Hiking, Monterosso al Mare
An enormous amount of travelers come to the Cinque Terre to hike the fabled trails between the five villages in this UNESCO site.
Yes, they're beautiful.
Yes, you should do at least some of them if you are physically able to.
Yes, you must purchase a pass to do that.
No, it's not certain that every route will be open at any given time.
• The heavily traveled Sentiero Azzurro - the Blue Trail/SVA ex.n. 2 which provides most direct route between the towns - has at least one section which has been closed for some years now, and three segments which have alternately been open or not depending on weather damage, rock slides and general repair. As this is the trail on practically every CT hiker's must-do list, consult the map before your trip, and then consult it again upon arrival as conditions can change in a hurry.
Here's the map of all of the trails:
It shows you the length of each, the approximate time needed from start to completion, and level of difficulty; blue dot = easy; green dot=moderate; yellow dot = challenging; red dot= trail closed. Clicking on the name of any trail brings up a short description and location on a map.
• As you'll see on the map, there other trails besides the Sentiero Azzurro which travel the hills farther above the villages. You can find some good suggestions for a few of those on the "Save Vernazza" website but do NOT use this for current updates; use the park's website for that:
• All of the villages are accessible by train if the longer trails are too much for you
• Boat service to 4 of the 5 villages is available during the warmer months: see my review under "Transportation".
• Local bus service to less-visited towns in the area is also available:
So unless your heart is set on doing the Blue, there's no reason to cancel your trip. Those alternate routes will be less heavily traveled, and provide some terrific panoramas. You could also hike just short sections and double back instead of doing an entire length: the view will be completely different going the opposite way!
Heck, the villages themselves have enough knee-punishing stairways and uphill slopes for a very decent workout. :)
See this page of the park website for information about passes:
And a last note: the park website can be frustrating to navigate, and segments may not be up to date or complete - as is true, as I'm typing this, for the trail chart in English above the map. Trail information available on the Italian chart - which is more complete - has not been fully translated or included on the English version, thus the blank spaces.
We took train to the first town Riomaggiore then hike back from there.. The first part was easy peesy.. Via del Amore was really nice to walk through.. we took a break in the only bar on there.. breathtaking view with a good price.. the way from Manarola to Corniglia was tiring. endless steps in zigzag shape.. yet the most difficult party was the next one from Corniglia to Vernazza.. some area were very steep and narrow.. We were lucky to make it to Vernazza before it's getting dark.. my mom was very worried and even a bit scared on the way.. I recommend to take the train from Corniglia to Vernazza.. it's only a few minutes ride.. it was saying that the next part from Vernazza to Monterosso would be even harder.. So a train ride is always nice..
For a good direction, check out this article..
When you are on a trail, take it easy! Do not run! But watch fauna around you. There are so many beautiful flowers and trees around. We were lucky because it was April and many flowers were blooming, I wish I knew their names :)
In my opinion the best period to visit Cinque Terre is April and May because the weather is not so hot and it lets you enjoy hiking and admiring the landscape.
Hiking in Cinque Terre is a real pleasure, views are unforgettable and flora is beautiful.
We spend the whole day hiking from Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore, we were taking our time in each of 5 towns, it was really relaxing day.
The whole trail from Monterosso a Riomaggiore is supposed to take about 5h (9km), but it depends on how fit you are.
The most difficult is a hike from Monterosso to Vernazza, it's very steep at the beginning, there are many steps to do, so if somebody does not feel like sweating a bit it's better to start in Corniglia and hike to Riomaggiore from there. Starting from Corniglia direction to Riomaggiore the hike is really easy, it's more like walking path with sea view. It takes about 1,5h to do it.
But, even if the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza is the most difficult I found it the most beautiful, the wildest, with captivating view of Monterosso and later panoramic view of Vernazza. It's awesome!!!
I am six month pregnant and I did all the hike so I feel like most people can do it without problem, of course you need to have good shoes and it's better if it's not too hot!
The best views of Monterosso are from the trail that leads to Vernazza. The trailhead is located on the southern most part of the village and one only has to hike the first 15 minutes of the trail to get the best views. Definitely worth taking a few minutes out of your day to get some memorable pictures.
Everyone goes to Monterosso to go on the 5 city hike. Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. It is a very hard hike, so brings lots of water. There is a guy who sits in a booth and does charge a fee for the hike, so it's not a free bee. I had a sprained ankle, so I don't recommend the hike if you are injured, it's really physical. I made it through Vernazza and had to quit. I plan to go back and do the whole hike.
Some of the others who were on the hike did say the easiest way to do the hike is starting at Monterosso, if you start from Riomaggiore it's much steeper.
The highlight of a trip to the Cinque Terre is a hike between the 5 villages. The distance from Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare is 12kms, and a lot of the trail is steep and rocky.
The walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola is the easiest. It is paved all the way, and the hardest part is probably the flight of stairs from the station at Riomaggiore up to the start of the path. Other than that the path is fairly flat and suitable for prams and high heels. This section of the trail is called the Lovers Lane. The walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola is 1km long and takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on how long you stop to gaze at the view!
The next section of the walk is from Manarola to Corniglia. This section is 3km long and takes about 1 hour. Parts of this trail are again pretty easy, but it is steeper and at times the ground is uneven under foot. The most exhausting part of this section is at the end, once you arrive at Corniglia train station. The station is located at the bottom of the hill, by the ocean, but the town of Corniglia is located on top of the hill....and there are approx 365 stairs to climb up to get up to the village!!
My favourite part of the hike is the section between Corniglia and Vernazza. This is the most scenic part, through varied landscapes - you walk through olive groves and forest, and then along the cliff edge, with spectacular views coming into Vernazza. This section is 4km long and takes about 1.5 hours to complete, though we found ourselves stopping quite a bit to admire the views - not because we were tired or anything ; )
The section between Vernazza and Monterosso is the most difficult. It is 4kms long and has lots of ups and downs and steep stairs. It is little less scenic than the others, but you do get a good view of some of the local vineyards. The beauty of Monterosso makes up for it all, plus the availability of a gelato or refreshing vino bianco at one of the many bars helps to ease those weary legs!!