Welcome to the Ligurian Coast — the jewel of the Mediterranean! Become entranced by the seductive charms of this stunning coastline. Feel the heat of the sun as you walk through terraced citrus orchards and vineyards high-above the sparkling blue waters of the sea. Breathe the aroma of freshly baked focaccia while meandering the cobbled streets of tiny cliffside villages. Embrace the contrast between Santa Margherita’s stately villas and chic boutiques with the tranquility of Mediterranean oak forests teaming with butterflies, birds and wildflowers. Delight your palate each night with traditional pastas and fresh seafood while sipping a crisp Ligurian white.
What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?
INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP
Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guide(s)
5 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
Dates available upon request.
Trip can start any date. Self-guided and custom trips also available. Call or email for details.
ARRIVE / DEPART
3 to 6 hours of hiking each day
Santa Margherita: The closest airports are in Genoa, Milan and Pisa. All of these are international airports with flights from European capitals as well as from Rome.
From all of these locations it is possible to take a train to Santa Margherita (Genoa 30-60 min; Milan 4-5 hrs — via Genoa; Pisa 2-3 hrs — via La Spezia).
Arrive in Santa Margherita, a beautiful seaside town with palm-lined harbour and boulevards. Spend some time getting acclimatized by exploring the many sites in town – the Villa Durazzo, the churches and the many shops.
Dramatic landscapes is the watchword of the day as you explore the protected area of Parco di Portofino (location of some of the best hiking in Italy!). Your route follows the contour of the peninsula, beginning in Camogli and heading toward the sanctuary in San Rocco. Stop for lunch in the small village of San Fruttuoso – accessible only on foot or by boat, ending the day in the elite resort town of Portofino, before heading back to Santa Margherita.
Hiking Distance: 18km – 4h30 – elevation gain 755m.
(Shortcut possible reducing your hiking time to 3h30 and elevation only 530m)
A short train ride will take you to the trailhead for your walk to the Cinque Terre region. Beginning in the village of Framura follow the path past a 15th century guard tower and a delightful Romanesque chapelle, through the picturesque village of Bonassola – famous in antiquity for its baths (perhaps stop in for a dip). Another day of stellar views and sensational walking. Overnight in Monterosso.
Hike is 3 1/2 hours long with 520m of elevation.
Explore the hills above Monterosso today – stopping in at the Sanctuary of Sovoire and at the top of Colla Bagari for great views. You’ll also have time to explore the historic sites in Monterosso—like the 13th century church of St. John and the castle ruins.
Hike is approximately 4 1/4 hours long with 650m of elevation gain (leaving lots of time to explore Monterosso).
The classic Cinque Terre walking trail awaits you today. Begin in Monterosso, the northernmost of the five famous perched villages and make your way to the southernmost – Riomaggiore. See for yourself what makes this region so famous! Be sure to stop in at one or more of the enotecas that can be found in these villages, to sample some local fare.
Hike is 4 1/2 hours long with 550m of elevation gain.
Family owned and operated, this 3-star hotel offers a warm welcome and excellent services. The hotel is perfectly located in the historic centre of Monterosso al Mare. It’s within easy access to the town’s famous beach, the small port and the walking trails that connect the five villages of the Cinque Terre.
The Locanda del Sole is the most modern hotel in Riomaggiore. It’s located on a hill just on the edge of town, very close to the hiking trail. Their well-appointed rooms are bright and spacious with large windows serving as the best big screen you could ask for. Each morning they lovingly serve a wonderful homemade breakfast.
Situated directly on the sea this hotel dates from the 19th Century and has been completely renovated. Today it is an excellent 3-star hotel. All rooms have sea views so you’re guaranteed a room with a view.
Overlooking the Gulf of Poets, and just two minutes from the historical centre of Lerici, this 3-star hotel has earned numerous accolades for its impeccable services. Breakfast is served on the terrace with a sprawling view of the harbour.