Wednesday, September 17 – Hiked from Levanto to Monterosso to Vernazza

Sunny and hot

Turns out we can use the breakfast room (Federico told us yesterday). So up early and to the breakfast room. This is great – and will save us having to remember to buy bread the day before so we can have it in the morning.

The day was hot, so we wore shorts and short sleeved t-shirts. My horrible leg rash that I got our first day of hiking in Switzerland disappeared after a few days and never returned, so shorts can now be worn. We debated between wearing our regular hiking boots or just going with running shoes, and decided on the boots. But we did not take our hiking poles (we could have used them) or big daypacks – we just carried a small pack with water. A nice change from all the stuff you carry in Switzerland in case the weather changes (or you get lost on the trails).

We were on the trail from Levanto to Monterosso by 10am!!

The Cinque Terre is five (cinque) towns along the Liguria coast, south of Levanto. If there were Six Terre, the sixth would be Levanto. You can hike between the five towns, but a similar trail also goes to Levanto. In June 2000, we did the Cinque Terre trail, but not the part to Levanto.

The hike from Levanto to Monterosso takes 2 hours, 30 minutes (the sign says 2 hours) and is very similar to the trail from Monterosso, to Vernazza, except that this one has more shade. 30 minutes of walking uphill – up steps, up slopes, up a roadway – then 1 hr 30 minutes walking at that level along the hillside, with some up and down, but really pretty easy, through beautiful forests and along terraces, then 30 minutes downhill to Monterosso. A really nice hike – but we were glad we were somewhat in shape from all the Switzerland hiking.

In Monterosso we had a lovely lunch sitting outside on a terrace (guess what we had? Steve had fish, I had noodles with pesto). But we made the mistake of drinking an entire bottle of Cinque Terre wine. We are not big drinkers. Usually one glass and not with every meal. But we were hot and tired and we drank it all (probably Steve had one glass and I drank the rest). We had planned to take the train back and then go swimming, but I figured it would be 3pm by the time we got back to the apartment and we would not feel like swimming. From this we concluded we should do the 2 hour hike from Monterosso to Vernazza.

566 steps up from Monterosso in the first 30 minutes of the hike. I not only counted them, but I announced the current count, in English, to nearly everyone passing by us on the trail. We passed lots of people who were going down and were passed by lots of (much younger) people going the same way as us. The hike was excellent and the 566 steps certainly sobered me up. There were more people on this part of the trail, but no so many that it affected the hike. The views were lovely and the hike was great – but it was more out in the sun than the first hike. We got to Vernazza 20 minutes before the next train – just enough time to get a Lemon Granita which was perfect because we were really hot from the hike.

Home and we collapsed. Everything hurt. My big plan is to hike the five towns in one day – so we may have to do this hike again (just the Monterosso to Vernazza part).

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.