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7 min.

I have a few passions: horse riding, reading, listening to live music, sailing and hiking. Hiking in Cinque Terre is a special passion ’cause it’s the only one I can share with my dogs, and being born and raised here, I know that it’s one of the best ways to understand the Cinque Terre and those who live there properly.

Walking along these steep paths lets you understand the structure of the villages, why we call it heroic agriculture, why our wine has a value far beyond its taste, and why it is not a region suitable for mass tourism.

This is not a natural park but a very human one.

Cinque Terre winemaking

General practical hiking tips

You might have noticed that it’s hiking and not walking. The Cinque Terre might be perceived as a sea destination, but we don’t offer a flat stroll on the seafront beside the lovely ancient railway road between Levanto and Framura. Walking from one village to the other is like hiking in the mountains.

If you are not trained, opt for a less demanding and perhaps not too long path, and increase the difficulty day after day.

Also, with heavy rains, the National Park stops the sale of the Cinque Terre Card and prohibits access to the SVA path in the section between Monterosso and Corniglia. All the other paths are always accessible, but it is a good idea not to walk in adverse weather; visibility drops and it gets quite slippery. In case of a problem, even the rescuers struggle to perform their tasks.

So, better be prepared and aware.


Start early and try to set off just after 7.30 in the morning because it would be cooler and less crowded (till about 10. The five villages are very peaceful, and there are very few people on the trails).

If you stay in May or June, you could also opt for a late afternoon hiking experience, starting at about 5.

Hiking shoes

No flip-flops, sandals, ballet flats, or other shoes suit this type of walk. You need good hiking shoes with a good sole and ankle support. If you buy them especially for this trip, at least wear them a few days before starting your Cinque Terre hiking adventure to avoid hurting yourself on the first path.


I recommend various layers of comfortable and light clothing to face the sun and cooler sections in the shade or even the chilly early morning and evening wind.

And don’t forget your swimsuit, as all trails start and finish on the waterfront. Too tempting.


Carry a light backpack for:

  • thermal water bottle
  • a snack and a plastic bag for rubbish
  • sunscreen
  • sunglasses
  • a waterproof bag if you plan to swim
  • a microfiber beach towel
  • second skin patches, in case you just got your hiking boots
  • a travel charger if you are a smartphone addict and use it to take pictures and videos
  • mosquito repellant and some anti-itch if you are visiting in full summer

The Cinque Terre hiking itineraries

Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a stretch of rugged coast in eastern Liguria. It comprises five villages: Monterosso, VernazzaCorniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

Over the centuries, the local farmers built robust dry-walled terraces on the slope of the cliffs overlooking the sea to cultivate their impressive vineyards and olive trees. Their determination and sacrifice, repeated and carried on generation after generation, coupled with the lack of industrial development and the relative isolation that gave beauty and uniqueness to the Cinque Terre area.

To fully enjoy your stay and the region, I would recommend a 4-night stay, adding three nights to visit the Gulf of Poets and Camogli, San Fruttuoso and Portofino and Levanto, Bonassola and Framura. More stunning hikes, breathtaking views and, with the latter option, lots of peace and no hustle and bustle. Staying here, you could also plan a day trip to Pisa and Lucca and one to Genoa.

I’m based in Levanto, so this is what I recommend:

Itinerary for Day 1

On the first day, get a one-day Cinque Terre Card MS Train online and start with the now-classic path, the SVA path that connects Corniglia to Monterosso. But If this first day happens to be a Saturday or Sunday, reverse the itinerary and leave this part for a less crowded weekday.

Take the train to Corniglia to start immediately with a healthy hike overlooking the sea.

The first portion of the trail, up to Vernazza, will take about 90 minutes, walking quietly and enjoying the panorama and the always different points of view. Upon arrival, take some time to visit the village and maybe treat yourself to a light lunch in the square and a break on the rocks before leaving.

The second section up to Monterosso is a little more demanding but equally spectacular: about 2 hours walking, reaching 217 meters above sea level.

Upon arrival, take your time to visit Monterosso and treat yourself to some time on the beautiful sandy beach before getting back by train in time for an aperitif and a typical seafood dinner.

Itinerary for Day 2

Today, it’s a bit more challenging but also more interesting! Hike the Riomaggiore-Corniglia section. A decidedly more vertical itinerary, but wonderful and characterized by vineyards and terraces.

Let’s start with path n°531, the so-called Via Beccara: a vertical path through the vineyards, which, until the construction of the Via dell’Amore, was the only land connection between the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola. Its 1,500km long, reaching 202m of altitude on the sea and taking about 1 hour to walk.

The path starting point is above the Riomaggiore railway station, walking up along Via Signorini until the crossroads with Via Tracastello on the left.

After visiting Manarola, you can leave for the enchanting Volastra. Another vertical climb through the vineyards before a well-deserved lunch break. Via Beccara starts with the bridge that crosses the Rio Maior canal, which gave its name to the village. It immediately climbs vertically along a stone staircase that crosses and connects the vineyards on this side of the village.

It is a climb for trained walkers, which definitely tests your breath. Still, the view is unique, and the arrival in Volastra is overly suggestive, between typical narrow alleys and terraces overlooking the sea.

From there, the path to Corniglia starts from the square of the Madonna della Salute church, one of the shrines of Cinque Terre. Just over an hour among vineyards overlooking the sea, alternating with pine woods, to end with a splendid panorama from above on Corniglia, which this time you can visit taking as much time as you need.

Once back, before dinner, you could treat yourself to a swim and/or a guided visit of the Medieval district and to a vineyard, with final wine tasting.

Itinerary for Day 3

This is the hike I heartily recommend to end in beauty: Levanto to Monterosso via Soviore, the very special refuge of my first five years.

Once back in Levanto, you’ll still have time for a bike ride to Bonassola for an aperitif with a sea view.

Extra hiking day

Suppose you feel like hiking a bit more. In that case, I recommend a slightly less hiked trail, but an absolutely fabulous one: four half hours walking from Riomaggiore to Porto Venere, passing from the Montenero shrine and the mythical Monesteroli, with its dizzying and endless stone staircase.

The path arrives downtown Porto Venere, a small pearl in the Gulf of Poets, where you can spend a few hours after a seafood lunch on the waterfront. I definitely recommend getting back by ferry!

Why hike in the Cinque Terre?

Are you still wondering if hiking in the Cinque Terre might be a good idea? I can add that it has a positive effect on the respiratory and cardio-pulmonary systems; it burns calories (!!!) and tightens the thighs, calves, and buttocks. If you use sticks (I don’t ’cause I’m lazy), you’ll also work the upper part of your body.

And the landscape… you’ll fall in love with it! No doubt about that.

Oh, and if you are a cat person, be aware that Cinque Terre and the paths around the five villages are their kingdoms!

Have a great walk!

P.S. I would recommend many more trails in and around Cinque Terre, so do not hesitate to get in touch and ask for extra tips!

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.