The Umbria region – bordered by Tuscany, Marche and Lazio in the heart of Italy – is a hidden gem just waiting to be explored. From its picturesque landscapes to its charming villages, Umbria offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage for every traveler who makes the journey there. Prepare to be captivated by rolling green hills dotted with vineyards and olive groves, and epic valleys where time seems to stand still.
In addition to its scenery, Umbria boasts some of the most enchanting villages you will ever see. Be sure to visit Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander around its medieval streets, admire the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and soak up the spiritual aura of the town. Gubbio is another must-see – with its winding streets, ancient Roman theater and lovely vistas from the top of Mount Ingino.
One of the best ways to immerse in the wonders of Umbria is to embark on the pilgrimage: The Way of Saint Francis. This route starts in Florence and finishes in Rome, passing through both Assisi and Gubbio as well as a handful of other authentic villages in the Umbria region. The 550 kilometer trek traces the footsteps of St. Francis through quiet landscapes, secret hermitages and sanctuaries, and ancient forests and olive groves.
Food-lovers will also be in paradise in Umbria because the region is renowned for its culinary delights. Indulge in the rich flavors of traditional dishes like umbricelli pasta with black truffle, porchetta (succulent roast pork) and lentils from the village of Castelluccio. No matter which dish you gravitate towards, don’t forget to accompany your meal with a glass of local Sagrantino red wine – famous for its bold and robust character.
The main appeal of Umbria is the local way of life. Spend a lazy afternoon at a cafe in Perugia, sipping espresso while watching the world go by. Engage in conversations with the friendly locals, who ooze warmth and hospitality. Discover the region’s rich artistic traditions by visiting the workshops of artisans who create beautiful ceramics, textiles and woodwork. As you can probably tell by now, Umbria truly does capture the essence of Italy.
If you are searching for exciting tours in Umbria, then look no further than Meravigliosa Umbria: a fantastic tour operator that specializes in walking tours, cycling holidays, hiking trips along The Way of Saint Francis, and fun day activities such as wine and olive oil tastings, truffle hunting and cooking lessons. Below we highlight some of their best Umbria tours, with each one elevating your travel experience in the Green Heart of Italy.
10 Best Tours in Umbria
1. Bike & Wine or Bike & Brunch – Day Tour
Choose between bike and wine, or bike and brunch, on this special day tour. The former involves cycling, visiting a winery, and enjoying a wine tasting combined with bruschetta and torta al testo. While the latter involves cycling and having lunch at a local enoteca (wine shop) with Umbrian produce combined with a wine tasting. Either of these options can be done with a guide or as self-guided, depending on your preferences.
Cycling gives you the chance to marvel at the serene landscapes in a slow but steady fashion. Agricultural fields, vineyards and olive trees are all symbols of Umbria and getting close to them by bike is pure joy. The first stop is Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli and then you head down country roads. Next up is Spello before stopping at a family-run winery. For those who love nature, relaxing, and food and wine, this tour is ideal.
2. Hiking and Olive Oil Tasting – Day Tour
There is so much to look forward to on this walking and olive oil tasting tour, as you get to savor a typical Umbrian lunch and visit an olive oil mill near Pozzo. Guests will explore the mill and learn about the production of extra virgin olive oil, with cultivation techniques leaning on both ancient and modern methods. About six kilometers of slow walking is involved, as an environmental guide leads you around splendid olive groves and woods.
3. Assisi: Cooking Class & Wine Tasting – Day Tour
Gastro-tourists and wine-lovers alike will fall head over heels with this tour offered by Meravigliosa Umbria. Be welcomed in a family-run organic winery by hosts Maria and Anna Laura, and absorb a true winemaker’s spirit. As you explore the winery, learn cultivation, and taste products and wine, it will be like you have died and gone to heaven. Then, the cooking class helps you learn the secrets of Umbrian cuisine in an engaging way.
During the cooking class, all sorts of goodies will be prepared including focaccia, pasta or gnocchi, vegetarian dishes, and typical tozzetti cookies or cake. While you are whopping up this array of foods, a guided tasting of wine and olive oil takes place – warming up your taste buds for the four course meal to come. This cooking class and wine tasting tour lasts for about four or five hours, and is the perfect way to spend the day in Assisi.
4. Truffle Hunting in Umbria – Day Tour
Did you know that Umbria produces the highest number of black truffles in Italy? This specialty food is regarded as the “King of the Table” and locals in Umbria are in love with them. Truffles are hard to come by, fetch expensive prices and are so tasty that they are always in demand. When it comes to hunting the black pearls, the best way is walking in the right areas accompanied by dogs who can help you sniff out the fragrant diamonds.
Meravigliosa Umbria runs two truffle hunting day tours. The first is in the hills/woods between Assisi and Spello. In the morning, you kick off the truffle hunting adventure with an expert and his dog. Once the truffles have been found, you visit a winery to have a tour in the wine cellars and then get to eat your truffles over a four course meal. The second one is similar but it occurs by a farmhouse on the hills of Assisi in Monte Subasio.
5. Food & Wine Tour Through the Valle Umbra – 5 Days
Starting and finishing in Trevi, this eno-gastronomic tour transports you into the verdant Valle Umbra surrounded by green hills and authentic villages. Highlights of the five days are spending a night on the Clitunno River in an eco-accommodation, trying delicious Umbrian dishes prepared with truffle, participating in cooking lessons, going on truffle hunts in the hills of Trevi, exploring Assisi and visiting an organic winegrower.
6. An Umbrian Foodie Vacation in Historic Houses – 5 Days
During this five day gourmet tour, guests will be seeing two different parts of Umbria while indulging in the region’s finest cuisine. The two places are Bevagna, located at the foot of Montefalco famous for its wine, and Norcia by the Sibylline Mountains known for its truffle, salami and ham. Besides the food, the accommodations in historic houses are what really sets this tour apart. Stay in a historic boutique hotel and a luxury Relais.
7. The Way of Saint Francis – 6 to 8 Day Tour
Walking the entire Way of Saint Francis takes around 38 days, spanning over 500 kilometers of distance. Of course, not everyone has the time or energy to complete the whole walk but luckily the team at Meravigliosa Umbria have developed shorter itineraries that allow you to walk sections of the Via di Francesco in a no less exhilarating fashion. They have different start and end points, with durations from six to eight days.
Getting lost in woods, villages and hermitages is a lifechanging experience no matter which route you choose. The pilgrimage trek unites the symbolic spots of the saint’s life and is a fascinating journey for Christians, history buffs and nature enthusiasts. And finishing in Rome is the cherry on top. Keep in mind that The Way of Saint Francis is no walk in the park, in fact it should only be attempted by strong walkers who have good fitness levels.
8. Medieval Umbria Hiking Tour – 6, 8 or 9 Days
For travelers who are enamored with medieval towns and colorful landscapes, this hiking tour ticks all the boxes. Not only will you get to visit Assisi (the beginning point) and Spoleto (the finishing point) but also other towns located in the Valle Umbra such as Spello, Bevagna, Montefalco and Trevi. The walking distances aren’t too strenuous, an average of four to six hours per day – so you will have plenty of opportunity to explore the towns.
Imagine walking in the picturesque countryside, then arriving at a new town in the afternoon and relaxing at the square with a glass of wine. And if you don’t fancy hiking for over a week, there is also a shorter tour available to book with Meravigliosa Umbria which lasts for six days – starting in Assisi and ending in Trevi. The minimum walking distance on the six day tour is 50 kilometers, in comparison to the 100 kilometers on the nine day trip.
9. Treasures of the Green Valley – 7 Day Tour
This seven day holiday takes cyclists on a leisurely trip through peaceful countryside roads, with a backdrop of fertile vineyards and green olive groves to keep you awe-inspired along the way. The landscape is mainly flat but there is the occasional gentle hill to navigate. In total, you will be riding for 25 – 53 kilometers per day – nothing too strenuous, however some cycle experience is required to complete each day without feeling exhausted.
During the week, guests stop at the villages of Assisi, Spello, Spoleto, Montefalco, Bevagna and Perugia. Travelers will be thrilled in Assisi as they wander down narrow alleys, hang out in cozy squares and visit historical sites. Perugia is another highlight with its Renaissance palaces, preserved churches and intriguing museums. All in all, this cycling holiday is suitable for people who like to stay active while traveling off the beaten path.
10. A Surprising Umbria – 8 or 10 Day Tour
An action-packed walk to the hidden gems of Umbria is the promise of this tour with Meravigliosa Umbria. For eight days be captivated by the nature and villages of the Green Heart of Italy, as you hike between 11 and 22 kilometers everyday. Besides checking out the well-known towns of Spello, Assisi, Trevi and Spoleto, you will also be led to other secret spots that hardly any tourists know about such as Balciano, Vescia and Campello Alto.