“It’s the most romantic place you’ll ever see,” said my pretty Irish friend.
She pitched me that line 13 years ago, on our way to the train station to buy tickets to the Cinque Terre. That was “back in the day” when I was a student in Florence. I was more than ready to escape the Tuscan heat for the seaside.
On a Friday in July, we took the train to the first village. When I hopped off the train I squealed, “Seriously! This is amazing!” That was just the view from the train platform.
I still love hearing that phrase. I’m blessed to hear it every summer from my guests when they join my week long tours to the Cinque Terre.
My driver collects our guests from the sweaty train station. As we descend into the village of Riomaggiore, all that city commotion just washes away.
I love watching their faces as each hairpin curve delivers another peekaboo view of the village, and the entire Italian Riviera and all the way to French coastline.
If I could bottle those smiles and save them for a rainy day, I would.
You Wanna Hike Cinque Terre Trails.
But … you have about 500 questions.
It’s a place that’s crazy to figure out, and for first timers it’s really confusing. Because the Cinque Terre is a cluster of villages, not just one place, it can be so much “work” just trying to figure out logistics before you even figure out where to book a hotel. Florence is simple. Cinque Terre is HARD.
If you’re traveling on a wing and a prayer, I’d like to offer some help.
I get so many questions on Facebook and Instagram about traveling to the Cinque Terre. I wanted to clear up some confusion now.
Thanks for checking out our blog!
Are you interested in travelling to the Cinque Terre with us on a hiking tour?
Check out our Day Tours of the Cinque Terre HERE!
(We’ve also got tours in Florence)
We’d love to see you in Italy!
Local Cinque Terre Hiking and Trail Advice Is Key.
You can “research” your way to crazy town on the Google, right? Trying to figure out your Italian holiday is pretty much like having a second job.
Of course, I think going with someone who has local knowledge is key. But I own an Italian travel company, so of course I’m biased!
But seriously, it’s taken me over 10 years of working, traveling, living and guiding tours in the region to find my favorite places, restaurants, people, experiences, hole-in-the-wall eateries, secret beaches and hiking trails. My friend Christina, who lives in Riomaggiore full-time, (I split my time between Italy and Vancouver Island, Canada) tells me that I eat out in Italy more than her. Which I thought was pretty funny — but true.
So, yes, you can come and hike and enjoy the Cinque Terre with me one summer. I’d love that.
Or you can go on your own and wing it, which in that case read on. (And be sure to check out our private Cinque Terre tours – where we’ll hike gorgeous trails together and reward you with food and vino. Seriously.)
The Top 21 Cinque Terre Hiking Trail Questions, Answered.
1) I’m going in winter? Will the trails be open?
Yes, they’re open year round.
2) Are the trails free?
Most of the trails are free.
The exception is the sentiero azzurro, also called the blue trail or trail Number 2. It’s the most popular. In high season (when people are checking tickets) you’ll pay for that.
3) How much is a hiking pass for the blue trail?
The current price for 2018 (remember you only pay for the blue trail) is €7.50. Two-day passes save you a whopping 50 cents at €14.50.
4) What is the Cinque Terre Card?
The Cinque Terre Card bundles the price of the trains between the villages (but not ferries) and a hiking day-pass. It’s €16. A 2-day pass is €29.
5) Should I buy the Cinque Terre Card?
Train tickets between any of the towns in the Cinque Terre (and La Spezia and Levanto) now cost €4.00 per trip (as of 2018), so even if you don’t plan to hike at all but are going to be taking the train more than twice in a day, buying the Cinque Terre Card is worth it.
6) Where should I stay if I want to hike?
There are no “bum” villages. Stay anywhere, they’re all amazing! And great for hiking. See my what to do in the Cinque Terre article, which has a free itinerary and some accommodation tips.
Many people get confused and want to pack their belongings between the trails and move hotels for the night. That’s not necessary. You can easily catch the train to each section of the trail head you want to conquer and sleep in the same place for your stay.
7) How do I get to the Cinque Terre?
You can take a train to any village.
You can drive, but parking can be drama filled.
The Cinque Terre means “five lands” which are the five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. But just think of the region as a spider web of trails, towns, and villages. This stretch of coastline is a mix of tiny hamlets, like Groppo, and bigger towns like La Spezia and Levanto.
You can find train schedules on the Trenitalia website here. The train passes through all the villages, and you can walk to the small hamlets or take the green bus.
8) I heard the xxxxx trail is closed? Is it?
Be careful what you find on the internet regarding trail openings and closures; there’s a lot of conflicting information. Why? Because trails open and close all the time for landslides and maintenance.
Long-term closures on the blue trail (sentiero azzurro / Trail #2) are still in effect between Riomaggiore and Manarola (Via dell’Amore) and Manarola to Corniglia.
Don’t get too freaked out by trail closures — there will always be plenty of trails to hike when you arrive.
9) Do I need a map for the trails?
Depends. You don’t need a map to do the main trail (sentiero azzurro). The trail is marked with paint and it’s easy to follow. For more complex trails, head down to my buddies Nicola and Christine at the gear shop in Manarola for advice.
10) Do I need hiking boots?
The trails are hard packed dirt or loose stones. Ideally, wear running/tennis shoes or sturdy hiking sandals. Hiking boots are overkill (if you’re doing just a day or two).
11) What should I pack on the trails?
A small day-pack with one liter of water. I bring sun protection, a bathing suit (if the weather is warm you can swim after), and a snack (you’re in Italy. On vacation. It’s mandatory to ingest something every 75 minutes). If it’s inclement weather, pack a change of clothes.
In truth, you’re never far from food and shelter — this area is tiny! (Says the Canadian.)
12) What is the Cinque Terre?
It’s an Italian National Park, called Parco nazionale delle Cinque Terre. That means that building laws are strict, and development permits are harder to come by than a clean public restroom. Translation: almost impossible. Which means that you’re not gonna see a Hilton built there, or a neon sign. Or cars and vespas buzzing around freely.
The waterways around the five villages are protected by the L’Area marina protetta Cinque Terre. Large vessels (like yachts) can’t dock here, and you’re not going to see a jet ski. It feels clean and uncontaminated.
The Cinque Terre is recognized by UNESCO as a place of worldwide importance to cultural and natural heritage. As of 2017, Italy has 52 total sites inscribed on UNESCO’s list, making it the country with most World Heritage Sites.
13) I like to skip the crowds. Where should I hike?
There are dozens of trails that run well beyond the five Cinque Terre villages. One to check out is between Monterosso and Levanto. That takes about 3 hours. The other is from Riomaggiore to Portovenere. That takes about 5 hours (without a map or a guide it can be confusing).
You can see the full list of trails on the Park’s site here, but it’s pretty confusing. When you’re there, just ask the villagers for the trail heads and reference a free paper map. You can get a map at the tourist offices located near or in the train stations.
Alternatively, we’d love to have you join one of our hiking Cinque Terre tours – all you have to do is show up and we’ll lead the way, off the beaten track into stunning secret valleys.
14) I only have a half day in the villages, but still want to hike.
Cool! No problem. Train into Riomaggiore, walk to the top of the village (near the car park) and ask a local where the trail head that leads to the Santuario di Montenero (Montenero Sanctuary) starts. It’s about 45 minutes one way.
15) I just have one day, and I’m coming for something easy and fun.
With very little orientation, you can hike the section between Monterosso and Vernazza (the blue trail/#2/sentiero azzurro). It’s 2 hours. It’s steep in parts, but you get a postcard shot of Vernazza from that trail.
You can also book one of our private Cinque Terre tours for the day, and we’ll have you covered! We’ll bring the fun, too.
16) I’m active and want a challenge. Which trail should I take?
I love the trail I list on my One Day in Cinque Terre post. Or the section between Monterosso and Levanto (it’s 3 hours). If you can read a map, hike Riomaggiore to Portovenere (it’s about 5 hours). You can hire local guides like Marco (he works with me) or Pall to take you.
17) I’m traveling with kids — are the trails safe?
Yes, you can bring kids! Our young daughter is a trail pro. She first traveled from the cushy view from my husband’s back, then as a toddler (dawdler!). This summer her and dad will be trail running when I’m hosting my tours.
18) I’m super confused and stressed out by all this planning. I keep finding conflicting information.
Yup, the information on the trails always changes and some websites don’t get updated. Also, know that the pages that come up first in the searches are usually the oldest information (it’s how Google works), making the articles as useless as week old focaccia.
The easy thing to do? Just stop searching on the interwebs and trust when you’re there, you’ll have a great time. You’ll find what you need to find and life will provide what you’ve come to see. So take a chill pill and just show up.
When you arrive, grab a free paper map and pick a trail that you feel like walking that day. You don’t need to prep, bring dehydrated food, walking sticks or weird high tech clothing. Just wear what you have, and do what you can, with what you have right now. And if you really, really don’t want to stress out about it – check out our Cinque Terre tours and we’ve probably got a fab itinerary lined up for your day.
19) I’m coming in winter, is it too cold?
For hiking it’s probably great. See my easy Italian weather cheat sheet to help you decide.
20) I wanna get away from it all. What village should I base myself out of?
If you want to pretend that the world has gone away, stay in the village of Volastra, high above Riomaggiore. Population: 200 seniors. There are some great trails that leave from there. I base one on of my hikes from that village.
21) Bianca, do you offer day hikes?
Yes! I’ve got a team of local experts who have lovingly curated a lineup of incredible Cinque Terre experiences – hikes, wine tastings, insider-intel nooks and crannies included. Check out our Cinque Terre tours and take your pick.
You can come on one of my group, multi-day tours and I’ll take care of you. I also accept a few private clients a year.
If you have more questions, just ask them here.
Before you go, check out more of my Cinque Terre advice and recommended experiences:
- Italian Fix Tours in Cinque Terre
- What to do in Cinque Terre
- Restaurants in Cinque Terre
- One Day in Cinque Terre
- Riomaggiore, Italy
Leave a comment! What’s the single most confusing things about finding info on hiking the Cinque Terre trails?
Great advice! We will be traving to the Cinque Terre in the beginning of June for our Honeymoon. We are staying in Monterosso. How late do the trains typically run to the other towns?
The trains run until about 11:30 pm. No problem to travel at night between the villages! It’s under $2 for your tickets.
Firstly, can I just say (although I’m sure you hear it a lot), your blog is FANTASTIC! The information is clear and easy to read. I’m planning a 3 night, 4 day trip to Cinque Terre and have done so much googling it’s actually made me more confused than anything. You have really cleared up some information, especially with the hikes. I’m extremely new to hiking, and have felt really anxious about some of the information I have read regarding the hikes, but you’ve put me at ease and now I can look forward to it more. So thank you!!! I just have a quick question. I’m basing myself in Manarola, but am interested in what is mentioned above about a hike starting from Volastra, just wondering if you can give me the link to this or provide me with some information? I look forward to hearing from you 🙂
Sopania, you will have no problem in getting up to Volastra from Manarola, either by bus or the #6 trail which you will see everyone climbing. This trail continues towards Corniglia after you reach Volastra. To find this trail, when you arrive up in Volastra you will come to a water station, take a left and follow the sidewalk. You will come to the end where a cross is sitting in a cement block. Take a left again and this will lead you towards Corniglia. There will be a junction just above Corniglia, this is the #7 trail which leads down into the village. These trails are commonly used, so you will not be alone on them. Follow the crowd the rest of the way on the #2 blue trail to Vernazza & Monterosso. There are red & white markers on the trails with numbers on some. With a map from the park you can find your way, but as I said you will not be along up there.
So glad we’ve been able to help you with your trip, and most importantly, to calm your nerves about it a bit 🙂
As Pall mentions, you can hike or bus it up to Volastra, and then hike down to Corniglia. From there you can even head over to Vernazza and Monterosso if you like, or save that hike for another day.
Have a great time, and do let us know how it goes!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix
We shall be disembarking MSC cruise at 10am on 20 June and will only have 1/2 day to see Cinque Terre. Do you think we will manage and do you have some suggestions. I notice there is a ferry that also goes up to Positano, if time permits we would love to see that aswell?
Thankyou in advance
A half day in the Cinque Terre isn’t really enough time to see Portofino (Positano is along the Amalfi Coast near Naples) – you’d have to choose one or the other as it’s over an hour away.
Check out our post on how to make the most of a short time in the Cinque Terre here: https://www.italianfix.com/one-day-cinque-terre/
Have a great trip!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix
I’ve been bringing teenage GROUPS to the Cinque Terre for a number of years. The group size is usually about 48 people and we have always stayed at the Youth Hostel in Levanto using the train between the towns.
BUT I am ready for a change.
I am looking at Portovenere. BUT i have a lot of questions:
where will I find accommodation affordable for this group in town?
how easy is it to commute between the 5 towns from there?
WHAT will your advice be?
Looking forward hearing from you
Portovenere is a beautiful place, and we love suggesting it as a place to visit and stay, but if you’re concerned about an easy commute, then do consider that there is no train station there. To get to the Cinque Terre you would either have to take the ferry (which runs from around 10:00 to around 17:30) or the bus to La Spezia (which runs every 10 to 30 minutes until around 23:00) and then the train. There is a hostel there called Ostello Porto Venere. You might also want to consider looking into the youth hostels in Manarola and Corniglia and staying right in the Cinque Terre.
Let us know how the trip goes, ok? That’s a big group of teens to wrangle!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix
I would never recommend Corniglia except to hike there, gorgeous but very long and steep from Vernazza. The train is on the coast and the town is 10000 steps straight up. I am 57 and went down those steps after a two hour hike, aye vey. Teens probably will enjoy all those steps I did not:) Stay in a town near a train station for super ease around the five towns.
My wife and i are visiting cinque terre on 28th july in the evening in riomaggiore ..
We have our train out of monterosso on 30th july at 5pm.
So basically we have one good day on 29th july.
what do you suggest we do in matter of stay and hiking?
Can we do the hikes alone or would you suggest a guide?
In spite of reading your entire blog I’m still confused as to what to do.
I really hope you can help me decide.. i wish i stayed in cinque terre for atleast 5 days and saw it properly.
Our post on making the most of one day in the Cinque Terre should be a great help to you, and like we mention in this post, don’t stress about the hiking! It’s relatively easy to figure it all out when you get here.
Here’s our One Perfect Day post: https://www.italianfix.com/one-day-cinque-terre/
Smile and have a wonderful trip!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix
I am currently studying abroad (ok, well, my semester ended in May :P) in Viterbo, and my friend and I would like to hike Cinque Terre soon. My question, is–if we want to hike to all the villages in a linear fashion–which village should we begin with to get the best views? Thank you so much for this article (and blog/website in general); it’s already been a great help!
It really doesn’t matter where you start for the best views, and since it’s all up and down, there also isn’t a better direction to go in to make it easier or harder. Some of the best views are on the stretch between Vernazza and Monterosso, but go one way or the other makes no difference.
Kiiri @ Italian Fix
Can you use credit cards for the trains?
We want to take the train from La Spezia to Monterosso and then hike to Vernazza and then hike to Corniglia and then train to Manarola and train to Riomaggiore and train to La Spezia. So that’s 4 train rides and 2 hikes – should we just pay the train each time? Or get the pass (do those trails cost that we’ve chosen)
Thanks so much!
Yes, you can buy train tickets with a credit card.
As for tickets, see point #5 above – sounds like the Cinque Terre card is your best bet.
Have a great trip!
Kiiri @ Italian Fix
Thank you so much for all this advise! My husband and I are coming from the states for our first time and we can only dedicate 3 days to the Cinque Terre area. We will be returning i’m sure to do your tour, it looks fabulous. Since we cannot do your 7day tour do you have any recommendations for cooking classes we can look into? Also, we are young and don’t have children and we can’t decide were to stay . I know you gave some good recommendations for a few places to stay but all the dates are already booked. Is there a town with a lively atmosphere at night? We aren’t looking to necessarily party but we don’t want to pick a town asleep by 21h. Thank you so much for all of your blogs guidance, you truly made me feel more relaxed about this part of our trip.
piggybacking on annabelle’s question! as my boyfriend and i are visiting late april and looking to hike around all 5 villages, but also want to stay somewhere that has a bit of night activity. we’ll only be there for 2.5 days. any suggestions as to which village to stay in would be greatly appreciated!
Riomaggiore is probably the most lively town when it comes to nightlife, especially if you’re here on a summer weekend. Friday and Saturday nights during the high season often have live music or djs playing and people dancing in the streets.
As for cooking classes, we love an agriturismo just outside of the Cinque Terre in Levanto called Villanova. We bring our tours here for a cooking class every year.
Have a great trip!
Thank you for the advice. What about dogs? How dog friendly are the hiking trails and the towns?
Italy in general is very dog friendly. For instance, it’s now against the law to turn people away from a hotel if they have a dog with them, meaning that all hotels are now dog-friendly hotels. And it’s not unusual to see people’s dogs sitting under the table at restaurants here while their owners eat. You can definitely bring dogs hiking with you — many people do.
Happy travels to you and your pup!
Your blog has been really helpfull. Thanks for that.
We would be either 2 or 4 females. we would be travelling in July. During our stay at florence we plan to visit Cinque Terre. we wanted to do a small trek and may be train ride to the villages of Cinque Terre. we have the whole day (approximately from 10.am to 6.30 pm ) as we need to take a train back to florence. Which trek should we take that will help us get back to La spezia station by 6.30pm and what would be the likely cost during the day (Trek and trains if needed)??
Also please let me know how to go about the Cinque Terre card. would it be cheaper with the card or should we buu tickets in advance. if we need to buy tickets without the card ..would it be costlier if we buy tickets on the spot??
If you just want to do a short hike during your stay and otherwise train it to the other villages, I would make my way up from Riomaggiore to the Madonna di Montenero, a church perched way up on a hill above town that overlooks all five of the towns. It takes about 45 minutes to get up there and is free.
And now that every train ticket costs 4 euro no matter what town you’re going to, it makes sense to buy the Cinque Terre card, even if you don’t plan on hiking the Blue Trail at all. It costs 16 euro for one day and you can just buy it there.
I am traveling to Italy in late March. I’m starting my trip in Venice and then plan to move from Venice to cinque terre, to Florence, then to Rome.
What is the best way to get to the Cinque terre area by train? I saw you mentioned there is no need to stay at a different hotel each place we hike to, so which town would you recommend staying in? I plan on hiking and trying to see as much as I can in those two days. I’m just a little lost logistically on how I will get there and how I will leave. But for your posts, it sounds like I shouldn’t need to worry about logistics once I’m there. Thank you for your advice!
I would switch up your itinerary if I were you, and do Venice, Florence, CT and then Rome. Venice to CT is an awkward train trip since there isn’t a direct line connecting them, so you’re looking at between 5 and 7 hours travel time and at least two train changes. Venice to Florence is direct and takes two hours. Florence to CT takes about an hour and a half. CT to Rome takes about 4 hours or less is you take a high-speed train. Trenitalia.com is a great resource. Just remember to type in the name of the town you’re staying in, not “Cinque Terre.”
As for which village to stay in, check out this blog post: https://www.italianfix.com/what-to-do-cinque-terre/
Your reply really helped me to reorganize my itinerary! thank you so much.
Couple of questions…The closest train station to Cinque Terre is La Spezia right? from there is it easy to one of the lands?
I’m also thinking to stop in Pisa for half day on my way from Florence to Cinque Terre, does it sound right?
Hope to hear from you soon!
I am a fellow Vancouver island citizen and I am so glad I found your page. I will be in Cinque Terre for 5 days and I have a few questions. My first, how to I get from Milan to Monterosso the fastest as that is where I will be staying for the five days. Also, I read Amy’s page on the 7 day card but I would rather hike more than train the only problem is the last shuttle back to my hostel is at 7pm so I’m worried if I’m hiking I’ll get stuck. And last (I think) do I need to get a park pass for everyday I’m there?
Thank you so much!
Yay Vancouver Island! (I’m from Toronto but love my B.C. peeps!)
Check out trenitalia.com for train schedules between Milan and Monterosso.
The 7-day pass is no longer an option since they hiked the price of the train tickets between CT towns this summer (2016) to 4 euro per trip. Now it makes more sense economically to buy the Cinque Terre Card, which costs 41 euro for a 3-day pass that includes trains and the Blue Trail. If you don’t want to include trains, then a 2-day pass costs 14.50. Remember that the only trail that you need the Card for is the Blue Trail, but there are dozens of other trails that snake up into the hills here that are free. Considering you can walk the Blue Trail in a single day, you may not need the Card at all after that.
This was SUPER helpful, thank you so much!! My husband and I are planning on coming to Cinque Terre in June. I wasn’t planning on looking at booking a tour but since you’ve already posted so much info on here and have been so helpful I think I’ll check it out. Thanks again! 🙂
You’re very welcome, Racheal!
This is complicated. My husband and I are coming into Florence August 26 at 8 Am on the cruise ship, Insignia. We leave the next day at 8 PM. My husband and I really want to take an overnight hike, staying in a hotel or a B&B. Do you have any advice on how I go about doing this?
The trails here aren’t meant to be hiked overnight — they’re all do-able in a day, so it isn’t the kind of thing where you do half, stop and sleep at a B&B along the way and then continue the next day. What you should plan to do is book a place to stay in one of the villages and then spend your two days hiking the trails between the towns or up into the hills. Think of it like a ski resort, where you have your chalet but spend your days out on the slopes — only this is the summery, warm, seaside version.
Great information. Sadly, we only have a full day in May and I plan on hiking Trail #2 from Monterosso to Riomaggiore. Next time I’m booking with you for a longer trip! Question: Are there any issues with hiking on a Sunday in terms of trains and information office being open to buy the permit card?
You shouldn’t have any problems with anything being closed any day of the week during the high season, which runs between Easter and Halloween roughly.
Have a great trip!
Thanks for all your great advice! I’ve wanted to visit Cinque Terre since we moved her 6 months ago…and we finally got the last minute long weekend chance – this weekend! I’ve been pouring over your great info and we’re ready to wing it and enjoy. 😉
Yay! Hope you had a great time, Fran!
Hi thanks for great info.We are visiting Cinque terre in June this year with 2 other couples having discovered it last september on a day trip from Genoa.We will be hiking for five days around the area and then having 2 days in Pisa before heading home [uk].We will be travelling by train and have no prolems with the fact that it will be super especially with the help of people like yourselfs .Thank you
How fabulous, Wayne, and thank you! Hope you had an amazing trip 🙂
Hi Bianca , I would like to make my trip to Cinque Terre a solo one. What do you think and . or recommend?
I also would like to spend about 3 days after that in a farmhouse in Tuscany maybe near Siena. Hoe do you recomend to ttavel form let;s say Riomaggiore to Siena ? is it tto expensive to hire a car with a driver to take to a farm ? do you have someone you know ?
Reading your site has been mega useful !
Traveling solo (or sola in this case) to the Cinque Terre is awesome. That’s how I did it 12 years ago and never left 😉 It’s a really safe place, and it’s intimate, so it’s easy to meet people, locals and other travelers alike.
As for traveling to Siena, you could take the train, but if you’re interested in a private driver I highly recommend Marzio and Luciana at 5 Terre Transfer (www.5terretransfer.com). A trip between Riomaggiore and Florence (2016 prices) costs 280 euro, so it would likely be upwards of that.
Have an amazing time!
Hello! Thanks for all the great information. My husband and I will be driving. Can we park and leave our car at a train station? I don’t want to try and drive into the town.
Well you won’t be able to, even if you did 😉 Since it’s a National Park, the villages are mostly closed to traffic. You’ll have to park your car at the top of the village you’re staying in (the train stations are at the bottom) and walk down. Expect to pay about 23 euro a day for parking (or check with your hotel to see if they own spaces that they can charge you less for).
You’re website is absolutely amazing!! I have been searching and searching for information on Cinque Terre for a last minute trip my husband and I are planning, and until I came across your site, I felt hopeless with all the information about the place floating around! Just a few kudos for the amazing site and loads of thank yous for the killer information!!
Thank you so much, Heather! Hope you had an amazing trip!
Hi Bianca, What is a good restaurant in Riomaggiore that could accommodate a larger group for an early dinner/late lunch? Friends were talking about Vertical Bar, what would you recommend?
We love Vertical, but they don’t serve lunch/dinner (no kitchen) and could not accommodate a large group as they are small and have very limited seating. I would try Ripa del Sole up at the top of town. They’ve got lots of space, a great view, and delicious food. We bring our tours and workshops there every year.
Thank you – just thank you! Your blog has been beyond helpful to me in planning my vacation and I’ve referenced it a few times since I’ve been here. Truly appreciate your knowledge and honesty!
You’re so welcome, Mandie! Thank you for taking the time to write!
HI… your info is very helpful. I have developed a bit of a problem with heights. If the trail’s are narrow or if they have steep drop-offs, I will likely have issues on the trail. Are most of the trails of this nature. The views and scenery are spectacular. I’d love to be able to hike with family and friends. Is there any guidance on trails that are wider and less scary. Thanks so much!
If you have a problem with heights I would avoid the stretches between Corniglia and Monterosso on the Blue Trail, as those can get pretty high. I’d recommend walking up to the Madonna di Montenero, the church above Riomaggiore, if you want to hike but prefer something more gradual. It takes about 45 minutes to get up there and you’ll be on a meandering trail that runs through the woods. It’s high too, but you won’t feel it as much, so you get the spectacular view without the vertigo.
Hope that helps!
We are staying in Vernazza 25-27 April 2017. We will have a 10 month old with us. We do not want to hike the complete trails as it will be difficult for us with a small child. We are thinking of doing part of Vernazza to Monterosso trail uptill the point where we can get that beautiful view of Vernazza you see in the photos and than back to Vernazza. Was just wondering how far in the trail that part is located? Also if we don’t want to do the whole trail and just do the small part close to the Vernazza village, do we still have to pay the full CT card price. We plan to use trains to move b/w the towns, but we do also want to take those gorgeous Vernazza or Manarola photo shots we usually see. Also we were wondering about the usual late April weather in the area(too hot, cold or just right or rainy or windy)? Thanks for some useful information in the article as well.
Wow !!! I loved all your articles. So helpful. Few questions. This will be our first time in Italy. Our kids are 5 and 8. What’s the best town from the 5 should we stay at considering we have kids and what’s the best top 2 or 3 hikes you recommend ? My kids did 2 – 3 hours easy hikes this year.
I’ll be making my 6th trip to Cinque Terre in June with my wife. I know quite a bit about the area and agree with your assessment of the area. I have to tell you, this is the best and most complete into that I have ever read and I have read all the guide books. Best of luck in your venture and if I was a first time lady visitor, I 100% would be interested in your tour.
I am wanting to travel to Cinque Terre however a lot of people say that I would not like it as i am not very fit. on the whole is it hard, big steps and would i just be wasting my time. My partner is very fit.
It looks beautiful and I am starting to train up a bit. We would like to spend a week there but I am nervous
Hi pretty! I need to tell you- your writing style is soo amazing.
I am like- I have just started reading your article and in another minute I have found myself looking at comments . Wow. That was quick reading. So many great hints – thank you for that.
With my bf we are heading to La Spezia on Good Friday so that will be a wee Easter trip for us ( coming Friday night, returning on Tuesday)
However what now makes me concern is the Bank Holiday.lol
Do you know whether the trails, restaurant and shops are going to be open during that period?
I haven’t thought about that before.
I have booked an entire apartment so I will need to get my grocery shopping done at some point but now I don’t know if any will be open.
Lots of hugs from Scotland! (well- polish people living in Scotland ,fallen in love in Italy -I have to add haha).
Hello! Thanks for the info! We will be traveling with a 3-month old and plan to hike with him in a carrier/baby backpack. Is the section from Vernazza to Monterosso safe to do this with him, and if so, which direction do you recommend? Grazie!
I’ve got 8 days free after a work trip in London in 2 weeks and was thinking of getting a train to Nice, spend 2/3 nights in that area and then travelling to Cinque Terre.
I’m travelling alone so I’d like to be in areas that have a bit of a buzz about them.
Q’s: What is the best way to get from Nice or nearby?
What would then be the easiest way back to London? Would I have time travel anywhere else or head to the nearest major city? I’d prefer not to fly as I find it’s usually more time consuming and annoying, but happy to do whatever is relatively quicker and easier.
super advice about chilling out. Not as easy as it sounds, but so much saner to adopt the Italian way. a nice glass of wine doesn’t hurt either. It is all good in Italy.
Savvy article , I was fascinated by the specifics . Does someone know where my business would be able to locate a fillable UNESCO HR 5-1 example to use ?
Hi there, I am going to CT in late September and wanting to know if ferries will be operating at this time of year. If so, do the ferries only stop at certain towns? I have checked the average weather and it looks like it can still be quite mild to warm at this time. Is that correct? Also, I am reconsidering coming from Venice to Monterosso due to train travel time. Is there a direct train from Florence to Monterosso? Your site is very useful.Thank you.
My daughter and I have only one full day on Friday 7th July and we wanted to be able to go from where we are staying in Florence, and do a day trip to take in Pisa and Cinque Terre. The only travel company we have found doesn’t do both on a Friday and one site says for 18-39 year olds.
Is it possible to do both in one day with a local tour company on the 7th.
This was a good conversation with you! I have been stressing myself silly as I just couldn’t seem to plan the hows and the wheres.
Thank you. Might pop a question when I’m lost again.
Love your info! Please help…We ( family of 5 with a 9yr old, 7 year old and a 9 month old in a backpack on dad’s back ) are visiting the Cinque Terre in July, arriving by cruise ship on a Saturday ( not great, I know ). Arrive La Spezia 7am until 7pm.
My plan:Take the 7:55am Train to Riomaggiore. Hike 45min trail to Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero. (my thought was to do the hike early in day with July heat)
Take 10:24am train to Manarola. Have lunch here and take the 13:06 train to Vernazza.
Leave Vernazza on the boat/ferry back to La Spezia at 3:15pm with arrival at 4:45pm to get pictures of the villages from the water.
Is my itenary insane or possible?
Is the time in each village enough or should we spend more time in Vernazza? I did not want to cram in a 4th village… Is the 3 that I chose a good taste of the Cinque Terre? Seems like single leg train trips between villages is 12 euro’s for our family. X3 for the 3 legs it works out to 36 euro’s…seems like it is not worth to buy the cinque terre pass?! Is the trail from Riomaggiore free otherwise we should consider the CT train-hike pass.
Appreciate your help!
Your posts have helped me so much!! I had 1 day to plan a 2 day, spur-of-the-moment trip here on our way to a wedding and you answered every question I had and didn’t have yet 🙂 maybe I’ll run into you in Cinque Terre and thank you in person!
thanks for your tips – they were very valuable during our Cinque Terre stay.
But based on FAQ No.10, I did not bring my hiking boots – and I wish I had. Well, we did two hikes, the first day from Portovenere to Passo Telegrafo and the second day Vernazza – San Bernardino – Corniglia – Velastra – Manarola. On both hikes I was OK in my walking shoes, but proper hiking boots would have been (especially on the trail from Portovenere) much more safe and comfortable.
Hello can you tell me the best hotel around thats outside of Cinque Terre any advice since we will have a car and I seen that most cars are not allowed in the village so just wondering whats nearby that we can take the train in everyday!
Hi I am planning in doing the hike in 2 weeks. Is it safe to do solo?
I will stay in monterosso, will hike from there to vernazza and corniglia day one, them take the train in corniglia back to monterosso. Day 2 will take the train to regiomaggiori and hike to manarola to corniglia and again take the train back to monterosso, do you think it’s a good idea? Better buy the cique terre pass? I will appreciate your advise. thx
Your blog is just fantasic. I am planning a short trip to CT and your 3nights 4days fit it to a T. Would you please give me some transport advice on getting to/from CT?
I am travelling from Annency. So was thinking taking the night bus. Theres a few changes but worth it I think to maximise my time ?
And then on the 4th day I am flying from Pisa to London at 9am. Would there be sufficient time and will train operate that early for me to get from CT to Pisa in time? I dont need to fly out from Pisa. Just thought that might be the closest airport. Staying at Riomaggiore. Thank you 🙂
I am going to Cinque Terre in September for 3 days. We are getting the bus from Venice.. staying in La Spezia the first evening then staying in Valdipino for one night and camping in Levanto on the last night.
Is it easy to get from Valdipino to the 5 towns? Do you recommend any hiking close to Valdipino?
Also I am thinking of hiking from Riomaggiore to Portovenere and then getting the ferry back to the 5 towns – would this be possible?
Thank you. Great blog and information!
We are visiting CinqueTerra at the moment and all the trails are closed. Just wanted to share that they do close at times for any one referencing this article.
Thanks for your note! We’ve just had several days of heavy rains, which means that they have closed the Sentiero Azzurro (the main coastal trail) to check to make sure it’s safe. Today was bright and beautiful, so it should be open by tomorrow barring unforeseen safety concerns. You’ll only see signage about this on the main trail, but there are dozens of alternative trails snaking up into the hills as well, which are not closed. (As long as the main trail remains closed, though, hiking these would be at your own risk because of course the weather has affected them as it has affected the Sentiero Azzurro.)
Have a great stay!
It has been recommended that we stay in Lerici for our 2 night stay in the Cinque Terra area. Can you catch a train over, or must you ferry? Thoughts on that as home base?
Hi Bianca, great site you have for CT! I will be in Turin and plan to visit CT thereafter. Should I be booking train tickets from Turin to Monterosso or to La Spezia? A little confused there. Am then heading to Istanbul thereafter but not sure which is the nearest airport from CT? I read that it’s either Pisa, Florence or Milan? Thanks!
Hi Bianca! thank you for your site, it is very helpfull, we have a question, it is possible to do wild camping on any of the villages? We would like to spend couple days on the park and we’re doing the travel by foot. And a last one 🙂 if we take our backpacks with us for the hiking (planing to do the entire trail 2 ) can we still achieve ? Thank you !!!
Hello! My husband and I will be traveling to Montefalco, Umbria August 28-September 15. We recently renovated the north tower in the village and have been there several times. We would like to venture out and explore more of Italy. I’d love to see Cinque Terre — I’m an avid hiker, but my husband has mobility issues. Would you be able to suggest a good hotel for him to hang out while I explore? Also, it would be fun to have a guide to hike with — I’m already bummed that my husband can’t go with me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Fellow child of the 416 here — first off, like everyone else, I’m super grateful for your site and it’s very generous of you to take the time to respond to everyone’s questions. My girlfriend and I are planning on doing a day trip from Genoa to CT in the next week or so. To try and keep the day from being unpleasant/too intense, we’re thinking of hiking the blue trail just from Monterosso to Vernazza. We know it’s going to be super hot, so we’re thinking that since it’s only a 2 hour or so hike, we’d be better off doing it in the early evening (say from 5-7 pm). I can’t seem to find any info on hiking in the evening, so I was just wondering if you have any thoughts on whether this will be workable and/or any thoughts on whether there’s a better time to start. Thanks in advance!
Thanks so much for the great information!
Planning a trip for 2019, we don’t know Italian, how critical is it to know the languages? Excellent blog!
Thank you so much for you blog, it is amazing and nice to hear from a fellow Canadian! I am planning a trip to Cinque Terre this October and will be staying in Riommagiore. I have an early train (6:38am) out of La Spezia to Milan and have some anxiety about getting from Riommagiore to La Spezia that early. The only train taking us there would be at 5:13am however I heard that trains often get cancelled in low season. What would you suggest as other forms of travel between CT and La Spezia that early in the morning? Thank you!!
Thank you for the advice. Very helpful. We are staying at hotel Porto roca in October. We love food and wine and would love to get some recommendations. Also would like info on private tour. Thanks
Hi Bianca we are staying in Monterosso. We will probably have 1 and a half days (2 nights) in total. There are 3 of us and one is not tat fit. What wd u reccommend in way of walks?
You’re right about conflicting info. I have been trying for weeks to find out if you can just go to each village by train to visit the villages, not hike. Going with an elderly person and don’t like hiking myself. We have been told that even getting from train station to village might be difficult. Any help welcome. We will be going from Genoa.
Hi. Thank you for the great article. My question is do you (really) need a walking stick? We are in pretty good shape, 55, but definitely not expert hikers.
One individual in our group has a walking issue! Stairs and steep slopes are a concern! She requires no wheel chair, just a cane! Is there any part of Cinque Terre that she can visit?
Hi Bianca, we’ll be travelling with our two kids at the end of August. All of your advice are really appreciated! I clicked on the link you have for the trails in Cinque, and most of the trails near the sea are closed. I was wondering which trail would be good with kids (walking by themselves or on our back) with nice views.. and that are still open ?
Thank you !
Amazing Blog – I am planning a trip next summer and looking at Christina’s place now – would really love to stay later in the evening at places to avoid the cruise crowds – Do the buses / trains run until late and are their taxi’s (I didn’t think there were but have seen then mentioned?) I speak fluent Italian so not worried about changing / negotiating etc Thanks