Val Trebbia: visit this lesser-known area of Northern Italy for an adventure-packed holiday

·4-min read
Photo credit: Alex Mai
Photo credit: Alex Mai

A holiday that involves nothing but dozing on the beach and sipping cocktails is always great, but sometimes we’re looking for a trip that’ll introduce us to new experiences and inspire us to test our limits. Basically, something that'll enhance our sense of adventure… plus, the cocktails, ofc.

Outdoor travel sports club No Boundaries deliver just that, in the beautiful Val Trebbia, a stunning area in Northern Italy that is beyond peaceful and pretty much untouched by tourism. For adventure curious travellers and solo holiday goers, the activity weekends on offer are a great way to meet fellow thrill-seeking explorers and bond over shared experiences.

Where we stayed

Depending on your budget, No Boundaries will put you up in local accommodation in the area, with a variety of affordable options, including hostels. We stayed in the quaint farmhouse Croara Vecchia which had all the tranquil vibes you could dream of.

With the river Trebbia running alongside its grounds and the endless green surroundings, it is the epitome of secluded heaven. We were welcomed by horses grazing in the stables, followed by a luscious garden lawn which the rooms look over. Essentially mini apartments, each room has a kitchenette, dining and living area, but there's also breakfast on offer in the farmhouse dining room consisting of meats and cheeses as well as fresh fruit and yoghurt and homemade pastries. The final discovery whilst wondering the grounds was stumbling upon the swimming pool hidden around the back of the farmhouse, hopping in for a quick dip to the sound of crickets and nothing else.

What we did

Photo credit: Alex Mai, Val Trebbia
Photo credit: Alex Mai, Val Trebbia

If you want to fully take in the beauty of a place, e-biking is definitely the way forward. Cycling effortlessly – thank you, electric bikes – through the breath-taking backdrop of rolling hills and valleys, I felt like I was moving through scenes from the Sound of Music. (Perhaps maybe not as gracefully as Julie Andrews). Even Ernest Hemingway is said to have called Val Trebbia the "most beautiful valley in the world".

The e-bike tour is a rewarding way to ease yourself into these great outdoor activities organised by the No Boundaries team. The bikes were adjusted to our height and away we went on our two-wheeled expedition, stopping to reach the peak of Pietra Parcellara, taking in endless jaw-dropping views, continuing with quick stops to take scenic landscape Insta-snaps, before we reached the town of Bobbio as our final destination.

You can relax in this beautiful small village after the three hour cycle, grab a bite to eat or take a guided tour to delve deeper into the history of the place. We ventured over to the famous Ponte Gobbo bridge, also known as 'devil's bridge', where you can cool off in the turquoise waters of the river, which is highly recommended and feels well deserved.

Photo credit: Alex Mai, Val Trebbia
Photo credit: Alex Mai, Val Trebbia
Photo credit: Alex Mai, Val Trebbia
Photo credit: Alex Mai, Val Trebbia

If e-biking is small fry on your list of adventure activities, then rock climbing up the steep Falesia di Pillori rock face, overlooking the valley, is bound to entice the adrenalin junkies amongst us. On the second day of our multi-sport weekend, we embarked on a morning of climbing, which at first sight is absolutely terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure.

The supportive, highly professional crew make you feel completely at ease, and as if you can totally do this, which to my amazement I actually could. Hands a little shake-y, half way up the seemingly very flat rock face, the team on the ground are there with support (both mentally and physically, with my harness secured to theirs) reminding me to breathe and look at the incredible landscape just to the left, and surprisingly that motivated me to keep climbing to the top. All worth it for the views and sense of achievement.

Where to eat


To balance out the action packed days, the area's local restaurants help bring a sense of calm to your evenings. You will fall in love with the idillic Ristorante Al Contesse, a remote eatery with the most incredible views of the sun setting over the Trebbia hills. On special request you can arrange a wine tasting, with wines from local vineyards. The tortelli pasta is the softest, most delicious pasta I've ever tasted. You could easily spend a very long evening filling up on pasta and wine here.

Photo credit: Alex Mai, Val Trebbia
Photo credit: Alex Mai, Val Trebbia

The restaurants have a real sense of community and local spirit, which another remote restaurant Corte del gallo completely embodies. A long Sunday lunch here felt like eating with family in their garden, with so many pasta options to choose from including tortelli, gnocchetti and pisaeri - a local Piacenza pasta dish and an absolute fave.

If you're looking for a buzzy atmosphere, continuing the adrenalin rush of the days activities, head to Barrio Cafe in Travo. With seating filling the small square, many locals drink and eat the night away listening to live music, filling up on cocktails, burgers and a local Italian flatbread dish called piadina.

For a multi-sport activity weekend, No Boundaries cover airport transfers, accommodation with breakfast and all activity expenses, from £299.

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