From: October 7 to October 16, 2017

Destination: Florence, Italy

  • Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera - FULL

    On this trip that combines hiking and culture, we visit the Cinque Terre, a collection of five colorful towns perched on steep cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea, and the longer strip of coast known as the Italian Riviera.  We'll hike timeless landscape along paths that wind through vineyards and ancient stone paths and stairways that climb up and down cliffs, sample local wines and other locally produced specialties, relax in romantic outdoor cafes, take a dip in the Ligurian sea, and explore the area surrounding the villages, known as the Italian Riviera. Our trip to Italy is truly a feast for all the senses. After meeting in Florence, we'll head west to the Ligurian Coast and the area known as Cinque Terre. Our trip to Italy is truly a feast for all the senses. Maximum group size: 14 

    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required)
  • Note: This trip starts in Florence and ends in Pisa.

    Friday, October 6 - If you are coming from North America, this is the day you will need to leave in order to be in Florence by October 7. However, we strongly urge you to come a day early if you've never been to Florence, truly the birthplace of the Renaissance. It's a wonderful city and an easy place to find your way around, with so much to see! We'll be happy to make hotel reservations for you for the night before.

    Saturday, October 7 - Meet in Florence by 1pm.  We'll start with a culinary adventure as we explore the city of Florence with a market walking tour. We'll sample some of Italy's best known delights as we stop at different stalls to taste everything from antipasti to dessert - sort of a "moving" lunch. If you can't arrive until later, you can meet us at the hotel at 5pm where we'll start getting acquainted before going out for our first dinner together.  Overnight in Florence at Hotel Cellai (or similar).

    Sunday, October 8: Transfer to Ligurian Coast We'll leave Florence this morning for our three hour transfer to the lovely town of Camogli, situated on the Ligurian Coast just north of Cinque Terre National Park and known for lively streets, cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. We’ll have lunch at the wharf and spend the afternoon on a warm-up walk exploring the town and visiting Castel Dragone near the harbor. Drive 3 hours in private van, Walk 2 miles. Overnight Camogli at Hotel Casmona

    Monday, October 9: Portofino Peninsula After breakfast, we start walking from our hotel and climb across the Portofino Peninsula with spectacular views of the sea and the Portofino Marine Reserve. We'll have lunch along the way at "Agriturifugio Mulino", a farmhouse restaurant, and then hike down to the remote 13th century Abbey of San Fruttuoso. Located in a beautiful small bay, it is accessible only by foot or boat. We will catch a boat ride back to Camogli, stopping along the way in Portofino. You'll see why the rich and famous flock to this gorgeous town; its harbor is filled with yachts and its cliff-side coast is lined with impressive villas. Hike: Approximately 4.5 -5 hours/ 5.4 miles with steep rocky up and downhill trail sections. Overnight in Camogli.

    Tuesday, October 10: Transfer to Monterosso and hike to Madonna del Soviore Monastery After breakfast we drive to Monterosso al Mare, one of the five villages. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, we'll walk up to the Madonna del Soviore Monastery, a retreat above the hustle of village life. We'll have lunch there, overlooking another spectacular view of the sparkling coast. Then we head back to explore the quaint village of Monterosso, the northernmost village in the Cinque Terre and our home for the next four nights. Hike: Approx. 6 miles of steep up and down cobbled trail and rural road. Overnight in Monterosso al Mare at Hotel Marina.

    Wednesday, October 11: Train to Levanto and walk back to Monterosso A short train ride brings us to the village of Levanto, once a walled town and major stronghold of the Genoese. We leave Levanto on foot and walk across the peninsula past Punta Mesco with views over Levanto's medieval walls and tiled roofs, a lovely wooded area, and eventually the magnificent stretch of the Cinque Terre coast. We hike into Monterosso for lunch and then take a short walk to the Buranco organic farm for a winery tour and wine tasting, followed by tasty dinner on their terrace. Hike: about 4 hours; 5 miles steep up and down a combination of trail, rocky steps and rural road. Overnight in Monterosso al Mare.

    Thursday, October 12: Monterosso al Mare to Corniglia Today we walk from our hotel up past agricultural terraces and then down to Vernazza, one of the most photographed villages in the Cinque Terre because it is so charming. After exploring the shops and narrow pedestrian streets, we'll continue on to Corniglia, the one Cinque Terre village that is perched on cliffs high above the sea. (Note: If you feel like taking a day off from hiking, you can do part of the itinerary by train today and tomorrow.) We will enjoy lunch at a terrace restaurant and then take the train back to Monterosso in time for a cooking class to discover the secrets of Pesto (which originated here) as well as some of the many ways to prepare local fish. We will then feast on the fruits of our labor. 1.5 hour/2 mi walk steep ups and downs to Vernazza and 2.5 mi/2 hrs to Corniglia. Overnight in Monterosso al Mare.

    Friday, October 13: Corniglia to Manorola via Volastra After a delicious breakfast, we take the train back to Corniglia to continue our Cinque Terre village walks. Our hike takes us up and along the high route to Manarola with stunning views over the Cinque Terre and through the ancient hamlet of Volastra for lunch. We then hike down to the seaside village of Manarola where we have time to look around town, and perhaps indulge in a gelato before taking the train back to our hotel in Monterosso and dinner at the Ancora della Tortuga. Hiking: About 5 miles of long steep trail and stone stairs, both up and down and a trail section with exposure to a vertical drop. Overnight in Monterosso al Mare.

    Saturday, October 14: Riomaggiore to Porto Venere via Campiglia This morning we take the train to the 5th village in the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore. Our hike is mostly uphill past terraced fields and splendid forests of pine, chestnut, and cork trees. We will enjoy more breathtaking views of the coast throughout the morning and lunch in the hamlet of Campiglia, where we picnic on a terrace of a small "Alimentari" shop. Then we transfer by van to Portovenere. We'll check into our hotel (our luggage was transferred separately) and have some free time to explore the cobbled streets of this charming seaside town. Here, spectacular cliffs rise above the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean in a setting so beautiful that Byron, Shelley and D.H. Lawrence (among others) wrote here; thus, the Gulf of Poets was named. Hike: Approx. 6.2 miles, mostly long, gradual uphill on trails with some stone steps; Train approx. 15 minutes; Van: 20 minutes. Overnight in Portovenere at Hotel Paradiso.

    Sunday, October 15: Palmaria We will take a short boat ride through the harbor to the nearby island of Palmaria, which has been the guardian of Portovenere for centuries and still has remnants of Napoleon-era forts. We walk around the island with views of the colorful buildings perched on the promontory of Portovenere and the tiny nearby island of Tino. Our path travels through a distinct native ecosystem referred to as Mediterranean Macchia, with plants, such as arbutus, broom, and myrtle, adapted to the dry, harsh heat and heavy seasonal rains. We return to Portovenere mid-day and have some free time before dinner to explore the 16th-century Genovese naval fortress that once protected Portovenere from marauding corsair pirates, walk by the "Poet's Grotto" or do some last shopping in the many charming boutiques. Tonight, we'll enjoy our last Italian feast together. Boat: 10 minutes each way; Hike: 3 miles, 2.5 hours on rocky trails and pathways with short, steep sections. Overnight in Porto Venere.

    Monday, October 16: Transfer to Pisa and departure After our last shared breakfast, we will pack up and transfer in our private van to the Pisa International Airport. We'll arrive by noon and you can plan flights out after .
  • $3395 (see this page for discounts) $400 deposit. If you want a private room for the entire trip, the additional cost is $350. You can read our cancellation policies here

    Trip Includes

    • an English-speaking Italian and an Adventures in Good Company guide
    • nine nights double occupancy lodging with ensuite bathrooms
    • all meals from dinner on October 7 to breakfast October 16
    • all ground transportation within Italy other than the initial Florence airport transfer
    • a cooking class and a wine-tasting
    Not included: Airfare to Florence and from Pisa, airport transfer in Florence, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, items of a personal nature 
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Hike the Cinque Terre's spectacular coastline trails through five brightly colored cliff side villages, rich in nature, history, and traditional ways of life
  • Discover medieval castles and fortresses, tiny fishing ports, and bustling harbors in the nearby picturesque seaside towns of Camogli, Levanto, and Portovenere
  • See the charming coastal towns from the sea perspective, during several boat rides
  • Taste the fresh flavors, local wines, and traditional foods of this area, also known as the Italian Riviera
  • Enjoy a winery tour and Italian cooking class.

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