We will be staying overnight in Volastra and I am wondering the easiest way to access the trails of the Cinque Terre villages. Has anyone stayed here and done the hike? How long did it take? WE will be attempting it on a Saturday( unavoidable)
Staying in Volastra, the problem is you are way up above the coastal trails on the SP51 road, hundreds of vertical feet above the coast. Your challenge is to look for the nearest trail DOWN to the coast from Volastra. Inquire locally or get the close up trail map when you get there, it's not available in N. America.
I'm looking at a trail map that you get free with the Cinque Terre Treno card. Volastra is centered up high between Manarola and Corniglia. I don't see a direct path down from Volastra. If you are going to hike down, you will need to hike to points high above either Manarola or Corniglia before you can go down. Or, you can take the mini-bus from Volastra to Manarola. The following is a description from Wikipedia.
"Volastra is a quiet village in the Cinque Terre National Park, Italy. You can get to Volastra from Manarola, one of the five coastal villages by taking hiking trail number 6d. Following the coast out of Volastra towards Corniglia one walks across the top of the terraced vineyards. The vineyard hike is moderately easy and it gives you wonderful views of the Mediterranean and the villages. Alternatively, there is bus service to and from Manorola to Volastra".
Having hiked the trail, I can suggest that you take the bus to one of the five villages and start hiking the trail. It is easy to find in each village.
Hike as far as you like and remember to save energy to hike back. We stayed in Vernazza and hiked both ways out of town. A few hours will be enough because the scenery doesn't vary.
If you need to know how long it takes to hike each section go to cinqueterre.com and click on "hiking" under "guides" and then on "blue path". At the bottom of the page you will find the hiking times.