Hiking the Cinque Terre

July 31, 2013

Hiking in the Cinque Terre is one of the best things to do in Italy. Its hiking trails are among the most beautiful in Europe and if you are an outdoor lover, or just someone who wants some exercise in between decadent Italian meals, it is one of the most rewarding ways to enjoy Italy’s spectacular coastline.

But when you hike the Cinque Terre you need to come prepared. From understanding trail difficulties to packing the right things and going at the correct time of year, being well informed will make the difference between a life-changing hike and a wearying slog. To help you you make the most of hiking the Cinque Terre we’ve put together a guide featuring our most helpful local knowledge. If you don’t see what you need to know below, just ask in the comments and we’ll get right back to you. You can also find more info in our guide to visiting in the Cinque Terre in the off-season.

Where to hike in the Cinque Terre

Enjoy the spectacular landscapes when hiking around Cinque Terre

Enjoy the spectacular landscapes when hiking around Cinque Terre

The most famous network of hiking trails in the Cinque Terre: Trail #2, or Sentiero Azzurro

The most popular way to enjoy the Cinque Terre on foot is to follow Trail #2 (the Sentiero Azzurro, or “Blue Trail”), which is made up of four individual paths along the coast. You can walk the entire route in about six hours, if you take short breaks—although many hikers prefer to spread the route out over a few days at a strolling pace, stopping to enjoy the towns along the way.

You can start from either direction (Monterosso, heading south, or Riomaggiore, heading north). But here’s a tip: Start from Riomaggiore, where the paths are easier and paved, and work your way up to the more challenging trails. That way, you can stop at any time… and head to the nearest train station if you have to! (Here’s an easy guide to using the Cinque Terre train).

Just remember, admission to Trail #2 usually requires purchase of the Cinque Terre card (5-7 euro/day for trail and museum access, or 10 euro/day for trail, museum and unlimited train access).

The Via dell’Amore, from Riomaggiore to Manarola

No matter how many trails you’ve walks its hard not to fall in love with the Cinque Terre on this “Lover’s Lane.” Wide, flat and paved, it is by far, the easiest section of Trail #2. And it’s famous for its kissing statue and tunnel covered in declarations of love! Length: 1.2 miles (2km); 40 minutes to walk.

The “Via dell’Amore,” between Corniglia and Manarola

The “Via dell’Amore,” between Corniglia and Manarola

From Manarola to Corniglia
A relatively easy path, the section from Manarola to Corniglia boasts spectacular gardens and sea views. Length: 1.2 miles (2km); 1 hour 15 minutes to walk.

From Corniglia to Vernazza
This where things get a little trickier! This trail climbs up to the highest point of the Cinque Terre (and back down) so expect a fair amount of climbing and descending. Officially graded as ‘medium difficulty’ the trail features are stone steps but they tend to be quite steep, uneven, and not always well-kept. Trekking poles or a walking stick are recommended on this section for walkers who like a little extra help on steep inclines.

It may be more physically strenuous but the views are absolutely stunning. You’ll also find lush olive groves and exotic plants and flowers along the way, too. Length: 2 miles (4km); 1 hour 45 minutes to walk.

Hiking in the Cinque Terre

The start of the path from Corniglia to Vernazza: beautiful and easy…

From Vernazza to Monterosso
The longest, most difficult hike in Trail #2, this section has lots of stairs and narrow passages. It’s another section of trail in which hikers often favor walking sticks and trekking poles. It’s also the most rewarding view-wise. Its panorama of all five Cinque Terre towns is one of the highlights of the trip. Length: 1.8 miles (3km); 2 hours to walk.

Off The Beaten Path Trails

Trail #2 is the busiest hiking trail in the Cinque Terre but it certainly isn’t the only one. If you are looking to step off the beaten path and avoid some of the crowds, there is an entire network of lesser-known trails that are perfect for more serious hikers.

The Trail of Sanctuaries

For a taste of Cinque Terre’s history, follow paths #3, 6, 7 and 8 to visit the area’s famous sanctuaries: Nostra Signora della Salute, Nostra Signora delle Grazie, Nostra Signora di Montenero, Nostra Signora di Reggio and Nostra Signora di Soviore. Note that these are more difficult paths than #2, so be prepared! (Bonus: They’re also free!).

The Mountain Trails

Feeling adventurous? Head inland for more challenging hikse along the area’s mountains! Trails #1, 4, 6, 9 and 10 are perhaps the least-frequented and most rugged of the bunch. As with the trails that lead to the sanctuaries, however, please note that these trails range from medium to difficult, and are for experienced hikers only. These trails will also feature fewer spots to buy water or provisions so be sure to pack plenty of liquids, these babies can be strenuous.

Tips to prepare for hiking in the Cinque Terre

Aside from some of Trail #2’s easiest paths, the Cinque Terre’s trails aren’t for strolling–they’re hiking. So dress, and prepare, accordingly!

First and foremost this means wearing appropriate shoes. Comfortable sneakers will suffice for most of trail #2 but most of the other paths require hiking boots for ankle support and traction. Flip flops are not a good idea and don’t even think about high heels.

Bring a bag or backpack with the essentials; even for the Via dell’Amore, leave your suitcase at your hotel (some train stations may offer lockers).

Hydration is essential. If you go in the summer it will almost certainly be blazingly hot. Sunburn and heatstroke are both common ailments of the Cinque Terre hiking trials. Insider tip: Buy water and snacks before you go to the Cinque Terre to avoid being forced to buy drinks in the towns – they’re usually overpriced.

Wear layers of breathable clothing, especially in the fall and winter. And in the spring and summer, don’t forget sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.

Finally you absolutely cannot forget your bathing suit (during the spring and summer) and your camera. A swim in the Ligurian sea is the perfect post-hike reward and the views you get from the trail are some of the best in Europe.

When to hike the Cinque Terre

We recommend hiking the Cinque Terre in April, May, September or October. That’s when temperatures are milder, so it’s much more comfortable. These months also attract fewer tourists; at the peak of summer, the narrower sections of trail #2 in particular can get extremely crowded.

View of Vernazza from the old tower on the hill

View of Vernazza from the old tower on the hill

If you go in the summer, try to head out as early as possible to avoid the sweltering midday heat.

Winter is cooler and less crowded but its not uncommon for heavy rainfall to cause landslides and unsafe hiking conditions. Large sections of the trails were closed in 2013/2014 due to trail wash-outs and rock slides caused by heavy rains, so if you’re planning a winter trip, watch the forecast carefully. You can get up to date info about trail closures (as well as a bunch of other helpful links) from the  Cinque Terre National Park website.

Want to hike elsewhere in Italy? Don’t miss our posts on trekking in Italy and Italy’s best outdoor adventures… beyond the Cinque Terre!

Show Comments

147 responses to “Hiking the Cinque Terre”

  1. Karen Cunningham says:

    We walked from Monterosso to Vernazza for lunch. The views were spectacular, be sure to stop and take photos along the way!

    • Marian says:

      I spent a week in the Cinque Terra in August 2000. I was sola and stayed in Monterosso which was fine.
      Took the boat to Manola. A beautiful ride.
      The avenue of love was a lovely walk, definitely not a hike.
      After that I got on a path that was pretty scary. Very narrow, loose rocks and a very steep, high drop to the sea below. No handrails or fencing on the steep cliff side. The other side was the side of the mountain.
      Very scary. I had on tennis shoes, no walking stick. If I had slipped and fallen down to the sea, no one would have known what happened to me.
      Does anyone know this path and where I was?

      • Walks of Italy says:

        Hi Marian,

        Sorry, there are many paths that veer from the path of love, it’s hard to say which you were on. We definitely recommend that hikers use their best judgement and follow their gut when following the paths, and aren’t afraid to turn back when necessary! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I completely agree about the best months to visit Cinque Terre, but… let’s try in winter tooo, they will surprise you!

  3. Larry says:

    I will spend a short time in Cinque Terre in October, my only time in Italy actually on a coast (other than Venezia). I’m wondering, is it still warm enough then to go swimming?
    Thanks, Larry

    • Hi Larry,
      The water will probably be a bit cold for swimming, but the temperatures at least will be mild. Enjoy!

    • Ellen says:

      We were there in October 2005 and surprised at how unusually warm it was. Perhaps it is not the norm but we found it warm enough for my husband to jump on the Ligurian sea although he was not expecting that. Of course the locals did not think it was warm but we are from New England and have a different idea of what warm is. We brought clothes for colder temperatures and never needed them. Hiking the trails was warm. It’s a Wonderful place to visit. You won’t want to leave

  4. Eric says:

    We’re hoping to walk the trail in October. If we wanted to spread it out over a few days, which towns would you recommend we stay in overnight?

    • Hi Eric,
      Be advised that some of the main trails between the towns are still closed, as we note in the post, so you’ll have to find alternate (more difficult) paths. As long as that’s okay, where you stay depends on how you want to hike; if you want to hike with your overnight things with you, then stay in a different town each night. Otherwise, we’d recommend picking one town (like Monterosso al Mare, which is quaint and has lots of accommodation options) and taking the train to get to each respective trail head each morning.
      Let us know if we can answer anything else!

  5. Erika says:

    Are hiking day trips still available in November if I don’t want to venture out on my own? Will be in Italy the 1st 2 weeks of November but not having any luck finding a tour company.

    • Hi Erika,
      Don’t worry, the CT is quite manageable on your own! Some of the trails should still be open in November; it just depends on weather and if they’ve been closed for safety reasons, which you won’t know until the day you want to hike, unfortunately. So make sure you check this site for the most up to date info about trail closures.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else

  6. Mackenzie says:

    Walks of Italy, What a great article! Thank you so much for the helpful information. I’ll be hiking the trail in late April of 2014. Cant wait!!!

  7. Cass says:

    Hi, thanks for the great info!

    we are planning to visit cinque terre April 2014 for 4 nights. I was hoping to stay in different towns each night so we can experience each a bit more after the day crowds go.

    To do this I wanted to leave our main luggage behind at the first hotel to collect later, and hike with limited essentials .. Is this recommended or possible?

    • Hi Cass,
      While you can do it that way, the trains are frequent and extremely fast (it’s just 5 minutes between towns), while the hiking paths are very narrow (making it awkward to have a big backpack or anything else). It’s also quite a hassle to change hotels each night–each time you need to find the hotel, do a check-in, get settled, etc… In our opinion, you can very easily experience all 5 towns over the course of 4 days, in a more time effective and less stressful way, by simply staying in one town, at one hotel, and taking this very easy, cheap train between towns when you want to do a different hiking path or explore a different town. We hope that helps!

  8. Steph says:

    I’m a little afraid of heights 🙁 Will I have trouble on any of the trails? I don’t like ledges…

    • Hi Steph,
      Yes, the trails have high parts and can be quite narrow. If you’re afraid of heights and don’t like ledges, we recommend you stick with just the easiest one, the Vicolo dell’Amore.

      Have a good trip!

  9. Debbie says:

    Is it recommended to book in advance for rooms along the cinque terre? We will be travelling through sometime during the week of March 16-23 2014.

    • Hi Debbie,
      Yes, we definitely recommend booking in advance; while you’re not coming at the peak of tourist season, the towns are small, so there’s limited accommodation. Let us know if we can help with anything else!

      • Lauren says:

        I am also planning on coming around this time (3/23-3/31), but am concerned about the weather and possible washed out trails. We would only have 1 night/2 days to spend and would be traveling from Florence by train. Do you think its possible to play it by ear depending on the weather and book a hotel in one of the towns last minute? Also, do you think this is enough time to do some hiking and experience the sites? Thanks!

        • Walks of Italy says:

          Hi Lauren, it is definitely possible to play your trip by ear and book your hotel last minute, especially because you will be traveling during the off-season. 2 days/1 night should be enough time to explore the 5 towns and enjoy the open trails. Buon viaggio and be sure to tell us about your experience!

  10. Rose says:

    Hi, We are thinking of visiting Cinque Terre the end of May 2014. I understand that the trails have been repaired, do the trails that have exposure to the cliffs have guard rails ? How wide are the trails along the ledges. Also are there any 3 to 4 star hotels in the area?
    Thank you

    • Hi Rose,
      Not all of the trails have guard rails, and they can be quite narrow, so you’ll have to be careful. There are some 3- and 4-star hotels in the area, although they tend to be on the small side; we’d recommend starting by looking at the listings by star rating on Tripadvisor. Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  11. Parker says:

    I would love to do this trip for my spring break from from March 7 to the 16th or perhaps the 15th. I would like to make it primarily a hiking trip using some of the more difficult trails and so it can be stretched out over a number of days. Please let me know if I can make this trip work during those dates using some of the less traveled more challenging trails and staying in rustic or fairly inexpensive accommodations. Thanks

    • Hi Parker,
      The only potential problem we can see for this would be if there is inclement weather, which can wash out the trails and cause their closure. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell in advance if this will happen or not… so we’d say plan away, but remember that you might have to be flexible. Happy hiking!

  12. Charlie Marchesini says:

    We hiked the trails Vernazza/Monterosso in September of 2013. It was sunny and warm….lots of steps. We didn’t bring enough water, The views were spectacular! The towns incredibly charming. We should have read this first.

  13. Greg says:

    I planning to go to CT in April.
    I just realized that a lot of walks are closed 🙁
    I am going to Riomaggiore. What is the situation like there?

    Thank you

  14. Melissa says:

    Hi There,

    I am planning on doing the easiest hike in CT but can you please advise if any of the trails will be closed in August 2014?


    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Melissa, some of the CT trails are still closed, including the famous Via dell’Amore. Please take a look at the current status of the trails on the official Parco Nazionale Cinque Terre website before you plan your hike. Do let us know if we can help you with anything else!

  15. Wayne Taylor says:

    Hi just wondering if the damaged trails are open yet, we will be walking the trail 6 to 13th of April, also what sort of weather we can expect around this time.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Wayne, the updated status of the trails can be found on the Parco Nazionale Cinque Terre website. At the moment, the main trail 2 is closed with plans to open later this year. The weather varies from rainy to warm spring temperatures, so we would suggest bringing lots of layers and comfortable clothing. Do let us know if you have any further questions!

  16. Liv says:

    Hi! I was wondering how reliable the public transportation is in the area. (I’m concerned about the busses in the early morning). Mainly, if I have a flight to catch from Pisa at 1 pm, could I make it from Cinque Terre that morning or would it be wiser to stay the night before my flight in Pisa?


    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Liv, we think your best bet would be to spend the night in Pisa before your flight as just a few hours in the morning in Cinque Terre followed by rushing to the airport could be risky. Buon viaggio and let us know if you have any other questions!

  17. dalius says:

    hi, do you know the date that the route CT will be opened? maybe in April? thanks.

  18. Bill says:

    Do you know why the Via Dell’amore is closed?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Bill! The Via dell’Amore is closed due to devastating floods that hit the region of Liguria and will re-open once the renovation is complete.

  19. Jay says:

    Hi there!

    We will in in CT 3rd week of May. There is a chance the Trail 2 may not be open. We do want to walk between the 5 towns. Could you suggest some picturesque walking trails that we would walk? Also could you recommend some good restaurants in Cornelia, Vernazza and the other towns?

    Thanks very much in advance!


    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Jay! Most of the trails that are open are range from medium to difficult. If you’re game for a bit of a challenge, we’d suggest The Trail of Sanctuaries or the other routes that are open (almost all trails but #2 and #5), for example inland from Manarola to Riomaggiore. Some of our favorite places to eat include La Lanterna (Riomaggiore), Gastronomia San Martino (Monterosso al Mare), Belforte (Vernazza), KM 0 (Corniglia). Let us know if you have any questions!

  20. Alison says:

    Hi. My husband and I will be in CT in late August just for the day as La Spezia is a port of call on our cruise. We have 3 children (14,12 and 8) and would love to do some hiking. What would you recommend? What would be manageable to do in a day and get back to the boat? Is the train station in La Spezia close to the port?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Alison! The La Spezia train station is located approximately 20 minutes from the port by foot. We suggest having a look on the official Cinque Terre National Park website to see which trails are open before your trip. Let us know if you have any questions!

  21. Kurt says:

    My family will be visiting Cinque Terre in several weeks. Where can we find the most up-to-date information on what trails are open for hiking? We are especially interested in Trail #2, Sentiero Azzurro.

  22. Patricia Hunt says:

    Great information! One question, I will be driving from Florence to CT. If I want to stay in one of the towns, where/how do I park my car?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Glad to help! For parking, there is free parking at the Piazza d’Armi parking lot in La Spezia, which also is connected to the city center via a free shuttle bus. For information on parking in the Cinque Terre, check out the useful site here. Let us know if we can help with anything else!

  23. Julie says:


    Was planning on hiking the path from Monterosso to Vernazza. Where can I find a good walking path map? Would you suggest to backpack luggage that way?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Julie, you can find a map of the trails that are currently open on the Cinque Terre website. We do not suggest carrying heavy bags with you as some of the trails can be long and challenging. Let us know if you have any questions!

  24. Mark says:

    What a great article, thank you Walks of Italy!

    I am taking my wife to Cinque Terre in late September / early October this year, having promised to do so for many years as I have talked about it so often from a trip a long time ago, before I met her.

    I am reading a lot of conflicting information, perhaps you can help please?

    I know there is the *official* information on the trails at parconazionale5terre.it.

    However, recently I have read frequently that some of the trails – including the beautiful Via Dell’Amore with the romantic ‘love tunnel’ – are actually fully repaired and just awaiting certification, which takes a long time. Apparently people are going past the barriers for these walks and having no problems at all.

    We would never do anything stupid and would of course turn back if we felt at all uncomfortable, but it sounds like taking my wife to the love tunnel, for example, is entirely reasonable and lots of people have been doing it this 2014 summer??

    I am just looking for frank advice from someone who knows!

    I also read that the Corniglia-Vernazza trail was opening on 28 June, but the official website says it is closed.

    Lastly, on the one section that is definitely open, can you confirm that it is easier to walk from north from Vernazza to Monterosso or is the other way around better?

    Thank you so much for your advice.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Mark, at the moment Via dell’Amore is still closed, but we suggest having another look on the official site closer to your departure. Both Vernazza – Monterosso and vice versa have pretty much the same level of difficulty with hills going up and down, but we recommend traveling from Monterosso to Vernazza for a beautiful downhill view of Vernazza that is truly breathtaking! Let us know if you have any questions 🙂

  25. Stuart says:

    Just finished hiking the Cinque Terre today. We are staying in Manarola, the second village along the trail and walked from here to Monteresso, the 5th village. Coastal trail is closed from Manarola to Corniglia, so you have to hike up and over. Trail is very steep but rewarding. It took me, my wife and 16yr old daughter 7 hrs with stops. We had to catch the ferry back to Riomaggiore though cause there was a train strike and the sea was too rough to dock at Manarola. Then we found out that the short trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola was closed due to landslides, so up and over we went again. This trail is also very very steep. 10 hours in total for the day. Take plenty of water and snacks!

  26. Barb says:

    If trails are not open, does that also influence the trains?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Barb, the trains run according to schedule and are not influenced by the trails being closed! Let us know if you have any questions 🙂

  27. YI says:

    Hello. i have a question.

    When do you expect to re-open the tracking course (from Riomaggiore to Manarola)???

  28. Kitty says:

    I am interested in walking from Vernazza to Corniglia in September. I will have my suitcase style backpack (~30 lbs) and wearing sandals with socks. Does this seem like a realistic plan?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Kitty, we would suggest closed sneakers or hiking shoes as the path is not paved. The hike is about 1.5 to 2 hours long, so we’d suggest leaving your backpack at the hotel if possible. Let us know if you have any questions!

  29. Melissa says:


    we are hoping to do the hike with our two boys aged 10 and 13 next year in September. How safe are the sections of narrow paths with no guard rails? I’m just a little worried walking along these paths if they are quite high. Are there sections like this between all of the villages?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Melissa! Many of the paths are still under reconstruction and may open by the time you get there next September. We suggest having a look on the Cinque Terre National Park website (link here) to see which trails will be open while you’re there. Let us know if you have any questions!

  30. Jacques says:

    Hi there Walks of Italy
    We will be visiting CT end March 2015 – do you think its possible that all the paths might be re-opened by then? Great and helpful site btw.

  31. Maria faulder says:

    Would you recommend this holiday for kids aged 12 and 8? ( very fit ones!)

    • Walks of Italy says:


      Absolutely! The trails are well paved and have stunning scenery that will attract people of any age. We find hikes to be a fun and active way to tour Italy that even children enjoy!

  32. Janet says:

    We are planning to go to Cinque Terre in June, and would like to do as much of the hiking trail as possible, but can only spend one day here. If we don’t hike/visit riomaggiore as well as Manarola, will we be missing a lot? (If we did this we would be hiking and visiting Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso)

    • Walks of Italy says:


      There is always a neverending list of things to see in Italy, but both all five villages of Cinque Terre are beautiful – you’ll have an excellent trip even if you just visit one. Be sure to check the up-to-date information on the Cinque Terre National Park website before planning your walk. Have a great trip!

  33. Becca says:

    Hello! I would love to hike Trail #2 while visiting Cinque Terre at the end of July/beginning of August. Any update on if the trail will be opened again at that time? Thank you so much!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Becca,

      It’s unsure which trails will be open or closed in that time, though we know the towns are working to repair and prepare all the trails as quickly as possible. Maybe this website can help. In any case, all of the trails provide beautiful views and are great experiences! Have a great trip!

  34. June says:

    Hi there, thank you so much for this very informative site. I’m travelling solo and intend to hike at Cinque Terre in June. 1) Is the weather extremely warm then? 2) Is safety an issue?
    Thanks for your advice in advance!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi June,

      You’re welcome, thank you! Cinque Terre in June should be beautiful! The weather is typically rather warm, with average temperatures around 70 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Safety shouldn’t be an issue. While some of the smaller side trails might be less clearly marked, the main trails are more like paved paths than trails and there will likely be many people on the walks with you. Have a great trip!

  35. Linda says:

    We are 6 adults from Canada planning a visit to CT June 2015. Part of a 4 week trip including staying in Positano, AC, Naples, overnight in Florence, San Gimigiano 7 nights, CT 2 nights, Lake Como area 1 night then Appenzell, Switzerland 7 nights. 2 nights is all we feel we can give CT. We will be coming from Florence to CT. Where should we spend those 2 nights? We want to be at the same hotel for them and know the trains, ferries will provide good transportation if nec into CT. Should we stay outside of CT or inside? I like the idea of evening dinner in a small town so that is why I question if we should not stay right in one of the CT towns.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Linda,

      We suggest you choose the trail you’re interested in hiking (check here to see which are open) and stay in the town at the start of that trail to get the most of your time in Cinque Terre. Each town is beautiful and staying directly in CT will definitely make your short visit more worthwhile.

  36. Vera Yates says:

    We’ll be staying for a couple nights only in Riomaggiore. Arriving morning on day of arrival. So, we have 2 days of sightseeing. Can you recommend the best trail to take to utilize our 2 days to the max. And any recommendation for the best sunset/sunrise view? And would early May be warm enough to swim?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Vera,

      We don’t really think there is a “best trail” but the Trail #2 (the Sentiero Azzurro, or “Blue Trail”) is by far the most popular, most likely for it’s length (it takes approximately six hours) and it’s breathtaking views. You can cool off from your hike on the beach! It can often be rather warm in early May, but you’re unlikely to see many Italians swimming that early in the year. That said, you can judge the temperature and decide for yourself when you’re there – there will certainly be others on the beach at the very least! It’s also a perfect start for you as it begins in Riomaggiore. As for the sunsets, all the towns are beautiful and we’re positive you can find a great sunset/sunrise view in any of the locations or hikes. Happy travels! 🙂

  37. Katie says:


    So my grandfather was raised in Denmark and Italy as a child. His mother was a full blood Italian and some of our family lives in Sienna. I have been to Europe a few times but never to Italy, and we are hoping to go next summer! I am a nature lover and absolutely love hiking. We thought about doing the Camino for a bit, but I’d really rather spend most of our time in Italy so the idea of doing the Cinque Terre came up. The only big question I have is this: Is the Cinque Terre good for long term hiking? Over a week up to two or three weeks? I really want a challenge! Are there hostels along the way? Do you think it would be a good place for a backpacking adventure lasting more than just one or two days?

    -Katie 🙂

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Katie,

      Good idea about hiking in Italy – There are plenty of great options! That said, Cinque Terre is not the best choice for those wanting to do a week or more by foot. While there are many trails, they tend to be easy to medium levels and short hikes between towns. Maybe this article, Hiking in Italy Beyond Cinque Terre, or this one with even more suggestions, can help you decide where to go hiking next summer!

  38. Lovely walks on the Cinque Terre sea!

  39. Clayton says:

    Hello, we will be visiting the CT in September, staying in Manorola for 4 nts at the Marino Piccolo, are there any insights to offer on this area is favorite restaurants, activities and hiking trails for beginners? Is trail #2 reopened?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Clayton,

      It looks like a small part of trail number 2 is open, but unfortunately most of it is still under construction and will be for quite some time (like until 2017). For more information check out the park’s website here. Or this site about the park’s specific trails which we find very helpful!

  40. Jan says:

    I’m hoping for CT in October 2016. We’ll be flying into Rome for some touring there first. What do you recommend for our luggage as we hike between the towns?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Jan,

      The hikes between Cinque Terre tend to be short to medium lengths, meaning that depending on which trails you choose, you could always have a base hotel that you return to each night. If not, we suggest leaving your luggage at the La Spezia train station luggage deposit, and carrying with you only a small backpack to take between towns.

  41. Karen Ragnarsdóttir says:

    I wanted to take my mum and sister next summer to walk the Cinque Terre trail and we wanted to do it slowly or just one leg a day. We were thinking either late June or middle of July and we would be flying to Pisa. My question is what time would be best suited and also my mother has a bad leg and walks rather slowly, is there a leg that would be big challenge for her?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi karen,

      What a great trip! The Path of Love is the easiest, but unfortunately it’s closed due to damage from heavy rains. Perhaps the second best option is the gorgeous, panoramic Blue Trail. You can break it down into smaller sections and then take the train (which runs about every five minutes) back to your hotel afterward. Read here for more information. Of course it depends on your moms condition and health which walks she’s able to do. Almost every one begins with a set of stone steps to hike up before leveling out. In any case, you’ll want to start early in the day to avoid the heat, bring water and comfortable shoes with good grip and you can easily go as slow as you’d like – the views will be worth it! Have a great trip!

  42. Lisa Hendrickson says:

    We are going to Italy in early May, starting to Florence (with 21 year old daughter), planning to spend 2 days there and then go to the Amalfi Coast. We’d like to see Pompei and do some hiking and maybe make it Capri and to the ruins South of Salerno. We are flying back out of Naples. Would this itinerary make sense: Florence: 2 nights: Sorrento 2 nights, Ravello or Amalfi 3 nights, overnight in Naples to fly back via Milan to the U.S. Or would it make more sense to combine stay in fewer places?

    thanks so much,

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Lisa,

      It all depends on your preferences and needs! If you do decide that you’d rather not move so much, we’d suggest staying in one place along the Amalfi Coast (any of the towns that you prefer, really) and taking day trips from there. The Amalfi Coast is well connected by bus, highways and even ferries so you can easily travel up and down it during your stay. This article can help you get to and navigate the Amalfi Coast. Have a great trip!

  43. Jamie Newton says:

    My husband and I are planning a trip with another couple of friends in late May and we would love to do some hiking. We are moderately experienced hikers and like a little challenge but definitely don’t want to be going straight uphill for several hours! Which trails do you recommend and which of the 5 cities would you recommend us staying in?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Jamie,

      Really, any of the towns are fine to stay in. They are all beautiful and each is connected by a simple and convenient train. That said, you can choose to stay in the town where your specific hike begins. In this post we suggest many different trails of varying levels of difficulty – we’re sure you and your husband can find one perfect for you! Have a great trip.

  44. Jen says:

    In 2014, you mentioned that there is free parking at the Piazza d’art parking lot in La Spezia. Is that still true? Do you think it’s safe to leave our luggage in the trunk and take a small backpack with us to CT or is it better to deposit the luggage at the train station luggage deposit?
    Thank you so much.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Jen,

      Yes, the parking lot in Piazza d’Armi should still be free. That said, we can’t promise that you’ll find a free spot. We do think it’s safe to leave your luggage in the trunk, though as always it’s better if no one sees that there is luggage there. We suggest not opening it at the station. La Spezia station also has a train station luggage deposit, but no lockers. They are placed on a open rack in a sort of closet room with a tag that designates your bags, but these can be quite pricey, especially for multiple days! We suggest leaving your luggage in the car.

  45. Mike Perry says:

    Thank you for your assistance and information.
    My wife and I will be staying in Manorola April 1-5 and would love to hike between all the 5 villages. Is this possible with the trail damage from a couple years ago. Where can I find out what trails are still closed and what trails are open?
    Gracie mille

  46. Linda says:

    This website is fabulous! Have read all about hiking, but have a question about how to arrive by train from Milan to Cinque Terre. Haven’t decided which town to stay in.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Linda,

      You can take a regional train from Milan to La Spezia or even directly to Monterosso. You can book online with the Trenitalia website.

  47. Sheila Chong says:

    My husband & I will be spending 3 nights stay at Vernazza in mid June. We are planning to do the blue path trails from Vernazza on early morning of Day 2. May I know which trail can avoid the sun facing us ?
    Or since we must pay for the blue trails, Can u suggest the trails on our Day 2 ? Then, we will be Free & easy on Day 3.

    Thanks & Regards,

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Sheila,

      A look on the Cinque Terre National Park website (link here) will allow you to see which trails will be open while you’re there and help you plan. Have a good trip!

  48. Jeri McG says:

    We are visiting Italy for the first time arriving the first week of May. We were thinking of renting a car from Florence, driving to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and then driving to Cinque Terre to do a hike and stay overnight in one of the towns. How easy is it to drive to Cinque Terre? Would you recommend that we take the train instead of drive?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      I think it’s about even, and it’d depend on how many people are in your group. If it’s just one or two of you, take the trains. If it’s more, it may be more cost effective and quicker to take the car. The train station at Pisa isn’t near the Leaning Tower (about 2 km walk), but if you drove up, you can park right nearby and walk to it. And it’s easy enough to drive to Cinque Terre, at least to Riomaggiore. From there, you can take the small regional trains between the towns, or of course hike. To get an idea of cost, the train from Florence to Pisa is €8.40 per person. The train from Pisa to La Spezia and then to Cinque Terre (any town) is about €11-12 per person. A car rental from, say, Europcar or SixT is about €50 a day. So it’ll depend if you want the flexibility of the vehicle, or the simplification of taking the train. Bear in mind, renting cars in Italy can end up costing way more than you bargained for if you don’t know the rules of the road, especially parking, ZTL (car throttled urban areas) and highway speeding cameras. Good luck!

  49. Nemanja says:

    Hello, can anyone tell me if there is any charge for taking the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza? Also it seems I can’t find the map of the trails. Where does it start?

  50. Emily says:

    Thank you for the excellent article! I was wondering approximately how long would it take to hike the Trail of Sanctuaries and the Mountain Trails in full?
    Thank you.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Emily,

      We’re glad you found it useful! To check out the distance and approximate time needed for any of the trails in Cinque Terre check out the Park’s official website, found here. Hope you have a great trip!

  51. Shreya says:

    Hi! Thank you for the great article. We are planning to do the Cinque Terre blue trail next week. We will be coming from Florence and were told to take the train to La Spezia. How do we get from La Spezia to Cinque Terre to start the trail?
    Thank you very much

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Shreya,

      Trains run regularly from La Spezia into Cinque Terre. They are super inexpensive and super fast since La Spezia is so close!

  52. Mikey says:

    Will be in Cinque Terre in 3 weeks, excited about the hikes from Monterosso to all 5 villages. Just want to make extra sure they are safe to walk for me and my family. We hike lots here in the rocky mountains, but is there any risk on the trails to fall off the cliff?!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Mikey,

      If you exercise caution and stick to the trails, we don’t think there’s any risk to you or your family while hiking! Have a great trip!

  53. Jackie says:

    My husband and another couple will be staying in Cinque Terre March of 2017. Is this a good time to visit? Also will the trails be open? We already have booked rooms in Manarola. Looking forward to our trip! Thanks. Jackie

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi jackie,

      Well if you’ve already booked your rooms then we wouldn’t worry to much if it’s a good time to visit! You’re in luck though, spring is a great time to visit Cinque Terre – there are fewer crowds and the weather is more bearable than the heat of August. To keep track of what trails are open, check out this website from the Cinque Terre National Park: http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.cinque.terre/Eiti.php Have a great trip!

  54. Jon Quezada says:

    Hello.. I plan to hike the LCT Blue Trail in August. Since the first two sections are closed, we will do the Corniglia-Vernazza section. On this section and the next one (Vernazza-Monterosso al Mare) are there any parts where there are no railings and the trail is at a height relative to the immediate surroundings? (I am afraid of heights).

    In one of the travel sites I read that till a few years ago there were a few places without any railings and with a big drop to the side.

    Thank you.

  55. Kam says:

    Hey, I was thinking of doing the hikes on my own in September. Wondering if it is safe to do it alone or should I join a group? Thank you!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Kam,

      The hikes are well-marked and quite well-trafficked so you should be fine doing it alone! Have a great trip!

  56. Maryke Van der Merwe says:

    Hi there. Maryke here from Cape Town, South Africa. We are staying in Monterosso for 3 days to explore Cinque Terre in June 2017. I am so excited to do the hike through all 5 villages. Could we take the rain down to Rio Maggiore and start the walk back up to Monterosso? We can do this in a day? If we decide to go off the beaten track and do the trail of sanctuaries does it meet up with #2 again?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Maryke,

      Cinque Terre is a beautiful place for hiking in June! The train between the five towns takes about 12 minutes total, so you can definitely go back and forth with no problem and little inconvenience as much as you need. As for trails and hiking times, check the Cinque Terre National Park website for more information.

  57. Lynda Jackson says:

    Hi, been so good to read all the comments, we are coming to stay early July 2017, it seems we need tickets to walk the trails, we want to do a couple either way of Vernazza where we are staying, do you recommend us buying a ticket before we go sooner than later maybe, thanks

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Lynda,

      No, you can buy tickets once there for the specific trails that you decide to walk, that way you’re sure that you get the correct ticket for the correct trail. Have a good time.

  58. Ana Clifton says:

    Have enjoyed the many interesting stories and facts about CT.
    We too are walking it in July 2017 and will now stay 1 night somewhere rather than travel back to Florence.
    i think we will walk the Blue walk and stay in Monterosso al Mare, and just walk from there each day.
    Just a concern about the safety. We are regular walkers but wonder about the safety of rails if we slip.
    Would this be a problem?
    Well done again

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Ana,

      Most of the trails are well marked, but walked at your own risk. That said, they are commonly walked trails for people of all ages. For more information about each path, including which are open and which closed, check out the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre website here. Have a great trip!

  59. Betsy says:


    do I have to hike to enjoy the view in Monterosso?


    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Betsy,

      Absolutely not! All the towns of the Cinque Terre are gorgeous and each offers incredible views, with or without hiking. Have a great trip!

  60. Maria Sundström says:

    I was thinking about doing this hike but after reading the comments about the trails I changed my mind.
    No rails, narrow paths, sheer drops… no thank you. It’s a shame because I really wanted to visit these villages.

  61. Gilil Chassin says:

    is there public transportation from trail 6 ?

  62. Meric says:

    A great article indeed!
    We have a 1 year old and we would like to visit cinque terre this July. Do you think we could take a buggy for any of these paths? Which one would you suggest?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Meric,

      While you can definitely take your 1 year old to Cinque Terre, we’re not sure about the buggy. You can check the Cinque Terre National Park website to learn more about the paths, but to play it safe we’d suggest considering a hiking backpack or baby carrier. Have a great trip!

  63. IC says:

    hi, do you know what time the booth opens to buy the tickets for hiking the trail?
    and i heard it’s been raining a lot there lately, does the trail close every time there is rain or it depends whether it’s a big storm? Thanks!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi IC,

      No sorry, we don’t know, but typically the trails won’t close due to rain. Some trails are permanently closed from mudslides because they’re being reconstructed. We suggest having a look on the Cinque Terre National Park website (link here) to see which trails will be open while you’re there. Have a great trip!

  64. Lynne Carter says:

    We (4 of us) will be there for a 12 hour port dock on a cruise in September. We want to visit the five villages in Cinque Terra in the one day. I understand to walk the entire distance for all five villages it takes 6 hrs? We don’t have that much time if we want to visit each village.
    My question would be is there a part of the hike that is a must do that won’t take too much time away from touring the villages? What section of the hike would you suggest if we wanted to do part of it?
    Is it best to hire a driver\car to get us from village to village to save time?
    What’s the best way to see the villages in the one day?
    Also what would you say is a must see in each village?
    Any advice and recommendations would be greatly appreciated.



    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Lynne,

      The best way to ensure that you see all five villages is to take the train — it takes just 11 minutes to get from the first to last village! If you want to hike, check on the Cinque Terre National Park website to see which sections are open and the difficulty of each. Have a great trip!

  65. Karin says:

    We’re two people who are used to hiking, and want to bring our backpacks with us while hiking between the five cities. Do you think it would be okay to hike with a 50 L backpack, considering the condition of the hiking trails? How long does it take, on average, to hike between each of the five cities? Is it possible to preorder rooms at hotels in the different cities? Thanks 🙂

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Karin,

      You can certainly book your rooms ahead of time in each city — simply go online or call ahead as you would with any hotel or apartment rental! The less your backpack weighs, the better — 50 lbs seems like a lot — but of course that’s based on your experience and fitness levels. For more information on the conditions, time needed and difficulty of the trails, visit the Cinque Terre National Park Website.

  66. Carly says:


    I’m travelling to Italy for the first time in late august/early september by myself for my birthday. I’d like to spend a few days in Cinque Terre, but i’m having trouble figuring out where the best place to be is.

    I’m only going to get two, possibly three days there.. so I want to get the best while i’m able. I’d like to hike some, not necessarily all of them.
    I was looking into tours and guides, but they are all very expensive for only a few hours of the day. Can someone give me some advice on where to start, cheap hostiles to stay in, where the best location for walking is, scenery, food, etc?

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Carly,

      All of the towns are beautiful and all super close together – you can get from one end to the other of the Cinque Terre in just 11 minutes by train! So we wouldn’t stress too much on exactly which town to stay in. If you’re looking for beaches, Monterosso has sandy beaches, where most of the others have fine pebble beaches. We don’t know about accommodations, but check the Cinque Terre National Park website to see which trails are opened (some are closed after landslides some years back) and the difficulty of each walk. Have a great trip!

  67. Deborah says:

    BE WARNED! Cinque Terre is not what it used to be—when this blog was written. Three of the four hiking trails are closed as of 4/18 and it costs 7 euros to hike the one section open (Monterosso to Vernazza). It costs 4 eurod to ride the train between EACH town, each way!!! The all day train ticket is 16 euros (April 2018). Why have they not used all the income over the years to maintain the trails? This is my 12th visit to Cinque Terre but I DO NOT plan to return, and will advise our friends not to bother coming. So sad that Italians no not know how to maintain things! What a tremendous loss!

  68. BanjoBling says:

    I am being forced by my hubby to hike the Cinque terre (don’t get me wrong I’d like to do it but….) I am overweight and seriously unfit after a major knee injury.
    I think we worked out I could walk about 3.2km per hour on a flat.
    Do you think I would able to complete the hike over two days?

    • Walks of Italy says:


      The trail that connects the five villages of the Cinque Terre is the famous Sentiero no. 2 or Sentiero Azzuro. It is 11 kilometers long. If the whole of it is open, it supposedly takes about 5 hours to walk. At your pace, it would be even faster, but give yourself the time! You can definitely do it in two days. Besides this, check at the Cinque Terre National Park website to see which trails are open. A devastating landslide some years ago destroyed parts of the trail and they’ve been working to rebuild them since. Right now it seems that Riomaggiore to Manarola is closed and Manarola to Corniglia. They say the trail between Vernazza and Monterosso is filled with stairs and a bit challenging, but with a beautiful view at the top as a reward! Luckily for you, each of the villages is connected by train as well as trail, so if worse comes to worse you can skip a part and take the train! We’re sure you’ll have a great time!

    • Deborah says:

      I would serious reconsider hiking Cinque Terre with your limitations! The only flat and relativly easy section to hike (Riomaggiore to Manarola) has been closed for several years. When we were there this spring only one section was open for hiking and it is quite strenuous. You can, however, take the train between the towns if you want to walk around in the towns until your husband hikes to them.

  69. Butch Almstedt says:

    August 26, 2018. My wife and I walked the Manarola to Corniglia trail today and according to your article is is “a relatively easy path” with a “length of 1.2 miles and a1 hour 15 minute walk.” Wow were you off the mark. My wife wore her fit bit and we counted close to 13,000 steps (granted this was from the town of Manarola and not the beginning of the trail by the car park (but that is only about a 10 minute walk) with a distance of 5.9 miles. Maybe by train it is 1.2 miles (and just 4-5 minutes).

  70. Athiwan says:

    Can you hike any of the trails in late february?

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