The Wandering Anthropologist

Hiking the Cinque Terre

Asia Borseth

This hike was one that was pretty long, and given that we did it in Italy in August, it was also incredibly hot. The coast of Italy is truly a sight to see, but the Cinque Terre is something else entirely. 

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The colorful houses that make up the landscape of the villages make for a beautiful contrast with the sparkling blue sea. If you climb out onto the large rocks in front of the village of Riomaggiore, you can see the entire village and also be among the little floating boats.

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Cinque Terre means five villages, and it is representative of the five fishing villages that line the western coast of Italy. My sister really wanted to hike through all of the villages, from Riomaggiore to Monteroso.

To make this trip more affordable, we decided to stay in La Spezia in a hostel that has been one of my favorites through my travels. This hostel was very clean and beautiful. From this hostel they also offered free bus rides to the first village, which made it very accessible.

On the day that we took our trek, we took the bus from our hostel in the morning to the first village, Riomaggiore. Once we arrived, we picked up breakfast from a little shop, and we headed out to see the village from the rocks. Once we got to the beginning of the trail, we realized that it had been washed out by a recent landslide, so we had to take the long way around, up a lot of stairs. For the hike we did a lot of hiking up and down, as the villages existed in the valleys on the coast. There were also a lot of stairs involved, however if you can make it the views are totally worth it.

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We hiked up and down through these villages, which took most of the day and was pretty tiring. Since we were not actually on the trekking trail for the first portion of the hike, we did not have to buy the pass until about the third village. Once we were on that path, it was much more clear and well maintained. Another really cool thing about the Cinque Terre is that if you bring your own refillable water bottle, you can refill it between each of the villages at the water stations. 

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Another really beautiful part of the trek is that between the later villages, there are acres of vineyards along the sloping hill. This was just a little part that encouraged me to imagine what it would be like to live a slow life on a vineyard. Drinking wine and living on the coast. Maybe someday that will be my future. 

After we hiked through the villages, with one stop to pick up some fresh fruit for lunch, we ended by staying the night in the last village, Monteroso. As soon as we finished our hike, we jumped into the ocean to cool off. Next we went and found some incredible Italian gelato, and we finished off the day with a giant bowl of pasta. What else do you do after a long day of hiking in Italy? 

All in all, the views from up high were really gorgeous, which made it all worth it. It is hard to describe the beauty on the coast of Italy, the best way to go is to see it for yourself. I hope that someday I can go back to the Cinque Terre and see it again through fresh eyes. 

I loved seeing the Cinque Terre, have you been? Let me know what you thought of it. 

Much love,

Asia