Top 7 nature reserves and parks in Italy

7 national parks, endless adventure

If you're tired of city life and need a break, what would you say about a nature retreat for a few days? Italy is full of national parks, lush forests and gorgeous lakes. So, hop on a ferry and enjoy some of the top nature reserves in Italy! Besides, serenity and breathtaking views are closer than you think!

Wild donkeys in the Asinara National Park, Sardinia, Italy

Happy wild donkeys in Asinara National Park, Sardinia

The best national parks in Italy

Did you know that Italy has as many as 25 national parks ranging from the sea to the mountains? With endless green fields, streams, creeks, and wildlife, Italy boasts an amazing biodiversity. So, are you ready to discover our top 7 natural reserves and plan a green trip to Italy this year?

1. Asinara National Park

In Sardinia, there is a 16-km-long uninhabited island that is also a national park. We are talking about Asinara, a marine-protected area of marvelous scenic beauty.

Here nature reigns unspoiled with its cliffs, coves and secluded beaches. Discover the island of donkeys by bike, train, or car, and enjoy a unique experience!

You can reach the island of Asinara from Porto Torres by ferry. The connection is operated by the ferry company Delcomar and the crossing lasts approximately 1 hour. Wondering what’s the best time of the year to visit the Asinara National Park? You can enjoy it all year round. However, the island is at its best in spring!

2. The Tuscan Archipelago National Park

With a stretch of the sea extending for over 600 km2 between Livorno and the Argentario promontory, the Tuscan Archipelago National Park includes the largest number of islands in Italy.

Elba, Capraia and Pianosa are just a few of the park's wonders with imposing rock cones and granite cliffs.

If you are a nature enthusiast, you will be pleased to know that the entire area is home to rich wildlife, from seabirds to several species of dolphins, rare fish, anemones, and corals.

3. The Cinque Terre National Park

Located about 1.5 hours from Genoa, this is the most densely populated national park in Italy, and also the smallest. It is composed of 5 villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. This area has become world-famous thanks to the colorful houses and terraces overlooking the sea.

The Cinque Terre National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts 120 km of hiking trails with spectacular views of the Ligurian coast. There are trails of all kinds and levels, from the most challenging (for the pros) to paved walks (for the lovebirds), and even underwater trails.

You should also visit the Cetacean Sanctuary in summer and get your chance to spot whales, dolphins and sperm whales!

View of the village of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre National Park, Liguria, Italy

The beautiful village of Vernazza, one of the 5 towns of the Cinque Terre National Park

4. La Maddalena Archipelago National Park

We return to Sardinia, but this time to the northeast, to discover one of the most extraordinary marine parks in the world. You can take a ferry from the port of Palau to reach the island of La Maddalena, the largest in the archipelago. The trip only lasts about 20 minutes.

With over 180 km of coastline, this beautiful national reserve has some of Italy's best-known beaches, such as Cala Coticcio and Cala Corsara. The park also has more than 900 plant species typical of the Mediterranean scrub.

Plan your day trip to La Maddalena and experience beautiful Sardinia all year round!

5. Circeo National Park

Among the oldest in Italy, Circeo National Park is located on the Tyrrhenian coast of Lazio and takes its name from the homonymous promontory. This oasis of biodiversity stretches between Anzio and Terracina and is a perfect blend of history, nature and myth.

You can visit it freely either on foot or by bicycle, admire its 4 lakes, and enjoy water sports such as sailing or boating.

The National Park Authority has also established educational centers in the green areas, workshops and tours.

Tip: while exploring Circeo National Park, don't miss the chance to visit the stunning Pontine Islands! Ferries to Ponza from Terracina are frequent and convenient, making it a perfect side trip from your mainland adventure.

Panorama of the coastline of the Circeo National Park in Italy

Spectacular views of the Circeo National Park and its coastline

6. The Cilento National Park

If you are planning to visit Salerno and its surroundings, you certainly cannot miss this magnificent protected natural area.

Due to its diverse terrain, it has been also recognized (1997) as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Among beaches, coastal pine forests, remains of Greek colonies, and monasteries you will get amazed by the breathtaking scenery.

Must-sees to put on your list include the archaeological site of Paestum, the Palinuro Caves, the Marina di Camerota beach, and the shrine of the Madonna of Monte Sacro.

7. The Sibillini Mountains National Park

Placed in the heart of Italy and about a 1-hour-drive from Ancona, the Sibillini Mountains National Park has more than 20 peaks exceeding 2,000 m and a history dating back thousands of years. This reserve is rich in natural beauty and is perfect for hiking and relaxation.

In addition to hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, there are organized wildlife tours and you’ll be able to practice rafting, rowing, and skiing.

If you plan to visit the park from May to mid-July, you can also witness the famous blooming of Castelluccio di Norcia, a true explosion of colors!

The flowering meadows of Castelluccio di Norcia, in the Monti Sibillini National Park, Italy

The flowering fields of Castelluccio di Norcia in the Monti Sibillini National Park

So, which national park in Italy has captivated you the most? Choose your next destination and check our Map of ferries to explore all available ferry routes! Book your ferry tickets on Ferryhopper and hop on an adventure to discover the top natural parks in Italy.