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questions about hiking in cinque terre

Old Nov 5th, 2005, 10:47 AM
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questions about hiking in cinque terre

We plan to be in the cinque terre in late June. I would appreciate comments on the following questions.
1. I keep hearing/reading about the heat and the crowds, and was wondering if June was really a bad time to be there. Is it just too hot that time of year to do the whole hike to all 5 towns?
2. If we don't do the entire hike, please comment on which leg(s) should not be missed. We are fit and healthy-- 40ish with 2 teens.
I do have Rick Steve's book, but love to hear opinions from other travelers.
And, BTW, we are staying at the Villa Steno in Monteresso for 2 nights, so we have 1 full day, and 2 half days.
Thank you!!!
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 03:25 PM
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ttt
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Old Nov 5th, 2005, 05:06 PM
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Hi Dina,

Our experience was in mid-May a few years ago. We stayed in Santa Margherita Ligure (which we loved) and took the train down to Riomaggiore. Started hiking about 10:30 am. It was in the mid-80's, and quite humid.

We hiked 4 out of the 5 towns. Stopping for lunch in Corniglia (SP?) - excellent. By the time we got to Vernazza we were pooped. Stopped for gellato and took the train back from there. I understand the portion from Monterosso to Vernazza is the longest in distance, but also very nice scenery. We thought it was all beautiful.

The trail was very, very busy with hikers in parts, but not all the way.

Buon viaggio!
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Old Nov 6th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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We were there in July and we lived in our bathing suits. Hiked, swam in almost every town and made the whole trek in a day. The section from Monterosso to Vernazza and Vernazza to Corniglia are pretty similar, by far the best views, but also the most strenuous. Corniglia to Manarola is the least enticing of the hikes (in our opinion)while Manarola to Riomaggiore is easiest. I'd skip Corniglia to Manarola, but if you were worried about time or fitness, skip one of the first two.

There are great areas to swim, especially for teens, heat shouldn't be much of a problem, and even in high season the trails were not packed.
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 06:41 PM
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Dayle and Sprin2-
Thanks for the great advice.
Dayle, do you remember where you had lunch in Corniglia?
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 08:22 PM
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Dina4 - We hiked, trained, and boated the Cinque Terre this past June with our 2 teenagers and our 11 year old. It was quite hot, but we swam and it was tremendously refreshing and made the heat manageable. We started to do the whole hike between the five towns, but after the first strenuous but spectacular hike from Monterosso to Vernazza, we decided to shuttle between towns by train and ferry the rest of the day. You can read more details here:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34645606
Let me know if you have other questions and I'll try to answer based on our recent experience.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Dina,

Sorry I can't remember the name of the restaurant. It faced a very tiny piazza with trees, tables and sun umbrellas. It was known for seafood, of course, and you could eat inside or out. Corniglia is so small, maybe there is only one piazza?
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 07:27 AM
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Hi dina,
We were there last May. It had been cool and rainy on the first part of our trip to Portofino but by the time we got to CT the weather was great. Now--hiking was really warm. My husband will say HOT as you know what exercise does for you. However, we wore long pants and sleeves for protection against sun and brush (not too much brush on the trails). We stayed in Vernazza. One trail was closed due to rain washing out the trail. The most difficult was the hike between Vernazza and Monterosso. We did this first. We are in our 50's and I am not in the best of shape but was able to do this hike just by not pushing too hard. The hike between Vernazza and Corniglia was not as difficult as the one to Mont. Scenery was great. The trail between Corn. and Manarola was closed. The last segment to Riomaggiore is just a stroll. I loved the CT. There were no large crowds when we were there.
I would go back there just to eat and drink the food was so good.
Happy travels!
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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A friend and I were there in April, and we walked the first two legs from the south, then the boats between the other towns. I would not miss the via de amor (not sure I have the name right); in April there were many Europeans (few Americans) on holiday and at certain spots it was quite crowded, but no problem at all on the walking trails.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 04:05 PM
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Dayle: Thanks for the details. I bet we could find that Corniglia lunch place.

MRand: I really enjoyed your trip report. I already read it and took a lot of good notes!! I wonder if you and Dayle had lunch at the same great place in Corniglia?? I was also wondering how difficult it was to navigate your way driving INTO Pisa and parking to the see the leaning tower and duomo. We love driving in Italy, but have had some trouble getting lost driving into Rome and Florence. Just wondering if I should expect it to be pretty difficult or not.

Mimi and Ann: Thank for your help, too. This is an amazing travel board!
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 07:37 PM
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dina4, thanks for this thread, good info here.

MRand, my wife and I eagerly devoured your thread describing your trip to Italy this year. We leave on our trip June 17th next year, for some of the same places. We are really glad that you gave a great revue of Pisa. We had been convinced that we should dash through on our way from Florence to Rapallo. Now, we hope to slow down and see what we can take with us from Pisa. Thank you
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Old Nov 12th, 2005, 11:17 PM
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dina4 - I suspect that Dayle and my family and I did eat at the same place in Corniglia. There was only one small piazza we saw there and it was just as she described.

Pisa was very easy to navigate around, using my 23 year old Michelin Green Guide to Italy and directions from the Via Michelin web site. The large parking lot a block or two northwest of Campo dei Miracoli was very easy to find.

viaggio_sempre - Glad to hear you're going to take your time in Pisa; I think you'll find it's well worth it.
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Old Nov 13th, 2005, 04:15 AM
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Just returned from Cinque Terre. The trail from Manarola to Corniglia was closed due to rock slides. Talking to the park officials, that is not an uncommon occurance.

My point is to be flexible, these things happen even with the best and most meticulous planning. One cannot let something like this ruin the whole trip. We simply trained to Corniglia and picked up the trail again.

Along the same line, I couldn't believe how many major sites in Italy, that we really wanted to see, were sheathed in scaffolding. I was disappointed of course, but I refuse to let anyone or anything ruin the vacation for me. I took the attitude that the sites were hundreds and hundreds of years old, and do require maintenance.
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Old Nov 13th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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We spend 3 nights in Manarola the 2nd week of October this year. The weather was beautiful and it was hot even then. We saw girls hiking in their bras and we were in shorts and t-shirts. The sun was very strong but we loved it. A few points.

1. I would recommend hiking from South to North. There are some incredible steps from Monterossa to Vernazza. We were very glad we were going down them and not up them.
2. All stretches are beautiful and we hiked from one end to the other in one day and then stopped at each town along the way. The 2nd day we took the train to Vernazza and hiked back to Manarola. The problem with this hike was the sun was in our eyes the entire time.
3. We stayed at Piccola Marina Hotel which is right on the harbor in Manarola. It was beautiful because our window opened right onto the harbor and we could hear the waves in the evening.
4. ATM's are now in every town.
5. Make sure you take your park passes with you everywhere even if you are not going to take the train. I misread and though you only needed them for the train and the first night we went to hike from Manarola to Riamaggorio (spelling) and we needed the pass. That walk which is basically all paved has a nice cliff side bar to sit and watch the sunset.

4. There were a number of people there in October but was in no way overun. There are many parts on the trail that are very narrow....enough room for 1 person to get by so I can't imagine it would be much fun in the summer with the crowds but I guess you just work your way through.
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Old Nov 13th, 2005, 07:34 AM
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kjosker: I agree. Despite overly obsessive planning, it's always important to have a postive, flexible attitude when travelling.

Denise: Thanks so much for the tips! We will definitely hike south to north, and it's great to know about the passes and atms!

More tips, anyone? Keep 'em coming!
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Old Nov 13th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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Try this for that thread:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...2&tid=34702464
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Old Nov 13th, 2005, 08:19 AM
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Sorry dina, meant to post that on the the other thread with similar question
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