The Cinque Terre Trail and the other hiking trails here are a huge drawcard for many visitors who aren’t hard to spot. These visitors, unlike me, are equipped with their sturdy walking boots and walking poles, you know these folk are serious about the trail. I certainly felt a little under prepared to take on the hike, and I was! Needing to buy a proper pair of socks in Vernazza. Ha… amateur hour right there.
In 2011 huge storms had caused serious damage to the walking trail and villages in Cinque Terre and while most of the damage has been repaired, a landslide between Corniglia and Manarola means this part of the trail is still closed. However, there are detours up the mountain via Volastra that will allow you to walk all five villages. If you’re one of those serious hikers, then the detours are probably right up your alley, although they will probably add another 2-3 hours to your trip.
At the time of visiting, the famous Via dell’Amore, between Manarola to Riomaggiore was also closed.
Click here if you want to know a little more about five the towns, otherwise read on my friends.
What we did:
We started the walk from Monterosso after 9:00am (mostly because I really enjoy sleep) and started the trek with the wind behind and a spring in our step. Only for the first two hundred metres. Then it was time. Time. To. Climb. OH yeah. Just thinking about the burn now…
I sprang into “let’s just get through this” mode but had to shake myself out of it to actually stop and enjoy the view. I think my ego was screaming “I’m not stopping because I’m tired, I’m just looking at all the prettiness!”.
We dominated the first bit of the hike, and by dominated I mean didn’t die in the arse, and made it to Vernazza before noon! HURRAH! After promptly finding a hiking store and a chemist for bister packs, I was happy once again. After wandering around the town and watching people get splashed by the water coming over the sea wall, we sat down for a good carb filled lunch.
Onwards to Corniglia straight after lunch. Probably not the best idea, but oh well. I’m a sucker for punishment.
After our warm up from Monterosso, I felt strong and ready to take on the last leg of our hike. And it started with of course, climbing back up the hill we just walked down. Stairs are good for the glutes, right? Don’t forget to clench the butt!
More stunning views that made the walk worth it in every way. I was starting to look forward to getting to the top, not just because it meant it was time to go down, but I knew the view was going to be completely breathtaking. And not because of my lack of fitness.
BONUS! Half way to Corniglia is a sweet little cafe that you can use to go to the bathroom or grab a refreshing lemonade, made from local lemons grown on the very trails you’re walking. How awesome, huh!?
Completing the walk in Corniglia, we treated ourselves to a little afternoon delight and more spectacular views. We caught the train back to Monterosso, mostly because I was exhausted and a little bit because I didn’t want to walk any part of the trail in the dark.
What you should know:
- It is expected that the full trail will reopen in 2018;
Entry is €7.50 per person;
There are no bathrooms between Monterosso and Vernazza;
A lot of the walk is exposed, so make sure you are prepared for that;
There is a cat sanctuary just outside of Vernazza (if you’re coming from Monterosso), and they ask if you find any food feel free to feed the cats, but only in the morning.
What to bring:
- Water and small snacks i.e. muesli bar or fruit to give you a boost of energy if needed;
Sturdy walking shoes and good socks, you would be surprised how many people walk the trail in the strangest attire.. I’m talking high heels peeps!;
Sun protection – hat & sunscreen;
A light rain jacket in case the weather turns.