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cinque terre

Is there a better direction to hike the Cinque Terre, east to west or west to east?

Posted by
6898 posts

In our trail walk, we began in Vernazza and went to Riomaggiore. In our experience, we found far more people going the other way. With the trails being narrow in many places, we kept finding ourselves making way for hikers coming the other way.

Posted by
251 posts

Either direction is fine. I've done both and enjoyed it both ways. However, if I had to pick one I would actually go from Riomaggiore to Monterosso. Frank mentioned that difficult section right at Monterosso (those tons of steps), and I prefer going down at that point, finishing in Monterosso, as opposed to climbing up.

But, again, either way is fine; enjoy it, take it easy, take photos, take in the scenery, etc.

Posted by
3112 posts

I prefer the direction from Monterosso to Riomaggiore for a few reasons - you hike the most difficult sections first when you're the freshest, the views as you approach Vernazza are amazing (not nearly as good if you have to keep turning around to see them), you arrive at the top of Corniglia and walk down (rather than up) the long flight of stairs and the end of the hike is easy and relaxing.

Posted by
10344 posts

It depends on which segment of the overall hiking trails you are doing (there are many). These 2 websites give details of the trail, including the names of the different segments of the overall hiking trails looking at those websites, if you can clarify which segments you're interested in, we can give a more specific answer.

Posted by
1890 posts

I'm with Frank. Start in Monterosso. Plan on about 4-5 hours with stops for pictures, and maybe even lunch in one of the towns.

Start early as you can for best views and crowds.

Most important, take your time and enjoy the views. Stop and just listen to the ocean, to the birds!

Posted by
40 posts

I agree with the others-start in Monterrosso-the views are amazing.Personally,I'd skip Riomaggiore-I thought it was an awful place.Be warned-the hike between Monterrosso and Vernazza is STEEP and a very hard climb!

Posted by
521 posts

I made the mistake of starting from Riomaggiore in the morning on a summer's day... by the time I got to the longest and most difficult of the hikes, it was in the painful heat of the day. Absolutely start from Monterosso and start early! The first hike is pretty grueling, but remember that they get easier, especially after Corniglia.

And despite what Bobbie said, I had a great time in Riomaggiore, as I did in all the towns.

Posted by
12172 posts

Bring lots of water. We were there in late October and still found ourselves parched. A drink stop in each town wasn't enough.

We stayed in Vernazza and hiked first thing to Monterosso, then took the train to the far end and hiked back to Vernazza.

If I did it again. I think the first train to Monterosso, take the hike with a lunch break, then train back to Vernazza would be a good choice.