If you are planning on walking between the villages on the Cinque Terre, then take care!!
Some of the paths are pretty narrow, and along the edge of a cliff..... A lot of walkers carry large sticks with them to assist with climbing and helping to stop any slips and falls.
Just ensure you have sensible walking shoes and take it easy - it is not a race...perhaps you should leave the high-heels at home ; )
We were advised by a local friend to catch the train to Riomaggiore and then walk the Via d'Amore to Manarola. Then on to Corniglia, and thus to Vernazza and Monterosso.
He suggested we would be doing quite well if we could manage it all in one day.
The Via d'Amore is a stroll in the park. There were families with pushchairs. If it wasn't for the steep flight of stairs at the beginning of the path I would have said it was wheelchair friendly. There was a delightful cafe with a view to die for. This is a doddle, we said to ourselves.
The path from Manarola to Corniglia is a little tougher. Narrower, some dangerous spots which were signposted, steeper.
We saw an anxious mother and father carrying a child in extreme pain, she was howling, on a seat of linked hands back towards Manarola. Her trouser leg was rolled up past her knee and I reckon she had mistepped and done something very nasty to her knee.
Half an hour later, we heard a helicopter take off.
It is easy to mis-step - and I don't think there is any way out except to be carried out.
Unless of course you go over the cliff. Do take care. And have great medical insurance for helicopter evacuation.
Then of course when you get to Corniglia there is the famous flight of stairs up to the town. Or a bus which is delightfully vague. There is a timetable but when we were there the young chap with the flying mane of hair just set off whenever he had a dozen or so gathered together.
None of us knew, but my husband was feeling a medical condition which would be diagnosed soon, and he just flaked and didn't want to go any further.
So we caught the train back to Rapallo where we were staying.
Not all the trains stop at all the stations. The one we caught we had to change at La Spezia - I think it was La Spezia. This can be tricky - but look at at the big white sheets with timetables posted at the station. Check the time of the next train, check it is stopping at the station you want - check which binario it leaves from. Simple, once you know how.
There is no docking pier in Manarola for the local excursion boat that runs between the Cinque Terre vllages and Portovenere. The picture shows how you get on/off the boat. If the water is rough, the boat does not stop at Manarola because it is not safe to get that close to the rocks and for passengers. The easiest way to handle this is to get off at Riomaggiore and just take the train back or hike the easy trail.
The next day we couldn't go but our daughter was really keen to get back.
She is young and fit but she found it quite tough going. The track is steeper, and rougher, and narrower, and she kept getting stuck in a pack of tourists who weren't coping very well.
She couldn't get past them, and they were stumbling and ya hooing all over the place.
Anyway, it is worth it. She thought Vernazza was the most beautiful of the towns.
You have to buy a ticket to walk the cliff side path, it isn't a great deal. A few euros. We bought ours at an office in Riomaggiore. And there were two booths along the way with bored young men checking our tickets.
I believe you can buy a combined train/walking ticket - but we never worked it out. Not having the language.
The only cafe we saw actually on the track was the first one between Riomaggiore and Manarola. Wish we hadn't had lunch before we started. Such a view! Indescribable.
To walk the trails one has to be very aware that there are no safety rails or places to get medical help. It is not like Disneyland where everything is goof proof. There are STEEP drop offs, varied terrain, and often no one else around. One has to be responsible for one's own health. Some of the trails are pretty rigorous, others are very easy. Take the time to know what the trails are like in the area you want to hike. We saw people from 6 to 80 walking the trails wearing every thing from flip flops to hiking boots and poles. Know your own abilities.
It all depends on the weather whether you can hike the whole length of the paths between the 5 towns. We were there after the previous few days had brought some heavy rains and the path between Manarola and Corniglia was closed. Seeing the landslides that were going on, I wasn't going to argue the point.
this picture isnt the worst the path can get, I felt safe even though you are a long way above the sea but if it was raining I could see it could be quite slippery and dangerous.