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2 days in Cinque Terre with 3 year old!

Old Jul 13th, 2017, 09:53 AM
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2 days in Cinque Terre with 3 year old!

We are going to be Cinque Terre, staying in Vernazza for 2 days. Our 3 year old will be with us and we are planning on hiking with him in our back carrier (he is usually good in there). Would appreciate hiking tips that are do'able and worth the effort with a child. Thank you!!!
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Old Jul 13th, 2017, 10:29 AM
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Vernazza to Monterosso is beautiful but rather strenuous from what I recall. We hiked it during the period of time we lived in the Rockies and parts of that hike still stand out in my mind due to the combo of sun, humidity, and rapid elevation gain. Definitely make certain to put a sun hat on your little one in the carrier and watch him for potential overheating.

Vernazza to Corniglia is also a bit of a challenge, but it's shorter if my memory serves me correctly. Corniglia is high up whereas Vernazza is at sea-level. You could train to Corniglia and hike to Vernazza from there which would be easier physically unless downhill is the problem (it would be for me with my knees!).

Check and make sure the trails are open... at some point recently, several of them were closed. And I believe there may be caps on the number of individuals who are allowed on them daily now? It had been discussed for years and I thought I remembered hearing that it went into effect.

The best beach is in Monterosso if your little one enjoys sand castle building . My 4- and 6- yr olds adore it and so we make a point to end every Italy trip with a day at a sandy beach.
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Old Jul 13th, 2017, 11:57 AM
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Here is the official park service page about the Cinque Terre paths.

http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/E...ri-outdoor.php

The lower trails connecting the Cinque Terre towns have trail numbers beginning with 592. Those with a red circle in front of them are closed because of landslide risk (and have been for over five years, with no reopening in sight).

You don't say what time of the year you're going to the Cinque Terre. Because half of these easier trails are closed, and because the Cinque Terre are far too popular for their own good, the two lower trails that are open can be very crowded in high season. I would go very early in the morning, or late in the afternoon (making sure you'll be back before dark). The higher trails are much less crowded, but may be too strenuous for hiking with a baby.

If you click on a particular trail, you'll see detailed information about it, usually including the difficulty rating, the dislevel, the estimated time of completion, and a description. The easiest trails are rated "T" (tourist, or turisti) and the next level is "E" (hikers, or escursionisti). I wouldn't try anything more difficult than those. The next level is EE (expert hikers, or escursionisti esperti).
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Old Jul 13th, 2017, 12:06 PM
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I believe the OP is traveling in early August based on prior posts re: accommodations.
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Old Jul 13th, 2017, 12:24 PM
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Hi,

It's just a terrible idea, because of the narrowness of the paths, the steep drops and no guard rails, the fact the trails are overcrowded with self-absorbed people not watching where they are going (wielding walking sticks and cameras) , and that the sun is brutally strong on the shadeless hillsides, even early in the morning.

A 3-year old child makes a walker quite top-heavy in a backpack. If I had to do it in emergency, I'd be looking to use sticks to back up my balance (and i wouldn't do it unless it was an emergency).

If you can't change your hotel reservations to a more toddler-friendly environment (I would pick Sestri Levante above all, secondarily Chiavari or Rapallo), there are shuttle buses and some elevators that you can use to get to elevated views. Train will easily take you to flat towns and sandy beaches (again, Sestri Levante is optimal) -- and please bear in mind that the beaches of neighboring Levanto have strong riptides and are not suitable for small children.
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Old Jul 13th, 2017, 03:38 PM
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Echoing massimop, we hiked the trails in May and the sun/humidity was absolutely fierce. Living in CO, we were used to strenuous and lengthy hikes but the weather made this CT hike as challenging as some of our 14ers! I can't even imagine August, especially with a 3 yr old on my back.
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Old Jul 13th, 2017, 08:47 PM
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One other consideration: If the forecast holds ANY suggestion of rain, don't start hiking! As I learned the VERY hard way, those paths turn into slippery slopes of mud when wet, and there aren't guard rails or poles or anything else that you can grab if you slip. Very scary.

Good luck!
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 03:01 AM
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Horrible idea. Don't do it. There are ever so many lovely places you can hike with a 3-year-old in Italy. That isn't one of them.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 03:10 AM
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You might consider taking the ferry between the villages? My young sons adore being on a ferry - it's quite an adventure for them . We have not been to the CT since 2005, but at that time, stop-offs were allowed so you could stop and meander around each village. According to this website, it still works the same way.

http://www.apathtolunch.com/2014/06/...venere-la.html

You could train to either end, ferry between the villages, and then train back to Vernazza. The views from the water are lovely. I still keep a photo I took from my sea kayak on my desk.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 04:32 AM
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Can't think of anyplace I would want to go hiking with a 3 year old in Italy, but I'm not all that keen on hiking to begin with.

Ferries are probably ok with a 3 year, but do be careful of so much sun (and if you don't go early, you might find long lines. What I would think is nicer for tots is a beach and also some shady places to sit and play games. Quite a few of the Riviera beaches have sand fleas, so if you go to the beach be sure to bring a nice big towel to sit on --- and of course plenty of sunblock.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 04:53 AM
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I really agree 100% with Massimop, but tried to tone down my reply, because I've been accused of hating the Cinque Terre. I myself wouldn't go anywhere near the place in August, even without a small child. I've only been there in the off season (twice), and it was already too crowded for my taste.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 05:40 AM
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Ditto bvlenci--but I will freely admit I hated it, and I am am avid hiker who makes time for nature on every trip to Italy.
Portofino park has some wide, and more important, shaded(!) paths, and you would not have to keep the child on your back the entire time. Camogli and Santa Margarita Ligure flank the park and are connected by bus and ferry, making round trips quite convenient.
I am sorry, but in August especially, the CT trails are just not going to be pleasant with a child. I do not think it would be safe to have a child that large on your back. The paths are so narrow and steep.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 06:41 AM
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>>We are going to be Cinque Terre, staying in Vernazza for 2 dayschange your booking and stay somewhere else . . . meaning not in the CT.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 07:00 AM
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I am just back from CT.
We did the Vernazza-Moterossa and Corniglia-Vernazza hikes (lower village trails still not open.

Neither of them would be advisable with a toddler on your back.
1. Steep and dangerous (and you'd be top-heavy)
2. Narrow: MANY places where we had to side-step as we met hikers coming the other direction.
3. Overhanging foliage: Lots of times you have to duck under branches. Kid's head is elevated above yours and risk of a head/eye injury is high
4. Heat
5. Crowded: Conservative guess is we met 300 hikers during each leg and passed another 50.

Monterossa has a kid-friendly beach with a playground. If you have to go to CT, that's where I'd suggest.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 08:32 AM
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I don't think Camogli or Santa Margherita Ligure are a great destination for toddlers in August. The public beaches are packed and most of the other open space and flat walkways directly face west, on the seafront, and from 10am to 5pm they just bake with intense sun and heat. It's only if you rent beach umbrellas/loungers from the private establishments (many of which are totally booked in advance) or constantly pay to sit in shaded cafes that you will find much relief from the sun (unless you want to stay indoors all the time).

While the staircase hiking around Camogli & Santa Margherita Ligure offers more stability if you are carrying a toddler, it's still pretty grim climbing in August, and most toddlers will quickly tire if expected to do much stair climbing.

Sestri Levante, Chiavari and Rapallo are flat have many more shaded places to enjoy, and Sestri Levante & Chiavari have extensive beach fronts (Sestri Levante is particularly good for kids.

Thought I would also add that sand fleas that can turn up to bite on the beaches of the Riviera Levante (both pebble and sand) are not the dangerous kind found in beaches of the world. (unless you are near the French border). But depending on who you are, the sand flea bites can itch as much as mosquito or midge bites, so they are no fun for kids and minimizing exposure with a beach blanket is a good idea.
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 12:04 PM
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Hi All,

Appreciate the helpful advice We will be there in early August and will play it by the ear and see if we want to do any of the hikes. Since we have two days, we could take turns (without our son) and do some hiking while the other parent enjoys the beach with our son! Also, ferries sound like a great option and our son does love ferries!

Looks like the towns also have playgrounds

Thank you again!
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Old Jul 14th, 2017, 01:16 PM
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trains also trundle thru all four seaside Cinque Terre towns -if one hikes between say Monterosso (the only nice sandy beach in CT) and Vernazza- they can quickly and cheaply return to Monterosso by frequent shuttle trains or ferries.

You at least know to expect unthaomable crowds in such tiny villages. To me that is rather nice for some weird reason and of course after day trippers have dispersed the towns take on a more romantic setting you'd expect of the CT. August though is the worst since many Italians and northern Europeans have vacations then.
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