If you’re a fan of climbing and are looking for an adrenaline rush like no other, with incredible views to take in at the end of your climb… or whether you just love heights and are up for a challenge, then head to Italy, grab your harness, helmet and hiking shoes, to try some of Europe’s best Via Ferrata routes.
For those that are new to Via Ferrata, this sport is accessible to all levels of ability, only requiring climbers to have a reasonable level of physical fitness. If you’re after a great solo activity or family holiday sport to try – try Via Ferrata for all the fun of climbing, without the fear of falling (you’re always attached by at least one rope and carabiner clip, in your control.)
Check out our top 5 picks for the best Via Ferrata routes, with great views guaranteed…
1. Sentiero Contrabbandieri, near Arco (Lake Garda) – Intermediate
This incredible climb, around rocky cliff sides with sheer drops and with beautiful views of Lake Garda below, is a route that was historically used by smugglers, to cross the boundaries between Italy and Austria. This rugged cliff-face route offers heights, history and stunning natural beauty, a great route, near a great destination. Make your way under overhanging rocks, through narrow paths, across ravines and around mountainsides, with ladder descents to make, this scenic route is varied and thrilling.
2. Finanzieri al Colac, Dolomites (near Bolzano) – Intermediate
A challenging route around some of Europe’s most famous and beautiful mountains and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dolomites. Hike up to 2150m, to the Colac peak, higher than many of the stunning surrounding peaks, taking in the views as you go. A long, steep and challenging Via Ferrata, this route, involving a lot of uphill scrambling and climbing, is a great way to see some incredible views, test your endurance, strength and nerve. Spend a full day conquering this route, soaking in the Italian sunshine and enjoying the majesty of the Dolomite Mountains.
3. Col dei Bos, Dolomites (near Cortina d’Ampezzo) – Beginner
A more challenging beginner’s route, this Via Ferrata will make you climb 80m of vertical wall, hike to an elevation of 2559m through beautiful forested areas and end with a 100m climbing route. A rewarding experience, offering you unforgettable views of the thick-forested areas far below and other peaks part of this stunning mountain range. This is a great route for a first experience of the sport, which will hopefully make you hungry to try more!
4. Fanes Waterfalls (near Cortina d’Ampezzo) – Beginner
Explore this magical vertical terrain, hiking through forest, past streams and the beautiful 120m high cascading waters of Fanes Waterfall. This route has two descent options to choose from, so that you can tailor-make the route to what you want to experience… or come back and do the other option next time! An easy route, great for people wanting a taste of the sport as well as a great vantage point to see the waterfall from.
5. Ra Pegna Tower (near Cortina d’Ampezzo) – Beginner
A great family-friendly Via Ferrata, accessible to children over the age of 6 years, this approximately two-hour long route includes a short climb and some uphill scrambling. This rewarding route offers great family holiday memories and unforgettable views of the surrounding cloud-hidden peaks. Take in the beauty of the area’s stunning rock formations, familiarise yourself with the Via Ferrata equipment and practice your climbing technique on this short route up the naturally-occurring rock tower of Ra Pegna.
Top Photo Credit: Frantisek Duris