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cinque terre

Cinque Terre

Liguria is one of the smallest Italian regions, but here there are villages of rare beauty that have made lovers, poets and visitors from all over the world dream. Among the many beauties of the region, the Cinque Terre are undoubtedly the best known.

Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, five small villages overlooking the crystal clear Ligurian Sea, all with different characteristics, one more beautiful and colorful than the other. In fact, in 1997, UNESCO named them a World Heritage Site. But there is another thing to appreciate this magnificent stretch of coast: it is possible to visit all five villages even in one day.

cinque terre
The Cinque Terre were given this name because each of them is a small world in its own right. In fact, when they were born the connections between them were mostly non-existent. The inhabitants moved between one and the other along steep mountain paths, or, when possible, using the sea. They were mostly isolated, each with its own characteristics. The word “terre” makes us think of distant territories, to be explored, but also of the sense of belonging to one’s territory, one’s own land. They couldn’t have a more appropriate name.
 
The Cinque Terre are very well connected. There are connections of all kinds: paths, roads that can be traveled by car, train, or by sea. However the fastest and most comfortable way is definitely the train. Reaching them by car would mean having to face mountain roads, narrow curves, to then reach the gates of the villages and having to worry about finding parking, which is not at all easy in these parts.
 
The train is fast, economical and ecological. The smartest thing to do is to get to the stations just outside the Cinque Terre (Levanto for those coming from the North and La Spezia for those from the South) and from here take one of the many regional trains that reach the various villages in no time.
 
We suggest that you move from one village to another on foot, along the “Sentiero Azzurro”, so that you can admire the villages from other fantastic observation points. Walking you will also be able to see how over the centuries the inhabitants of the area have managed to shape the hills overlooking the sea, creating cultivable terraces, called “ciàn”.
 
If you plan to reach the villages without the help of the train, and want to enjoy some routes from village to village within the Park (they are all subject to payment), you can buy the Cinque Terre Trekking Card. The card includes access to the inside the Cinque Terre National Park, free use of the bus services, participation in the “Cinque Terre Walking Park” guided tours and much more. You can find it in the Reception Centers scattered around La Spezia, Levanto and all of the Cinque Terre (which are almost always located at the Railway Stations) or even more simply you can buy it online.
cinque terre
 
Before tackling a trek inside the Park, some precautions are necessary. First of all, you will have to check the weather conditions, since in the event of an orange or red alert, the paths may not be practicable.
If you opt for one of the many other open paths, remember that they too are mountain paths, in many cases overlooking the sea and in some cases without protection.
 
The Trekking Card includes many services (entrance to the Park routes, free buses, etc …) and in addition you will be able to take all the regional and fast regional trains of the La Spezia – Levanto line (and vice versa), all as many times as you want.
 
It is also possible to discover the Cinque Terre by boat. It is certainly not the most comfortable way to move between the various villages but we are sure that the view from the sea is wonderfully beautiful. The service is available only in the high season. There are also cruises to explore the Cinque Terre departing from La Spezia.
Begin your visit from Monterosso, the furthest from La Spezia, as well as the most populous of the five locations.
 

Monterosso Al Mare
It is the largest city of the Cinque Terre. Unlike other cities, you will find here the largest coast with a wide choice of beaches, including sandy ones; a large parking lot and a large amount of attractions. Monterosso is divided in two parts marked by the medieval tower. The old town is dominated by the ruins of the castle and characterized by distinctive narrow medieval roads, with multi-coloured terraced houses, shops and restaurants.

Beach-lovers should definitely stay in Monterosso. The town has numerous beaches. Monterosso is also ideal for families with small kids, as there are long stretches along the beach promenade where you can walk with a stroller.

Vernazza
According to most tourists, it is the most beautiful village in the Cinque Terre. Here there are many attractions, a beautiful quay and a multitude of restaurants in the main square of the town, arranged right on the sea front. The tiny port is surrounded by subtle colourful characteristic Ligurian houses and the delightful piazza is packed with good restaurants and bars. There is a small, sandy beach in the natural harbour. The village is surrounded by very steeply-terraced olive groves which produce among the premium olive oil in the country.

Corniglia
The smallest and highest village in the Cinque Terre. It is located at an altitude of 100 meters above sea level, a beautiful panorama of the coast opens up from here. The village is surrounded on three sides by vineyards and stone terraces. Because of its size and relative inaccessibility, fewer tourists stay here, so there is more of a local feel. There are bars and restaurants here, but no real nightlife. Corniglia is definitely a place for hikers and nature lovers.

Manarola
A small town, the station is separated from the city center by a tunnel. There are fewer attractions here than in other cities. The best view is the one you get when looking at the city from the coast, as in a photograph. Its tiny harbor features a boat ramp, a tiny piazza and picturesque multicoloured houses facing the sea. It is the perfect place to spend a lazy day sunbathing and watching people jumping off the cliffs. Although there is no real beach here, it has some of the best deep-water swimming around. The village is all ups and downs, with steep narrow alleys, leading to the sea.

“Via dell’Amore” is a path, less than 1 km long, which connects Riomaggiore and Manarola. It is much easier to reach Manarola along this path than by train. And the landscape that you will find in front of you is simply fantastic!

Riomaggiore
To reach the city center from the station, turn right after the exit. There will be a long tunnel there, at the end of which there will be a junction. To the left is the main street of the city and straight ahead the descent to the underground passage that leads to the quay in the fishermen’s quarter. In Riomaggiore, don’t miss “Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista”, “Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta”, “Santuario di Montenero” and the castle. Stroll along the main street Via Colombo down to the sea, where a small harbor is framed by lovely pastel houses and filled with brightly coloured fishing boats. There is a pebble beach located near the boat docking point. In Riomaggiore you can find the best spot to capture the sunset in Cinque Terre. As the sun starts to set, many people gather to sit on the rocks by the harbor.
 
If you want to visit Cinqueterre, click on the image below and book a fantastic tour with one of our partners with 5% off!

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