Cinque Terre National Park is one of the most famous spot in Italy and Unesco World Heritage site since 1997. Located in the north of Italy, along the amazing Liguria rocky coast, this charming and uncontaminated place offers a network of paths joining different 5 beautiful villages, built in the typical style of Liguria houses, and its hamlets. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza ( pic n.1 ) and Monterosso are a treasure of Italian heritage.
How to get there:
The easiest and usefull way is surely by train. You can also get there by boat from La Spezia ( or Portovenere, Levanto, Sestri Levante) and move throughout always by boat. I don’t suggest you to use the car because it is pretty difficult to find a car park over there (if you choose to travel by car, you can leave it in La Spezia or other cities before/ after Cinque Terre and then get there by train).
– by train: there is a train every 30 minutes and each ride among Cinque Terre railway stations costs 4 Euro (exactly between La Spezia and Levanto). If you decide to spend there just 1 day it is worth buying the “Cinque Terre Card + Treno“. The card costs 16 Euros for 1 day and 29 Euros for 2 days. It enables to you: 2° class access to regional and fast trains, access to the park area, guided visits according to the program (check the list at the “infopoint” inside the railway stations), bus service within the villages and their hamlets, free use of pay toilet, free wifi hot spot in the park. You can buy the card at each “info-point” located in Cinque Terre railway stations or other ticket offices along the railway before getting there ( La Spezia , Levanto, Sestri Levante ). You can also buy your ” Cinque terre card” here: https://card.parconazionale5terre.it/
Trains timetable: www.trenitalia.com
– by boat: there is a boat service linking the villages (excluding Corniglia because is perched on a high hill). The daily ticket costs 35 Euros (hop on – off) and you can start from La Spezia harbor (Porto Mirabello) or Portovenere village. The one way daily ticket around Cinque Terre costs 26 Euros. If you want to have just a ride the cost of the ticket depends on the route (ex: Riomaggiore – Manarola 7 Euros RT; 5 Euros single ride). The harbor of La Spezia is just 20 minutes walk from the Railways Station. You can buy your ticket at the ticket office close to the pier ( passeggiata Morin, Thaon di Revel pier ). I suggest you also a short stop in Portovenere, because it is as beautiful as 5 terre villages. I also suggest you to have at least one ride with the boat because it’s worth seeing some villages from the sea. Check this link for more information about schedules and prices: http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/en/rates/
Where to eat: throughout the villages you can find restaurants, baker’s shop, mini markets, take away and coffe bars. The average expense in a restaurant is about 15 Euros for a main dish whereas in a baker shop or take away it’s around 5 Euros. Obviously don’t miss to taste the typical flat and crisp bread of Liguria region called ”focaccia’‘ and sip a glass of the famous local ”sciacchetrà’‘ wine.
Where to sleep: there are many accommodations as Hotels, Guest Houses or ”Room for Rent”. During the summer (it’s the high season) the average price is between 60 Euros and 100 Euros for a double room (even more). It depends on where you want to stay. Check at: www.cinqueterrehotels.com (here you can find phone numbers and emails for accommodations).
Paths: A dense network of paths linking the villages and its hamlets throughout spectacular views, cliffs, coasts and crops. It is necessary to wear suitable clothes and take care along the exposed point. The most famous and popular is the “Blue Path” trail (”sentiero azzurro” in italian). It is divided in 4 parts linking all the five villages of Cinque Terre. The Blue trail is the easiest, most famous and most visited trail of all the Cinque Terre (total length is 12 km). If you want to walk through the path you have to buy the “Cinque Terre Card” (1 day 7,50 Euros) or the “Cinque Terre Card + Train”. The others paths are free of charge. Along the ”blue path” there are some check point at the beginning of each section where the rangers should check your ticket. Unfortunately, at the moment, some parts of that trail are closed.
App for ios apple devices about the paths: https://itunes.apple.com/it/app/parco-nazionale-delle-5-terre-plus/id1223460645
App for android devices about the path: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=it.pn5t.plus
Maps and information about all the paths: http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/Esentieri-outdoor.php#top
About the ” blue trail ” sections:
- Riomaggiore – Manarola: It is the shortest of the five and most know as the ”love path” but at the moment is closed and there is a gate just a few meters from the railway station (opening around 2020).
- Manarola – Corniglia: Also this part at the moment is closed because of a rockslide ( opening around 2019 ). Anyway you can walk along the coast for a stretch of path and then go back. If you want to reach Corniglia by walk, you can climb the hill (starting from the church of San Lorenzo) heading to Volastra hamlet, then from here get to Corniglia (around 1.30 minutes) It’s also interesting take the bus to Volastra (included in both Cinque Terre cards) and go downhill through the terraced vineyards to Manarola (around 30 minutes).
- Corniglia – Vernazza: The path cross the hills and forest not close to the coast. The highest part is around 100 meters above see level. The lenght is 3450 meters and it takes around 1 hours and 40 minutes. Difficulty: Low.
- Vernazza – Monterosso: The first part is along the coast where you can stare at the Vernazza view, then through the forest and again along the coast. Close to Monterosso the path is quite steep. The lenght is 3600 meters and it takes around 2 hours. Difficulty: Low / Medium.
- Map of Monterosso trails: http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/pagina.php?id=358
- Map of Vernazza trails: http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/pagina.php?id=359
- Map of Riomaggiore trails: http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/pagina.php?id=362
- Map of Manarola trails: http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/pagina.php?id=361
- Map of Corniglia trails: http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/pagina.php?id=360
Sea and water activities: Cinque Terre National Park is also a nature reserve and protected marine area. If you like diving there is the “diving center 5 terre” in Riomaggiore, the only one in the protected area. It also offers canoe rental, snorkelling and boat trips. If you like going to the beach, the best place is Monterosso, with its long beach and clear sea. For more info about diving: www.5terrediving.it
Beaches: the only village that boasts a long beach with all the services is Monterosso . The other villages have only s very small and short beach that during the high season is always super crowded.
Cinque Terre national Park website: http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/Eindex.php