[Please note that this post has to be intended as general information, we don't guaranntee its accuracy. For specific information please contact the 5 Terre National Park administration]
Let's try to put together some information regarding the situation of the paths here in Cinque Terre.
Everyone is probably aware of the flood occurred on Oct. 25th 2011 that caused heavy damages to the towns of Vernazza and Monterosso and to the surrrounding hills.
The magnitude of this event has been so huge to affect the territory for several months and probably years. However, a large part of the 5 Terre area has been untouched by the flood; at the same time, the flooded towns are quickly recovering and, according with the official information from the local administrations, they will be ready to host visitors in some weeks. The path's network has also been damaged by the flood and, moreover, it suffers a long-term lack of maintenance due to management “mistakes” in the past and economic crisis today.
So what can be the tourist's expectation? Which are the paths open and what towns can be reached by foot? What is the best location as starting point for an hiking trip in 5 Terre?
Have a look at the map of the trails as appears (today march 18th) on the official website of the 5 Terre National Park (http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/sentieri-e-trekking.asp):
- ( Map updated on march 25th 2012, path #02 reopened Manarola-Groppo-path #1 )
Talking of the next 45/60 days this will likely be the situation:
- Path number #2: the most known path, the one connecting directly the 5 villages is interrupted between Manarola and Corniglia due to a landslide and it's interrupted in 3 points (segments 2.2, 2.3 & 2.4 on the map) between Manarola and Monterosso due to the flood and to an older landslide. The only open part is the Via dell'Amore, between Manarola and Riomaggiore (segment 2.1, marked in light blue) This is a very easy path, for everyone, no particular skills required. Fully paved and protected with rail, still needs the payment of a ticket (only until 7.30 P.M., after that the transit is free) it has a completion time of 20/30 min.
Consider, however, that the segments 2.3 and 2.4 are scheduled to open very soon; (click here to see the note below->) in this way it will be possible to connect Corniglia with Vernazza and Vernazza with Monterosso respectively in ~1.45hrs and ~2hrs
- Path number #1: The high path runs a the top of the hills, it's completely open and absolutely gorgeous. Appropriate for good hikers it needs a good trekking equipement. No ticket needed, it can be reached directly from one of its two extremes ( Levanto [preferably] or Portovenere) or from one of the “connection trails”, we'll talk later about them..
- The sanctuaries way is the second path marked in light blue on the map, it connects Volastra ( located above Manarola) with the church of Montenero (above Riomaggiore), completely flat it's a path for everyone, but it's a long hike: it takes ~2 hrs to Montenero and another ~1hr from the church to Riomaggiore. In fact there're no public transportation from the sanctuary to Riomaggiore whilst one can easily reach Volastra with a bus from Manarola.
After this first description and a quick look at the map, let's focus on Manarola, the town that currently is best positioned to reach the available hiking itineraries of the 5 Terre. Let'see in detail what they are..
- We've seen that in just 30 minutes one can reach Riomaggiore from Manarola by the Via dell'Amore. From Riomaggiore one can decide to take a train to visit the other towns or proceed uphill on the path number #3 to reach the Church of Montenero in ~1.15 hrs. Than return back to Riomaggiore on the path #3A or complete the ring back to Volastra in ~2hrs than path number #6 down to Manarola in 30/40 min. Note that this itinerary made in the opposite direction needs no climb since one can take a bus from Manarola to Volastra, the rest is just flat and downhill.
- Again From Manarola, along the path number #6 a good hiker can reach the path number #1 (Monte Marvede) in ~2hrs/2.30hrs. From the path #1 there're some options: to Portovenere in ~3.30hrs/4 hrs and back by boat (boat service starts by the end of March, check the last ferry to return back) or to Riomaggiore through path #01 in ~2.30hrs; or to Vernazza via path #8 in ~4hrs.
- Still on the path number #6 to Volastra in ~1hr. From there one of our nicest path, the #6D with wonderful panoramic sea views (see the picture below), will take you in Corniglia in ~1.15hrs through path #7A. The #6D has been recently cleaned by volunteers from Corniglia, Volastra and Manarola. Also in this case ..no climb is needed since one can take a bus from Manarola to Volastra and the rest is flat+downhill. Currently, from Corniglia one must take the train to move to another village.
- Path #02, currently marked in red [In fact it has been reopened and marked in yellow, the map has been updated on march 25th], has actually been cleaned by volunteers of Manarola and Volastra and, after the positioning of new signals, should be praticable soon.
The #02 intersects the sanctuary road (~1 hr) and reaches the path #1 (708 meters altitude) in ~2 hrs.
Manarola hosts also short walking paths around the town, for those who like a 'light hike' at sunset for example. In Manarola is available a service of naturalistic guide, to accompany small groups of people along the paths, to discover hidden corners and learn some basics about history, flora and geology of the area. Contact Sara at the number+39 3494973384 for more information.
Out of Manarola, some advices:
- A very interesting hike is from Levanto to Monterosso along the path #1 up to the 'Mesco Observatory' in ~1.30hrs and than downhill to the town of Monterosso along the path #10 in ~45min.
- From Monterosso one can reach the Sanctuary of Soviore in ~1.15hrs via path #9.
- Despite the closure of an important element of the blue path (#2), the towns are all well connected to each other by alternative routes (except Corniglia-Vernazza tract for which you can easily use the train).
- There're many paths, less touristic but even better than the most known and crowded ones, that allow the hikers to walk in a "ring" to return back to the starting point with different levels of difficulty; ask the local guides for all the information. These are the oldest paths running through olives and wineyards that will make you feel the essence of our territory.
- All paths, even those "high", lesser known, offer splendid views of sea and sky, characteristic of our park.
- Within few weeks the most of the paths will be open and an hard year will finally be left behind us.
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON APRIL 6TH 2012
See the map below -click to enlarge- updated on April 6th: according with the official information of the National Park and of the Municipality of Monterosso al Mare ( See here the official sheet->) the BLUE PATH number #2 has been reopened between Vernazza and Monterosso)
This important update makes possible a direct connection between Vernazza and Monterosso; at this point the only missing connection is Corniglia-Vernazza, we hope a quick solution. For the other paths -particularly Manarola/Corniglia- you can see the notes above.
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON OCT. 1ST 2012
Unfortunately due to a new landslide occurred on Sept 24th on the "Via dell'Amore" where 4 persons were injured, the Public Prosecutor's Office has forced the local Administration to close the blue path number #2 to monitor the situation. The Public Prosecutor's Office opened an investigation and until new disposal the blue path will remain closed.
Nevertheless, the 5 TerreNational Park's administration have decided to maintain active the payment of the 5 TERRE CARD.
WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT TO PURCHASE THE 5 TERRE CARD until (today oct.12th 2012) it's not clear what are the services included, since currently none of the paths subjected to payment are open and the 5terre card train (cost 10 eur) is useful and worthly only if one takes AT LEAST 6 TRAINS IN ONE DAY!