An Unfit Girls Guide To Hiking The Cinque Terre

I don’t attend a Gym, can’t remember the last time I recorded my step count and definitely eat a lot of great but terrible for you food.

So, I decided to hike the Cinque Terre in 30+ degree heat with no practice. If I can manage it anyone can!

Copy of Top Tips for Train Travel in Italy.png

If you’re on the edge of deciding whether you’re capable of doing the blue walking trails of the Cinque Terre, I’m here to reassure you it’s definitely doable. This post will give you a few insights into my experience and some, hopefully, useful tips of what to expect so you can prepare for your own trip.


Lets start by splitting it out to the two sections of the walks you can do at the moment (2017) as there are closed sections on these trails.

Monterosso ➡️ Vernazza

Distance: 3.5km

Walking Time: allow 2hrs

In my opinion, of the two trails this was the hardest, and sweatiest. Theres little cover from the sun so my sunhat became a glued fixture to my head for the whole day. Expect a fair amount of hills but mostly you walk up to begin with and keep going for over an hour to reach the peak. From here you can see stunning views of both Monterossa and Vernazza, well worth the sweat on the way up. There were plenty of places to stand by and take a break, which I did regularly, as well as some sitting spots too.





Vernazza ➡️ Corniglia

Distance: 3

Walking Time: allow 1hr 30mins

I thought by now I’d done pretty well, conquered the first hike and managed a beer and lunch as reward. This next stage should be a piece of cake, well not quite. It was an easier walk than the last but still a steady uphill for almost an hour and a beautiful but steep decline into Corniglia. The best part about this section was Bar il Gabbiano, you can stop at and look out over an amazing view. Grab yourself a beer or freshly squeezed orange juice. It also has a gorgeous outdoor overlook to enjoy it in or a few seats inside to get out of the sunshine.


Another reason this was one of my favourite parts of the walk is after Bar il Gabianno, it’s all down hill into Corniglia. Giving you a little more breathing space to take in all the glory of the coastline. Just be careful of the steep steps and thin pathway at this section. When you encounter some hikers coming towards you it can get a little hairy up there in some parts.





Planning For The Walks

First thing you should grab is your Cinque Terre Cards, you can get them from tourist information spots in the towns themselves or at the train station in La Spezia, like we did. Prices vary depending on the day(s) you want to plan for but for 16EURO you can use all the blue walking paths and the trains for 24 hours. Personally, the best option for a one day visitor as you’ll definitely need to use the trains to get to the walking paths.

You don’t need to plan too drastically for the hikes but you should be prepared for a solid couple of hours walk until you get to the next place to restock. During peak summer season, there are definitely a few things you need to take with you that I’ve listed below:

  • At least 2 litres of water per person as the heat can be intense.
  • A hat, beautifully pictured below I may add
  • Suncream and Sunglasses
  • Comfortable shoes, not flip flops!
  • Bug repellant, not too much of an issue for us but handy all the same
  • Your Camera because you’ll sure regret not taking photos later




Where Are The Other Tracks?

Well, thats all we could really manage in one day but it turns out we couldn’t walk to the other towns along the coast even if we did have the energy. In 2011 there was a huge storm hitting the area, causing slips along the footpaths. As I’m sure you can appreciate this is very dangerous and these sections have been closed to the public.

You do have a couple of options from Coniglia, you can either catch the train or take a longer route around the hills to Manarola and onwards to Riomaggiore. Take a look at the red tracks below to give you an idea of what you’re letting yourself in for.

📸 by James Martin


So, although I’m no gym addict or even a hiker as such. Doing the two Cinque Terre trails in one day was not too challenging even in the heat. As long as you’re prepared and give yourself time you’ll be fine. I would say don’t sweat it but… you definitely will!



1 thought on “An Unfit Girls Guide To Hiking The Cinque Terre”

  1. I wrote pretty much the same post on my end ahahaha except I only did the monterosso-vernazza hike! I was also sad that all the other hikes were closed..i went 2 years ago :/

    Seems you had an amazing time! 🙂

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