Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera

Destination: Florence, Italy

| Activities: Hiking and Culture

The Cinque Terre is a collection of five colorful towns perched on steep cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, known as the Italian Riviera. After meeting in Florence, we will explore some of its culture and food before traveling to Camogli, a lovely coastal town on the Ligurian Coast. We will head to the northernmost town in Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, where we'll hike along paths that wind through hundred-year-old terraces and charming villages. When not hiking along ancient stone paths, we will sample local wines and other locally produced specialties, relax in romantic outdoor cafes, and take a dip in the Ligurian sea. During the trip we will visit all five towns along the Cinque Terre: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Coniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Maximum group size: 14.


  • Hike the Cinque Terre's spectacular coastline trails through five brightly colored cliff side villages, rich in nature, history, and traditional ways of life
  • Discover medieval castles and fortresses, tiny fishing ports, and bustling harbors in the nearby picturesque seaside towns of Camogli, Levanto, and Portovenere
  • See the charming coastal towns from the sea
  • Taste the fresh flavors, local wines, and traditional foods of this area
  • Enjoy a winery tour and Italian cooking class

Departures and Prices

September 22 to October 01, 2024
$4895.00 - Available
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  • An English-speaking local Italian guide and an AGC guide (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip, there will not be an AGC guide)
  • Nine nights double occupancy lodging with ensuite bathrooms
  • All meals from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last with the exception of 1 dinner & 1 lunch
  • Ground transportation within Italy other than the initial Florence airport transfer to the hotel in Florence
  • A cooking class and a wine-tasting

Not included: Travel to Florence and from Pisa, airport transfer in Florence, alcoholic beverages, 1 dinner, 1 lunch, guide gratuities, and travel insurance

Trip Info

This trip is designed for women who want to combine hiking between the villages of Cinque Terre and the surrounding area known as the Italian Riviera, with time to soak up Italian culture. Cinque Terre is perched on high and dramatic sea cliffs: the majority of paths go up and down the sides of cliffs, often on stairs and paths that can be narrow. In order to do all of the hikes listed here, women should be in very good physical condition and able to hike for five to six hours a day which is why we give it a rating of 4. However, hiking can sometimes be shortened or foregone altogether as an excellent rail system links all five towns. Rating: 1 2 [3] [4] 5

On this trip we combine hiking in Cinque Terre and the surrounding area with soaking in Italian culture. In addition to hiking dirt and stone paths and stairways, we'll have a cooking class and a wine tasting; time to explore the charming towns that dot the dramatic cliffs; and lots of opportunity to savor Italian food.

All lodging has been chosen for its comfort, convenience, and welcoming staff. If you have never traveled in Europe, it's good to keep in mind that rooms are smaller than what you're used to in US hotels. We will be staying in double occupancy rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Meet in Florence by 1PM. After introductions, we will start our week with a walking tour of the major landmarks in Florence, learning about the history and culture from our local Florentine guide. If you can't arrive until later, you can meet us at the hotel at 5PM. where we'll start getting acquainted before going out for our first dinner together.

Overnight: Florence (D)
Today we will explore another side of Florence today with a culinary tour. We'll sample some of Italy's best- known delights as we stop at different shops to taste everything from antipasti to dessert before stopping for lunch.

Well-fed, we will say good-by to Florence, and embark on a three-hour drive to the lovely town of Camogli. Camogli, situated on the Ligurian Coast just north of Cinque Terre National Park, is known for lively streets, cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. We will have time to swim or explore the town and visit Castle Dragone near the harbor.

Driving: 3 hours in private van. Walking: 2 miles. Overnight: Camogli (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we start walking from our hotel and climb across the Portofino Peninsula with spectacular views of the sea and the Portofino Marine Reserve. We'll have lunch along the way at "Agriturifugio Mulino", a farmhouse restaurant, and then hike down to the remote 13th century Abbey of San Fruttuoso. Located in a beautiful small bay, it is accessible only by foot or boat. We will catch a boat ride back to Camogli, stopping along the way in Portofino. You'll see why the rich and famous flock to this gorgeous town; its harbor is filled with yachts and its cliff-side coast is lined with impressive villas.

Hiking: Approximately 4.5 -5 hours, 5.4 miles with steep rocky up and downhill trail sections. Overnight: Camogli (B, L, D)
After breakfast we drive to Monterosso al Mare, the northernmost village in the Cinque Terre and our home for the next four nights. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, we will walk through town and visit the Capuchin Church and Hilltop Cemetery in a ruined castle. We'll finish our walk at the Buranco organic farm for wine tasting and lunch. After lunch you can relax, swim, shop or hike up to the Madonna del Soviore Monastery, a retreat above the hustle of village life.

Hiking: about 6 miles of steep up and down cobbled trail and rural road. Overnight: Monterosso al Mare (B, L, D)
A short train ride brings us to the village of Levanto, once a walled town and major stronghold of the Genoese. We leave Levanto on foot and walk across the peninsula past Punta Mesco with views over Levanto's medieval walls and tiled roofs, a lovely wooded area, and eventually the magnificent stretch of the Cinque Terre coast. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch and amazing views at Punta Mesco before returning to Monterosso. The afternoon is yours to do as you like, before we meet again in time for a cooking class to discover the secrets of Pesto (which originated here) and other Italian specialities. For dinner we'll feast on the fruits of our labor.

Hiking: about 4 hours, 5 miles steep up and down a combination of trail, rocky steps and rural road. Overnight: Monterosso al Mare (B, L, D)
Today we walk from our hotel up past agricultural terraces and then down to Vernazza, a village so charming, it’s one of the most photographed in the Cinque Terre. After exploring the shops and narrow pedestrian streets, we'll continue on to Corniglia, a village perched on cliffs high above the sea. (Note: If you feel like taking a day off from hiking, you can do part of the itinerary by train today and tomorrow.) We will enjoy lunch at a terrace restaurant and then take the train back to Monterosso. Dinner is on your own tonight to enjoy any of the wonderful restaurants in Montorosso.

Hiking: 3.5 hours, 4.5 miles total: 1.5 hours, 2 miles of steep ups and downs to Vernazza, and 2 hours, 2.5 miles, to Corniglia. Overnight: Monterosso al Mare (B, L)
After a delicious breakfast, we take the train back to Corniglia to continue our Cinque Terre village walks. Our hike takes us up and along the high route to Manarola with stunning views over the Cinque Terre and through the ancient hamlet of Volastra for lunch. We then hike down to the seaside village of Manarola where we have time to look around town, and perhaps indulge in a gelato before taking the train back to our hotel in Monterosso and dinner at the Ancora della Tortuga.

Hiking: About 5 miles of long steep trail and stone stairs, both up and down and a trail section with exposure to a vertical drop. Overnight: Monterosso al Mare (B, D)
This morning we take the train to the 5th village in the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore. Our hike is mostly uphill past terraced fields and splendid forests of pine, chestnut, and cork trees. We will enjoy more breathtaking views of the coast throughout the morning and lunch in the hamlet of Campiglia, where we picnic on a terrace of a small "Alimentari" shop. Then we transfer by van to Portovenere. We'll check into our hotel (our luggage was transferred separately) and have some free time to explore the cobbled streets of this charming seaside town. Here, spectacular cliffs rise above the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean in a setting so beautiful that Byron, Shelley and D.H. Lawrence (among others) wrote here: thus, the Gulf of Poets was named.

Hiking: about 6.2 miles, mostly long, gradual uphill on trails with some stone steps. Train ride: about 15 minutes. Driving: 20 minutes. Overnight: Portovenere (B, L, D)
A short boat ride this morning takes us through the harbor to the nearby island of Palmaria. This island has been the guardian of Portovenere for centuries and still has remnants of Napoleon-era forts. We walk around the island with views of the colorful buildings perched on the promontory of Portovenere and the tiny nearby island of Tino. Our path travels through a distinct native ecosystem referred to as Mediterranean Macchia, with plants, such as arbutus, broom, and myrtle, adapted to the dry, harsh heat and heavy seasonal rains. We return to Portovenere mid-day and have some free time before dinner to explore the 16th-century Genovese naval fortress that once protected Portovenere from marauding corsair pirates, walk by the "Poet's Grotto", or do some last shopping in the many charming boutiques. Tonight, we'll enjoy our last Italian feast together.

Boat: 10 minutes each way. Hiking: 3 miles, 2.5 hours on rocky trails and pathways with short, steep sections. Overnight: Porto Venere (B, L, D)
DAY 10
After our last shared breakfast, we will pack up and transfer in our private van to the Pisa International Airport. We'll arrive by noon and you can plan flights out after 1 p.m. (B)


(28 reviews)
4.2 Food
4.6 Lodging
4.8 Safety

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

Sort By:
Most Recent

Carolyn N.
8 months ago

The hiking. The scenery was spectacular. Also the food was amazing!

Tammie J.
9 months ago

It was a perfect way to see Italy and I felt well-prepared. Between the hiking, the activities, the meals, the schedule, was well balanced.

Elaine M.
4 years ago

Great group of respectful women. Great Italian guide and AGC guide.I Hiking was great. Loved the villages. Good wasn't great when we couldn't order off the menu which seemed to be most of the time. Too many carbs, not enough greens and quality of the food was often disappointing.

Anita B.
4 years ago

Walking food tour Florence, lunch at the winery in Monterroso. Cooking class at Hotel Marina and breakfast Hotel Marina. Seeing the little towns of the Cinque Terre. Loved our rooms at Hotel Camogliese, Hotel Marina, Hotel Paridosa

Susan R.
4 years ago

Good leadership, great group of women and breathtaking scenery, wonderful food.

Marsha E.
4 years ago

Highlights was the location and itinerary.

Margaret T.
4 years ago

I loved seeing the towns of Cinque Terre - and although there were steep stairs- I much more enjoyed the hiking than the towns (too touristy) - but the beauty was astounding. Great group of women, overall. Especially liked the two tours in Florence. The cooking demonstration was interesting - but should be called a demonstration versus a cooking class). The winery and eating at the winery's restaurant - excellent food and outstanding wine!

Joyce G.
5 years ago

Hikes, lunch picnics and terraces, coastal cities

Barbara R.
5 years ago

I expected this trip to be incredible and it was. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been to. Highlights besides the scenery was the wonderful people I met, the food(I loved the food tour, cooking class and the winery) and the hiking. Hotels were wonderful as well.

Deborah H.
5 years ago

The best was the awesome scenery, loved the hiking, and loved what the two Italian guides added to our experience-they made it a little less like we were tourists because they were so forthcoming and open.

Rebecca H.
5 years ago

Cynthia M.
5 years ago

Meeting locals, delicious food, beautiful vistas of the Ligurian Sea

Deborah V.
5 years ago

Susan R.
5 years ago

I finally made it to Cinque Terre! And holy cow, I had not idea that the food would be so incredible! Best food ever! It was also pretty special to be able to travel with my dear friend Jennifer.. The mix of ladies on this trip was quite lovely. and of course, having Debra again as a guide!

Andrea G.
5 years ago

Many, many highlights -- the villages themselves.

Kathy C.
5 years ago

Catherine R.
5 years ago

beautiful couontryside, great hiking, italian guides were wonderful. Great mix of tours and activities.

Margaret D.
5 years ago

All of it

Mary H.
5 years ago

All the places we went and hiking the land. It was incredible.

Cathy M.
5 years ago

Beautiful country, food, lodging. Great guides.

Christine L.
6 years ago

Combination of active and leisure time-good company-great food-excellent trip leader! i would gladly travel with Debra Huntington again and again!

Alice K.
6 years ago

The hikes in the Cinque Terre National Park were definitely the highlights of this trip. The hiking terrain was varied and challenging, and the vistas from all the different trails were spectacular. It didn't hurt that we had great weather, too (such good luck)! I also enjoyed the culinary tour of Florence - the guide was knowledgeable and welcoming as were all the local hosts at the bakery and shops that we visited.

Jennifer M.
6 years ago

The hiking itinerary was exactly what I wanted, and the hikes were well planned and mostly well executed. We did all of the hikes that I'd been wanting to do in the Cinque Terre as well as several others nearby. I also loved visiting Camogli, Portovenere and Palmaria. The food tour in Florence was also great, although I wish we had been warned initially of how much food was going to be served because by the time we got to lunch we were all very full and could hardly eat any of it. I felt bad because I felt like we were insulting the people at the restaurant.

Norma G.
6 years ago

Highlights of the trip was having a planned hike each day. Hiking allowed us to see Cinque Terre from a different perspective. The sights were beautiful! The hotel accommodations were great! I especially loved ending in Portovenere. The activities were welled planned and our guides were great! Guiliana added amazing color and brought Italy to life! Deborah was very helpful with any concerns and kept a good eye on her participants. The Taste of Italy was great but tell people not to have breakfast and only serve family style for the lunch.

Susan L.
6 years ago

The guides, the itinerary, the hotels and the food!

Cathy H.
6 years ago

This trip far exceeded my expectations. The hiking was challenging but the scenery we had on those hikes was beyond words.

Jane H.
6 years ago

All of the guides were terrific -- Stefania, Giuliana, Debra. The itineraries every day were well thought out and executed.

Keelin H.
6 years ago

The hikes and the locations

  1. Where do we eat?

    Your breakfasts will be buffets at the hotels where you are staying. Dinner is in restaurants with typically a choice of two courses. The first course is typically pasta and the second is fish or meat. Lunches may either be picnics or in restaurants. There will be limited options for those who do not eat gluten.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian and lactose-free. Gluten-sensitive diets can be a challenge when traveling to Italy. If you are gluten intolerant, this may not be the best trip for you. Your choices for the first course will be limited. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot guarantee that restaurants are free of cross-contamination. You will want to bring gluten-free snacks and perhaps gluten-free bread as this may not be available in Italy. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we'll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.