My companion and I spent three nights in Vernazza the 2nd week in Oct. 2002 and toured as far north as Levanto and south to Riomaggiore. In 1.75 hours walking from Vernazza to Monterosso we encountered maybe 400 people coming the other way-bad luck I suppose to run into a few tour buses. The trail in the early evening was virtually empty. Considering the vast number of foreigners who invade their piece of paradise, the locals are incredibly accommodating and helpful, even when you’re not spending money. We ate in different towns each night and found the meal quality to be inversely proportional to the cost, and the ‘house wine’ the two times we ordered it barely resembled wine-the Tuborg on night three was genuine though.
If you do it all in one day, which might take 4-5 hours, you’ll wonder if you missed out on something special. If you take 3 days, like we did, you may wonder if the extra time may have been better spent somewhere else-we found the locals to be terrific everywhere else as well. Viva Italia.