The Best of the Cinque Terre - CIN2
Through the extensive footpath network of the area you walk from village to village, between forest and vineyards, through a spectacular terraced landscape overlooking the sea. You have also the time to visit the historic towns of Levanto, Portovenere and of course the five charming villages which make up the ‘Cinque Terre’, little gems of colourful houses in a green landscape.
The ‘Cinque Terre’ gets its name from the five picturesque villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The area, now a major National Park, is a unique part of Italy. For over a thousand years people have lived in this dramatic landscape, slowly altering its features and cultivating the steep hillsides that lead down to rocky shores. An extensive network of ancient mule tracks – today used as footpaths- take you through an extraordinary landscape of terraces, built by hand with stones and earth. But the Region of Liguria has more to offer: the nearby small towns of Portovenere, and the wonderful island just in front of it, at the entrance of the ‘Gulf of Poets’ and the lively Levanto, a charming medieval town with a broad beach.
Please note: this is a moderately easy tour which is suitable for those who have some experience with walking and a good general physical condition. Most of the walks are on good paths, some of them just recently restored by the local authorities. Part of the paths is waymarked. Elsewhere it is necessary to follow the route notes provided together with the maps.
Average walking times: approx from 5 to 6 hours each day.
Arrival in Levanto. After settling in your hotel there is time for a short visit to the town centre and maybe a swim to wash off the tiredness of the journey.
Hotel *** – Levanto
Total walking time: around 1 h. + sightseeing time
The first day walk takes you along the coast to Monterosso al Mare. The first part of the walk leads up towards Punta Mesco, the most notable promontory in the region. This is a good spot to stop for a picnic lunch. Just short of the point you can make a small detour to the ruins of an old 11th century hermitage and the nearby ‘semaforo’, from where you will enjoy marvellous views of the rugged coastline. Then you follow a fairly steep path down into Monterosso, a colourful village, with blue, red & yellow houses that cluster behind the beachfront. There is then time to explore the town before taking the local train back to Levanto. For those who want there is also the option to walk back from here, following a more inland forested path, which over the ridge brings us back behind the castle of Levanto.
Hotel *** – Levanto
Distance: 5 km. Approx. 3 h. walking. Ascent & descent: +/- 350 m.
Optional Extra Day: To the Coast West of Levanto
Today you walk in a western direction. The first part of the walk goes along the beach, then the path goes up into the nearby hills and down to the little seaside village of Bonassola. Through the seaside hills you then walk towards the small ‘village’ of Framura, an aggregation of scattered hamlets. From Costa, the highest hamlet, an almost level path contours the hillside, with nice views over the sea. A steep descent brings you down to the next resort, Deiva Marina (with the option of continuing to Moneglia or even Sestri Levante). This walk along the coast brings you through several charming little villages, where you have the time to grab a coffee or just relax. You’ll get the chance to have lunch there as well. You can take the train back to Levanto from any of the villages on the way, in case you want to shorten the walk.
Hotel *** – Levanto
Distance: 16 km. Approx. 6 h. walking. Ascent & descent: +/- 700 m.
A short train ride brings you to Riomaggiore, from where you start the most ‘classic’ of all walks in the Cinque Terre: the coastal walk which touches all 5 villages. First you’ll walk a short stretch of the famous ‘Sentiero dell’Amore’ (‘Lover’s Walk’), then you climb over the hill to Manarola, an attractive little village with steep multicoloured houses overlooking a rocky harbour. Then head up the steps to the charming hilltop village of Volastra, where you have the time for a drink, before embarking on the stunning walk through the terraced vineyards to the village of Corniglia, perched on a ridge overlooking the sea. From here you continue through terraced vineyards and the occasional citrus grove to Vernazza. As you approach Vernazza, dominated by its old fortress, you enjoy some of the best views in the region, before a fairly steep descent brings you into the village itself. In Vernazza, arguably the prettiest of all the villages, you can climb the castle tower for a stunning view of the port with its brightly painted boats, and there are numerous cafés and bars where you can enjoy a drink before taking the train back to Levanto.
(N.B. If you do the short 5-day tour we recommend to continue the walk to Monterosso).
Hotel *** – Levanto
Distance: 15 km. Approx. 6 h. walking. Ascent & descent: +/- 450 m. (longer options available)
Optional Extra day: The Sanctuaries of the Madonna Saviore & Reggio
Today’s walk takes you into the inland of the Cinque Terre, to the churches of Madonna di Reggio and Madonna di Saviore. You first take the train to Vernazza and then walk along the coast to Monterosso, approaching this beautiful little town from the other end. After a coffee break you start climbing up to the sanctuary of Madonna di Saviore. Here you can eat something or relax for a while, before walking on to the next sanctuary, that of Madonna di Reggio. Then the walk continues more or less along the contour lines; through the hills you walk to the little church of San Bernardo, with beautiful views over the coast, and from there you descend down to the coast at Vernazza again. A shorter option takes you directly from Madonna di Reggio, along a number of little chapels, back down to Vernazza.
Hotel *** – Levanto
Distance: 9 km. Approx. 4,5 h. walking. Ascent & descent: +/- 550 m.
Today you walk in eastern direction. From Riomaggiore, you commence your walk to Campiglia and Portovenere. You hike up a long flight of stairs to the Santuario della Madonna di Montenero. Continuing uphill you begin contouring along the coastal cliffs, through terraced vineyards, enjoying wonderful views of the coastline framed by clear blue waters. You are now on the ‘Sentiero Rosso’, the ridge-top traverse that goes from one end of the Cinque Terre to the other. You pass through the little hamlet of Campiglia where you can stop for some refreshment. Walking down into the pine forest, the track narrows as you continue towards Portovenere with further spectacular views. Arriving at the 16th century castle above the village, you may be able to see the distant peaks of the Alpi Apuane before a long staircase takes us into the heart of the village. There is time to visit the charming village and Punta San Pietro, before settling in your hotel.
Hotel *** – Portovenere
Distance: 13 km. Approx. 5,5 h. walking. Ascent & descent: +/- 650 m.
Optional Extra Day: Roundwalk over the Island of Palmaria
After the long walk yesterday, today you’ll have some time to recover. There is a beautiful, easy roundwalk over the island of Palmaria, just across the bay from Portovenere. By boat you make the short crossing and then you’ll have the whole day to discover the beauty of this very Mediterranean island, immersed in the dense vegetation, overlooking the cliffs with just the seagulls and azure sky above you. Take some time to explore the impressive fortresses and perhaps go for a swim on one of the remote beaches. Upon returning by boat to the mainland you still have time to visit the charming village of Portovenere itself and choose the restaurant for your final supper in the harbour of Venus.
Hotel *** – Portovenere
Distance: 5-6 km. Approx. 3 h. walking. Ascent & descent: +/- 300 m.
End of the tour.
N.B. Due to several problems along the paths of the Cinque Terre, the day walks may be subject to change. We monitor the state of the paths carefully and keep our route info up-to-date, to make sure you do the best possible walks. For more info have a look at our dedicated page: www.genius-loci.it/tour/cinque-terre-footpaths-hiking-trails
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
All nights are spent in beautiful, characteristic family-run hotels. All rooms have en-suite facilities.
Accommodation is on B&B basis, in all accommodations. So no evening meals are included, and you are free to choose from the wide choice of restaurants in the area. Your accommodation holder can give you good tips. On some occasions you can also choose to eat at the premises of the hotel.
No picnic lunches are included in the tour price, but these can be prepared for you by the accommodation holders, or materials for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you stay. On some occasions you have the option to have your lunch in a restaurant along the way.
UPGRADE/CHANGES IN ACCOMMODATION:
It is possible to do this tour, staying in more luxurious 4-star hotels. On request accommodation in Monterosso is also possible.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
Moderately easy (2-3): Mostly easy walks, on well maintained paths, but with nonetheless some walking uphill, sometimes on paths with rough surfaces. On some days extensions or shortcuts are possible.
Fitness: High standard of fitness is not necessary but clients should be able to walk for up to 5 hours a day in hot sun on dusty or stony tracks.
FOOTPATHS & WAYMARKING
Footpaths: Most paths are relatively well maintained, but during the season some paths can get overgrown (we are in continuous contact with local authorities to keep the paths clean – please help us by providing you feedback on the quality of the paths).
Waymarking: A large part of the route is waymarked (mainly by the parks); elsewhere it is necessary to follow the route descriptions provided together with the maps. With these it is always possible to find your route
- 3 (5) nights in Levanto *** – BB
- 1 (2) nights in Portovenere *** – BB
- Luggage transport
- Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
- Maps at 1 : 25.000 scale
- GPS tracks for each day
- 24/24 h local assistance
- Departure taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Tourist tax
- Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Optional additional tours or activities
- Items of personal nature
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Arrival: The tour starts in LEVANTO. There are frequent trains from all directions. There is the possibility to park a car here (about € 15/day).
Departure: The tour ends in PORTOVENERE on day 5 (8). There are many buses to La Spezia, the main train station. The return to Levanto is most easily made by boat.
N.B. Please note that there is no (cheap) parking space anywhere on the Cinque Terre except for Levanto!
|18 March - 31 March 2023||€ 415||€ 145||€ 220||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 April - 31 May 2023||€ 515||€ 195||€ 270||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 June - 30 June 2023||€ 545||€ 220||€ 295||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 July - 31 July 2023||€ 555||€ 230||€ 305||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 August - 18 August 2023||- - -||- - -||- - -|
|19 August - 31 August 2023||€ 555||€ 230||€ 305||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 September - 30 September 2023||€ 545||€ 220||€ 295||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|01 October - 31 October 2023||€ 460||€ 180||€ 255||RESERVE YOUR PLACE|
|You can book this tour with a minimum of 1 person.|
|There are a very limited number of available places on these dates. Immediate booking is recommended.|
|Availability and prices on request.|
- Prices are per person and based on the season within which the first night of the tour falls.
- Prices are based on 2 people sharing double or twin accommodation. Single rooms (double rooms – single) are available on most trips however the supplements listed apply.
- If you are travelling alone then on some trips (which include taxi transfers) a ‘Solo Traveller Supplement’ will be applied instead of the normal single supplement.
- Prices are expressed in Euro’s. There will never be a currency surcharge.
- Actual exchange rates: GB £ - US $ - CAN $ - CHF - DKK - SEK - NOK - Other currencies.
It is possible to include some extra nights in your tour, in any of the accommodations ‘en route’. Extra walking or sightseeing options will be provided !!!
At the beginning or the end of the tour there is also an opportunity to visit Genova and/or Pisa / Florence, or spend some time on the beach, somewhere in Liguria. The tour can easily be extended with a few days in Pisa or Florence. Several good accommodations are available. Details and prices on request.
This tour only features the Cinque terre. We highly recommend to do a few walks also in the area of Portofino. Check out this combination tour for example: www.genius-loci.it/tour/italy_coasts_islands/cinque-terre-portofino
At the beginning or the end of the tour there is also an opportunity to visit Genova and/or Pisa / Florence, or spend some time on the beach, somewhere in Liguria. The tour can easily be extended with a few days in Pisa or Florence. Several good accommodations are available. Details & prices on request.
SHORTER & LONGER VERSIONS
Longer and shorter versions of this tour are also available. And check out our other Cinque Terre tours as well!
The very frequent trains, which connect all the villages, make it easy to modify the programme. It gives you all the freedom to do the walks at your own pace, or alternatively, do some sightseeing.
The shorter 5-day version of this programme shows you some of the best walks, but to fully appreciate the Cinque Terre we would recommend to include some of the extra days.
If you book the optional extension you can also discover the beautiful peninsula of Portofino, not only known for the colourful Portofino itself, resort for the Italian jetset, but also for the abbey of San Fruttuoso, located in an isolated inlet of this beautiful coastline, and the wonderful little towns of Camogli and Santa Margherita Ligure. Walking here is an unforgettable experience!
The tour can easily be extended with a few days in Genova, Pisa/Lucca or Florence. Several good accommodations are available. Details & prices on request.
OTHER CINQUE TERRE TOURS
A longer, 8-day version of this tour -with a stay also higher up in the hills- is also available: The Cinque Terre & Portovenere – a tour on which you will fully enjoy the different sides of the Cinque Terre and literally do all walks!
There are several tours which include two days on the Portofino Peninsula, an area where one can make some stunning walks, with less crowds along the trails than in the Cinque Terre.
Of course, for those who fly in to the nearby airport of Pisa, a few days in Pisa – and perhaps close by Lucca – are strongly recommended. As well the Genova, the capital town of the Region, birthplace of Columbus, and one of the most important merchant towns in medieval Italy, is well worth a visit for its amazing historical centre!