Hiking Cinque Terre in Italy
So this is a rare non-gardening post. We recently took a a week's vacation in northern Italy. One of the things we really wanted to do was to hike Cinque Terre – five fishing villages along the Mediterranean coast. Once we started looking into the visit, it was hard finding exacting information on the length of trails – both in distance and timing. So I put together this little video of our hike to help show and explain what to expect on the trails. We read that the hardest and most difficult trail(s) are tough. But If I can do it, just about anyone else can.
|The "Last" village, Monterosso, is where we started. |
It has the only sand beach of all five villages.
We decided to start at the farthest of the five towns from where we were staying, Monterosso. We stayed in La Spezia, only an eight-minute train ride from the nearest of the five villages. The entire area is a national park, so you have to buy an admission "ticket" to walk the trails – and there are huts with park people where you have to present your ticket.
|You can see most of the villages as you|
hike along the coast, teasing you.
If you start in the fartthest village, Monterosso, you'll get the hardest hiking out of the way earliest. If I can do the trail in about an hour in forty-five minutes, then anyone can do it. My wife and daughter could have probably done it faster than me. There were a few sections with lots of steep steps that slowed me down. It was also hot – about 81ºF and little shade in most areas. Water for drinking is essential. There are a few public fountains for drinking water in the villages. where you can refill your water bottles. And each village has plenty of shops for souvenirs, water, snacks, meals and gelato. Four of the five villages have public areas for swimming – only the Monterrosso has a sand beach. We did not stop for a swim at any of them, though we did have bathing suits just in case.
|Terraced vineyards. I can't imagine how much work |
it would be to harvest grapes on these steep slopes.
We hiked all five villages in one day, but if you like to more casually browse, or spend time shopping, you'll need more than one day. A few days in the area would be ideal, along with a 2- or 3-day train pass. If we went again, we'd definitely do the hike again, and maybe stay in one of the villages, as opposed to La Spezia.
Our hike between villages was almost like a progressive meal - lunch in Vernazza, gelato in Corniglia, cocktails and snacks in Manarola, and dinner (seafood!) in Riomaggiore. You can make all five villages in one day.
|This is the second village we came to, Vernazza. You can see Monterosso off in the distance.|
|The third village is Corniglia. It is not on the water, but on a mountain overlooking the ocean.|
|Next stop was Manarola. We found a little bar and sat while for a while with our respective wine, beer and Coke Light.|
|Lots of dinner options in Riomaggiore. Seeing the villages glowing at night is a treat. |
I'd love to have seen the other villages we passed through lit up at night. Next time!