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5 Best Ways to Discover Tuscany
July 27th, 2020 | By: Alexandra Koukidou
Tuscany is deservedly praised for a lot of different things. Its outstanding beauty is traced in the rich history of the region, which is still evident today in the cities and villages. The green and hilly countryside with the towering cypresses, the olive groves, and the countless vineyards have all contributed to the spread of its reputation worldwide. The coastal villages are not missing from the picture, and the excellent food and wine round out the perfection of Tuscany. Many visitors ask about the best ways to discover this majestic place, and the only definite answer is by flowing out to the countryside, up the hills, down the streams, in the scattered villages that seem to leap out of a painting. From more common ideas such as hiking to more original ones like hot air balloon flights, we gathered the 5 best ways to help you discover every corner of enchanting Tuscany.
#1 Bike Tour
If you had your fill with exploring the Renaissance Florence, medieval Sienna, and Romanesque-Gothic Pisa, you’re ready to get to know the uncomparable bucolic countryside of Tuscany. By riding a bike, you’ll see as much as you can of the rural landscape, without fail. Of course, you’ll need some expert help in doing this. That’s why we recommend Tuscany Bike Tours! They always put customer safety and professionalism first and offer all-encompassing one-day excursions in Tuscany. Dedicated to providing the fullest experience to their customers, they set up tours that include wine and oil tasting in the hills of Chianti. While cycling, you’ll stop to capture some of the most characteristic Tuscan villas, that weds the traditional Italian with the rural Mediterannean element. A full day of cycling ends with an Italian feast in a family-owned restaurant and the region’s best wine. For those who like biking but in a more laid-back atmosphere, then Tuscany Bike Tours offers brand new e-bike tours in Chianti and San Gimignano. With plenty of choices, it’s up to you to pick the tour that looks ideal to you.
#2 Fly with a Hot Air Ballon
Most likely, it never crossed your mind that a fun original way to see Tuscany would be in a hot air balloon. Without a doubt, it offers the best panoramic vistas you could ever imagine. A romantic flight with your significant other or your beloved family and friends will gift you with memories to cherish forever. Like a balcony in nature, the hot air balloon adventure is unique every time as the wind will delineate the route for you. Siena, Florence, Arezzo, Chianti, near Rome, or over the Tiber, are few of the most popular destinations. All tours last up to 70 minutes so you can enjoy this unforgettable experience and take the most enviable photos. Upgrade the experience with a luxurious VIP flight while taking pleasure in a glass of iced champagne. Balloon Tuscany (Mongolfiere Italia) is known for being flexible in its services, as you can even customize your own flight itineraries. No matter what you choose, safety always comes first. Certified pilots with years of experience will ward any of your worries. Their friendly mood will make you relax and enjoy the journey.
Are you more into city walking or nature trails? Are you visiting the area for pilgrim walks or are you all about long-distance walking? Whichever your type is, Tuscany is the place that gives you plenty of choices when it comes to hiking trails. Let’s see some of our top picks that we fell in love with them at first sight! A friendly piece of advice is that when you’re planning a long-distance tour in an unknown region for you, it’s best to refer to an expert or at least ask for information. The thirty-eight-mile path of Montemerano, which took its name from the homonymous medieval town, will take you about ten hours with stops to complete. The starting point is Montemerano, and the final destination is Fonte dei Poderi. On your way, you will take a refreshing break at the Church of San Georgio, the parish of San Lorenzo, Bell Tower Square, San Giorgio Archway, and many more historic sites. The highlight of the trekking trail is the sunset views of the Albenga river valley.
Go for the pristine Sentierelsa Trail for a nature experience. It is rated an easy path suitable for families, young children, and seniors. Walk along Elsa river, the waterfalls, and the Grotta dell' Orso, which is said to resemble a bear’s cave. Cross wooden bridges over the river, come close to animal life and listen to the serene sounds of nature. The Via Romea route is a pilgrim walk, but also the perfect chance to see the characteristic Tuscan villas, imposing cypresses, and olive trees. During the excursion, you’ll visit San Angelo’s Church, Madonna della Consolazione’s Church, and a few more. Although wandering in a big city is really exciting, we would recommend a walking tour in the coastal town of Porto Santo Stefano. Climb up to the top of the town for the most stunning views of the Tuscan Archipelago that will make you feel you’re on an island.
#4 Horse Riding
Take over the scenic landscape of rural Tuscany in a horseback riding session. Canter through grapevines, onto the hills, and grasp the unique sense of freedom as the gentle breeze brushes your face. Many horse riding clubs all over Tuscany offer different types of services. Some of our favorites are the sunrise and sunset trails; the most idyllic way to watch the sun come up or go down in a blaze of color. Other tours last for a day or half-day, and they usually take you to small historic towns, such as Lajatico and Peccioli, in the countryside. We recommend a horse riding trail that includes lunch and wine tasting, so you can live Tuscany to the fullest. There are trails proper for beginners, but also more demanding ones for experienced riders. Horse riding is known for being an expensive hobby. Therefore, you should expect prices from 40 for a one-and-a-half-hour journey to 150 EUR for a day tour (46 - 92 USD). Some tours include lunch to a restaurant or visits to attractions, raising prices over 150 EUR (173 USD).
#5 Vineyard Tours
Leaving Tuscany without tasting some of the most excellent wine this land is endowed with, is like going to Paris and not going to see the Eiffel Tower! If you’ve been savoring for years a glass of excellent Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Chianti, or Vin Santo, now it’s the time to visit the source of these award-winning grape varieties. In Chianti’s hills, more than eight million cases of wine are produced every year. The inconceivable beauty of medieval castles in the area and the traditional cuisine will convince travelers to come by and spend a day full of wine, good food, and outstanding views. A must-see for wine tourists that combines wine with striking scenery is San Gimignano. This is the place where the only white wine in Tuscany is produced. The glory of the Vernaccia di San Gimignano road was even referenced in Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’. Today, local vintners happily welcome visitors to their well-maintained vaulted cellars. In the Etruscan coast, the homonymous wine road spans for over 150km (93 miles), including countless wineries in Bolgheri and Val di Cornia. What a better way to end your day than drinking probably the finest wine in the world while overlooking the Mediterranean deep blue.
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