The Sentiero N°2, also called Sentiero Azzurro, links Riomaggiore with Monterosso through a walking trail along the coast. It is part of the SVA, the Sentiero VerdeAzzuro, the hiking trail that connects Genoa with Portovenere.
The path is offering magnificent views on the Cinque Terre coastline and villages. The degree of difficulty is going up, starting from Riomaggiore in the direction of Monterosso. It is never dangerous or really difficult, but a good condition is required, especially between Corniglia and Monterosso.
Currently, the stretch between Riomaggiore and Corniglia's railway station is closed. The reopening of the Via dell'Amore, the stretch between Riomaggiore and Manarola, is not yet scheduled. Also between Manarola and the station of Corniglia, the path is closed. On the following pages you will find some more info about the reasons for this closure. You will find some alternatives trails to walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola and Corniglia.
The trail between Corniglia and Monterosso, which is the most beautiful section, is open.
To walk on the path, you have to pay but it's really worthwhile and the trail is well maintained. The 'Cinque Terre Card' is for sale in the tourist offices or at the beginning of the path in each of the villages.
The Via dell'Amore is the shortest and the easiest track between Riomaggiore and Manarola. The path is well-paved and fairly flat. It is by far the most crowded part of the trail, especially in summer. In the middle of the path, you come along 'the lover's lock', a place to seal your eternal love. If you want to join the crowd, then take a lock, hang it on the railing and throw the key into the sea. Your love will last forever !
The Via dell'Amore is already closed since september 2012. A boulder came down and four Australian tourists were badly injured. Because the verdict in the court trial has not yet been taken, the Board of the Parco Nazionale refuses to open up the path again. A reopening in 2016 is unlikely. The best alternative you can get is to have a drink or a dinner on the terrace of "A Pié de Mà" in Riomaggiore.
Length : 1 mile *** Difficulty : easy - CURRENTLY CLOSED
Via the sentiero 531, you can walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola. When you come out of the station of Riomaggiore take the road going up diagonally left. After 2 hairpin bends, you see the signpost for the path on the left. On the other side of the valley you can see the path going up steeply through the vineyards. Be sure before you continue, if not, take the train!
The path between Manarola and Corniglia is closed between Manarola and the station of Corniglia, due to a landslide in 2012. In January 2014 there was another landslide, so the path is expected to remain closed for a long period. A reopening of the trail in 2016 is not expected.
From the harbour of Manarola it is still worthwile to do the first 200 meters of the path to the cemetery or up to the bar 'Nessun dorma', from where you have a beautiful view on the colored houses, especially in the evening when the sun sets in the West.
The easiest way to overcome this is to take the train from Manarola to Corniglia. From the station of Corniglia, take the paved path to the right of the railway track until you reach the 382 steps that go up to the center of the town. As an alternative, you can take the park bus from the station to the town center.
Length : 2 miles *** Difficulty : easy - CURRENTLY CLOSED
For this route, there is a nice alternative through the hills. You go up the main street in Manarola and follow the sentiero 506 up to Volastra. If you want to bridge the height difference of 400 meters in an easier way, you take the bus that departs in the centre of Manarola, at the exit of the tunnel. (frequency: every half hour until 8 pm)
In Volastra, continue on the sentiero 586, which starts behind the church. The trail is relatively flat between the terraces of vineyards and offers magnificent views of Manarola and Corniglia. After 2 miles, take the sentiero 587, which descends to Corniglia. This section is quite steep, so not for the casual walker.
If you are traveling by car, you can also start this walk in Volastra (there is a free parking lot for about thirty cars). So you avoid paying parking in Manarola and Corniglia.
This is the "real thing" : one of the most beautiful coastal walks you can make ! Take your time to really enjoy the beauty of this trail. You can do it in an hour, but it would be a pity to rush that much. The path is running through the olive gardens. It climbs up to a height of 240 meters, opening up great views on Corniglia and Manarola. At the end, the view on Vernazza is really spectacular.
If you go from Corniglia to Vernazza, you can combine a magnificent view with a snack or a drink on the terrace of 'La Torre'.
If you go in the other direction, you can also enjoy a drink and a snack on the shady terrace of Terra Rossa.
This part of the trail was hit severely by the thunderstorms on October 25th 2011. It was even closed for some months. However, since June 2012 the path has been reopened.
Length : 4 kilometers *** Difficulty : moderate *** highest point : 240 m
Also this trail was severely damaged by the floods in October 2011. In some places, the scars are still clearly visible. The path has officially been reopened in May 2012.
It is not the easiest part of the Sentiero Azzurro, certainly when leaving from Monterosso. The trail climbs immediately to a height of 150 meter, mainly with relatively steeps stairs.
Half way these stairs, you will find a clever 'lemon' farmer, offering a fresh lemon juice (for 2 EUR) to the people passing. Don't pass by without tasting !
Length : 3 kilometers *** Difficulty : moderate *** Highest point : 150 m