It's a beautiful morning in Monterosso and we walk past the beach, full of umbrellas ready to greet people as they trickle in, to the train station, where we catch the local train from Monterosso to Riomaggiore (4 stops, one at each town in Cinque Terre, 14 minutes).
Monterosso beach and train station in the morning
Once we arrive in Riomaggiore, the theme is up: up 340 meters (1115 feet) to the top of the ridge and over to Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero, from which we can look down on the city. The Santuario has been a place of worship since the 8th century and is located in an incredible spot overlooking the city and the sea.
Up we go
Views of the hills and Riomaggiore in the distance
Riomaggiore to the north, Mediterranean coast to the south
Continuing along the ridge
Passing through Campiglia
Rocky sections, still great views
As we start our descent into Portovenere, we get glimpses of the city and of the castle on the point.
Portovenere in the distance, rocky path down
Once we arrive, we claim our reward: lunch on the waterfront in Portovenere. We share octopus and potato salad, proscuitto and melon, Mama Mia (sausage) pizza, and a carafe of local sparkling white wine.
Lunch on the waterfront in Portovenere
After lunch, we take a leisurely cruise back on the ferry from Portovenere to Monterosso, travelling in reverse up the coast we just hiked (wow, wow, wow, we were there by foot on the top!), with stops in the Cinque Terre towns along the way.
View from the ferry of the path we hiked (along the top of the ridge)
Stopping in Cinque Terre towns along the way
Back in Monterosso, we pick up a bottle of wine for later, borrow some beach towels from Hotel Villa Steno, then head on over to the beach for a relaxing swim in the Mediterranean before dinner.