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!

Cinque Terre guided tours & excursions: May 2019

If you’re planning to be in the Cinque Terre this May, be sure to check out the guided tours & excursions offered by the Cinque Terre National Park.

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 boots or shoes 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)

* = If you see an asterisk, there’s the possibility to add on an optional wine tasting (for a nominal fee), which I highly recommend!

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).

Cinque Terre guided tours & excursions: August 2018

August has arrived and boy, is it hot! Be sure to have plenty of water with you and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! If you’re visiting Italy this month I recommend on checking out my post with 8 tips on how to survive a hot Italian summer.

Below you’ll find the August 2018 schedule for the Cinque Terre National Park guided tours & excursions.

If you have the Cinque Terre Card you can join these tours and excursions for free. If you’d like to buy the Cinque Terre Card in advance you’ll want to check out my post on the subject here.  If you don’t plan to purchase the Cinque Terre Card you can still participate by paying €6.50 per person.  As these tours have picked up in popularity, you’ll definitely need to book in advance (details on how to do that can be found at the bottom of this post).

The calendar is color coded:

BLUE: A historical and cultural tour of one of the Cinque Terre villages (in comparison to the hikes this is a less strenuous experience)

YELLOW: A hike

GREEN: A hike which requires the purchase of the Cinque Terre Card (as you’ll be hiking on a portion of the coastal trail which requires a pass)

PINK: An e-bike tour

PURPLE: A plogging* hike

*Plogging is a movement that started in Sweden in 2016 and has since spread worldwide.  It’s an eco-friendly activity where joggers, hikers or walkers pick up litter while they are out and about.  It gets two thumbs up from me! Those joining in on the plogging days will receive a free t-shirt and a certificate of participation.

Keep an eye out for the asterisks on the calendar:

• One asterisk (*) denotes the possibility to add on a wine tasting with a local vintner. I highly recommend this! TIP: Be sure to mention it if you’re interested when you reserve your spot.

• Two asterisks (**) indicates a tour on an e-bike.  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 is required.

• Three asterisks (***) is for the option to visit a local farm (for an additional €3 per person).

To reserve your space you’ll need to either ring (+39) 0187 743 500 or email visiteguidate@ati5terre.it

You can follow Cinque Terre Walking Park on Facebook! Chiara (one of the local guides) does a great job of posting photos, schedules and updating in case of cancellations (due to weather conditions).

Enjoy!

Amy

Cinque Terre National Park guided tours & excursions: September 2017

Aaaaaaaah! September is *finally* here. After a scorching summer I’m ready for at least a slight drop in the temperatures. If that happens, hiking will be a pleasure again!

With that in mind, here’s the September schedule for the Cinque Terre National Park guided tours & excursions:
 Keep in mind that if you’ve purchased a Cinque Terre Card then the scheduled tours and excursions are free for you! If you don’t have the Cinque Terre Card you can still participate at the price of €6.50 per person.

Many of the dates on the Cinque Terre Walking Park calendar offer the possibility to tack on a wine tasting at a local cantina (recommended!) at the end of the tour or excursion for an additional fee. The fee for the wine tasting varies (depending on which cantina will be visited and which wines will be tasted), but most are right around the €10 mark (per person). This is a great way to get to know our territory and all that it stands for while also helping to support our local winemakers.

The Cinque Terre Walking Park calendar is color coded so I’ve created a key for you. First, look at your interested date(s) on the calendar above and then take note of the color for that day.

BLUE = Walking tour. This is going to be the least strenuous of the guided options available. The tours are of the five main villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza & Monterosso (just one village per day).

YELLOW = Hiking excursion. The days highlighted in this color will get you off the beaten path (as they are secondary trails rather than the popular coastal trail).

GREEN = Hiking excursion with mandatory purchase of either the hiking pass or Cinque Terre Card. This requirement is due to the fact that the excursion will take place on the coastal trail (Sentiero Azzurro), which is the only trail within the national park that requires a pass.

PINK = E-bike tour. This option is brand new for 2017! While traditional cycling of the Cinque Terre sounds like (and is!) hard work, these new bikes have power assisted pedaling when the going gets tough. I’m seriously going to try this out myself this year! Keep in mind that there are only eight (yes, EIGHT) spaces available per E-bike tour so you’ll want to act quickly and book your spots ASAP. IMPORTANT: The minimum age for this tour is 14 years.

RED = Expert hikers, only. For Septembe, there are currently no red dates on the schedule.

Be prepared

  • For the village tours, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • For the hiking excursions, either hiking boots or trainers with decent tread are required. Trust me, you’ll want all the grip you can get!
  • For the E-bike tours, you’ll need to wear comfortable athletic shoes.
  • All of the aforementioned tours & excursions take place in good weather. In case of rain or wet conditions, the tours & excursions will be cancelled.

BOOK IN ADVANCE. Don’t expect to show up and find a spot available. Reserve your spot in advance by ringing (+39) 0187 743 500 or emailing visiteguidate@ati5terre.it

Keep up with Cinque Terre Walking Park on Facebook by liking and following their page! Chiara (one of the local guides) does a great job of posting updates, schedules, photos and more.

While you’re at it, have a look at my post on the 8 things you need to hike the Cinque Terre.

Enjoy!

Amy

The Beccara trail (#531) connecting Riomaggiore and Manarola

UPDATE July 27, 2017: As of this morning, the Beccara trail is currently closed to hikers until further notice. See more details on my blog post here.

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The Beccara trail is rugged and intense but offers spectacular views

Since the closure of the Via dell’Amore (see my previous posts about it here and here), the ancient Beccara trail (number 531) that connects the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola has been marked as an alternate route.  This rugged trail has existed for centuries, well before the Via dell’Amore was carved out of the rock in the early 1900s.  The difference being, the Beccara is an intense hike whereas the Via dell’Amore was an easy walk.  For an alternative to the Via dell’Amore similar in length and difficulty, check out my previous post about the panoramic stroll around the village of Riomaggiore.

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Looking towards Riomaggiore from the top of the ridge on the Beccara trail

I’d like to stress that the Beccara trail is a vigorous hike, not a walk, and therefore not for the faint of heart.  The villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola are very close to one another but have a steep mountain separating them.  The Beccara trail goes straight up over the top of that mountain and down the other side (so essentially all stairs up one side and all stairs down the other).  The trail climbs through the vineyards and offers panoramic views.  The estimated time required to hike this trail is 1 hour.

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Looking down towards the Via dell’Amore from the Beccara trail (note the landslide zone on the Via dell’Amore)


To find the trailhead for the Beccara trail (number 531) in Riomaggiore:

  • Make your way to the Riomaggiore train station (if you’re in the historic center, take the pedestrian tunnel to quickly connect to the train station).
  • Once you’re at the Riomaggiore train station you’ll see a bar called BAR STAZIONE on the far end of the piazza.  Just to the right of this bar you’ll see a road (wide enough for a car to drive on) going up.  The name of this street is via Signorini.

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  • Walk up via Signorini and you’ll reach a hairpin turn (where there will be a stream and some benches). Continue walking up.

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  • Not long after the large, multi-story red house on the left, you’ll see a very steep road branching off to the left.  At this point, on the stone wall you’ll see a sign indicating MANAROLA and pointing to the left.

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  • Go left and up this steep and narrow road.  Just before reaching the gate (which may be up or down, depending on the time of day) and the start of the parking area, you’ll see the trailhead markers and signs on your left.

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  • You’ve arrived to the start of the trail!  Go down the stairs here, cross the bridge and start your ascent through the vineyards.

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My recommendations


  1. Proper footwear (either athletic shoes or hiking books) are required.
  2. Pack water and snacks with you.
  3. Don’t forget the sunscreen!  A hat and sunglasses would be nice, too.
  4. It’s not recommended to hike in inclement weather (as the stone steps become slippery when wet).
  5. Be respectful of the vineyards and the locals that tend to them by not trespassing or picking the fruit.
  6. Please don’t litter.  Pack it in/pack it out.

Village spotlight: CORNIGLIA

Corniglia (pronounced core-neel-ee-uh) is the smallest of the Cinque Terre villages and arguably the most underrated (as it is oftentimes overshadowed by its larger and easier to reach neighbors).

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If you are a numbers person, Corniglia is considered the third village in the Cinque Terre (from either direction).

There are a few things that set Corniglia apart from its more popular neighbors:

  • Its location off the sea.

Unlike the other four villages, Corniglia sits on a mountaintop reigning over the sea.  When you reach the Corniglia train station you’ll find that you still have to climb 382 stairs (yes, 382, I’ve counted them myself!) to reach the village center.

The fact that it takes a bit of effort to reach the village tends to weed out visitors that can’t be bothered (which is a BIG plus in my opinion).  Little do these people know, you can actually “cheat” and take a bus up the hill to the village.

Despite that, I still prefer to take the stairs (probably because of my next point). 

  • It has my *favorite* gelateria in all of the Cinque Terre.   

 

You can get traditional homemade gelato in a plethora of flavors all throughout the Cinque Terre.  And to be honest, it’s all pretty delicious.  But in how many places can you get gelato al basilico, made with fresh basil from the owner’s garden?  Or, gelato al miele made with the honey harvested from local Corniglia bees?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  This place is unico.  What better way to treat yourself after climbing all of those stairs? 

  

  • Most consider Corniglia to be the only Cinque Terre village without access to the sea, which isn’t exactly true.  

They have this lovely little cove where you can swim off the rocks (granted you’ll have to hoof it up and down the hill but you didn’t come to the Cinque Terre to be sedentary, right?).

There’s also a famous/infamous nude beach called Guvano hidden beneath Corniglia (but you’ll need a boat to reach it).

  • Locals are so nice here.  

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While sitting at a tiny café I witnessed a foreign couple ask the barista to place a slice of savory cheese in a sweet croissant (I must be turning Italian as I winced simply at the thought!).  The barista didn’t bat an eye and accommodated their request with a smile.  I must admit, I was really impressed.

  •   It’s less commercial.  

You won’t find hotels here, just a scattering of affittacamere (room rentals).  It’s quaint and personable and you’ll feel like you’re staying amongst the locals.

  • It’s quiet when the sun goes down.

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And heck, it’s pretty quiet during the day, too.  If R&R is your scope and you like to turn in early, Corniglia could very well be your own little piece of paradise.

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My personal recommendations in Corniglia


Gelato:

Gelateria Alberto, via Fieschi (you can’t miss it!)  

A quick coffee or aperitivo:

Bar Pan e Vin, via Fieschi 123 (this place is tiny and gets cramped quickly… grab a coffee and sit on the bench outside to people watch)

Accommodations:

Affittacamere da Cristiana is family-run with love and care by friendly Cristiana and Stefano (they also run the bar listed above)

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Corte del Gallo offers a convenient location (an easy and quick walk from the Corniglia train station), beautiful views and comfortable accommodations.  Owners Roberto and Claudia are lovely, lovely people that I had the pleasure to meet when Roberto so kindly volunteered to be Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) for my son’s preschool.  Their stellar reviews just go to show what lovely hosts and people they are! Contact them directly at info@cortedelgallo.com 

It’s that time of year again! Schedules for guided hikes in the Cinque Terre

For the second year running, the Cinque Terre National Park has announced that they will offer free guided hikes for Cinque Terre Card holders (that’s the National Park’s all-inclusive pass that I talked about here).  For those without the Cinque Terre Card, a minimal fee is requested (which, to be honest, is a steal at just €2.50 per person).  Do the math to see which option works best for you and your plans for the day.  I know Chiara, the guide, personally and I’ve received great feedback from those that have hiked with her.  Plus, she gets bonus points because she speaks English and she’s a bona fide local Riomaggiorese.

Below you’ll find the schedule for the months of March and April (don’t worry, as the schedules for other months are released I’ll be sure to post them).  Disclaimer:  The flyer is not my own, so please don’t credit me with the grammatical errors and typos.  You’ll want to reserve your spot at least a day or two in advance by sending an email to the address listed or ringing the number provided.

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Keep in mind these are hikes so proper footwear, a bottle of water and decent athletic abilities are recommended.  Further into the season the park will also offer guided tours of the Cinque Terre villages themselves (which is great for those not wanting to break too much of a sweat while they’re here).