Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided walk and rail tour - Portofino, The Cinque Terre & Portovenere
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Highlights

  • Wandering ancient trails past flower-filled meadows, vineyards and olive groves
  • Exploring the colourful UNESCO World Heritage villages of the Cinque Terre
  • The flexibility of walking or taking the train to explore village to village
  • The stylish atmosphere of harbour-side Portofino; people-watching with a caffè freddo
  • Staying in the charming medieval town of Portovenere
  • Breath-taking views of the azure Mediterranean sea, and enjoying a cool dip!

A spectacular in-depth journey on foot and by rail, exploring Italy’s glamorous Portofino, together with two UNESCO World Heritage gems; the Cinque Terre National Park with its five classic colourful fishing villages, and the lovely Portovenere.

The Ligurian coast, known as bella Italia’s ‘Flower Riviera’, will captivate you with its unique coastal and forest trails, where you’ll walk or take short train rides from village to village, admiring the cobalt blue sea and colourful collections of houses that cling to the cliff faces. Revel in the region’s delicious cuisine, washed down with excellent local wines from the region’s terraced vineyards— this tour will delight foodies and keen walkers alike.

Your trip begins on the Portofino peninsula, staying in the traditional fishing harbour of Camogli, from where you can visit the impressive San Frutuoso Abbey— located in a beautiful cove and reached only by boat or on foot, as well as the lighthouse ‘Il Faro’ which gives spectacular views of the Mediterranean and Ligurian Seas. You’ll continue on foot to iconic Portofino, where you can relax at the harbour with a chilled caffè freddo.

Continue with a walk through the hills of the East Riviera, staying overnight at Bonassola with its laid-back beach, before continuing south along the coastline to Monterosso. Set amidst terraces of olive groves and vines, Monterosso is the largest of the five villages of the Cinque Terre. Enjoy a choice of coastal or mountain walks through vineyards and fragrant pine and chestnut forests. Alternatively, make use of your two-day rail pass, or simply relax under a colourful beach umbrella.

Visit the town of Riomaggiore, the most southerly of the Cinque Terre villages, dating from the 8th Century and characterised by sorbet-coloured houses perched on slate grey cliffs. Your walking tour finishes in the lovely medieval fishing town of Portovenere, on the Gulf of Poets. No wonder this area inspired such literary greats such as Byron and DH Lawrence.

Day 1: Arrive Camogli

Your Italian journey begins in the charming small fishing village of Camogli, situated on the west side of the Portofino peninsula. Camogli is easily reached with good train connections from Genoa or Pisa (and Florence is also an option).


If you have time when you arrive, visit the historic centre and embrace the relaxed seaside ambience of Camogli, with its fantastic fresh seafood and colourful houses. 


Overnight: Hotel La Camogliese**, Camogli


The following hotels are available at a supplement: Hotel Augusta** or Hotel Casmona***, Camogli


You may be accommodated (according to availability) at one of the above small hotels, all of which offer a warm welcome to walkers and are conveniently close to the beach.


Day 2: Walk to Portofino via San Fruttuoso

You’ll be picked up this morning from your hotel at Camogli for a private transfer to the village of San Rocco. Start your walk with a visit to the San Fruttuoso Abbey, located in a secluded bay overlooking cobalt-blue waters. From here you can choose to walk or take a ferry to the chic town of Portofino (the latter is payable locally).


Enjoy the wonderful view from Il Faro (the Light House), located at the extreme point of the promontory, 1km from Portofino. A firm favourite with the celebrity ‘jet set’, this pretty town is famous for its picturesque harbour. From here you can take the train or boat back to Camogli (payable locally).


Overnight: Hotel La Camogliese**, Camogli


Choice of walks:


Easier option: 7 km, 734m ascent, 394m descent, 3h30 approx.


Harder option: 13 km, 804m ascent, 822m descent, 5h30 approx.


Day 3: Train to Bonassola. Walk to Deiva Marina via Framura

Continue your adventure along the Ligurian Riviera by jumping on a train to Bonassola (payable locally), a lovely town wedged between the sea and mountains, from where you will begin your walk through the hills of the East Riviera.


The first part of your walk to Framura is extremely panoramic with wonderful views over the northern Ligurian coast. You can always shorten your walk by finishing in Framura and returning to Bonassola by train.


On reaching the pretty little town of Deiva Marina, why not take a cooling dip in the ocean to celebrate a wonderful day’s walk.


Overnight: Hotel Villa Belvedere, Bonassola


The following hotels are available at a supplement: Albergo delle Rose***, Hotel La Feluca*** or Hotel Pensione Moderna***, Bonassola


Stay in a friendly property close to the beach at Bonassola. All of our properties here offer comfortably furnished rooms and are ideally located for exploring the area.


Choice of walks:

Easier option: 5 km, 421m ascent, 394m descent, 2h30 approx.

Harder option: 11 km, 619m ascent, 619m descent, 4hrs approx.


Day 4: Walk to Monterosso via Levanto

The first part of today’s walk runs along an old railway track which has recently been transformed into a fairly flat cycle path. Walk through the tunnels and over the bridges whilst revelling in spectacular views over the azure sea and cliffs until you reach the idyllic painter’s paradise of Levanto, located in the centre of a charming valley surrounded by green hills.


As you reach the ridge top, pause to take in the sweeping views to the mountains which surround the ‘Gulf of Paradise’. Arriving at Punta Mesco you continue your descent towards the village of Monterosso.


Choice of walks:


Easier option: 3 km, 225m ascent, 226m descent, 1h30 approx.


Harder option: 10 km, 500m ascent, 492m descent, 4h30 approx.


Overnight: Hotel Marina***, Monterosso


The following hotels are available at a supplement: Hotel Punta Mesco***, Hotel Amici***, Hotel La Colonnina*** or Hotel Villa Adriana***, Monterosso


Our delightfully charming accommodation in Monterosso, the largest of the five villages of the Cinque Terre, provides a welcome rest to walkers and is again close to the beach.


Day 5: Transfer to Soviore, walk to Monterosso via Vernazza

After a good breakfast, begin with a transfer to Soviore, thus avoiding the very steep section up an ancient cobbled path. On arrival in Soviore you can either stop to visit the local monastery or immediately begin your walk towards Vernazza.


Follow a panoramic path that gently descends to the Madonna di Reggio, a Sanctuary hidden in the hills behind the little town of Vernazza. From here continue walking on a stone path down to this pretty port full of colourful houses and old fishing boats, before taking the panoramic coastal path back to Monterosso.


To shorten the walk, you can stop in Vernazza if you wish, and take the train back to Monterosso.


Overnight: Hotel Marina***, Monterosso


Choice of walks:

Easier option: 6 km, 266m ascent, 707m descent, 3hrs approx.

Harder option: 9 km, 312m ascent, 767m descent, 4hrs approx.


Day 6: Free to explore Cinque Terre or optional Colla di Gritta or Corniglia-Riomaggiore walks

Spend today as you wish—perhaps simply relaxing at Monterosso or returning to one of the pretty villages of the Cinque Terre by train.


Alternatively, choose from the following optional walks:


Monterosso loop walk via Colle di Gritta

Head inland past the ‘Chiesa dei Cappucini’ to the Colla di Gritta. Continue over the mountain ridge through lush forests, passing over Monte Molinelli, Monte Rossini, Montenegro and Colla dei Bagari until you reach Punta Mesco. Return to Monterosso via a series of old stone footpaths.


Walk: 10 km, 515m ascent, 518m descent, 3hrs approx.


or


Corniglia-Volastra-Riomaggiore walk

Take the train from Monterosso to Corniglia, then set out on foot as you ascend the path towards Volastra and on to Riomaggiore. Stop for a delicious gelato or a glass of full-bodied red wine from the local vineyards, before taking the train back to Monterosso.


Walk: 9 km, 556m ascent, 552m descent, 4hrs approx.


Overnight: Hotel Marina***, Monterosso


Day 7:Train to Riomaggiore. Walk to Portovenere

A short train ride (payable locally) takes you to Riomaggiore, the most southerly of the villages of the Cinque Terre, dating from 13th Century. Continue your walk to the edge of the chain of mountains which borders the Cinque Terre area. From Colle del Telegrafo, follow the ridgeline until you reach Portovenere, passing through the village of Campiglia. Your final walk will be rewarded with great views over the Cinque Terre coastline and the impressive cliffs of Portovenere at the end.


The stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site of Portovenere was a favourite of such literary greats as Byron, Shelley and DH Lawrence. Its photogenic San Pietro Church was built atop the remains of a 6th-century church, said to occupy the site of an ancient Roman temple to Venus.


Walk: 13 km, 644m ascent, 659m descent, 6hrs approx.


Overnight: Hotel Paradiso, Portovenere


The following hotels are available at a supplement: Hotel Belvedere*** or Hotel Royal Sporting***, Portovenere


All of our superb accommodations in Portovenere overlook the water. Relax and watch the world go by as you sip a toast to your Cinque Terre adventure.


Day 8: Onward travel

Bid farewell to the Cinque Terre and continue your onward journey home. You can depart Portovenere by bus to La Spezia and from there you can easily get to Pisa, Genoa, Florence or Milan airports by train.


Additional Nights and Extensions

Why not extend your tour with a few extra nights before/after or during your tour? Contact us to tailor-make your arrangements.

Accommodation

You will spend your first two nights in Camogli, in a good 2* hotel, the next night in Bonasosola at another lovely 3* property, then three nights at a charming family run 3* hotel in the heart of Monterosso and one night at a lovely 3* seafront hotel in Portovenere. Depending on availability we use, amongst others, the following hotels. Certain hotels are available at a supplement.



 

 

 




Hotel Marina, Monterosso

This small and charming family run 3 star hotel is located on a narrow street in the historic centre of the old fishing village of Monterosso.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Amici, Monterosso

Hotel Degli Amici is a 3 star hotel located in the historical centre of Monterosso, in an extremely peaceful area, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, just 150 meters from the sea.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Paradiso, Portovenere

This lovely small hotel is located right on seafront and the restaurant terraces have wonderful views of the Gulf of Portovenere and Palmaria Island.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Belvedere, Portovenere

With great views of the harbour Hotel Belvedere has been welcoming guests for over 40 years. The small but comfortable rooms all have fantastic views from their balconies and the hotel is perfect for experiencing the best of Portovenere.


 

Single Rooms

Single rooms are available but attract a supplement.


Solo Walkers

This is a great holiday for solo walkers. If you are travelling solo the holiday is slightly more expensive as some costs are not shared.


Availability

This tour is available to start any day of the week from April to October. Prices depend on the season.


Time of Year

The Cinque Terre is stunning year-round but the best times for walking are Spring and Autumn as the summer temperatures can be very high.


July and August are the hottest months with little to no rainfall. The temperatures rise into the 30-degree Celsius during the day. The months before and after the high season will be sunny but a little cooler, which could be preferable when walking. Always make sure to stay hydrated, take plenty of water and wear sunscreen and a sunhat.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we are happy to accommodate, although a single supplement is payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for a supplement.


Grade & Terrain

This holiday is graded easy to moderate because although the daily walks are relatively short (between three and seven hours walking each day) the terrain is very hilly and summer temperatures can be high. The walks follow ancient footpaths and mule tracks. Many are made up of steep stone staircases and some are literally cut into the cliff so if heights aren’t your thing this may not be the best trip for you. Some of the paths are very steep so you should be used to walking ascents to get the most from this holiday. Most of the walks can be shortened by using public transport and as you're not moving on each day all walks can be skipped.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

You will be following way marked trails for many of your walks and we supply very detailed route notes and maps so navigation is generally easy. PLEASE NOTE: Hydrogeological instability in the Cinque Terre region can at times cause the closure of certain sections of the trails. Before embarking on your daily walk please check with your accommodation and also if possible with go to the Cinque Terre National Park website.


You will also have access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App enabling you to follow the route using your phone’s GPS so using this combined with the provided route notes and maps means you should have no problems finding your way.


Baggage Transfers

On Days 4 & 7 your bags will be transferred from your hotel and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to keep your baggage to a maximum of 1 bag per person (maximum weight 20kg).


Meals

The delicious Italian food and wine available locally is undoubtedly a highlight of this holiday. The price of your holiday includes breakfast each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options.


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sunhat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a daypack.


Travel Insurance

It is a condition of booking with us that you have suitable travel insurance that covers you for cancellation, curtailment, illness or injury.


Getting to Camogli and from Portovenere

Genoa or Pisa Airports are the most convenient although Florence is also a possibility. From Genoa take a local bus to the centre (Brignole station) then it is s a 40mins train to Camogli (total journey around 1hr).


From Pisa take the PisaMover bus from the airport, just a 1km ride into the train station/city centre then it’s a 2h15 train ride to Camogli (total journey approx. 2h30-2hrs).


Visit www.trenitalia.it for times, prices and booking. Tickets can be purchased on arrival or online prior to departure.


Our pre-departure information pack has detailed public transport information so you will have no problem reaching the Cinque Terre.


Buses run every 30 minutes (15 minutes in peak season) from Portovenere to La Spezia and take about 40 minutes and cost 1.90€ single. Alternatively, a taxi costs about 40€. From La Spezia trains connect to Pisa, Genoa or Florence Airports as well as other destinations in Italy. Visit www.trenitalia.it for times, prices and booking.

Getting to/from Camogli/Portovenere

Genoa or Pisa Airports are the most convenient although Florence is also a possibility. From Genoa take a local bus to the centre (Brignole station) then it is s a 40mins train to Camogli (total journey around 1hr).


From Pisa take the PisaMover bus from the airport, just a 1km ride into the train station/city centre then it’s a 2h15 train ride to Camogli (total journey approx. 2h30-2hrs).


Visit www.trenitalia.it for times, prices and booking. Tickets can be purchased on arrival or online prior to departure.


Our pre-departure information pack has detailed public transport information so you will have no problem reaching the Cinque Terre.


Buses run every 30 minutes (15 minutes in peak season) from Portovenere to La Spezia and take about 40 minutes and cost 1.90€ single. Alternatively a taxi costs about 40€. From La Spezia trains connect to Pisa, Genoa or Florence Airports as well as other destinations in Italy. Visit www.trenitalia.it for times, prices and booking.


Travel in the Cinque Terre

The excellent local train service connects all the villages and is what you will use to access many of the walks. Another pleasant alternative is to use the local ferry services to travel between villages (ferries are payable locally).

Included

  • 7 Nights accommodation in 2-3* hotels, in rooms with private facilities
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Transfer from Camogli to San Rocco (Day 2)
  • Transfer from Monterosso to Soviore (Day 5)
  • Luggage transfers
  • 48 hr Cinque Terre Card— train pass and entrance to the Cinque Terre National Park
  • 24-hour telephone assistance
  • Detailed route notes and maps
  • Access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App

Excluded

  • All lunches and dinners
  • Flights and additional public transportation
  • Travel insurance
  • Admissions and entrance fees
  • Personal expenses such as lunch, dinner, snacks, wine tasting, drinks, phone calls, etc.
  • Any item that has not been specifically mentioned in the program

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the programme.
  • Single room and solo walker supplements

How fit do I need to be?

This walking holiday is graded easy to moderate and involves between three and seven hours of walking each day. On some days there is a choice of walks, or you can take a ferry or the train to shorten your walk. Some of the paths are very steep so you should be in pretty good shape to get the most from this holiday.  This tour is not suitable for those with a fear of heights, as some of the walks are along paths close to cliffs.

When is the best time of year?

Spring in the Cinque Terre is sublime! April, May and June are absolutely lovely. September and October are also lovely as the coast has that lazy late summer feeling. July and August can be busy and also extremely hot so you'll need to start out early and take plenty of water.

How do the baggage transfers work?

On Days 4 & 7 leave your bags at the hotel reception and your bags will be transferred from your hotel and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this area is extremely popular. We will always try and accommodate your plans so just ask.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

You can access all the locations really easily with public transport.


Adventure of a Lifetime!

4

The June heat (during the 2019 European Heat Wave next door in France) was a wake-up call for this healthy 40-something hiker from New Hampshire, but the daily gelato and dips in the Mediterranean made me forget the challenges of the day! We were glad to have added Portofino & Portovenere. The Cinque Terre hiking was lovely, but our favorites were north and south of the Cinque Terre. Generally the step-by-step route directions were excellent. We couldn't find the recommended path in Levanto to Punto Mesco, but there are at least 3 different routes and the one we took was still beautiful. The crowds on the beaches and in some towns were dense. But on the trails out of town there were long stretches without seeing other hikers. In New Hampshire I am a mosquito magnet, sometimes getting bitten dozens of times per day. On this hike I received only about 3 bites all week--it was like heaven! We went with the baseline accommodations. When we had it, air conditioning was a lifesaver. We had to ask for a room with it in Bonassola and didn't have it in Monterosso.

The New Hampshire Hiker

New Hampshire, United States

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The trip of a lifetime!!

5

We loved the Portofino, Cinque Terre, and Portovenere Route! We had no problems with your trail descriptions until day 4, leaving Levanto to Monterosso we lost the route around WP 13-18. We found a sign and a mountain biker that shared his map so we were able to find Colla Bagari and make it to Monterosso. It added probably 1.5 hours or so. There were lots of red and white marks, trail numbers, and they took us down the wrong trail. I am just telling you this so maybe you can fix the description. It did not sway us on not liking the trip at all. We loved everyday!

Mary

Minneapolis, MN

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Amazing hiking experience

4

A great week of hiking .... more difficult than we anticipated , but the fabulous views made it all worthwhile . We took one day off to visit the villages by boat . We particularly enjoyed the days outside of the Cinque Terre , away from the crowds. Great variety of hotels ... all very good.

JC and Roberto

Perth , Western Australia

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Great trip!

5

They send you a very in depth booklet that is extremely helpful. The route directions were very easy to follow, though sometimes they were incorrect. We could usually get back on route, but one time it cost us an extra hour and a half because of something mislabeled... Just be weary and always follow your gut if you think you are going the wrong way!

Courtney

Detroit, Michigan

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Great holiday well organised

5

Firstly this is our third Macadventure and I can't speak highly enough about them. It was well organised, informative, and the hotels they use are clean, comfortable and locally owned. The highlights are the incredible beauty of the villages and vineyards, wonderful walking and the friendliness of the people. As some others have commented, this walk is challenging. We are fit able walkers and we did a big walk on our rest day but it needs pointing out there are some challenging ascents and descents. It's more than 2 level of difficulty. I would say that at times the use of sticks on the descents (rather than scrambling down on all 4's) was essential particularly if it was wet. The notes do offer shorter walks so you can say it was our fault for doing it all but we would say our norm was 4-5 hours walking each day excluding stops with big ups and downs. We were pretty tired at the end. I think the numbers of pieces of paper Mac give you needs rationalising. You do need both the guide and the map. We only got lost a few times, a couple of these were our fault and a couple of times it was the notes. Being sensible you may need occasionally to use google maps on your phone but everything was solvable. The trains are very easy, regular and a great way to get around at the beginning or end of the day. Hotel standard was good. I love that Mac give you local non international places to stay and you meet real people and eat great food. The downside is sometimes rooms are small but they are clean and well equipped and it's not a holiday for staying in your room. The whole coast is busy and as a rule of thumb the more difficult the walk you are doing the less people you see. If you are going to do the walk from Vernazza to Monterosso for example to avoid the crowds you might think of doing it away from peak times. We did it after lunch and it was frankly a one and a half hour walk in a crocodile. It may be beautiful but it was probably our least favourite experience.

David

London

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One of my best holidays

5

The organisation was excellent. All hotels expected us and the luggage transfers went without a hitch. The two taxis organised for us appeared right on time with no problems. I am 60 and found the walks very enjoyable although initially a bit tough. We found that 4 hours walks took us 6 hours but we didn't feel under any pressure , we just took our time and didn't set out to break any records. We really enjoyed seeing the non tourist parts of the Cinque Terre. Due to the time of year we did find we would reach our destination only a couple of hours before sunset so by the time we checked in and got changed we couldn't really enjoy our location as much as we wanted and just be tourists. The solution was to skip some walks and we ended up doing 4 out of 6. Any age can take these walks on if you take you time. Highly recommended. Although October we managed to swim in the sea nearly every day which was a great bonus. Will do another of these walks next year.

Warwick

London

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A lovely area, lovely walking country

4

We had a great holiday - third Mac Adventure trip. We can trust Macs Adventure to deliver what they promise. Sone improvements in information provided would be helpful.

Chris

Nottingham

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Great Tour

5

This was our second time on this exact trip and it was as fun and exciting as the first time. I would say that I think that the rating is a little on the deceiving. My husband and I are in decent shape and there were days that were a little tougher than "easy to moderate" hiking.

Hiking Gal

Cince Terre & Portovenere

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Walking The Cinque deTerrein April

4

We really enjoyed this adventure although we found some walks quite challenging.My husband and I are seniors who walk and hike a lot.Some sections were very steep and the constant stairs were exhausting.Some directions were confusing...On the walk from Soviore to Vanessa we walked 2 Km's on hard asphalt before we realized we had passed the Reggio turn.Our accommodations were all great and easy to locate. The pick up service was exactly on time and luggage details worked well.Not for the faint hearted and unfit!

"Hiking Oldies"

Canada

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Hiking the Cinque Terre

5

Trip organized in fine detail with lots of options to reduce or increase the hiking. Each day brought new sights, villages and special moments.

Mandi

Johannesburg

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Portofino, The Cinque Terre & Portovenere

4.5 22

100.0

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