No trip to Cinque Terre is complete without hiking between the 5 villages. This will take most of your day, however the stunning views are unmatched. There are different options for the hikes and each one varies in difficulty. You will weave in and out of vineyards and along the coast, descending in to each village and then climbing back up to be mesmerized by the sights.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
- There are 2 paths. The red, high path number 1 and the blue path number 2. I took number 2 as I wanted to be closer along the coast, however both trails will provide amazing scenery. Number 1 goes up higher through the hills therefore it has a higher difficulty.
- In order to have access to the number 2 trail, you need to purchase a Cinque Terre card. This is not needed if you chose to hike the number 1 trail or to have access to the Via dell’Amore during the evening after 8pm. The card can be bought at the tourist information stores in each of the villages. You have the option to buy just access to the trails or combine it with a train pass. You can also buy it for 1 day, 3 days, or 7 days. A 1 day card just included access to the trails during the week will cost around 5€
- Before you hike, make sure you check which trails are open. If there has been heavy rain, some trails can be washed out. For information on trail closures, check here.
- Make sure to wear good walking shoes. I did the whole thing in a pair of TOMS and was just fine, but leave your flip flops at home.
- Bring lots of water. It is very important to stay hydrated especially when the weather is hot.
- Parts of the path are extremely narrow (with one side being an edge of a cliff), so make sure to be careful–especially when others need to pass you on the trail!!
- Wear a bathing suit as there will be places to swim and cool off during the hike
HIKE DURATION TIMES :
Riomaggiore to Manarola (via the Via dell’Amore): 1km, 40 minutes. This is completely paved and an easy walk. You can do it with a stroller if necessary.
Manarola to Corniglia: 2km, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Please note no matter if you hike or take the train to Corniglia, you will have to take stairs up to the village. There is also a large hill if you prefer.
Corniglia to Vernazza: 4km, 1 hour and 30 minutes (this path was closed due to the damage from the storms)
Vernazza to Monterosso: 3km, 2 hours. This is the most difficult leg with stairs going uphill both ways but definitely the most rewarding views.
- Start the hike with the most difficult, Monterosso to Vernazza. Many sources say to hike it from Riomaggiore to Monterosso, but I think it is much better in reverse. There are less stairs to go up if you do it this way, too. Plus, it you time it right you can end up on the Via dell’Amore around sunset.
- Start early to avoid the heat
- Apply sunscreen and drink lots of water
- Stop in each town to explore, eat, and swim
- Bring a small backpack and leave valuables at the hotel/hostel.
Have you hiked Cinque Terre? What was your favorite part?