Cinque Terre Hiking & Fear of Heights

Old Jul 27th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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Cinque Terre Hiking & Fear of Heights

I plan on staying in Levanto and hiking from there into the 5 CT villages. I'm not worried about the difficulty of the hikes but what I am worried about are the cliffs! Are the paths really narrow and/or dangerous? I have hiked some cliff trails in Kauai and Maui (can't recall the trail names)and remember being terrified at certain spots. So I'm wondering if anyone can compare or maybe let me know which portions of the trail are the worst for someone with a slight fear of heights. Thank you!
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 09:27 AM
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The path between Riomaggiore (the most southern village) and Manarola is known as the Via dell'Amore. It's wide, and very easy to walk. Walkers are well protected from the cliffs and the path isn't very high up. This is really more of a walking path than a hiking trail.

The hikes between the other towns are just that - hikes! Some of the pathes are pretty narrow and in a few areas are close to an edge. The large majority of the trails are steep but not really on a 'cliff edge'. I wouldn't consider any of the hike dangerous unless you were doing it at night (NOT recommended, and perhaps not even allowed).

You may get nervous in a couple spots but I don't think it would be terrifying. It would be a shame to skip these hikes as they're very beautiful. The 'path of love' is pretty boring in comparison. Good luck!!!
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 09:32 AM
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We did this walk in 2004 and it was wonderful! I do not like "high places" much either but did not find this terrifying at all. Never been to Hawaii so can not compare. There were areas that were tight for passing others on, but I do not remember being fearful at all on the walks. The stairs-wow! I just kept telling myself-firm buttocks, firm buttocks, etc. While it was quite warm when we were there, it was for us an enchanting end to a wonderful vacation. I think this link will take you to our trip report.
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34699548
Have a wonderful trip. Shirley
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Old Jul 27th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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Ditto Shirley. Believe it or not (based on the things that I've done) I have quite the phobia of heights. However, I do love to hike.

I haven't been to Hawaii either, but I don't recall being afraid when we hiked the CT goat paths. Sure, some spots were tight but really nothing to be afraid of.

Ahh those stairs! We actually took the reverse route through the 5 villages, so we went down the stairs and then took the train back
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 07:00 AM
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anna,

I hope you don't mind me tagging along on your thread, but I also had a question for those who have hiked CT. We are leaving next week, staying with friends, and our hosts just emailed that the CT may be part of our itinerary.

I'll probably get flamed for this, but what does one wear for this? I'm trying to reconcile my vision of hiking clothes/shoes, to the clothes I would wear sitting outside an Italian Cafe sipping Limoncello.

Bostongal, I can relate. Despite having parachuted, zip-lined, bungee-jumped, hot-air-balooned, parasailed, DH is still has a height phobia. Driving over a suspension bridge has him white-knuckled on the steering wheel.

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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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lvk-Comfy shoes and regular clothing. It was hot when we were there. Sleeveless top, capris (nooooo shorts for these old legs), water bottle and $$$ for drinks and chow when you get to town! I wish I would have had a hat, but I didn't. Shirley
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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lvk -

Here's a link to a thread with good info on the trails & hiking the Cinque Terre >>>

Cinque Terre hiking trails: let's post references on a superthread
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34815113

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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 08:16 AM
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Thanks, Tess & luv,

Lots of information out there! I think I'll print out the superthread to take with us. I'll have plenty of time to read it on our 12 hours in the air.
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 09:45 AM
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I hiked the whole trail, broken into two days-(Monterosso to Vernazza first day and Riomaggiore to Vernazza second day) and also suffer from acrophobia. The difficult part for me was Corneglia to Vernazza where it was a sheer drop and narrow, rock strewn path. It was worth it though and the reward was lunch at Gambero Rossa in Vernazza both days.
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Old Jul 28th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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I walked the trails in 1996 for the lst time and found the trail between Corniglia and Vernazza terrifying. There was an area where there was no vegetation and the narrow trail had a sheer drop to the water below. So when we returned there in 2005 I was very apprehensive about doing this walk again, but it was so beautiful I went for it.

Since 1996 they have made this trail very safe, and the spot where it was a sheer cliff to my left on a very narrow path has either been diverted inland a bit, or has been fenced off. I didn't encounter any areas that would cause you any alarm.

Now on a very hot day it is best to go early in the morning as it is a very rigorous hike with lots of ups and downs, but nontheless safe and not scary.

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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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Thanks for all the helpful replies! Just got back today from a great trip to Lucca, Cinque Terre, and Florence. I walked the Cinque Terre in both directions starting from both Monteresso and Riomaggiore and also took two different trails from Levanto to Monterosso with no problems! It was beautiful and perfectly safe! Yes, it was high (made for some amazing views!)but most of it has railings and/or fence along the way. The only "scare" I had was on the last day when we ran into a very long and large green snake! (Though he seemed more scared of us than we were of him!)
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Glad that you 'went for it' and had a great time!
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 09:40 AM
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We are going to CT at the end of September but really having difficulty getting accommodation. How far is Levanto to Monterosso? If we don't hike it is it possible to go by bus or train?
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Old Sep 16th, 2006, 10:33 AM
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Micheline,

Been a couple weeks since you posted your question about traveling between Levanto & Monterosso .... if you're still scouring the forum, then the answer is yes, it's easy to take the train between Levanto and Monterosso --- It's been awhile, but it's not too long a ride; maybe 10 minutes between the towns?
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Old Apr 7th, 2009, 03:30 PM
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Anything new that could be added? Easier or more difficult?
Thanks, Brownley
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Old Apr 7th, 2009, 03:31 PM
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ttt
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Old Apr 7th, 2009, 06:57 PM
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If you hike the main trail (the one that goes between the 5 towns), you should have no problem. We (my husband and I, both in our late 50s, in pretty good shape, accustomed to exerting ourselves, but not professional athletes!) hiked the full trail (not all in one day) in both October 2006 and October 2008. I do NOT like heights, and so was a bit anxious on our first trip; but I had no problem at any point on the main trail -- it is extremely well-maintained, there is adequate space for two-way traffic, and there are barriers (albeit minimal) all along the trail. Also, there are enough people (even in October), that you feel a sense of psychological safety.

HOWEVER...on our second trip, we decided also to attempt one of the upper trails (in the hills above Manarola). Not only were we the only people on the trail, but also the trail was extremely narrow and had no barriers along the cliffs after a certain point. I got about 1/4 of the way and had to turn around and go back, much to my dismay. If nothing else, it made me reaiize how "civilized" the main trail is!
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Old Apr 7th, 2009, 07:24 PM
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I am totally with you with the whole cliff thing. I live in Utah with the Rocky Mountains and I don't do the unsafe trails or anything close to it.

My sister's and I did the hikes in Cinque Terre we were fine. In fact my sister wore flip flops (wouldn't recommend that) its fine its like an amped up walk nothing to dangerous. (however we also did the least strenuous hikes I hear there are some that are more intense).
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