Holidays in the Cinque Terre area

Food and wine, cliff top walks and swimming in the bright blue Mediterranean - holiday heaven in the Cinque Terre area

There are so many activities right on your doorstep in the Cinque Terre area, from hiking and water sports to golf. Five fishing villages make up the iconic Cinque Terre, while the area surrounding it offers more of the same beauty and allure; from walking through the Cinque Terre national park to jumping aboard a local train and visiting another picturesque village or beach. You could spend every day enjoying a different activity, but if you want to take it a bit easier and soak up some culture, there are ancient churches and buildings dotted all over the place!

Picture perfect Cinque Terre towns

You'll be pleased to hear that those classic postcard images of brightly coloured buildings lining mountainous coasts aren't photo-shopped. The Cinque Terre is in fact as stunning as it looks in the pictures. There are endless towns made up of clusters of multi-coloured buildings that stand out beautifully against the bright blue sea. Head to the Golfo dei Poeti in Portovenere, named after significant literary figures such as Lord Byron, who used to visit the area, it's a stunning strip of land which sits between the sea and the mountains.

Stunning walking trails

The Cinque Terre area is famous for its challenging walking routes - although there are still plenty of less taxing paths to tread - most with unbelievable Mediterranean sea views. Head into the Cinque Terre National Park where you'll be spoilt for choice with around 48 walking trails of varying difficulty. One of the longer routes, which is well worth the effort, stretches from Riomaggiore to Portovenere. You’ll head through pine forests, past the 15th century Sanctuary of Montenero and along a spectacular cliff-side path with views of the entire coastline. The walk ends in the village of Portovenere - ideal for a celebratory glass of wine in the harbour.

Fantastic train network

The Ligurian train network makes exploring the region a doddle. Most of our hotels are within walking distance of a local station, making it easy for you to hop on a train and explore a different town or village each day. A 19th century railway line cuts through the hillside, linking one Cinque Terre village to another. From Levanto, both the Cinque Terre and it's national park are just a short train journey away (we’re talking mere minutes!), and from Lerici, a 30-minute local bus will get you to the city of La Spezia, where you’ll find lively bars with plentiful plates of focaccia, pesto pasta and seafood.

Delicious local food & drink

The seafood on offer in the Cinque Terre area is second to none; you’ll find the juiciest mussels and the fattest anchovies, as well as the typically Ligurian stockfish, traditionally served with chard, onion, garlic and parsley. Liguria’s biggest claim to fame, however, might be pesto Genovese. That’s right - this is the land of pesto. Traditionally it’s served with trofie - a short, twisted pasta, local to the region - and goes perfectly with a glass of crisp Vermentino wine.

Why book a summer holiday in the Cinque Terre area with Inghams?

At Inghams, we do walking holidays differently. With no fixed itinerary, you have more time in your destination and the freedom to walk as much or as little as you like, discovering some of the Cinque Terre area's best walking routes and activities at your own pace.

With over 85 years of outdoor travel experience, our holiday packages to the Cinque Terre area include flights, transfers, and accommodation, so you can relax and leave the small details to us. Our experts can help you choose the best holiday for you, and our team in resort can give you the inside scoop on how to spend your time away with us.

Added value

All holidays include flights from the UK and transfers

24/7 support & tailored advice from our local resort team

Walking in and around the Cinque Terre area

On an Inghams walking holiday, you have the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. Each day, a new adventure, with as much or as little walking as you like.

Why we love walking in the Cinque Terre area

It's true that walking in the Cinque Terre area can be challenging, but you'll also find some more moderate trails as well. The towns and the national park are all situated on uphill ascents, but there are some fantastic trails for more experienced hikers in search of the best views. People flock here each year just to get a glimpse of that lapis lazuli water from high up in the hills.

With over 120 kilometres of hiking trails and well sign-posted routes, this is such a popular area to experience some really unique scenery and paths. The signposts are often colour-coded; red being challenging trails and blue signalling the easier trails. If you wanted to hike along all of the Cinque Terre, the walk would be about seven miles long, with a 610 metre height gain, which is perfectly doable if you're an experienced walker. Many people break up the walk however, and will do a different section of the Cinque Terre each day in order to soak up the culture of each Cinque Terre village along the way. 

Getting around the Cinque Terre area

The Cinque Terre area is well know for it's public transport. The trains are particularly handy for getting around. The mountainous roads can be narrow and tricky to navigate in a car, so most people travel by train, foot or bus.

Train

The Cinque Terre area has a great train network particularly connecting the Cinque Terre towns themselves. It's easy to hop from town to town using the old train line and it's one of the best ways to get into the Cinque Terre National Park, where you'll find many walking trails.

Buses

There's also a good bus network in the area which is an affordable way of getting around. If you're staying in Lerici for example, it will only take 30 minutes to head to the nearby city of La Spezia. There are lots of opportunities to check out nearby towns and cities using the bus network.

For free use of the buses or selected regional trains in the area, you can buy one of the Cinque Terre Cards. For more information on these, head to the Cards & Passes tab.

 

Our Favourite Walks

Sentiero Azzurro

The 'Blue Trail' is one of the most popular routes in the Cinque Terre and can be broken up into sections if you want a shorter walk. What we love about this route is that you get those fantastic sea views throughout. If you wanted to do the entire trail, through all the Cinque Terre villages it would take you an average of six hours with a 620 metre height gain.

Alta Via della Cinque Terre

If your looking for a really challenging route the 'High Trail' is just that. It takes serious hikers around three days to complete and stretches from Portovenere all the way to Levanto. On the walk you can reach up to 1,473 metres in height gain, so it's not a hike for the faint hearted at about 22 miles long.

Monterosso-Vernazza

This walk starts in Monterosso and is marked by white and red signs. This is a more accessible walk at about 2.5 miles long, so a lovely addition to any holiday. It's a relaxing trail to take with some steep ascents combined with flatter, wider sections. A certain points it's surrounded by some fantastic greenery typical of the region from evergreens and heather to juniper. This walk will give you some of the best views of the town of Vernazza. To walk this trail in peak season, you'll need to buy a Cinque Terre Trekking card, for more information on this head to the Cards & Passes tab.

Useful Information & Guidelines

Recommended equipment

Suitable walking shoes with good grip, appropriate clothing, sun cream, insect repellent, sun glasses, rain jacket, a warmer layer, rucksack, at least a litre of water, a re-usable water bottle and snacks. You may find walking poles useful on the more challenging routes.

Walking Maps

We recommend the Carta Escursionistica - Cinque Terre - Golfo Della Spezia - (1.25 000) map for the Cinque Terre area or the Cinque Terre - Carta Escursionistica del Parco (1:35.000) map is also handy for navigating the Cinque Terre national park. Both maps can be purchased online prior to departure.

Walking Guidelines

The coast, cliffs and natural park are a natural paradise, with lots to explore and discover. To help them stay that way, and remain enjoyable and safe places for everyone, we recommend following our little list of do's and don'ts:

  • Plan your route well and don't overestimate yourself
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Tell someone where you're planning to walk and what time you're expecting to be back
  • Take all the recommended equipment
  • Make a note of emergency numbers:
    • Italian Emergency Services: 112
  • Don't leave the marked trails without a guide
  • Let nature stay wild by not picking wild flowers (it's illegal in some places) or getting close to/making contact with wild animals
  • Always leave gates as you found them and don't climb over fences
  • Leave no trace

Check out our Responsible Walking insider guide if you want more tips for your summer walking holiday.

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Park Hotel Argento, Pool with Mountain backdrop, Cinque Terre Summer Holidays

You'll find the Park Hotel Argento in a quiet area just a few minutes walk away from the centre of Levanto, the beach and the train station. Being able to walk everywhere you need to go, gives you the freedom to experience your holiday on your own terms and easily explore all that the Cinque Terre area has to offer. There's so much to do and discover on your summer holiday by the beach!

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Hotel Palme is in the ideal location if you want to explore walking trails and towns all around the Cinque Terre area. It's just five minutes from the train station so you'll have the freedom to hop on a train to discover towns such as Vernazza and Riomaggiore.

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Hotel Byron, Sea Views

Hotel Byron's a brand new hotel in a fantastic seaside location just five minutes walk from the centre of Lerici. If you're looking for an action-packed holiday with easy access to walking trails and activities such as tennis, golf and sailing, then this is the perfect hotel for you. 

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Grand Hotel Portovenere external.jpg

Grand Hotel Portovenere's in one of our favourite locations in Liguria. It's on the doorstep of the Cinque Terre in the village of Portovenere. Regular boats from the harbour in front of the hotel make it easy to explore the coast and there's a lovely relaxed vibe throughout the whole town. 

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Double Room, Hotel Cinque Terre, Liguria Summer Holidays

Hotel Cinque Terre is a great base for you summer walking holiday. It has easy access to the beach and the water sports activities on offer and is a short walk from Monterosso's train station, which is great for exploring other Cinque Terre towns. You'll have endless fun, exploring the area, chilling by the beach and walking along the coastal views paths.

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Classic Room with Sea View, Park Hotel Cristallo, Cinque Terre

Cristallo Park Hotel is a stunning modern hotel in central Portovenere. It's in a fantastic location if you want easy beach access and panoramic sea views from your bedroom.

The Cinque Terre Trekking Card

The Cinque Terre Trekking card is very useful to buy if you want access to even more hiking trails. Most trails are free but if you want to try out two of the most famous walks in the Cinque Terre national park; Vernazza to Corniglia and Monterosso to Vernazza, you'll need this special pass.

The card also includes:

  • Free access to two paid hiking paths: from Monterosso to Vernazza and from Vernazza to Corniglia. Please note that these are the only paid paths in the area, all other paths can be accessed free of charge.

  • Free use of the bathrooms at Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso train stations.

  • Free use of the buses within the Cinque Terre National Park.

  • Discount on entry to the Civic Museums in La Spezia (Amedeo Lia, Castello San Giorgio, CAMeC, Sigillo, Palazzina delle Arti, Etnografico and Diocesano).

This card can be bought online in advance of your holiday. All you have to do is visit the Cinque Terre National Park website. Alternatively it can be bought at tourist information points in the Cinque Terre train stations. The card costs approx.€7.50 per day or €14.50 for two days. Cards must be validated before use.

Cinque Terre Treno MS card

If you want access to unlimited train travel on selected routes then you can upgrade your Cinque Terre Trekking card to a Cinque Terre Treno MS card. This card gives you all the added value of the Cinque Terre Trekking Card with the addition of unlimited second class train travel on the La Spezia - Cinque Terre - Levanto railway line (regional trains only).

The card costs approx. €18.20 per day, €33 for two days or €47 for three days. It can be purchased in the same way as the trekking card. For more details please see the Cinque Terre Trekking Card tab.

Things to do in the Cinque Terre area

Stunning walking trails

The Cinque Terre area is famous for its challenging walking trails and unbelievable sea views. Head up to the Cinque Terre National Park where you'll be spoilt for choice with over 48 walking trails. Just imagine yourself high up in the mountains looking out over the glistening water. With the reliable train service, it's easy to access most of these routes, and there are loads of opportunities for challenging yourself on some of the trickier trails such as the Riomaggiore to Portovenere route. You can see more details on hiking paths available on the Cinque Terre site.

Delicious local food

The seafood in the Cinque Terre area is second to none! You'll find the juiciest mussels and the fattest anchovies. Or, try something new like stockfish, which is a typical Ligurian fish. It comes dried but is then re-hydrated in water. It's often served with chard, onion, garlic and parsley.

Liguria's biggest foodie claim to fame has to be pesto Genovese. Yes you heard right, this is the original land of pesto! The climate is perfect for growing some of the best basil around. Traditionally, pesto is served with trofie, a short, twisted pasta, local to the region. Wash it down with a refreshing glass of Vermentino wine.

Endless activities

From boat trips to vineyard visits, there's so much to do in the Cinque Terre area. If you're staying in Monterosso you can't miss the famous beach, studded with bright green and orange umbrellas - make sure you book a sunbed in advance, they book up quickly! If you want to get away from the crowds, rent a boat for the day and admire the rocky Cinque Terre coastline from a different perspective. This is particularly special if you head out at sunset - what a stunning way to end the day.

Cinque Terre

Experience some of Italy's most iconic destinations from the rolling hills of Tuscany to Liguria's pastel painted houses and glistening blue sea on this multi-centre holiday.

Good to know

Walking trails: 120km of walking trails and easy access to the Cinque Terre National Park

Terrain: Varied terrain from mountain climbs, narrow mountain paths, dirt tracks

Best time to go: May-June and September-October. In early or late season temperatures will be cooler for walking and exploring but July and August are beautifully sunny and hot, ideal for coastal holidays

Best for: challenging walks, nature, sightseeing, activities, food & drink

Fly into: Pisa (approx. 2 hours)

Fly from: Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Luton, Bristol

Transfer time: approx. 1 hour 30 mins by private transfer

24/7 Support and advice: Over the phone from our local resort team

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