Italy’s Cinque Terre comprises five villages stretching along one of the most picturesque coastlines in the whole of the country. Each one is linked to the next not by road, but by rail, sea and ancient hiking trails. However you travel, you should try to see them all. Each has a different character and its own charm. If you only intend to stay for a couple of days, plan your route to finish up in Monterosso. That’s where most of the resorts are; day trippers will need to head for La Spezia for the pick of the onward connections. Here are four reasons to visit the Cinque Terre.
Soak up the view
Each of the five villages might have its own distinctive character, but they all have one thing in common: they are breathtakingly photogenic. The sweeping views from cliff top Corniglia along the coast to Manarola are especially beautiful, no mean feat when the bar’s this high. Vernazza’s harbour, with its waterfront restaurants and tiny beach, makes it eternally popular. It’s perfect for people-watching in summer. So too is Manarola where the fishermen compete for space with kids diving from the harbour walls.
Take a hike
Another reason to visit the Cinque Terre is to hike. Two walking trails connect the villages of the Cinque Terre from Monterosso in the north west to Riomaggiore in the south east. The lower trail is called the Sientero Azzurro (Blue Trail) and you’ll need a Cinque Terre card to walk it, available at the start of the trail. Currently, the easy bit – the Via dell’Amore which links Riomaggiore to Manarola – is closed for refurbishment until perhaps 2021, but the Manarola to Corniglia stretch should be open this year. There’s a higher trail, so long as you are as light footed as a goat and have an eagle’s head for heights. If not, jump on a ferry and cheat.
Relax on a boat trip
Ferries ply the coastline regularly in summer and although the train is faster, you won’t get a sense of just how vertiginous those cliffs are unless you’ve seen them from the water. The ferries don’t call at Corniglia, as it’s perched on the cliff top, but the other villages all have jetties that disgorge passengers right into the heart of the action. In the warm Italian sunshine, a breeze in your hair, it’s the perfect way to recover from your energetic hike and snap a few souvenir selfies to remind you of your trip.
Eat ice cream
Italy without gelato is like France without wine – there’s nothing technically wrong with it but add it in and it really enhances the trip. The Cinque Terre villages are no exception. With such an enormous variety of flavours on offer, you can be forgiven for wanting – no, needing – to try a different one in each village. How do you know you have the real deal? True gelato has a denser consistency and so it will never stand higher than the rim of its container. The whipped up stuff’s made from a powder.
Keen to make a Cinque Terre trip a reality? Why not give Mundana a call and let us help you plan your stay?