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Fitness
Hiking trail

Bonassola to Monterosso

Hiking trail · Cinque Terre,Golfo dei Poeti
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Views to Cinque Terre
    / Views to Cinque Terre
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Winding Forest Path
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Disused Railway Tunnels
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Levanto
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
m 500 400 300 200 100 -100 10 8 6 4 2 km

Inch closer to the Cinque Terre today, climbing over a mountain, and passing through another one, on a day of spectacular coastal and mountain views between Bonassola and Monterosso.

moderate
11.1 km
3:45 h
588 m
583 m

Few walks start as easy as this one, and that’s thanks to Italian Engineers of the mid-18th century; rather than clamber over the hills between Bonassola and Levanto, this walk strolls through old railway tunnels (disused since 1971 when the train route was moved further inland), providing nearly 2 kilometres of flat, paved, easy hiking. The sound of the waves fades away, while the heavy trudge of your footsteps and the occasional drip of water echoes around the tunnel. Sometimes you explode out from a tunnel and are gifted a view of waves crashing on the rocks below, or to a sheltered and secluded bay.

Leave the tunnels behind to enter the idyllic village of Levanto, whose skyline is pierced by church spires and towers. The village is nestled in a valley and hugs the coastline tightly. From here the easy hiking finishes, and there’s no convenient tunnel for the hills that tower above, so if you want to shorten today’s walk you can take a train or ferry from here to Monterosso.

After a climb to Colla Bagari the path flattens out along a ridgeline and offers views out to sea and sweeping along the coastline on either side, allowing you to see where you’ve come from, and the scattered houses of Cinque Terre, where you’re heading over the next few days. Don’t be daunted by the distances you see, for the town of Monterosso, where you will spend the night, is all downhill from here!

Author’s recommendation

Take the 300 metre detour to St Antonio al Mesco to see the 11th century church and hermitage, and a great viewpoint, looking out to where you’ve walked already and where is still remaining.

outdooractive.com User
Author
Josiah Skeats
Updated: November 26, 2019

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
379 m
Lowest point
4 m

Safety information

There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and remain on the path

There are several stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic, unless there is a verge separated by line-markings that provides space to walk on.

Much of the path is rocky. Bear in mind these may be slippery when wet, place your feet with care, and use the handrail, where one is provided.

Tips, hints and links

Points of Interest

St Antonio al Mesco

The church and hermitage of St Antonio al Mesco on is thought to date to the 11th century, and has been abandoned since 1610, when the religious order moved to Levanto. Few ruins remain, but enough for you to imagine how it would have looked/felt to worship and live atop this isolated promontory, with a fantastic view stretching along the coastline.

 

Bonassola to Levanto Tunnels

The challenges in building this railway tunnel from Bonassola to Levanto (it actually starts further back in Framura) in the 18th century were immense; firstly, thousands of tonnes of rock had to be scooped out of the mountain, much of it done with manual labour due to limited supplies of explosives, and secondly, the route hugs the coast closely, passing several bays and cliffs. The last train thundered through the tunnel in 1971, when the route was moved inland, and now the flat trail is enjoyed by hikers and cyclists alike.

More information available here: http://www.nuovogarden.com/en/event/framura-bonassola-levanto-pista-ciclabile-2/

 

Levanto Castle

Currently Levanto Castle is privately owned and not open to visitors, but from its prominent position overlooking Levant Village, you can enjoy it from afar. With a history dating to the 12th century, over the years the castle has played an important role in defence and as a prison.

More information available here: http://www.liguriaguide.com/levanto.html

 

Food and Drink

After 2.2 kilometres you will reach Levanto which offers a variety of restaurants, cafes and shops for you to get some food or drink.

After leaving Levanto there is nowhere to get food or drink until reaching Monterosso, so be sure to carry enough supplies for the journey.

Start

Piazza in Bonassola (7 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
44.183114, 9.582886
UTM
32T 546588 4892376

Destination

Monterosso Piazza

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – Start in the piazza in Bonassola. Facing the fountain and with the café behind you, TURN LEFT to walk towards the road, passing toilets and the post office on your right. After 50 metres CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to follow the zebra crossing walkway (black-and-white road marking) which leads, after 50 metres, onto an uphill footpath.

0.17km – As you reach the roundabout, BEAR RIGHT to cross the road at the zebra crossing, then BEAR LEFT to walk along the footpath, with the beach on your right.

0.44km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON into the disused railway tunnel which has been converted into a cycling/footpath. This will pass through several tunnels.

2.20km – After leaving the tunnels, BEAR RIGHT to remain on the footpath while the cycling track bears left. You are walking with the harbour on your right.

2.50km – As the footpath ends at a roundabout, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON with the sea on your right. Walk on the right-side of the road in the part designated for pedestrians.

3.00km – Just before the road narrows into a section controlled by traffic-lights, TURN LEFT to cross the road and head down the steps. At the bottom of the steps TURN RIGHT to walk along the road.

3.10km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON through the park, walking parallel to the elevated section of road on your right. Once through the park, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON across the road and towards the car park directly ahead.

3.20km – As you emerge into the car park, BEAR RIGHT to walk beside the road. An uphill slope on your left will lead to an old church - Oratorio di San Giacomo - with an impressive bronze door and bas-relief.

3.30km – Once through the car park, BEAR LEFT onto the uphill road with the ‘No Through Road’ sign. After 100 metres TURN LEFT onto the narrow path that passes beside a house. At both junctions follow the sign to Torre dell Orologio and Mura Medioevali.

3.50km – At the tower, BEAR RIGHT to continue uphill on the mud lane. For a nice view into Levanto, you can turn left to climb the metal steps and through the gap in the old city wall.

3.70km – As the mud path forks beside a telegraph pole and overhead lines, TURN RIGHT on the mud path.

3.30km - BEAR LEFT as the path forks, walking on the overgrown mud tracks towards the house on your left, and parallel to the overhead lines. After 100 metres, TURN RIGHT, ignoring the left turn. On a nearby rock there is a fading red-and-white strip of paint which you can use to guide you.

4.20km – TURN RIGHT as your reach the paved path. Ignore the left turn marked as private property.

4.60km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON along the wide, mud path, ignoring a track on your left and right. After 100 metres, BEAR LEFT as you emerge onto a gravel road, to walk beside vineyards.

4.80km – Shortly after passing a gated entrance to a house, TURN RIGHT and then immediately BEAR RIGHT onto the narrow, single track path, keeping the wire fence on your right. Ignore the gravel road on your left, marked private property, and the gap in the fence on your right.

4.90km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON along the path, ignoring the sharp left turn. This path is rocky in places and may be slippery when wet. Remain on this path for 1.3 kilometres, ignoring all side roads.

6.20km – As you reach Colla Bagari which is the saddle between two hills, the junction appears confusing with different paths splitting off, and four signposts pointing in all directions. TURN LEFT at the first wooden post, and then at the second wooden signpost after 5 metres, TURN RIGHT following the sign for S. Antonio al Mesco. After 50 metres, you will pass another wooden post though the sign is no longer there. There will be rocks with red and white paint on. After walking along the trail for 100 metres, we recommend checking the map to ensure you are on the correct trail.

6.90km – CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON, following the sign for S. Antonio al Mesco. Ignore the right turn for Casa Massola.

8.00km – The path opens out into a wide rocky area and a crossroads. CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON, passing just to the right of the stone tower and following the sign for Monterosso and S. Antonio al Mesco.

8.10km – At the T-junction with a wooden bridge immediately on your left, TURN RIGHT to explore the church at S. Antonio al Mesco and to enjoy a beautiful viewpoint out to sea. After reaching the church, you will turn around and descend to Monterosso via this bridge.

8.30km - Once you have explored S. Antonio al Mesco and enjoyed the viewpoint to open sea, turn around and return the way you came, but BEAR RIGHT after 300 metres to cross the wooden bridge and follow the path downhill.

9.40km – BEAR LEFT as the steps emerge onto the road. After 200 metres, BEAR RIGHT to follow the gravel footpath that runs just beside the road. After 100 metres, BEAR LEFT to join the road again, and continue heading downhill.

9.90km – As the road bends sharply left, TURN RIGHT to descend on the set of steps. At the bottom of the steps BEAR LEFT to follow the path into Monterosso and walk with the beach on your right.

10.10km – BEAR LEFT onto the pedestrian area of the wider road, and walk on the pavement for 800 metres with the sea and beach on your right. There are lots of cafes and restaurants to tempt you to take a break!

10.90km – BEAR RIGHT as you reach the tunnel to keep hugging the coastline. After 50 metres CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to ignore a set of steps on your left and right.

11.00km – As the path forks, BEAR RIGHT to descend on the downhill steps, and ignore the uphill steps on your left, signposted to Convento dei Cappuccini. At the bottom of the steps, BEAR LEFT to pass under the railway bridge and finish in the piazza, beside the fountain and the clocktower.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

Sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof/wind-break layer are required. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.

Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.

Make sure you bring enough water. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres per 1 hour of hiking.

Be sure to bring plenty of sun cream and a healthy respect for the sun.


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Difficulty
moderate
Distance
11.1 km
Duration
3:45h
Ascent
588 m
Descent
583 m

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