Travel tips: Monti Sibillini National Park, plus deals of the week - Halong Junk Cruises

Travel tips: Monti Sibillini National Park, plus deals of the week

Monti Sibillini National Park
Call of the wild: Castelluccio in Monti Sibillini National Park. Photograph: Alamy

Take me there: Monti Sibillini National Park

Why go?
Straddling the provinces of Le Marche and Umbria, the Sibillini mountains are among the most beautiful in Italy. Evocative place names summon the magic of this wilderness, once believed to be a haunt of witches and sorcerers. The national park is ringed by medieval villages, which, if they were in Tuscany, would be crawling with tourists. Though the tourism infrastructure is surprisingly low-key, you won’t have to travel far to find a simple agriturismo serving up regional specialities such as wild boar and lentils.

What to do
Hike to the Cave of Sybill or the Gola dell’ Infernaccio (Hell’s Gorge), looking out for wolf tracks and golden eagles: you can join an organised trek or download an itinerary from the national park website ( In summer the plains which surround the medieval hill town of Castelluccio are a carpet of wild flowers. Get a bird’s-eye view on a hang-gliding trip ( Other towns worth visiting are Norcia, famed for its cured meats and as the reputed birthplace of St Benedict, and Visso with its elegant piazza. Shimmering Lake Fiastra is the perfect spot for wild swimming.

Where to stay
The Rifugio Altino, near Montemonaco, is a welcoming stone-built refuge offering simple rooms and apartments, a cosy bar and outstanding cucina rustica (from €60, Excursions include bike tours, truffle hunting and donkey treks.

Where to eat
The region is known for its salami, truffles and lentils, all of which can be found on the menu at the Degusteria Lu Soccio, a tiny stone-walled osteria in Castelluccio (Via Libia 7, +39 0743 821193).

Insider tip
Kevin Hendry at Il Collaccio (, an agriturismo with campsite and activities, recommends rafting on the Nera: “Guides take you through a stunning gorge. It’s safe and fun for all the family with beautiful scenery and the chance to jump off rocks into the bubbling water.”

Give me a break

Home: kids go free on luxury train trip Children travel for free on the Belmond Northern Belle (formerly the Orient Express brand) until the end of October. The luxury train travels from 60 UK departure points with various family-friendly day-trip options. A Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea Party departing Bolton, Manchester or Preston on 21 September costs £185 per adult, with children’s menus and goodie bags included (

Rich pickings: visit the best of the foodie hotspots of Nice.
Rich pickings: visit the best of the foodie hotspots of Nice.

Away: gourmet Nice Your Nice Apartment, the Cote D’Azur holiday lettings agency, has launched a range of gourmet tours which cost between £35 and £50. Visit foodie hotspots such as the Cours Saleya and Place St-François fish market and local vineyards, with tastings of Niçois specialities such as tourte aux blettes and pissaladiere. Apartment stays start from £36 per night (

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Travel | The Guardian
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