Starting at 9am on our first full-day in Cinque Terre (cheen-qwe- tay-rr-ay), Drew and I grabbed our morning fuel and off we were to begin our journey hiking to all “5 Lands.” Usually the entire trip takes about 5 hours, but due to recent landslides, most of the trails were closed, leaving us to venture along the steep and winding emergency evacuation routes that only the locals really even know about.
If you take a look at the map above, you will see that you can generally take the red route by the coast, but we had to take the red route all the way to the right. Though it caused us to break quite a few sweats, we were grateful for the challenge as it blessed us with sites and heights that we otherwise would have missed out on.
The trek from village #1, Riomaggiore, to village #2, Manarola, was just about as vertical as it could get. It took us a little over an hour with very little shade, the usual trail, which we couldn’t take due to the landslides, is known as “Via de’l Amore” and is a leisurely 30-minute trail that just about anyone can do. Boy were we glad to have finished this leg of the trip in the morning!
The next section, Manarola to Corniglia, took us 2 hours, landing us just in time for lunch. We also decided to add in an extra 360 steps down from the village to the ocean so we could get in a dip or two, it was well worth it! At that point it started to get cloudy, which we were grateful for, and we began our journey from Corniglia to Vernazza.
Corniglia to Vernazza took us another 2 steep hours of incredible views, and we decided to stop for some gelato before taking on the last leg of our journey.
Vernazza to Monterossa was perhaps one of the most difficult legs, taking another 1.5 hours. We arrived to our destination at 7pm and were so taken away by how crystal clear the waters were. We took our time swimming and relaxing before taking the short train back to Riomaggiore, where we would enjoy a night of wine and fresh gnocci.
If you find yourself taking a trip to Cinque Terre make sure to check out this site to find out what trails are opened or closed, and remember you can always take the train to village hop too!
For more info on things to do in Italy, check out our post on our Favorite things about Italy :)