5 Best Cinque Terre Hiking Trails and Alternative Routes

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Straddling the rugged Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre is a string of picture-perfect seaside villages famed for its vibrant, technicolored abodes. Each of the five Cinque Terre towns—Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso—wows visitors with pastel-hued houses and sparkling Mediterranean views.

Fishing boat-filled harbors, luscious vineyards, precipitous cliffs, and traditional trattorias enhance the la dolce vita vibe of this spectacular coastal stretch. While many visitors hop between villages by train, the best way to explore Cinque Terre is on foot. This post outlines the top Cinque Terre hikes so you can savor this sought-after destination on your tour to Italy at a leisurely pace.

From quick walking stints to arduous all-day forays, here are the best Cinque Terre hikes.

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1. The Blue Path Trail

A Cinque Terre classic, this world-famous trail connects all five villages in one demanding yet incredibly scenic walk. The path runs from Monterosso all the way to Riomaggiore (or vice versa), bringing you the best of this coastal region in one spectacular stint. For fit, energetic hikers yearning to trek the entire area in one day, there’s no better option than the “Sentiero Azzurro.”

Starting the trail in Monterosso sees you summit the steepest sections first. Novice trekkers could begin in Riomaggiore (or Corniglia) and then return via train should the walk become too tough. No need to pack a picnic lunch; you’ll pass plenty of traditional trattorias as you hike.

  • Trail distance: 12 km one-way
  • Trail difficulty: Moderate
  • Hiking time: 6 to 8 hours
  • Trail type: Narrow footpaths with lots of stairs
  • Ticket info: Cinque Terre Hiking Card, 1 Day Adults USD 8.06, 1 Day Children USD 4.84
  • Trail status: Partly closed until July 2024
  • Start/end-point: Riomaggiore to Corniglia

2. The Riomaggiore Ring Trail

The Riomaggiore Ring Trail sees you ramble away from the coastline and summit a lofty hilltop for breathtaking Cinque Terre vistas. While you won’t trek along the water’s edge, this quick hike is worthwhile for its elevated views. On top of the hill sits the Sanctuary of Montenero, a charming 11th-century monastery with a traditional whitewashed façade.

  • Trail distance: 3.5 km
  • Trail difficulty: Easy
  • Hiking time: 60-90 minutes
  • Trail type: Stairs and formed trails
  • Ticket info: No ticket required
  • Trail status: Open
  • Start/end-point: Riomaggiore to Riomaggiore
A wooden board pointing direction to Riomaggiore via Dell' Amore with its trail in the hills in Italy.

The Riomaggiore Ring Trail is a beginner-friendly trail in Italy, perfect for leisure walking in Cinque Terre. 

3. The Via dell’Amore

Meaning ‘Lover’s Way’ in Italian, this enamouring 20-minute stroll is awash with romantic seaside views. A kaleidoscope of color pulsates from the interlocked hearts at the entrance gates while amorous statues line the rock-cut route. A cute little tunnel has been covered with love-inspired murals to complete the romantic theme.

  • Trail distance: 1 km
  • Trail difficulty: Easy
  • Hiking time: 20 minutes
  • Trail type: Flat footpath
  • Ticket info: Requires a USD 5.37 reservation per hiker
  • Trail status: Only the first 160 meters from Riomaggiore are open, with the rest planned to re-open in July 2024
  • Start/end-point: Riomaggiore to Manarola (currently Riomaggiore to Riomaggiore only)
A scenic view of hiking trail along the coastline in Via dell' Amore in Italy.
Enjoy the scenery on the beautiful hiking trail along the coastline in Via dell' Amore in Italy.

4. The Corniglia – Manarola Trail

Also known as Trail 7a, the Corniglia to Manarola route has you ascend steep steps towards the sleepy hilltop village of Volastra. The sweaty climb will be worth it for the lofty views of Corniglia and the coastline, which you can admire from numerous lookouts en route. Take a breather with a visit to the Sanctuary of Volastra, a small stone brick parish surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. Further along the path lies the tiny village of Groppo, where you can enjoy epic views of Manarola below.

This challenging trail has long tempted great swathes of energetic trekkers. But these days, it’s become even more popular as a detour for the Blue Trail’s washed-out Corniglia-to-Manarola coastal section. Even in the quieter shoulder seasons, don’t expect much solitude on the hike.

  • Trail distance: 5.8 km
  • Trail difficulty: Difficult
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Trail type: Steep stairs and paths
  • Ticket info: Not required
  • Trail status: Open
  • Start/end-point: Corniglia to Manarola (or vice versa)
A portion of Corniglia to Manarola trail with greenery all around in Italy.
Hike the famous Corniglia to Manarola trail in Italy.
The sleepy little town of Volastra, better known as “Porcina.” in Italy.
Enjoy awe inspiring view of Manarola town, Italy.

5. From Vernazza to Monterosso

As the northernmost part of the Cinque Terre Blue Trail, the Vernazza to Monterosso route is among its most challenging. Also known as SVA2 or 592-4, the two-hour course sees you ascend steep steps and meander along a gravel path with lofty coastal views.

Look for “monorails,” which local wine-makers use to transport grapes through the steep terrain. Wildlife-rich wetlands, atmospheric canals, and cascading waterfalls also line the route.

  • Trail distance: 3.7 km
  • Trail difficulty: Difficult
  • Hiking time: 2 hours
  • Trail type: Steps, gravel path
  • Ticket info: Cinque Terre Hiking Card per day: adults USD 8.06, children USD 4.84
  • Trail status: Open
  • Start/end-point: Vernazza to Monterosso
Map of Cinque Terra treks
An overview map of the most popular Cinque Terre trails, Italy

Alternative Trails to Take Around Cinque Terre

Not content with hiking the most popular routes? Check out these three spectacular alternative hikes for epic vistas without the crowds.


Spanning 11km, this gentle, easy-going trail sees you meander inland towards the Sanctuary of Soviore. The descent back to Monterosso is only somewhat steep.

  • Trail distance: 11km
  • Trail difficulty: Moderate
  • Hiking time: 4 hours
  • Trail type: Steps, paths
  • Ticket info: Not required
  • Trail status: Open
  • Start/End point: Monterosso to Monterosso


As a less-traveled alternative to the crowded Via Dell’amore Trail, this elevated path offers similar stunning coastal views plus secluded orchards, vineyards and streams. However, expect high foot traffic until the Via Dell’amore Trail reopens.

  • Trail distance: 1.4 km
  • Trail difficulty: Moderate
  • Hiking time: 1 hour
  • Trail type: Steps, paths
  • Ticket info: Not required
  • Trail status: Open
  • Start/End point: Riomaggiore to Manarola (or vice versa)


Ascending from the coastal village of Corniglia to the dense Ligurian woodlands of Cigoletta, this seldom-explored route is a great place to escape the crowds. Scenic vineyards, orchards, and olive groves make the arduous climb worthwhile.

  • Trail distance: 2.4 km
  • Trail difficulty: Challenging
  • Hiking time: 5 hours
  • Trail type: Stone steps, paths
  • Ticket info: Not required
  • Trail status: Open
  • Start/End point: Corniglia to Corniglia

Things to Know While Hiking Cinque Terre

A hiker walking near Manarola village in Cinque Terre in Italy.
Cinque Terre is at the heart of every trip to Italy and easily makes its one on the top places to visit in Italy.
  • Crowds: Cinque Terre is not an off-the-beaten-track destination. Expect shoulder-to-shoulder crowds in all its towns during the high season (June to August) and plenty of trekkers on the trails.
  • Best time to visit: For a more secluded experience, aim to hike Cinque Terre in the spring months of April and May, when you can also expect mild weather and minimal rain. The autumn months of September and October also entail a pleasant climate and thinner tourist throngs. All Cinque Terre trails remain open year-round, and fees are waived from November 6 until March 17. While winter temperatures are relatively mild, rainfall is much more common.
  • Fees: A one-day Cinque Terre Hiking Card (adults USD 8.06/children USD 5.37) is required for hiking any part of the Blue Trail. You’ll need to pay a USD 5.37 reservation fee to walk the open section of the Via Dell’amore Trail. Purchase your pass online or at any applicable trailhead. For USD 19.34, a one-day Cinque Terre Treno MS Card gives you access to all local trails and unlimited train travel on the Levanto - Cinque Terre - La Spezia line. All Cinque Terre passes offer discounts for consecutive days and concession card holders.
  • Distance: Wondering how long is the Cinque Terre hiking trail? The total Cinque Terre hike distance of the Blue Trail (which passes all Cinque Terre cities) is only 12 km one-way. However, it’s pretty steep in places, so allow six to eight hours of walking time.
  • Accommodation: A wide range of accommodations resides throughout Cinque Terre, with options for every budget and taste. Local restaurants serve sit-down meals and takeaway bites for a mid-hike picnic lunch.
  • Days required: One full day is sufficient to trek between all five villages on the Blue Trail. Aim for two or three days to experience walking in Italy’s Cinque Terre at a leisurely pace. Only hike solo if you’ve got adequate experience and preparation.

Boasting some of the dreamiest coastal scenery in Europe, Cinque Terre is a sublime place to hike. Whether tackling a full-day adventure on the iconic Blue Trail or plodding along a shorter route, this magnificent seaside region is guaranteed to delight.

Make sure to look into our Italy travel guides to know the top places to visit in Italy. If you are planning a trip to Italy and wondering what else to do here, read our guide on things to do in Italy. Or get in touch with our team of Italian travel experts for help organizing an unforgettable trip. We offer fully customizable Italy tours to Cinque Terre and beyond.

Published by Emily Brown, updated on September 13, 2023

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2 COMMENTSWe welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.
  1. T
    Tina RieglerDec 29 2018REPLY
    I will be coming from Milan by train plan to stay at the beginning of the Cinque Terre, I also plan to exit via train. Which Village do you recommend?
    1. M
      Marie Bookmundi StaffJan 07 2019
      Hi Tina, Thank you for the query and apologies for the delayed response. The holiday season has been crazy! Cinque Terre is an absolutely wonderful destination and I'm so glad to hear that you are planning to visit. All of the villages in Cinque Terre are well connected via train and regardless of where you stay, you will have easy exit to Milan. However, there are only about 10 trains leaving from Cinque Terre to Milan every day, so we recommend you to plan ahead and book the tickets accordingly. Each village in Cinque Terre has its own unique characteristics but if you are planning to stay, we really recommend Monterosso, Corniglia (if you want some quiet time and don't mind walking much), or Riomaggiore. :)
  2. M
    MargaretOct 19 2018REPLY
    How far are these trails from Rome? We are booked for a flight to Rome for 12 days and wondered if it would be realistic to include some of this hiking?
    1. M
      Marie Bookmundi StaffOct 24 2018
      Hey Margaret, Thank you for your query. Since Cinque Terre is a possible day trip from Rome — just 5 hours on bus, there is no reason why you shouldn't take on one of these trails. I suggest you decide on which trail you'd like to take on and set aside a couple of days from your Rome trip for that. It is totally worth it!