What to do in Garfagnana? The 15 Best Activities to Experience

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Monte Croce Giunchiglie Trekking in Garfagnana
Trekking in Garfagnana: the 15 best paths and the most famous Mountains

Garfagnana, a region of Tuscany enclosed between the Apuan Alps and the Apennines, is a wild and authentic Tuscany that can offer you landscapes of spectacular contrasts, where the mountain dominates. From the bare rocky peaks of the Apuan Alps to the green sinuosity of the Apennines, the landscape is reminiscent of fantasy tales of Elves, Gnomes or Hobbits and in fact its mountains are full of stories and legends.

What to do in Garfagnana: the perfect destination all year long

Garfagnana, also known as the Upper Serchio Valley, is the territory between the Apuan Alps and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. A border area, both at a naturalistic level, with the mountain ranges, but also with regard to the territorial aspect. Being in the center between different regions and different environments, it manages to be the ideal place to enjoy in all seasons. Here’s what to do in Garfagnana at any time of the year.

What to do in Garfagnana in winter among activities and events

The particular position of the Garfagnana also characterizes its climate. The influence of the Mediterranean winds that exceed the Apuan Alps is attenuated by the Apennines, favoring mild and not too rigid temperatures even in winter. The snow whitens the highest peaks in the period between December and March, without ever letting the temperatures drop too much. This is one of the reasons why you should choose this destination even in the coldest periods.

The activities in Garfagnana are able to satisfy young and old, thanks to the variety of the territory. From family activities, to group sports, to pleasant tastings of local products. Holiday villas in Garfagnana can be one of the most suitable solutions for combining the pleasure of a relaxing stay with adventure and fun.

Snow: the number one ally of winter activities in Garfagnana

Imagine the highest peaks of the Alps and Apennines covered with snow. In Garfagnana you have the opportunity to have them both within walking distance of each other. The ski areas await tourists from all over the world every year, who come to this area thanks to the beauty and nature of the slopes. Here’s what to do in Garfagnana on the snow!

What to do in Garfagnana: cross-country skiing, ski mountaineering and ski lifts

In Garfagnana it is possible to carry out ski mountaineering activities, as well as cross-country skiing and even take advantage of slopes and ski lifts. A perfect and rare combination to find, but certainly not lacking among the things to do in Garfagnana. The ski areas of Garfagnana are Careggine, Casone di Profecchia and Passo delle Radici. In these areas it is possible to practice skiing at all levels, while remaining in the valley. A few kilometers further away are the lifts of Pieve Pelago and Abetone, for sports holidays thanks to the 22 ski lifts and different slopes based on your personal experience.

Sci di Fondo in Garfagnana

Holiday Villa in Garfagnana: the proposals of Villa Raffaelli

Among the activities in Garfagnana not to be missed there are those with a food and wine theme. In the winter period, when the outside temperatures get colder, there are only two things that manage to warm the spirit of visitors: food and wine. Anyone wishing to enjoy the pleasures of lavish local meals can also use the services of the local trattorias. Here’s what to do in Garfagnana, tasting and eating in Garfagnana will be like embarking on a journey among IGP products and traditional ones, without ever giving up the flavors of the past. Spelled and porcini-based soups will know how to fight the winter cold.

Activities in Garfagnana: cooking classes and wine tastings

At Villa Raffaelli it is possible to take part in a local cooking course, to learn the techniques that are part of the tradition and to get to know the typical products of the area. Land of chestnuts and mushrooms, Garfagnana is the land of origin of exquisite cured meats from the local butchery. There is no shortage of desserts, such as the Pasimata, a typical Easter cake and the Zuccarini, biscuits to be dipped in Vin Santo.

One of the activities in Garfagnana not to be missed to fully experience this food and wine experience is wine tasting. From the Tuscan classics such as Sassicaia and Chianti, we pass to the local nobles, the result of heroic mountain viticulture.

Villa Raffaelli Casa Vacanze ed Agriturismo in Garfagnana, Toscana

Climbing, mountaineering, snowshoeing and trekking: the best of winter activities in Garfagnana

The territory of the Apuan Alps is often defined as a paradise for mountaineers and climbers in all seasons. The influence of the sea winds, with the particular shape of these mountains, makes climbing, ski mountaineering, snowshoeing and trekking the favorite things to do in Garfagnana for tourists.

Arrampicata in Garfagnana in Inverno

What to do in Garfagnana in winter: snowshoeing and trekking in the snow

The winter climate makes the scenery magical and also perfect for a snowshoe hike on the opposite side, that of the Apennines. In this portion of the territory, the slopes are less impervious and steep. Forests make the environment almost surreal and create paths that are naturally sheltered from the elements. Some of the best hiking trails in the area start in the surroundings of Villa Raffaelli, to discover the landscapes of Garfagnana in a new guise.

Ciaspole in Garfagnana Trekking nella Neve

What to do in Garfagnana in the summer: among adventure and fun

The season changes but the scenario of activities in Garfagnana remains unchanged, not to be missed. Nature trails, visits to local villages and the Garfagnana playground for children, everyone will find the activity that best suits their spirit. There are many possibilities of choice, thanks to the conformation of the territory, which has given way to caves and canyons to form naturally and without obstacles. In order not to miss anything, what you need to better enjoy this pearl nestled between the Alps and the Apennines is a lunch break in a Garfagnana farmhouse. This is the only way to say that you have really known the local culture.

Visit the valley among castles, villages and nature

Whether it’s a day at the Lucca rafting canyon park or a Garfagnana canoe trip, this area will show its best. But if you are looking for something more relaxing in Garfagnana you will find castles to visit, caves to explore and paths to follow! These are just some of the ideas of activities in Garfagnana from which to draw inspiration. If you are looking for more information on what to visit in Garfagnana we have written an article about the best destinations in Garfagnana!

What to do in Garfagnana in the name of adventure

Garfagnana is the land where you can confront yourself, putting yourself out there. The outdoor soul that resides in you can go out along Tibetan bridges or practicing sport climbing on one of the many rock faces that can be found in the Apuan Alps or, not too far from the valley, at the Strette di Cocciglia.

Arrampicata in Garfagnana

Activities in Garfagnana: canoeing and hang gliding

Renting a Garfagnana canoe is simpler than you might think. A valley full of waterways, offers many spots where you can undertake this activity. The adventure parks where you can enjoy some of the best activities in Garfagnana are widespread throughout the territory. For example, the Battiferro Park is located in the center of the valley. If you want to know what to do in Garfagnana, know that here you can try your hand at canyoning and hiking experiences. Alternatively, in Gallicano, you can find the Levigliese Adventure Park. From water to air, the step is short and so you find yourself aboard a hang glider to admire the mountain ranges from the other. a different and original activity in Garfagnana, to explore the area in total safety. Selva del Buffardello is another adventure park, ideal for both adults and children. Routes divided according to difficulty allow a wide range of choice.

Cosa fare in Garfagnana? Noleggia una canoa!

Activities Bagni di Lucca: a few kilometers from Garfagnana!

Bagni di Lucca is located a few km from the Garfagnana valley. We are no longer in Garfagnana, but the proximity to the valley makes Bagni di Lucca and its activities interesting even for those staying in Garfagnana. Bagni di Lucca’s activities range from naturalistic to historical ones. It is in fact an agglomeration of 25 medieval villages not far from the Garfagnana valley, each with its own story to tell and show. Given the proximity to the valley, all that remains is to go and discover it!

Bagni di Lucca: the thermal baths during winter

A winter spa holiday is one of the best proposals for activities in Garfagnana not to be missed. Perfect for the body, but also for the mind, this experience finds its ideal setting in Bagni di Lucca, just outside the Garfagnana valley. The frame of the snow-capped mountains seems to be tailor-made with the contrast of the warm temperature of the thermal waters. A tourism suitable for any period of the year, but which in this case manages to create a suggestive atmosphere. Since Roman times, these spas were used for their therapeutic properties.

Strette di Cocciglia and Lucca Rafting, activities not to be missed

Along the Lima stream, following its course, it is possible to come across the Strette di Cocciglia. These are natural pools and potholes, dug into the rock, where you can carry out some of the best activities in Garfagnana. An adventure park where you can test your courage by challenging your personal fears, perhaps by launching yourself on a cableway from one side of the stream to the other. And if you are really wondering what to do in Garfagnana, rafting cannot be missed!

Canyon Park Lucca Rafting

The Lucca rafting canyon park will coordinate everything. Rafting is in fact one of the many experiences available to enjoy these crystal clear waters. It is an alternative way to discover the canyon of the Strette, aboard an inflatable boat, braving the current in the company of an expert Environmental Guide. A Tuscan rafting at low prices, without sacrificing the professionalism of the sector. This adventure park manages to combine an adventurous part with a more spiritual one. At the Strette di Cocciglia it is possible to immerse yourself in nature by practicing yoga in the woods or sacred dances that recall the ancient Celtic populations who lived here. It is also a Garfagnana playground suitable for children, who can play kids forest activities among the four primordial elements: Earth, Fire, Water and Air.

Canyon Park Bagni di Lucca Strette di Cocciglia

What to do in Garfagnana in the summer surrounded by nature

For those who prefer quieter activities in Garfagnana, the sample offers many possibilities. Certainly worth a visit is the Orecchiella Park, considered the ideal place for outdoor activities. It is in fact possible to enter the Garfagnana woods on foot, even with guided excursions, or by bicycle, coming into contact with true nature and with the open-air museums that characterize the area.

Cosa fare in Garfagnana? Visita il Parco dell'Orecchiella

Living the Garfagnana: horse riding and sport fishing

Horse riding, for example, is one of the most popular light activities. The conformation of the territory allows you to walk along the ridges of the mountains and the dense woods of the Apennines, to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. There are many riding schools that you can rely on for a horse ride. Lakes and streams are not only a paradise for adventure lovers, but also for those who want to devote themselves to fishing. ‘No kill’ and ‘catch and release’ activities are increasingly widespread, to safeguard the local ecosystem.

Attività da fare in Garfagnana, equitazione

What to do in Garfagnana: the ideal activities in every season

An activity in Garfagnana suitable for all periods of the year is to visit the area. In this territory between Emilia and Tuscany, it is possible to choose to explore the nature or the history that has made it possible to admire its beauty today. Between lakes and mountains, we pass through what were the Celtic and Roman dominations. All this has also influenced the gastronomy, which today can be tasted in local trattorias that offer traditional products. You can access the Bagni di Lucca activities to relax at the spas, but also enjoy a food and wine break in a Garfagnana farmhouse to try the local cuisine.

Explore the Garfagnana: hiking and mountain biking

There are two ways to explore the area in a slow and sustainable way: they are trekking and cycling. The latter is attracting more and more enthusiasts from all over the world thanks to the trails and steep descents. A paradise for bikers who take part in the Garfagnana Epic, a famous (non-competitive) cycling group enterprise held in this valley. The excursions leave free choice according to their difficulty. If the Apennine paths are within everyone’s reach, the Apuan ones become steeper and steeper. If you want to discover the best trekking routes in Garfagnana, we have just written an article about it. Do you want to stay at the Villa Raffaelli farmhouse in Garfagnana? No problem! We have made a list of the best trekking and MTB routes in the vicinity of the villa.

MTB: Attività da provare in Garfagnana

What to do in Garfagnana? Get inspired with photography workshops and wild watching!

In these lands it is easy to combine multiple activities into a single goal. For this reason, a trek in the woods can become a photographic workshop. A real Garfagnana playground for those who want to try their hand at unique and unmistakable shots. One thing to do in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana so as not to lose the essence of nature imprinted on the camera. For those who find themselves staying at Villa Raffaelli, it is possible to organize photographic workshops on request. Golden eagles, roe deer, foxes and wolves. They are the real inhabitants of the Garfagnana. This is why it is possible to meet them during an excursion organized by the Environmental Guides to learn about the local fauna. In spring we look for birds of prey in flight, while in winter we go to discover the traces left on the snow!

Garfagnana by bike

Among the many ways to discover a place, there is certainly that of walking along its streets at a slow pace. A more than valid alternative, enjoy it on two wheels! The roads in Garfagnana are fabulous. We recommend taking a ride to Isola Santa, or visiting the Grotta del Vento: the road to get there seems to be made to be traveled by motorbike! Find more information and more interesting routes on our article we wrote about what to visit in Garfagnana.

Turismo in moto in Garfagnana

Activities in Garfagnana: Vespa tour

One way to explore the Garfagnana is to hop aboard a Vespa. It is in fact possible to organize a trip on two wheels between the characteristic medieval villages and the villages perched on the mountains. A tourism linked to slowness, where you can stop and taste a platter of local cheeses and cured meats in an inhabited center, to leave again in search of a good glass of wine in the next one. What to do in Garfagnana by motorbike is simple, just rely on your instincts, letting yourself be inspired by the beauty of the valley.

A view from above: the swing of Monte Forato

A valid alternative is always the view from above. And why not do it directly from the Monte Forato swing? It is a peak of the Apuan Alps that hosts a hole in which this panoramic swing has been set up. An adrenaline-pumping experience, which allows you to enjoy the view from an unusual position, but perfect for having a 360 ° view over the entire Garfagnana. One thing to do in Garfagnana for adrenaline lovers!

Altalena sul Monte Forato Garfagnana

What to do in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

This locality is recognized as the capital of the Garfagnana. If you are looking for what to do in Garfagnana, Castelnuovo has some proposals to offer you. It is a medieval village located in the valley where the Turrite stream flows into the Serchio river. A place of great naturalistic and historical importance, which still today allows you to admire its architectural and cultural heritage. Everything can be reached thanks to the paths that connect the hamlets, through paths immersed in nature where you can see how much the agricultural tradition has been important for the development of the village. There is no shortage of sports facilities, hiking and cycling routes.

Activities in Garfagnana: the Golf Club

The Garfagnana Golf Club is also not to be missed. Golf is something to do in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to be able to enjoy the tranquility of the beech and chestnut woods, without giving up the view of the Apuan Alps. The natural environment creates the ideal undulating course for the construction of the 6 holes. Everything you need for a complete experience, from the driving range to the clubhouse where you can enjoy a cocktail after the game.

Events and festivals in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, in the summer is animated by festivals and events. If you want to know what to do in Garfagnana, you should know that during the week of August 15th, events dedicated to the Week of Commerce are organized, a way to stimulate the local economy, making known the typical features of the place. Other well-known events are the Festival of Magic and Illusionism and the International Academy of Music, which every year brings artists from all over the world to Garfagnana.

Cosa vedere a Castelnuovo di Garfagnana

Take part in the numerous village festivals and celebrations

Each village in Garfagnana brings with it its traditions and festivals. Villa Raffaelli, a farmhouse in Garfagnana, is located in the village of Fosciandora. Two very tasty festivals are held here in Garfagnana: the Wine Festival, in the hamlet of Riana, and the Chestnut Festival, in the hamlet of Lupinaia. The Wine Festival usually takes place in October, while the Chestnut Festival is held in November. If you are staying at Villa Raffaelli during the winter period, do not miss these two festivals, where you can taste typical local products derived from chestnuts and good local wine … making it gush from a fountain! But the festivities don’t end with the small village of Fosciandora: there are as many festivals in winter (and summer) throughout the valley.

Villa Raffaelli Casa Vacanze ed Agriturismo in Garfagnana, Toscana

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Garfagnana, located in northern Tuscany, is a suggestive valley. Different from the rest of Tuscany, it is wild and authentic. Lushes greenery surrounds oh-so-pretty little villages where you can indulge in delicious treats, or choose to climb breath-taking paths and relax in lodges on the Alps. The adventures are endless.

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