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Walking in Italy: The Cinque Terre

8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,580

Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s most famous destinations and deservedly so. Uncover the secrets of these five iconic towns in detail on this short Italy tour, starting in Levanto and finishing in Santa Margherita.

On this Europe tour, small group means small group. With an average of 10 participants, and a maximum of 16 on each departure, you’ll feel less like a tourist and more like a traveller, discovering Europe with friends at your side.


Unlike many Italy trips, this 8-day journey focuses on the Cinque Terre, one of Italy’s most recognisable, yet rarely understood regions. Occupying a particularly dramatic and picturesque location along the Italian Riviera, the ‘five villages’ can seem almost too picture-perfect to be real. With the help of your expert guide, you can explore their secrets in detail.

Meet your small group in Levanto for a quick briefing, followed by a dinner highlighting some of the local specialties. Levanto itself is not one of the ‘Cinque Terre’ villages, but it is an ideal gateway, allowing you to take a leisurely coastal walk on your first day to Monterosso, the first of the five. Both have a beautiful old town centre, while Monterosso is known for its magnificent, if partly ruined castle, parish church, and convent. Also keep a look out for the Monterosso Giant, who hangs his head over the calm coastal waters.

The following day, take a train ride to Riomaggiore, which clings to the rocks of a small valley overlooking the sea. From a distance, the town can look like a confusion of colourful buildings, but it’s also the start of Cinque Terre’s most famous walk, which links the five villages. You’ll take in all the best vantage points over the coast as you go on to Manarola and Volastra, and make your way through terraced vineyards to Vernazza, known for its old fortress.

Challenge yourself with the walk up the undulating track to Madonna di Montenero (or take the bus…nobody will judge), then continue on to Campiglia. More wonderful coastal views await before having lunch in the village. Then descend to the shoreline, returning to Levanto by boat. The so-called ‘Wild West Coast Walk’ is next, which follows the beach and foothills all the way to Bonassola, and the hamlets of Framura. There are so many charming little towns here, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve been transported to another time as you explore the streets of each one. End your day with a train ride to Santa Margherita, where you’ll stay for the next two nights.

The rest of your trip focuses on the Portofino Peninsula, just to the northwest of Cinque Terre. Explore more delightful hamlets, including the historic streets and monasteries they contain. You’ll even have the chance to swim in the waters at the foot of some of these towns. Your last full day takes you on a tour of the Portofino, where the best view of the harbour can arguably be seen from the church lighthouse. At the end of the tour, you’ll have the option of walking back to Santa Margherita with your guide, or returning later in the day by bus or boat. Enjoy a final day at leisure to see more of the coast, or set off for the next stop on your Italy vacation.


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8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,580

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1


Arrive in Levanto, centrally located on the Ligurian coast. No activities are planned for today so that you can arrive at any time. If you arrive early why not head out and explore Levanto's colourful streets. After the group meeting, enjoy a first group dinner together in the hotel restaurant, where you will dine on local specialities.

In the evening, you can take a relaxed stroll through the town to take in the atmosphere of this seaside location.

Meal Plan Dinner
Duration4 Nights

Hotel Park Argento

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Hotel Park Argento

    The hotel was recently built and includes all the facilities and comforts of a 4 star hotel to ensure that our guests enjoy a relaxing stay. Found in a convenient location from which to explore the coast, the hotel has an outdoor swimming pool with …

    The hotel was recently built and includes all the facilities and comforts of a 4 star hotel to ensure that our guests enjoy a relaxing stay. Found in a convenient location from which to explore the coast, the hotel has an outdoor swimming pool with a massage section, a wellness centre with sauna, turkish bath and emotional shower , free outdoor parking, and a parking garage available upon request for a fee. Our friendly staff are pleased to provide information about the sights to explore in the surrounding area.


    • Bar/Lounge
    • Business Centre
    • Drycleaning
    • Pool
    • Restaurant
    • Spa

    More Details

Day 2

Monterosso / Levanto

Today, you will embark on your first walk, which takes you along the coast from Levanto to Monterosso, the first of the five villages of the Cinque Terre. The first part of the walk leads you through the old town centre of Levanto, past the stunning cathedral and up to its castle. It then continues up to Punta Mesco, the most notable promontory in the region.

Just short of this point, take a small detour to the ruins of an 11th-century hermitage and the nearby ruins of the lighthouse. Here, you can enjoy marvellous views of the rugged coastline and find a nice spot to stop for a short break. Then follow the fairly steep path down into Monterosso - a colourful village with blue, red and yellow houses that cluster along the beachfront. Upon arrival in Monterosso enjoy a wine tasting session at a local wine shop which includes a glass of sciacchetra, a special wine only produced in the Cinque Terre area. Take your time to explore this interesting little town before taking the local train back to Levanto. For those who wish to, there is also an option to walk back from Monterosso to Levanto.

Upon return, enjoy all the amenities of your feature stay hotel, which includes a pool, a sauna and a wellness centre.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 3

The Five Villages of the Cinque Terre / Levanto

A short train ride brings you to Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the five villages. Here, you will start your exploration along this famous stretch of coastline, partly along the classic coastal path on foot, partly by train through tunnels, both linking the five villages. Your local leader will take you to vantage points along the coast for the best photo opportunities, some of which you will not even find on the area's postcards.

After exploration of pretty Riomaggiore board another train taking you to Manarola, an attractive little village with steep multi-coloured houses overlooking a rocky port. From Manarola, make your way by bus up through a stunning terraced landscape to the village of Volastra. From here, start your walk along one of the most beautiful trails in the area. Through terraced vineyards and the occasional bit of forest, you approach Corniglia, perched on a ridge overlooking the sea.

Next is the little hamlet of Prevo, walking through terraced vineyards and the occasional citrus grove. Enjoy some of the best views in the region as you approach Vernazza, which is dominated by its old fortress. Follow the contours of the hillside on a narrow track that leads you up and down, before a fairly steep descent takes you into the village itself. After a refreshing drink on Vernazza's wonderful town square at the harbour, resplendent with its brightly painted boats, continue to Monterosso.

In the late afternoon, you will take the train back to Levanto.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 4

Portovenere / Levanto

Begin your day with a short train ride back to the tiny village of Riomaggiore. Embark on a walk that leads you to Portovenere at the very end of the peninsula. Today's trail is the most challenging of the Ligurian walks; it's also perhaps the most rewarding.

First, you will walk up a rather steep flight of stairs, then along an undulating track to reach the sanctuary of the Madonna di Montenero (those who wish to opt out of this climb can catch a bus instead). After stopping at the sanctuary for a short break, continue your walk to Campiglia. Continuing uphill you will follow the contours of the coastal cliffs, passing terraced vineyards and enjoying wonderful views of the coastline. Pass the abandoned village of Lemmen and walk high on the ridge through vineyards and pine forest. Finally, descend to the little village of Campiglia, where you can stop for lunch and some refreshments. Then continue towards Portovenere and enjoy even more spectacular coastal views.

When you arrive at the 16th-century castle above the village, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the distant peaks of the Apuan Alps before you descend a long staircase that takes you to St Peter's Point and then into the heart of the village.

After some free time to relax in Portovenere, return by boat to your base in Levanto - a lovely way to see the coast from the water - just in time for a group dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 5

Levanto / Santa Margherita

From Levanto, you will walk in a westerly direction, along with the coast and through several charming little villages. This is best known as the Wild West Coast Walk. The first part of your walk follows the beach, then heads into the foothills and down to the charming seaside village of Bonassola (a good place for a morning coffee stop). Then stroll through the seaside hills towards the small village of Framura, a collection of ancient hamlets on a hillside, distinctive due to its red rocks. From Costa, the largest hamlet, a level path contours around the hills and offers you splendid views out to sea. You can opt to either continue your walk to the resort of Deiva Marina or walk back down to the coast to take a swim, before catching the train.

Travel to the small town of Moneglia, where you will have time to wander around and explore; alternatively, you can walk to Sestri Levante and out to the headland. Finally, you will catch a train to Santa Margherita, an attractive town that overlooks the Ligurian Sea. This is your base for the next three nights.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Nights

Hotel Jolanda

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Location View map
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    Hotel Jolanda

    Centrally located in the beautiful setting of Santa Margherita Ligure, just 100 meters from the sea and halfway between the charming Portofino and Rapallo, Hotel Jolanda, open all year, offers serene and cozy stay in a thoroughly elegant surroundings.

    Centrally located in the beautiful setting of Santa Margherita Ligure, just 100 meters from the sea and halfway between the charming Portofino and Rapallo, Hotel Jolanda, open all year, offers serene and cozy stay in a thoroughly elegant surroundings.


    • Bar/Lounge
    • Fitness Centre
    • Gym
    • Restaurant
    • Spa

    More Details

Day 6

Portofino Peninsula / Santa Margherita

Walk across the beautiful hills of the Portofino Peninsula to some amazing viewpoints, then down to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso. First, travel by local bus along a scenic route to the small hamlet of Ruta and then walk along some splendid fin-de-siecle villas towards the highest point of the Peninsula, Monte Portofino. You will then have several longer and shorter options to reach the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, an 11th-century marvel set in a secluded cove and reachable only by boat or on foot. All walks bring you through a verdant forested landscape with fabulous views across the Gulf of Tigullio and the Golfo Paradiso. Upon arrival, there is the option to visit the abbey or perhaps go for a swim.

Then take a boat to Camogli, a chance to admire the beautiful coastline from the sea. In Camogli, take your time to wander around the colourful historic centre and enjoy a relaxed drink or grab a gelato on one of its many terraces. From here, it's a 5-minute train ride back to Santa Margherita.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 7

Portofino to Santa Margherita

Today, you'll see the best of the Portofino Peninsula. First, take a short walk through the historic centre of Santa Margherita Ligure, where you can also do some shopping for your picnic lunch. Then start a walk into the hills and enjoy beautiful views across the bay. By late morning, you will reach Portofino, one of the most typical Ligurian seaside villages and a popular resort for jet-setters. Explore this charming village and take the scenic walk to the church lighthouse, where you can look back on the inlet of Portofino (the name of which translates into 'fine harbour'). Then head uphill and take a break in the woods and enjoy your picnic lunch. From here, you can either join the leader for a walk back to Santa Margherita or relax and return by boat or bus later in the afternoon.

In the evening, meet your group for a farewell dinner in Santa Margherita.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 8

Santa Margherita

Your trip comes to an end after breakfast. Santa Margherita is well connected by train to other cities in Italy, with regular trains to Genoa, Milan, Florence and Pisa.

If you'd like to book additional nights in Santa Margherita, please enquire when you book this trip.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information


2019: Sep 1, 15, 29
2020: May 24, 31; Jun 14; Aug 30; Sep 13, 20


  • 7 breakfasts
  • 3 dinners
  • Boat Transportation
  • Local bus
  • Private vehicle
  • Train Transportation
  • Comfortable hotel (7 nights)
  • Welcome dinner
  • Levanto to Monterosso Guided Hike
  • Cinque Terre Guided Hike
  • Riomaggiore to Portovenere Guided Hike
  • The Wild West Coast Guided Hike
  • Guided Hike to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso
  • Guided Hike to Portofino
  • Farewell Dinner


  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

20 Sep 2020
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