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How to complete one of the most picturesque hikes in the world

cinque terre

Cinque Terre is known as one of the most beautiful and picturesque spots in Italy for its iconic colourful houses stretched across 5 towns along the Italian Riviera coastline. The Cinque Terre are in the Liguria region and start close to the town of La Spezia. The 5 towns making up the Cinque Terre are:


Riomaggiore is the most southern village of the Cinque Terre and one of the two locations you can start the Cinque Terre hike. The town is known for its colourful pastel houses, harbour and fishing boats and numerous bars and restaurants.


Manarola sits high at 70 metres above sea level and again famous for it's houses and harbour area. There are a number of great fish restaurants to have lunch and plenty of space to sunbathe, cliff-jump or swim in the sea. Manarola has the best spot for an aperol spritz at Nessun Dorma with beautiful panoramic views.


Corniglia is in the centre of the Cinque Terre, sitting at the highest point of 100 metres above sea level. It is the smallest of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre. To reach this town you must climb a staircase made up of 382 steps.


Arguably the most beautiful of the 5 towns, this town has the richest history dating back to 1000 AD. The village is surrounded by steep olive groves which are said to produce some of the best olive oil in all of Italy.

Monterosso al Mar

Monterosso is the alternative option for the start of your Cinque Terre hike. It is the largest of the five coastal villages and the hills are filled with lemons, vines and olives. The beaches are perfect for sunbathing and the village offers shopping opportunities and plenty of bars and restaurants. You can also take a sunset boat tour from here to end your day after your hike.

Cinque Terre Pass

You will require a pass to complete the Cinque Terre Hike and this gives you access to all of the footpaths. It is only the paths from Monterosso to Vernazza and Vernazza to Corniglia which require a pass. The pass is 7.50 per person for one day or €14.50 per person for two days. You can purchase the pass online.

The Cinque Terre Trenno card gives you access to the hiking trails as well as unlimited train travel running from Levanto-Cinque Terre-La Spezia. This means you can alternate between hiking and using the train to explore the Cinque Terre. This ticket starts from €19.50 per person for one day, €34 per person for two days and €46.50 for three days.

You can purchase tickets here.

colourful houses

Cinque Terre Hike


The hike is 11km long and will take approximately 5 hours to complete, depending on ability and how long you wish to spend in each town. The hike can start from either Riomaggiore or Monterosso and go in either direction. The hike is intermediate level and does take some general fitness given the steep steps and length of the hike.

You can purchase tickets along the route for the sections between Vernazza-Corniglia-Monterosso or they can be purchased in advance for ease.

Part of the trail (from Monterosso-Corniglia-Vernazza) has been closed for some time due to maintenance works. There is an alternative route you can take which is clearly signposted and will not affect you hike, other than the fact you are not as close to the beautiful sea views from some of the hike.

The hike is hilly and you will be ascending and descending between each of the towns. It is definitely a manageable hike but not an easy one so make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing, sensible shoes and have lots of water and sun cream.

We thoroughly enjoyed this hike and would definitely recommend it. If you are concerned about your fitness level and ability to complete the hike then take advantage of the hop-on-hop-off train and walk some of the trail and take the train for the rest.




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