Hiking in the Cinque Terre: A Hike from Monterosso to Levanto, Italy
There’s just nothing like sitting in the blinding sunlight on a platform, waiting for a train to Monterosso al Mare. This is the start of a beautiful day!
Steps off the train in Monterosso is the sea! We had to stop and play for a minute before going on to see the town.
We walked on the pebble seashore to the town, stopping first to climb to the top of the convent, above an old castle.
The stone path winds through trees.
Up, up, up. (This is a theme in our Cinque Terre Trekking…lots of up and lots of down.)
We had to take breaks now and then, but the kids were troopers for all the hiking.
Just before you climb to the very top of the convent you can stop and see St Francis.
He is welcoming boats from the sea. And he has a great view of all five of the towns of the Cinque Terre! (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore)
From St. Francis’ perch, we could see the hill to the north that we would be climbing later that day, and the beach below.
Again, so happy to be outside in shorts and t-shirts after months and months of cold in Scotland.
The kids ran free exploring the convent churchyard and cemetery above Monterosso.
We almost skipped it, but I’m so glad we didn’t.
Medieval castle walls and a church from hundreds of years ago rivaled the views of the surrounding area from the top of the convent.
Plus the kids kept finding fun spots to poke their heads in.
This was a view from a window in the tower on the top of the cemetery.
And if you stick your head out the window, you can see the top of the chapel below.
It was still early, but everyone was hungry so we made our way to the town of Monterosso to explore and find a snack before our hike.
Down, down, down. Back into the town.
This town turned out to be Ben’s favorite. He tends to travel with his stomach so he was always finding the yummiest parts of our days in Italy.
A street vender selling fried octopus.
And sardines and other fruits of the sea.
Mary Polly found some sunglasses. Simon found gelato. (always)
And I found a thousand darling places to point my camera.
So. Much. Color.
And blue skies!
And more blue skies above striped churches.
This looked like the most perfect spot to stop for lunch, but it was time for us to get moving or we were not going to get our hike to Levanto in.
So onward we went!
Past this tower surrounded in wisteria and sunshine.
(Side note: Have you ever seen the adorable movie Enchanted April. Two ladies from dreary London find an ad for a house in Italy that they end up going to for the whole month of April. The top of the advertisement says “Wisteria and Sunshine,” and the entire holiday ends up being magical. I have adored that film for ages and seen it about ten times. I made the kids watch it when we came back from Italy, because we had just experienced our own enchanted April, drenched in wisteria and sunshine. LOVE!)
Looking back at Monterosso as we started to climb the hill.
Up, up, up again.
Higher and higher.
Feel that sunshine. (also, new sunglasses.)
We had great directions from our airbnb hostess, and a map, but the signs along the hiking trails in Italy were so great! You could just about wander without a map and follow the signs until you want to take a train back to your home base.
Ben has officially turned into a gazelle. He was always way ahead of us and Simon was usually scrambling right behind him, but thankfully they waited for us now and then.
This is the top of the hill, looking back at Monterosso and the other four towns of the Cinque Terre.
It’s always fun to reach the top and then start down the other side.
This trail was one of our favorites for sure because it runs along the sea.
Way way high above the blue Ligurian Sea.
Down into Levanto, where the boys were already waiting to find lunch and more gelato.
Levanto is not officially part of the Cinque Terre, but it’s still gorgeous. It’s also a good bit bigger than the other towns so we found a few things we couldn’t get in Manarola.
Also, there’s a castle.
And more wisteria, of course.
However, we arrived when almost everything was closed for the afternoon. I do love how everything in Spain and Italy shuts down for the afternoon. We found a grocery store that was open and bought bread and cheese, salami and olives.
We took our picnic to the breakwater, where we ate and napped and played.
We took off our hiking boots and stuck our toes in the sea, soaking up the sun.
Then we wandered back through town and had gelato before taking the train home to Manarola.
Ben was super adventurous and always tried new flavors.
Gelato every day and sometimes twice a day is my top recommendation for happy travel in Italy with kiddos!
PS. Here’s a six second video of our beautiful day!
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