Our new hiking tour of the Italian Riviera features the spectacular coastline of Liguria, from Genoa to the Cinque Terre and Portofino. As you hike from one seaside village to another, you'll visit charming pastel-colored villages, learn about the region's rich history, and savor the traditional cuisine and wines. 

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 Hiking to Manarola along the Cinque Terre  The village of Vernazza, along the Cinque Terre  The village of Portofino

Hiking along the Italian Riviera

Featuring the Cinque Terre

9 days from $5,995

Our new hiking tour of the Italian Riviera features the spectacular coastline of Liguria, from Genoa to the Cinque Terre and Portofino. As you hike from one seaside village to another, you'll visit charming pastel-colored villages, learn about the region's rich history, and savor the traditional cuisine and wines. 


Level 3: Moderate / Active

Expectations: This trip is part of the Smithsonian Active Journeys collection. It is a nine-day tour featuring two different seaside towns and two hotel stays. Some extensive walking tours of the coastal paths and villages of the region.

Excursions can be over uneven terrain (e.g. groomed trails/hilly walkways, cobblestones, stairs without handrails, the absence of elevators); Journeys to the start of each hike will be by private motocoach, public train or public ferry. Travelers should be sure footed with appropriate footwear for all hikes. 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with long days of touring (both walking tours and coach time).


Days 1 & 2 — Arrive Milan

Depart the U.S. on individual flights for Milan. Upon arrival in Milan Malpensa International Airport, transfer to Sestri Levante and check into your hotel. Take an afternoon stroll among the colored houses of the Old Town towards Punta Manara, along the picturesque fairy-tale path amid the rosemary and juniper berry bushes. Learn about the Ligurian territory during an orientation talk. Gather for a welcome reception followed by dinner with panoramic views. (R, D)

Day 3 — Cinque Terre

Today soak up the magic ambiance of the Cinque Terre, a renowned cultural landscape listed as a World Heritage site. This morning, take the train to Monterosso, the largest of the Cinque Terre villages and then hike up the coastal path to Vernazza. Walk through the vineyards and citrus orchards while enjoying the panoramic views of the sea and Vernazza. Here, admire the quaintest and perhaps most beautiful of the five villages with its natural harbor.

Continue past Vernazza, through terraces ann vineyards, to Corniglia, pausing for a picnic lunch of local produce. This hike will take about four hours; a shorter, less strenuous walk of about 1.5 hours will be available for those who prefer. This afternoon take a leisurely walk through the vineyards of Manarola in the company of a sommelier and discover the traditional wine culture of the region, followed by a tasting complete with focaccia, grissini, and taggiasca olives. Return to Sestri Levanti by train for an evening at leisure. (B, L)

Walk/Hike: 5 miles on a well groomed coastal path with elevation ascent of approximately 1,200 feet and descent of 1,300 feet, 4 hours. Optional easier hike on well groomed path: 2 miles, 590 feet of ascent and 700 feet of descent, 1.5 hours

Day 4 — Palmaria and Porto Venere

Transfer to La Spezia by private bus, then cross to Palmaria by public ferry. This morning’s hike takes you around the island and up to its peak to enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the Gulf of Poets. Continue to charming Porto Venere by boat and enjoy a leisurely stroll in this colorful fishing village. Return to Sestri Levante via train. Listen to a local expert discuss the region’s influence on the literature on Byron, Shelley and many others. An evening at leisure follows. (B, L)

Walk/Hike: 3.6 miles on a well groomed trail with some rocky and uneven sections, 1000 feet of ascent and descent, 2 hour 30 minutes

Day 5 — Portofino and San Fruttuoso

Spend today in Portofino Promontory Regional Park. Travel by train to Santa Margherita Ligure and then walk just under four miles to Portofino. During this morning’s hike, enjoy panoramic views of Portofino and the Gulf of Paradise and admire the variety of plants along the way. Arrive in San Fruttuoso in time for a picnic lunch. Later explore the 8th-century Abbey at San Fruttuoso then continue to Camogli by ferry for an informal aperitivo with freshly baked focaccia. Return to Sestri Levante for an evening at leisure. (B,L)

Walk/Hike: just under 4 miles on a well groomed path, some rocky patches, with 800 feet of ascent and descent, 2 hours

Day 6 — Sestri Levante and Genoa

This morning roll up your sleeves and enjoy a cooking class with a local chef. Enjoy the fruits of your labor at lunch that includes an artisanal pesto with fragrant local basil and pine nuts paired with a glass of local wine.

This afternoon journey to Genoa for a walking tour of the historic center that includes the Rolli Palaces, sumptuous historic residences built for Genoa’s most powerful families. Check into your hotel in Finale Ligure, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and gather for dinner at a local trattoria. (B, L, D)

Walk/Hike: very easy 2 mile walk around the city center of Genoa on asphalt, walkways and some cobblestones, 2 hours

Day 7 — Noli and Varigotti

Take a morning ramble through the olive groves to the hamlet of Varigotti. The route along the Pilgrim’s Way offers dramatic views of rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and Saracens Bay. After a light lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy time to admire the scenery before returning to the hotel. This evening a local food expert will talk about Ligurian food and wine and the importance of the climate on local produce. (B,L)

Walk/Hike: 2 miles along a well groomed trail, with an ascent of 300 feet and descent of 900 feet, 1.5 hours

Day 8 — Italian Riviera your way

Today is yours to choose between two activities! Drive to the ancient city of Albenga and visit the 5th-century Baptistery and medieval town center followed by lunch at a local olive oil mill before visiting the caves at Toirano with a speleologist. For something more active, choose a bike ride through the countryside along an old railway track between Ospedaletti and San Lorenzo al mare. Reconvene as a group and bid farewell to your fellow travelers at dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Walk/Hike: very easy 1 mile walk with no altitude change on walkways and some cobblestones, 1 hour. The walkway inside the caves is well marked and even but there are multiple stairs. The path can be slippery. Bike: 15 miles on mailing flat path, 1.5 hours.

Day 9 — Departures Home

Ciao Italia! Transfer to the Nice airport, just over the border in France for individual flights home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)