HIKING THE ITALIAN RIVIERA TRIP SUMMARY
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 9 months of the year.
In addition to Cinque Terre, you’ll explore other trails that most visitors miss. You’ll come for Cinque Terre but these 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, the most popular village in the Cinque Terre. You’ll lose the crowds within minutes as you hike to Portovenere.
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.
HOW THIS SELF-GUIDED TOUR WORKS
You get the freedom to hike on your own schedule. We provide the directions for the recommended hikes but you decide when you do them and what time you start each day. You hike at your own pace. Take as few or as many gelato breaks as you choose. Want to revel in a leisurely lunch Italian style? You’ve got time.
Each night you’ll return to the same 4-star hotel in Levanto. A wellness center and swimming pool are waiting for you each night. You’ve earned it! It’s perfect for you if you like being active and a bit of luxury.
The hotel restaurant is one of the best in Levanto but you have the freedom to dine wherever you like for both lunch and dinner. We recommend trying the fish – it’s fresh caught by local fishermen everyday. You also must try the pesto – it originates from the region. We can even arrange a pesto-making workshop for you if you want to take the flavours of the Italian Riviera back home with you.
You get the best of both worlds on this self-guided tour. You’ll hike approximately 4 1/2 to 5 hours each day, giving you plenty of time to relax and experience Italy’s culture. And of course, you’ll have time for a dip (or two) in the stunning Ligurian Sea. It’s your vacation, so you determine your schedule.
We take care of the time-consuming route planning, so you’re free to relax and enjoy the Italian Riviera and experience a side that few travellers do.
WHO WILL ENJOY THIS CINQUE TERRE AND BEYOND HIKING TRIP?
You will if you appreciate having time to really explore a region and chat with locals. To ask the olive farmer how the crop is looking this year. To sit and stare at the sea. And realize for the first time in months your breath has slowed. And that you feel content. Really content.
To you, this trip is about experiencing the Italian way of life. It’s not just checking off a list of “Must-See” Sights as so many travellers do. You want to connect. Whether that’s with your partner or friends that you’re travelling with or with the locals. For you, it’s the memories that you create with people that matter the most.
You’ll be visiting not only the most popular places like Cinque Terre but also the much less frequented hiking trails that locals use. These offer some of the most fantastic views of the coast and are some of the best-kept secrets of the Italian Riviera. You love discovering these hidden spots and are often the most rewarding parts of your whole trip.
MAP OF ITALIAN RIVIERA: CINQUE TERRE AND BEYOND
HIGHLIGHTS OF HIKING THE ITALIAN RIVIERA: CINQUE TERRE AND BEYOND
|– Hike the famous coastal route between the 5 famed villages known collectively as Cinque Terre|
|– 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|
|– Relax and rejuvenate in a 4-star wellness hotel in Levanto|
|– Indulge in delicious Italian food every night – the area is famous for its fresh fish and seafood dishes|
ITALIAN RIVIERA HIKING TOUR ITINERARY
On the Hiking in the Italian Riviera: Cinque Terre and Beyond tour, you’ll stay in a 4-star wellness hotel in Levanto. You’ll hike in the famous Cinque Terre along with some quieter trails that offer stunning views of the rugged coastline where there are fewer tourists. These trails are among the best kept secrets of the Italian Riviera.
This is an ideal trip for you if you’re active and also want to indulge guilt-free in delicious homemade pasta and gelato and have time to wander around the medieval fishing villages.
You’ll also have time to relax with a glass of wine that was made from the vineyards you passed earlier in the day and enjoy the sunset over the Ligurian Sea. Weather permitting, you can also cool off after hiking with a swim in the sea or the hotel pool.
You get the best of both worlds on this trip.
You’ll ease into the hiking with a short hike on the first day that you arrive. Then, you’ll hike ~ 4:00 to 5:30 hours each day w/ 480 m – 600 m of elevation gain.
Our self-guided tour includes a detailed route description, walking times and a map. It will save you hours trying to find the best trails, and the route descriptions which are difficult to find in English.
You’re free to switch days around as you like, or even skip a day if you spontaneously decide that you’d like a day at the seaside instead. Although we highly recommend all of the carefully selected hikes, it’s your choice. As you’re staying in the same hotel, logistics are easy to organize. It’s your vacation. You decide what to do and when to do it.
Day 1: Arrival
- Levanto will be your base for the next 6 days. This popular seaside resort is the perfect gateway for visiting Cinque Terre but without the crowds that frequent Cinque Terre. You can call your hotel for a complimentary pickup on your arrival day. You’re free to arrive whenever you’d like but we recommend late morning or early afternoon so that you can start your stay with a scenic walk from Levanto to Bonassola. It’s a charming village that Ernest Hemmingway called sweet and memorable. Consider a dip in the Liguarian Sea before heading back. Then, you can either walk back along the coast or take the train back before checking into your hotel.
- Hiking Time: 2:30 – 3 hours, + 350 m ascent, – 350 m descent.
- Your hike today takes you to two of the five Cinque Terre villages. You’ll start at Levanto and quickly make your way up a steep path to a Romanesque chapel built in the year 1000. A lighthouse a bit further on with wide-spreading views makes an excellent stop for a picnic. You’ll descend down to Monterroso, the first of the Cinque Terre villages. This is a good place to stop for lunch at one of the many restaurants or go for a dip in the sea. It has the best beaches of the five Cinque Terre villages.
- You can also take the train back to Levanto from Monterroso, but we recommend carrying on to Vernazza, the second of the Cinque Terre villages. You’ll climb up to reach vineyards and lemon orchards and get spectacular views of Vernazza. Then, you’ll descend to explore the bustling village of Vernazza, considered by many to be the most beautiful of the Cinque Terre villages.
- It’s also possible to rent a kayak here – weather permitting. Afterward, return to Levanto by train.
- Hiking Time: 4:30 – 5:00 hours, + 600 m ascent, – 600 m descent
- You’ll want to get an early start today as it’s a long but beautiful day of hiking. You’ll take the train to Riomaggiore and quickly leave the crowds of Riomaggiore as you make your way up steep steps surrounded by vineyards. You’ll find Albarolo, Bosco and Vermentino grapes. They’re blended together to make Cinque Terre D.O.C. wine, which is a must-try when you’re here.
- You’ll arrive at the Madonna of Monte Nero Monastery which offers breathtaking views of Cinque Terre including three of the villages. There are also picnic tables there so it makes a great rest stop for you to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
- Then, you’ll continue hiking among olive groves until you reach Campiglia where you’ll find restaurants for a leisurely lunch.
- Then, you’ll hike through a pine forest where the trail leads you to some of the best views of the entire trip over rugged cliffs and finally over Portovenere. You’ll return to Levanto by catching a bus, then take a train. Or for beautiful views of the Cinque Terre villages, return by boat – sea conditions permitting.
- Hiking Time: 5:00 – 5:30 hours, + 680 m ascent, – 680 m descent
- After a 1:15 hour train ride, you’ll start your hike in the gorgeous town of Camogli. You have three options for today, the longest and the one that we recommend if you’re feeling up for it is below. You’ll hike up to San Rocco, known for its church and church square. Then, 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’ll make your way up to Base O which has picnic tables and makes for a great rest stop.
- From there, you’ll continue on 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. You can either extend your hike by hiking to Santa Margherita, take a boat (recommended) or take a bus. From Santa Margherita, you’ll take a train back to Levanto.
- Hiking Time: 4:30 – 5:00 hours, + 480 m ascent, – 480 m descent
- You’ll take the train to Vernazza, which will be familiar to you as it was your final destination on a previous day of hiking. Then, you’ll follow the path leading you to Corniglia, the highest of the Cinque Terre towns, hiking through olive groves along the way. It’s the smallest of the five villages and also the hardest to reach – a 100 m (300 ft) climb. But, it’s so worth it!
- After you’ve stopped for your gelato or cappuccino break, you’ll carry onto Manarola descending 365 steps. Note: the coastal path (as of November 2017) was still closed due to flooding damage. If it’s still closed, we’ll provide the directions for an alternative route. You’ll definitely want to find this out first before descending the stairs – if you need to take the alternative route, it starts from the village and you won’t want to ascent the stairs that you’ve just descended.
- One of my favourite things to do in Manarola is watching adventurous swimmers jump off the rocks while enjoying a tasty gelato. It’s also a fun way to take a break before continuing on.
- From Manarola, the regular coastal route to Riomaggiore follows Footpath #2, Via dell’Amore. It’s currently closed due to the flooding damage but we can propose an alternative route that’s 30 minutes longer and results in an additional 180 m of elevation gain. Take your time exploring Riomaggiore, the largest of the five Cinque Terre villages. It’s also incredibly beautiful at sunset so stick around and consider having dinner here.
- Hiking Time: 4:30 – 5 hours, + 550 m ascent, – 550 m descent.
- Your stay ends after breakfast. You’re free to go for one last dip in the Ligurian Sea or to relax. Check-out time is noon.
The itinerary is subject to change depending on trail closures, including the closure of the No. 2 trail which is currently closed. All times and distances given are approximate.
Why Book With Us
Laurel, the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, keeps returning to Cinque Terre. She was there twice in 2017 alone and also visited the previous year. While Cinque Terre is very famous, equally stunning but not nearly as well-known, or crowded are other parts along the Italian Riveria. These ended up being her favourite parts of the tour. She’s excited to share this stunning coastal hike with you which offers a mix of culture and activity with plenty of flexibility since you stay at the same hotel each day.
There can be a lot of anxiety when booking a hike; Am I fit enough to do it? How do I figure out all the logistics? How do I get there? Will my partner also enjoy this?
Our goal is to make your Italian Riviera: Cinque Terre and Beyond Tour the easiest you’ve ever planned.
By booking with us you’ll receive:
- Unlimited email support. Ask all the questions you need to.
- Practical tips to help make your Hiking in the Italian Riviera: Cinque Terre and Beyond an incredible experience
- Packing list of what you need
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
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