Cinque Terre Extension: Hiking the Sentiero Azzurro

Hike along the Italian Riviera and explore Cinque Terre – an Italian Treasure and UNESCO World Heritage Site! Experience a dearly held and culture as you travel through these five isolated Medieval villages set high above the Ligurian Sea.

  • Length
  • Trip Type Extension
  • Activity Level Easy to Moderate
  • Start / Finish

Highlights

EXTENSION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Hike the entire Sentiero Azzurro, the Cinque Terre coastal trail!
  • Discover charming, colorful seaside villages, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, with spectacular beaches beneath
  • Walk from town to town on ancient footpaths that wind through vineyards and olive groves, set high above the sea along the cliffs of the incredible Italian Riviera

 

OVERVIEW

Cinque Terre, or “Five Lands,” isone of Italy’s most unique and well-protected treasures. Strung along 18 kilometers (11 miles) on the sheer rocky coastline and serrated cliffs of the Italian Riviera, the five early Medieval villages – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso – offer a delightful view into an historic way of life. Cut off by mountains, Cinque Terre’s residents have carefully cut terraces into the hillsides that overlook the Ligurian Sea, cultivating grapes and olives on this rugged, steep landscape. For centuries farmers here eked out a living in this same way, even going so far as to harvest grapes by boat in the more accessible vineyards! Cinque Terre is noted for its beauty, with vibrantly colored houses set amidst a wild but hospitable coastline, dotted with medieval fortresses and surrounded by plentiful vines, offering breathtaking views of the harbors and crystal clear waters below.

These five small villages were once connected only by centuries-old footpaths and mule tracks, which hugged the coastline 500 to 1000 feet above the sea. Today this same footpath remains the best way to explore the region. In fact, it remains one of the only ways! Delightfully inaccessible by cars and motorbikes, hikers are most welcome, with the option of support by a railway that connect the villages, and electric buses that offer transport within each village on the steeply inclined streets.  

Today called the Sentiero Azzurro, or Blue Trail, the coastal trail through Cinque Terre offers a fantastic journey through a marvelous landscape. You’ll hike through olive groves and vineyards, orchards and chestnut woods, stopping at each village along the way, each with its own unique character. What’s more, Cinque Terre and the network of trails that connects the villages and the surrounding sea are not only a national park (Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre), but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes a protected marine area. An ancient way of life, fortunately for us, refusing to give in to modernity.

Day by Day

Day 1 ~ Arrive in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre
Arrive in Riomaggiore and check into your hotel. Riomaggiore is the southernmost village of the Cinque Terre. Dating back to the 8th century, this charming ancient fishing village climbs up along ridges overlooking its tiny harbor and out to the Ligurian Sea. Stone houses with brightly colored façades and slate-roofs decorate the landscape here, as they do throughout the Cinque Terre region. 

This afternoon, take some time to explore the town! Of note are the gothic Church of San Giovanni Battista, built in 1340, the Church of San Lorenzo, dating back to the 14th century with its beautiful original rose window, the Castle of Riomaggiore built in 1260, where you can enjoy a wonderful view out over the Ligurian Sea. If you’re more ambitious, you can walk about 350 meters (1/5th of a mile) along the coast road back toward La Spezia, and visit the Sanctuary of Madonna di Montenero. From here you will most certainly enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the entire Cinque Terre coastline!
B… B&B in Riomaggiore


Day 2 ~ Hike the Cinque Terre Coastal Trail
Today, head out into Cinque Terre National Park to walk the original coastal trail! Traveling from south to north, Riomaggiore to Monterosso, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the National Park and the Ligurian Sea as you pass through all five of the beautiful Cinque Terre villages. The walking trail is well-marked, winding along the shore as it connects each village to the next. As you hike, you’ll notice how the trail varies in nature and difficulty, from an easy stroll to a rough and on occasion physically challenging hike.

Begin with the easy, concrete path from that will take you from Riomaggiore to Manarola (1km / 0.6miles). Known as the Via Dell'Amore (Lovers Lane), this is perhaps the best-known section of trail, and definitely the most romantic! The next stretch takes you from Manarola to Corniglia (2km / 1.2miles). For the most part this is an easy hike, with the exception of a final stairway that has over 360 steps. Don't worry though, because if you prefer, you can catch the small green shuttle-bus up the hill into town instead! From Corniglia to Vernazza (4km / 2.4miles), the trail becomes more challenging, with more ascent and descent and some tricky narrow trails. Finally, the trail from Vernazza to Monterosso (5km / 3.1miles) is the longest – and steepest you’ll encounter, and rocky in some places, but is well worth the effort. As it winds through olive orchards and vineyards, the trail offers superb views of the bay! From Monterosso, return to Riomaggiore by train.
B… B&B in Riomaggiore


Day 3 ~ Depart
Breakfast and departure.
B…


Trip itinerary may vary based on weather conditions, and/or fitness levels and abilities of participants.

Cost

Hike along the Italian Riviera and explore Cinque Terre – an Italian Treasure and UNESCO World Heritage Site! Experience a dearly held and culture as you travel through these five isolated Medieval villages set high above the Ligurian Sea.


Length: 3d / 2n

Start / Finish: Riomaggiore

Dates:  This trip is available as a custom, private departure on dates of your choosing.

Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
For everybody in good and active physical health. 

 

COST:  Call for prices

Cost Includes:

  • 2 nights accommodation in 3-star hotel in Riomaggiore
  • All breakfasts
  • Local Tourist Tax
  • Italian VAT Tax

Airport transfers available on request.

Accommodation

At Dolomite Mountains, we hand pick accommodations that best reflect the style of each region, to provide you with the most authentic experience of the unique cultures found in the different cities and towns where we travel. We work directly with the owners of each property, forging strong relationships to ensure you receive the best service and care during your stay. Regardless of whether it is a five-star luxury hotel or a cozy bed and breakfast you desire, we choose the best-in-class accommodations within each category, providing you stays at the most sought after hotels in each region. And, we always make sure you have access to inspired, regional cuisine!

Group Trip Dates

Trip name   Trip dates   Min persons   Trip status   Price    
25-30 Jul
2017
4
Available
€ 890
27 Jul - 3 Aug
2017
4
Available
€ 1260
8-14 Aug
2017
4
Available
€ 1520
15-21 Aug
2017
4
Limited space
€ 2660
16-21 Aug
2017
4
Limited space
€ 890
16-20 Aug
2017
4
Available
€ 890
18-24 Aug
2017
4
Available
€ 1260
23-30 Aug
2017
4
Available
€ 1730
26 Sep - 1 Oct
2017
4
Limited space
€ 1520
26 Sep - 1 Oct
2017
4
Limited space
€ 2660
3-7 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 890
3-10 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 1730
3-10 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 1730
10-15 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 890
12-18 Oct
2017
4
Available
€ 1260
14-19 Feb
2018
4
Limited space
€ 2200
21-27 Feb
2018
4
Available
€ 1900
28 Feb - 2 Mar
2018
4
Available
€ 2200
25 Mar - 2 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1540
25 Mar - 2 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 2200
4-9 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1220
4-9 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1270
11-17 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1900
18-23 Apr
2018
4
Available
€ 1690