Cinque Terre: Scenic hiking trip



Regarded as one of the Italy’s treasures, Cinque Terre is a rocky coastal area adorning the Italian Riviera’s Liguria region. It is the home of ‘Five Lands’ that encompasses five famous hamlets namely, Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, Manarola, Corniglia, and Riomaggiore. These villages, shoreline, and the flanking hillsides now belong to the Cinque Terre National Park.

This World Heritage site is remarkable for its natural beauty and the settlements that people have made over centuries along with terraces upon the steep and rocky landscape ending on the cliffs projecting into the sea. Upon a look, it might look scary, but it is a pure fun! Undoubtedly, Cinque Terre is the very famous destination on the tourist map. Although the villages are connected by trains and boats, tourists like to take up the hiking trail to explore them making hiking the most loved way of the tour.

This is the cliff side trail offering many amazing vistas over the Ligurian Sea. Residing in the Cinque Terre National Park, hiking has limited timings. So, do not think it to be a 24/7 activity. This is known as the Blue Trail that differs at each village in terms of the difficulty level and maintainability. Just picking this activity will make you visit each Cinque Terre town and while you hike just follow as per the red and white markers that lead you, or else you will be easily lost. You will need five hours to complete this trail, which do not include the time you want to spend at each town. So, it is recommended to start early in the morning.

From Riomaggiore to Manarola

Known as ‘Via dell’Amore’ meaning a native Lover’s Lane, this part of the Cinque Terre trail is easiest. It is a total flat hike with paved feature. If you really are not in mood of wandering, ambling, or passing time here, then this hike if just of 20 minutes.

From Manarola to Corniglia

To the Manarola’s north, this trail is also flat, but not cobbled still continuing with your easy experience. However, this easiness is only until Corniglia. This is because this town is not nestled on the sea level, but is rather atop a cliff. The closer you get to Corniglia; you will see the train tracks between the trail and water alongside. At the bottom of the hill on which this town is perched, you will halt at the train station from where switchback stairs start. There are over 360 steps for entering the town. Alternatively, catch a shuttle bus to be at the top. This is available to the station’s right. The total hiking time on this section of the Blue Trail is 60 minutes. However, if you require breaks, it might be more than this.

From Corniglia to Vernazza

To hike this part of the trail, it is necessary for you to be up on the hill as the town of Corniglia is atop. This trail actually goes downwards on the hill for most of the times despite the fact that there are a few steep zones. Some parts are formed from unevenly-shaped stone steps that need caution as well as attention while walk. It is from here that your hiking becomes risky – some sections are very narrow, while a few have a vineyard wall or some foliage on a side with a cliff on the other. However, despite this, the trail is crowded forever. After reaching Vernazza, an array of extremely sheer switchback steps take one down to the town. This is the hike of 1.5 hours.

From Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare

This is the most adventurous hike because it is up, down, and steepest with cliff side drop-offs on a side. Therefore, you will have to witness a plenty of halts. However, the scenes of stunning olive orchards as well as vineyards are plenty as you move ahead on this rough trail shaded by cool forest. This is very satisfying and refreshing if you are hiking during the summer mid day. Further, this one offers the ideal vistas of the bay. The total time of this hike is 2 hours excluding too many stops.

Take up the Sanctuary trail from this one, which will take you to a shrine in the hill of each town. As they are not well marked, do so with a help of a map.

Entry fee

€5 per person

If you want to come by rail, catch a train from La Spezia that is on its way to Genoa. This one passes through a long tunnel between Monterosso and Riomaggiore and also offers the views of the Mediterranean.

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