This trip visits not only the world renowned Cinque Terre region but also the Portofino Peninsula and all it has to offer. Hike the area’s most scenic trails, including parts of the classic coastal route, all under expert local guidance. The cliff-side houses and breathtaking coastal scenery of Cinque Terre make it one of the world’s most romantic destinations. Discover a swathe of medieval marvels, such as the castle and churches of Levanto and the Abbey of San Fruttuoso. Upon return enjoy all the amenities of your ‘feature stay’ hotel in Levanto, which includes a pool, a sauna and a wellness centre.. Your local leader will take you to vantage points along the coast for the best photo opportunities, some of which you will not even find on the area’s post cards
For over a thousand years people have lived in this dramatic region, cultivating the steep hillsides and fishing the blue waters. Walk this magical part of Italy by day, and settle in for traditional feasts washed down with a glass or two of local wine at night.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: Dinner Included: 3
Arrive in Levanto, centrally located on the Ligurian coast. No activities are planned for today, so you can arrive at any time. If you arrive early why not head out and explore Levanto's colourful streets. After the group meeting, enjoy a first group dinner together in the hotel restaurant, where you will dine on local specialties. In the evening you can take a relaxed stroll through the town to take in the atmosphere of this seaside location.
Monterosso / Levanto
Today you will embark on your first walk, which takes you along the coast from Levanto to Monterosso, the first of the five villages of the Cinque Terre. The first part of the walk leads you through the old town centre of Levanto, past the stunning cathedral and up to its castle. It then continues up to Punta Mesco, the most notable promontory in the region. Just short of this point, take a small detour to the ruins of an 11th-century hermitage and the nearby ruins of the lighthouse. Here you can enjoy marvellous views of the rugged coastline and find a nice spot to stop for a short break. Then follow the fairly steep path down into Monterosso – a colourful village with blue, red and yellow houses that cluster along the beachfront. Upon arrival in Monterosso enjoy a wine tasting session at a local wine shop which includes a glass of sciacchetrà, a special wine only produced in the Cinque Terre area. Take your time to explore this interesting little town before taking the local train back to Levanto. For those who wish to, there is also an option to walk back from Monterosso to Levanto. Upon return enjoy all the amenities of your feature stay hotel, which includes a pool, a sauna and a wellness centre.
The Five Villages of the Cinque Terre / Levanto
A short train ride brings you to Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the five villages. Here you will start your exploration along this famous stretch of coastline, partly along the classic coastal path on foot, partly by train through tunnels, both linking the five villages. Your local leader will take you to vantage points along the coast for the best photo opportunities, some of which you will not even find on the area’s post cards. After exploration of pretty Riomaggiore board another train taking you to Manarola, an attractive little village with steep multi-coloured houses overlooking a rocky port. From Manarola, make your way by bus up through a stunning terraced landscape to the village of Volastra. From here start your walk along one of the most beautiful trails in the area. Through terraced vineyards and the occasional bit of forest, you approach Corniglia, perched on a ridge overlooking the sea. Next is the little hamlet of Prevo, walking through terraced vineyards and the occasional citrus grove. Enjoy some of the best views in the region as you approach Vernazza, which is dominated by its old fortress. Follow the contours of the hillside on a narrow track that leads you up and down, before a fairly steep descent takes you into the village itself. After a refreshing drink on Vernazza’s wonderful town square at the harbour, resplendent with its brightly painted boats, continue on to Monterosso. In the late afternoon you will take the train back to Levanto.
Portovenere / Levanto
Begin your day with a short train ride back to the tiny village of Riomaggiore. Embark on a walk that leads you to Portovenere at the very end of the peninsula. Today’s trail is the most challenging of the Ligurian walks; it's also perhaps the most rewarding. First you will walk up a rather steep flight of stairs, then along an undulating track to reach the sanctuary of the Madonna di Montenero (those who wish to opt out of this climb can catch a bus instead). After stopping at the sanctuary for a short break, continue your walk to Campiglia. Continuing uphill you will follow the contours of the coastal cliffs, passing terraced vineyards and enjoying wonderful views of the coastline. Pass the abandoned village of Lemmen and walk high on the ridge through vineyards and pine forest. Finally descend to the little village of Campiglia, where you can stop for lunch and some refreshments. Then continue towards Portovenere and enjoy even more spectacular coastal views. When you arrive at the 16th-century castle above the village, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the distant peaks of the Apuan Alps before you descend a long staircase that takes you to St Peter’s Point and then into the heart of the village. After some free time to relax in Portovenere, return by boat to your base in Levanto – a lovely way to see the coast from the water - just in time for a group dinner.
Levanto / Santa Margherita
From Levanto you will walk in a westerly direction, along the coast and through several charming little villages. This is best known as the Wild West Coast Walk. The first part of your walk follows the beach, then heads into the foothills and down to the charming seaside village of Bonassola (a good place for a morning coffee stop). Then stroll through the seaside hills towards the small village of Framura, a collection of ancient hamlets on a hillside, distinctive due to its red rocks. From Costa, the largest hamlet, a level path contours around the hills and offers you splendid views out to sea. You can opt to either continue your walk to the resort of Deiva Marina, or walk back down to the coast to take a swim, before catching the train. Travel to the small town of Moneglia, where you will have time to wander around and explore; alternatively you can walk to Sestri Levante and out to the headland. Finally you will catch a train to Santa Margherita, an attractive town that overlooks the Ligurian Sea. This is your base for the next three nights.
Portofino Peninsula / Santa Margherita
Walk across the beautiful hills of the Portofino Peninsula to some amazing viewpoints, then down to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso. First, travel by local bus along a panoramic route to the small hamlet of Ruta and then walk along some splendid fin-de-siècle villas towards the highest point of the Peninsula, Monte Portofino. You will then have several longer and shorter options to reach the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, an 11th-century marvel set in a secluded cove and reachable only by boat or on foot. All walks bring you through a verdant forested landscape with amazing views across the Gulf of Tigullio and the Golfo Paradiso. Upon arrival there is the option to visit the abbey or perhaps go for a swim. Then take a boat to Camogli, a chance to admire the beautiful coastline from the sea. In Camogli, take your time to wander around the colourful historic centre and enjoy a relaxed drink or grab a gelato on one of its many terraces. From here it’s a 5-minute train ride back to Santa Margherita.
Portofino Peninsula / Santa Margherita
Today you’ll see the best of the Portofino Peninsula. First take a short walk through the historical centre of Santa Margherita Ligure, where you can also do some shopping for your picnic lunch. Then start a walk into the hills and enjoy beautiful views across the bay. By late morning you will reach Portofino, one of the most typical Ligurian seaside villages and a popular resort for jet setters. Explore this charming village and take the scenic walk to the church lighthouse, where you can look back on the inlet of Portofino (the name of which translates into 'fine harbour'). Then head uphill and take a break in the woods and enjoy your picnic lunch. From here you can either join the leader for a walk back to Santa Margherita, or relax and return by boat or bus later in the afternoon. In the evening, meet your group for a farewell dinner in Santa Margherita.
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast. Santa Margherita is well connected by train to other cities in Italy, with regular trains to Genoa, Milan, Florence and Pisa. If you'd like to book additional nights in Santa Margherita, please enquire when you book this trip.