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Cinque Terre - which hikes to do with 2-year old?

Old Jul 26th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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klt
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Cinque Terre - which hikes to do with 2-year old?

We will be in CT next month for 3 days, staying in Vernazza. I want to do at least 1 hike, but I am concerned since we are traveling with our 2 year old son. Which would you guys recommend as scenic but not too challenging?
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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Start out with the Via dell'Amore, between Riomaggiore and Manarola -- it's flat, paved, and takes about half an hour. The hikes gets progressively harder and longer as you work your way west from there. Keep in mind that it's likely to be hot, and there isn't much shade on any of the trails. Sunscreen, hats, water -- all vital. Have to say, I don't think of hiking the CT as a very two-year-old-friendly activity ... but I don't have a two-year-old.
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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Take the boat to Manarola, hike to Riomaggiore, take the boat back to Vernazza. Are you planning to have your son in a stroller or will he be walking? Either way, the stretch between Riomaggiore and Manarola should be doable. Enjoy!
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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 10:22 AM
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oops, I should probably rephrase that. It isn't really a hike between the two villages -- it is a 20-min walk on a paved walkway.
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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 11:10 AM
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The stretch between Riomaggiore and Manarola (the Via dell'Amore) is ALL I would suggest with a small child. It is short (15 minutes) and paved and more or less flat.
The trek between Corniglia and Manarola is a possibility but the least scenic of any of the hikes (not paved either).
I would NOT suggest the hikes between Monterosso and Vernazza and between Vernazza and Corniglia. There are a lot of steps and very significant elevation gains. I live in Colorado and hike every weekend and these two particular hikes in the CT region really are strenuous - the only way to get a 2 year old there would be to have a backpack-style carrier for the child.

Incidentally, the orientation of the CT (north to south) is
Monterosso-Vernazza-Corniglia-Manarola-Riomaggiore. The "entrance town" north of Monterosso is Levanto and the "entrance town" south of Riomaggiore is La Spezia.

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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 01:15 PM
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klt
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OP - thanks everyone. We have a backpack carrier for him, so I guess its a question of how far/long my dear husband can hike with a 25 lb kid strapped to his back
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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 04:14 PM
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This may help you get a hint for the two hikes I mentioned as quite strenuous. We are in our mid-twenties and VERY physically fit and we still find them strenuous. Not impossible or anything, but certainly not a "walk in the park". Lots of sweat ;-) Bring plenty of water if you choose to do these.

You can choose to hike just a bit from Vernazza up toward Monterosso. 5 minutes uphill on that trail provides you with the best photo opp for the town of Vernazza and a very rewarding view of the coast and sea.

Are you aware of the Cinque Terre card? A three day pass is 13€ and allows you access on all the trains running between the towns as well as access to the hiking trails. Part of the proceeds go toward conservation of the area which is now a national conservatory.

Other tips - avoid Il Moretto restaurant in Monterosso. In 4 trips to the CT this is the worst restaurant I have eaten at. There are many stray (but perfectly docile) cats in Vernazza and Corniglia. Your son may enjoy feeding them - you can buy scraps of meat in most of the grocery shops.
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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 05:21 PM
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And you may be interested in knowing that there are two playgrounds in Monterosso -- one in the old town and one in the new town; a small playground by the train station in Vernazza; and a glorious playground in Manarola. With a two year old I would suggest a picnic dinner, or carryout pizza, at this playground -- enjoy the view.

Monterosso has large sandy beaches, the one at the far end of new town is nice with small children. Vernazza also has a small sandy area in the harbor, and Riomaggiore has a rocky beach.
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