Cinque Terre Footpaths: the situation updated

cinque terre footpaths

Let’s try to put together some information regarding the situation of the paths here in Cinque Terre.
Everyone is probably aware of the flood occurred on Oct. 25th 2011 that caused heavy damages to the towns of Vernazza and Monterosso and to the surrrounding hills.

The path’s network has also been damaged by the flood and, moreover, it suffers a long-term lack of maintenance due to management “mistakes” in the past and economic crisis today.

So what can be the tourist’s expectation? Which are the paths open and what towns can be reached by foot? What is the best location as starting point for an hiking trip in 5 Terre?

Have a look at the map of the trails as appears (today march 18th) on the official website of the 5 Terre National Park (

Talking of the next 45/60 days this will likely be the situation:

- Path number #2: the most known path, the one connecting directly the 5 villages is interrupted between Manarola and Corniglia due to a landslide and it’s interrupted in 3 points (segments 2.2, 2.3 & 2.4 on the map) between Manarola and Monterosso due to the flood and to an older landslide. The only open part is the Via dell’Amore, between Manarola and Riomaggiore (segment 2.1, marked in light blue) This is a very easy path, for everyone, no particular skills required. Fully paved and protected with rail, still needs the payment of a ticket (only until 7.30 P.M., after that the transit is free) it has a completion time of 20/30 min.
- Consider, however, that the segments 2.3 and 2.4 are scheduled to open very soon; in this way it will be possible to connect Corniglia with Vernazza and Vernazza with Monterosso respectively in ~1.45hrs and ~2hrs
- Path number #1: The high path runs a the top of the hills, it’s completely open and absolutely gorgeous. Appropriate for good hikers it needs a good trekking equipement. No ticket needed, it can be reached directly from one of its two extremes ( Levanto [preferably] or Portovenere) or from one of the “connection trails”, we’ll talk later about them..
- The sanctuaries way is the second path marked in light blue on the map, it connects Volastra (located above Manarola) with the church of Montenero (above Riomaggiore), completely flat it’s a path for everyone, but it’s a long hike: it takes ~2 hrs to Montenero and another ~1hr from the church to Riomaggiore. In fact there’re no public transportation from the sanctuary to Riomaggiore whilst one can easily reach Volastra with a bus from Manarola.

After this first description and a quick look at the map, let’s focus on Manarola, the town that currently is best positioned to reach the available hiking itineraries of the 5 Terre. Let’s see in detail what they are.

- We’ve seen that in just 30 minutes one can reach Riomaggiore from Manarola by the Via dell’Amore. From Riomaggiore one can decide to take a train to visit the other towns or proceed uphill on the path number #3 to reach the Church of Montenero in ~1.15 hrs. Than return back to Riomaggiore on the path #3A or complete the ring back to Volastra in ~2hrs than path number #6 down to Manarola in 30/40 min. Note that this itinerary made in the opposite direction needs no climb since one can take a bus from Manarola to Volastra, the rest is just flat and downhill.
- Again From Manarola, along the path number #6 a good hiker can reach the path number #1 (Monte Marvede) in ~2hrs/2.30hrs. From the path #1 there’re some options: to Portovenere in ~3.30hrs/4 hrs and back by boat (boat service starts by the end of March, check the last ferry to return back) or to Riomaggiore through path #01 in ~2.30hrs; or to Vernazza via path #8 in ~4hrs.
- Still on the path number #6 to Volastra in ~1hr. From there one of our nicest path, the #6D with wonderful panoramic sea views , will take you in Corniglia in ~1.15hrs through path #7A. The #6D has been recently cleaned by volunteers from Corniglia, Volastra and Manarola. Also in this case climb is needed since one can take a bus from Manarola to Volastra and the rest is flat+downhill. Currently, from Corniglia one must take the train to move to another village.
- Path #02, has actually been cleaned by volunteers of Manarola and Volastra and, after the positioning of new signals, should be praticable soon.
- The #02 intersects the sanctuary road (~1 hr) and reaches the path #1 (708 meters altitude) in ~2 hrs.

Manarola hosts also short walking paths around the town, for those who like a ‘light hike‘ at sunset for example.

Out of Manarola, some advices:

- A very interesting hike is from Levanto to Monterosso along the path #1 up to the ‘Mesco Observatory’ in ~1.30hrs and than downhill to the town of Monterosso along the path #10 in ~45min.
- From Monterosso one can reach the Sanctuary of Soviore in ~1.15hrs via path #9.

Final consideration:

- Despite the closure of an important element of the blue path (#2), the towns are all well connected to each other by alternative routes (except Corniglia-Vernazza tract for which you can easily use the train).
- There’re many paths, less touristic but even better than the most known and crowded ones, that allow the hikers to walk in a “ring” to return back to the starting point with different levels of difficulty; ask the local guides for all the information. These are the oldest paths running through olives and vineyards that will make you feel the essence of our territory.
- All paths, even those “high”, lesser known, offer splendid views of sea and sky, characteristic of our park.
- Within few weeks the most of the paths will be open and an hard year will finally be left behind us.


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