The five clifftop villages of Italy's 'five lands' are beloved by travellers, old and young.
However, for almost a decade of the most spectacular and secluded views have been out of reach.

The Cinque Terre is known for its string of pastel coloured villages clinging to the coast of the Parco Nazionale. Beyond instant Instagram appeal and a well-trodden coach route along the SP51, the coastal route is breathtaking but will not leave you out of breath.

However, for hikers wanting to get in among the vistas there is good news at last: the coastal route is finally being restored.

Via dell' amore near Riomaggiore has been closed for almost a decade. Photo / Getty Images
Via dell' amore near Riomaggiore has been closed for almost a decade. Photo / Getty Images

Lovers Lane, once one of the most popular scenic stretches along the coast has been closed for over a decade. The kilometre-long trail connecting the towns of Riomaggiore and Manarola was closed following a landslide in 2012. Four hikers were injured on the route during the subsidence.

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Yet eight years on, very little had been done to reopen the much loved path.

The governor of Liguria, Giovanni Toti , told Italian media that it was "unacceptable" that the restorations had taken so long and that "one of the symbols of the territory known all over the world was no longer accessible."

However, don't strap on your walking boots just yet: most of the work is still to take place on the path. Restorations including extending a large covered section to protect walkers from landslides will not be finished until 2023 and are expected to cost €12m or $20m.

Parts of the coastal route were closed following landslides in 2012. Photo / Christina Ambalava, Unsplash
Parts of the coastal route were closed following landslides in 2012. Photo / Christina Ambalava, Unsplash

There is a network of 120 kilometres of trails though the cliffs, but the closed Lovers Lane route has created a bottle neck for hikers wanting to join long distance hikes.

Traversing the cliffs of Liguria can be done by rail, road or boat. However, walking provides unique way for tourists to appreciate the views at their own pace.

Hiking the Cinque Terre: Red vs Blue

There are two well-worn trails that join up the villages of Cinque Terre, the Blue path and the Red path:

The "Blue path" runs along the coast, linking the towns of Riomaggiore, Manarola Corniglia Vernazza and Monterosso al Mar. Unfortunately due to the ongoing restorations parts of this route are closed, however you can still take the scenic train between villages. An adult Cinque Terre Card will cost you €7.50 or $12.50 for all-day travel on public transport.

The "Red path" is a more challenging hike, up and overland from Potovenere to Levanto. The mountainous terrain makes for difficult walking but rewarding views.

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The Blue coastal path allows hikers to get in amongst the scenery. Photo / Josh Wild, Unsplash
The Blue coastal path allows hikers to get in amongst the scenery. Photo / Josh Wild, Unsplash