• sign in
  • |
  • sign up
  • |
  • my miniguide
  • |
  • write a review
  • Travel Guides
  • » 
  • Active Adventure
  • » 
  • Walking
  • » 
  • Cinque Terre Hiking
Hiking with Kids in Italy's Cinque Terre
Fast Facts

BEST

  for

KIDS

 
Hiking Destinations in Cinque Terre

BEST

  for

KIDS

 
Family-Friendly Tours

BEST

  for

KIDS

 
Family Travel Tips
 
 
Hiking with Kids in Italy's Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Hiking is part and parcel of any trip to Italy's Cinque Terre. Most visitors, even families, walk at least one segment of the coastal footpath that connects the 'five lands' - Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. While the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza and on to Corniglia requires a moderate level of physical fitness, the trail between Corniglia and Manarola as well as the paved Via dell'Amore between Manarola and Riomaggiore are accessible to everyone. Families with energetic kids need not limit their adventure to the crowded coast, marked hiking trails, sentieri in Italian, take intrepid family walkers to the hinterland as well as points beyond the Cinque Terre. The walk from Levanto to Portovenere, via the High Road or Sentiero Rosso, is more 12 hours and as the locals will kindly advise you, 'non ci passa più!'.
Getting Started
 
In the Cinque Terre, no two trails are the same. The level 30-minute walk along the paved Via dell'Amore is easy, the 1.5 hour hike between Monterosso and Vernazza is difficult and the 12 hour trek from Levanto to Portovenere, when walked in its entirety, is extreme. Yet in the Cinque Terre, families should consider more than just the duration of a hike. Elevation gain and loss is a factor on most area hiking trails. Thus in addition to deciding the amount of time you would like to spend walking on holiday, bear in mind your level of physical fitness as well as the kids' hiking ability.
The Right Trip
 
The trip from Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore along the coastal pathway or Sentiero Azzurro via Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola is marked as 4 hours and 30 minutes, the time it takes an average walker to complete the 12km hike. An intrepid walker will take much less but families with children could require much more. Pictures, water and breaks all add up. The segment between Monterosso and Vernazza is the most difficult leg of the walk even though local maps also show the trek between Vernazza and Corniglia a comparable 1.5 hours in length. The difference is steps at both ends of the trail, 382 up and 382 down. The 30-minute Via dell'Amore between Riomaggiore and Manarola is only segment of the walk that is appropriate for strollers. The 45-minute walk between Manarola and the Corniglia train station may lack the charm of the Via dell'Amore and the terraced landscape that characterizes the trail between Corniglia and Monterosso but it is flat and accessible to all. The 15-minute hike from the train station to Corniglia is straight up - 365 steps. The sanctuaries situated above each of the five villages are accessible by footpath. The reward, a commanding view from above. The 12-hour trek along the High Road or Sentiero Rosso from Levanto to Portovenere passes above each of the five lands.
Plotting your Route
 
The best time to hike in the Cinque Terre is in the spring (April and May) and fall (September and October). It can be excruciatingly hot along the mostly unshaded hiking trails from June to August and at midday in May and September. Some segments of the trail network may be closed after heavy rains. Check trail openings at the local tourist office before you depart. A trail fee, currently €5.00 per day for adults and €2.5 per day per child, is charged to walkers accessing the coastal pathway or Sentiero Azzurro only. A ticket both is prominently positioned at each end of all five segments of the coastal pathway. Multi-day - one, two, three and seven day - Cinque Terre Cards and Cinque Terre Treno are also available. Both include unlimited access to the hiking trails as well as admission to area museums and three hours of mountain bike usage, availability is first come first serve, on mid-level trails. Cinque Terre Treno includes unlimited train travel between Levanto and La Spezia for the duration of the card. If your family includes two adults and two or more kids be sure to ask for the Family Card, which offers additional savings. Families planning to hike one way and take the train for the return trip only may be better off paying the daily trail fee and purchasing train tickets separately. (The price of the train ticket between Riomaggiore and Monterosso is €1.2 per person.) Access to all other area trails is free of charge.
Travel Gear
 
You don't need a much in the way of specialist walking gear to hike in the Cinque Terre but there a few things to keep in mind when hiking with kids. Little feet grow quickly. Have children try on their hiking boots and break in new walking shoes before you depart on a walking holiday. Not all child carriers are the same. Select a model with adequate suspension as well as padded shoulder straps and waist belt. A sun hood is necessary on all Cinque Terre walks. If you are carrying a child in a kid carrier for the first time, try it out before you hit the trail. Families departing on a multi-day trip should consider comfortable and well-made hiking boots as well as properly fitting and sufficient capacity backpacks. Trekking poles are both fashionable and fun but are hardly a necessity on short hikes with kids.
Packing Tips
 
While the walking gear you need depends on the type of walk you take, there is little reprieve from the sun on any Cinque Terre walks or hikes. The basics for the coastal walk include: map, water, food, sun protection (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen), train and boat schedule, and garbage bag. Include a cell phone, compass, extra clothes and socks, whistle for each child, rain poncho, first aid kit, waterproof matches and pocketknife on longer hikes with kids. A camera, disposable models work well for young children, provides fun as well as a distraction. A swimsuit and towel, lightweight batik take up very little room, will ensure the kids aren't left watching as others enjoy a refreshing swim at the end of the trail. Families hiking with young children should also include the items they need for a day on the town (diapers, wipes, etc). Distribute the content according to age and ideal weight; kids can't carry as much as adults!
Health & Safety
 
Walking is a great way to introduce the kids to the outdoors. Yet it is important not to exaggerate. Select a trail that matches the interest and ability of the kids and pace the hike to the slowest walker or youngest child. Don't wait until you are tired to take a break; short legs will be fatigued first. Stop frequently for water and snacks. Check on children regularly. A sleeping child may be peaceful but can still be hot, cold, or uncomfortable. Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas before you take your first step. And while it may be tempting to remove t-shirts and bear bikini tops along the trail, the sun is likely to prove unforgiving. Check your first aid kit as part of your pre-trip planning. Teach the kids to walk safely and responsibly and make sure they know what to do if lost before you depart on a hiking trip.
Free Travel Journal
Get a free kids travel journal to document your family vacation.
Download PDF
Travel Trivia
Arizona is the: