The Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre (‘the five lands’) is a wild stretch of coast known for its five stunning villages to be found along the way. Beautifully painted in all variety of pastel shades, the houses of these cove-side villages stack upon each other in a wild fashion, all packed tightly into the small spaces they are confined to by the mountains that rise behind. The villages and the surrounding hills form a national park, and are UNESCO World Heritage listed. A footpath called the Sentiero Azzuro leads 12km along the coast from Riomaggiore all the way to Monterosso al Mare. The full walk is about 5 hours at a fairly sluggish pace. The best strategy is to take the train from Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare and walk back, as this way the easier walking is left to the end. If you consider the full walk a bit too far, you can take the section known as Via Dell’Amore (Lover’s Walk) from Riomaggiore to Manarola, which is only about 20mins one-way. You’ll need to buy a Cinque Terre card at the train station if you want to do the walk. See website. You can go swimming in the sea at all of the Cinque Terre villages. They each have their own limitations (no sand, shallow waters), but overall swimming is a fun part of the Cinque Terre experience. The region is extensively covered in vineyards, consider taking wine with your meals at the local restaurants. The region is also the birthplace of pesto.

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