Hiking Cinque Terre – Everything You Need To Know!

Last week, I spent 4 wonderful days hiking through the stunning region of Cinque Terre on the West coast of Italy. I was that captivated by these charming fishing villages, that I’ve done away with this week’s blog post schedule and shuttled a few other posts down the queue in favour of publishing this post first. Rest assured because it doesn’t take 4 days to hike the Cinque Terre. Rather than rush in and rush out in one or two days, Mr O’T and I wanted to give ourselves ample time to photograph this beautiful part of the world, without the pressure of time. Plus, we weren’t sure if the weather was going to play ball so it was great to have that buffer. So was sweltering in 34C heat for 9 hours worth hiking Cinque Terre for? Yes it was and here’s the low down on everything you need to know!

hiking cinque terre

Transport

The starting point of the hike is the first fishing village of Monterosso. If you’re not staying in Monterosso then you’ll need to arrive here via train. The area is well connected so if for some reason you can’t hike the trail or choose not to hike, then it’s very easy to get between all five villages via train. Also if you’re coming from somewhere further afield like Pisa, then it’s still totally do-able as you can catch a direct train from Pisa Central Station to Monterosso which takes 1 hour and 17 minutes.

hiking cinque terre

How Long Do You Need?

You can do the hike itself in a day but make sure to allocate the full day. Mr O’T and I thought we could cover all five villages in the space of 5-6 hours…how wrong we were! It took us a good hour to escape the first village Monterosso, because it was far too photogenic.

hiking cinque terre

We then spotted newlyweds posing for photos on a giant rock in the middle of the sea – still in Monterosso. Naturally I had to capture the moment too!  

hiking Cinque Terre

We subsequently learnt that the ‘easy’ trail between Monterosso and Vernazza (village no.2) was closed which meant we had to hike the more difficult trail. This took us a good three hours which we weren’t anticipating and in 34C heat, it was tough. Aim to set off as early as you can so you have enough of a buffer should you need it.

hiking Cinque Terre

What To Wear

Priorities – you need to think carefully about what will look good in your photos. Joking of course πŸ˜‰! On a serious note, please prepare for all eventualities! We had eight hours of sweltering heat followed by a little rain just as we were finishing. Hiking boots are a must. Don’t wear flip flops or heels because if you do end up walking the more difficult trail for a period, then you will really struggle. Also take plenty of water and sun screen with you, a pair of sunglasses and that all important hat, especially if you’re hiking over the Spring / Summer period. I wore a pair of shorts and a thin black top and I was incredibly comfortable. 

hiking cinque terre

Fees

All visitors to the National Park are required to purchase a Cinque Terre Card. This will set you back 16 Euros per day but it does give you access to shuttle buses, trains between all five villages and use of the various hiking trails. There are various check points throughout so if you haven’t purchased a card prior to the start point, then you’ll be required to purchase one at the check point. Please note that they only accept cash so if you don’t have 16 Euros to hand, then you will be turned away and forced to return to the starting point which is a good hike in itself!

hiking Cinque Terre

Different Trails

The are two hiking trails, a red trail and a blue trail. The blue trails on the map are relatively easy whereas the red trails, which are the higher trails, are the paths you will need to take when there’s maintenance on the blue trails. Our intention to was to do the blue trail only but we quickly worked out that the blue trail was closed between Monterosso and Vernazza so we were left with no other option, as we still really wanted to hike. Prepare yourself for both. If you suffer from mobility issues then avoid attempting the red trails as they are tough!

hiking Cinque Terre

Expect The Unexpected 

Always prepare for the unexpected and try to have a plan B. The weather can be quite temperamental so always check the forecast prior to attempting the hike. You don’t want to be caught out in the rain, or worse still a storm. Pack plenty of food and drink supplies with you too just in case.  

hiking Cinque Terre

The Views

The views make hiking Cinque Terre all the worth while. The route is filled with so many ‘pinch me’ moments and nothing can quite prepare you for the scenery you’ll witness along the way. Aside from being utterly breathtaking, nowhere will offer you quite the same viewpoints as the hike will.

hiking cinque terre

hiking cinque terre

hiking cinque terre

hiking cinque terre

hiking cinque terre

Just incase you need any further convincing, here’s my Youtube VLOG!

Have you visited this part of Italy before and would you consider hiking Cinque Terre?

Maggie Oxox

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24 Comments

  1. July 6, 2017 / 7:20 am

    Fantastic post!! having been to Portofino last September (Rapallo) we did all the towns, Portofino, Santa Margerita and we took a day to visit Cinque Terre, absolutely fabulous, can’t wait to return. Your photos brought back great memories!

    • July 11, 2017 / 10:16 am

      Thank you Helen! I would love to return and visit Rapallo, Portogino and Santa Margerita. Unfortunately the last day the weather was bad so we stayed in doors but I definitely have a great excuse to return to the area!

  2. July 6, 2017 / 8:13 am

    You’re so good to do the hike!! I’d probably just enjoy the view with a glass of prosecco in hand πŸ˜‰

    • July 11, 2017 / 10:11 am

      I know!!! I was completely in awe and it made for such a stunning shoot! I really have no idea how she got there though lol! Definitely add Cinque Terre to your bucket list!

  3. July 6, 2017 / 3:21 pm

    Firstly…. that top photo! Oh my gosh its beautiful. And a great guide lovely, definitely will come back to this when I EVENTUALLY get my bum over to Cinque Terre

    • July 11, 2017 / 10:11 am

      Thanks my love!! It was such a fun trip and the villages were all so colourful and beautiful!

  4. July 6, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    Great post. I’d love to visit the Cinque Terre but have wondered how difficult the hiking is b/w the villages. Do you think one village is better than the others for the hotel/overnight stay part? They all look beautiful but surely one or two of them must be better to day visit rather than the actual hotel stay. Great pics!

    • July 11, 2017 / 10:10 am

      Thanks Melissa! We actually stayed in Levanto which is right next to the first village of Monterosso. If I were to return then I’d probably stay at either Monterosso (the 1st village) or Riomaggiore (the 5th village). Either way its very easy to get between each of the villages via train. I definitely wouldn’t stay in Cornelia (3rd village) as the station is quite far away from the actual village and is very hilly so I would avoid staying in there altogether!

  5. July 6, 2017 / 5:19 pm

    The views look beautiful. You are much braver than me – I don’t think I could face doing a hike in that heat! x

    LuxeStyle

    • July 11, 2017 / 10:07 am

      I honestly did realise how hot it would get and I thought we get a nice breeze given its right on the coast but no such luck! I would definitely recommend trying the hike in maybe spring or autumn as the temperatures will be much more ideal then!xx

  6. Andy
    July 6, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    Dear Maggie,
    Great post and stunning photos! I need to add this to my bucket list.
    FIL xx

  7. July 6, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the hike! I was so upset that the blue trail was closed (and definitely wasn’t attempting the red one hah), but mum kept reminding me that we probably would have died had we have hiked anyway. The views are stunning though!
    xo April | April Everyday

    • July 11, 2017 / 10:05 am

      Hahaha!!! The hike was pretty tough…it was probably a good thing in hindsight that I didn’t know how long the first trail was going to take πŸ™‚ xx

  8. July 7, 2017 / 5:59 am

    Sounds like a far better way to see the area than driving in and out! At your own pace too!

  9. Gabrielle
    July 8, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    Oh gosh, this truly does feel like a completely different (and colourful!) world. Hiking in such intense heat sounds… intense (!), though entirely worth it for those breathtaking views. I can totally understand what you mean by the ”pinch me” moments. Cinque Terre is absolutely, 100% heading for my travel wishlist…

    aglassofice.com
    x

    • July 11, 2017 / 10:03 am

      Haha yes I probably wouldn’t advise going in July or August as that’s when the temperatures really sore but I wouldn’t go in winter either as I’m sure it’s probably quite chilly. Spring or autumn would be ideal and definitely try and hike if you have the time! xx

  10. July 10, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    Isn’t it just the prettiest?! I would happily go back and do the exact same trip again & not change a thing, that’s how much I loved it! We went in early June so just got lucky in escaping the peak hear but I managed the hike ok with just my Vans – we saw one couple doing the with their baby being carried on the dad’s neck!! And there was me thinking I was being all fit & resilient doing the hike 😁😁 Lovely vlog!

    • July 11, 2017 / 10:01 am

      It’s such a wonderful experience Shikha and I’m so pleased we managed to do the hike although the first trail which was the tougher of the too was pretty hard lol! We were rewarded with the most beautiful views though and as they say no pain no gain πŸ™‚ xx

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