Holidays in Abruzzo: sea, mountains, cities and parks to visit

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Located on the east coast of central Italy, Abruzzo is a region rich in beauty and spectacular landscapes, with numerous seaside resorts, wonderful lakes, unspoiled parks, breathtaking mountain ranges, castles and medieval villages, monasteries and Roman ruins.

Known as the greenest region of Italy, Abruzzo hosts numerous parks within its borders: the Abruzzo National Park, Lazio and Molise, the Majella National Park and Gran Sasso National Park e Monti della Laga, the Sirente-Velino Regional Natural Park and numerous protected areas which represent more than 35% of its total surface.



The Abruzzo coast, which is also home to many, is also very popular beaches, beautiful, long and sandy. Many of them have been decorated with the prestigious award "Blue flag" for cleaning and facilities.

We do not forget its beautiful villages, the region has 23 classified among the most beautiful in Italy and even HuffingtonPost mentioned Abruzzo in its article “The 12 best places in the world to live or retire”.

Its privileged location and climate, allow it to offer to tourists and residents a wide variety of activities during the whole year.

The choice of accommodation is vast. You can stay in a hotel, apartment or tourist residence by the sea, in the mountains or in the city. Another interesting choice in this green region is to stay in a farmhouse with stays on a farm or in the mountains in often enchanting landscapes near the villages mentioned above and taste the excellent cuisine and regional wines.

Beach holidays in Abruzzo

The Adriatic coast of Abruzzo is a popular tourist destination, with miles of safe beaches and soft golden sand. It's a unique and enviable coast, with transparent waters that lap the shore and a luxuriant Mediterranean vegetation that adorns the landscape.



The whole area is ideal for a particularly relaxing and comfortable holiday suitable for families. Modern seaside resorts, sports facilities, numerous shops, excellent restaurants and a lively nightlife make Abruzzo one a favorite destination for young people too.

Among the most famous seaside resorts we mention:

martinsicuro - at the foot of the mountains

Alba Adriatica - stands out for its long white sandy beaches, cool pine forests and a cycle path that runs along the entire seafront.

Pineto - known for its shady park and long cycle path. It is a quiet area, ideal for families, with a clear sea with shallow water and many play areas dedicated to children.

Montesilvano - it is a very popular resort for its shallow waters, perfect for families with children

Pescara - a lively and modern city, with a good nightlife and with the largest marina on the Adriatic. The warm and welcoming atmosphere makes it attractive to people of all ages.

Francavilla by the sea - famous for its long beaches and medieval towers

Trabocchi coast - south of Pescara, the coast begins to change from wide sandy beaches, to spectacular cliffs and secluded bays. Great area for scuba diving.

extensive - undoubtedly the city that best combines beaches and culture. The area is full of marinas.

San Salvo Marina - a small and charming town with magnificent and well-equipped beaches.


Other renowned holiday resorts are Tortoreto, Giulianova, Silvi Marina and Roseto degli Abruzzi.

Find a hotel, apartment or B&B for your holidays in Abruzzo

 


Mountain Holidays in Abruzzo

There are three several Italian national parks within the Abruzzo borders - the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, the Monte Majella National Park and the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park - as well as the Sirente Velino Regional Park and various Nature Reserves.

Together they cover more than a third of the territory and they are the kingdom of flowers and wildlife, with wolves, lynxes, bears, etc. But these wild animals are difficult to observe without the help of the national park guides who regularly organize guided hikes.

There are numerous trails that cross these mountains, and they represent an excellent opportunity to discover the magnificent landscapes and the rich flora and fauna of the region. In fact, in the protected areas of Abruzzo it is guarded beyond 75% of the animal and plant species in Europe.

The region also holds the highest peaks of the peninsular Apennines: the Gran Sasso of Italy (2 914 m slm), it Sirente-Velino (2 487 m s.l.m.) e la Majella (2 793 m s.l.m.).

Many visitors come to Abruzzo for its famous ski resorts such as Campofelice, Campo Imperatore, Ovindoli, Rivisondoli, Pescocostanzo, Prati di Tivo, Roccaraso, Scanno and Tagliacozzo.

What to see in Abruzzo

Lake of Scanno

 


Lake Scanno is the largest natural lake in Abruzzo, and the most suggestive, from the incredible heart shape. It is a quiet and picturesque destination just north of the Abruzzo National Park. The journey to get there, through the Rocky Mountains, offers panoramic views of the region's breathtaking landscapes.

Il emerald green lake and the fresh mountain air are perfect for relaxation, but you can also pass the time by birdwatching or a canoe or pedal boat excursion. And after a walk it is definitely worth a visit Scanno, and its magnificent historic center made up of ancient houses leaning against each other, stairways and the dense alleys that follow one another.


Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park

The Gran Sasso National Park, established in 1991, is the third largest National Park in Italy by territorial extension and one of the largest protected areas in Europe.

The park includes the Gran Sasso massif and the Monti della Laga chain and is composed of a set of mountains, with the highest peak in Abruzzo, the big horn, which reaches 2.912 meters above sea level.

The Gran Sasso has one incredible scenery made of steep slopes and majestic peaks from which you can admire the Adriatic Sea and much of central Italy. Its landscapes are characterized by woods, waterfalls and ponds and dotted with ancient villages, castles, abbeys, hermitages and caves. Do not miss the Caccamo Waterfall in the Gorges of Salinello.

The beauty of the park can be enjoyed by following its multiple paths on horseback, by bicycle or on foot. Numerous excursions allow you to appreciate the plateaus, such as that of Campo Imperatore, known as "little Tibet".

In addition to his abundant fauna, with rare animals such as wolves, cats, wild boars and bears, the park is recognized all over the world also for the diversity of plants which hosts, with more than 2000 species of plants present!

Rocca Calascio 

Its main attraction are the remains of one fortress of the thirteenth century, one of the oldest vestiges in Italy and also one of the highest in the Apennines, at 1.460 meters above sea level.

Your position, perched on top of a hill, makes the walk to see it a real challenge, but the reward of the spectacular views from the top is worth it.

To reach the castle you can leave your car in the village and continue on foot following a rather steep path for about 30 minutes. Or you can almost reach the top by car and walk only 10 minutes.

Alba Fucens

These ruins of a 'ancient Italic city they are a real hidden jewel, surrounded by the mountain ranges of Monte Velino and Majella and by lush green hills.

Here you will find some stunning examples of Roman and medieval ruins including a ancient amphitheater which is still used today for concerts, theater and other events.

There is also a market, spa, castle ruins and temple in the area, making it an ideal place for a day trip.

L'Aquila

L'Aquila, located at the foot of the Gran Sasso, is the best known city as well as the regional capital. She is famous for her rich artistic heritage.

Do not miss the magnificent Basilica of San Bernardino, its sixteenth-century castle, or the Fountain of the 99 spouts (also known as the Rivera fountain), decorated with ninety-three stone masks and six single spouts.

One of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Abruzzo is the Basilica of Santa Maria de Collemaggio. Built in 1287 it has been an important religious site throughout history, with the mausoleum of Pope Celestine V found inside.

Unfortunately, the earthquake of April 6, 2009 caused serious damage to the city and its historical and artistic heritage.

In the surroundings there are many testimonies of the complex history of Abruzzo, from the famous Piccolomini Castle of Celano, now home to the Archaeological and Sacred Art Museum, to the remains of the ancient Roman city of Alba Fucens.

Find accommodation in L'Aquila

Chieti Alta

Located on the hills near the coast, at over three hundred meters above sea level, Chieti Alta is one balcony on the region, which offers a succession of panoramic views. The city is rich in remains and buildings that tell the various historical phases. In its maze of characteristic alleys there are beautiful churches, palaces and squares.

You can visit the church of San Francesco della Scarpa Cathedral of San Giustino,Exedra of the Fish market (Seafood and raw fish), a beautiful semicircular structure with a portico, the Palazzo de 'Mayo Museum, and the National Archaeological Museum, with its prehistoric remains and its evidence of the Greek and Roman civilizations.

Find accommodation in Chieti 

Sulmona

Located close to the Majella National Park, in the heart of Abruzzo, this quiet medieval town, home of the poet Ovid, is famous all over the world for the production of sugared almonds.

Sulmona is rich in history and traditions and preserves precious artistic and historical testimonies of great charm, including the famous hermitage of Celestino V, the medieval aqueduct of the twelfth century, the church of San Filippo Neri and that of Santa Chiara, the cathedral of San Panfilo and Piazza Garibaldi, one of the largest in Italy.

Do not miss the beautiful church of San Francesco della Scarpa and the complex of the Santissima Annunziata, declared a national monument in 1902. In the immediate vicinity, theCelestine Abbey of the Holy Spirit worth a visit for its church and restored baroque halls.

Finally, Sulmona is a ideal starting point to explore the Majella Park and the Abruzzo National Park.

Find accommodation in Sulmona

Pescara

Although it is not the capital of the region, it is one of the most visited cities in the area. Known by many for being the home of the famous poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, this port city, year after year, gains popularity thanks to its vibrant nightlife and music and art festivals.

Despite having a predominantly modern aspect, it hosts several sites of religious, architectural and archaeological interest, such as the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Sette Dolori, the Cathedral of San Cetteo, the birthplace of D'Annunzio e Manthoné course, heart of old Pescara and center of Pescara nightlife.

There are also beautiful outdoor spaces such as the D'Avalos Park, the marina, the most important of the entire Abruzzo coast, and of course, the seafront. The large e is very popular modern beach of Pescara. During the summer, its bathing establishments are transformed into real nightclubs on the sea.

Find accommodation in Pescara

The Majella Park

The park consists of a massif interspersed with deep valleys and gorges and hosts one very rich fauna, including large mammals, such as the wolf, the Marsican bear, the Apennine chamois and a vast variety of flora made up of over 2000 species.

It is a ecological reserve like no other. Inside there are seven state nature reserves and various cultural assets, among the most important in Abruzzo.

Trabocchi coast

Trabocchi –

A unique place. One coast 133 kilometers long, formed by beautiful seaside resorts, pebble coves, cliffs, pine forests and long beaches.

But the real protagonists of this part of the coast are the trabocchi, small wooden buildings, on the sea, similar to stilts, which were used for fishing. Currently most of the trabocchi no longer work for fishing but rather offer catering services.

The most beautiful places of the coast are Ortona, Ripari di Giobbe and Punta dell'Acquabella, from where the Trabocchi coast begins.

Santo Stefano di Sessanio

It is a medieval village, registered among the most beautiful villages in Italy. Located in the province of L'Aquila, at 1250 meters above sea level, Santo Stefano di Sessanio is one of the access doors inside the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park.

Among its narrow streets you can visit the Casa del Capitano, the Palace of the Loggias, a noble residence now transformed into a widespread hotel, the Medici gate, the Church of Santo Stefano, the Medici Chapel of Santa Maria delle Grazie or del Carmine and other buildings dating back to the 400th century.

For trekking lovers there is the Santo Stefano lake, the nature trail up to Rocca Calascio or the ski trail for the Gran Sasso horse trail.

Majella National Park

The Majella National Park is one of the three national parks in the region. AND one of the best preserved Apennine ecosystems, consisting of more than 100 square km of immaculate mountains and canyons to explore.

In the warmer months, its hiking trails are the ideal activity for those who love the great outdoors. Not to be missed in the areaHermitage of San Bartolomeo in Legio, the most famous rock refuge in Abruzzo, just outside the village of Roccamorice, dug into the mountain and immersed in the silence of the surrounding woods, and theHermitage of Santo Spirito, one of the most important monasteries of the Majella.

They are both so suggestive that, about 800 years ago, the future Pope Celestine V chose them as places of his meditation and prayers.

Other places to visit in Abruzzo

Atri - one of the oldest pre-Roman cities rich in art and culture. It is a small town, easily accessible, but which attracts attention above all for its religious aspect. Its Concathedral Basilica is considered the Sistine Chapel of Abruzzo for its beauty.

Pescoconstanzo - It is considered the most beautiful town in all of Europe, due to its Baroque and Renaissance architecture. The most important monument of the place is its church, which is accessed by climbing its great staircase. This place has acquired its fame among ski lovers, thanks to its proximity to the best slopes.

The caves of Stiffe - a complex of karst caves, located within the Sirente-Velino regional natural park, which offer a fantastic scenery with the underground river that jumps on the rocks, creating extraordinary sound effects and suggestive waterfalls. Inside the caves numerous events are carried out such as the living nativity scene in the cave.

Barrea Lake - an artificial lake located in the province of L'Aquila, of a breathtaking beauty. The best point from which to contemplate the lake is the belvedere located right along the main road, in the center of the town.

Silvi Alta - a medieval village 250 meters above sea level and one of the most beautiful places on the Adriatic coast, famous for its belvedere that surrounds almost the whole village and from which you can admire the whole coast, the immense sea, the mountains.

Civitella del Tronto - is another enchanting town in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. It houses the largest fortress in Italy and the second in Europe, offering a 360 ° view of three different mountain ranges, the village below and the Adriatic Sea.

What to do in Abruzzo

Abruzzo offers different types of holidays, all exciting and full of surprises. There are many sports that can be practiced in contact with nature.

Lovers of and snowboard they can visit the peaks of the Apennines and the renowned tourist resorts Roccaraso, Rivisondoli, Pescasseroli and Campo Imperatore. The magnificent landscapes of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise offer different itineraries for cross-country skiing.

For those who practice the trekking, hiking or cycling there are several protected areas and places of particular naturalistic value such as the splendid Sagittario Gorges, the Zompo lo Scchioppo waterfalls, or the lakes of Penne and Serranello.

From Gran Sasso to Sirente, the high mountain environment is particularly suitable formountaineering and climbing.

There are countless possibilities for horseback riding, as in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga Park which hosts a path of hundreds of kilometers through natural environments of particular value.

Along the coast it is possible to practice all water sports such as sailing, canoeing, fishing, windsurfing, thanks to the presence of equipped beaches and modern facilities. There are also several cycle paths between pine forests. At night you can have fun in the discos, clubs and restaurants of the various coastal towns.

There are no shortage of them religious itineraries towards places of devotion immersed in tranquility, including the famous Hermitage of Celestino V, enclosed in a rocky wall, or the Romanesque-Gothic church of Santa María de Propezzano in the Vomano Valley.

- lovers of gastronomy they can travel among olive groves and vineyards, from the Adriatic coast to the hinterland to visit wineries and taste wines, oils and exquisite local products.

Finally, do not miss the religious holidays and cultural events, such as the famous Feast of Forgiveness in L'Aquila, the feast of the Serpari in Cocullo, the Living Nativity of Rivisondoli or the numerous pilgrimages that take place in the villages.

How to get to Abruzzo

By plane - there is only one airport in Abruzzo, and it is in Pescara, about 20 minutes from the city center. The airport is not very big, but it does have several national and international flights.

By train - both large and small cities are well connected by train. If you decide to go from Rome to Pescara, the journey costs around € 15 and takes 4 hours. If, on the other hand, you arrive from Milan, the journey takes about 4 and a half hours and costs about € 50. For more information on timetables and prices, visit the Trenitalia page directly.

By bus - in some cases, the bus is much more practical and cheaper than the train. For example, a FlixBus departing from Rome to Pescara takes only three hours and costs less than € 10.

Finally, I recommend that you rent a car to explore the area. This will allow you to have greater independence in terms of route and timetables and to reach and visit the Naturalia Parks in complete freedom. The roads and highways are well connected and safe.

Corvara in Abruzzo -
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