Exciting travel guide for the “green heart” of Italy. / Umbria Travel Guide: Tips
Do you also love to travel far away from the typical tourist spots? Getting to know a country from its authentic, original side means, among other things, fascination, freedom and longing.
And what do you feel like doing when you think of Italy? The popular travel destination of Europe can do so much more than Rome, Milan, Venice or Tuscany. You can discover the Umbria region (the “green heart” of Italy) between quaint villages, historical sights and endless hilly landscapes. The area is also affectionately referred to as the “sister of Tuscany” and rightly so, because far away from the tourist crowds you can travel through untouched nature and discover numerous historical places. Here the clocks literally tick differently and you will experience an exciting stay between peace and idyll. But which places and sights should you not miss on your tour of Italy? In the following, the Umbria tips give you some helpful information for your travel planning.
Umbria tips at a glance / facts about Umbria
Are you looking for an unknown travel destination in Italy? Then the Umbria region, in the interior of central Italy, is an absolute must on your bucket list.
Surrounded by the regions of Abruzzo, Marche, Lazio and Tuscany, the area does not have direct access to the sea, but offers you some other highlights. During your visit you can look forward to lush green forests, endless mountains and rustic villages.
The hidden outdoor paradise is characterized by the sparkling Lake Trasimeno and almost 70% hilly landscape. In addition, due to its location on the rivers Tiber, Nera, Chiascio, Topino or Nestore, you can look forward to numerous activities on and in the water.
The magical insider tip of Italy inspires above all with a colorful mixture of diverse culture, fascinating nature and primeval traditions. Between vineyards, valleys and olive groves you can discover enchanting postcard motifs and spend a cheaper holiday than in the more well-known regions of Italy. In short: perfect for an individual trip!
Getting to Umbria / By plane to Umbria
Of course, the first thing you should do when planning your trip is getting to Umbria. Depending on where you want to travel from in Germany, you should think about a flight to Umbria.
Currently, Perugia Airport is not served by direct flights from German locations. Alternatively, you can fly to Rome or Florence and from there take the train to Perugia, the capital of Umbria, in about two hours, or rent a car.
You should keep an eye on the different flight prices depending on the travel time.
By car to Umbria / Umbria Travel Guide
If you want to travel flexibly and discover a lot, you should drive to Umbria by car. If you start in Bavaria, you need about nine hours to reach your holiday destination.
At best, you drive on the well-known Brenner autobahn in Austria and continue on the European route E35 or Autostrada A1, past Bologna and Florence. As you have probably already noticed, you should definitely plan more time and plan a road trip through Italy.
You just have to keep in mind that you need a vignette for Austria and that tolls are also incurred in Italy. But nonetheless, there is nothing nicer than heading to places flexibly, making spontaneous stops and observing the landscapes with the music turned up loud, right?
This feeling of freedom is priceless and having your own car is an important advantage, especially on a holiday in Umbria.
By train to Umbria
Are you looking for a more sustainable alternative? Then you can take the train to Umbria.
For example, from Munich you have the chance to get to the picturesque holiday region of Italy in just under 11 hours. Your itinerary will take you via Bologna to Florence and from there to Perugia.
That’s why you should definitely combine your vacation in Umbria with stopovers in other regions of Italy. Currently you pay for a ride from 80 € per person.
If you want to explore Italy by train, it’s worth taking a look at the Interrail concept.
By bus to Umbria / Umbria Travel Guide
Traveling by bus is one of the special Umbria tips. Again with the starting point in Munich, you can even book direct trips with the long-distance bus company Flixbus, depending on the day of departure.
You can reach Perugia in just under 12 driving times. There are also trips with a change in Venice, for example.
Basically you pay for a trip by bus from just under 60 €. Traveling by bus is a great alternative, especially if you want to save on your travel budget.
Getting around Umbria
As soon as you plan your trip, the question of getting around Umbria naturally arises. If you don’t just want to explore the typical travel destinations and want to travel away from the main traffic arteries, you should either arrive by car or book a rental car.
In any case, you can travel between the most important places by train with the Terni – Perugia – Sansepolcro railway line or the Italian railway company Trenitalia. For example, you currently pay €4.20 for a 40-minute journey from Perugia to Foligno. An unbeatable price, right?
Camping in Umbria
Do you want to go to Italy with your motorhome? Then you will find a few helpful tips for camping in Umbria below.
How great is it to be tickled awake by the rays of the sun and to enjoy the sunrise with a delicious coffee or to fall asleep under the starry sky. In Umbria you will find numerous campsites where you can spread out and spend a few unforgettable days.
Some of you are probably asking yourself the question about wild camping in Italy. This is strictly forbidden and is usually punished with high fees. But there are some designated places where you can park your car.
Campsites in Umbria:
Campsite Il Falcone
Badiaccia Camping Village
Camping Monti del Sole
Green Village Assisi Camping & Hotel
Campsite Le Marmore
Agriturismo Campeggio Il Collaccio
Agriturismo Sossogna Orvieto
Camping La Spiaggia
Best travel time for Umbria
When planning your trip, the question of the best travel time for Umbria must of course also be answered. Basically, the months from May to September are ideal for spending an unforgettable holiday.
But even in the months of April or October you can catch a few rays of sunshine and explore the area when the weather is nice. If you long for warm, dry summer days, the months of July and August with an average of 30 °C are among the top Umbria tips.
But the period from May to June in particular promises particularly radiant scenery in one of the least known regions of Italy. Because at this time of year the heart of Italy sparkles in a colorful sea of flowers and then you have the chance to marvel at a magical postcard motif made of lentils or poppies on the high plateau of Castelluccio.
By the way, if you want to do sports and take advantage of the numerous activities, you should not necessarily plan your vacation in the summer months. Unless you don’t mind scalding heat. In contrast, the winter months can be uncomfortable and rainy.
Cities in Umbria / Perugia
The capital of Umbria is called Perugia and is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Historical buildings cavort around and on a nearly 450-meter-high hill, forming a fabulous backdrop, telling a nearly 3,000-year-old story and representing the perfect starting point for your journey through the region.
In the midst of the medieval labyrinth of streets you can walk in the footsteps of the Etruscan Empire and marvel at a preserved city wall with its city gates Porta Trasimena and Porta Marzia and the Etruscan Arch of Perugia.
Due to the topographical differences in altitude of the university city, you will probably also ride the narrow-gauge railway Minimetrò Perugia or discover the numerous escalators and elevators. The lively atmosphere and highlights such as the bustling Piazza Grande, the shopping street Corso Vannucci, the cathedral of Perugia or the palace Palazzo dei Priori will make you fall in love with the city at first sight.
But only if you take a closer look will you find a special highlight, namely the underground city of Perugia. The hidden cellars of the former Renaissance fortress Rocca Paolina are considered passageways to the old town and magical venues.
As you can see, Perugia is one of the varied and authentic Umbria tips. Finally, a little info: Perugia is also called the chocolate capital of Italy and you can taste delicious pralines or visit the chocolate festival Eurochocolate.
Assisi / Umbria Travel Guide
Have you ever heard of Saint Francis of Assisi? The patron saint of Italy was the son of a cloth merchant family and was born in the well-known city of Assisi.
Some of you might recognize the name but don’t have any pictures of the magical destination in mind, do you? Located on the slopes of Mount Subasio, the hill town is a major pilgrimage site.
If you stroll through the historic streets, you will feel like you are in the Middle Ages and will be amazed by the numerous sights, such as the city wall or the Rocca Maggiore castle. And since 2000, Assisi, with its pilgrimage sites of the Basilica of San Francesco and the Basilica of Santa Chiara, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can be curious. And my tip: set off on your discovery tour in the early hours of the morning.
About an hour’s drive south of Perugia you will find the city of Orvieto, one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe. When you approach one of the top Umbria tips, the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of Orvieto will immediately catch your eye.
You can’t miss it. In addition, the city lying on a rocky plateau is characterized by its architecture made of volcanic tuff.
The guided tours in the underground of Orvieto are an absolute must during your stay. Nowadays many of the caves, rooms and tunnels are privately owned, some of which you can visit.
Take your time during your stay and enjoy the rustic ambience with a delicious white wine from Orvieto. Orvieto is also the headquarters of the exciting Cittàslow movement, a network of cities across the world aiming to create a sustainable way of life and focus on the quality of life of the locals.
As soon as you walk through the town of Gubbio, you will feel like you are in an open-air museum and you will literally love one of the top Umbria tips at first sight.
During your stay, surrounded by the city walls of Gubbio, you will wander between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and discover numerous architectural highlights between the lush green slopes.
Don’t miss the Piazza Grande square and the adjoining palace Palazzo dei Consoli with its art collections. And amidst the narrow streets you will immediately guess which building is the Duomo of Gubbio.
Foligno / Umbria Travel Guide
The second largest city in Umbria is called Foligno and is located on the banks of the Topino river. Can you bring some time with you? Then you should stroll through the old town of Foligno and let the picturesque atmosphere work its magic on you.
Finally, you will learn more about the city of Spoleto. About 150 kilometers north of Rome you can explore one of the cultural centers of Umbria and have a lot of fun.
Whether the Cathedral of Spoleto, the imposing aqueduct Ponte delle Torri, the Rocca di Albornoz castle or the reconstructed Teatro Romano theater with the archaeological museum – as you can see, you can take an exciting journey through time and have a good time in the historic city center .
Other cities in Umbria:
Citta di Castello
Places in Umbria / Spello
The small town of Spello is one of the top Umbria tips and impresses with a preserved city wall and imposing defense towers. It is no coincidence that the old town of Spello is a member of the “I borghu più belli d’Italia association”, which promotes the preservation of medieval town centers and buildings.
But you have to convince yourself of that. And the best for the “Flower Festival Infiorate di Spello”, which traditionally takes place annually on the weekend after Corpus Christi.
At this time, Spello shines in a veritable sea of flowers. Almost 1,000 artists create incredible works of art and at the end of the day the most beautiful house in Spello is chosen.
After you have finished your discovery tour, you can perfectly combine your stay with hikes in the Monte Subasio Natural Park.
For many, the small hill town of Trevi is one of the most beautiful places in Italy, and rightly so. Here you will definitely not shake the feeling of being transported back to the Middle Ages. And in addition to the numerous buildings, you should also take a look at the wine and olive oil production and buy a few souvenirs.
If you like to drink wine, you have to make a stop in the town of Montefalco. Take the time to stop at one of Umbria’s wineries and taste the white and red wines.
How about hiking along the Sagrantino Wine Route? And remember your picnic basket.
Before you learn more about the top sights in Umbria, you should be familiar with the small town of Todi. One of the most exciting Umbria tips stands for medieval atmospheres and the concept of sustainability.
Especially around the square Piazza del Popolo you have the opportunity to marvel at original architecture and learn more about a historical age. Just let your senses run free and enjoy the typical Italian ambience.
Other places in Umbria:
Castiglione del Lago
Citta della Pieve
Municipality of Narni with Stifone
Sightseeing in Umbria / Basilica of San Francesco
For many of you, Assisi will be one of the most special stops on your trip, as it is where you will find some of the top sights in Umbria. The Basilica of San Francesco is the beginning.
In the building, which consists of an upper and lower church, you can admire magnificent paintings and frescoes from the Middle Ages and walk in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi. Because the sacred building is the burial church of Assisi and is considered a unique place of pilgrimage.
During your visit, you should also know that the church was severely damaged in a devastating earthquake in 1997 and has undergone extensive restoration work.
Cascata delle Marmore waterfall
Not far from the city of Terni you will find a magical natural spectacle, the Cascata delle Marmore waterfall. One of the top Umbria tips is one of the highest waterfalls in Europe and is a welcome destination to discover the fascination of Italy far away from the cultural hotspots.
At the cascade, which was created by human hands in Roman times, the roaring masses of water rush down at a height of over 165 meters and create a dreamlike picture.
The interplay of water and lush green forests is unique and the color spectacle is considered a true picture book motif of Umbria. On site you have the opportunity to take a look over the massive water masses from different viewing platforms and soak up the fascination.
But before you plan your trip, you need to know that the waterfall is still used today to generate electricity and can only be visited at certain times of the day. Here you should find out about the current opening hours of the park shortly beforehand.
During your stay you must take the chance and discover the beautiful Nera Valley on hikes. Worth it!
If you are planning a stop in Orvieto, you cannot miss the magnificent Orvieto Cathedral. The Gothic splendor can already be guessed from afar and even up close you will find detailed murals inside.
And the signature style of the striped arrangement of dark green and white marble on the exterior may remind you of Siena Cathedral.
Monti Sibillini National Park
The Monti Sibillini National Park is an absolute must on your trip. Are you looking for unique hiking regions in Umbria?
Then let’s go! The nature reserve covers an area of almost 70,000 hectares in the Marche and Umbria regions. For an excursion in the midst of the Sibillini Mountains in the imposing Apennine Mountains, you should plan enough time to take in the incredible biodiversity of the landscapes on numerous hikes.
The fascinating plateau of Castelluccio is one of the highlights, because it knows how to inspire with its colorful blossoms in the months from mid-May to the end of June.
Fountain Pozzo di San Patrizio / Umbria Tips
If you are in Orvieto, you have to walk about a kilometer northwest of the Duomo to reach the mystical fountain of San Patrizio (or “Pozzo di San Patrizio”). And the last few meters you take the cog railway to the Piazza Cahen station.
Designed in 1527, the fountain is considered a distinctive feature of Umbrian architecture and was an ingenious water supply project. You can still visit the fountain today and climb over 240 steps and 60 meters down.
You should only consider that you have to climb the stairs again!
Other sights in Umbria:
Fortress of Rocca Paolina – Perugia
Tevere Fluvial Nature Reserve
Palacio de los Priores – Perugia
Benedictine Abbey of San Pietro in Valle
Castle Nobili Vitelleschi
Carsulae archaeological site
Church Basilica of Santa Rita da Cascia
Monastery of La Scarzuola
Sanctuary of the Holy Mary of Consolation – Todi
Narrowest street in Italy Vicolo Baciadonne – Città della Pieve
Activities in Umbria / Hiking in Umbria
On a road trip through Umbria, hikes through the varied hilly landscapes are definitely a must. If you are planning a hike through Umbria, you should definitely pack your hiking shoes and comfortable outdoor clothing.
And when you climb up the 2,000m mountains, you will realize why you should definitely think about your equipment. In addition, you should keep in mind that the area is usually completely free of snow until mid-May.
From short, easy hikes to challenging trails, there is something for everyone. As already mentioned, the Sibillini Mountains, the Monti Sibillini National Park and the Castelluccio plateau are among the most exciting Umbria tips.
The mountain Monte Vettore is considered the highest elevation of the national park and lets you walk between the regions of Marche and Umbria. But the Nera valley is also ideal for hikes and has a starting point worth seeing in the village of Vallo di Nera.
There you can walk between seclusion, tranquility and idyll in the footsteps of original Italy. In contrast, hiking in the Valle Umbra valley focuses on exploring historical places from Assisi to Spoleto.
Alternatively, the Val Tiberina valley is also suitable for excursions into nature. Or how about hikes in stages on pilgrimage routes such as the Benediktweg or the Franziskusweg?
Do you want to explore Umbria completely on foot? Then the twelve-day hike from Assisi to the municipality of Arquata del Tronto in Marche is worthwhile.
Cycling in Umbria / Umbria Travel Guide
If you want to go on an active holiday, cycling is undoubtedly one of the top Umbria tips. The feeling of freedom, movement and a change of perspective is always exciting.
When cycling in Umbria you ride through one of the most unspoilt and remote regions of Italy and you can discover vineyards or olive groves and experience nature with all your senses. Do you love being close to the water?
Then a bike ride around Lake Trasimeno is an absolute must. At almost 60 kilometers you can cool off in cold water or take a break in one or the other pub. So take your time!
Finally, the Nera cycle path, which leads you over disused railway lines, should not go unmentioned. Here you have to do the stage “Stifone e le Gole del Nera”, make a stop in Stifone and cool off in the emerald green natural pool Mole di Narni.
Water sports in Umbria / Umbria Travel Guide
Although you won’t find direct access to the sea in Umbria, there are some water activities you can do. The first port of call is Lake Trasimeno.
The fourth largest lake in Italy has a few bathing spots around the shore where you can relax and cool off. But especially in the summer months there are many algae in the lake, which sometimes make swimming impossible.
In addition, you can explore the picturesque islands of Isola Maggiore and Isola Polvese on a boat tour. We continue with the nature reserve Parco Fluviale del Tevere.
The area along the Tiber is predestined for long canoe tours, marveling at archaeological finds or simply enjoying the wilderness. Are you in the mood for action and thrills?
Then rafting in Umbria is just right for you. Especially along the rivers Nera and Corno there are some providers where you can start your adventure.
Other activities in Umbria:
Agriturismo in Umbria – stay in the countryside
Authentic accommodation – Alberghi Diffusi in Umbria
Wine tasting in Umbria
Skiing in Umbria
Truffle hunt in Umbria
Medieval market in Bevagna at the end of June
Explore the landscapes with a Vespa
National Gallery of Umbria
Visit the Umbria Jazz Festival
Museum Burri Collection. Ex Seccatoi Tobacco
Ride on the Funivia Colle Eletto gondola
Buy ceramics from Umbria
Sources Le Fonti del Clitunno
Excursions from Umbria / Marche region
If you’re ever in Italy, you should take the chance and explore the areas around Umbria. Above all, it is worth taking a look at the Marche region.
In addition to unique mountain regions, you will find beautiful places on the Adriatic coast here. Highlights include the pilgrimage site of Loreto, the Renaissance city of Urbino and the capital Ancona.
But you shouldn’t miss the shimmering natural spectacles of the region, such as the Furlo Gorge, the Frasassi Caves or the Beach of the Two Sisters.
Region of Tuscany
Umbria is often overshadowed by its neighboring region, Tuscany. And that’s completely wrong.
But how about just include stopovers in both areas in your itinerary. In addition to the Umbria tips already mentioned, stopovers in the neighboring Tuscan towns such as Arezzo, Cortona, Montepulciano or Pitigliano are particularly worthwhile.
Region of Abruzzo / Umbria Travel Tips
South of Umbria you will find the Abruzzo region, which is characterized by wild mountain landscapes with picturesque national parks, quaint mountain villages and beautiful coastal landscapes. Have you ever heard of the Trabocchi Coast?
The area inspires with its traditional stilt houses, which were built for fishing and are partly used as restaurants. Around the coastal towns of Pescara, Vasto and Ortona you will find picturesque dream beaches for an unforgettable summer holiday.
In contrast, the three large national parks Gran Sasso, Majella and Abruzzo promise a fantastic journey into the wild nature of Italy. Especially the latter, the Abruzzo, Latium and Molise National Park around the towns of Roccaraso and Rivisondoli, will inspire you with its diversity both in summer and in winter.
Lazio region / Umbria Travel Guide
Finally, you can perfectly link a trip with the Umbria tips to the Lazio region south of Umbria. In addition to the capital Rome, there are also other highlights that give the area a romantic charm.
The medieval town of Viterbo with the nearby marshy landscapes of the Maremma makes the beginning. Not far from the border to Umbria you will find the original mountain village of Civita di Bagnoregio, which is located near Lake Bolsena and impresses with its breathtaking panorama and nostalgic atmosphere.
But you should also be familiar with the cities of Tivoli, Cerveteri and Sutri.
Eating and drinking in Umbria
On the list of Umbria tips, of course, questions about the special specialties of the region must also be answered. Italian cuisine is so much more than pizza, pasta or risotto.
In Umbria’s cuisine, tradition, seasonality and regionality are high on the list of priorities, and you will find many meat variations and simple dishes on the menu. Popular types of pasta in the region are Strangozzi, Strozzapreti or Pappardelle.
During your stay you should definitely treat yourself to the taste explosion of fresh truffles from Umbria or try dishes with the tasty Castelluccio lentils. Typical dishes and dishes are the flatbread Torta al Testo, the bread salad Panzanella, the stuffed rolled roast Porchetta, the almond flour cake Torciglione or the Easter cake from Perugia.
As you can see, Umbria is best known for its meat and sausage specialties. But the region also knows chocolate. Especially the chocolates from Perugia are a popular souvenir.
If you’re in Perugia for the Eurochocolate festival, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise. In addition, Umbria inspires with high-quality wines and olive oil. So think about it if you don’t want to take part in a wine tasting in Umbria, it’s worth it!
Wineries in Umbria:
Winery Tenuta Santa Croce di Anton Baur
Montioni – Frantoio & Cantina
Winery Decugnano dei Barbi
Winery Castello della Sala Antinori
Cantina Colle Ciocco
Winery Cantina Fratelli Pardi