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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.