Cinque Terre is a beautiful coastal region in Northern Italy and is part of the Italian Riviera. The Cinque Terre trail connects five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.We did so many things in Cinque Terre (will blog about it later!) but the one thing that I wanted to do is hike the Cinque Terre trail. Mainly because my travel books suggested it and also because many of my friends mentioned it as one of their number one memories of Europe! So ofcourse, I had to do it!
The Cinque Terre trail does not disapoint. It’s lovely in every way. We stayed at Hotel Porto Roca which sits above the cliff side of Monterosso and very close to the entrance of the Cinque Terre trail. This trail is part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is world heritage listed so in order to take this hike, you need to purchase tickets. You can purchase these from the local tourist desk by the beach or ask your hotel. You get a map with your ticket, so you can also plan other hikes!
We started the hike from Monterosso al Mare. It took us about 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete the hike between the first village, Monterosso al Mare and the second village, Vernazza. The steps were steep and we had to walk through the trail one behind the other because the path was so narrow. There were also people walking from the other direction so you had to move to the side and lean back a bit to let them pass. However, what made it all worthwhile, was as you approached Vernazza, the view seemed like something straight out of a painting. The sparkling water, the colourful houses, and the greenery. It was mesmerizing!
If you want to enjoy the walk, I suggest that you start at Monterosso because the trail starts off difficult and ends with an easy walk. We did try to walk the entire trail but had to do a detour between Corniglia and Manarola as the trail was under repair. Rather than walking through greenery, we shared our path with cars and buses – quite the adventure! We chatted a bit with some locals and giggled about our lack of fitness with other fellow tourists.
The last leg of our Cinque Terre trail journey was at Riomaggiore. The road between Manarola and Riomaggiore is a flat, 20 minute walk through La Via Dell’Amore, which is otherwise known as Lover’s Lane. This path gives you a magnificent view of the ocean, but what makes it special is the locks that many lovers have placed along the path. There are millions of locks in all shapes and sizes all bearing the names of couples who wanted to show a symbol of their love in one of Italy’s most romantic regions. Since we were on honeymoon, we brought along our token lock with our names engraved on it. We placed the lock near the most unusual lock possible so that oneday, we should be able to find it and show our children! So, if you happen to come across a lock that looks like a cartoon chicken, you might just see ours to the left of it.
After Riomaggiore, we had walked for approximately 5 hours so were completely buggered! We were not prepared to walk back to Monterosso so it was a relief to be able to purchase a train ticket for 1 Euro in order to take the 5 minute rail journey back. This is a regional train so you’ll travel with locals and tourists alike – all part of the experience. And the great thing about this is that the train will stop at all 5 villages and you can still enjoy the view along the way. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before you board the train to reduce the risk of a fine.
The Cinque Terre trail was definitely the highlight of my Cinque Terre experience! I’m a lover of the ocean and beaches so it was amazing to be able to see parts of the Italian Riviera by foot. This was one of my favourite destinations so will post more about other things to do and see in Cinque Terre over the next couple of weeks.
Have you hiked on the Cinque Terre trail? What did you most like about it?
If you have any questions or comments, let me know and follow me on twitter. I’m always keen to hear from fellow travelers! The world is your oyster! Happy travels 🙂