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Weekend Hiking Trip from Florence in November

Hi all,

I'm researching an easy place for college kids to go for some outdoor activity in nature during November/December from Florence. It would be for 2 nights only. They don't have tons of money to spend so aren't looking for a fancy resort. Just a place to go enjoy hiking and the outdoors.

-Chamonix was suggested but it seems difficult to get to from Florence.
-Can you get to the Dolomites by train? Bolzano or Castelrotto
-Varenna and hiking? Is there snow at Lake Como in late November?
-Elsewhere in Italy? Sicily?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Edited for more accurate request 😊

Posted by
12544 posts

The Dolomites would be the simplest. There are direct trains (no changes) between Florence and Bolzano, taking a little over 3 hours. From Bolzano there is good bus service to the mountain villages, such as Ortesei in Val Gardena. The problem is they may have trouble finding lodging in November; many of the hotels shut down for a break between hiking season and ski season. And the lifts my not be running.

Posted by
2507 posts

Plenty of good advice above.
To be more specific about skiing: ski season in the Dolomites typically starts in the 1st weekend of December on a limited basis, with more lifts and runs open from the 2nd weekend onwards. This is Covid-permitting: if I remember correctly, Italian ski resorts remained shut last season.
Early snow cover can be very patchy anywhere in the Alps and especially in the Dolomites; there is excellent snowmaking there so the runs should be OK, but you frequently get the strange feeling of skiing on white ribbons in green surroundings. Great scenery, though!
From Florence, Kronplatz is very easy to get to by train, and quite large with top-notch facilities. So is Val Gardena, prettier but possibly more expensive.

Posted by
26373 posts

west of Turin (Torino) is Sestriere where the 2006 Winter Olympics skiing events were held.

There appear to be plenty of lifts and runs. What would they be like in November? Dunno. Probably too early, but maybe have a look.

I think if they are still in Florence after New Year they may have a better chance of snowboarding anywhere nearby....

Good luck

Posted by
267 posts

Why not simply the Cimone area, between Tuscany and Emilia? From the Abetone on Tuscany side or Fanano/Sestola on the Emilia side
End of December is better: in November often the slopes aren't covered with snow yet (mainly in the last year, with global warming we have a good amount of snow only in January/February) or there is only artificial one (if temperatures and water availability allow it!).

Posted by
608 posts

Late November may be early for snow. Is the hiking good? I think they are simply looking to get out of the city for a weekend.

I originally suggested hiking the Cinque Terre but then thought the villages might be shut down for the winter by then.

Are the lakes nice that time of year? Maybe hike the Sentiero del Viandante near Lake Como?

Posted by
267 posts

Why not the "Via degli Dei" from Florence to Bologna?
Or the Cammino di Dante to Ravenna:

In general November could be a bad month for outdoor activities. Not so cold for snow, but often very rainy.
For hiking in that season probably is better southern Italy, but could be rainy there too.
Lakes are always nice and all lakes have something to do even if the weather isn't good for hiking.
The "Via del Viandante" on lake Como is a very interesting area: usually all tourists go on the other shore of the lake, but even the eastern one has a lot of interesting places. I suggest you to contact the "Montagne lago di Como" DMC to have much more details about it and to arrange accommodation and activities:

Posted by
608 posts

Thank you Emily and Ricky!

They aren’t hardcore hikers. They are looking for an opportunity to see another area but prefer a place to explore outdoors versus museums and churches.

They have weekend trips planned to Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Marseilles and the Amalfi Coast. Hopefully they will get to Cinque Terre and Venice before the rain and flooding.

I agree a weekend at Lake Como or one of the lakes would be lovely and offer some outdoor trails, castles and exploration! We have not had any luck finding an AirBnB in Varenna. Are there taxis to get to places a little further out? Any other towns recommended that the train goes to?

Thank you!

Posted by
1223 posts

Emily is right, there are plenty of nearby trails without going so far. Also the Dolomiti in November can be dangerous and they are serious mountains that ordinary college kids may not find enjoyable. The Garfagnana is a good suggestion, and the Casentino National Park is nearby There's also the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrimage route that is mostly rural and passes through Tuscany. The sections starting with #5 on this official site are not far from Florence:

Posted by
26373 posts

some of the places look quite far away, @Mike because the thread started out as a skiing-hiking-lakes request which is now a hiking request.

Posted by
12376 posts

I would go to Vallombrosa, near the Consuma Pass. There are plenty of nice hotels nearby in the village of Saltino. If you like forests, there are plenty there to explore while hiking and you are only 35km from Florence. If you have a car you can get up there in less than one hour. With a bus maybe 1.5 hours at most.