Hiking the Riviera Coastline of Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre (Italian for ‘five lands’) consists of five remote cities perched above the western Italian coastline. This beautiful hidden gem is a short 2.5-hour train ride from Florence, Italy. Each town has unique landscapes, sights, and cultures, from a lazy beachside town to bustling fishing villages. While the most traveled path between the cities is by train, hiking the trails connecting each of the five cities is the best way to experience the landscape of Cinque Terre.
The cities that make up Cinque Terre are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.
As you prepare for your hike, plan to bring a backpack with plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. You will also want to wear tennis shoes and a jacket if you are traveling during December through March, as this is considered the cooler time of the year. The hiking path is clear and straightforward but you should still bring a map of the area in case you venture off the trail and have trouble finding your way back.
You will need to purchase a hiking pass or Cinque Terre Card before you venture out. While you cannot purchase the Cinque Terre Card online, you can find it at the Welcome Center in every railway station at any of the five cities, costing 7.50 Euro for a Day Pass.
The roughly two-mile hike between each of the five cities attracts visitors from all walks of life. This hike is perfect for a variety of fitness levels; be prepared for steep inclines along the way. Insider’s Tip: Shifting rocks are common in this area and it is important to check with the National Parks Authority before you leave, to see which trails are closed.
Each leg of the hike starts in one of the five towns and then ascends steeply into beautiful olive gardens and wine vineyards. Along the hike, you will walk rugged trails, winding through some of the residents’ vineyards and farms. Hand-constructed stone terracing encompasses each accent of the vineyards – which are eagerly growing along the hillside. The Cinque Terre’s isolation has helped preserve its slow-paced way of life, which makes this hike even more charming.
While there are no shops on the trail, that sell food or memorabilia, you may encounter locals selling refreshments along the way. On our hike, we came across an older man, squeezing fresh orange and lemon juices and selling them to hikers.
After the Hike
Once your hike is over you will most likely be tired from the day’s adventures. If you head back to Florence for the evening, relax for dinner at Osteria Vini e Vecchi. The restaurant is frequently visited by locals and serves traditional Tuscan dishes you are sure to enjoy! After a delicious dinner, we headed back to our home base for the evening at the Hilton Garden Inn in Florence Novoli, where we got some much-needed rest and relaxation.
A visit to the Cinque Terre will be a unique part of your Italian vacation. You will be able to escape the hustle and bustle of large cities and experience the striking views of the Italian Riviera.
Know Before You Go
- Feeding the pigeons in Piazza San Marco was banned in 2008.
- Florence is most famously recognized as the birthplace of the Renaissance. The symbol of the city is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which is full of history and beauty.
- One of the most famous viewpoints in Venice is the Bridge of Sighs.