Walk the pristine coastline of Italy’s famous Cinque Terre

When entering this region of Italy, things can seem a little surreal. The houses are painted in vivid multi-coloured shades, the ocean’s brighter than the sky and the sun rains down so heavily that everything seems a little technicoloured – welcome to Cinque Terre. Describing it as a gem of Italy is totally correct, but to be more specific, it would have to be an opal – a play of colours, mainly reflected by the blue of the sea, dotted with gold, pink and green houses. This is a rare jewel that changes with the light of the day, and is best explored on foot to truly understand the natural beauty of this precious treasure.

Start
Levanto, Italy
Finish
Santa Margherita, Italy
Countries
Italy
Themes
Explorer
Code
ZGXT
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16
Carbon offset
140kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Check out medieval castles and churches in Levanto
  • Stroll the dramatic coastline and visit the scenic seaside village Monterosso
  • Walk ‘Lovers’ Lane’ in Riomaggiore
  • Gain a spectacular peninsula view from the Madonna di Montenero
  • Take a relaxing dip in Deiva Marina’s pristine waters
  • Explore Abbey of San Fruttuoso, an ancient monastery on prime real estate
  • Stroll the pictorial trails surrounding Portofino

Itinerary

Begin your journey north of Cinque Terre in the beautiful seaside town of Levanto. Settle in and explore the cobbled streets that lead to medieval castles and churches. Otherwise, just sit back, relax and become better acquainted with pizza, pasta and some organic wine from the region.
From Levanto, begin a scenic walk towards Punta Mesco. Discover the remains of 11th-century ruins and stroll around the dramatic coastline in search of the perfect picnic spot. Continue on towards Monterosso, the largest costal village on the Cinque Terre. Bright clusters of houses will be welcoming on the eyes, as will the long stretch of beach. This is the only extensive beach in the whole of Cinque Terre – the perfect spot for a dip. Either walk or catch a local train back to Levanto for a meal to refuel.
Catch an early morning train to Riomaggiore for one of the most famous walks in the area. This little jaunt takes us to Manarola, a village where buildings are painted a kaleidoscope of colours, distinctively popping out from the natural terrain. Then walk up to Corniglia for a striking view of vineyards, terraces and the ocean, before continuing on towards Vernazza, which offers the best views of the region. Upon arrival, check out the 15th-century Doria Castle, an old pirate lookout. Pesto sauce is a product of the region so grab a slice of pesto pizza and complement it with some Vino de la Cinque Terre before catching the train back to Levanto.
Lace up your walking shoes for a big day. Catch a train to Riomaggiore, the most southern of the five big towns of Cinque Terre. From here, embark on the most challenging and most rewarding trail of the tour. Walk uphill to a spectacular view from Madonna di Montenero and continue on to Campiglia. Be wowed by the changing costal terrain, from seaside to vineyard to pine forest, heading toward Porto Venere. This ancient fishing community offers spectacular Roman architecture of marble columns and black stonewalls. Jump in a boat and drift along the coast back to Levanto while admiring the natural landscape and settlements from the sea.
Walk west and explore the little village of Bonassola. Wedged between mountain and sea, it’s the perfect place for a morning coffee before the real walking begins. Stumble across a series of small hillside hamlets and make your way to Deiva Marina’s pristine beaches for a relaxing swim, or explore the medieval Old Town. Train back to Santa Margherita, put down your bags for the next three days and enjoy the seafood of the region.
Travel by local bus to the small hamlet of Ruta to begin today’s walk. Monte Portofino is the highest point of the Peninsula. On land, explore this quaint seaside village by foot and visit the Abbey of San Fruttuoso. Once a monastery, it’s now one of the most interesting Gothic establishments in the region. And even better – it’s right on the beach. Jump on a boat to Camogli and wander the historic town centre, take a spin on a beachside carousel or sip coffee in one of the many seaside cafes.
Sink into a relaxed way of life around the Portofino peninsula, strolling through the historic centre of Santa Margherita Ligure. Treat your nose to the sensory delight of the surrounding landscape and stop to smell the sea breeze mixed with perfumes of lemon trees, hydrangeas and other floral delights. Continue walking the scenic trail, stop for lunch or a swim, and then spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun.
There is just enough time to try a famous local anchovies dish, go for a brisk walk on the beach, or a stroll for some last minute souvenirs before bidding farewell to the colourfully scenic and naturally rich region of Liguria.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
7 breakfasts3 dinners
Transport
Boat, Public bus, Train
Accommodation
Hotel (7 nights)
Included activities
  • Guided Walk to Portofino
  • Guided Walk to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso
  • Levanto to Monterosso Guided Walk
  • Riomaggiore to Portovenere Guided Walk
  • 'Sentiero dell’Amore' Guided Walk
  • The Wild West Coast Guided Walk

Dates

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Important notes

TRACK CLOSURES:
Due to recent landslides in the area we will not be able to walk the full extent of the Via dell'Amore and the coastal section between Manarola and Corniglia on day 3. Our alternative routes will be tailored to the current situation, and your leader will advise of these at the start of the trip. It is likely that the inland routes will be of a higher physical rating. If you would like to opt out it is possible to take the train instead for these sections.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Reviews

Our The Cinque Terre Explored trips score an average of 4 out of 5 based on 1 reviews in the last year.

The Cinque Terre Explored , May 2015