Pisa, Cinque Terre, Portovenere & the Portofino Peninsula - CIN6
This unique tour gives you the possibility to visit the Cinque Terre, Pisa and the amazing Portofino Peninsula in just a week-long trip!
The tour starts from the famous city of Pisa, known worldwide for its Leaning Tower (the bell tower of the city’s cathedral). But the city is also home to the University of Pisa, which has a history going back to the 12th century and boasts more than 20 other historic churches, several beautiful historic palaces and various bridges across the River Arno. From here you can also pay an optional visit to the city of Lucca, considered one of the most charming in Tuscany.
Then you travel into the region of Liguria, a beautiful coastal region in Northern Italy. It is protected from the northern winds by a continuous protective backbone of high mountains, from the peaks of the Maritime Alps to the Apennines. That’s why Liguria is famed for its exceptionally mild weather all year round and why it is the perfect place, despite the uneven terrain, for the flourishing of lush flora including the typical shrubs of the Mediterranean maquis, and also the tall trees that are a typical feature of Alpine flora. It’s capital city Genova ‘La Superba’ has ruled the Mediterranean for centuries, but for hikers the area is most known because of the stunning Cinque Terre.
The area of the ‘Cinque Terre’ gets its name from the five picturesque villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The area, now a 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 small towns of Portovenere, with a wonderful island just in front of it at the entrance to the ‘Gulf of Poets’, and the lively Levanto, a charming medieval town with a broad beach, both nearby. Of course there is also the famed Peninsula of Portofino, known not only 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 wonderful Camogli. Walking here is an unforgettable experience!
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 the time to visit the historic towns of Levanto, Portovenere, beautiful Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure and picturesque Portofino. And of course the five charming villages which make up the ‘Cinque Terre’, little gems of colourful houses in a green landscape. But this unique tour also gives you the option to include a visit to Pisa and the amazing Portofino Peninsula in only a week-long trip.
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. 5 hours each day.
Arrival in Pisa. After settling in your hotel there is perhaps some time for a short visit to the town centre and maybe a swim to wash off the tiredness of the journey. In the evening you can go out for dinner in a nice restaurant nearby.
Total walking time: around 1 hour + sightseeing time
Optional Extra Day: Pisa & Lucca
Directly from your hotel you start a beautiful roundwalk through the old town centre of Pisa. The walk ultimately brings you to the train station, from where you make a short ride to the nearby town of Lucca, one of Tuscany’s most charming towns with much to see, ranging from the Roman Amphitheatre, now turned into town square, to amazing Renaissance architecture. First walk through Piazza Risorgimento and then make your own way into the heart of this stunning walled town. Few cars are allowed in the old centre so it’s a pleasure to explore the maze of old streets and alleyways without needing to dodge the traffic! Take your time to wander towards the centre and perhaps to climb to the top of Torre Guinigi, a tall tower attached to a medieval villa, for a splendid view of the ancient tiled rooftops. Towards the end of the afternoon you travel back by train to Pisa. This is the perfect time visit the Piazza dei Miracoli, with its famous leaning tower, as most of the crowds have gone. A stroll through the old centre, with maybe a stop for a drink, brings you back to your hotel.
Total walking time: around 1 hour + sightseeing time
Today is day is the first walking day on the Cinque Terre. By train you travel from Pisa to Levanto (or Monterosso or Riomaggiore). After settling in your hotel there is time for a short visit to the town centre and buy your picnic supplies. Then you start your first day walk, which takes you from Levanto 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 you back behind the castle of Levanto.
Total walking time: around 3,5 hours + sightseeing time (4-5 hours with extra option).
From Riomaggiore, the most southerly of the five villages, you start the most ‘classical’ of all walks in the Cinque Terre: the coastal path linking all five villages together. First you walk a short stretch along the famous ‘Sentiero del’Amore’ (‘Lover’s Walk’). Then you head for Manarola, an attractive little village with steep multi-coloured houses overlooking a rocky port. From here you hike up to the rural hamlet of Volastra, before descending back to Corniglia, perched on a ridge overlooking the sea, in the midst of stunning terraced vineyards, with awesome views over the whole area. Take your time to look around in Corniglia and then continue through terraced vineyards and the occasional citrus grove. As you approach Vernazza, dominated by its old fortress, you enjoy some of the best views in the region. You contour around the hillsides following a narrow track that leads us up and down, before a fairly steep descent brings us into the village itself. In Vernazza, arguably the prettiest of all the villages, there is time to ascend the castle tower for a stunning view of the port with its brightly painted boats. There are numerous cafés and bars where you can enjoy refreshment before taking the train back to your hotel.
Total walking time: around 3,5 hours + sightseeing time (5,5 hours with extra option).
Today you walk in eastern direction. From Riomaggiore, you commence your walk to Campiglia and Portovenere. You first hike up a long flight of stairs to the Santuario della Madonna di Montenero (optional bus). 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. Views are amazing, you might be able to see Corsica and as well the distant peaks of the Alpi Apuane. 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 take some time to look around before taking a long staircase into the heart of the village. There is time to visit the charming village and Punta San Pietro, before taking the boat back for your last dinner & last night on the Cinque Terre.
Total walking time: around 5 hours + sightseeing time (6 hours with extra option).
From the Cinque Terre you take the train to Camogli today. First you leave the luggage in your hotel here and then you start the first walk onto the Peninsula of Portofino, towards the beautifully located monastery of San Fruttuoso, dating back to the 11th century and set in its own cove and reachable only by boat or on foot. The walk takes through forested areas, along the church of San Rocco and a number of impressive viewpoints. From San Fruttuoso there is the possibility to walk back or take the boat. In the afternoon take your time to explore the beautiful Camogli itself.
Total walking time: around 3,5 hours + sightseeing time (shorter option: 1,5 – 2,5 hours).
You first make a short transfer by train to Santa Margherita, where you have some time to walk around this attractive town. From Santa Margherita, you then walk to Portofino, long a resort for the jet set, but apart from that a very attractive colourful village. Do visit its castle and light house, a spectacular viewpoint! If energy permits, you can continue along the trail, with splendid views across the Gulf of Genoa to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, approaching this 11th century jewel from the other end. You can choose to return by boat to Santa Margherita, or directly to Camogli.
Total walking time: around 3,5 hours + sightseeing time (5,5 hours with extra option).
End of the tour.
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
All nights are spent in beautiful, characteristic family-run hotels (generally 3-star; 4-star on request). 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.
Night 1 : The first night is spent in Pisa, easy to be reached by train and plane (many low-cost flights). Here we stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel in the old town centre, centrally located at walking distance from the train station, all the main monuments of the medieval town centre and close to many nice restaurants.
Nights 2, 3 & 4: These are spent at Levanto or Riomaggiore. Levanto is a nice old medieval city. Here you stay in a welcoming and comfortable hotel, centrally located at walking distance from all the main monuments of the medieval town centre. Riomaggiore, the most eastern of the five villages, is a lively little village of colourful houses and with a charming little harbour. Also here you would stay in a centrally located hotel.
Nights 5 & 6 : The last two nights are spent in the wonderful small harbour town of Camogli, perhaps the most charming place of Liguria, the gate to the Portofino Peninsula (in alternative: Santa Margherita Ligure).
UPGRADE/CHANGES IN ACCOMODATION:
It is possible to do this tour, staying in more luxurious 4-star hotels. Accommodation in Monterosso – the biggest village of the Cinque Terre – is also available, either to substitute the days in Levanto, or those in Riomaggiore.
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.
FOOT PATHS & WAYMARKING
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 nights in Levanto – BB
- 2 nights in Camogli – BB
- 1 night in Pisa – BB
- Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
- Maps at 1 : 25.000 scale
- 24/24 h local assistance
- Departure taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Optional additional tours or activities
- Items of personal nature
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE
Arrival: The tour starts in PISA. There are many low-cost flights from all over Europe, as well as frequent trains from all directions.
Departure: The tour ends after breakfast on day 9 in Camogli. The return is most easily made by train. Back to Pisa is about 1h30 minutes by train.
N.B. Please note that there is no (cheap) parking space anywhere on the Cinque Terre except for Levanto (Indicative price: about € 12,00 /day).
|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 !!!
The very frequent trains, which link all the villages, make it easy to modify the programme. It gives you all the freedom to do the walks in your own rhythm, or alternatively, do some sightseeing.
Therefore it is also possible to opt for two accommodations (Levanto & Riomaggiore) on the Cinque Terre, instead of only one accommodation in either Levanto, Monterosso or Riomaggiore.
At the beginning or the end of the tour there is also an opportunity to visit Genova and/or Lucca & Florence (from Pisa), or spend some time on the beach, somewhere in Liguria. The tour can easily be extended with a few days in Pisa, Genova or Florence. Several good accommodations are available. Details & prices on request.
It is also possible to change the itinerary of this tour (depending also on your travel schedule): the day in Pisa at the end of the tour instead of in the beginning. Also is it possible to do the two days in Camogli (Portofino Peninsula) before the days on the Cinque Terre.
SHORTER & LONGER VERSIONS
A longer, 9- or 10-day version of this tour is also available, as well as 11- and 12-day versions. Prices on request.
A shorter, 7-day version of this tour is also available.
See also our other Cinque Terre tours !