If you are looking for an inspiration to get in shape set your goal on hiking the Cinque Terre in Italy.
The Cinque Terre, is located on the Ligurian coast in western Italy and consists of five villages linked together by hiking trails. The trails range from very easy to difficult. Additional hiking trails veer off from the main trails connecting the villages. The villages, paths and beaches are all beautiful.
All of the main Cinque Terre hiking trails offer spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea.
With the exception of the trail linking Vernazza and Corneglia which leads away from the water the paths take you along cliffs high above the Sea.
On the hiking trail from Monterossa al Mare to Vernazza you will wander through vineyards, over stone walls and along the Mediterranean Sea. The trails that run from Monterossa to Vernazza and Vernazza to Corniglia are the most difficult of the four trails.
You will need a light weight hiking boot or hiking tennis shoe to make the trip comfortably.
There are few handrails and the trail can be narrow in places so you need to bring a walking stick if you have balance problems. If you do not feel that you can walk the whole trail you can walk part of it and enjoy the view. You may encounter bees, bugs and birds so be prepared with an antihistamine (like Benadryl), bug spray and your binoculars.
The hiking trail between Corniglia and Manarola is an easy dirt path that leads you along the sea. You will have a spectacular view of the Ligurian coast.
The hiking trail between Manarola and Riomaggiore is a wide cobblestone walkway known as the Via dell’Amore (Love’s Way). There are benches along the path where you can sit and enjoy the view.
There are places along all the trails where you can take a break and enjoy a picnic lunch. On the more difficult paths you will be sitting on the ground or a low wall, on the easier paths there are either benches or picnic tables. There is a small restaurant located on one of the paths from Riomaggiore to Corniglia.
Except for the most difficult trails you will see Italian women hiking in high heels, do not read too much into this. Italian women are skilled in walking in heels even in the most unlikely of places.
Rain is a common occurrance so bring a lightweight rain jacket.
Regardless of which trails you choose to walk don’t forget your camera! The Cinque Terre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is an Italian National Park so if you visit, please respect the environment.
Choose the level of difficulty for the Cinque Terre hiking trail which is right for you:
Hiking Trail 1 – Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza
This is a difficult trail that is 2.5 miles (4km) with many up’s and down’s. It will take most people between 1.5 and 2 hours depending on how many stops you make to admire the view.
Hiking Trail 2 – Vernazza to Corniglia
This is the most difficult of the four choices and has the least number of ocean views. It will take most people about 2 hours to hike this 2.5 mile (4 km) trail. The terrain is uneven in places and you will have to be able to hike up and down hills.
Hiking Trail 3 -Corniglia to Manarola
This is an easy 45 minutes walk and you have an ocean view for the entire walk. The distance is less than 2 miles (3km).
Hiking Trail 4 -Manarola to Riomaggiore
This .5 mile trail (.6 km) is an easy stroll on a paved walkway. It will take about 30 minutes to walk the path.
Rick Steves’ Cinque Terre YouTube video
For our visitors wanting an excellent guide click this link or the picture below to check out Rick Steves Cinque Terre guidebook on Amazon: