Hiking in the Cinque Terre

Hiking Trail in the Cinque Terre, Italy
Hiking Trail in the Cinque Terre, Italy

By Vicky · Published Nov. 18th, 2022 · Updated Jan. 28th, 2024

Hiking in the Cinque Terre means stunning scenery and beautiful villages. Read our hiking guide for the best routes and itineraries.

Cinque Terre Walking Trail Map

The Cinque Terre has hundreds of kilometres of hiking trails, most with stunning views of the oceans, passing quaint little villages, and many many steps. Between the villages, it’s typically a steep walk up steps, followed by a flat walk through lovely countryside and then a steep descent into the next town.

If you only have one day, you won’t be able to hike and see all the villages in the Cinque Terre. Instead, go on a guided tour of the Cinque Terre from Florence*, where you can opt for some hiking in the middle of the day.

Best Five Hikes in the Cinque Terre & Beyond

  1. Corniglia to Riomaggiore Hike– 8 km, 520 m climb
  2. Levanto to Monterosso Hike – 7.2 km, 390 m climb
  3. Monterosso to Vernazza Hike – 4.8 km, 230 m climb
  4. Riomaggiore to Portovenere Hike – 15.5 km, 725 m climb
  5. Camogli to San Fruttuoso Hike – 8.5 km, 400 m climb

1. Corniglia to Riomaggiore Hike

The hike from Corniglia to Riomaggiore is one of the best in the Cinque Terre.
Manarola, a village in the Cinque Terre between Corniglia and Riomaggiore

Hike details: 8 km, 520 m climb, moderately difficult.

The walk between Corniglia and Riomaggiore is one of the most beautiful and best hikes in the Cinque Terre. After exploring Corniglia, you head steeply upwards before reaching a wonderful easy path through sloping vineyards. The route then descends steeply to picturesque but busy Manarola before heading up again out of the village. One last climb leads you over the hill, with fantastic views, and down to Riomaggiore.

Tips: Start early to avoid the heat on the first long climb out of Corniglia as there’s not much shade on this hike. Swimming is possible at Manarola, but there’s no beach. Instead, people sunbathe on the rocks and jump off into the calm waters of the little harbour.

Read more about the hike.

Shortening the Hike: From Manarola to Riomaggiore, instead of heading up and over the ridge you can walk along the Via dell’Amore, or Lover’s Way (€7.50 hiking fee), This is a flat 1 km route by the ocean, but currently closed until June 2024.

2. Levanto to Monterosso Hike

Hiking route out of Levanto and to Monterosso
Views on the Cinque Terre Coastline

Hike details: 7.2 km, 390 m climb, fairly easy.

This lovely hike is just to the north of the Cinque Terre region and is much less crowded yet still has a stunning coastline. After leaving the beach in Levanto, the hiking route heads immediately into the countryside and shady forest. There are several great viewpoints, with the best near the end of the hike over the entire Cinque Terre Coastline. After the view, the hike descends quickly into Monterosso.

Read more about the hike.

Tips: Levanto & Monterosso both have large beaches where you can easily swim. There are also food options in both villages, but nothing in between so bring enough water and snacks with you. In Monterosso you reach the new town first, with the much cuter old town through the tunnel.

3. Monterosso to Vernazza Hike

The start of a hike from Monterosso to Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, Tuscany
The hiking trail between Monterosso and Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, Italian Riviera

Hike details: 4.8 km, 230 m climb, easy, €7.50 hiking fee.

The walk between Monterosso and Vernazza is one of the easiest and most popular in the Cinque Terre. The hiking trail leaves Monterosso from the beach and soon starts the ascent. You’ll soon find the ticket booth (€7.50 hiking fee per adult per day). After this, the path is rather flat and very cute, with great views of the ocean. The path then gradually descends with cute Vernazza village soon coming into view.

Read more about the hike.

Tips: Check out the great viewpoints above the tunnel in Monterosso before you leave and set off early to avoid the crowds. There’s a beach in Monterosso but not in Vernazza, however, some people swim off Vernazza pier.

4. Riomaggiore to Portovenere Hike

Beautiful wild coastline on a hike from Riomaggiore to Portovenere in the Cinque Terre of Italy
Walking from Riomaggiore to Portovenere in the Cinque Terre of Italy

Hike details: 15.5 km, 725 m climb, moderate difficulty.

On the walk from Riomaggiore to Portovenere you leave the crowds of the Cinque Terre behind. The route heads out of the back of Riomaggiore and up a cute old cobbled trail to a monastery and glorious viewpoint near the top of the ridge. The path continues more gradually upwards and enters woodland before flattening and eventually descending. The route down has fantastic views of the wild coastline and the entry into Portovenere is rather dramatic.

Read more about the hike.

Tips: It’s a long climb upwards, so set off early to avoid the heat. There are a few places to eat/drink in Telegrafo (the highest point) and in Campiglia (slightly further on).

5. Camogli to San Fruttuoso Hike

Great coastal scenery on a hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso
San Fruttuoso Beach

Hike details: 8.5 km, 400 m climb, some technical difficulty walking along slopes while holding onto chains.

The hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso is not in the Cinque Terre but on Portofino Peninsula. It’s almost 1 hours drive to the north, but also easily reachable on the train. It’s a super gorgeous hike, leading up from the cute village of Camogli to a church at the top of a nearby hill. The route then becomes much flatter and passes into the rather wild Portofino Peninsula. The second half of the route is quite challenging as you have to hold onto chains while walking across sloping but grippy, rock. It ends at the gorgeous beach of San Fruttuoso, the perfect place for a swim.

Read more about the hike.

Tips: You can also continue walking along the coastline on the easier hike from San Fruttuoso to Portofino.


Three-Day Hiking Itineraries in the Cinque Terre

Below is a list of the six hikes in and slightly outside the Cinque Terre. Most of these hikes don’t take a full day so can be combined for a full day’s walk. Underneath the photos, you can see suggested itineraries for all walkers, from beginners to serious hikers. The itineraries all last three days, as this is a good amount of time to spend in the Cinque Terre. This naturally means that the easier itineraries explore less of the coastline and make more use of the train and/or ferry.

While you’re not hiking, there are castles and churches to look around in the villages, and you should take a boat ride* at least once during your stay. You get a different perspective of the villages, the cute colourful houses huddled together in the dramatic coastline. If you still have the energy, you can also kayak along the Cinque Terre Coastline.

Cinque Terre Hikes from North to South

Easy Hiking Itinerary for the Cinque Terre

This easy hiking itinerary allows you time to get up late, have long lunches, lounge on the beach and really soak up the atmosphere of the Cinque Terre.

Day 1: Walk from Monterosso to Vernazza on hike number 3 (4.8 km with 230 metres of climb). This is a fairly easy hike and should only take a few hours. During the rest of the day, you can explore both Monterosso and Vernazza. Monterosso has a large beach, nice for sunbathing, while in Vernazza the only opportunity for swimming is to jump into the water from the pier.

Walking into Vernazza on the way from Monterosso
Walking into Vernazza on the way from Monterosso

Day 2: Walk from Vernazza to Corniglia on hike number 4 (4 km with 210 metres of climb). This is another easy hike and takes a few hours. There’s a great cafe (Il Gabbiano) halfway along the route at almost the highest point. Here you can have a drink and a bite to eat with incredible views over the coastline.

Day 3: Walk from Corniglia to Manarola on the first part of hike number 5 (6 km with 400 metres of climb). If the Via dell’Amore between Manarola and Riomaggiore is open, you can walk this 1 km, flat route by the ocean to the final Cinque Terre village. If it’s closed (reopens in June 2024), then stop the hike in Manarola. Explore the cute town, then take the train or ferry for a quick ride to Riomaggiore.

Moderate Hiking Itinerary for the Cinque Terre

This moderate hiking itinerary lets you explore the entire Cinque Terre coastline plus the quieter trails at either end. If you are at least reasonably fit, you can complete all the hikes in under six hours and have plenty of time to explore the villages and relax on the beaches.

Day 1: Walk from Levanto to Vernazza, combining hikes number 2 and 3 (12 km with 620 metres of climb). You’ll get great views over the entire Cinque Terre coastline and pass through Monterosso on the way. It’s a great place for a swim and sunbath on the beach.

Day 2: Walk from Vernazza to Riomaggiore, combining hikes number 4 and 5 to walk (12 km with 730 metres of climb). If you’re tired by the time you reach Manarola, you can take the shortcut along the Via dell’Amore (closed until June 2024), or take the train or ferry to Riomaggiore. The shorter hike from Vernazza to Manarola is 10km with 600 metres of climb.

Hiking down into Portovenere
Hiking down into Portovenere

Day 3: Walk from Riomaggiore and Portovenere on hike number 6 (15.5 km with 750 metres of climb). This is the same as on the strenuous itinerary (see description below) and is the longest hike so far. If you don’t feel up to the full hike, you can instead walk up to a monastery, Madonna di Montenero. This is high above Riomaggiore with great views, and you can create a nice loop (4km with 300 metres of climb). Follow the initial hiking route to the monastery, then return by walking down the path heading from the monastery down to the coast and back into town. You can then take the ferry (or train and bus) from Riomaggiore to Portovenere to explore the extra Cinque Terre village.

Strenuous Hiking Itinerary for the Cinque Terre

We followed this itinerary, which is only recommended for fairly fit hikers. If you get up early there’s still enough time to explore the villages and have a swim each day. However, you can’t spend ages lounging on the beach or having long lunches if you want to follow this strenuous hiking itinerary for the Cinque Terre.

Day 1: Walk from Deiva Marina to Monterosso, the first of the Cinque Terre villages, by combining hikes 1 and 2 (21.5 km with 1140 metres of climb). You’ll be walking most of the day, but if you start early you’ll still have time for a swim and ice cream in the villages that you pass along the way. You can save exploring Monterosso for the following morning.

Walking between Deiva Marina and Monterosso

Day 2: Walk from Monterosso to Riomaggiore by combining hikes 3, 4 and 5 (16.8 km with 960 metres of climb). You’ll start in Monterosso where you ended the previous day and can explore this town before setting off. You’ll pass through all the other Cinque Terre villages – Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola before ending the day at Riomaggiore. If you don’t walk too slowly you’ll have enough time to wander around the villages, and we popped down to the beach at Corniglia for a swim just after lunch, a great way to cool off. Save exploring Riomaggiore for the next day, which is shorter.

Day 3: Walk from Riomaggiore and Portovenere on hike number 6 (15.5 km with 750 metres of climb). After exploring Riomaggiore, you head a long way upwards before a beautiful descent into Portovenere. There’s quite a bit to see in this village so allow time for that. There’s no train station in Portovenere, but from here you can either take the bus to La Spezia or the ferry to Monterosso (Apr-Oct only) and then the train back to Deiva Marina.

Where to Stay when Hiking in the Cinque Terre

In the five Cinque Terre villages, accommodation books up quickly, especially in summer. Prices are high in peak season, and significantly reduced over the winter period. Most accommodation options are apartments or rooms in the cute old houses, with only a few larger hotels. To get the best deals, book as far in advance as you can.

La Spezia is a larger town on the coast close to the Cinque Terre with a quick train connection to all the villages mentioned below. It can be a convenient place to base yourself for hiking in the Cinque Terre as there are many relatively good-value accommodation options.

Camogli, Portofino & Santa Margherita

If you want to go hiking on Portofino Peninsula, the best places to stay are Camogli, Portofino or Santa Margherita.

Camogli
Portofino

Camogli is a lovely village with a great beach, fantastic views from the cliffs above, and a good selection of hotels. Being one of the first cute towns near Genoa, it tends to get busy on the weekends and places to stay fill up quickly. It’s easily accessible by train. Find hotels in Camogli*.

Portofino is a charming little village with cute colourful houses and a beautiful harbour. Hotels in the town tend to be expensive and if you don’t have a car you must take a bus from nearby Santa Margherita. Find hotels in Portofino*.

Santa Margherita is a larger town and therefore has many more, and often cheaper, accommodation options. It’s easily accessible by train. Find hotels in Santa Margherita*.

Deiva Marina & Levanto

Deiva Marina coastline to the north of the cinque terre on a hike
Coastline near Deiva Marina
Hiking from Deiva Marina to Levanto on the edge of the CInque Terre
Levanto

If you are hiking the strenuous or moderate itinerary, you’ll start in either Deiva Marina or Levanto, just north of the Cinque Terre. These places are cheaper and don’t book up so quickly as those in the five villages of the official Cinque Terre, but the coastline is still beautiful and the villages lovely. Both Deiva Marina and Levanto have nice beaches.

Deiva Marina is also one of the few places with camping near the Cinque Terre, and there are many options (Camping degli Ulivi, Camping Valdeiva, Camping Fornaci, Camping La Sfinge, Camping Arenella). However, bear in mind that most of these campsites are only open from Apr-Oct inclusive. Alternatively, there are several hotels in Deiva Marina*.

Levanto is a nice town with a good beach just to the north of the Cinque Terre. There’s a train station and several large car parks. There are a wide variety of hotels and holiday apartments in the town. Find hotels in Levanto*.

Monterosso

Monterosso, the most northerly of the Cinque Terre villages
Monterosso
Monterosso, the start of the hike along the Cinque Terre
A Tower in Monterosso

Monterosso is the most northerly and largest of the villages in the Cinque Terre. It’s separated into two parts – the old town and the new town. These two parts are linked by a short tunnel, or you can walk over the little hill between them for great views of the ocean and coastline. There are large beaches in both parts of town, the only real beaches in the entire Cinque Terre.

There are several large car parks here as well as a train station, so it can make a convenient base for leaving your car and exploring the rest of the Cinque Terre. Due to its large size, Monterosso has the widest choice of accommodation in the Cinque Terre.

Vernazza

Cute Vernazza Town, Tuscany, Italy

Vernazza is a very cute town, and one of the hardest places in the Cinque Terre to find accommodation. There are quite a few options, but most of them only have a couple of rooms so they sell out quickly. The centre of the village is a cute piazza by the harbour with several restaurants and a beautiful old church. There’s no beach, but you can jump off the pier to cool off.

Corniglia

Corniglia on top of the cliffs, as seen while walking along the Cinque Terre
Corniglia on top of the cliffs
The centre of Corniglia
The centre of Corniglia

Unlike the other Cinque Terre Villages, Corniglia is perched on top of the cliffs about 50 metres above the coastline. This means it’s a long walk up/down to both the train station and the ferry port. It’s also quite an effort to walk back up from the rocky cove where people go swimming, though this is a lovely place to cool off. However, an advantage is that being high up means many of the restaurants and hotels have great views over the coastline.

Manarola

Manarola is a picture-perfect town that can be very busy. It’s surrounded on all sides by steep terraced hillsides, many covered with grapevines, so make sure to try some local wine in town! The harbour area is the centre of the village, and the rocks by the water can get very crowded with people sunbathing. The Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Way) leads between Manarola and Riomaggiore on a flat 1 km trail by the coastline, but it’s currently closed until June 2024.

Riomaggiore

Cute Riomaggiore village harbour
Riomaggiore Harbour
Walking into Riomaggiore, a village in the Cinque Terre
Walking into Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore is the most southerly town of the Cinque Terre and not quite as crowded as the others. This gives the village a fairly relaxed atmosphere, and there’s a pleasant main cobbled street to stroll up and down. There’s also a little beach just around the corner from the main harbour area where you can easily sunbathe and/or go swimming.

Portovenere

Portovenere village, just outside the Cinque Terre

Portovenere could easily be the secret sixth town of the Cinque Terre, though it lies just outside the park. There’s a large castle and a lovely promontory at one end of town with an old church and beautiful views. It’s also just opposite Palmaria Island, where there are plenty of beaches and hiking opportunities. You can also take boat rides around the island.


Guidebooks to explore more of Liguria & Cinque Terre


If you enjoyed our Hiking in the Cinque Terre Guide, check out our Apuan Alps Hiking Guide. See our 1-week Cinque Terre & Apuan Alps Itinerary, or our guide to Hiking in Italy.

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