Hike Cinque Terre, Italy: Things To Know First

Bridget Blake // October 17

Hiking Cinque Terre, Italy. One may think it's only one place. But alas, it is actually a group of towns nestled on top of Italy’s incredible coastline. The name gives that away as in English it translates to “five lands,” as it is made up of five cities. You may know Cinque Terre if you saw pictures of the colorful houses hanging on the cliffs of Italy above crystal blue water. There’s more to Cinque Terre than meets the eye, however. Not only is the history of Cinque Terre notable and unique but the ability to hike through the towns offers a great bucket list item for anyone.

Hike Cinque Terre, Italy

Let’s hike through all the must-knows about Cinque Terre, Italy:

There’s lots of cool places that have gorgeous views. What makes Cinque Terre different and worth the extra effort it will take to get there and hike it are a few special things.

First, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What does that mean and why should you care? UNESCO sites are places that have been deemed important to all of humanity and thus are protected. Think Taj Mahal, Stonehenge, and the like. With that being said, this place is special. Not only that, the whole place is a national park. For outdoor junkies, it's grade A. 

Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia, and Monterosso al Mare make up the five cities that are known as Cinque Terre. Spoiler alert: there are actually extra towns if perhaps some of the routes are closed due to mudslides. More on that later, however. Maybe you’ve put this together already, but a 5:1 return means you get a huge bang for your buck.

Not into hiking and just want to explore?

That is ok, friend! You can travel through the city via train. Who wants to go the easy route, however? First and foremost know that it’s not the easiest to get there. Most will have to take a smaller train from the nearest town up to the cities (know before you go to look up locations and times and make sure you get on – high traffic times will sell out).

Need to buy a few items before you head on your hiking adventure to Cinque Terre, Italy? Check out Amazon for all your travel necessities.

Once you’re there, you will really want to stop in the visitors center to get the lay of the land. I highly recommend taking a picture of the map, as well, for reference. The trail that connects the five cities is called the Via dell Amore. Heads up, as previously mentioned the trail is closed until 2024 soooooo you can take the train into the next city or hike a much more difficult route up and around. This was the option I settled for as I was determined to hike the whole thing. To note, you could hike only pieces of it and hike it either way. Many people hike from Riomaggiore to Monterosso where the sandy beaches and incredible seafood and wine will reward you for all of your efforts! 

Hike Cinque Terre

Hiking notes to take with you on your journey to Cinque Terre, Italy:

Not sure if I would categorize this as a hike, first of all. Remember when your grandparents said they used to walk to school uphill both ways? After this experience, I GET IT NOW. Most of it is climbing steep stairs from the Middle Ages up and down both ways. Literally, so many stairs. I love a good stair master situation but this was next level. Some stairs are small, wide, and very uneven, so beware. That is what makes it tough, otherwise, it was easy peasy.

Bring water and good hiking shoes for sure, because you’ll need it. This is a great experience as well because you can stop and enjoy the personality of each little town along the way. If you plan to do the whole five towns (or plus with closures), then make sure you have the endurance and time for a whole day excursion. 

Last minute thoughts before you go: have fun. Really soak in the beauty and the history of the land.

Commonly Asked Questions About Hiking Cinque Terre, Italy:

How long does it take to hike the Cinque Terre trail?

The time required to hike the Cinque Terre trail depends on the specific route you choose. The most popular trail, the Sentiero Azzurro, takes about 5-7 hours to complete, covering approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles).

How hard is it to hike the Cinque Terre in Italy?

Hiking in Cinque Terre can be moderately challenging due to steep and uneven terrain. While some sections are relatively easy, others involve steep climbs and narrow paths. It's advisable to have good hiking shoes and be in decent physical condition.

Is Cinque Terre good for hiking?

Yes, Cinque Terre is renowned for its breathtaking hiking trails. The rugged coastline and scenic landscapes make it a fantastic destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The well-marked paths offer unique views of the Mediterranean.

Which is the prettiest hike in Cinque Terre?

Determining the “prettiest” hike is subjective, but the Monterosso to Vernazza trail is often considered one of the most picturesque. It offers stunning views of the coastline, vineyards, and charming villages, making it a favorite among hikers.

Cinque Terre is such a magical place. If you have more than a day, stay and enjoy the other hiking trails around the area. Make all of the memories and the accomplishment of completing such a challenge!

Need to buy a few items before you head on your hiking adventure to Cinque Terre, Italy? Check out Amazon for all your travel necessities.

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About the Author

Bridget Blake

Bridget Blake is a Nurse Practitioner and business consultant based out of Florida. With a life goal of a wasteLESS wilderness, she is a proponent of sustainability, natural living, and making sure her two kiddos grow up as free-range as possible. Although new to hunting, she is passionate about learning new skills and sharing them with those who also want to learn. Bridget is dedicated to becoming a wilderness expert and teaching others how to coexist with the world around them.