The Italian Alps are an enticing wonderland of jagged mountain scenery, lush alpine meadows, charming villages, and outdoor adventures. Here are 14 of the most beautiful places to visit in the Italian mountains.
LAST UPDATE: 20 Jan 2024
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Covering a glorious mountain-filled arc sweeping across the top of the country, the Italian Alps are a scenic wonderland; an area of natural rugged beauty bursting with wonderful places to visit.
Walk along high-alpine trails under razor-sharp vertical peaks in the Italian Mountains. Enjoy the tranquillity of emerald lakes glistening with a glacial glow. Savour the beauty of flower-filled alpine meadows dotted around the Alps in Italy.
There are so many places to visit in the Italian Alps and with hiking in summer, skiing in winter, and plenty in between, there’s never a bad time to visit.
IN THIS GUIDE
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN THE ALPS IN ITALY
WHERE ARE THE ITALIAN ALPS
The Italian Alps sweep in an arc from Monaco in the west to Trieste in the east, covering the northern tip of Italy.
They are made up of 3 main areas.
- Western – The western side is the southern end of the high Alps: a dramatic playground of snowcapped mountains bordering France and Switzerland.
- Central – The central section is the Italian Lakes where large lakes are framed by smaller hills and beautiful villages.
- Eastern – The eastern section is the Italian Dolomites – jagged rocky peaks framed by lush alpine meadows.
The entire region of the Italian Alps is most easily accessible from Milan. But if you want to explore the eastern section, read our Dolomites Road trip guide.
MAP – ITALIAN ALPS
We’ve collected all our favourite places to visit in the Italian Alps on our map so you can explore the best of the Italian Mountains with ease.
1. TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO
There are few more dramatic mountains in the world than Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Three towering peaks, standing side by side, rise above a sea of boulders. Their near-vertical sides soaring to pointy peaks.
This is Alpine Italy at its finest. The most iconic can only be seen on the Tre Cime hike.
The paths are easy and the rewards are breathtaking. Various perfectly positioned rifugios offer refreshing beer and delicious Italian food throughout the hike. Tre Cime is a popular location for Dolomites photography and a perfect half-day out in the mountains.
Read More – Guide to hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
2. LAGO DI BRAIES
High up in the mountains and surrounded by jagged peaks, the Italian Alps are packed with stunning green-blue lakes. Best viewed in the early morning or late afternoon (when the wind is low), the shimmering dramatic alpine scenery is reflected in cool rippling water.
The most impressive of these lakes is Lago di Braies, a picture-perfect lake surrounded by the mighty rock face of Seekofel.
It’s the perfect place just to sit and soak up the beauty of the Italian Alps. But, you can also leave the popular lake behind and visit the high alpine panorama of Prato Piazza for breathtaking view.
Read More – Guide to visiting Lago di Braies.
3. SECEDA RIDGELINE
The Puez-Odle mountains are like a mangled saw. Bent and twisted pointy teeth form a jagged ridge of mountains. Nowhere else in the Italian Alps can you see such a mish-mash of soaring peaks fighting for your attention.
The best view of these jagged peaks is at the Seceda Ridgeline. Just a short stroll from the Furnes-Seceda cable car summit, a line of towering mountains form a spectacular photography location in the Italian Alps.
The grassy ridge with a narrow pathway leading up to the ridgeline is the perfect vantage point from which to take in the spectacle.
Read More – See the best of the ridgeline on our Seceda Ridgeline hike.
As the mountains of the Italian Alps drop into foothills and rushing rivers carry more and more water they finally form great lakes.
The greatest and most beautiful of these is Lake Como.
As the main centre on the lake, the town of Como is one of the best places to visit in the Italian Alps. Stroll the old town complete with beautiful squares, charming churches, and a host of interesting and quirky museums.
The cathedral is one of the most impressive buildings in the city and the funicular to Brunate provides a staggeringly impressive view of the lakes.
Read More – Our Lake Como by boat guide takes you to the most picturesque villages.
Courmayeur is a charming town in the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps. Located at the foot of Mont Blanc, pretty chalets and cute streets are dwarfed by towering peaks.
Courmayeur is Italy’s best-known and most picturesque ski resort with beautiful south-facing slopes. In summer as the snow melts, a wealth of wonderful biking and hiking trails head to remote rifugios and past breath-taking views.
The Skyway Monte Bianco is a thrilling 11-minute cable car ride that takes you 3,466 metres high on the Mont Blanc Massif. From here, you can take the Panoramic Mont Blanc Cable Car over to France for the most thrilling gondola ride in the world.
Read More – Best things to do in Courmayeur.
6. VAL DI FUNES
Instagram has brought fame to Val di Funes. This once quiet valley, tucked into the northern Italian mountains, now sees hundreds of travellers arrive to capture the iconic views of its two churches.
San Giovanni and Santa Maddalena sit in rolling hay meadows still farmed traditionally. But it’s not just the bucolic country scene that makes them special. Rising almost vertically behind them are the jagged peaks of the Puez-Odle massif.
Head here at sunrise or sunset and the churches with their imposing backdrops are beautifully lit. A photographer’s dream, an unforgettable vista and a favourite on our Instagram account.
Read More – What to do in Val di Funes.
Is there anything more picture-perfect than an Italian town on a lake? And if so surely the most beautiful is Bellagio. Known as the pearl of Lake Como, it is strategically located where the junction of the Y-shaped lake divides into two branches.
Peering out from its perch on the lakeshore, the facades of its golden villas, houses, and churches reflect in the rippling blue waters.
Hidden behind these buildings lies a cute and intriguing village. Narrow laneways and twisty staircases conceal designer boutiques and local artisan shops selling the best silk in Europe. It’s one of the most beautiful towns in the Italian Alps.
Read More – Bellagio is covered on our 2-week Europe Itinerary.
8. TRENTINO VALLEY
The Trentino Valley is impressive. Fortresses peer over the steep-sided walls and little villages with cute churches perch on ledges or hide in crevasses. But the real joy of coming here is to sample the wine.
Vineyards spread all along the valley floor produce some of the finest wine in Italy. Surrounded by beautiful pastel-coloured buildings, little gardens provide the ideal setting to sample the local drop.
Our favourite is Alois Lageder in the village of Magré, a family vineyard run on biodynamic principles. They serve a delicious take on modern Italian cooking in a beautiful sunny courtyard. Well worth a stop on any journey through the Italian mountains.
Read More – Visit Trentino on our Italian Dolomites itinerary.
9. ALPE DI SIUSI
At 2,000m in altitude, visiting Alpe di Siusi, the largest high meadow in the Italian Alps is a breathtaking experience. Its swaying grasses, backed by some of the most magnificent mountains in Italy, are a lush green in spring and a golden brown in autumn.
The best way to see the area is by hiring an e-bike. That way – without too much huffing and puffing, and with zero emissions – you can see all the highlights of this Instagram-friendly destination.
Fortunately, you don’t need to cycle up the meadow. A cable car carries you up 800m from the town of Ortisei. Even better, the free-wheeling journey back down is an exhilarating ride.
Read More – Nearby, the excellent Sassolungo-Langkofel circuit is one of our favourite Italian Alpine hikes.
10. BRENTA DOLOMITES
The Italian Mountains are the home of Via Ferrata. Meaning ‘iron path,’ climbers are secured onto a steel cable that runs along near-vertical rock faces.
Vie ferrate have been linked together in the Brenta Dolomites creating extensive multi-day hiking tours with overnight stays in mountain refuges. It’s a nail-biting adrenaline-filled excursion.
But even if that does not take your fancy, hiking in this rocky wonderland is excellent. Rifugio Tuckett is one of the best-located huts in the Dolomites and it’s well worth the hike to see.
Read More – Hike to Rifugio Tuckett on our Brenta Dolomites hike.
11. SASS PORDOI
The Italian Alps are striking because of their unique shape and pale Dolomite rock. The rock was formed from fossilised coral reefs about 250 million years ago when the African and European tectonic plates collided.
The collision created a diverse array of shapes. And nowhere can you see this diversity better than from the top of the cable car that climbs from Passo Pordoi to Sass Pordoi.
From here, observe table-top mountains, undulating grassy meadows, soaring pointy peaks and desolate moonscapes.
The views from Sass Pardoi are simply breathtaking, but the road there is a highlight as well. From Canazei take the road to Passo Pordoi via the 22 exhilarating hairpin bends.
Read More – All the details are in our Dolomites itinerary.
The high-altitude ski resort of Brueil-Cervinia has a network of over 160 kilometers of pistes, most of which have stunning views of the Matterhorn, just across the border in Switzerland.
The resort itself is a small village, quieter than many of the other ski destinations in the Italian Alps. But, the long runs and high-alpine views are hard to beat.
The already wonderful winter playground of Brueil-Cervinia received an impressive upgrade in 2023. A new cable car links the Italian Mountains with Zermatt in Switzerland, extending the ski season to a year-round activity.
It’s the highest cross-country cable in the world connecting 9 different stations, 5 in Switzerland, 4 in Italy. It opens up an exciting list of possibilities in the Italian Alps.
Read More – Stop at the most impressive stations on the Matterhorn Alpine Crossing.
Although just outside the Italian Alps, Milan is the gateway to the region and a wonderful place to visit. With immaculate architecture, some of the world’s best art, and a style matched by few cities, it’s well worth spending a few days in Milan on your way through to the Italian Alps.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the shopping centre giving all other shopping centres a bad name is an architectural masterpiece.
Don’t miss sunset from the roof of the Duomo. As the colour fades from the streets of Milan, there are few better cityscapes in the world that are as spellbinding as this one.
Read More – You can also visit Milan on a day trip from Florence.
14. GREAT SAINT BERNARD PASS
The Great Saint Bernard Pass connects the Italian Alps with Switzerland at an altitude of 2,469 metres.
The pass is named after the hospice of Saint Bernard. Founded in the 11th century, it continues to provide a resting place and rescue services to travellers.
The views from the pass are excellent. The Mont Blanc massif sits to the west. Grand Combin and the Pennine Alps rises in the east. The Gran Paradiso National Park flickers above the Aosta valley in the south. Great Saint Bernard is a beautiful destination on the Italian / Switzerland border.
Read More – Just over the border, see the best scenery on our Col Saint Bernard hike.