On our second day in Riomaggiore, Ty and I had plans to hike between the five seaside fishing villages of Cinque Terre. We’d heard that the area’s hiking trails were among some of the most beautiful in Europe and felt this would be one of the most rewarding ways to see the Italian coastline.
While there’s no right way or wrong way to hike the Cinque Terre, to us it made sense to start at one end and hike all the way to the other, and so Riomaggiore was our perfect starting point. After a quick breakfast of eggs, toast and coffee, we got an early start and headed for what was supposed to be an easy 30 minute stroll along the coast to Manarola.
From Riomaggiore to Manarola
Sadly though the Via dell’Amore (“Lover’s Lane”) seaside pathway from Riomaggiore to Manarola was closed for refurbishment when we visited, so instead we embarked on a nearly two hour hike along goat tracks over the hill to reach the next village. It was steep, narrow and completely exhausting, and yet utterly exhilarating at the same time. The views easily made all that effort worthwhile.
From Manarola to Corniglia
Manarola is a small, romantic village, much like Riomaggiore, so after a quick look around, we found a lovely seaside restaurant to relax in and have a bite to eat. After all that activity, we had to have the gnocchi, and it didn’t disappoint! After lunch, we decided to catch the train to Corniglia instead of hike so we could save some energy for some of the challenging trails to come. The train service links all five fishing villages of the Cinque Terre and makes it extremely easy to get around if hiking isn’t your thing!
From Corniglia to Vernazza
The trail from Corniglia to Vernazza is one of the most challenging of all the trails with lots of climbing and descending, and was about equal in difficulty to the goat track we took earlier in the day from Riomaggiore to Manarola. The 4km trail took us through lush olive groves, exotic gardens and ascends to the highest point in the Cinque Terre area. We could hardly take our eyes off the soaring coastline views long enough to watch our step!
From Vernazza to Monterosso
The Vernazza to Monterosso trail is reportedly the longest and most difficult of the Cinque Terre trails. We were completely exhausted by the time we arrived in Vernazza so opted to skip the trail and catch the train into Monterosso instead. Gelato was an absolute necessity at this point, so we got two scoops each and took a stroll through the town. Monterosso is the largest of the five villages and definitely the most populated, so there was plenty to see and do in town before heading back to the beach to watch the sunset over the Mediterranean. It was the perfect ending to an exhausting and incredibly memorable day in Italy.
And just like that, that was it for our time in Cinque Terre. Next up though is Lake Como, and I have to tell you, we saved the best for last! Stay tuned for some serious Bellagio beauty next week!
Are you into hiking? Is Cinque Terre on your travel bucket list? Thanks so much for reading! XO