Enjoy this 7 day walking holiday in Cinque Terre, along the most dramatic coastline of Italy. Through vineyards and colorful fishing villages, visiting the historic towns of Levanto, Portovenere and the five small village gems that make up Cinque Terre. You will stay three nights at a charming hotel in the medieval town of Levanto and three nights in the bustling little port village Riomaggiore.
Cinque Terre takes its name from the five picturesque villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. For over a thousand years, there have been people living in this dramatic landscape, and by strenuous work, the farmers have cultivated the steep slopes leading down to the steep sea cliffs of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Today the area is a designated national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. An extensive network of old mule tracks and hiking trails, connects the many beautiful villages, and provides the base for one of the world's well known hiking areas. Liguria has a lot to offer. The charming coastal town of Levanto, with its beach, the azure colored sea and the small town of Portovenere, which is guarding the entrance to the gulf of Poets.
This is a relatively easy walk which is suitable for those who have experience with walking/hiking, and who have general good physics. The daily walks are 5-6 hours. Most of the routes follows well marked paths and trails, and many of them have recently been restored by the local authorities. Some places it is necesarry to to follow the given map and route directions.
Checking in at the hotel upon arrival in Levanto.
Depending on when you arrive, it will be possible in the afternoon to take a sightseeing walk in the city and maybe take a dip in the blue waters of Mediterranean. Levanto is a small market town with a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, located at a sheltered bay, surrounded by mountains and a beautiful sandy beach.
The first day of walking will take you down the coast to Monterosso al Mare. The first part of the trails are leading up to the remarkable promontory Punta Mesco. To the east there are views of the rugged coastline of Cinque Terre and to the west you will get a view of Levanto. This is a good place to stop for a picnic lunch. Shortly after Punta Mesco, you can make a small detour to the ruins of an ancient hermitage, from the 11th century. Upon that you will follow a fairly steep path down into Monterosso, a colorful village, with blue, red and yellow houses that cling on to the rocks. There is plenty of time to explore the city before heading back to Levanto. For those who wish, it is also possible to go back to Levanto via an alternative route over the mountains. This route ends up behind the old castle in Levanto.
Today you walk from Levanto in a western direction. The first part goes on the ride along the beach, then the trails goes up into the hills and then down to the small coastal town of Bonassola. A coastal trail continues to Framura, where a number of small villages have grown together in the hilly landscape. From the upper village of Costa the path continues horizontally on green hillsides along the coast, with breathtaking views of the sea. A steep descent brings you down to Deiva Marina. From here it is possible to continue to Moneglia. This coastal walk takes you through several charming little villages where you will have time to drink a cup of coffee or just relax. There are also good opportunities to have lunch. you can go as far as you like, as it is possible from most of the villages to jump on the train back to Levanto.
After breakfast you will check out and take the train to Riomaggiore, the most southern of the five villages. Here you can leave your luggage at the hotel before beginning today's walk to Manarola, an attractive village with multi-colored houses, winding its way up the cliff sides, overlooking the natural rocky harbor. From Manarola the path goes up through the wine terraces towards Corniglia, which is nicely perched on a ridge overlooking the sea. From here the trail passes through vineyards and citrus groves. When you approach the village of Vernazza which and its old fortress, you will experience some of the most incredible views in the entire region. The path winds around the hillsides, until a fairly steep descent brings you into Vernazza, which is the most beautiful of all the villages on the coast. You must not spare yourself the experience to climb up the castle tower, which offers a magnificent view of the harbor with its many beautiful and colorful boats. There are many charming cafes where you can enjoy a drink or a nice lunch before you will take the train back to the hotel in Riomaggiore.
Today's hike takes you into the back country, of the central Cinque Terre, to the churches of Madonna di Reggio and Madonna di Saviore. You take the first train to Vernazza and then walk along the beach to Monterosso. After a good coffee break, begin the ascent to the sanctuary, Madonna di Saviore. This is a great spot to relax and have lunch before continuing to the next sanctuary, Madonna di Reggio. From here the path passes through the hills, to the little church of San Bernardo. The view of the coast from here is indescribable and the walk is pleasant. Eventually the trail descends to the coast and Vernazza, where you catch the train back to Riomaggiore. It is possible to shorten the trip by going directly from Madonna di Reggio, along a series of small chapels, down to Vernazza.
From Riomaggiore the path takes you in an eastern direction to Campiglia and Portovenere. You walk up a long flight of stairs to the Santuario della Madonna di Montenero. After the ascent the trail continues horizontal along the coastal cliffs and through beautiful vineyards. The dramatic coastline is perfectly framed by the clear azure blue waters. You are now at the Sentiero Rosso ridge that travels from one end of the Cinque Terre to the other. When passing through the small village of Campiglia, it is possible to stop for refreshments. From Campiglia you will hike down through the pine forest to Portovenere. Again, the views here are spectacular when passing by the fine old castle, from the 16th century, that lies above the Portovenere. From here you can see the distant peaks of the Alpi Apuane mountains. A wide staircase leads you into the heart of the village, and here there is time to explore the charming village and Punta San Pietro, before you head back to Riomaggiore on one of the local boat cruises. (In case the boat does not run one your trip, it is possible to catch a local bus back to Riomaggiore).
After breakfast it is time to pack your luggage and check-out of the hotel.
Find here a longer version of Cinque Terre that includes stays on the Portofino peninsula.See tour »
A tour through Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre and PortovenereSee tour »
Find here a Cinque Terre 5 day versionSee tour »
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