|The wonderful sight of Vernazza approaching from the path.|
After having published the post: CINQUE TERRE - LOOKING FOR SOME AMAZING TREKKING IN ITALY? CINQUE TERRE IS YOUR PLACE! about this wonderful walk in the North region of Liguria in Italy, I received a lot of queries about the walk. What is the best path in Cinque Terre? Is the Via dell'Amore safe enough? How long takes from Vernazza to Monterosso?
I decided to write for you a detailed description of the walk divided through the five villages of Cinque Terre divided in 5 (Cinque in Italian) sections.
Ideally you should do a section per day, although as you can read below some sections are easier and shorter than others.
Attention: do not underestimate the walks, some parts are exposed and dangerous. Also remember that sun can set very quickly and it is absolutely dangerous to walk along the cliffs after dark. Finally remember that also the five Cinqueterre villages have train stations and frequent connections to other villages. Do read the post on general information on Cinqueterre before to plan your visit.
1. FROM RIOMAGGIORE TO MANAROLA, WALKING ALONG THE VIA DELL'AMORE
Via dell'Amore means Path of Love. This is the easiest segment of the walk, the shortest, the flattest and probably the one more famous of the Cinque terre walks. Different from all the other sections of the Cinque Terre Way, the Via dell'Amore path is wide and paved and it is extremely spectacular. It is also (partly) illuminated at night and you will enjoy at its best at sunset ...or sunrise.
It is little more than a stroll and people of all ages can easily enjoy the walk.
Via dell'Amore runs from Rio Maggiore to Manarola. Rio Maggiore is the Eastern of the five villages. Rio Maggiore and Manarola are two of the most amazing villages of Cinque Terre and they are definetly worth a visit. If you have only one day to spend in Cinque Terre this is definitely your walk.
Via dell'Amore can probably take just half an hour to walk for a trained walker, but given the beauty of the panoramas along the cliffs and the romanticism of the walk, I should hope that your walk will take much longer.
Take also time to enjoy the visit at Rio Maggiore and Manarola, both offer good accommodation, restaurants and bars.
|Corniglia, holding on the side of the cliffs is the only one without direct access to the sea directly from the village|
2. FROM MANAROLA TO CORNIGLIA
If Manarola is probably the most amazing village of the Cinque Terre for the unique way the houses are literally holding on the side of a rock, Corniglia is probably the village that it is sometime overlooked by tourist. The reason is probably that Corniglia, although stands above the sea, doesn't have direct access to the water and this make the fishermen village less attractive.
I think instead Corniglia is the most picturesque, less tourist and more "real" village, so please take time to walk to Corniglia.
The path it is certainly more challenging than the Via dell'Amore and certain parts of the walk require to be careful. The walk can be done in 1,5 hours, but I think on an average three hours is more realistic, and four if you include a pause halfway to rest and enjoy the landscape.
3. CORNIGLIA TO VERNAZZA
Vernazza is absolutely a must. Probably the town tat will remain more in your mind because of its sheltered harbour and the view you can enjoy from the path coming towards Vernazza. It is extremely touristy and can be quite expensive, if possible avoid to get accommodation there, unless you enjoy to stay in the heart of Cinque Terre.
A fit walker can probably walk the section from Corniglia to Vernazza in 1,5 hours but again 3 hours is more reasonable time to enjoy the views. Also consider that this section is more challenging and in some parts more exposed with a number of stairs.
|The beautiful Ligurian Sea along the Cinqueterre path|
4. VERNAZZA to MONTEROSSO
This is the last section of the Cinque Terre walk and in a way Monterosso waits at the end for some deserved rest. Monterosso, differently from the other Cinque Terre villages, is spread along a reasonably wide beach, with umbrella, bigger and more fashionable hotels, restaurants and more shops. definitely the place to stay if you want to spend sometime at the sea or you want to make some shopping.
This section is the most difficult, longer and tiring of the whole lot. Although a reasonably fitted walker can certainly make it, you would need to be careful, particularly if walking with children, as some parts are very exposed and there is very little protection. also consider that depending on the season the sun can go away quite quickly and walking with little light is extremely dangerous!!
Consider 3 hours at least to walk from Vernazza to Monterosso
|Rio Maggiore at night, a wonderful place to rest after a day walking.|
5. MONTEROSSO TO LEVANTO
Is the path finishing in Monterosso?
Absolutely not, although the Cinque Terre finish at Monterosso the path continues all the way to Levanto. This part of the walk is extremely spectacular going around The Punta del Mesco, but the section is tiring and difficult, at least 4 to 5 hours should be considered.
Remember also that this section is not so popular and touristy and not many people walk there.
It would be better if you walk in small groups rather than alone.
Levanto is rather a sea town than a village. Like the Cinque Terre has a train station so that you can catch a train and go back to Cinque Terre easily. Also Levanto has a beautiful promenade and plenty shops making a perfect destination in the Cinque Terre area.
Consider at least 5 hours.
6. EVERYWHERE ELSE I SHOULD SEE IN THE AREA?
Do not miss Porto Venere. An absolutely must loved by Byron and other poets, Porto Venere is absolutely stunning: read a dedicated post to Porto Venere.
Also remember you are one hour away from Pisa and around two and a half from Florence (read the dedicated posts)
Also read more on Cinqueterre here.