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!

August 2020 events in the Cinque Terre

In a year that has been anything but ordinary, the Cinque Terre villages are seeking to return to some semblance of normal (albeit very, very tentatively).

Expect to find low-key entertainment events with social distancing measures in effect this August. While everything listed takes place outdoors, be sure to bring a face mask (and please wear it when necessary). Italy’s Covid-19 situation is currently under control with its R0 less than 1 — we’d like to keep it that way.

I will continue to update this post as events are announced and details are released.

Stay tuned!

xo

Monterosso’s Corone Point
(reservations required)
Monterosso
Monterosso (reservation required)
Manarola (reservation required)
Monterosso
Monterosso (reservation required)
Monterosso
Riomaggiore
Events taking place in Manarola
Events at Monterosso’s Soviore Sanctuary

Experience Monterosso’s live nativity scene on December 7th

The nativity scene is a quintessential holiday tradition in Italy (the Christmas tree, although now just as popular, is considered imported). Most of us are familiar with static versions of the nativity scene but if you are lucky enough to happen upon a dynamic, live version the experience is magical.

Monterosso will host its very own live nativity scene on Saturday, December 7th, from 12 noon to 7pm. Visitors will wind their way through the historical center on medieval lanes where they can witness vignettes portrayed by locals and sample traditional cuisine. If you are in the area that day you won’t want to miss it!

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 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!

    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).

    Get off the beaten track (and on an e-bike) in the Cinque Terre

    Nestled high on the hill above Manarola (but still within the Cinque Terre National Park) lies a tiny secondary village called Volastra. I adore this peaceful village and have oftentimes said I can imagine myself living here. If you visit it, you’ll see why.

    Volastra is home to a twenty-year-old budding entrepreneur with a burning desire to unite two of the things that he loves most: cycling and a passion for his homeland. Luca Capellini’s new business, Italy Bike Resort, offers visitors the chance to get off the beaten track and high above the crowds on brand new, state-of-the-art e-bikes.

    Luca offers a total of seven mountain bikes with pedal assist, making even the most daunting inclines in the Cinque Terre doable. If you’re feeling adventurous you can head out on a bike on your own while those wanting a bit of coaching and local insight can hire Luca as their guide.

    Luca has created itineraries for all levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and if you choose to head out on your own he’s full of tips and advice. The e-bike’s battery lasts for circa 70km (although that figure varies based on the level of “assist” you require), so you should be worry-free for the day.

    Photo credit: Roberto Andreoli

    All you need to know

    Rates:

    €15 per bike for one hour

    €25 per bike for two hours

    €35 per bike for a half day (either from 9am to 1pm or from 2pm to 6pm)

    €65 per bike for the entire day (9am to 6pm)

    €110 per bike for a two-day rental (pick up at 9am on day 1 and return by 6pm on day 2)

    Included with each rental is a helmet, tire repair kit, and lock (so you can stop and sightsee along the way).

    Heads up: Luca has a grace period of 30 minutes for the return time (so you can be on “Italian time”) but if you are more than 30 minutes late on your return you will be charged for an extra hour.

    If you’d like Luca as your guide (totally worth it, in my opinion) his rates are very reasonable (just keep in mind that the bike rental is not included in this rate):

    Solo cyclist: €40 flat rate

    Two or more cyclists: €20 per person

    Fine print details:

    • If you plan to rent a bike and head out on your own, you must be at least 18 years of age.
    • If you are a minor, you must be at least 12 years of age and accompanied by an adult.
    • When you rent a bike, you will be required to leave a document (driver’s license, passport or similar), sign a waiver + a credit card will be needed for a security deposit (a hold will be placed on your credit card and will be removed once the bike has been safely returned without damage).
    • Riders will be held responsible for any damages to the bike.
    • Luca provides repair kits for all riders (in case you end up with a flat tire). If you take the bike out on your own and require Luca’s intervention to fix a flat, a supplemental fee will apply.

    How to get to Volastra + how to find the rental point

    Volastra is a secondary village and because of its location high on a hilltop it is not connected to the Cinque Terre railway line. That means you have three alternatives to reach the village:

    • HIKE: You can hike from Manarola to Volastra, via the Sentiero Panoramico and trail 506. It’s an entirely uphill climb, so expect to break a sweat (it will take you right around a half hour to get there).
    • BUS: The ATC national park buses to Volastra leave periodically throughout the day. Tickets for the bus can be purchased from the TI office at the Manarola train station or onboard from the driver (at a slightly higher rate). Here’s the schedule which is valid until November 3rd, 2019:
    FERIALE = Monday through Saturday FESTIVO = Sundays and holidays
    • TAXI: If you don’t feel like hoofing it or being tied to the bus schedule, you can hire a local taxi or NCC. Expect to pay €30 from either Riomaggiore or Manarola (for up to four people, inquire for rates if you are more people). Here are the numbers for the local company called 5Terre Transfer (which is based in Riomaggiore): +39 340 356 5268 (Marzio) / +39 339 130 1183 (Luciana)

    Once you are in Volastra, make your way to Tiabuscion restaurant (which I highly recommend, by the way!) on the main street.

    Just past the restaurant, you’ll see a red mailbox mounted on the fence with signs indicating the directions for Manarola and Corniglia. Head in the direction indicated for Corniglia.

    Continue walking up this little lane just a minute or two further and you will see a sign for Italy Bike Resort on your left at number 405 Via Montello.

    You’ve arrived!

    If Luca isn’t out front with the bikes, ring the buzzer at the front gate.

    As there are a limited number of bikes available (and seeing that it takes a bit of effort to get to Volastra) I definitely recommend booking with Luca in advance:

    italybikeresort@libero.it

    Luca: +39 333 412 0939

    Michela (Luca’s mom): +39 333 456 2899

    In some instances, Luca can meet clients in Manarola with the e-bikes. If this possibility interests you, be sure to ask for more details.

    One last word…

    There are several e-bike rental points in nearby cities (Levanto to the north and La Spezia to the south) but Luca’s rental point is the very first within the Cinque Terre National Park. What does this mean for you? Aside from supporting local (which is something I stand behind wholeheartedly), you’ll also take away the travel time to get your bike to where you actually want to be: the Cinque Terre.

    Buon divertimento!

    P.S. Be sure to let Luca know that you found out about Italy Bike Resort here on the blog!

    Riomaggiore’s castle debuts as a relaxation & wellness hub

    Riomaggiore’s castle is a pretty special place. Not only does it offer commanding views over the village but it is also rich in history. In fact, the castle was already considered a relic in documents dating to the 1500s; historians believe the castle was constructed in the mid-1200s by the Della Turca family and that it’s primary function was to protect villagers from raids by sea. Now the castle serves a different purpose as a venue for special events (did I mention this is where I got married?) and the village’s ProLoco Association has a permanent exhibit on display detailing the agricultural history of the Cinque Terre.

    As pirates are a non-issue these days, Riomaggiore’s castle now offers a different kind of refuge for both villagers and visitors alike: a wellness hub with holistic massages, Reiki sessions, yoga classes and wine tastings. Sound divine? It is.

    One of the (many) views from Riomaggiore’s castle

    I’m a big fan of local, grassroots initiatives and when I caught word of this relaunch I knew I wanted to write about it on Cinque Terre Insider. I messaged Paola Andreoli (a local who also happens to be an acclaimed Jikiden Reiki practitioner) for more details. She insisted that I try a massage and Reiki session so as to accurately portray the experiences offered. Let’s just say she didn’t have to twist my arm to accept!

    Certified massage therapist Chiara Pusceddu and Reiki practitioner Paola Andreoli (both are Riomaggiore locals)

    I started my morning with a holistic, anti-stress massage by Chiara Pusceddu, a certified massage therapist. FYI: Both the massage and Reiki sessions take place in the privacy of one of the castle’s turrets.

    If you’re the modest type, have no fear: Chiara is very professional and strategically uses a towel to only uncover the zone she is actively working on (I thought I’d mention this because we’ve all had one of those massages where all modesty is thrown to the wind!). Everything about the experience was calming, from the flickering candles and essential oils to the choice of background music. Chiara’s touch was gentle yet effective and I felt like butter afterwards!

    After my massage was complete, Paola Andreoli entered for my Jikiden Reiki session. I had only experienced Reiki once before (many, many moons ago) and I had forgotten how tranquil and soothing the sessions are! If you are unfamiliar with this Japanese hands-on healing, read up on it here. One of my favorite parts was sharing a cup of tea and a little chat with Paola after my session. It was then that she revealed what she had sensed about my personality and my current state of being. It was all very calming and zen-like (with a good dose of self-reflection).

    For all the yogis out there, Ashtanga yoga classes led by Gabriele Musetti are offered on Wednesdays on the castle’s upper terrace (weather permitting). If you’ve never taken an Ashtanga class before you might want to read up on it beforehand (word to the wise, you will break a sweat!). The cost is €20 per person and Gabriele holds the classes in both English and Italian.

    Photo credit: Gabriele Musetti

    Riomaggiore’s ProLoco has also introduced wine tastings on the castle’s upper terrace (with gorgeous views!) on Friday evenings at 6:30pm. For €35 per person you can learn about (and obviously taste!) three local wines and if you’re lucky you might receive a surprise visit from one of the winemakers!

    Photo credit: Fabrice Van Opdenbosch

    If you’re interested in booking any of the above, here are the contact details (all numbers have WhatsApp so that’s a great way to text if you are outside of Italy):

    HOLISTIC MASSAGE

    Chiara Pusceddu

    +39 349 891 2457

    Cost: €80 for a one-hour session

    JIKIDEN REIKI

    Paola Andreoli

    +39 375 526 7323

    Cost: €45 for a one-hour session

    ASHTANGA YOGA

    Gabriele Musetti

    +39 349 323 6896 or gabrimusetti@gmail.com

    Cost: €20 per person for a one-hour class

    WINE TASTING

    Paola Andreoli

    +39 375 526 7323

    Cost: €35 per person, lasts circa 1 1/2 hours

    Enjoy!