Hiking between the Cinque Terre towns is one of the best ways to not only see the towns but also walk off you wine and pasta in between meals 🙂 We have been to Cinque Terre twice. The first time was for just a one night overstay, but we loved it so much we came back 3 years later and stayed for three nights. I could never imagine going to Cinque Terre without at least conquering one of the walks in between towns, as to fully see the picturesque Italian coastal villages you need to view the scene from afar. Here are my top things to know for hiking the trails:
The great part about these hikes is that you don’t need to commit to hiking to all 5 towns. You can easily pick and choose, walk only one if time and energy permits, and visit the other towns by train! If you plan on hiking the entire route make sure you stay for a few days, especially if you plan on spending some time in the towns also.
Check ahead of time on which trails are open. Check out this website for current trail information. Being a coastal town, there is the frequent potential for landslides after heavy storms. I have heard of trails being closed for only a few days due to minor fixes, or for years due to large landslides (one was closed in 2013 when we first came and still closed when we came back in 2016).
Expect to pay admission to get on to the main trails. The increased popularity over the years has resulted in more tourism costs. The Cinque Terre card cost about 7 euros per day. It includes access to the blue trail, wi-fi in town, and for another 8 euros you can add unlimited train rides between the towns. You can buy the Cinque Terre card here or pay at the booths at the start of all the trails.
If traveling in the summer months make sure you bring water! It can get pretty dang hot on those trails. There are sections of the trails with fairly aggressive elevation changes, but the views are worth it. My favorite go to travel water bottle are these pack-able ones from Vapur. They have held up on may trips.
Expect crowds during tourist season, always go early in the morning if you can. Less crowds and not as hot!
Bring cash and credit cards. There is a restaurant between Corniglia and Vernazza, you can stop there to refuel if you need to! One year we even came across a man serving homemade lemoncello from a stand.
Make sure you have proper shoes on, there are some sketchy parts to the trails, and if it has been raining it can get quite slippery.
Only want to do one or two hikes? I would recommend the Corniglia to Vernazza and also the Vernazza to Monterosso. These offer great views of towns as you come up on them, great cliff side ocean views, olive and wine fields, and don’t forget to look behind you as you leave each town to see if from the other side!