Are you planning on hiking the Cinque Terre?
The Cinque Terre is a cluster of five villages, hence the name Cinque Terre which translates to “Five Lands.” It is located on the coast of Italy just north of Pisa.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know before you embark on your beautiful journey - what to expect, what to bring, when to hike, and more!
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Cinque Terre Hike Route
The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hiking is the best way to explore these gorgeously unique villages.
The Blue Trail is the most popular hiking trail that takes you through all five villages, although there are many other trails to choose from.
It is about 11km long and will take you between 5 and 6 hours to complete, excluding the time you will take to explore each different village.
The trails are open all year round (although trails open and close throughout the year due landslides and general maintenance). But it may be better to go when the weather is a bit cooler as it can get very hot in summer, making the hike a little more gruelling.
The hike connects each village (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso). The hikes can be started in either direction depending on your needs.
It is recommended to start in Monterosso as it is the most difficult leg, so it may be best to do it at the beginning and not at the end when you’re already tired.
However, if you start at Riomaggiore you can cool down with a swim at Monterosso.
You will need to purchase a ticket in order to hike the Blue Trail (The other trails are free) and there are checkpoints at each town where you will present your ticket.
You can purchase a regular ticket for €7.50 or you can purchase the Treno Cinque Terre card at €16 which includes unlimited train trips for the entire day. You will end up taking more than one train and with each trip costing €4, the Treno Cinque Terre card makes sense.
The Blue Trail isn’t too challenging with difficulty ranging from easy to moderate and you do not have to be an experienced hiker to enjoy the trail.
There are portions of the trail which are very easy, there’s even a paved section connecting Riomaggiore to Manarola, and there are some portions which are a little more difficult, but nothing too strenuous. The hike can even be enjoyed by children.
Although this hike is on the easier side it is still important to make sure you are dressed appropriately with decent footwear and that you remain well hydrated and fed throughout to make the hike more pleasant.
Although there are no guides specifically for the Cinque Terre hikes, this guidebook should provide you with everything you need to know regarding the trails and what attractions you need to see in each city. Available on Amazon for under 10 USD.
Cinque Terre Itinerary
It is important to time your hike well, as you want to be able to catch the departing train at the end of the day.
It is also important to factor in the time you’ll spend exploring each town, you’ll want to spend about 30 minutes in each town which will obviously add some extra time to your hike. The Blue Trail is well marked and easy to follow.
Riomaggiore to Manarola
Hiking Time: 30 minutes
Manarola to Corniglia
Hiking Time: 1 hour
Corniglia to Vernazza
Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
Vernazza to Monterosso
Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
Cinque Terre Video
Thank's to this video by Perfect Little Planet, you can see what to expect on your hike along the glorious Cinque Terre.
Check out the areas of the hike from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, as well as explore Vernazza, Corniglia, and Manarola along the way.
The Cinque Terre Overview
Best Time To Go
The Cinque Terre can be hiked all year round but the best time for hiking is between mid-March to mid-October. If you are interested in the sea the best time to visit would be between mid-May and mid-September.
The hike ranges from easy-to-moderate and can be completed by all skills sets. It can be a little tiring as it is a lot of walking, but it is not overly strenuous.
Most of the trails are free except for the Blue Trail. Tickets are €7.50 for a normal pass and €16 for the Treno Cinque Terre card which allows unlimited access to the trains for the day.
Cinque Terre FAQ
Will the trails be open in winter?
Yes, they will be.
Will Cinque Terre be open?
Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict when certain trails will be closed as they open and close sporadically throughout the year. Luckily, there are always alternative trails to choose from should one be closed on the day of your hike. It's a good idea to check with your tour operator before booking.
Is the trail family-friendly?
Yes, the trail is perfect for a family hike as it isn’t too difficult.
Do I need travel insurance?
Hiking insurance isn't obligatory for Cinque Terre, but it is usually recommended for any hiking adventure. If an accident or incident should occur that requires immediate medical assistance and evacuation you will most definitely want adequate hiking insurance that can cover the costs of air ambulance and treatment.
Check out World Nomads for a quick calculation of the cost of travel insurance for your trip.
Do I have to wear hiking boots?
No, you don’t, but is important to wear comfortable and supportive closed shoes as you will be on your feet for an extended period of time and there are some stray rocks on the tails and many steps to climb.
What would I need to bring?
You should wear breathable athletic wear as you will sweat, and you don’t want to overheat. You should also bring sunglasses, a hat and sunblock to protect you from the harsh sun.
You’ll also want to bring a camera to capture the beautiful views you see while hiking the Cinque Terre. Also, don’t forget to purchase and carry your ticket to access the Blue Trail.
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