Hello nature lovers! 🌳
If you’re looking forward to hiking near Rome, around Lago Albano and Lago Nemi, then this is exactly what the doctor ordered! 😎
In this post, I’m going to show you one of my favorite trails in Lazio that are accessible by train!
Personally, I love this experience because it takes you on a journey through history and natural beauty at the same time.
What can you expect?
You’ll pass by two stunning volcanic lakes, Lago Albano and Lago di Nemi, offering incredible views and so much more.
Imagine yourself immersed in a mixed forest of goddess Diana, surrounded by lush greenery and the peaceful serenity of these picturesque lakes. As you explore the trail, you’ll encounter fascinating signs of settlements dating back to the Neolithic period (caves, also used as prisons during medieval times), connecting you to ancient civilizations that once thrived in this area.
And if that’s not enough to pique your interest, you’ll even stumble upon traces from the foundation of Rome, allowing you to connect with the legendary origins (after all, Romulus and Remus were born around here according to legend) of this magnificent city.
To make your journey even more convenient, the trail is easily accessible from Rome. Just hop on a train, and within no time, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the enchanting landscapes of Lago Albano and Lago di Nemi. The train ride typically takes around 51 minutes depending on the schedule.
Lace up your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through time and nature. 🏞️🚶♀️
Hiking near Rome around Lago Albano/Lago di Nemi
While you have the option to hike directly beside the lake, I highly recommend focusing on this trail for an unforgettable experience.
If you find yourself in Nemi, you might consider taking a leisurely stroll around the lake. However, I advise against combining it with a hike from the train station, especially if you plan on swimming in the lake. It’s best to keep these activities separate to fully enjoy each one without exhaustion.
While it’s technically possible to hike around either of the lakes, including the scenic trail, I do not recommend it as it would significantly extend an already lengthy hike. Instead, I suggest focusing on the main trail to make the most of your hiking adventure without adding unnecessary miles.
- Beautiful vistas of two volcanic lakes (Lago Albano, Lago Nemi)
- Mixed forest (chestnut trees, some holm oaks)
- Pleasant trail with some volcanic rocks here and there
- Possibility to see huge caves (do not enter or stand below as they are unstable!)
- Nemi is a great town, famous for its strawberries, with a fantastic view of Lago di Nemi
- Many highlights along the way that are of historical importance (e.g. the legends of Romulus and Remus, the legend of Rex Nemorensis, the story of the two Roman ships built at Lago di Nemi on orders of Caligula, and much more!)
- Official difficulty scale: E
- My difficulty assessment: Easy/Medium (the biggest challenge to some might be the heat in summer and the overall length – there are some short stretches that require walking uphill, but they are not difficult).
- Elevation gain: 340m
- Elevation loss: 340m
- Type: Loop (Lasso)
- Length: 15km (may be a bit shorter or longer, depending on detours you can take)
- Time: about 5 hours
- Trail quality: good amount of trail signs (red/white flags) as of 2023, generally easy to walk, beware of wet spots and rocks on the ground in some parts
Some things to be aware of
🚵♂️ Note: you might come across some cyclists along the way.
Especially on the weekends, the hiking trail is shared with passionate mountain bikers. Not a big problem, but something to be aware of, especially when you are coming across slopes it’s a good idea to check first that no cyclists come racing towards you, especially if you go hiking with your kids.
⚠️ There are some detours that lead to some hidden parts within these woods; two popular ones are the Romitorio di Sant’Angelo in Lacu, which is a ruin of a thousand-year-old hermitage, and the other one is located on an unofficial trail, which will lead to a panoramic view of Lake Nemi that is located on a highly dangerous spot – we’re talking about a 1-meter wide path that leads across a 30-meter drop – not even Indiana Jones would attempt doing that. However, in this post we’ll focus on the regular, safe route 😉
⚠️ do not attempt on a rainy day or after heavy rain, as this can be potentially dangerous
How to get there
Reaching Albano Laziale from Rome can be done through various routes, depending on your starting point. Regardless of the route you choose, you will eventually find yourself on Via Appia Nuova, which runs parallel to the ancient Appian Way—a fantastic hiking trail worth exploring as well!
Considering traffic conditions, driving past Castel Gandolfo is often the most efficient option before entering Albano Laziale. In the past, it was common to park in front of "Le Fratte Ignoranti," a popular bar/restaurant. However, please note that at the time of writing, access to that road has been temporarily closed due to ongoing tree-cutting and restructuring activities. An alternative parking space is available just next to it, in front of the gate of the Convento dei Padri Cappuccini. Although this parking area is not officially designated, it is often used by locals (beware: it’s not clear that it’s an official parking space). For those seeking an official parking spot, I recommend parking a bit further away at Piazza San Paolo. Yes, it involves a short additional walk, but you’ll be rewarded with the sight of the Anfiteatro Severiano, an ancient amphitheater along the way. The extra steps are well worth the experience!
By public transport
Traveling to Albano Laziale by train is a convenient and affordable option. Simply board the train from Termini station, which is part of the Castelli Romani Line, and the one-way fare is only 2.10€. It’s a budget-friendly choice!
⚠️ Please note that occasionally trains to Albano Laziale depart from the extended track (often referred to as 20B instead of 20), instead of the regular track. If it’s your first time using this train, it’s important to add an extra 15 minutes to your itinerary to allow time for locating the correct platform. Fortunately, it’s a straightforward process. Once you notice on the information panel that the train departs from 20B instead of 20, simply follow the path you would normally take for track 20 but continue walking until the very end. You will find another hidden track, which is the 20B variant.
Moreover, if you need to switch from 20B to 18B (in case that is where the train is scheduled to depart from and you’re already standing at 20B), there’s no need to backtrack all the way to the beginning of the station. Convenient underground passageways are available to connect the tracks, allowing you to seamlessly move from one side to the other. This saves you time and makes the transfer hassle-free.
ℹ️ Here is a useful website that monitors all departures in real-time from Roma Termini: https://iechub.rfi.it/ArriviPartenze/ArrivalsDepartures/Monitor?placeId=2416&arrivals=False
Once we reach Albano Laziale, we head towards the trailhead located near the Fratte Ignoranti Bar/Restaurant. If you arrived by car, you’re likely to be a bit closer. The subsequent 15-minute ascent, for many, is going to be the most challenging part of the entire hike.
During the journey, take the opportunity to visit charming churches, savor a coffee (especially if the Fratte Ignoranti bar next to the trailhead opens a little later), and relish the scenic view that stretches towards the seaside.
Upon reaching the starting point, you may notice that the main road appears to be blocked. However, simply walk around the fence to discover the entrance to the small hiking path. Before entering the trail you’ll notice several signs indicating various paths that begin or continue from here. These include the 511 path to Nemi (which we’ll be taking today), the Francigena, as well as routes to Maschio delle Faete and Rocca Priora. If you were embarking on the entire "Cammino Naturale dei Parchi," a 25-day hike, the latter, Rocca Priora, would be your destination for day 2, following the road from Castel Gandolfo to Rocca Priora. However, for today, our focus is on reaching Lake Nemi and returning.
The initial stretch is easy and well-maintained, with wooden panels placed on either side to guide you along the path. You may come across some wooden benches along the way, although they might be somewhat dilapidated (at least at the time of writing). Nonetheless, if you exercise caution, you can still find a place to rest on them.
On your left-hand side, you will be able to enjoy Lake Albano, which reveals itself every now and then between the trees of the forest, and even some panoramic views at times!
The path will lead around the lake for a while until we move more to the right (East), away from the Lake, and start to gain some height (but not too much, don’t worry!).
At some point, you might start hearing a little traffic from a street. We are temporarily getting closer to a town, and here actually we have a chance to deviate from our main path to get to a trattoria (traditional restaurant) called La Baita.
After a while, we reach a fountain known as the Fontana Tempesta. Unfortunately, as of the time of writing, it does not offer any drinkable water.
At this juncture, we are just a stone’s throw away from Nemi! The dense forest begins to thin, gradually revealing glimpses of sunlight. If the day is sunny, it’s advisable to apply sunscreen, and don’t forget your hat (you brought a hat, didn’t you?) for added protection.
…we will reach the city gate!
Want to get more out of this hiking experience?
- Book a guided hike with a certified hiking guide, to enjoy this experience in safety and to learn more about the flora, fauna, and to discover some hidden gems along the way!
Reach out to learn about our private hike and group hike availabilities.
- Alternatively, purchase a self-guided hike for a highly detailed trail description, local tips, and everything you need to start exploring on your own safely and organized: Get in touch with us to learn more.