You may have heard of the Cinque Terre, or five villages, on Italian’s Ligurian coast. The villages are historic, colourful and delightful to visit, with each one having its own distinct ambience. The villages are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

We were fortunate to stay in beautiful Vernazza, in a room right on the iconic harbour – it was very special indeed.

The entire Cinque Terre is bounded by the National Park called Parco Nazionale 5 Terre . Their website has lots of information about the area and the popular walking trails between the villages. There are also high trails which snake up into the hills above, however the high trails are not for the faint hearted – or the unfit!

Several of the trails were closed during our visit, consequently, we chose to walk the trial from Vernazza to Monterosso, which happens to be the most challenging of the coastal trails. The walk is only 3.5km, but don’t let the distance fool you, it’s a little challenging and requires at least an average level of fitness.

So we set off from Piazza Marconi in Vernazza, up one set of steep stairs, then another, then another, along back lanes which almost felt like you were walking through someone’s yard, then onto the trail itself, up above the town.

Vernazza harbour, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Vernazza harbour. The walking trail to Monterosso heads up into the hills above/to the left of the church.

Vernazza steps, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Steps at the beginning of the trail in Piazza Marconi, Vernazza

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Walking the back streets of Vernazza

Vernazza, Cinque terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

A welcome resting place for walkers

There is a fee to enter the walks – depending on your age. Adults are 7.50 EU for a one day pass when we went. You can also buy multi-day passes and a pass which includes unlimited train rides between the villages.

Cinque terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

The sign saying you must buy a ticket to walk the trail, hold onto your children … and leave your high heels behind!

Just before the ticket booth, there’s a sign warning that payment is required, and reminding people that high heels are not a good idea on a hiking trail – duh! After purchasing our tickets, we headed off, high up above Vernazza, stopping every now and then to enjoy the view and snap a few pics.

Cinque terre trail, tickets, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Tickets for the Cinque Terre trail

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Looking back over Vernazza harbour from the trail

Cinque terre trail, Vernazza, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Vernazza from higher up on the trail

Cinque Terre trail, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Stone walls along the trail

The trail itself is quite narrow in most parts, and in some places, you cannot pass anyone coming the other way.  It’s sometimes quite steep and crumbly. There are sections where there is no rail and you’re quite close to the edge of the drop-off. It’s probably not the walk for you if you have a fear of heights.  As the sign above says, hold onto your children.  I would have been a nervous wreck if I’d taken young children on this walk!

View, Cinque Terre trail, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Beautiful clear blue ocean

We crossed a curved stone bridge without any rails which had quite a long drop below and a creek running beneath it. While there was no immediatet danger of falling, it would certainly be possible if you’re not careful!

Bridge, Cinque terre trail, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Bridge with no sides. Yikes!

All the other walkers were friendly – we must have passed at least 100 people coming the other way, with almost everyone responding to our buongiorno (good morning).

Monterosso, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Heading for Monterosso – it’s just beyond the vineyards

Even though the guide says the walk can be done in 1.5 hours, it took us almost two hours, as we kept stopping to give way to other walkers and just to enjoy the sheer beauty of the stunning coastline.

By the time we reached Monterosso, our legs were trembling from descending 700 steps on the way down into the town.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre trail, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Almost in Monterosso

Monterosso, Italy, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

The trail walking into Monterosso

Monterosso, Cinque terre, Besties do Italy, Seize the day project

Overlooking Monterosso beach

I would highly recommend walking at least one of the Cinque Terre trails. It’s one of those bucket list activities that you’ll be so please you’ve done.

We’re very pleased that we walked this trail. We just might have to return to the Cimque Terre so we can walk the remaining trails 🙂

Have you visited the Cinque Terre? Did you get to walk any of the trails?

 

The Besties Do Italy series details how Seize The Day Project’s Lyndall and her long time best friend Jane ventured to Italy to celebrate a significant birthday – sans husbands and children. Shhh, don’t tell anyone they’ve gone!

Read more posts in this fascinating series here:

Positano, you stole a little piece of my heart – Exploring Lake Como: The Greenway Walk – Eternal Rome: I only just met you, but I think I love you – Some Enchanted Evening in Venice – The journey to Cinque Terre: When things didn’t go according to plan – A trip to Villa San Michele, Anacapri – Cooking up an Italian storm in Roma – A visit to beautiful San Gimignano – A gourmet twilight tour of Trastevere – A memorable dinner on Lake Como – Finding the best gelato in Italy – A Day Trip to Switzerland on the Bernina Express

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