Cycling around Tuscany is the best way to see the beautiful countryside

A great way to get around the countryside is to rent a car. Although Tuscany has a good train and bus network, the only way to get to some of the more remote areas is under your own steam. Most of the major car rental companies have offices in Pisa and Florence.

Another, more environmentally-friendly option, is to rent a bike. Tuscany is a cyclist's paradise, for both amateurs and experienced cyclists alike. The region is quite hilly, with flatter areas found near rivers and along the coast. Avoid the height of summer if you're planning a cycling-based holiday. The best times to go are from March to June and September/October. If you find yourself in Tuscany in July or August, you'll be limited to cycling in early morning or late evening due to the heat.

If you don't fancy anything too taxing, why not take a cycling tour of the wineries of the Chianti region? You will cycle through vineyards, green fields, olive groves and ancient villages, sampling the wonderful local wines and food on the way. But be careful you limit the wine intake! You can always purchase some to enjoy after a long day's cycling.

For some fantastic hiking opportunities, head for the untamed beauty of the Apuane Alps. Monte Forato is one of the most popular hikes in this area, due to the 32 metre long natural stone arch that joins the two peaks. It's a moderately hard 1 day hike. From the arch, there is a superb view to the west to the Tuscan coast. There are plenty of ways for everyone to enjoy the famous rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside.

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