This hike takes you from the train station in Levanto to the train station in Vernazza through the famous Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre. Here you can catch a train back to Levanto or to whatever station you originally boarded (see http://www.trenitalia.com). The views are magnificent, and especially Vernazza is a beautiful and picturesque town. It can however be quite busy in the towns and on some of the paths. For this hike you do not need to pay a fee as is mandatory on the coastal paths between Monterosso and Vernazza. See http://www.parconazionale5terre.it (also in English) for general information including actual information on the paths; the paths you have to look for are 591 (former 1), 590 (SVA), 509 (former 9), 582 (former 8b), and 508 (former 8). If you want to avoid crowds, it is best to be very early, as I did. The paths are steep in places, with long stretches of steps, especially the stretch to Madonna di Soviore. This can be demanding, and more so in the full sun in summer. You walk through vineyards, groves, woods, and maquis. Approximate walking times: Station Levanto-Trailhead at Castello di Levanto 0h20m, Castello di Levento-San Antonio Mesco 1h25m, San Antonio Mesco-Monterosso station excluding detour to rocky beach 0h40m, Monterosso-trailhead 509 0h15m, Trailhead 509-Madonna di Soviore 0h50m, Madonna di Soviore-Madonna di Reggio 1h00m, Madonno di Reggio-Vernazza center 0h35m.
You exit the train station in Levanto (the town is not itself part of the Cinqe Terre) and walk through town to the beach. You follow the beach towards the south side/the old town and then climb some stairs to the Castello di Levanto and further follow the marked trail up the hill. Looking back you have great views of the bay and the town. You reach a quiet asphalt road, follow this for a while, and then try not to miss the small path off to the right. You follow this path all the way to the observation point at Punta Mesco, keeping Monte Focone to your left. Just before the end of the trail you arrive to the ruins of San Antonio Mesco at about 305 m. The view down to Monterosso al Mare and along the coast all the way to Portovenere is great. You walk back a bit and then turn right to go down to Monterosso al Mare. After about 800 m, the last 700 m is on an asphalt road. You go down some stairs towards the Porto di Fegina. I walked around the port to a rocky beach, but there was no access to the port, and I returned to the foot of the stairs and then on along the shore and the beach of Fegina/Monterosso. You pass by the train station, go around a rocky promontory and then arrive at the old town of Monterosso al Mare. You walk inland through the village and at the end take a steep path with stairs (trail 509) to Madonna di Saviore. This path takes you up to 465 m. Here you have a great view, and you can visit the church. You walk up to the SP36, follow this road for 750 m and take the trail down towards to Madonna di Reggio. At the end of you have a great view towards Vernazza and San Bernardino. You arrive to the SP63, follow the road shortly, and then go down to the Madonna di Reggio church. After your visit you continue down along a path paved with stones, which takes you all the way down to Vernazza. Here, you continue down to the central square Piazza Guglielmo Marconi. From here I made a detour to the Castello di Vernazza (you get there through narrow alleys where the GPS might be off, follow the signs; entrance fee required). The view from the tower is great. Arriving back at the square you can visit the church Chiesa di Santa Margherita di Antiochia with the characteristic tower. After this, I walked to the station through the main street.
You will find plenty to eat and drink in Levanto, Monterosso and Vernazza, and additionally there is a bar at the Madonna di Soviore.
A tower, walls and a good view are worth the few euro's
The tower of this church can be seen from far.
Central square in Vernazza
Port of Fegina on the nortwest side of town
This rocky beach is at the end of the path that takes you around the port. You cannot access the port from here.
Sanctuary with an excellent view. There is a place to buy something to eat and drink on the premises as well.
This trail is largely paved with cobblestones and takes you all the way down to Vernazza
This trail takes you up to Madonna di Soviore and is quite steep, with steps, and stones.
Here you leave the SP38 and you go down on a narrow trail to Madonna di Reggio. At the end you get a view of Vernazza
From here you walk down to Monterosso
From here you follow the marked trail to San Antonio Mesco
You have excellent views here