Upper trails - Cinque Terre

Hi all, Does anyone have experience with the upper trails that can share a little detail? I'm wondering how strenuous, how much altitude you gain, and how long they are? We are healthy, 30's, surfers, so a little challenge is great, but in no way are we mountain climbers :)
I will be there late April, and from what I've read of comments and links posted on here, I am thinking that the coastal trails may not be open then. Any feedback or recommendations are very appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
24211 posts

Cat, The following website may provide you with at least some information on the various trails in the Cinque Terre (there's an English-language option): http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/sentieri_parco.asp?id_lingue=1 If you click on the name of each trail, a short description is provided. That should give you some idea on the level of difficulty and other factors. Cheers!

Posted by Cat
Paia, HI, USA
141 posts

Thanks Ken. That's a great help! There are so many options, I was a little worried at first!!

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
4096 posts

Ciao Cat! We took to the high trails last fall as the Sentiero Azzurro was closed. We actually enjoyed the high areas more. A good workout for us, far older than you. Some challenging footing so I recommend hiking boots with a good rigid sole for these rocky trails. You can read about a couple of our high trail adventures here ( On the Sanctuary Trail) and here ( Postcards from the Cinque Terre).

Posted by Jeremy
Irvine, CA, United States
107 posts

I doubt you'll have any issues if you're in shape. He entire trail is a good hike but not close to mountaineering... As mentioned, make sure you have a good pair of hiking shoes or running shoes (if you have strong ankles and legs) either or with good traction. Hopefully all the trails will be open by then!

Posted by Cathy
Hinesburg, VT, USA
33 posts

My husband and I are in pretty good shape - mid 30's, we hike the mountains in VT, etc. When we were there last year, we could walk the via del amore from Riomaggiore to Manarolla, but had to go up to Volastra and over and down to Corniglia. The website (http://savevernazza.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Save-Vernazza-Trails-itinerary.pdf) said "Stroll up Trail 6 to the Sanctuary Madonna della Salute 30 min Easy." Well, it was 45 minutes for us, and I wouldn't call it an easy "stroll". It was 45 minutes of stairs. It was pretty tiring. All that work does make you appreciate the view once you get to the top and get to hike along a level route for a while. Then, of course, there are stairs to get down into Corniglia, so your legs do get a workout. We then took the train to Vernazza (at the time, no trails between Corniglia and Vernazza were open). Then we took the coastal trail from Vernazza to Monterossa. That, too, had a lot of stairs up, and then stairs down, though not as many as trail #6.

Posted by Cat
Paia, HI, USA
141 posts

Thanks to all of you for this info! The websites and itinerary links were great. It looks challenging, but lovely and worth it! Laurel, I really loved your personal blogs, and photos - I linked through to the "Life In Liguria" blog - you're right, it's great reading! Thanks again!