What you need to know before hiking in the Cinque Terre

I recently posted this on both Instagram and Facebook, but seeing its overwhelming popularity I’ve decided to publish it here on the blog, too.


Hiking in the Cinque Terre.

What could be better?  But there are definitely some things you should know first:

  • This is hiking, NOT walking. You’ll need to be in decent shape as you’ll definitely get your heart pumping with the steep stairs and inclines.
Photo: Nicole O’Neil
  • You’ll need to be sure-footed. The terrain is uneven and the trails are a combination of stairs (LOTS of them), packed dirt, stones and pebbles.  And oftentimes there won’t be a handrail (heads up for those of you with a fear of heights). img_8707
  • Wear proper footwear.  At the very least, you’ll need athletic trainers (but with decent tread as you’ll need the grip).  Don’t even think about hiking in slick-bottomed shoes, sandals or flip-flops.  Just don’t.  If you do, be warned that you can be ticketed and fined (rightfully so, trail rescues are costly and ultimately Italian taxpayers foot the bill—no pun intended).
  • Don’t hike in the rain.  Trails become slippery and dangerous when wet.  And did you read where I said that oftentimes there are no handrails?  Don’t risk it.  Plus, the trails are officially closed during poor weather conditions.
  • Get off the beaten path (or get a very early start on the popular trails). The Cinque Terre National Park offers 120km of trails, but most people only know about the coastal trail that spans 12km.  I love hiking the lesser known trails that offer just as much beauty and a whole lot more tranquillity. 
  • The best months for hiking in the Cinque Terre are April, May, June, September and October.  July and August are usually just too hot for pleasurable hiking.  Between November and March you can get some great hiking in, but only when the weather cooperates.
Amy hiking to Monesteroli

Photo: Nicole O’Neil

If you’ve read all of the above and you still feel you’re up for it then by all means, get out hiking! You’re going to love it.


4 thoughts on “What you need to know before hiking in the Cinque Terre

  1. Hi Amy! I have so enjoyed reading your blog. A mutual friend in Rome, Toni, recommended your blog. I have never been to Cinque Terre and my family is here through Feb (we arrived in August). I’m dying to make it there before we return to the states but I have a 22 month old and a 4 year old and feel as though this may be tough for them, especially since I love to hike and don’t think this would work with their ages. I do have the option to maybe travel with either my husband or sister in Dec with no kids (unfortunately, we have not had a long weekend since we arrived, but will towards the holidays). My question is, do you think the weather is too unpredictable that time of year, and will there by hotels/restaurants open for a 1-2 night stay? There may also be the option to travel before we return home in Feb; do you think Feb is any better or worse to travel to Cinque Terre? Thank you so much! Any tips or suggestions for winter trips their either with or without kids is appreciated!


    • Ciao Rebecca!

      If you are already in Italy, I’d hold off on making a booking until last minute when the weather forecast looks good for the weekend. Then, spring to action!
      Many places (but not all!) are closed for the off-season but it’s a great time to come and see how things were before the influx of mass tourism. Hiking is fab (so long as it isn’t wet out) but will probably be too much for your little ones (unless the youngest is is a carrier and the eldest is sure-footed and with lots of stamina!).



  2. Hi, Amy
    Great website! Thanks!
    Just got off the Parc Nazionale website, and they said you could not hike the trails in “open or smooth bottomed shoes,” which makes sense. But then they specifically mentioned you needed “Vibram” soled shoes or you could be fined. Do they really require that specific brand of shoe/sole, or are they just trying to make sure you have adequate walking/hiking shoes with a grip sole?
    Any clarification would certainly help. Grazie!


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