With a varied landscape Abruzzo is known for its seaside resorts, its mountain scenery and its ski resorts - with the great advantage that the sea and the mountains are never far apart so it is easily possible to combine both during your visit.
Abruzzo - a guide and places to visit
The Abruzzo region runs along the Adriatic coast of western central Italy.
Much of the inland (western) part of the Abruzzo region is a wilderness, and includes a part of the Apennine mountains to the north, and extensive plains and forests to the south, with a scattering of attractive towns and villages. To the east of Abruzzo the area also has popular beaches and coastline on the Adriatic Sea.
Inland - scenery and mountains
The region away from the coast is defined by its mountains, and it is one of the most mountainous regions in Italy, culminating with the Corno Grande mountain at almost 3000 metres high.
The mountains of Abruzzo also contains numerous attractive villages, often huddled around an ancient church, and several other interesting towns, castles and other historic monuments.
In the north in particular Abruzzo has a particularly impressive mountain backdrop, perhaps nowhere more so than the region around the town of L'Aquila.
In fact there are parts of three different Italian National Parks within Abruzzo's borders - the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, the Mount Majella National Park and the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park - as well as the Sirente Velino Regional park and several Nature Reserves.
Together these cover more than a third of the territory and as a result you are never far the chance to enjoy the protected environment of mountains and forests, lakes and rivers, and an abundance of wildlife.
If you are visiting in winter, popular ski resorts in Abruzzo include those at Campofelice, Campo Imperatore, Ovindoli, Rivisondoli, Pescocostanzo, Prati di Tivo, Roccaraso, Scanno and Tagliacozzo.
For almost 100 miles Abruzzo follows the Adriatic, where well established resorts attract large numbers of families from across Italy and elsewhere in Europe. Apart from the long beaches in the major destinations there are also long stretches of quieter coast where you might find a smaller beach where you are almost alone.
In general, the northern part of the Abruzzo coast has longer, sandier beaches than the southern part.
Among the most visited of the Abruzzo sea resorts are Alba Adriatica, Costa dei Trabocchi, Francavilla al Mare, Giulianova, Martinsicuro, Montesilvano, Ortona, Pineto, Roseto degli Abruzzi, San Salvo, Silvi Marina, Tortoreto and Vasto and several of them have been awarded the prestigious 'blue flag' award for cleanliness and facilities.
The main town on the coast is at Pescara, which also has about 10 kilometres of sandy beaches.
Towns and villages
Other favourite towns include Sulmona and Lanciano, Chieti and Teramo (both based around medieval cathedrals) and Giulianova and Vasto, and an innumerable number of smaller villages scattered across the region.
L'Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo in the Gran Sasso mountains, also has a long tradition of being one of the most historically interesting centres in Abruzzo, although the historic center suffered a great deal of damage during an earthquake in 2009, which also killed several hundred people.
The history of Abruzzo is best understood through its churches and castles, and a number of museums in the region that have gathered artefacts from Abruzzo's long history. Among the impressive castles to visit are those at Celano, Crecchio, Ortona, Pacentro, Rocca Calascio, Roccascalegna and Santo Stefano di Sessanio.
Photos & highlights
Abruzzo photo gallery
Tourist Awards in Abruzzo
Most Beautiful Villages
The following Italian towns and villages in Abruzzo are listed among the 'most beautiful villages in Italy': Anversa degli Abruzzi, Bugnara, Castel del Monte, Castelli, Città Sant'Angelo, Civitella del Tronto, Guardiagrele, Introdacqua, Navelli, Opi, Pacentro, Pescocostanzo, Pettorano sul Gizio, Pietracamela, Rocca San Giovanni, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Scanno, Tagliacozzo, Villalago
Orange Flag Tourism towns in Abruzzo
The following Italian towns and villages in Abruzzo are listed among the 'Orange flag towns in Italy'(a national tourist award): Palena, Roccascalegna