Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cinque Terre Hike 3: Monterosso to Vernazza to Corniglia

For our next segment of the Levanto to Porto Venere trek, we decide to hike from Monterosso to Vernazza, then continue on to Corniglia on Path Number 2, the lower path along the coast.  As we climb up from Monterosso, we look back at the city and the beach.

Looking back at Monterosso as we start up on Path Number 2

As soon as we make it up the first hill, we come upon a hut where we can pay the National Park hiking fee for Path Number 2, 7.5 euros ($8.40) each for the day.  This ticket is valid to hike on the two sections of Path Number 2 that are open (Monterosso to Vernazza and Vernazza to Corniglia) and we will do both today.

Cinque Terre Trekking Cards for one day of hiking on Path Number 2

We start early, as these paths are quite popular and do tend to get congested later in the day.  As we follow the trail around the hill, Monterosso is no longer visible, just the promontory above the city, with the trail intersection on top that we passed through on our way to Levanto

Monterosso is around the corner

We walk up a bit more along the coast, passing vineyards, with continuous great views in either direction.

Passing by a vineyard on the hill

We see another of the wine tractors, this one clearly in use running on its track up and down the hill to service the grapes that make the wonderful-tasting vines of each city.

Wine tractor on single track

After about an hour, we round the corner and start to descend into Vernazza.

Approaching Vernazza on the path down

We pass one house along the path s we get closer to Vernazza that serves as a reminder of the devastating mudslides in 2012, when the hills slid into the cities up to the second floor in many cases.

House still split by the 2012 mudslide

Upon entering Vernazza, we immediately head back up to follow the path on toward Corniglia.  As we hike up the path, we pass the restaurant/bar La Torre, stick our heads in, and decide to come back for lunch.  The menu sounds good and the views over Vernazza are great.

 Looking back at Vernazza from the path up to Corniglia, Monterosso in the distance

About halfway there, we spot Corniglia on a bluff.  At the halfway point, some sharp entrepreneur has opened a bar.  What a great spot and it is full of hikers having something to eat or drink.

 Corniglia starts to appear in the distance

Bar on hilltop halfway between Vernazza and Corniglia

On the way, we get another view back toward Monterosso, with a little of Vernazza showing.

View back with Monterosso in the distance, with a tiny bit of Vernazza visible

 We keep moving along and about an hour after leaving Vernazza, we descend into Corniglia.  Corniglia is at an elevation of 84 meters (276 feet) and is reached from the train station by bus or by a staircase reported to have 382 steps (we dash down them to catch the train, but don't count).

 Closer to Corniglia

We’re still thinking about lunch at La Torre and we run down the stairs from Corniglia to the station and catch a train back to Vernazza, 1-1.5 hours on the trail (depending on your speed and the congestion), 3 minutes by train.  Of course, it helps that the train goes through the tunnel and doesn’t have to do the up part!

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