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Cinque Terre 5-night Hike

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  • Location: Italy
  • Duration: 6 Days/5 Nights
  • Departing from: Monterosso al Mare at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Day 1
  • Tour finishes: Santa Margherita Ligure, morning Day 6
  • Departures 2024: April 23, May 7 & 21, June 6, Sept 17, Oct 1 & 15 plus private departures.
  • Price 2024: €2,900 euros per person based on double occupancy. Single Supplement €350 euros. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people. Two guides accompany departures of 9 or more people.
  • Departures 2025: April 22, May 6 & 20, June 5, Sept 16, Sept. 30 & Oct. 15 plus private departures.
  • Price 2025: €3,100 euros per person based on double occupancy. Single Supplement €350 euros. One guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people. Two guides accompany departures of 9 or more people.

The “Cinque Terre” refers to the five fishing villages along the Ligurian Coast between Genoa and La Spezia. Now a protected UNESCO World Heritage site, they are part of the Italian Riviera and one of the highlights of our 6-day trip. We also visit the beautiful historical port of Portovenere and end our trip in the elegant resort town of Santa Margherita Ligure, near Portofino. We hike along dramatic cliffs, steeply terraced vineyards, and through colorful fishing villages. The seafood is excellent, the region is the birthplace of pesto and focaccia, and Ligurian wines are white, light, and delicious.

Cinque Terre 5-night Hike Includes

  • Accommodation: 5 nights in 3 & 4 star hotels (3 nights Monterosso (or Levanto) in superior 3 star Hotel Margherita, 2 nights Santa Margherita Ligure at the 4 - star Hotel Jolanda or similar.
  • Meals: 5 breakfasts & 4 dinners
  • Luggage: Bags are transfered starting from pick-up at the Monterossa hotel to the final drop-off at Santa Margherita Ligure
  • Special events: Pesto and anchovy preparation & dinner with a local family; ferry or motorboat ride along the coast of Portofino
  • Transport: Train, boat & private van transfers as noted in the itinerary
  • Active days: 4 days of guided hiking
  • Guides: At least 1 bilingual Customwalks guide accompanies departures of 2 - 8 people; 2 guides accompany departures of 9 or more people
  • Max group size: Tours are capped at 14 people

Booking: Please e-mail us at info@customwalks.com to receive a booking contract or simply click on the BOOK NOW button or the 'Contact Us' tab. Thanks!

Cinque Terre 5-night Hike itinerary Request full itinerary

Day 1

Independent arrival in Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the five Cinque Terre villages. It is connected by train with Genoa to the north, and Pisa and La Spezia to the south. Our hotel is located in the heart of the old town, with its colorfully-painted houses and striking medieval church built of white and black local marble. Meet your guides and the rest of the group at 7 pm for a welcome drink and short orientation talk before heading to dinner at a local seafood restaurant. Overnight in Monterosso at the Hotel Margherita or Hotel Carla in Levanto (or similar). Hotel and dinner included.

Day 2

A short train ride takes us to the seaside town of Framura, where we start our first hike. The trail takes us high above the shimmering waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea before returning us to the coast at Levanto, a walled town originally built by the Romans. The 11th century church steeple once served as a watchtower to warn the village of marauding pirates. Exit Levanto on an ancient path that is still paved with broad flagstones worn shiny with the passage of centuries of travelers. The scenic coastal track leads you to the spectacular look-out at Punta Mesco, where you can see the five villages of the Cinque Terre spread out before you. Descend to Monterosso’s old town and enjoy a gelato or a cold drink overlooking the water, or grab your swimsuit and take a refreshing dip from Monterosso’s sandy beach. Tonight, we go to a family-owned restaurant where they show us how they make pesto and the town's famous salted anchovies in the traditional way. They also regale us with stories of village life and serve us a selection of locally-produced wine, ending with a glass of sciacchetrà, their prized sweet wine. Train: 10 minutes to Framura; Hiking: 7.4 miles, 4 - 5 hours; Terrain: Forest paths, long, steep pathways and stair sections with a 45 minutes continuous uphill climb, rocky trails, and rolling hills. Cumulative elevation gain: 2,423'. You can do shorter hikes if you prefer and return to Monterosso by ferry or train. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.  

Day 3

Today's hike takes us along the footpath that has linked the villages of the Cinque Terre for over a thousand years. Hike to splendid Vernazza and then on to Corniglia and Manarola via the high route for spectacular views before returning to Monterosso by train or ferry. You will have time to explore the villages, sample their delicious focaccia, and sip a foamy cappuccino or cold beer. If you've had enough hiking and are happy to kick back, relax, and soak up the atmosphere, you can simply catch a local train back to Monterosso at your leisure. Tonight is a “free night” dinner, so you are free to eat wherever you wish. Your guides will have suggestions. Overnight Monterosso or Levanto. Train: 8 minutes return to Monterosso; Hiking: 7.6 miles, 4 - 5 hours; Terrain: Some long, steep trail and stair sections with a 45 minutes continuous uphill climb, rocky trails, and rolling hills. Cumulative elevation gain: 2,864'. You can do shorter hikes if you prefer and return to Monterosso by ferry or train.  Hotel and breakfast included. Dinner not included.

Day 4

Bid farewell to Monterosso this morning and hike to Portovenere, starting from Riomaggiore, the last of the Cinque Terre villages. Our walk takes us past a medieval church, through scented pine forests, and finally down past the Genovese fortress that protected Portovenere from marauding corsair pirates and its rival naval republic, Pisa. Dramatic cliffs plunge into the blue waters of the Mediterranean in a setting so beautiful that Byron, Shelly, and D.H. Lawrence fell to its charms. You will have time to meander through the village’s narrow pedestrian streets before a private van transfer to La Spezia, where we catch the train north to the bustling town of Santa Margherita Ligure. About 60 kilometers north of La Spezia, Santa Margherita is an elegant coastal town whose waterfront promenade is lined with regal villas and grand “Belle Epoque” period hotels. The Hotel Jolanda (or similar), is our home for the last two nights. One of our favorite restaurants awaits us this evening. Overnight Santa Margherita Ligure. Train to trail head: 15 minutes; Train to Santa Margherita: 1 hour.  Hiking: 9 miles, 4.5 hours; Terrain: Rocky trails, rolling and steep trail sections including a 40-minute continuous uphill climb. Cumulative elevation gain: 3,200'.You can do a shorter hike if you prefer but you would have to pay for a taxi transfer. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 5

A short train ride (4 minutes!) through a long tunnel takes us to the lovely seaside town of Camogli. Once a loyal supporter of the Genoese Republic and home to its navy, this little town is now famous for its delightfully painted houses. Their colorful façades feature masterly “trompe l’oeil” decor. Our path takes us up to the church of San Rocco and then along a breathtaking route that offers magnificent views along the northern Ligurian coast as it curves west and heads for France. We eventually descend to the 12th century Abbey of San Fruttuoso, nestled below us in a glittering blue bay. Head down for a refreshing swim followed by lunch at a tiny seaside restaurant, then take the 3 pm ferry to Portofino. Hardcore hikers can continue to Portofino on foot, where they can relax and admire the super yachts before heading back to Santa Margherita by the private motorboat (weather permitting) that we provide. Overnight Santa Margherita Ligure. Train: 5 minutes; Hiking: 6-8.7 miles; 5.5 hours; Terrain: Rolling pathways, rocky trails, and some steep trail sections as well as a 45-minute continuous uphill climb. Cumulative elevation gain: 2,000-2,300'. You can do shorter hikes if you prefer and return to Santa Marghertia by ferry.. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.

Day 6

The tour ends after breakfast this morning. Independent departure from the hotel to the train station, a short hike or taxi ride from the hotel. Santa Margherita is well connected by rail with the rest of Italy, and an easy train ride to the airports of Pisa, Milan or Genoa. Breakfast included.

Please note: Some details of the itinerary may change according to the departure date of your tour. Whenever we run a tour we make new discoveries. Sometimes they are good discoveries, like a wonderful new trattoria, and sometimes they are bad, like a trail has been washed away. The result is that we sometimes change our itinerary to improve it by adding new wonderful elements to the tour or by removing something that does not work anymore. Rest assured, our goal is to always provide you with the best possible experience. We will advise you of any changes to the original itinerary prior to departure.  

The hikes in the Cinque Terre

Though not long in terms of distance, the hikes can be strenuous at times as we ascend and descend steep paths or stone stairways that have been used for years to link the villages of the region. We have designed the trip so that there is always some free time in the late afternoon so you can relax, read, or have a dip in the sea. Breakfast is included every day, and dinners reflect the excellent traditional food of the region. Daily distance between 8 and 14 kms.

Useful Links

City of Portofino: website in English from the gem of the Italian Riviera
Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre:  basic information on the park and villages
UNESCO World Heritage Site: check out all the wonderful places in Italy!

 

 

 

 

Activity Level 3+ out of 5= Moderate Plus:
In general:
This is a Moderate tour for fit hikers who will find the hikes a satisfying workout, while less-fit hikers will find them challenging but do-able and have a great sense of achievement at the end of the week.
Terrain: Rolling to hilly terrain with frequent steep ascents and descents. The "+" indicates that they also involve more rugged, rocky, or steep terrain than the standard 3-rated tours.
Actual hiking time: Between 3-5 hours per day, mostly in the morning but also in the afternoon.
Distances: Usually 8 - 12 kms (5 - 7 mi) per day. Max distance 16 kms (9 mi).
Surfaces: Trails are a mix of compact earth or dirt track, gravel roads, and rocky, uneven wooded trails. You will also encounter centuries' old stone stairways and rocky steps.
Footing: Good, but you have to pay attention to where and how you place your feet. Proper hiking shoes with thick soles with good treads are required. Sport sandals, running shoes, and tennis shoes are not adequate.
Specifics: Our most common comment about this type of trip is “It was more challenging than I expected but I am glad I did it”. On this particular tour we begin every day's hike at sea level, so always start with a (often steep) climb and finish with an equal hike back down. The hikes are between 6 - 17 kms (4 - 11 mi.), and there is often the possibility to opt out of a segment by taking a train, ferry, or bus during the day. The climbs can be long, sometimes 20-40 minutes at a stretch, on time-worn stone steps or trails, sometimes over rocky terrain that you must negotiate with care. Indeed, we developed the 3+ rating to describe our Amalfi and Cinque Terre trips because they entail steep and sustained climbs and descents that are, however, easily to hike if you take your time. Note: people who suffer from severe vertigo may be affected on some stretches of the trail as we frequently have wide-open vistas over the sea (but almost never straight drop-offs).
Hiking Poles: Highly recommended but not required, and if you habitually use hiking pole you will regret it if you don’t have them.
Other: This tour is appropriate for “sporty and fit” first-time hikers who enjoy hiking and have good balance. People with hip and knee issues might find a 3+ tour challenging because of the terrain and the duration of the hikes.
Moderate Plus Tours: Amalfi is the easiest of this group, then Dolomites Lite, followed by the Cinque Terre, Sardinia, Northern Greece Meteora & Zagori, and Andalusia.
As a point of reference, what is a 1 out of 5 Activity rating? A 1 out of 5 rated tour is a tour without any hiking. Hikes would be in towns, cities, and villages, and the countryside hikes would be on paved, or gravel/dirt roads, and occasionally on some packed earth trails. Elevation gain and loss would be negligible.
As a point of reference, what is a 5 out of 5 Activity rating? A 5 out of 5 rated tour is a tour that would be physically challenging and technically difficult even for very fit and experienced hikers. The hikes would have steep ascents and descents on narrow, exposed trails with challenging footing, such as on scree fields, or through rock falls and boulders. Distances would be up to 25 km/16 miles per day and feature ascents of over 1,000 m/3,200 feet in a day. A 5 out of 5 tour would also mean that you would be carrying a heavier-than-normal pack. None of our tours are rated 5 out 5. Our most challenging tours are 4.5 out of 5, and they are the Dolomites Alta Via (because of some exposed trail that requires some technical expertise) and our Republic of Georgia tour which has some long hikes with over 1,000 meters of elevation gain.

Getting There: the trip starts with your arrival in Monterosso al Mare at our pre-booked hotel. Monterosso is well connected by rail. More information below.

Air: the closest airports to the start of the trip are Pisa or Genoa. Pisa Airport is well serviced by international flights from major European cities such as London, Paris, and Frankfurt. There is a train station right at the airport so it is easy to make further connections (or, it's a short hop into town to reach the Pisa “Centrale” station). Genoa Airport also has flights from other European centers and is a short (1.5 hr) train ride to Monterosso. You can also get there via longer train rides from Milan, Florence, or even Rome. For a complete list of Italian airports and a selection of low-cost airlines, see our "Transport Info" page.

Rail: All trains to Monterosso leave from either Genoa or La Spezia. Journey time by local train from La Spezia is about 20 mins, and 1-2 hrs from Genova depending on the train you catch. See the Trenitalia website (in English) at this link. For alternative high-speed rail travel, see the Italo website. For complete information on using the Italian train system, see our blog post.

Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the tour concludes Friday morning in Santa Margherita Ligure, which is well connected to the rest of Italy by rail. 

If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip. Please e-mail us with any specific travel questions.

5/5
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5 out of 5
Ratings based on 3 Verified Reviews



Average ratings
5.0
Guides
5.0
Quality of itinerary
4.7
Food quality & variety
5.0
Value for money
5.0
Right amount of activity
4.7
Overall satisfaction

Reviews
5
by R. Camarsh
Posted Feb 12, 2015

Great combination of scenery, history, food, drink and exercise. Plus great guides and company.

4.6
by S Lane
Posted Feb 03, 2015

The walks were very enjoyable along the rugged coastline, with the highlight being the five villages mid-week. We were unlucky with the weather but the guides always had options and ways of switching the days activities around to make sure we didn't miss out on anything. All the villages and hotels we stayed in were lovely, and we enjoyed our pesto making session. The food is quite seafood orientated, as a non-fish eater i ended up eating a lot of veal escalopes, which seemed to be the other local speciality. The guides really made the trip for us, they were very knowledgeable about the area and went out of their way to make sure we all had fun.

5
by sue
Posted Jan 30, 2015

The scenery was fabulous, our group had an great time. I fell and broke my wrist and our guide took care of me and our group so well. She made sure that I followed the route by sea/bus/train so I could keep up with my friends and most days they found me in a café by the sea drinking wine. She was amazing.



If you have any questions or specific requests about any of our tours, we’re here to help. You can fill in the form below, send us an email, or call us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Great combination of scenery, history, food, drink and exercise. Plus great guides and company.
by R. Camarsh


The walks were very enjoyable along the rugged coastline, with the highlight being the five villages mid-week. We were unlucky with the weather but the guides always had options and ways of switching the days activities around to make sure we didn't miss out on anything. All the villages and hotels we stayed in were lovely, and we enjoyed our pesto making session. The food is quite seafood orientated, as a non-fish eater i ended up eating a lot of veal escalopes, which seemed to be the other local speciality. The guides really made the trip for us, they were very knowledgeable about the area and went out of their way to make sure we all had fun.
by S Lane


51 hiking through vineyards
03 sm beach
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Day 4 05 on the trail
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Day 1 10 first nights dinner -- pesto!
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Day 5 01 leaving monterosso
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29 claire  manu at punta mesco overlook
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53 more hiking through vineyards
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