What is it and is it open?

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“One of the top 20 World’s Best Hikes and Epic Trails” – National Geographic

Cinque Terre means ‘five lands’ and consists of the following five villages:

  • Monterosso Al Mare

  • Vernazza

  • Corniglia

  • Manarola

  • Riomaggiore

Cinque Terre is in the Liguria region (north west) of Italy on the Italian Riviera. The area is a National Park and a Unesco World Heritage Sight. The 5 villages are connected to each other by a series of hiking trails (ancient goat herding paths) with stunning coastal views, vineyards, olive groves, lemon orchards and lots of steps! Other than hiking between each village there are also ferries and trains linking them, but no cars, unless you’re a resident. For train information, see Trenitalia.

Italy map from Google Maps

Italy map from Google Maps

Is it open?

In 2011, Cinque Terre was hit by storms causing devastating landslides and floods and limiting access to the villages.

As of September 2014, the Sentiero Azzuro (blue coastal route), is open between Monterosso Al Mare, Vernazza and Corniglia. You need to buy a Cinque Terre day card (€7.50) to access the path, I bought mine from the checkpoint/ticket box at the beginning of the path in Monterosso Al Mare.

The blue coastal path is still CLOSED between Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. There are however, alternative paths higher up the mountains linking these three towns. I took the following paths:

  • Corniglia to Manarola (via Volastra) on Route 587, 586 & 506

  • Manarola to Riomaggiore on Route 531

The Cinque Terre National Park website marks these alternative routes as ‘Experienced hikers’ only and it’s certainly not a walk in the park! You need to be prepared for steep ascents and descents, very uneven, rocky and slippery terrain, narrow paths and of course you should be wearing good shoes or boots. I wouldn’t recommend these alternative routes to anyone with a fear of heights. And I definitely would not recommend anyone to attempt these routes in bad weather.

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