Cinque Terre is the most popular spot in the Italian Riviera. It consists of five medieval fishing villages and a national park. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll hike the coastal route between these villages on a historic route that has connected villagers for centuries. This route is extremely popular so we recommend going off-season if possible. Fortunately, the mild climate makes it a great destination for most of the year.
In addition to Cinque Terre, you’ll explore other trails that most visitors miss. You’ll come for Cinque Terre but the quieter trails may just end up being your favourites with their dramatic scenery but without the crowds. One of the highlights is the hiking trail that leads to San Fruttuoso Abbey. It’s a 1000-year-old monastery that’s only reachable by foot or by boat! Most people come by boat but you’re not most people, so naturally, you come on foot.
You’ll also have time to check out Portofino. It’s a stunning fishing village with high-end stores lining a yacht-filled harbour. Reward your hiking efforts with a plate of fresh fish while picking out your future yacht. Another highlight is the hike from Riomaggiore to Portovenere. While Riomaggiore is the most popular village in the Cinque Terre, you’ll lose the crowds within minutes as you being your hike.
You’ve got the inside scoop. You know the ancient trails that locals have used for centuries while other tourists stay in town. En route, you’ll pass by stunning cliffs and the most dramatic scenery on the entire tour.
Who Will Enjoy This Tour?
You’ll enjoy this self-guided hiking/walking tour if you want a combination of an active holiday with plenty of time to relax, eat delicious Italian food with gorgeous seaside views while exploring the world-famous Cinque Terre and some of the lesser-known places in the Italian Riviera.
HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CINQUE TERRE HIKING & WALKING SELF-GUIDED TOUR
✔ Walk the famous coastal route between the 5 famed villages known collectively as ‘Cinque Terre’ (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore)
✔Discover the jetsetter port of Portofino and other lesser-known but lovely coastal villages on the Ligurian Riviera (Camogli, Bonasolla Framura, Levanto)
✔Explore some lesser-known trails that offer stunning coastal views. They’re some of the best-kept secrets in the Italian Riviera.
✔Walk among olive groves and vineyards while enjoying stunning views of the Ligurian Sea.
✔Indulge in delicious Italian food and wine every night (including the olive and vineyards you passed earlier) – the area is famous for its pesto, fresh fish and seafood dishes.
Day 1: Arrive in Camogli
Get settled in your accommodation and then step outside and breathe in the fresh, crisp air of the Mediterranean Sea that says “I’m on vacation”. Camogli (population 5342) is a fishing village. Explore the historic centre, take a photo of the ruins of Castle Della Dragonara or relax on the rocky beach in preparation for tomorrow’s hike.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Camogli
Day 2: Hike from Camogli to Portofino via San Fruttuoso
After a short private transfer (not included) to San Rocco known for its church and church square you’ll continue ascending along a shaded path until you reach a picnic area in the woods.
Then, you’ll make your way down an oak-filled ravine to the magnificent site of San Fruttuoso. It’s a stunning abbey hidden away at the edge of the sea and only reachable by foot or boat.
After exploring the abbey, you can have lunch here – either a picnic on the beach or at one of the restaurants, you can either take a boat to Portofino or hike there (our recommendation) making your way up to Base O which has picnic tables and makes for a great rest stop.
From there, you’ll continue hiking through terraced olive groves until you reach Portofino. Stop to admire the yachts, visit the castle Castello Brown, or check out the high-end shops. When you’re done exploring, take the train or boat back to Camogli.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Camogli
- Transfer: Taxi from Camogli to San Rocco (cost: ~ €30€).
- If you wish to hike this section and skip the transfer: 1.7 km and 215m ascent
- Hiking Distance:
- 11.5 km, 670 m ascent / 890m descent to Portofino,
- or 7 km 370 m ascent / 590 m descent to San Fruttuoso
Day 3: Hike from Levanto to Framura
You’ll pack up your luggage and take a train ride to Levanto (not included).
The first part of your hike today runs along an old railway that’s been transformed into a relatively flat cycling path.
You’ll hike through tunnels and bridges with spectacular views over the sea and the cliffs until you arrive at the seaside town of Bonassola.
The second part of this walk (Bonassola – Framura) is extremely panoramic with wonderful views over the northern Ligurian Coast. Return to Levanto by train. (not included)
- Accommodation: Hotel in Levanto
- Hiking Distance: 8.2 km, 560 m ascent / 545m descent
Day 4: Hike from Levanto to Monterosso al Mare
Today, you hike up to the ridge to the lookout point of Punta Mesco. Here, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over the hills surrounding the gulf.
Once you’ve had your fill of WOW, you’ll head downhill towards Monterosso, the first Cinque Terre village that you’ll be visiting. You’ll spend the night here.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Monterosso
- Hiking Distance: 8 km, 440 m ascent / 435m descent
Day 5: Transfer to Soviore Monastery and Hike the Coastal Path Between the Cinque Terre Villages of Vernazza and Monterosso
Today you’ll take a short transfer (not included) to Soviore Monastery which dates back to the 11th-century. We recommend a short visit before starting the hike back to Monterosso from Vernazza.
From the sanctuary, you’ll walk on an asphalt road for 1.5km, before taking a nice panoramic path with a gradual descent to the Madonna di Reggio. You’ll continue walking on a stone path down to Vernazza.
From there, walk the panoramic coastal path back to Monterosso. To shorten the walk, you can take a train in Vernazza back to Monterosso, but we highly recommend the walk.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Monterosso
- Hiking Distance: 10.1 km, 643 m ascent, 4 hour (to Monterosso), 5.8 km, 266 m, 3 hours (to Vernazza)
Day 6: Choice of Hike in and Around the Cinque Terre
Take is your day to enjoy the sun and the blue sea of the Cinque Terre or continue exploring on foot with one of the following two walks.
Option A: HIke Monterosso Loop via Colle di Gritta
You’ll head inland past the ‘Chiesa dei Cappucini’ to Colla di Gritta. Continue over the graceful mountain ridge through stretches of lush forests, passing over Monte Molinelli, Monte Rossini, Montenegro and Colla dei Bagari until you reach the lookout point of Punta Mesco.
Here you can opt for a short extension to the ruins of Sant’ Antonio del Mesco. Return to Monterosso by descending a series of captivating old stone footpaths. The trail is steep and in some short parts has been ruined by rain so be careful with your footing. Choose this route if you want to walk on quieter trails.
- Hiking Distance: 9 km, 690 m ascent, 4.5 hours
Option B: Hike From Corniglia-Volastra-Riomaggiore
A short train ride (not included) takes you to the Cinque Terre village of Corniglia where you’ll start walking. The first part is quite steep (but oh so worth it). Then, you’ll take the path to Volastra where the route flattens out and becomes incredibly panoramic as you make your way to the Cinque Terre Village of Manaola.
The last section to Riomaggiore, the most popular of all the Cinque Terre villages is on steep stairs. If you’re looking to see the best that the Cinque Terre offers, we recommend this route. From Riomaggiore take a train back to Monterosso (not included).
- Accommodation: Hotel in Monterosso
- Hiking Distance: 10 km, 471 m ascent, 4 hours
Day 7: Walk from Riomaggiore to Portovenere
You’ll take a short train ride (not included) to the famed Cinque Terre village of Riomaggiore. From where you’ll quickly leave the crowds as you walk to the edge of the hill which borders the Cinque Terre area.
From Colle del Telegrafo, you’ll follow the edge till you reach Portovenere, passing through the village of Campiglia. The day’s itinerary is spectacular, thanks to the great views over the Cinque Terre coastline and the impressive cliffs of Portovenere at the end.
- Accommodation: Hotel in Portovenere
- Hiking Distance: 17 km, 723 m ascent, 4.5 hours
Day 8: Arrivederci Cinque Terre!
It’s time to say Arrivederci to Cinque Terre.
Take a taxi (not included) to La Spezia, or you next destination after your breakfast.
From La Spezia you can easily reach airports in Pisa, Genoa, Florence and Milan, if you wish to continue your travels in Italy.
Mar 1st – 31st & Oct 1st – 31st: €1250 pp based on double accommodation
April 1st – Sept 30th: €1395 pp based on double accommodaton
30% is due when you book. Your remaining balance is due 45 days in advance. You can see the booking terms and conditions here.
This tour is available from March 1st to Oct 31st.
We use comfortable 3-star hotels (or equivalent)with a friendly family-run atmosphere. You’ll have a private bathroom, and a delicious Italian breakfast is included each morning (except on your arrival day).
✔ 7 nights of accommodation in a 3-star hotel or equivalent
✔ 7 Breakfasts (Every day except the first day)
✔ Luggage transfer from Levanto to Monterosso and from Monterosso to Portovenere
✔ 2- day Cinque Terre card which covers the hiking permit
✔ Detailed route description, walking times, GPS routes
✔ Unlimited email support pre-tour
-✔ Phone support while on your tour in case of emergency
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
- Airport Transfers. Check out our article: How to Get to Cinque Terre
- Transfers (trains, boats, and buses ), when required are not included unless stated
- Luggage transfer from Camogli to Levanto (you take it on the train with you)
- Hotel tax each night
- Lunches and dinners
- Travel insurance that covers you for this tour and includes emergency evacuation and hospital care in the unlikely incident that you get injured. HeyMondo insurance covers this which is why we recommend it. Plus, you’ll get a 5% discount for being a Monkeys and Mountains reader.
Check out our guide: How to Get to Cinque Terre
The closest airport to Camogli is Genoa, followed by Pisa. You can also fly into Milan, which is often cheaper.
I find the best deals on Skyscanner and book most of my flights through them.
Note: We highly recommend waiting to book your flights or making other travel arrangements until you receive an email from us notifying you that all your accommodation has been confirmed.
There are frequent trains from Milan, Pisa and Genova to Camogli (where your trip starts) and Portoverne (where your trip ends).
Refer to this site for train and bus options.
What You Need to Know About Your Self-Guided Cinque Terre Hiking Tour
Our self-guided hiking tours are a great fit if you love being pointed in the right direction with all the information you need, then having the freedom to explore on your own.
You’ll enjoy this tour if you’re comfortable following a GPS route. While most paths are clear, you’ll still rely on the GPS route part of the time.
Many of our clients haven’t done a self-guided tour before but we find they get the hang of it quickly. We provide you with the GPS route and a 7-day week service hotline in case you need to contact us for any issues.
The freedom of a self-guided tour is something that, once experienced, you’ll find yourself seeking again and again since you get the best of both worlds – our planning and knowledge and the freedom to explore on your own.
How Fit Do You Need to Be to Do the Cinque Terre Hiking Tour?
You should be in good physical condition and be a regular walker or hiker. The route is not technical so no prior expertise is required, however, there are some steep sections. If you’re unsure, please contact us and we can help you assess whether this tour is a good fit for you.
Book Your Cinque Terre Hiking Tour With Us & You’ll Get…
✅ Great value for money
✅ Freedom to hike on your own schedule with the people you choose
✅ To avoid the hassles of booking accommodations that have to be booked by phone or email (there’s no central booking system to check availability)
✅ Alternative routes(when available) to make your hike easier when your legs have had enough
✅ Our insider knowledge to reserve the best accommodations based on what’s important to you (i.e. location, comfort, etc)
✅ Tours that are designed by hikers for hikers. We combine our knowledge and experience with our local partners to provide you with an amazing hiking tour.