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& di

cinque-terre,-italy-–-riomaggiore-&-santuario-di-montenero

& di

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Riomaggiore is 1st of the famous 5 villages of Cinque Terre.

in from , the highlight for me was the Santuario di Montenero, a Catholic church & monastery perched overlooking Riomaggiore.

I met the priest who was keen to see how my drone worked. I put this short video together for him.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Mathew conducts service in all 5 villages. I told him he had the best congregations in Italy.

He didn't disagree.

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to

cinque-terre,-italy-–-porto-venere-to-manarola

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

In 2010, I hiked the famed Sentiero Azzurro aka Verde Azzurro path, or “Blue trail”.

It connected the 5 main villages of the the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare.

Sadly, since 2011 sections of the classic have been closed.


Returning in 2023, I decided to do part of the most popular alternative, the Sentiero Rosso aka Cinque Terre High Path.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube.

A LOT of ascent and descent. But gorgeous vistas from high up.

Took the train to La Spezia. Then the local bus to Porto Venere.

A pretty town.

Starting the north, immediately you find the impressive Doria Castle.

EPSON DSC picture

The trail takes you high above the ocean with terrific views in each direction. There are some very narrow pathways, but no real exposure.

I found a quiet spot, just before dark, to put up my tent.

Early next morning I arrived at the impressive Santuario di Montenero. The priest came out, interested in my drone. I showed him how it worked and later sent him this video.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Flowers bloom in profusion in June. You can see why everyone loves these trails.

I climbed WAY DOWN to Riomaggiore. A charming seaside town.

At tourist information, I confirmed that the original Blue trail was still closed. Got a map and directions for the best high route.

The tunnel by the railway station was a highlight for me.

Up, up, up.

More amazing vistas from up high.

Finally, I caught the train in Corniglia, a little further on from . It was nice to have the freedom to finish the day whenever I wanted.

YES, the Terre is touristy. But taking the high trails mostly gets you away from the mobs.

I highly recommend this destination.

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hiking-val-gardena,-italy

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

Val Gardena is a valley in northern , in the Dolomites, one of our top 10 hiking regions of the world..

The 3 alpine towns are UrtijëiSëlva, and Santa Cristina.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse of my 3 days in the valley on YouTube.

There are no bad hikes out of Gardena. But the highlight for me was getting to the famed ridge vista of the Odles/Geisler Group from Secede (2518m).

I hiked up early, the first person to reach the ridge on this morning. I wanted to beat the cable car day hikers. That expensive lift started up at 8:30am in 2023.

Here's that famed vista on a clear day.

Amazing views in the Dolomites mountains. Views from Seceda over the Odle mountains are spectacular.

Another good option is to stay late in the day, after the cablecar stops at 5:30pm.

Of course it's a long steep descent. ????

There's heated debate in the Dolomites whether or not you should use the cable cars. Personally, I'm OK with them — if you have the money.

But on this one I climbed down over a vertical kilometre back to the valley. Step by step.

I fuelled up with a couple of thousand calories at the Daniel Hut restaurant.

I'd started with a plan. BUT — as usual in the Dolomites — I ended up changing it en route. Easy to do when there are so many clearly marked alternatives.

Another day I took the cablecar from Ortisei to the Alpe di Siusi up to what's claimed to be the largest high altitude Alpine meadow in Europe. It is high, huge, and green.

You can't lose Val Gardena. It's fantastic.

Be ready for afternoon thunder and lightning, however. Don't get stuck up high in a storm.

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di – 5

madonna-di-campiglio,-italy-–-5-lakes-hike

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

I'd hiked out of Madonna di Campiglio in 2009. Loved it.

The Dolomites are one of our top 10 hiking regions of the world..

Mid-June 2023 I returned, wanting — this time — to do some of the famed via ferrata routes there.

Sadly, the cablecars going up high had not started yet. In fact, di Campiglio doesn't really get going 100% for summer until the end of June.

Instead, I did the most popular lower level day as it was the best available the one day I ended up staying.

I followed this route recommended on AllTrails:

5 Laghi: Ritort – Lambin – Gelato – Serodoli – Nambino

(AKA Giro dei laghi)

This shorter (less expensive) Spinale cable car was running up from town. You loop 5 in about 4-5 hours.

  • 11.91 km
  • 795 m elevation gain
  • starts at Mountain station 5 lakes 2065 m
  • medium difficulty due to rocky footing
Madonna di Campiglio

LAKES !

When the sun comes out, it's lovely and warm in the Dolomites.

BUT both times I've hiked here, I've had afternoon rain almost every day — and sometimes lightning storms. Be prepared for bad weather.

I actually opted to hike all the way down past a sixth lake ( Nambino) — but would recommend the cable car both ways instead.

The hike was better than expected. A good workout with the next lake to look forward to around every corner.

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di – 5

madonna-di-campiglio,-italy-–-5-lakes-hike

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

I'd hiked out of Madonna di Campiglio in 2009. Loved it.

The Dolomites are one of our top 10 hiking regions of the world..

Mid-June 2023 I returned, wanting — this time — to do some of the famed via ferrata routes there.

Sadly, the cablecars going up high had not started yet. In fact, di Campiglio doesn't really get going 100% for summer until the end of June.

Instead, I did the most popular lower level day as it was the best available the one day I ended up staying.

I followed this route recommended on AllTrails:

5 Laghi: Ritort – Lambin – Gelato – Serodoli – Nambino

(AKA Giro dei laghi)

This shorter (less expensive) Spinale cable car was running up from town. You loop 5 in about 4-5 hours.

  • 11.91 km
  • 795 m elevation gain
  • starts at Mountain station 5 lakes 2065 m
  • medium difficulty due to rocky footing
Madonna di Campiglio

LAKES !

When the sun comes out, it's lovely and warm in the Dolomites.

BUT both times I've hiked here, I've had afternoon rain almost every day — and sometimes lightning storms. Be prepared for bad weather.

I actually opted to hike all the way down past a sixth lake ( Nambino) — but would recommend the cable car both ways instead.

The hike was better than expected. A good workout with the next lake to look forward to around every corner.

Posted on Leave a comment

to

cinque-terre,-italy-–-porto-venere-to-manarola

In 2010, I hiked the famed Sentiero Azzurro aka Verde Azzurro path, or “Blue trail”.

It connected the 5 main villages of the the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare.

Sadly, since 2011 sections of the classic have been closed.


Returning in 2023, I decided to do part of the most popular alternative, the Sentiero Rosso aka Cinque Terre High Path.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube.

A LOT of ascent and descent. But gorgeous vistas from high up.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by BestHike.com (@besthikevisuals)

Took the train to La Spezia. Then the local bus to Porto Venere.

A pretty town.

Starting the north, immediately you find the impressive Doria Castle.

EPSON DSC picture

The trail takes you high above the ocean with terrific views in each direction. There are some very narrow pathways, but no real exposure.

I found a quiet spot, just before dark, to put up my tent.

Early next morning I arrived at the impressive Santuario di Montenero. The priest came out, interested in my drone. I showed him how it worked and later sent him this video.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Flowers bloom in profusion in June. You can see why everyone loves these trails.

I climbed WAY DOWN to Riomaggiore. A charming seaside town.

At tourist information, I confirmed that the original Blue trail was still closed. Got a map and directions for the best high route.

The tunnel by the railway station was a highlight for me.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by BestHike.com (@besthikevisuals)

Up, up, up.

More amazing vistas from up high.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by BestHike.com (@besthikevisuals)

Finally, I caught the train in Corniglia, a little further on from . It was nice to have the freedom to finish the day whenever I wanted.

YES, the Terre is touristy. But taking the high trails mostly gets you away from the mobs.

I highly recommend this hiking destination.

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the Walls of

hiking-the-walls-of-lucca,-italy

The Walls of Lucca (4.3km loop) is the most popular in one of the terrific Tuscan tourist towns.

This is an asphalted path. Easy for everyone.

There are plenty of opportunities to sit on benches or picnic under large trees for breaks.

There are also many exits to go sightseeing if you want to leave the walls for a while and explore the historic centre.

Click PLAY or watch my hike on YouTube. Spaghetti Western theme. ????

Lucca, near Pisa, has a population of about 90,000. No matter how many tourists arrive, it doesn't feel crowded.

There's much to see. But the highlight for most are the walls encircling the old town.

Initially built as a defensive rampart, it's become a pedestrian promenade.

Click PLAY or watch Rick Steve's highlights on YouTube.

Alice Pizza is a super popular chain. Light, airy dough made with little yeast.

Of 60 varieties, my server in Lucca recommended something unique. Like a pizza ham sandwich. Served cold, not hot. Delicious.