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Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

Yellowknife, Canada
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Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

It’s been awhile since our CT trip in September last year, but I thought I’d share the details in hope it helps others plan their stay here.

Myself and hubby travelled here in late September 2015 for a relaxing hiking break. We stayed in Vernazza for 3 days/ 4 nights (La Rosa dei Venti B&B) and it turned out to be a good base for exploring Cinque Terre and nearby areas. We travelled to CT by train from Milan and, after reading the posts, decided to bring backpacks/ duffel bags that you can carry on your back instead of the usual suitcases and it was indeed more convenient with all the stairs and trains. We explored CT on foot (hiking) and used the train only (no car rental). On the way back to Milan we stopped for 1 night (2 days) in Genoa which turned out to be absolutely stunning and left quite an impression - highly recommended for those interested in architecture.

I will try keep this trip report as short as possible :) I’ve also posted quite detailed reviews of all the hikes we took, so feel free to look for them if interested.

Day 1

Travel day from Milan to La Spezia and then to Vernazza. Arrived in late afternoon, checked into our B&B (La Rosa dei Venti B&B), checked out the village and had a quick dinner in one of the restaurants in the harbour (harbour places were quite crowded throughout our stay - plan accordingly).

Day 2

Great early breakfast in the cafe next to our B&B - El Pirate Cafe! We ended up eating here every morning and in the end regretted we even bothered looking for other restaurants for dinners.

Started the hike from Vernazza to Monterosso (Path SVA 2/ Path No. 592) around 9am. Very crowded, especially closer to Monterosso, but truly lovely and not too difficult hike with fab views. Took us approx. 90 minutes. When in Monterosso, we strolled a bit along tiny streets of old Town, checked out the churches, some shops and local market, went up to see the view from St. Francis Statue and even managed to soak our feet in the sea for a short while. Also had lunch in a small spot and took the promenade to start our next hike - to Levanto.

The path 590/ SVA-10 from Monterosso to San Antonio (Punta Mesco) was challenging but rewarding and took us approx. 50 minutes to get to the old hermitage. From here we took path AV5T-1 to Levanto which took probably another 2 hours to complete. Again quite challenging (just the heat and up&down hiking) and not crowded at all, the trail offers wonderful views of Levanto. When in town, we checked the old castle (just from the outside) and were lucky enough to see a local choir practice in a beautiful tiny church of St. Andrea. We stayed in Levanto for a bit, walking the streets and “getting lost” in tiny piazzas, enjoyed ice cream and cold beer and finally rented some bikes and cycled the old railway tunnels to Bonassola and Framura and then back to Levanto within an hour or so.

From here we took the train back to Vernazza.

It was a truly fun filled day, probably the best day we had during our CT trip!

Day 3

This was a challenging hiking day for us. Started early with a path SVA 2/ Path 592 from Vernazza to Corniglia (approx. 1hr hike) where we got around 10am when the village was only “waking up”. Spent some time here exploring tiny streets and terraces and looking into the churches. We then took the Corniglia to La Cigoletta path 587/ 7a which brought us to the Mountain/High Path AV5T. We followed the Telegrafo Pass path for another hour or so, but quickly got tired of the forest and decided to head down to Riomaggiore (path 501 from Sella La Croce). This was a stunning but also very very tiring downhill hike of approx. 1.5-2hrs. Also we didn’t see a single soul during this hike, so nice!

When in Riomaggiore, we checked out the crowded Via Amore, some tiny churches, the harbour and its shops and got lost couple of times when walking the tiny streets (in the upper parts of town you can indeed find spots with no tourists - worth exploring!). We also had nice late lunch in one of the harbour restaurants and ended up hiking another path - 531 - the mountain path between Riomaggiore and Manarola (through Beccara - not the coastal path).

It’s a short but super tiring 1-hour hike that offers amazing views of both villages and the coast; so rewarding!

Again, we stayed in Manarola for a while enjoying the sights and soaking up the atmosphere. From here, super tired but happy, we retired to Vernazza.

Day 4

This was our last full day in CT and we decided to see the area from the sea rather than from the hiking trails. We took the morning boat to Portovenere. If I remember correctly we did hop off the boat in Manarola where I wanted to do some more quick shopping and then continued the boat trip to Portovenere. The views of St. Peter’s Church and Doria Castle as you approach the marina/ harbour are truly something! We only had 2-3 hours in Portovenere and spent them walking around, enjoying the main sights and looking into some great shops (e.g. there’s a great olive oil shop on the main drag!). After lunch we hopped back on the boat to Vernazza. I would highly recommend taking the boat and seeing at least part of that coast from the sea - it was truly a different perspective and picture-perfect in the morning light!

We kind of hoped that we would catch another boat to do the Three Islands Tour when we reach Portovenere. I believe according to the schedule of the tour company, you should be easily able to do that; however when we reached PV, that tour was long gone, so be forewarned this could also happen to you (take an earlier boat if planning to e.g. hike Palmaria Island). Regardless of missing that tour, we had a great time in Portovenere and actually saw a lot of the 3 islands anyway from our boat, so no harm done.

We ended up spending a quiet late afternoon in Vernazza, walking around, kayaking the nearby coast and caves and finally enjoying local wine and food.

The next morning we hopped on a train to Genoa which, as mentioned earlier, was a wonderful finish to our short Italian Riviera holiday!

san francisco
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1. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

Justine 28,

Thank you for your wonderful trip report! We will be there in a month and will definitely benefit from your experience. I hope to pack in those full, tiring, but ultimately amazing and happy days!

Fontana, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

Great review..thinking about a trip there this Sept, how was the weather?

Yellowknife, Canada
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3. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

We were there in late September and it was really nice and warm and very sunny. During the day it was very much shorts and t-shirts type of weather, in the evenings I'd have a little cardigan or blazer over the shoulders.

Hope this helps!

Fontana, Wisconsin
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4. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

Yes thx

Ashburn, Virginia
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5. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

Great trip report!

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

Loved all your details thanks! Can't wait to go.

Philly
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7. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

Great report...thanks!

Loudon, Tennessee
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8. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

How did you choose your hiking paths? We want to hike on the popular touristy coastal path once or twice but I love te idea of taking some of thr lesser known paths too.

Canberra, Australia
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9. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

Thank you for that great trip report Justine28 ...it answered so many of my questions regarding the hikes.

Yellowknife, Canada
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10. Re: Trip Report - Cinque Terre - September 2015

Hi There!

My main source of information (detailed info on trailhead location, length, elevation changes and maps) was the park's website.

http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/sentieri-outdoor.php

At the time the Italian version had a lot more information than the English pages which seemed "under construction", so I just used Google Translate to understand it. Not sure if this is still the case...

Other websites I used were:

https://www.incinqueterre.com/en/trails-advice and http://www.apathtolunch.com/p/area-infolinks.html for the Portovenere ferry schedules and information. I can see they've added further info on other 5Terre areas, which may also be helpful.

When we arrived to Cinque Terre, we bought a detailed map of the area in one of the local shops; the B&B where we stayed also provided us with further maps as well as up-to-date train schedules etc. All of this proved very helpful when finalizing our plans.

Hope this helps! Happy hiking, you're in for a treat!

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