Day 1 UK - Genoa
You'll fly to Genoa today and on arrival we will transfer you to your hotel. We'll get to know one another better over a welcome drink and dinner this evening.
Day 2 Palmaria Island
Walk 5km/3mi - 2hrs
After breakfast we will travel by bus to Portovenere and board a ferry to the island of Palmaria, the largest of the three islands in the Gulf of La Spezia. Boasting a scenic landscape and beautiful beaches, it's here where the first of our guided walks takes place. Along the way we'll stop to enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to Portovenere by ferry. We'll spend some time exploring this lovely town, which is said to have once provided inspiration to the 19th century poet Lord Byron. Highlights are a picturesque harbour lined with brightly coloured houses and an impressive stone-built castle.
Day 3 Le Grazie - at Leisure
The choice is yours today, you can spend some time at leisure with your travelling companions or join an optional excursion. This one is rather tempting, as it takes you to see the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. One of four buildings which make up the cathedral complex and what is known as the Field of Miracles, the tower took 176 years to complete and began to lean shortly after construction.
If you opt to join us today you'll also visit Lucca. Said to be one of Tuscany's best-kept secrets, it boasts some of Italy's finest examples of medieval and Renaissance architecture. The town is famous as the birthplace of the composer Puccini and is the home of the Volto Santo relic. This wooden sculpture of Christ is kept in Lucca's beautiful cathedral.
Day 4 Cinque Terre
Walk 7km/4.4 mi - 4hrs
Today we're going to explore the enchanting area known as the Cinque Terre on foot. Five villages perch precariously on the cliffs high above the Mediterranean Sea and are almost all inaccessible by road. We'll follow a trail connecting the villages and will take in amazing views as we walk from one village to the other. If the weather is on our side today, we'll also take a scenic ferry ride.
Day 5 Le Grazie - at Leisure
Optional walk 9km/5.5mi - 4hrs
You're free to relax at leisure today. Alternatively, our optional walk begins at the Sanctuary of Montenero, which offers panoramic views over the Cinque Terre and Palmaria Island. We'll set off towards the spectacular Muzzerone cliff, a wild and beautiful spot towering above the sea, and then head to the imposing castle of Portovenere, a fine example of Genoese military architecture. Today's walk is strenuous with rocky terain and steps, and is best for seasoned walkers. A picnic lunch is included.
Day 6 Santa Margherita & Portofino Walk
Walk 5km/3 mi - 2hrs
Setting off from Santa Margherita, we'll make our way through the towns of Nozarego and Gave to Portofino with a stop at the Il Mulino del Gassetta for lunch.
The Gassetta Mill is a restored historic mill which has been brought back to life as a resturant. It is part of the wider La Portofino project, that seeks to recover abandoned land, and revitalise it using traditional methods of farming and environmental sensitivity. This includes the production of local honey, and a craft beer, made from hops grown in the area.
Portofino used to be a tiny fishing port and is now the Italian Riviera's most exclusive resort offering designer boutiques and a fine selection of cafés and bars. Enjoy some free time to make your own discoveries before we return to Santa Margherita by boat.
Day 7 Le Grazie - at Leisure
Optional walk 7km/4.4 mi - 3hrs
If you want to head off the beaten track, today's optional excursion is for you. Travelling by train, we'll head back to the Cinque Terre and then walk along one of the lesser-known trails passing vineyards, sanctuaries and ancient houses on our way from Corniglia to Volastra and Manarola.
Day 8 Genoa - UK
Today we will transfer you to the airport in Genoa for your flight back to the UK.
Please note: There will be plenty of rest stops and time to enjoy the local scenery. Most walks take place on paths and tracks. Some will be slightly more strenuous and may involve moderate slopes, high rocky steps and terrain, cliff trails with no handrails, hills, stiles and foot bridges which may be rough underfoot at times. Sturdy hiking boots and walking poles are essential.