Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Hidden Trails of Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera, France and Italy tour

Hidden Trails of Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera, France and Italy

Sierra Club Outings
Not yet rated
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level: You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
12 days
From: $ 3,775 $ 315 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Hike the Mediterranean coastline, enjoying stunning vistas of crystal blue sea
  • Explore Italian villages of historic and cultural distinction
  • Enjoy local Mediterranean cuisine in intimate restaurants

Short Description

Along the Mediterranean Sea where the French Alps yield to the Italian Apennines, there is a rugged coastline that is at once majestic and mystical, ancient and renowned, known as the Italian Riviera. Here one finds Portofino and the centuries-old Cinque Terre, the Five Lands.  On our outing we will explore this region of natural beauty, millennia-old culture, mountains, beaches, and historic towns. Extending from Pisa, Italy in the south to Menton, France in the west, the area is known locally as the Ligurian Riviera after the Italian province in which it resides.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Lodging Level Basic - 2 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Pisa
End City Nice

Travel Theme

Hiking & Walking Cultural

Destinations

Italy France

Cities & Attractions

Cinque Terre Pisa

N/A
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Trip Includes

  • Lodging with private bath in charming, family-owned small hotels
  • All on-trip transportation and all meals except one dinner
  • All tips, gratuities, and entrance fees

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Itinerary

Day 1

(Pisa and Porto Venere) This morning our group will meet at the front entrance of the Pisa rail station, then head to the center of the city to visit the spectacular Piazza dei Miracoli and world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. We then head toward Porto Venere and our hotel, where we will stay for the next two nights. Today’s highlights include Porto Venere’s charming little church, its colorful houses and ancient buildings (all part of a powerful fortress that defended Genoa against its rival Pisa). You will have time to stroll and enjoy an incredible seascape from “Lord Byron’s window,” the poet's favorite viewpoint in Porto Venere.

Day 2

(Palmaria Island) This morning a short boat ride brings us to the biggest island of the region, Palmaria, just seaward of Porto Venere. Palmaria, together with the Cinque Terre and Porto Venere, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been inhabited for at least 5,000 years. We will explore the island's vast Mediterranean vegetation (more than 500 species) and enjoy breathtaking views over Porto Venere and a very impressive 19th-century military fortification. Hiking time: around 3.5 hours, with 900 feet of elevation gain.

Day 3

(Walk to the Cinque Terre) This morning we leave Porto Venere and hike to Cinque Terre ("the Five Lands") where five beautiful villages hang over the sea: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Built in the 12th century, today they are all part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our hike begins with a steep but rewarding climb up the mountain behind Porto Venere to an expansive viewpoint over the Gulf of Poets.  Later, our driver will take us to our hotel in Monterosso. We will have a pleasant stroll in the old town or a relaxing swim. Hiking time: around 3 hours, with 1,200 feet of elevation gain.

Day 4

(Hiking in the Cinque Terre) We begin our day with a short train ride from Monterosso to the town of Riomaggiore. Both towns experienced extensive flooding in 2012 and trails have been altered  as a result. Hiking time is about 4.5 hours with several ups and downs for an elevation gain of 1,500 feet, with a lunch stop in the middle. If you choose, you can take the afternoon train to other Cinque Terre villages, or go back to Monterosso to relax, shop, or jump in the Mediterranean Sea.

Day 5

(Monterosso to Levanto) Our day begins with a hike uphill to Punta Mesco, the promontory that is the natural divide between the Five Lands and the village of Levanto. After a short bus ride, we will have a homemade lunch in a tiny mountain village. We then depart for a 1½-hour bus drive to our hotel through winding mountain roads. Our final destination for today is the seaside village of Camogli where we will stay the next three nights. Hiking time: around 3.5 hours total, with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Day 6

(Portofino to San Fruttuoso) A short bus ride then boat ride take us to Portofino’s breathtaking views and wonderful location, which transformed this poor fishing village into a tourist destination. This area became the center of the summer’s dolce vita and attracted countless writers, poets, painters, and movie stars. We will start hiking from the center of the village to the beautiful San Fruttuoso Abbey, built in the 11th century. From San Fruttuoso, we will take a boat back to Camogli to enjoy more of this beautiful coast. Hiking time: 3.5 hours, with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. Possibility of swimming or touring the Abbey if you like.

Day 7

(San Rocco to Punta Chiappa) Starting from the beautiful church of San Rocco di Camogli, 900 feet above Camogli, we have a pleasant, mostly downhill hike to the promontory of Punta Chiappa that ends with a short boat ride back to Camogli. As a special treat, we will take the bus to Genoa for an historic walking tour of this fabulous city of World Heritage sites. Dinner will be in Genoa and then we'll return via bus for our last night in Camogli. Hiking time: 2 hours, with modest elevation gain.

Day 8

(Capo Manara) A 30-minute bus ride takes us to beautiful Sestri Levante, a village between the Baia del Silenzio (Bay of Silence) and Baia delle Favole (Bay of Fairy Tales). We will hike through a protected area on a trail sided by beautiful Aleppo Pines and Cork Oaks, a perfect combination with the expansive sea views. We will reach Punta Manara and return to Sestri Levante for a great lunch of local specialties. After lunch we will have time to enjoy the lively city center or spend some time on the beach before we head for Noli and our hotel for the next two nights. Hiking time: 2.5 hours, with an elevation gain of 750 feet. We will have a 1½-hour bus ride to our hotel after the hike.

Day 9

(Noli to Varigotti walk) Today’s hike will follow an ancient mule road that connected the villages of Noli and Varigotti before the modern route was built. We will walk past the Saraceni beach and the lovely church of San Lorenzo to reach Varigotti. We will pass typical Mediterranean vegetation, including rosemary and arbutus plants, and get to the dramatic cape viewpoint over vertical Triassic limestone cliffs. We will end our walk in Varigotti. After lunch we will bus back to Noli, which is part of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” network. Hiking time: 2 hours, with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet.

Day 10

(Bussana Vecchia, Balzi Rossi and Menton, France) A bus ride of 1¼ hours takes us to our trailhead.Our hike this morning takes us to the ancient village of Bussana Vecchia. This medieval village was probably founded by the Romans and inhabited until 1887, when it was hit by a violent earthquake. At the end of the 1950s, artists from all over the world established a vital community based on ideals of common property and inspirational creativity. After a pleasant lunch in Bussana Vecchia, we drive a ½ hour toward the French border, stopping at a botanic garden for a refreshing break. After another ½-hour bus ride, we will reach our hotel in the French city of Menton. Hiking time: 2.5 hours, with an elevation gain of 600 feet.

Day 11

(Eze) This morning, we take the bus ¾ hr, past Monaco, to a trailhead near Eze. We will hike about 2 hours with 1,000 feet of elevation gain to the gorgeous artists’ village of Eze. Excellent views of the many galleries and the French Riviera are the reward. After lunch we will head back to Menton on the bus for a relaxing afternoon and the last night of our outing. We should have time this afternoon to visit the important Balzi Rossi archaeological museum and tour the burial caves with Cro-Magnon remains for those who wish to go.

Day 12

(Transfer to Nice) After breakfast, our tour will end with goodbyes and a transfer to the airport in Nice, France.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 3,775
Price Per Day: $ 315 per day
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  • Deposit Price: $ 200

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Details

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Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Capacity: 16

Accomodations

Accommodations

We will be staying in comfortable and charming family-owned hotels.  All are 2 or 3 star. We have made an effort to use local hotels that give us a true flavor of Italy and France rather than homogenized chain hotels that are found all over the world. You will find that some do not have elevators and some do not have air conditioning; some have larger rooms and some smaller. All offer an excellent breakfast with food choices and a true taste of Italian/French character. The lodging is double-occupancy with private bathrooms. Singles will be assigned a roommate. If you prefer a single room, you may elect to pay a single supplement charge depending on availability.

Cancellation Policy:

CANCELLATION FEES APPLY AS FOLLOWS:

Time of cancellation and Cancellation fee per person

  • If 60 or more days prior to trip start date, then Cancellation fee is Amount of deposit
  • If 14-59 days prior to trip start date, then Cancellation fee is 50% of trip fee
  • If 0-13 days prior to trip start date, then Cancellation fee is Entire trip fee
  • If "No-show" at the starting point, or you leave during a trip, then Cancellation fee is Entire trip fee

Trip ID#:

HidTraSie

Trip Excludes

  • International Flights
  • Passport and Visa Charges
  • Personal Expenses

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