8 days

The Cinque Terre Explored

The Cinque Terre Explored

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Portovenere castle

The five villages of the Cinque Terre

Portofino Peninsula walk

Cinque Terre's Lover’s Walk

Trip rating
  • For over a thousand years people have lived in this dramatic region, cultivating the steep hillsides and fishing the blue waters. Walk this magical part of Italy by day, and settle in for traditional feasts washed down with a glass or two of local wine at night.

    Why we love it

    • Wander along the beautiful La Spezia coast to Monterosso
    • Enjoy delicious meals overlooking dramatic cliffs, colourful villages and sparkling seas
    • Discover Portofino's beautiful clifftop castle
    • Enjoy a scenic walk from Riomaggiore to Portovenere
    • Be swept up in the romance and beauty of the Cinque Terre


    Day 1 - Levanto

    • Your trip will start today upon arrival in Levanto.
    • Levanto is located in the province of La Spezia in the region of Liguria and is easily accessible by train. For information on all train schedules see the Italian national rail site of Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com).
    • Whilst at your discretion, we recommend arriving/ departing by train where possible within Europe, as this method of transport has minimal carbon emissions.
    • There are no activities planned today so you may arrive at any time. Please make your own way to the hotel that is centrally located in Levanto (details are in your travel documents).
    • This evening you will meet your tour leader and fellow travelling companions at a welcome meeting (usually at 6pm, but you will be advised as to the exact time and place in a notice, located near the reception at our hotel) where your leader will give you a briefing on what lies ahead on the tour.
    • This will be followed by a group dinner together in the hotel restaurant, where you will dine on local specialties.
    • In the evening you can take a relaxed stroll through the town taking in the atmosphere of this seaside location.
    Hotel Europa or similar

    Day 2 - Levanto – Punta Mesco - Monterosso

    • Today you will embark on your first walk, which takes you along the coast from Levanto to Monterosso, the first of the five villages of the Cinque Terre.
    • The first part of the walk leads you through the old town centre of Levanto, you will then walk past the stunning cathedral and climb up to its castle.
    • From here your walk will lead you up to Punta Mesco, the most notable promontory in the region. Just short of this point, you will take a small detour to the ruins of an old 11th century hermitage and the nearby ruins of the lighthouse, from where you will enjoy marvellous views of the rugged coastline and find a nice spot to stop for a short break and a picnic lunch.
    • You will then follow a fairly steep path down into Monterosso - a colourful village with blue, red and yellow houses that cluster along the beachfront.
    • You will have time to explore this interesting little town before taking the local train back to Levanto.
    • For those who wish to, there is also an option to walk back from Monterosso to Levanto. (Approximate walking time: 3-4 hours, 10 km or 15 km when returning on foot)
    • This evening you will enjoy an evening dinner together at a local restaurant.
    Hotel Europa or similar

    Day 3 - Riomaggiore - Manarola - Corniglia - Vernazza

    • A short train ride will take you to Riomaggiore, the most southerly of five villages, where you will start the most famous of all walks in the area - the classical coastal walk which links the five villages.
    • You will begin by walking to Manarola, an attractive little village with steep multi-coloured houses overlooking a rocky port, along a beautiful, but strenuous trail through the vineyards.
    • From Manarola you will make your way up through a stunning terraced landscape to the charming village of Volastra and continue your walk along one of the most stunning trails in the area. Through terraced vineyards and the occasional bit of forest you approach Corniglia, perched on a ridge overlooking the sea.
    • Next is the little hamlet of Prevo, walking through terraced vineyards and the occasional citrus grove. You will enjoy some of the best views in the region as you approach Vernazza, dominated by its old fortress. You will follow the contours of the hillside on a narrow track that leads you up and down, before a fairly steep descent takes you into the village itself.
    • Having a drink in Vernazza, on the wonderful town square at the harbour, resplendent with its brightly painted boats, is a good way to recover from the days walking.
    • In the late afternoon you will take the train back to Levanto. (Approx walking time: 4 hours, 9 km).
    • PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent landslides in the area we will not be able to walk the full extent of the Via dell'Amore and the coastal section between Manarola and Corniglia. The alternative inland routes described above will be of a higher physical rating. If you would like to opt out it is possible to take the train instead for these sections.
    Hotel Europa or similar

    Day 4 - Riomaggiore - Portovenere - Levanto

    • Your day will start with a short train ride back to the village of Riomaggiore, the most southerly of the five villages and certainly one of the prettiest. Here at tiny Riomaggiore, you will begin a walk that leads you to Portovenere, at the very end of the peninsula. Today’s trail is the most challenging of the Ligurian walks but equally, and arguably, the most enormously rewarding!
    • You will first walk up a rather steep flight of stairs and then along a undulating track to reach the sanctuary of the Madonna di Montenero (those not keen to do this climb can catch a bus instead).
    • After stopping here for a short break at the sanctuary and enjoying the spectacular views, you will continue your walk to Campiglia.
    • Continuing uphill you will follow the contours of the coastal cliffs, passing terraced vineyards and enjoying wonderful views of the coastline, framed by crystal-clear blue waters.
    • You will then follow the ridge-top traverse that goes from one end of the Cinque Terre to the other.
    • Passing the abandoned village of Lemmen and walking through vineyards and pine forests, you will descend to the little village of Campiglia, where you can stop for lunch and some refreshments. You will then continue towards Portovenere and enjoy even more spectacular coastal views.
    • Arriving at the 16th-Century castle above the village you may be able to catch a glimpse of the distant peaks of the Apuan Alps, before descending on to a long staircase that takes us to St. Peter’s Point and then in into the heart of the village. (Approx walking time: 5-6 hours, 12-14 km)
    • After some time to relax and explore in Portovenere, you will return by boat to Levanto, a lovely way to see the coast from the water.
    Hotel Europa or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 5 - The Wild West Coast Walk - Levanto to Moneglia - Santa Margherita

    • From Levanto you will walk in a westerly direction, along the coast and through several charming little villages. You will have the opportunity to enjoy lunch in one of the villages as well as pit stops along the way for a rest or a coffee break.
    • From any of the villages along the way, there is the possibility of catching the train, in case you wish to shorten the walk and just relax on the beach in one of the villages.
    • The first part of your walk follows the beach, before you take a path leading into the foothills and then down to the charming seaside village of Bonassola, a good place for a morning coffee stop.
    • You will then stroll through the seaside hills towards the small village of Framura, a collection of ancient hamlets on a hillside, distinctive due to its red rocks.
    • From Costa, the largest hamlet, a level path contours around the hills and offers you splendid views out towards the alluring sea. You can opt to either continue your walk to the resort of Deiva Marina, or walk back down to the coast, where you can enjoy a swim, before taking the train. (Approx walking time: 6 hours or 3.5 hours to Framura, 16 km or 9 km to Framura)
    • By train you will then travel to the small town of Moneglia, where you will have time to wander around and explore, or to Sestri Levante, where you can make an optional short walk onto the headland.
    • Finally you will catch a train to Santa Margherita, your base for the next three nights, an attractive town that overlooks the Ligurian Sea.
    • You will arrive at the hotel in the late afternoon.
    Hotel Tigullio or similar

    Day 6 - Santa Margherita - San Fruttuoso - Camogli

    • Today you will take a stunning walk across the hills to some amazing viewpoints and then down to the beautiful Abbey of San Fruttuoso.
    • First, you will travel by local bus along a panoramic route to the small hamlet of Ruta. Here you’ll walk along some splendid fin-de-siècle villas towards the highest point of the Peninsula, Monte Portofino.
    • You will then have several longer and shorter options to reach the Abbey of San Fruttuoso - an 11th century 'jewel' that is set in a secluded cove and reachable only by boat or on foot.
    • All walks bring you through a verdant forested landscape, with some amazing views across the Gulf of Tigullio and the Golfo Paradiso. (Approx walking time: 4 hours, 12 km)
    • There is time to visit the abbey, one of the main monuments of Liguria, and perhaps time for a swim.
    • You will then travel by boat to Camogli, a chance to admire the beautiful coastline from the sea.
    • In Camogli you will take your time to wander around through the colourful historic centre and enjoy a relaxed drink or grab a gelato on one of its many terraces.
    • From there it’s a 5-minute train ride back to Santa Margherita. You can make your own choice for tonight’s dinner, either in the medieval centre of Santa Margherita, or perhaps an early dinner in Camogli.
    Hotel Tigullio or similar

    Day 7 - Portofino

    • Today you’ll see the best of the Portofino Peninsula! You will first take a short walk through the historical centre of Santa Margherita Ligure, where you can also do some shopping for your lunch.
    • You will then start a walk into the hills and enjoy beautiful views across the bay. By late morning you will reach Portofino, one of the most typical Ligurian seaside villages and a popular resort for jet setters.
    • You will explore this charming village and take the stunning walk to the church lighthouse, where you can look back on the inlet of Portofino, a name that means 'fine harbour'.
    • You will then head uphill and take a break in the woods, which is a great spot to enjoy whatever picnic lunch that you may have prepared.
    • You will then have some time free time to relax. Those who wish can join the leader for a walk back to Santa Margherita, others might opt to relax and return by boat or bus later in the afternoon. (Approx walking time: 3.5 hours, 10 km)
    • In the evening you will all meet again for a farewell dinner in Santa Margherita, to celebrate your wonderful exploration of the Liguria region.
    • PLEASE NOTE: following the land slide in 2013 that destroyed and ruined many paths along the Cinque Terre coastal path, depending where maintenance is taking place, some of the daily walks may vary. The tour leader will update while on the tour and will provide alternative walks.
    Hotel Tigullio or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 8 - Santa Margherita

    • Your trip will come to an end after breakfast this morning in Santa Margherita.
    • Santa Margherita is well connected by train to other cities in Italy including regular trains to Genoa, Milan, Florence and Pisa.
    • The Galileo Galilei International Airport is located 2km south of Pisa and is the main airport serving Tuscany, and Milan's Malpensa airport is a major international hub for flights to and from North America and Australasia (via Asia).
    • Those who want to extend their stay can book additional nights in Santa Margherita.
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader.
    • Walks through the five villages of the Cinque Terre including the Sentiero dell’Amore' (Lover’s Walk) and Portofino Peninsula from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino.
    • Scenic boat cruises from Portovenere to Levanto and San Fruttuoso to Camogli.
    • Three local cuisine dinners including a special fish dinner in Santa Margherita.
    • Gratuities for essential services in tour package

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Arrival and departure transfers
    • Departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Insurance
    • Other meals
    • Drinks
    • Optional additional tours or activities during free time
    • Gratuities for tour leader
    • Items of a personal nature
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    The Cinque Terre Explored

    Louise - Canada, 5 May, 2013
    Overall Rating

    I absolutely loved the tour! The hiking was excellent - and the views were stunning! Staying in Levanto, and walking through the terraced vineyards were just a couple of the highlights for me. Our guide was great at coordinating everything - and his vast knowledge about everything, was a big part of what made our tour so great. Yay Emilio!

    The Cinque Terre Explored

    Anita - Canada, 5 May, 2013
    Overall Rating

    I had a fantastic time on this tour! a perfect combination of fresh air and exercise and exploration of this region of Italy. I got so much more than I expected...I learned about geography of the region as well as history, architecture, botany, and gained amazing insights into the culture of this beautiful area of the world. I would recommend this tour to anyone with good knees and a good level of fitness!

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PECT
Group size 1 - 16
Start City: Levanto
End City: Santa Margherita
Style: Small Group

What to know

You'll need to be in good health and able to walk for a few hours, with some up-and-down, and on varied terrain, from well-defined paths to rocky trails.

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