Walking the Cinque Terre & Portofino - Central BasedLiguriaDifficulty path:
Discovering it at a slow pace you can get to know the secrets and the most characteristic views of a walking tour through the Cinque Terre, which since 1997 have been included by Unesco as a World Heritage Site, and in the Ligurian Riviera di Levante. You will be guests every evening in Sestri Levante, the "city of the two seas" with its ancient village surrounded by two enchanting bays. From here every day you will make a different discovery: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Portofino, Camogli and Portovenere. You will reach these places on foot and with some suggestive train trips, so as to fully experience every moment of these exciting self-guided hikes in Liguria.
Accommodation in the beautiful Sestri Levante
Ligurian specialties of land and sea
Medieval villages and ancient cultivated terraces
Panoramic trails on the Tyrrhenian Sea
The Protected Marine Area of Portofino
Travel by train with the locals
Individual arrival in Sestri Levante, the starting point of your self-guided walking in the Cinque Terre and Portofino.
Here the places not to be missed during your vacation.
Dinner and overnight in Sestri Levante.
Trek from Bonassola to Monterosso al Mare
10,5km, 3,5h, +370m -370m
The first day of the self-guided walking in the Cinque Terre and Portofino will take you on foot from Bonassola to Monterosso.
By train you will reach Bonassola, a splendid seaside village, with its picturesque houses and its beautiful beach. In the first section you will follow the suggestive pedestrian and cycle track overlooking the sea that will take you to Levanto. This path, created along the former railway line of the early 1900s, abandoned with the advent of the current Ligurian railway line, crosses old tunnels and panoramic balconies overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. A simple hiking itinerary with suggestive views, which will take you to Levanto.
From here continue the path towards Monterosso. This part of the Portofino and Cinque Terre walking, immersed in the Mediterranean scrub, runs along cliffs overlooking the sea and offers beautiful panoramic points. Leaving the long beach of Levanto, along a path adorned with lemons and olive trees, you will reach the promontory of Punta Mesco and the Hermitage of S. Antonio Mesco and then, in the last stretch, go down towards the sea to Monterosso.
From here you will take the train back to Sestri Levante.
Trek from Monterosso to Corniglia via Vernazza
8,5km, 3h, +380m -380m
Immediately after breakfast you will reach Monterosso station by train. Today's stage of the self-guided walking in Cinque Terre and Portofino will start from here and will take you to Corniglia passing through Vernazza: a hiking path that will allow you to visit 3 of the renowned locations of the Cinque, five, Terre.
From Monterosso, the largest of the Cinque Terre villages, a characteristic stairway will take you among olive groves surrounded by unique views and vineyards overlooking the sea, through a track immersed in nature. You will reach Vernazza through a descent that will give you a view of the village from above, and of the Doria Castle that stands out behind it. You will walk through its small alleys until you reach the protected harbor, dominated by the clock tower where a tiny paradisiacal beach will make you want a refreshing swim.
The second part of today's Cinque Terre self-guided walking, from Vernaglia to Corniglia, continues uphill once again. You will reach the panoramic hill of Punta Palma and the small hamlet of Prevo, continuing along easier paths surrounded by cultivated fields and flowery meadows. You arrive in the heart of the ancient and characteristic medieval village of Corniglia overlooking the Ligurian Sea and then reach the panoramic terrace of Santa Maria.
The train at the end of the day will take you to Sestri Levante to enjoy a well-deserved dinner and rest.
Trek from Corniglia to Riomaggiore via Manarola
8km, 3,5h, +550m -550m
Early in the morning you will reach Corniglia by train, the only town in the Cinque Terre that has no contact with the sea as it stands on a rocky promontory surrounded by vineyards.
You will resume yesterday’s walk, leaving behind the ancient Church of San Pietro, you will follow one of the most scenic trails of the Cinque Terre, along which you can stop to taste the excellent local wines, among which the famous white "Vernaccia di Corniglia".
The itinerary will take you on foot along the path of the sanctuaries, climbing in the woods and then almost immediately enjoying spectacular views of the Ligurian coast, its hills and its ancient terraces overlooking the sea, still used today for wine cultivation. Once you reach the village of Volastra, the route of your self guided walking in the Cinque terre will follow a gentle descent that will take you to Manarola, a charming village nestled between sea and rock and immersed in the thousand colors of its characteristic houses. Here, after a lunch break and a pleasant refreshing dip in the waters of Liguria, you can decide whether to continue in the direction of Riomaggiore or spend the rest of the day at the beach.
The second part of the route to Riomaggiore is characterized by a strongly inclined, steep and rather challenging path. This itinerary retraces the ancient road connecting the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola, but it is recommended only to those who are really fit because of its very steep climbs and descents!
Trek from Riomaggiore to Portovenere
13km, 5h, +640m -640m
A short train ride will take you to the picturesque village of Riomaggiore to walk one of the most beautiful trails in the Cinque Terre. It is a path that runs along the sea, through villages, overlooks scenic cliffs and offers enchanting views.
From here the path also known as "La Via Grande" will start, an ancient road connecting the town to the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Montenero, along a route characterized by "creuze" (the typical Ligurian alleys that cross the terraces) and dotted with votive shrines dedicated to the Madonna. You will continue along a stretch of the self-guided walking in the Cinque Terre that will be at high altitude up to the village of Campiglia, then descend to the sea until you reach the enchanting Portovenere. Here, once you have crossed the Porta del Borgo, the ancient access to the ancient core of the 12th century, you will walk through narrow and steep streets. You can reach the suggestive spur that houses the Church of San Pietro, built in 1277 in typical Genoese Gothic style, and then visit the Mater Nature statue near the famous cave dedicated to Lord Byron.
The town of Portovenere does not have a train station and therefore you can choose to continue by boat or bus to La Spezia and then take the train back to Sestri Levante.
Dinner included and overnight stay.
Trek from Camogli to Portofino via San Fruttuoso
11km, 5h, +690m -690m
The last stage of the self-guided walking through the Cinque Terre and the Ligurian Riviera will take you on foot along the paths of the Camogli National Park until you reach the Marine Protected Area of Portofino.
Arriving by train in Camogli, you will walk to the Church of San Rocco, from whose square you can enjoy an enchanting view of the Golfo Paradiso and the Ligurian coast. From here you enter the National Park, following paths immersed in trees and flanked by imposing boulders. Continue along steep hairpin bends until you reach the heart of the wood and then descend to the famous Abbey of San Fruttuoso, which can be visited thanks to the contribution of the FAI, where you can admire the famous Christ of the Abyss, a bronze statue placed on the bottom of the bay. This area is also known for its many snorkeling activities, so don't forget to bring a mask!
After a short stop on the pebble beaches of San Fruttuoso you can decide whether to return by boat to Camogli or to continue your last stretch of this Cinque Terre walking to Portofino and then relax in one of the many bars in the renowned Piazza Martiri dell’Olivetta.
The return to Sestri Levante will take place by train from Camogli, or from Santa Margherita Ligure, if you choose to continue to Portofino.
Good-bye Sestri Levante!
After breakfast, end of services.
If you are passionate about scenic walks on the coast, take a look at our tours on the Amalfi coast.
Tour programme variations
Due to organizational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday.
Along the way you may find temporary deviations (for example road works) which cannot be foreseen; in this case each walker can decide autonomously how to deal with these stretches.
Our offer includes
- 6 nights with breakfast
- 3 dinners day 1, 3 and 5 (drinks not included)
- Route directions with maps
- Phone assistance 08:00-21:00
- Transfer IN and Transfer OUT
- Other meals and drinks
- Entrance fees and tips
- Public transports (about € 50,00)
- Cinque Terre Card (€ 7,50)
- Hotel tourist taxes (circa € 12,00)
- Insurance and what's not listed as Included
Departures and prices
Supplements per person
The self-guided walking holiday in the Cinque Terre and Portofino winds mainly through dirt paths and country lanes; rarely, and only when strictly necessary, on busy roads.
The morphological conformation of Liguria region provides considerable differences in level to be tackled daily, so the tour is suitable for anyone with good walking training. The length of a walking day ranges from a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 13 km, with travel times between 3,5 and 5 hours.
The itinerary is designed to offer a combination of nature and culture, while providing a good level of comfort.
We recommend to wear comfortable walking shoes, better if trekking boots, and to bring with you a hat, drinking water, sun cream, swimsuit and a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
- 6 nights in Sestri Levante → Hotel Marina or similar
All rooms are ensuite.
The accommodations we choose are always within walking distance of the main attractions, shops or restaurants. In case of limited availability we choose an alternative position with similar characteristics. Alternative details will be noted in the updated Service List.
6 breakfasts and 3 dinners included.
On site you will receive your information package.
In case of need you can call our emergency number ON from 8 to 21. Anytime, our staff will be available to make your holiday quiet and serene.
A few days before departure you will receive the Service List.
At the first hotel reception you will receive:
- updated Service List;
- detailed Route directions with maps.
BY TRAIN. It is possible to reach Sestri Levante directly by train with Trenitalia service. The arrival station is Sestri Levante: from Milan, Turin and Florence the entire journey takes about 3 hours.
BY AIR. The closest airport is Genoa's Cristoforo Colombo: it is about 57 km away. The Galileo Galilei international airport of Pisa is about 120km away, the airports of Milan and Bergamo are about 200 to 245 km away, that of Bologna 245 km.
BY CAR. If you arrive by car from the A12 motorway, exit at Sestri Levante: the city center is about 1 km from the motorway exit. Sestri Levante is crossed by the SS1 Aurelia. NB: There are no free parking spaces in Sestri Levante, if you are considering arriving by car please let us know, we will help you find a hotel with parking.
If you prefer to travel in total comfort, you can book a private transfer on the days of arrival and departure.