvi Marina: Silvi Marina is a popular beach town in Abruzzo with a long sandy beach and clear waters. It’s perfect for families, with plenty of amenities nearby, such as restaurants, bars, and shops.
  • Spiaggia di Francavilla al Mare: Francavilla al Mare is a town located just north of Pescara, and it has a beautiful beach with golden sand and clear waters. There are plenty of amenities nearby, including restaurants, bars, and hotels.
white sailboat on blue sea during daytime

Sentiero d’Accesso, in the town of Vasto is located in the Regional Natural Reserve Punta Aderci. Photo credit: Vincenzo De Simone

Savor Abruzzo’s culinary scene

Abruzzo’s rich mix of mountains and sea makes for very fertile farmland—which means deliciously fresh produce! Abruzzo’s traditional dishes tend to serve up seasonal products, so you may not find the same dishes in the winter as you do in the summer (which is much better for the environment!).

Pecorino cheese, a definite on any shopping list for Tuscany from Rome

Pecorino cheese is popular in Abruzzo.

Specialties in Abruzzo include arrosticini (roasted lamb skewers), handmade maccheroni alla chitarra (a pasta similar to spaghetti and resembling guitar strings) and pecorino (hard cheese made from sheep’s milk). These dishes tasted even better when paired with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo red wine!

Travel sustainably

gray concrete castle under cloudy sky during daytime

Roccascalegna is a picturesque destination in the province of Chieti. Photo credit: Federico Di Dio

Staying at organic farms and hiking in the mountains are green ways to travel in Abruzzo. But there are other sustainable ways to travel in Abruzzo and help the region, too. In 2009, Abruzzo’s capital of L’Aquila was devastated by an earthquake. It’s slowly rebuilding, but one way to help is to promote the region’s local businesses.

And that’s easier than you may think! There are plenty of great things to do in Abruzzo to support the local economy. Eating  local, seasonal food, buying artisanal goods, and staying at family-owned establishments not only boost local business, but give you a real feel for the region.

Of course, we also recommend traveling as little as possible by car. Instead, get lost on foot. Not only is it good for you, but it allows you to see the many hidden treasures that the region has to offer.

Stay in a unique setting

Immerse yourself in nature and enjoy sustainable accommodation in any one of Abruzzo’s four provinces (L’Aquila, Teramo, Chieti, and Pescara). Green lodging options include renting an apartment or staying at a local bed-and-breakfast or agriturismo (farms that rent out rooms to guests).

Interested in getting your hands dirty during your Abruzzo adventures? Include organic farming in your vacation by using websites like WOOF and GrowFood, which can organize opportunities for working on farms and living with local families for extended periods of time.


Update notice: This article was updated on May 5, 2023.

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