Cinque Terre walking tracks

Dec 5th, 2012, 12:04 AM
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Cinque Terre walking tracks

I've done some preliminary research on Cinque Terre including a few threads on Fodors here...

I came to the link of the national park regarding treks and at the time of accessing, Path no.2, which are the main paths connecting the 5 towns in Cinque Terre are currently closed. Does anyone know if they are generally closed during this time of year, or is something else going on there? (Just googled and Manarola is sunny, no adverse weather it appears).

Link to the park website:

Also, I'm planning on going early January, would anyone have experience how it is in Cinque Terre that time of year? I know that the ferry's are inoperative until March.. but how about shops, food, trains, walking paths? Any comments welcome, thanks!
hiki08 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 04:00 AM
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My understanding is that the trails are closed due to being washed out by huge rains/mudslides. I have no idea when they will be open again.

In January the weather is likely to be chilly and rainy, although snow is unlikely - you can google specifics. There will be some hotels/restaurants open and some closed. Not a time of year I would pick for a seaside resort. I would wait at least until April for decent weather and check that trails have been cleared and reopened.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 04:22 AM
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Thanks, do you mean that tracks are generally closed for that reason, or are these particular tracks being closed during this time of year regardless of actual weather for that reason?

So assuming I can't walk the tracks and can't be on the ferries, would it be worth hopping between the towns by train? I was going to make it a day trip. My trip to Italy will be around that time so couldn't really do much about the timing of when I go Cinque Terre. Alternative would be to spend more time in Tuscany region, but photos of the towns at Cinque Terre look very attractive.
hiki08 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 05:27 AM
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I spent a day in the 5 Lands in January recently and the weather was surprisingly fine - and the towns were not inundated with tourists as they are in summer. I took the frequent shuttle trains between all five towns - some paths I think may be open such as the famous Viale d'Amour (sp?) linking Riomaggiore and the next town - this is in fact a broad boardwalk and flat - I enjoyed the 5 Lands in January - especially since they appeared to be more normal towns than tourist traps they appeared to be when I once visited in peak summer season.

Lots of shops, restaurants, hotels, etc were open - in fact everything seemed opened like in any town. riomaggiore and Monterosso are larger towns with more of those things.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 08:44 AM
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The point is that the trails and some of the towns (I don't know which ones) were severely damaged in floods and mud slides several months ago so whether or not the trails are open in the winter isn't really the question. Whether they will remain closed due to damage from the floods is the question and I would suggest that you look at the tourist office websites for Cinque Terre or better yet call them on the phone to get an immediate response about whether the trails will be open or closed during your visit. The tourist office is the best place to find the answer to your questions.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 12:34 PM
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Even if some of the trails are closed in winter I just enjoyed each town - I had walked the trails before in summer and they are nice but so are the towns and in winter anyway the trails could always be muddy I would think - point is 5 Lands is always worth it - the 5 villages that is IME.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 04:33 PM
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Thanks for the replies!

I asked the cinque terre national park authority (whatever their official name may be) and they have said that they are uncertain whether if any tracks will reopen in January. Despite the uncertainty, it helps to know with certainty that the reopening is uncertain.

That said, I think I read on ricksteves website discussion that some tracks, particularly Via dell'Amore, are still very much walkable and a few people still walk them despite the paths being officially closed.

This may be getting off topic from the opening of this thread.. but:
1) For those who have visited, are there paths within the towns that lead to high vantage points to take in some of the spectacular views of the coastline without walking into the closed walking paths?

2) Anyone know where is best to park a car if we will be driving to the area? Will it be La Spezia and then change to train or is there a convenient place that I could get closer before changing to train?
hiki08 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 06:31 PM
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Lots of parking places in Monteresso - a large new parking lot on a filled in part of the sea when I was there a few years back and in winter should be lots of free spots (well not free but for pay)

Of the five towns Corniglia is very very high up so yields the views you wish - the train station for Corniglia is at sea level but shuttle buses meet trains to go up to the high up town. Or you can do a prodigious hike from Cornigilia's train station there, of course.

Otherwise it seems the other 4 Lands are at sea level and yes you can hike into the hills behind them but quite strenuous climbs for views you desire.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 5th, 2012, 08:35 PM
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We stayed in Riomaggiore in early October. If you click on my name you can read my trip report. The funny thing is, NOTHING we planned to do was available to us....yet we still had a fanstastic time! All of the trails closed, but our nice innkeeper (Lorenza of Casa Lorenza, a great place) recommended a hike you can take from Manarola to Corniglia. You can even skip some of the steepest part by starting from Volastra, a green bus ride up the hill from Manarola. We spent almost 3 hours enjoying this wonderful hike through the vineyard and hills, wich fantastic views of the picturesque village of Corniglia. We were able to take the trains to visit several of the other towns. The next day was a train strike, so we planned to take the boat to Portovenere. Lo and behold, the seas were too choppy so the boat was canceled for the day. We decided that being "stuck" in Riomaggiore was not a bad thing, though! I walked up the main street to the top of town and found an ancient stone path up to a sanctuary (Sanctuario Trail). Wonderful experience. We'll have to come back someday and hope that the other trails will be open again. Have fun.
leslieq is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 05:37 PM
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Thanks! I'll study the map of the towns and keep the recommended tracks in mind! I just read your trip report leslieq, very informative and another thing I'll keep in mind as I continue to plan the trip.

Appreciate all the responses here, I think I have a much better picture now and will plan accordingly. Will come back to consult if any hiccups come up in the planning.
hiki08 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 07:57 PM
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sorry it came to me I have one lingering question for the time being.. the shuttle you mentioned that goes from Corniglia train station up tot he town. Does that shuttle always run throughout the year? And would anyone know its frequency?
hiki08 is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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the shuttle was running when I was there a few Januarys ago - it sits by the train station so I assume it runs as it is the only way for villagers to get from the train to town unless they want to walk up the very long steep incline.
PalenQ is offline  
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