There are popular hiking trails between the villages as well as in the scenic hills above them. You'll have to pay for entrance to the trails. Europe for Visitors has a good Cinque Terre hiking guide and map with pictures so you'll know what to expect when you go. Note that you need to buy a Cinque Terre Card to use the trails.
The Cinque Terre region is very popular and is very crowded in summer. Spending the night in one of the villages is a good way to experience the charm without the huge crowds but since they aren't packed with hotels, you'll need to book ahead. My friends recommend staying in Manarola at A Casa Rooms and Apartments. Here are more places to stay in Cinque Terre.
More about Cinque Terre:
- Cinque Terre Guided Day Tours and Boat Excursions
- Cinque Terre Passes and Train Cards Information
- Cinque Terre Visitors Information on Europe Travel
- Video: Tips for Visiting Cinque Terre
- Cinque Terre Climate and Weather
- Cinque Terre Pictures
TransportationHow to Get to Cinque Terre from Rome
Next - Portovenere on the Gulf of Poets