Via Francigena is one of the most iconic routes in all of Europe. Once known as the pilgrim route during the medieval times, the road that comes from Canterbury to Rome now serves as one of the most unique ways to travel through Europe. So put on your hiking shoes and get ready to explore the history of Europe one step at a time along the famous path.

Day 1-14
Distance: 339km / 211mi

Canterbury to Reims

  • Your Via Francigena adventure starts in Canterbury, where you can explore the starting point of the trail at the iconic Cathedral of Canterbury.

  • Stop into the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge to experience the heart of Canterbury’s artistic culture.

  • Make your way to the coast to see the historic views at the White Cliffs of Dover.

  • Arrive in Calais, France to enjoy authentic French cuisine after viewing the famous watchtower of Tour de Guet.

  • Leave for Reims to embark on the traditional Via Francigena trail.

  • In Reims, discover the religious history that defines the city at the Reims Cathedral and Abbey of Saint Remi.

  • If you have time, be sure to take a day trip to Paris for a romantic dinner before your next hike.

Day 15-31
Distance: 417km / 259mi

Reims to Lausanne

  • After Reims, travel south along the path to the Orient Forest National Park to hike and see natural wildlife in Piney, France.

  • Visit one of the many vineyards in the region, where the houses of the most famous Champagne brands are.

  • Make your way down the trail to the town of Châlons-en-Champagne, home of the Church of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux and the Basilique Notre-Dame de L’Épine, both a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • While there, take a boat ride on the Marne River into the heart of Châlons-en-Champagne.

  • In Besançon, the trail starts to get more challenging, but still easy enough to enjoy.

  • Hike through the Jura Mountains of Besançon. Jura translates to a Celtic form of “forest”, which means you’ll see plenty of lush vegetation along the way.

  • Arrive in Lausanne, Switzerland to see beautiful architecture found in the famous Old Town.

Day 32-66
Distance: 884km / 549mi

Lausanne to Rome

  • After a quick stay in Lausanne, keep moving along the Via Francigena until you get to Montreux.

  • See the medieval murals in the island castle of Château de Chillon.

  • Next stop: Pavia, Italy. Once there, fuel up on some Italian cuisine with some local pizza, lasagna or gnocchi. You’ll find plenty to choose from in Pavia.

  • In Lucca, experience the best of the city’s rich history by walking the Renaissance city walls

  • Then, it’s off to Sienna, home of the famous bi-annual horse race known as Palio di Siena. Travel in July or August to see it for yourself.

  • Arrive in Rome, the final stop on the Via Francigena.

  • See the sites like the Colosseum, Sistine Chapel and Trevi Fountain.

  • Stay comfortably for your last night and rest up for your trip back home.

Day 67-91
Distance: 1000km / 621mi

From Rome to Santa Maria di Leuca

  • Retrace the footsteps of the ancient Romans by walking on the basolato (cobblestones) of the Appian Way, one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads.
  • Feel the thrill of crossing Italy coast-to-coast, from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Adriatic Sea (and take a dip in both!).
  • Take a break in the Campania region to sample the best pizza and mozzarella cheese you’ve ever tasted in your life.
  • Immerse yourself in the brightly atmosphere of the major towns of the Apulia region: get lost in the alleys of Bari Vecchia while watching grandmas sitting at their tables preparing orecchiette pasta by hand; be amazed by the impressive Baroque architecture of Lecce; discover the history of Otranto, a stunning borgo overlooking the sea, famous for the many attacks suffered by pirates during its history.
  • Live an intense Apulian gastronomic experience discovering the products of its fertile land, including its famous olives and olive oil: on the Francigena you will walk next to hundreds of centuries-old olive trees!
  • Reach Santa Maria di Leuca, the southernmost point of the heel of the boot of Italy, where you can observe the intersection of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, and glimpse distant horizons…

Before you go

1. Pack comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking and blisters are the last things you need.

2. Pack fairly light. You don’t want to carry around too much weight on the trails.

3. Ride the train between hiking days. It’s one of the most beautiful ways to travel through the European countryside.

4. Read up on some of the cathedrals. Knowing a little about them before you arrive adds even more to the experience.

5. Hostels or hotels? Be sure you’ve got each night’s stay accounted for before you start.

6. It’s a long hiking trip. You might go on a few practice hiking trips before embarking on this one.

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