Cinque Terre is truly a dream spot for Italy lovers. To be honest that´s no surprise because it’s a magnificent Italian Riviera coastal area with five towns, Italian cuisine, wine, beaches, and hiking in Cinque Terre.
Read more: Cinque Terre Travel Guide.
The area is blessed with picturesque views and Cinque Terre trails is something that every visitor can’t skip during their stay in that magical Five Lands. The whole area lies on the 20km coastline and is covered with different levels of trails between every five villages, which will satisfy every hiker’s needs. But what are the options?
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Cinque Terre Hiking Trails
Hiking in Cinque Terre contains two main pathways: Blue Trail (Sentiero Azzurro) and High Trail (also known as Path 1). When the Cinque Terre hikes on the Blue Trail are more popular and easier to complete then High Trail needs more endurance to finish. But both are doable for every person without any experience.
Cinque Terre Blue Trail
Hiking trail connects straightly all the Cinque Terre villages from Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore. It’s also the most popular pathway and probably with the heaviest traffic. The total of 12 km is divided into four sections and connects every town.
Hiking trails between five villages:
- Monterosso al Mare – Vernazza
- Vernazza – Corniglia
- Corniglia – Manarola
- Manarola – Riomaggiore
Hike between Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza
Hike starts from the older part of Monterosso on Via Corone road. After the beach area, on the right, some signs lead you to the track. The length of the track is 3.5 km and it needs some climbing, but the difficulty is average and it’s nothing to worry about. Takes about 1.5 hours to reach Vernazza. It ends near Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church. The trail is charged with a fee and for an adult, it is 7.5 euros. With the Cinque Terre Card, it’s free.
Hike between Vernazza to Corniglia
The track starts from Vernazza via M. Carattono road. It’s nearly the same difficulty as the previous one. It has some uphill and downhill walks. Length is 4 km and it takes again about 1.5 hours to reach the end of the hike. The ending point in Corniglia is Chiesa Di San Pietro. For that track, it also has a fee of 7.5 euros for adults, but with Cinque Terre Card it’s again free.
Hike between Corniglia to Manarola
That small hike in Cinque Terre starts from Corniglia beach next to the railway. The length of the trail is 2 km and due to its particularly easy hike, it takes roughly one hour to complete. It passes close to the sea and it won’t take hikers too high on altitudes. It ends in Manarola close to Cemetery.
Attention: Due to floods and heavy rains a couple of years ago, trail is closed. It’s opened again approximately in 2021.
An alternative way to hike from Corniglia to Manarola
Another option to hike between the villages Corniglia and Manarola is through Volastra. It starts from via Fieschi road right after Chiesa Di San Pietro (on a way to Manarola). The first road on the left to the track 587 to Corniglia-Volastra-Manarola hike. It’s a bit more difficult than the other trails because it’s going a bit upwards (Volastra is 335 meters above sea level). Length is about 5 km and needs a about 2.5 hours. After arriving in Volastra, the trail continues from Via Montello road. Across the minimarket goes a small narrow road to Manarola. The journey will end next to the Cemetery.
Hike between Manarola to Riomaggiore
The easiest and shortest track on Blue Trail, known also as a Via dell’Amore aka Lover’s Lane. The most popular hiking in Cinque Terre winds along the coastline. The 1.5 km hike takes 30 minutes. Easiest hike in Cinque Terre stands between Manarola and Riomaggiore train stations.
Attention: Same as the last trail, it’s also closed due to past floods and heavy rains. It’s opened again approximately in 2023.
An alternative way to hike from Manarola to Riomaggiore
To see Five Lands higher, then via Beccara is a great option. Starts via A. Rollandi road, right before via Antonio Discovolo road. The maximum height on the trail is 250 meters above sea level, offering magnificent views along the way. The track length is 1.4 km and takes one hour to finish. The pathway ends at Riomaggiore train station.
Cinque Terre High Trail
The second most popular pathway is officially known as Path number 1. The 35 km hike starts from Portovenere passes by every Cinque Terre village until Levanto.
It’s divided from Portovenere to Levanto into 5 hiking trails:
- 1/a. Portovenere – Pass of Telegrafo
- 1/b. Pass of Telegrafo – Cigoletta
- 1/c. Cigoletta – Termine
- 1/d. Termine – Cape of Mesco
- 1/e. Cape of Mesco – Levanto
Most of it winds along with a border of Cinque Terre National Park. It’s up on the hilltop and the altitude rises over 800 meters. It’s possible to join with a track from every town. It needs some additional climbing to reach Path 1 or taking regional busses near the pathway checkpoints to do some additional hiking in Cinque Terre. Regional busses are free with a Cinque Terre Card.
1/a. Portovenere – Pass of Telegrafo
The most popular route among Path 1. Starts from picturesque Portovenere and that 8.5 km long track takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete. On the way, there are some landmarks. Village Campligia, many viewpoints, and a place to take the stairs down to the beach in Monesteroli. Section 1/a. ends in the Pass of Telegrafo, where busses take hikers to Riomaggiore or just hike down from there to the same town on the 593V.
1/b. Pass of Telegrafo – Cigoletta
The next hiking trail starts from the Pass of Telegrafo, where there are a bus station and a bar. The length of a certain track is 7 km and that part can be completed in over 2 and a half hours. Track sweeps along at the top of the hill where at some places are views for both sides (to the coastal line and the other side of the mountain). The altitude is around 600 meters. Section 1/b. ends in Cigoletta.
Hikers can join the section from Riomaggiore. It’s a 3.2 km long hike which starts from Riomaggiore, through Sanctuary of Montenero to the Pass of Telegrafo. You can choose between one and a half hours hike on track 593V or the local bus, which operates between the village and the Pass of Telegrafo.
Another option from Riomaggiore is path 501. It’s a 2.4 km long track, which takes about an hour and a half to reach Trail 1. Starts near Riomaggiore castle and reaches Trail 1 at Sella La Croce.
From Manarola goes pathway 506. Starts from the village and takes through Volastra. In total it’s a 4 km hike, which should take over 2 hours. The ending point of the track is called Sella di Monte Marvede. There is also an option to save legs and start from Volastra (Busses operates between Manarola and Volastra).
1/c. Cigoletta – Termine
At the beginning of Cigoletta, there aren’t any proper landmarks that point out the starting position. The closest village is Corniglia and the route is easily found. The length of the section is 7.5 km and takes about 3 hours or a bit more to complete. Another track that goes along at top of the hill, where the highest point rises over 800 meters. Section 1/c. ends near to village Puin in Termine.
Hikers can join with that section from Corniglia. Path 587 from Corniglia to Cigoletta takes about an hour to climb and the trail starts from Corniglia near Chiesa San Pietro (same starting point as Corniglia – Volastra – Manarola).
From Vernazza to join with 1/c. the section has two options. The first is through San Bernardino and Fornacchi. Pathway 507 is a 3.3 km track and takes just a bit over an hour to reach there. It starts from Vernazza (on the way to Corniglia) with the Blue track, but after a short hike goes another hiking trail on the left to San Bernardino. Also, another option is to save energy and take a bus to San Bernardino.
Another option to join with the exact section is through Reggio Sanctuary. Path 508 is 2.9 km and takes about over an hour to reach the Path 1. It starts from Vernazza railway station and through Via Brigate Partigiane road it takes hikers to the right track. Also, local busses operate regularly between the village and Reggio Sanctuary.
1/d. Termine – Cape of Mesco
The 1/d. trail starts near village Puin in Termine. That trail is 7 km long and needs about 2 hours to complete. Altitude is around 400 meters and on the way, there is also Liguria’s most ancient temple The Sanctuary of the Madonna of Soviore. It’s a point where hikers can join with a track from Monterosso. To join with a track from Monterosso al Mare, on foot it takes about one and a half hours to get there on path 509. The easier option is to move there with official busses, which operate regularly between Monterosso to the sanctuary. Ends at the scenic viewpoint at Punta Mesco.
1/e. Cape of Mesco – Levanto
Cape of Mesco aka Punta Mesco is a viewpoint where there are one of the best views over all five villages. That’s why it’s a popular spot among tourists. Hikers can climb to the viewpoint from Monterosso al Mare along path 590, starting near Hotel 5 Terre. The total length of the 1/e. the section is 5 km and with sharp legs, it’s done within 2 hours. That pathway leads around the coastal line and in the end, there are some vineyards. Hiking in Cinque Terre High Path ends in Levanto.
Disclaimer: There is no need to do hiking in Cinque Terre that way. Both trails, or any other tracks are doable each way.
Before you start exploring and hiking on Cinque Terre trails, know some travel tips to have less hassle on the path.
Fees in some trails
There are two tracks where there are fees for passing through trails. On the Blue Path, every stroller needs to lighten their wallet to hike trails between villages Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza and Vernazza to Corniglia. A single ticket for an adult is 7.5 euros. It’s free with a Cinque Terre Card.
Wear proper shoes
Don’t be another crazy tourist with flip-flops on a trail. Even though the tracks aren’t challenging it’s written in local law, that hikers need to wear proper shoes. Otherwise, it will be fined by officials. Anything that covers toes and is strictly around a foot is okay. Anything between regular or sports shoes to special hiking shoes are allowed.
Some parts in Blue Path can take about two hours and make the shirt sweaty. There aren’t any water tanks in the middle of the tracks, so make sure to have a water bottle on the track. On the High Path, there are some places where it’s possible to fill water bottles (houses or water tanks).
Stay in the marked trail
Cinque Terre trails are marked. Might not look that dangerous, but there are some steeper parts as well. Going wandering in unmarked areas and getting lost or stuck can cause problems and additional expenses. Rescuing by own foolishness isn’t cheap.
Benefits of Cinque Terre Card
As previously mentioned there are additional fees in Cinque Terre hiking trails. It’s possible to cut down expenses with a Cinque Terre Card. There are two options: to have only a trekking card with 7.5 euros per day or with additional train access with 16 euros per day. The Cinque Terre trekking Card has no fees for hiking trails and bus services (moving with busses around the National Park). With additional train access (16 euros) comes unlimited train rides between the villages per day.
Moving during the warm season
The high season is during the summer months and as everywhere in Europe, it’s the warmest season. Blue Path tracks are relatively easy, but with uphill and downhill climbing it will be sweating. Degrees can go over 30 Celsius degrees and then it’s essential to bring at least water on the track.
Respect the nature
Trails in the Cinque Terre are part of National Park. That means there are protected fauna, landscapes, animals, and so on. It’s not allowed to wander around unmarked areas, pick up some trees or other fauna, throw trash on the ground (it’s everywhere actually), and harm any nature. Respect nature and nature will respect people.
Taking all together
Hiking in Cinque Terre is fun. There are hike trails for anyone from easy strolls up to some a bit challenging tracks. Bring a water bottle and a fun mood on the track, it will be enjoyable while hikers can also relish these magnificent views over Cinque Terre.
There are pointed up the most commonly used trails, but there are more additional tracks. If there is a real desire then every enthusiast will find extra tracks to satisfy their needs when hiking in Cinque Terre.
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