Few places in the world can compare to the appeal of small village romanticism as Cinque Terre. In Italian the ‘Five Lands’ are actually five ancient, small fishing villages situated on the rugged coast of the Liguria Region north in Italy. Hauling themselves along the mountainous Mediterranean seaside, the Cinque Terre is a spectacular place for enjoying a walk in the sun. Although each village might have a similar exterior, they all have their own charm that will evidently make you choose a favourite. It is a luxurious problem.
The first time I was introduced to Cinque Terre was on the cover of one of National Geographic Traveler’s Magazines. It was a captivating sight and I decided then and there that I had to go to see if this beauty could possibly be true . Not surprisingly, the reality of Cinque Terre was everything I expected and more. This UNSECO World Heritage Site is no longer a hidden treasure and you have to share it with a massive amount of people, however, it is worth every push and shove you might have to tackle.
The five villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso are all in close proximity to each other and has over the years fostered a popular activity of hiking the areas amongst them. All villages are linked by beautiful coastal trails that will let you appreciate the fantastic nature and stunning views that surrounds them. Although the hike from Riomaggiore all the way to Monterosso is possible to do in one day, you should give yourself at least three days to appreciate every village deservingly. The longest hikes goes between Monterosso and Vernazza and on to Corniglia and are around 60 to 90 minutes a hike. Each of these trails will set you back 7,50 Euros and you pay and get your ticket at a small booth early on during the walk.
The hike between Corniglia and Manarola will take you around 45 minutes and the walk famously known as ‘Via dell Amore’, between Manarola and Riomaggiore is about 20 minutes long. Due to the position of the coastal paths the hikes are sometimes closed to visitors because of mudslides and unsafe roads. For up to date information you could ask at your hotel/hostel when arriving or check the Cinque Terre Website. There’s also hikes that can be enjoyed through the mountains in the National Park.
The incredible good looks of Cinque Terre is not necessarily enjoyed by walking and is well worth the time of anyone who appreciates a unique and exquisite destination. Fortunately, for those who don’t like hiking a train service connect all the five villages every 30 minutes or so and takes around 5 to 10 minutes (2,10 Euros per journey). To get a even better external view of the villages you can also take a boat ride as means of transportation.
The best of my Cinque Terre:
Hike: Monterosso – Vernazza
Ice Cream: Vernazza (Gelateria Il Porticciolo, by the harbour)
Place to stay: Riomaggiore
The National Park of Cinque Terre is easily reached by the well connected italian railway and is a perfect destination to combine with a holiday to Italian cities such as Rome, Florence and Milano.
As a suggested route, here is a 2 weeks trip I did in Italy last summer. It was one of the most memorable journeys I have been on.
Here’s how you do it:
✔ Fly into Rome and spend 3 nights/4 days experiencing the eternal city and Pope’s home, The Vatican.
✔ Take the train from Rome to Tuscany and spend 6 nights/7 days exploring the region and the cites of Florence and Siena and some of your own preferences such as Pisa or Arezzo.
✔ Journey onwards by train to La Spezia/Cinque Terre and spend 3 nights/3 days hiking the coastal routes and enjoying the villages.
✔ Fly out from Genoa, the capital of the Liguria region and the birthplace of Christopher Columbus 1 night/1 day.
What are you waiting for? Fall in love with Cinque Terre this summer!!!