The Cinque Terre is famous for its ancient goat paths that link five picturesque fishing villages along Italy's Ligurian coast. Tourists come from all over the world to hike these trails and experience the incredible seaside views among the vineyards and olive groves.

During our visit to the Cinque Terre, all the paths on the main coastal trail (Trail #2 or Blue Trail) were closed due to landslides, with the exception of the one stretch between Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza. We had originally planned to tackle the hike later in our trip, but we found ourselves in Vernazza one afternoon and decided on a whim that it made sense to take the trekking path home to our hotel in Monterosso. Why postpone the hike when we had the perfect opportunity?

The problem was we greatly underestimated the difficulty of this hike, especially after a full morning of sightseeing. It turns out the stretch from Vernazza to Monterosso is the longest and most difficult section of the Blue Trail, and it was not a walk in the park. There were lots of steep, uneven steps, narrow paths, and slippery areas along the cliff. Full disclosure, after 20 minutes of climbing uphill, I wasn't sure I would make it to the trail end. Those steps were never ending. Also, full disclosure, I kept imagining one of us would lose our footing and tumble to our deaths into the sea below. But those views! They sure were worth every tired, careful step. It was clear along the way why these paths are famous.

Advice for hikers: 1) Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Sure, we managed to hike the entire path in jeans, but we sure would have been more comfortable wearing hiking or athletic gear. Also, it is CRITICAL you wear hiking shoes or sneakers for your safety. The path is narrow and slippery in some areas. Please don't be that person wearing flip-flops. 2) Bring water, snacks, sun block, hat/sunglasses, and your camera. Use a small backpack. 3) Remember to purchase the Cinque Terre card for admission to Trail #2. You can purchase the card at any of the train stations or at the trailhead. 4) Pay attention to which trails are open, the difficulty level of each trail, and the estimated travel times. 5) Yield to people hiking uphill.


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