Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyCinqueTerre (“Five Lands”) is a cluster of five fishing villages perched atop the steep hills on the coast of Italy’s Ligurian Sea. No cars, no modern constructions – just sheer old world charms! The villages are connected by ferries, trains and networks of breathtaking hiking trails. It is also a gastronomic paradise.



Harbor in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyThe harbor of Vernazza, Cinque Terre’s town #4.

After an adventurous series of train rides from Milan, we finally reached Vernazza late at night.  Vernazza was our home base for 3 nights during our hiking and gastronomic adventure in Cinque Terre.

Ananasso Bar in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyThe kitchens of the village restaurants were closed by the time we arrived. Thank God, this delightful bar had few sandwiches left that saved our famished stomachs. It became our go to place for breakfast and after dinner drink during our stay.

Piazza Marconi, Vernazza,  Cinque Terre,  Italy

Top: Devouring the bruschetta and panini. Mangia!
Bottom: Food gone in seconds.

  Crowds in Pizza Marconi in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy After we satisfied our hunger, we felt so relaxed and took delight watching locals and visitors having a great time hanging out in the pleasant waterfront piazza.

Fishing Boats at night,  Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyFishing boats docked in the piazza for the night.

Harbor in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyThe picturesque harbor of Vernazza early in the morning. Vernazza is the only village in Cinque Terre with a natural harbor.

Stairs in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

Keith descending from a steep flight of stairs from our room. (Vernazza is a village of stairs!) All set for the hike!

Most people hike the entire seven mile trail of Cinque Terre in a day, starting from Riomaggiore (Town #1) and ending in Monterroso (Town #5) or vice versa. We decided to hike the trail over two days. We wanted to spend more time exploring each town instead of just passing through them. On the third day, we relaxed and enjoyed more of our charming home base of Vernazza, considered the jewel of Cinque Terre.



Riomagiorre Train Tunnel, Hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy

We started our hike in Cinque Terre’s town #1, Riomaggiore.  This is the tunnel that leads into Riomagiorre’s town center from the train station.

Shops in Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyOne of  Riomaggiore’s quaint wine and food shops that lined up its streets.

Shops in Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyOne of the cute boutiques that piqued my fancy. (That yellow dress in the middle is now in my closet:)

Doors Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyDoors of Riomagiorre.

Port  in Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyThe small, charming port of Riomaggiore.

Fishing Gears, Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyFishing gears adorning a home.

Bride and Groom in Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy

Bride and groom walking to the port of Riomaggiore.

  Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyThe colorful homes of Riomaggiore.

Houses in Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyRiomaggiore is a “fascinating tangle of pastel homes leaning on each other like drunken sailors.” – Rick Steves

Waves in Riomagiorre, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalySunbathers by the breakwater of Riomaggiore.



Via-dell'-Amore-Riomagiorre-Hiking-in-Cinque-Terre-ItalyAfter exploring Riomaggiore, we headed to the start of Riomagiorre- Manarola trail. This segment is the easiest, widest and most developed (it’s paved) among the trails. It is called Via dell’ Amore –“Path of Love” – as it was the lovers’ meeting point between men and women from both towns when the trail opened after World War II.

Via dell' Amore Trail, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyThis segment would take only about 30 minutes if you hike it without any stop,  but you will likely take more time stopping and admiring the breathtaking view along the way.

Lovelocks in Via dell' Amore Trail, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalySome of the lovelocks on the Via dell’ Amore. Lovers write their names on the padlocks and secure them along the trail to “lock in their love forever.”

Love Graffiti on Via dell'  Amore Trail, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyLove graffiti along the trail.

Lovelocks in Via del Amore Trail, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyMore lovelocks that were scattered all over the trail.



Shops in Manorola Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyThe food shop that welcomed us upon reaching the main street of Manarola, Cinque Terre’s town #2.

Port in Manorola Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyLooking down at the port of Manarola.

Manarola, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyAnd we came upon this breathtaking vista of Manarola.

Eating in Manarola, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyWe stopped for lunch at a terrific traditional trattoria in Manarola, the Tratorria Scogliera. Keith looked like he was about to cry because the food was so divine!

Food in Cinque Terre is either freshly caught, hand made, home made, locally produced, and organic. No mass produced, no processed food. Our kind of gastronomy.   Eating in Manarola, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyClockwise from top left: For apperitivo, we tried the local specialty – marinated anchovies. Fresh out of the sea, it was really delicious. Nothing like the salty ones we normally get back home. I had an excellent seafood pasta with white wine sauce. Keith had a pomodoro pasta with octopus. We had the trattoria’s own wine brand, which is locally produced. It was a typical Cinque Terre wine – dry and crisp.

Wines of Cinque Terre, Italy

 Wines of Cinque Terre.

Vineyard Walk in Manorola, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyAfter lunch, we hike through Manarola’s scenic Vineyard Walk. It is abundantly covered not only with grapevines but with lemon groves and herbal gardens as well. This is the spectacular view of the colorful homes from the path.

Vineyard Walk in Manarola, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyThe grapes of Manarola’s vineyards.

Vineyard Walk in Manarola, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyManarola’s  vineyard by the sea.

From the Vineyard Walk, we planned to continue into the trail from Manarola to the next town of Corniglia, but the locals informed us that the trail was closed at that time due to landslide. (We later found out the there was an alternate trail we could have taken).

We then decided to go back to the amazing viewpoint of Manarola before taking the train back to Vernazza.Manarola, Hiking in Cinque Terre, ItalyThis time the light was softer and the wave was stronger and more dramatic making the scenery much more captivating. We were thankful of the trail closure; it gave us a chance to spend more time in this glorious setting. Who would ever get tired of this vista?


Manarola, Hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy



Vernaza Harbor, Hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy Vernazza bathed in warm glow when we returned late in the afternoon after the hike.

Vernazza, Marina Room, Cinque Terre, ItalyRelaxing after the hike with a good local wine in our terrace with a view.

Piazza Marconi, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

 Later in the evening, we headed into the lively piazza after cleaning up a bit.

Cafes at Piazza Marconi, Vernazza, Cinque TerreEvenings are always lovely at Piazza Marconi.

Trattoria Incadase de Pivai, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyFor dinner, we headed to Incandanse de Piva,  a  “cucina tipica.”  It is one of the old time favorites in Vernazza.

_36-Tratorria Incadase de Pivai, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy Top: Keith had a pesto pasta for dinner. It cannot get any better than this. This region of Linguria is the birthplace of pesto after all!   Bottom: Fish so fresh it melted in my mouth!

Gelato in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyAfter dinner, it was time for glorious gelato!

Passeggiatta, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, ItalyWith very satisfied palates, we then joined the locals for their favorite past time of “passeggiate” – strolling lazily together up and down the street.

Drinks by the Waterfront, Cinque Terre, ItalyWe ended the evening with a night cap at our favorite spot by the waterfront.

The next day  was another beautiful day of hiking (the real hiking part) and devouring. For the Part 2 of the post, please click here.


Travel Notes:
  • Hikers need to purchase The Cinque Terre Card, a pass that is presented at the entry of each trail. For current pricing, click here.
  • Walking sticks or trekking poles are helpful. Except for the Riomaggiore-Manarola segment, the rest of the trail can be rocky, narrow and steep with lots of steps.
  • We visited Cinque Terre in September 2011.  We found the month of September a good time to go when the towns and trails are less crowded with day trippers and the weather is pleasant.


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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

74 responses to “Hiking and Devouring in Cinque Terre – Part 1

    • Hi Lisa, thanks! They’re truly are beautiful villages and the car-less street really added to their charm.

  1. wonderful images and tour. Thank you for taking us along. More than ever now I want to go there before I get too much older and can’t manage the walk. Have a great week and happy travels.

    • Hi Jill, our pleasure. I hope you get to go soon. You and your camera will fall in love with Cinque Terre. It’s so photogenic!

  2. Erica

    I love the warmth of the photos taken at night, that glow makes it look so inviting! And the lovelocks are even there?! Seems they’re reaching all over! Could travel the world securing locks on all the bridges…. :)

    • Hi Erica, glad you enjoyed the photos. I’ve seen a lot of places with love locks, but this place has the most concentration of them. It would be fun making it a mission to secure love locks all over the world:)

  3. I had absolutely no idea there weren’t cars in Cinque Terre or that that region is the birthplace of pesto. I’ve been wanting to go here for quite a while even though I didn’t know exactly what there was to do. Thanks for filling in a few of the blanks. Looking forward to Part 2.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..A Crash Course in Batik PaintingMy Profile

    • Hi Michelle, you will love it there. There’s so much beauty. You can make it as active as you want or as relaxed as you want. And the food is to die for.

  4. Leigh

    A visit to this part of Italy has been on my wish list for a long time. I can appreciate your troubles getting out of Milan – as my daughter and I had the same experience trying to get to Bellagio – and I remember hunger playing a role in the day as well.
    Looks like a spectacular three days – memorable actually with so much great scenery, food and wine.
    Leigh recently posted..A Trip to Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick – On Foot & By KayakMy Profile

    • HI Leigh, aren’t those train travels such adventures in themselves. I’m sure you will love it in Cinque Terre. The hiking maybe mild by your standard but the sceneries along the way are beyond spectacular. And yes, the good food and wine are such great bonus.

    • Hey Amy, it truly is paradise. If you don’t want to go for the hike, the food and the place itself are totally worth going for.

  5. noel

    what can I say except that cinque terre is just short of spectacular and the hikes to each town for me was also a highlight not to be outdone by all the amazing Ligurian seafood….aaah it’s been tooo long!
    noel recently posted..Hetch Hetchy reservoir and damMy Profile

  6. Dennis

    I’ve always been dreaming of hiking Cinque Terre to the point of checking it on Google map. It’s an Italian destination worth burning calories for! Especially on a perfect weather like you had when you were there. Love the photos Marisol.

    • Hi Dennis, what are you waiting for? You’re right it’s so so worth burning calories for. I highly recommend going in September. The weather is still beautiful but it’s not crowded anymore.

  7. Marcia

    Cinque Terre speaks to me on so many levels – the food, the views, the beauty and simplicity of it. Each time I read posts about it, I want to jump on a plane. It’s certainly breathtaking! Thanks for the tour, Marisol & Keith!
    Marcia recently posted..Jamaica Board Signs, IMy Profile

  8. Oh my goodness, ‘way back when’ we visited here, you just walked the trails; no passes required (and it really wasn’t that many years ago either!). Beautiful photos brought back some great memories. Thanks!

    • Hi Jackie,
      What’s going on? They now charge fees every where! Just read your post about Dubrovnik where they now charge a fee for the view from above. Well, in Cinque Terre’s case, they needed fund to maintain the trails. As long as the fees go to good use, then its fine.

  9. It all looks so incredibly beautiful! Cinque Terre has been on my wish list since I first heard about it a few years ago. I love the incredible colours in that part of the world – North America is just so drab in comparison. All of the photos are incredible but I love those evening shots – I need to learn how to do night time photography!
    Lisa Goodmurphy recently posted..Emma’s Favourite Things: ChicagoMy Profile

    • Hi Lisa, Cinque Terre is truly is beautiful. I know you will love it there and I really hope you get to go soon. For night photography, I normally use prime lenses with very wide aperture (in most night photos here I used 50 mm/1.4f). It allows me to take shots without using flash, which I really avoid.
      Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted..Hiking and Devouring in Cinque Terre – Part 1My Profile

    • Hi Jan, thanks. I hope your friends will find it helpful. It was truly a great holiday. As you know, it’s hard not to have a magical time in CT.

  10. Johanna

    What some travel adventures you’re having Marisol! Gosh, I just love the look of those quaint Italian villages, the tiny ports and the colourful shops and doorways. It’s all so pretty, and you’re pics do it great justice.

    • Hi Jo, thanks. Gald you enjoyed our Cinque Terre adventures. It’s really beautiful and what’s not to love?

  11. I love all the colors of Cinque Terre. This has been on my travel wish list for so long now and we’d love to go soon. I’ve always seen the beautiful scenery but didn’t know the gastronomic side. You two ate well and it’s going to be hard to sleep tonight looking at all the delicious food. Looking forward to the rest of the tour.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..5 Free Things To Do in Toronto with KidsMy Profile

    • Hi Mary, It’s hard not to eat well in Cinque Terre. If not for the hiking, we would have probably gain tons of pounds. I hope you get to go there soon. It truly is magical.

  12. Absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can do the hiking anymore but I sure do know how to enjoy the food and drink. Hopefully I’ll get to Cinque Terre some day.
    Jennie @ Got My Reservations recently posted..Bicycle Togs — Travel DiaryMy Profile

    • Hi Jennie, please don’t underestimate yourself; I’m sure you can do that hike! Cinque Terre is really spectacular. I hope you get to go soon — and the delicious food will be waiting for you— as well as the trail :)

  13. jill

    Would love to do this hike someday, so colorful and so much good food. We didn’t make it on our trip to Italy a few years back but I know we’ll be back and Cinque Terre is definitely on the list.
    jill recently posted..Where Are the Glaciers in Glacier National Park?My Profile

    • Hey Jill, definitely put it on your itinerary when you return to Italy. You will love the hike, the scenery and the food!

    • Hi Den, I really hope with all my heart that you make it there next year. It truly is a special place.

  14. Bama

    That picture of Manarola taken before you went back to Vernazza is truly breathtaking! I can imagine if I were there I would have taken so many pictures of the big waves breaking towards the cliff where colorful houses perched on top of it. Quintessentially Cinque Terre, I suppose. And oh my, you and Keith seem to have a very good time with the food! :)
    Bama recently posted..Sasak Dishes: A Twist in TasteMy Profile

    • Hi Bama, you should see that Manarola scene in person. The photo didn’t come close to how incredibly stunning it is in person. Oh yes, we guiltlessly indulged with the food! It was really glorious.

  15. I am so not sure which pic is my favorite….they are all stunning. The Love Locks are my favorite – we have seen four spots so far in Wollongong that has them!!
    The waves looked so wild, yet people were sunbathing on the rocks, so close to the water??
    And the houses look like they were an after thought, as if they were put there as a puzzle yet were meant to be there {does that even make sense}
    Gosh the food, the hikes, the shops {love the dream dress shop}, the wine….I would want to live in Cinque Terre and never leave again. The bride and groom was in the most perfect place to get married :)
    Lisa Wood recently posted..We Escaped For One NightMy Profile

    • HI Lisa, there’s so much beauty in this place that it’s hard to pick a favorite and really made it hard for us to leave. I would love to live there, too! I know what you mean about those houses. Their placement is just like an abstract art. I’m really pleased you enjoyed the post.

  16. Love love love Cinque Terre and the colorful homes of Riomaggiore! I haven’t had the chance to go there last year, but I would definitely visit when I get the chance to go back. Actually, I plan to stay in Italy for some time so I can go around it slowly. Love that country. Hope to find a way to do that someday with my PH passport!
    Aleah | recently posted..The Green Falls in Surigao del SurMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      HI Aleah, You will love CT so much more once you experience it for yourself. I really hope with all my heart that you can return soon and do the slow travel that you wish for. It’s an incredibly beautiful country that worth spending a lot of time for.

  17. ladyfi

    Your photos are just stunning!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Lady Fi!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Magali! Yes, the food were yummy. I still drool every time I look at the food photos.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Dana, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it in Cinque Terre. I hope you get to go to Italy of your dreams soon.

    • Traveling Solemates

      HI Ruth, It truly is magical. I hope you get to go someday.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Amy, It’s a magical place to visit. I hope you get there soon.

  18. I’ve been wanting to visit Cinque Terre for quite some time. Photos like yours make it a craving. Beautiful,interesting villages. I can totally see myself taking a stroll along one of those lovely streets.

    • Hi Bonnie Rose, I would have loved to live in Italy. I don’t blame you for being so homesick. It’s such a beautiful, amazing country.

  19. Freya

    Cinque Terre is such a beautiful area. I went a few years ago and totally loved it. We also hiked the Via dell’ Amore, such a beautiful walk and stunning views. Again amazing photos.
    Freya recently posted..10 Amazing National Parks in the USAMy Profile

  20. That yellow dress is a fantastic addition to your wardrobe, well done! I love the snapshot of the bride and groom, and the photos with the colorful homes on the cliff are truly postcard worthy!
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted..From The Lips Of A LocalMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jess, glad you approved of the yellow dress! :)

  21. Love the CT – we based ourselves in Manarola and absolutely loved it. I agree, the food is divine. We had a seafood dinner at Marina Piccola the proper Italian way i.e. antipasto, a primi of pasta, contorni followed by a secondi of seafood! The waitress brought us a shot of limoncello as a digestif but we simply could not fit dulci in after that! Great pics.
    Taking to the Open Road recently posted..4 Days in Madrid and SurroundsMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Peggy, isn’t Manarola stunning. We’re so missing all the food and drinks in CT right now!

  22. Wow, you’re pictures are so beautiful. You two are definitely living the life!

    The pesto pasta looks amazing!

    And I really enjoyed the love-locks – so incredible. I hope to make it to Cinque Terre at some point in my life. Amazing.

    Take care,
    Marissa Carnahan recently posted..East Coast of Florida – Eat Your Breakfast By The OceanMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Marissa, thanks! Cinque Terre is so beautiful and magical, it’s hard not to live a life in Cinque Terre:) I really hope from the botoom of my heart that you make it there at some point. Thanks for dropping by. Good luck with your new wonderful blog.

  23. Great photos guys. You’ve got yourself a new follower :-)

  24. Pam

    I am in the Cinque Terre right now, but love looking at your pictures and comments. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

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