Cinque Terre Walking Park: July 2021

Guided Tours & Excursions with Cinque Terre Walking Park

The Cinque Terre National Park offers free tours & excursions for those who have purchased the multi-service Cinque Terre Card (€16 per day, the card includes the hiking pass, unlimited trains between the Cinque Terre + Levanto and La Spezia, the ATC buses in the villages, and affiliated public restrooms). More info on the card can be found here.

See below for July’s schedule:

The calendar is color coded; dates in blue are walking tours, yellow dates indicate trekking (a.k.a. hiking) tours and dates in pink refer to e-bike tours.

Cin cin! Some tours offer the possibility for an optional local wine tasting (for an additional fee).

Advance reservations for tours are required and can be made either via email (visiteguidate@ati5terre.it) or by phone (+39 0187 743 500).

Buon divertimento!

Yet another weather alert for the Cinque Terre and surrounding areas

UPDATE (3:20pm, 3 November 2019):

The storm warning has been upgraded to level red (maximum alert) until midnight tonight in ZONE C for those areas with medium to large drainage basins. The levels of local rivers and waterways are rising to alarming levels which led to the maximum alert being issued for potential flooding.

⚠️The Cinque Terre villages have small drainage basins so they remain on a level orange (mid-level) alert. However, the alert has been extended to 6pm this evening (at which time it’s expected to downgrade to yellow). Regardless, it is recommended that we stay indoors and out of the weather today.


ORIGINAL POST:

A level orange weather alert has been issued for the Cinque Terre and surrounding areas starting tonight at midnight and lasting until tomorrow, November 3, at 3pm. This is the fourth weather alert in the span of a month and locals are feeling the strain of being in a constant state of hyper vigilance.

The Cinque Terre villages are located where you see the letter C

Meteorologists are expecting heavy rains, gusty winds, thunderstorms and rough seas during the alert.

Are you wondering why weather alerts and storm warnings are seemingly so frequent in our area? Check out this post.

Alerts are classified as either yellow, orange or red depending on the level of risk associated (yellow being the lowest on the scale and red the highest). As this is an orange alert, extra safety precautions within the Cinque Terre automatically go into effect. In the Comune di Riomaggiore (which encompasses the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Volastra and Groppo) businesses located within potential flood zones are required to close, vehicles must be moved to areas not prone to flooding and organized tour groups are not permitted to visit the villages (amongst a plethora of other ordinances, but these are the main ones that affect those visiting our area). During the weather alert all hiking trails in the Cinque Terre National Park are officially closed.

If you are staying in the Cinque Terre we recommend buying food and snacks to tide you over as many businesses (bars, restaurants, shops, offices, etc.) are required to close. Only a select few businesses (with secondary emergency exits or outside of the flood zones) are allowed to remain open.

Here are the businesses that are permitted to stay open during a level orange weather alert for the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola (but keep in mind that just because they can open doesn’t mean that they will open). Also, chances are that the few places open will be very busy and with potentially long lines.

Riomaggiore:

Fuori Rotta (bar/café)

Farmacia (pharmacy)

Coop 5Terre (grocery market, the one located higher up on via Colombo)

La Zorza (bar/café)

Dau Cila (restaurant)

A Pié de Mà (wine bar)*

Focacceria da Paolino (focaccia and snack bar, located in the marina)

Non Solo Pizza (street food)

Manarola:

Aristide (bar/café/restaurant)

Trattoria dal Billy (restaurant)

La Scogliera (restaurant)

Nessun Dorma (bar/café)*

*I think it’s extremely unlikely these businesses will be open during a weather alert as their seating is outdoors.

If you are staying in Corniglia, Vernazza or Monterosso speak with your host to see how you will be potentially affected by the weather alert.

At 3pm the weather alert is expected to downgrade to yellow, meaning that businesses are able to reopen.

What do I recommend? Use this time to catch up on sleep or some much-needed R&R. Delve into a new book or catch up on emails. If you decide to venture out, be prudent and prepared for heavy rains (and be ready to turn back should conditions worsen). Steer clear of low-lying areas that are prone to flooding. Don’t be alarmed, just be cautious.

P.S. You can monitor the status of the alerts on the ARPAL website (they are the government agency that issues them).

Why are storm warnings and weather alerts so frequent in the Cinque Terre?

If you follow the blog or my social media accounts, you’re probably wondering why we have so many storm warnings and weather alerts here in the Cinque Terre.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these videos are probably worth a million.

The date was October 25, 2011. In just six hours a storm dumped 54.2cm (that’s over 21 inches) of torrential rain onto our already fragile territory causing streams to overflow and (mostly abandoned) drystone terraces to collapse.

The villages of Vernazza and Monterosso were devastated by flooding and mudslides. Four locals lost their lives: three in Vernazza and one in Monterosso. The outcome could have been much, much worse.

The same storm rocked the Val di Vara (located on the opposite side of ridge from the Cinque Terre) and left seven victims in its wake. Just two weeks later, another storm with copious amounts of rain flooded Genoa, killing six people.

To put it simply, we have much at stake and much to fear when it comes to storms here. In the event of a natural disaster, city halls—and ultimately their mayors—can be held responsible in both civil and penal courts if adequate security measures were not taken in advance. For this reason, most city halls err on the side of caution and automatically enact storm warning action plans as soon as the alert is issued. Can it be annoying that schools are cancelled or businesses are forced to close? Absolutely. But I’d much rather be inconvenienced than repeat the tragedy we experienced in 2011.

Perspective changes everything.

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.

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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.

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Cinque Terre on a level orange storm warning starting tonight, October 14

From 10pm tonight until 3pm tomorrow, October 15, a level orange storm warning has been issued for the Cinque Terre and surrounding areas.

The Cinque Terre villages are located where you see the letter C

Meteorologists have forecasted heavy rains, gusty winds, thunderstorms and rough seas.

Alerts are classified as either yellow, orange or red depending on the level of risk associated (yellow being the lowest on the scale and red the highest). As this is an orange alert, extra safety precautions within the Cinque Terre automatically go into effect. In the Comune di Riomaggiore (which encompasses the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Volastra and Groppo) businesses located within potential flood zones are required to close, vehicles must be moved to areas not prone to flooding and organized tour groups are not permitted to visit the villages (amongst a plethora of other ordinances, but these are the main ones that affect those visiting our area). During the weather alert all hiking trails in the Cinque Terre National Park are officially closed.

If you are staying in the Cinque Terre we recommend buying food and snacks to tide you over as many businesses (bars, restaurants, shops, offices, etc.) are required to close. Only a select few businesses (with secondary emergency exits or outside of the flood zones) are allowed to remain open.

Here are the businesses that are permitted to stay open during a level orange weather alert for the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola (but keep in mind that just because they can open doesn’t mean that they will open). Also, chances are that the few places open will be very busy and with potentially long lines.

Riomaggiore:

Fuori Rotta (bar/café)

Farmacia (pharmacy)

Coop 5Terre (grocery market, the one located higher up on via Colombo)

La Zorza (bar/café)

Dau Cila (restaurant)

A Pié de Mà (wine bar)*

Focacceria da Paolino (snack bar in the marina)

Manarola:

Aristide (bar/café/restaurant)

Trattoria dal Billy (restaurant)

La Scogliera (restaurant)

Nessun Dorma (bar/café)*

*I think it’s extremely unlikely these businesses will be open during a weather alert as their seating is outdoors

If you are staying in Corniglia, Vernazza or Monterosso speak with your host to see how you will be potentially affected by the weather alert.

What do I recommend? Use this day to catch up on sleep or some much-needed R&R. Delve into a new book or catch up on emails. If you decide to venture out, be cautious and prepared for heavy rains (and ready to turn back should conditions worsen). Steer clear of low-lying areas that are prone to flooding. Mostly, just be prudent.

Cinque Terre ferry schedule: October 14 to 26, 2019

For those of you planning to visit the Cinque Terre this October, here’s the ferry schedule for the villages + Levanto, Portovenere & La Spezia.

Ticket prices vary depending on where you plan to catch the ferry and what you’d like to do. Below you will find the fares (although the price list doesn’t specify it, the rates are in local currency which is €). Unfortunately the price lists are currently only in Italian so be sure to check out my key (and answers to FAQs) at the bottom of this post.

2019 Ferry prices within the Cinque Terre

2019 Ferry prices to/from Levanto

2019 Ferry prices to/from Portovenere

2019 Ferry prices to/from La Spezia

KEY:

  • A: abbreviation for andata, which means “to” (in this case it also implies a one-way ticket)
  • A/R: abbreviation for andata e ritorno, a round-trip ticket
  • Giornaliero: unlimited day pass
  • Pomeridiano: unlimited afternoon pass
  • Andata con soste: a one-way, unidirectional ticket with the possibility to hop off and on the ferry (the number of stops permitted is specified)
  • o: or
  • e: and
  • Residenti: a special tariff reserved for residents
  • Bambini 6-11 anni: child fare (ages 6-11 years)
  • Adulti: adult fare (which also applies to children 12 years and older)
  • Giro isole: Ferry tour around Portovenere’s islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)
  • Giro golfo: Ferry tour of the Gulf of La Spezia (also known as the Gulf of Poets)
  • FAQs

    Q. Will the Cinque Terre ferries run after October 26th?

    A. Each year the ferries typically run up until All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 1st and 2nd) with a limited schedule. As soon as the timetable is released I will post it here on the blog. Usually the ferries will stop running on November 3rd and recommence the following spring.

    Q. What’s the rate for children 5 and under?

    A. Kids 5 years of age and younger ride for free, so long as they are accompanied by a paying adult.

    Q. Do the ferries always run?

    A. The ferries run contingent on sea and weather conditions. If the seas are rough the ferries are cancelled.

    Q. Can I buy ferry tickets online?

    A. No, ferry tickets cannot be purchased online. You can purchase tickets in person at the ticket counters (strategically located near the docking points). Heads up: Payment is oftentimes only accepted in cash so be sure to hit up an ATM first.

    Q. Is it worth it?

    A. Absolutely! Seeing the Cinque Terre by water is beautiful and offers a glimpse of our area from a different perspective. If you’re traveling solo or with just another person or two, the ferries are usually the most cost effective option. If you’re wanting to have a more personalized experience you can book either a shared or private boat tour with one of the local boat companies. In Riomaggiore I recommend Cinque Terre Boat Tour and Cinque Terre dal Mare. Let them know that Cinque Terre Insider sent you!

    Q. Are the ferries handicap-accessible?

    A. Unfortunately, they are not. If a disabled person is steady on their feet, some stops are easier to board than others (like La Spezia and Portovenere, where passengers typically board from the side of the ferry). All five of the Cinque Terre villages, however, require passengers to embark and disembark via a gangplank (which is less than ideal for those with walking or balance impairments).

    Do you have a question regarding the ferries that I didn’t answer here? Let me know about it in the comments section below!

    Enjoy the Cinque Terre by sea!

    Cinque Terre guided tours and excursions: September 2019

    September is nearly here! It’s a lovely month in the Cinque Terre and a special time to visit our area due to the grape harvest (which typically takes place in early September). See below for Cinque Terre Walking Park’s calendar of tours and excursions.

    This key will help you decipher the calendar (take note of the color of the date you’re interested in):

    YELLOW = trekking (hiking) tour, appropriate footwear is required (either hiking shoes/boots or athletic trainers with decent tread)

    GREEN = trekking tour (so the same footwear as mentioned above) along the famous coastal trail, all participants are required to have the Cinque Terre Card

    BLUE = walking tour of one of the villages (comfortable walking shoes are recommended)

    PINK = E-bike tour

    Not sure what an e-bike is?  It’s a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for “pedal assist” (which makes climbing those steep Cinque Terre hills a breeze!).  These tours require a minimum age of 14 years and they are very limited in size (max. 8 participants).  Each participant will be provided with a helmet and a bottle of water.  And of course, proper footwear and attire are required.

    If you’d like to join, here are all the important details:

    COST: €6.50 per person or FREE if you’ve purchased the Cinque Terre Card for the day (which is €16 per person and includes unlimited Cinque Terre trains and buses + the hiking pass, read more about it here).

    *If it’s a date with an asterisk in the description (which means there’s the possibility for an optional wine tasting), you’ll need to enquire about the extra cost as it varies depending on the winemaker.

    HOW TO RESERVE: Advance bookings are a must as there are a limited number of spots available. If you’d like to reserve, the easiest way is to email: visiteguidate@ati5terre.it Otherwise, you can ring +39 0187 743 500 (just don’t forget that you’ll need to call during business hours here in Italy).

    If you book one of the dates for a trek and/or wine tasting you just might be lucky enough to have local riomaggiorese Chiara Gasparini as your guide. Not only does Chiara have a deep-rooted love for her territory but she’s also passionate about its wine (she’s a certified sommelier).

    Enjoy!

    Amy

    P.S. You can “like” and follow Cinque Terre Walking Park on Facebook (Chiara posts daily pics and updates there). And you can do the same for Cinque Terre Insider! I post upcoming events and other details of interest on both Facebook and Instagram. See you there!

    Level orange weather alert in the Cinque Terre

    Starting at 6pm a level orange weather alert has been issued for the entirety of Liguria, the region in which the Cinque Terre villages are located.

    The Cinque Terre are located where you see letter C

    Meteorologists have forecasted thunderstorms and heavy rains. The alert lifts tomorrow, July 28, at 2pm.

    As this is a relatively serious alert, extra safety precautions within the Cinque Terre automatically go into effect: businesses located within potential flood zones are required to close, automobiles must be moved to areas not prone to flooding, the hiking trails are closed and organized tour groups are not permitted to visit the villages (amongst a plethora of other ordinances, but these are the main ones that affect those visiting our area).

    If you are staying in the Cinque Terre we recommend buying food and snacks to tide you over as the majority of businesses (bars, restaurants, shops, offices, etc.) are required to close. Only a select few businesses (with secondary emergency exits or outside of the flood zones) are allowed to remain open. If you are out and about during the weather alert, please be prudent.

    Cinque Terre guided tours & excursions: July 2019

    Summer and high temps have arrived to the Cinque Terre! If you’re wanting to take advantage of these guided tours and excursions be sure to bring lots of water (preferably in a reusable, eco-friendly bottle as you can top up at a fountain along the way), sunscreen and a hat.

    Here’s the schedule for July:

    As you look at the schedule, be sure to keep in mind the color coding for each date:

    YELLOW = trekking (hiking) tour, appropriate footwear is required (either hiking shoes/boots or athletic trainers with decent tread)

    GREEN = trekking tour (so the same footwear as mentioned above) along the famous coastal trail, all participants are required to have the Cinque Terre Card

    BLUE = walking tour of one of the villages (comfortable walking shoes are recommended)

    PINK = E-bike tour

    Not sure what an e-bike is?  It’s a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for “pedal assist” (which makes climbing those steep Cinque Terre hills a breeze!).  These tours require a minimum age of 14 years and they are very limited in size (max. 8 participants).  Each participant will be provided with a helmet and a bottle of water.  And of course, proper footwear and attire are required.

    If you’d like to join, here are all the important details:

    COST: €6.50 per person or FREE if you’ve purchased the Cinque Terre Card for the day (which is €16 per person and includes unlimited Cinque Terre trains and buses + the hiking pass, read more about it here).

    *If it’s a date with an asterisk in the description (which means there’s the possibility for an optional wine tasting), you’ll need to enquire about the extra cost as it varies depending on the winemaker.

    HOW TO RESERVE: Advance bookings are a must as there are a limited number of spots available. If you’d like to reserve, the easiest way is to email: visiteguidate@ati5terre.it Otherwise, you can ring +39 0187 743 500 (just don’t forget that you’ll need to call during business hours here in Italy).

    If you book one of the dates for a trek and/or wine tasting you just might be lucky enough to have local riomaggiorese Chiara Gasparini as your guide. Not only does Chiara have a deep-rooted love for her territory and she’s also passionate about its wine (she’s a certified sommelier).

    Enjoy!

    Amy

    P.S. You can “like” and follow Cinque Terre Walking Park on Facebook (Chiara posts daily pics and updates there).