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Holidays

Self-Guided Walking on the Cinque Terre

Italy
2 reviews
Available Departures: Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov

7 days from

US$760

without flights
Walk & Trek
Self-Guided
LEISURELY LEISURELY

Discover the 5 colourful villages of the Cinque Terre on our self-guided walking holiday on the Italian Riviera

Trip Code: SGCT
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Self-Guided Walking on the Cinque Terre

Highlights
  • Stay in Corniglia in the heart of the UNESCO villages
  • Enjoy the villages from a new perspective on a boat trip to Monterosso
  • Walk on the famous Cinque Terre coastal path and swim in the clear blue waters
  • Explore Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore

At a Glance
  • Self-Guided
  • 5 days walking & sightseeing
  • Centre-based
  • Daily departures available
  • Join In Corniglia

Accommodation & Meals
  • 6 nights Apartment
Overview

Picture perfect villages, fantastic food, crystal clear seas and bustling harbours- the Cinque Terre really does have it all! Part of the Ligurian Coast the 5 UNESCO Villages of the Cinque Terre are nestled on the north western coast of Italy sandwiched between the blue waters of the Ligurian Sea and the magnificent Alps and Apennine Mountain ranges. Based in the pretty village of Corniglia the middle of the five villages; Vernazza, Monterosso, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore known as the ‘Five Earths’ which collectively make the Cinque Terre you will have the ultimate base for exploring the region. Utilising the trains and coastal path which links these colourful villages you will feel like a local in no time. You will even have opportunity to enjoy a boat journey from Portovenere to Monterosso to see the villages anew- from their most photographed angle.

This holiday is perfect for you if you love to explore on foot at your own pace. Specially designed for those who want an active holiday balanced with flexibility, relaxation time, home comforts and fantastic food. This 7 day self-guided walking holiday includes a self-catering apartment allowing you to dine out on the many delicious Ligurian delicacies, or alternatively try your hand at making them yourself in your fully equipped kitchen. The walks take you along the famous coastal paths which provide a stunning backdrop for those with a head for heights.And with walks of 3-4 hours long and average ascents of 400m on well-marked paths, this trip provides the perfect opportunity to explore the villages or take time to relax on the beach with a good book.

Why KE?

Experience this fantastic UNESCO World Heritage Site with complete flexibility. This centre-based holiday includes a self-catering apartment so that you can enjoy dining out and experience the fantastic food this region has to offer. Based in the heart of the villages allows you to choose how to explore either on foot or on train between the 5 beautiful villages.

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Itinerary

Arrive in Corniglia and check into your apartment. Depending on your arrival time you will have time to explore this beautiful coastal village and its quaint local shops. Corniglia's prominent four-storey houses characterise its bustling narrow streets. It is the middle of the five villages which collectively make the Cinque Terre National Park and is unique to its neighbours in that it is not a cliffside village, but is perched proudly on a promontory 100m above the seas, surrounded by pristine vineyards and terraces.

If you are arriving into Pisa you may wish to pay a visit to the great leaning tower on route to Corniglia. It is located just a twenty minute walk from Pisa train station.

Accommodation

Apartment

Today you will have your first experience of walking on the stunningly beautiful Cinque Terre coast. Be sure to pack your camera! Your route will take you north out of Corniglia to first discover the quaint town of Vernazza. This busy tourist town still resembles an old fishing village with its well protected harbour welcoming fishing boats throughout the day, while enthusiastic swimmers jump from the surrounding rocks to cool off in the summer months. The harbour cafes make a welcome stop for a cool drink and a spot of people watching. Your route continues on to Monterosso accompanied by the warm sea breeze and fantastic views back along the coast before descending into Monterosso. The village has the largest beach of the five villages allowing for a satisfying end to your days walk with a swim in the warm waters before taking the train Corniglia.

Accommodation

Apartment

Ascent

270 M

Descent

345 M

Time

3-4 hours walking

Distance

8 KM

Your day begins with a short train ride to Monterosso. There will be time for a morning coffee before a steep hike up to the stunning Soviore Sanctuary, the oldest sanctuary in Liguria. Your route continues to reach Mesco peak where you are rewarded with spectacular views out to the Liguarian Sea. After pausing to admire the view you begin to descend into Levanto, this popular city is awash with lovely cafes and a covered market (Monday- Saturday), selling fresh fruit and veg not to forget the catch of the day. The beach is popular not only with sun bathers but divers, surfers and hikers too who want to cool off after a good walk. There is time to explore before your train to Corniglia.

Accommodation

Apartment

Ascent

600 M

Descent

600 M

Time

4-5 hours walking

Distance

10 KM

Starting in the small quaint harbour of Lerici just south of La Spezia you will undertake a loop of the area. Your route will take you inland in to the Montemarcello-Magra Natural Park sandwiched between the Gulfo dei Poeti and the Apuan Alps. Along the way you will be accompanied by spectacular views as you wander past olive groves and farmland towards Zanego. This region is known for its highly sought after bright Carrara Marble, you may spot its use to decorate the nearby churches.

Accommodation

Apartment

Ascent

400 M

Descent

400 M

Time

3-4 hours walking

Distance

10 KM

Today you will hike up the terrace vineyards to the small village of Volastra. The wine best known from the region is the Cinque Terre D.O.C. made with the Bosco, Abraola and Vermentino grapes. You may notice the rack and pinions which are still used to harvest the grapes here. Your route brings you into Manarola where there will be time to explore or enjoy some of the deliciously fresh calamari, a popular street food amongst the villages. Your final goal for the day is the final of the five villages, Riomaggiore. This is the largest of the five villages with a steep ravine and small harbour at its focus and perhaps the most photographed.

Accommodation

Apartment

Ascent

495 M

Descent

500 M

Time

4 hours walking

Distance

8 KM

Your final walk of the week begins in the small hamlet of Marola and will take you up to the crests overlooking the Gulf dei Poeti and the Riviera de Levante making for spectacular panoramic views. Following a Roman balcony path you arrive in pretty Portovenere. Now a popular area of the coast with divers the village of Portovenere sits on the western peninsula of the Gulf dei Poeti, so named for attracting many English poets such as Lord Byron in the 1800's with its eight story houses guarding the harbour front like a citadel. There is time to explore before taking a relaxing boat journey to Monterosso providing the opportunity to appreciate these fascinating villages from a new prospective.

Accommodation

Apartment

Ascent

510 M

Descent

510 M

Time

4 hours walking

Distance

9 KM

There is time for one last stroll in the beautiful village of Corniglia before making your onward journey.

Download Trip Notes
The Route
Point Point
Airport Airport
Direction Direction
Trek

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • All accommodation as described
  • On site welcome and assistance
  • All train transfers included in the program
  • Self-guided information pack containing your map and route notes

  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to and from Corniglia
  • Additional trains outside those listed in the program
  • Cinque Terre National Park Fees
  • Boat ride from Portovenere
  • Tourist taxes
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Meals
  • Personal equipment
  • Any additional activities/excursions indicated as optional

The Five villages of the Cinque Terre are famed for their colourful Cliffside buildings and the airy coastal paths which connect them. These fantastic balcony paths are certainly a highlight for those visiting the region, however due to the paths wild coastal nature the local park authority monitor path conditions regularly and may close paths for maintenance following wet weather and/ or during exceptionally busy periods to ensure that you remain safe and enjoy your time in this magnificent region.

We provide you with a selection of alternative routes should the paths be closed during your holiday and it is always possible to opt to use the coastal train as an alternative way to experience the villages. For the most up to date information on the coastal path please visit www.parconazionale5terre.it/Esentieri-outdoor.php

Each self-guided holiday comes with comprehensive route notes and a map or pocket guidebook of the area you are exploring. The route notes contain information about the places you will visit, about the local transport you might need, along with the detailed route notes for your daily walks or cycle rides. We even include some tips for the best places to stop for lunch.

You can expect to receive your Self-Guided Pack containing your route notes, a map or guidebook and all your relevant documents no later than 3 weeks before your holiday start date. We will send your documents using signed for courier so that you can track your package and know that they are safely on their way to you. For bookings of more than 4 people we will send an additional Self-Guided Pack. If you do not need this additional pack please inform our sales team. Your pack will be sent to the lead booker so please remind them to pack it before you set off.

Should your self-guided trip be part of a longer adventure requiring you to leave home more than three weeks before your holiday start date, please do inform our sales team so that we can make alternative delivery arrangements.

Our Self-Guided Holidays are perfect for your next family holiday and are suitable for children of all ages.

Our partner hotels and accommodations are able to provide cots for young children, and some offer family rooms. We can also arrange hire of children’s bikes and tag along bikes for our self-guided cycling trips and with trips such as Lake Constance and the Danube offering routes on designated cycle paths you can rest assured in keeping your family safe.

As a parent we trust that you know your own child’s capabilities, please read the itinerary details to ensure the distances covered each day are suitable for your family. If this is a first time walking holiday for your family, a centre based trip is a fantastic option as it allows you to easily opt out of a days walking if a day of building sand castles, swimming in the pool or visiting museums is calling.

Please discuss this further with our sales team who will be happy to assist in picking the best trip for your family.

This trip starts and ends at your apartment in Corniglia. All of our self-guided holidays are sold on a land only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you. The nearest airport for this trip is Pisa Airport with many departures from regional UK airports.

The rail network in this part of Italy is extremely good and if you are flying into Pisa this this is the best way to get to your apartment. From Pisa airport you can take a regular direct bus to Pisa Centrale train station, the journey takes approx. 5-10min. The train journey from Pisa Centrale to Corniglia takes approx. 1 and half to 2 hours with one change at La Spezia Centrale. The train service is regular and tickets can be booked in advance at www.lefrecce.it

Water is drinkable from the taps on this holiday. Please fill your personal bottles for your day in the morning. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

Part of the experience of any visit to Italy is the opportunity to taste the wonderful cuisine. Liguria is known for its simple flavours especially the world famous Pesto alla Genovese! The surrounding hills are dotted with pine trees which provide the all-important pine nuts used in Ligurian dishes. The region is known for its hearty and rustic country flavours with the warm Mediterranean air creating excellent conditions for olives, grapes, corn, herbs, garlic, potatoes, onions and artichokes. Seafood in the region is a highlight with many restaurants serving the days fresh catch, not to mention the delicious cones of fresh calamari which are served as a fast food snack in the villages. Yummy!

As in the whole of Italy, pasta is a constitution and pesto is on most menus, often served with fidelini a local pasta cut, long and thin or trenette a flat, thin pasta similar to linguine. Gnocchi also plentiful and is delicious. No meal in Italy is complete without a pleasant wine to wash it down and Italian wine is excellent! Italy is also famous for its aperitifs, from chilled prosecco to Campari, Vermouth and Cinzano all served over ice. Don't forget the zesty local Limoncello produced in the region which is particularly delicious over ice cream!

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

We have specially designed this trip on a self- catering basis, allowing you the opportunity to enjoy the many welcoming cafes and restaurants in Corniglia and along your walks. You will stay in a simple apartment in the heart of Corniglia amongst the prominent four storey houses. The apartments are situated in one of these converted town houses and the owners, local wine producers from the village, look forward to welcoming you to your apartment and providing you with top tips for your stay.

Basing yourself in the middle of the five villages allows you to easily access the paths and villages and truly submerge yourself in the Ligurian way of life. The apartments are fully equipped with all you need for a weeks holiday including WIFI for sharing those all important holiday snaps with your friends and family at home.

We can offer you three styles of apartment, subject to availability, to suit your group size and requirements:

A studio apartment perfect for individuals and couples.

Studio Duplex consisting of one separate bedroom and a living/kitchen area with a sofa bed perfect for families or up to 3 adults.

For families of 4, or group of 4 adults travelling together we can arrange two studio apartments on the same floor.

Since 2001 the Cinque Terre National Park has charged walkers to use the paths in order to continue their maintenance and conservation. The pass known as the ‘Cinque Terre Card’ costs €7.50 for an adult ticket per day and can be purchased at the welcome centres of the Cinque Terre National park or alternatively you can purchase it online before you travel from https://card.parconazionale5terre.it/ 

The card states the users full name and may be asked to be seen by an inspector along with your proof of identity.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage and a daypack. Luggage with wheels is useful for this holiday. For international flights please check your baggage allowance with your airline.

Europe

Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

For the latest details on visiting countries within the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA), please check the UK Government website

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

Vaccinations

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations.

GHIC / Medical cover

UK residents should carry a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment when you're visiting an EU country or Switzerland. This is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is vital when travelling overseas.

Severe Allergies

Please inform our KE Sales and support team of any severe allergies you may have before travel. We will always do our best to help but we are unable to guarantee an allergy free environment on our KE trips. We advise that you always carry your own treatment for the allergy with you such as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' if required.  We also recommend that you discuss this with your accommodation on arrival so that they can better assist you.

The advantage of a self-guided walking holiday is that you decide the pace however getting some additional exercise before coming on an active holiday makes a lot of sense. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable your walks will be. The walks take you along the famous coastal paths which provide a stunning backdrop for those with a head for heights. You should be comfortable with walking 3 to 4 hours for consecutive days with some steep stepped ascents. We suggest that you try to fit in a number of daily walks in hilly countryside before your trip and its always a good idea to spend some time walking in the footwear you are going to use on this holiday.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • Liguria - Brandt Travel Guide
  • Last Train to Liguria - Christine Dwyer Hickey
  • 3 Day Guide to Cinque Terre - 3 Day Guides
  • Extra Virgin Amongst the Olive Groves of Liguria - Annie Hawes

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

  • Hiking boots with good grip soles
  • Functional base layer
  • T-shirts
  • Hat
  • Windproof jacket
  • Fleece / extra layer
  • Long/short hiking trousers
  • Hiking socks
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Waterproof Trousers
  • Rucksack (approx. 20 l)
  • Small first aid kit for your rucksack
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle or hydration pack
  • Camera (batteries/memory card)
  • Mobile Phone
  • Sun glasses
  • Personal wash kit
  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping to avoid the use of plastic bags
  • Walking poles
  • Ear Plugs 

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

Reviews

5 out of 5 from 1 review

Excellent

The guide booklet for the walks was excellent - obviously written by someone who knows the paths and gave very clear directions. We got "lost" once, but that was user error, not the instructions ! Beautiful walks. A real variety, with some paths being very popular, and others quite empty. Some of the paths very strenuous ! Wonderful walking.

By Charlotte | 19 October 2022

Beautiful walks, perfect location and Italian flavour ★★★★★

My first self-guided walking holiday and what a delight it was! Getting around on the trains was super easy, allowing for loads of flexibility to have a lie in one day or start early another. The route notes were easy to follow and all the trails very well way-marked. It was great to also be able to get further afield from the most popular routes on the Cinque Terre, I particularly liked the Lerici Loop and the hike from Marola to Portovenere. Staying in the little village of Corniglia was perfe ct. Some great restaurants here - highly recommend Ristorante Cecio and the Cantina da Mananan for delicious food. Oh and have plenty of the fantastic local Cinque Terre DOC wine! Yummy!
By Mei Windermere | 24 July 2019

Traveller Reviews
5 out of 5 from 2 review

Excellent

The guide booklet for the walks was excellent - obviously written by someone who knows the paths and gave very clear directions. We got "lost" once, but that was user error, not the instructions ! Beautiful walks. A real variety, with some paths being very popular, and others quite empty. Some of the paths very strenuous ! Wonderful walking.

By Charlotte | 19 October 2022

Beautiful walks, perfect location and Italian flavour
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
My first self-guided walking holiday and what a delight it was! Getting around on the trains was super easy, allowing for loads of flexibility to have a lie in one day or start early another. The route notes were easy to follow and all the trails very well way-marked. It was great to also be able to get further afield from the most popular routes on the Cinque Terre, I particularly liked the Lerici Loop and the hike from Marola to Portovenere. Staying in the little village of Corniglia was perfe ct. Some great restaurants here - highly recommend Ristorante Cecio and the Cantina da Mananan for delicious food. Oh and have plenty of the fantastic local Cinque Terre DOC wine! Yummy!
By Mei Windermere | 24 July 2019

DATES & PRICES

2024

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

More Information

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Land Only Information

Please note our 'from price' listed is based on 4 persons in two studio apartments, however we can quote for any number of travellers, including solo travellers, contact our sales team for a quote.

All of our self-guided holidays are sold on a Land Only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you. You may even wish to make this holiday part of a bigger adventure or pair it with one of our other holidays. We can arrange additional nights accommodation before or after your self-guided trip, ask our sales team to find out more about this.

Our sales team will be happy to provide you a quote for scheduled flights or alternatively you may wish to book your own flights with a low cost carrier from your nearest regional airport.

Please DO NOT book your flights before you have received your booking confirmation and your deposit has been taken.

We offer some transfers to your hotel from the nearest airports, please refer to the 'joining arrangements and transfers' for further details for this trip.

ZEN_HOLIDAY_DATES_PRICES_LAND_ONLY_USD_NOTICE

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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