Meet in the lobby of our hotel at 1 pm for introductions, a trip overview and a snack. After introductions, we begin our first hike to Portofino. We hike up from in the hills of the promontory where the views of the Mediterranean are spectacular. Arriving in Portofino, we stop to explore boutiques or relax in a seaside cafe before heading back to Santa Margherita by boat or bus.
Portofino to Camogli
Hike from Portofino up along coastal footpaths that take us into the craggy, mountainous surroundings (250m/820ft). By late morning, we descend into the bay of San Fruttuoso, a 12th century medieval Benedictine abbey. After lunch, we take a boat to Punta Chiappa and begin our hike through S Rocco (221m/725ft) to Camogli to explore this lesser known, beautiful fishing village. The brightly colored trompe l'oeil houses topple over the hillside, spilling into the sea. We roam about this splendid little town and eat the famous foccaccia al formaggio before returning by train to Santa Margherita.
Levanto to Monterosso
Shuttle from Santa Margherita to Levanto to visit its medieval quarter: Church of S. Andrea, a 13th century loggia and beautifully preserved medieval walls. By late morning, we hike along the pine-scented ancient trade routes around the Punta Mesco (314m/1030ft) past olive groves and grape terraces to Monterosso. This evening features a private cooking lesson with our chef and dear friend, Felicina, who teaches us the secrets to perfect pesto and zuppa di pesce.
Manarola via the Coastal Road
We hike up (260m/850ft) and out of Monterosso, leaving behind stunning views of this village. We arrive in Vernazza to visit the Church of Santa Margherita, to roam the narrow alleyways and to admire the colorful boats resting in the cove. After lunch above the town, we hike up stone steps and over the hills (150m/500ft) to Corniglia. Train back to Monterosso. Dinner on your own.
Riomaggiore to Portovenere
After a train ride to Riomaggiore, we hike up to the Santuario Montenero (340m/1115ft) where we enjoy gorgeous panoramic views of all the paths we have hiked thus far. Hiking along a ridge of vineyards and pine forests to Colle del Telegrafo (513m/1685ft) for lunch, we arrive in the village of Campiglia (400m/1310ft) and stop to eat in a small trattoria overlooking the Gulf of La Spezia. Continuing on, we hike along a beautiful ridge trail until our descent into Portovenere where we can see its striking black and white zebra-striped marble cathedral jut right out to the sea!
Around 9:00 am, we provide a group shuttle to the train station in La Spezia. Your guides are happy to assist in any post tour arrangements or in extending your stay in the Cinque Terre.