The Cinque Terre consists of five well-know fishing villages perched over the sea in the region of Liguria, Italy, and coastal area also known as the Italian Riviera. They have been incorporated into the smallest Italian National Park called Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, for which you will pay an entrance fee.
This page is mostly about the red trails, the higher trails you may have to take when trail maintenance is taking place on the normal blue trails or when you're ready for a bigger challenge and a higher viewpoint. The blue trails on the map are walked relatively easily, and the information you need will come to you when you buy your park ticket.
As the villages have little or no parking, it's best to reach the Cinque Terre by train. You'll likely change trains in La Spezia if you're coming from other destinations in Tuscany. More on La Spezia below.
The numbers on the map are trail numbers. Trail markers and maps (like the one you can purchase below) will refer to these numbers.
Notice that each town has its local church. Once you've walked the Sentiero Azzuro, you might find it interesting to walk to one or more of the shrines located above each village. (Note that N. S. on the map stands for Nostra Signora):
The wide Red Path shown in the map is known as the Cinque Terre's High Path or C.A.I. n°1 path. It begins in Portovenere and ends in Levanto, following the spine of the coastal range. There is an 800 meter elevation gain (and loss!) For a good discussion of this trail, see this page. You probably shouldn't try to do the whole walk in one day; it's 40 km long and recommended for experienced walkers. The views are superb.
For hiking times for each leg of a Cinque Terra trek, see Slow Travel's Trail Times.
Since the Cinque Terre is now a national park, you will pay a fee to walk the trails. You will do this buy buying a Cinque Terre Card. The card comes in two flavors, with and without unlimited train service, and two durations, one or two days. Special discounts are available for families and children.
Get a Cinque Terre Treno MS if you want to combine your trekking with unlimited train use. It will cost about 5 euro more than the Carta Parco card, which doesn't provide access to train service. Check out the list of services supplied by each card by using the button below.
Available For Purchase At:
You cannot buy the card in advance
David Downie, writing at Wandering Liguria, offers delicious descriptions of the Best Hikes in the Cinque Terre:
Riomaggiore to La Madonna di Montenero - "One of my favorite adventuresome trails in the Cinque Terre runs uphill at an impressive angle for 45 minutes starting at Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the Cinque Terre villages. It leads to the monastery of the Madonna di Montenero."
Madonna di Montenero to Volastra and Corniglia - "This is one of the top walks in the Cinque Terre. Above the village of Manarola the same ancient hiking trail that links Riomaggiore to La Madonna di Montenero changes directions and cuts midway across the slope to reach the villages of Volastra and Corniglia."
In fact, if you have a car, starting in Volastra is easier than starting in one of the coastal villages of the Cinque Terre. See: Volastra: Cinque Terre You Can Drive To.
Classic Cinque Terre Coast Walk - "If you have only one day to discover Liguria's Cinque Terre, for sheer hiking pleasure nothing beats the seven-mile coast trail linking all five villages.
New this year is the Cinque Terre Express Train Service.
See our Cinque Terre Climate page for historical monthly temperatures, rainfall, and current forecast for the Liguria coast and the Cinque Terre.
Here are some links to user-rated hotels and Guest Houses for Levanto and the five villages:
La Spezia Province has a number of villas and country cottages in which you can stay in and around the Cinque Terre. Click or tap the button below to find out more.
If you are planning to arrive late, you may wish to stay overnight in La Spezia and make your start to the Cinque Terre early the next morning. In summer, trains from La Spezia to the Cinque Terre tend to be very crowded, and many folks are forced to stand in the aisles. The curious may wish to read the blog post: Rick Steves, his foreskin and the Cinque Terre.
La Spezia train station has a Cinque Terre visitor center where you can get information and pick up a Cinque Terre Card, if it would be of benefit to your stay.
If you need hostel type lodging or less expensive guesthouses, try Hostelbookers La Spezia.
One of the best vantage points you can get of the Cinque Terre Villages is from the sea, and a small and colorful boat might be the way to go. Angelo's boat tours take you around in a gozzo, a traditional, wooden Ligurian fishing boat.
If you're arriving to Italy via cruise ship docking at Livorno, you can visit the Cinque Terre right from the Lovorno pier.
You can see the Cinque Terre on a private gided tour: Day Trip from Florence from Select Italy.
You can even take a sailboat from La Spezia to the Cinque Terre.
Viator offers Cinque Terre Hiking Day Trip from Florence that will save you time if you didn't plan a long vacation.
I'd try this Cinque Terre Map from Longitude Maps, a very good supplier of hard-to-find maps.