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The Cinque Terre from Siena

I have only one day to see the Cinque Terre (sad, I know, but that's the way it is)--planning to take the train to La Spezia from Siena (about a 3 hour ride) and think that it would be best to take the "Milk Run" train (as Rick refers to it in his book) to Monterosso al Mare and then hike back through the villages to Riomaggiore and then train back to La Spezia and on to Siena. A few questions: is this too ambitious for a healthy 40-year old? (It seems rather hectic, but I'm unsure.) Would you suggest limiting my day to one or two of the villages rather than trying to see all five? If so, which ones?

Posted by
1819 posts

It's actually doable. The hike is only about 4.5 hours from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, even with stopping to take pictures and eat lunch in one of the villages.
however, it's best to get started early in the day, and with a 3 hour train best check the train schedules to make sure you get a train back to Siena that same day.
If your goal is to say you hiked the trail, then go for it, but it's like seeing Rome in one day, you won't get the flavor of the quiet.
you will not have to time "see" the villages, only hike the trail, so keep that in mind too...
We spent 3 nights there, hiked the trail one day, {we started hiking at 8:30AM} explored 2 of the villages the next, went sea kayaking and even took a day trip to Lucca on the last day (that was rushed!).

Posted by
1589 posts

I agree with Ellen. Having been there several times, I can not imagine doing this in one day when AT LEAST 7 hours of the time will be spent on local trains. 5 hours of serious, hard, consistant hiking is also what faces you. You might consider just looking at the photos on this website and wait for a later trip.

Posted by
19 posts

Just wondering about the sea kayaking you mentioned, Ellen. Where did you do that? Do you remember what the cost for rental was, how long it took, etc.? Thanks.