Cinque Terre: walking through a pearl by the sea in Italy

Liguria is a region in Italy, wedged between the sea and a mountain area. The area extends from the French border to the Italian port city of La Spezia. The most famous part of the region is undoubtedly the stretch of coast called Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre consists of five picturesque coastal towns. These towns, together with the surrounding hills and a piece of marine area, form the Cinque Terre National Park. This park is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is an excellent walking area. Along the beach, cliffs and beautiful nature.

Cinque Terre

A . La Spezia
B train station . Riomaggiore: start route
C . Monterosso al Mare: end point of route

Where in Italy is Cinque Terre and what is it?

Cinque Terre is a strip along the Italian coast near La Spezia in Italy. It consists of five villages dating back to the early Middle Ages. The villages were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. The area is difficult to reach by car along the steep coast. There is a walking path that connects all five villages.

The picturesque villages of Cinque Terre

Some villages have more tourists than others. All villages have a small center. Often at a harbor. There are many nice shops, terraces and restaurants.

  • Monterosso . This is the largest village of the five. It has a small sandy beach and a picturesque fishing port. There are many small and colorful boats in that harbor.
  • Vernazza. Also a fishing port and founded by the Romans. There is a lookout tower that you can climb. There is an old fortress at the harbor that now serves as a restaurant. There are also a number of rocky beaches. The small fishing port is used to supply local restaurants and locals with supplies.
  • Manarola . This is the oldest village and probably the most picturesque of the five. There is a small harbor with small boats that are moored high up in the village in front of the doors of the houses.
  • Corniglia . The smallest village of the Cinque Terre. Difficult to reach and therefore many tourists ignore this village. Here there are vineyards and olive groves.
  • Riomaggiore . This is where you see the most tourists. People sunbathe here on the flat rocks. And to swim one simply dives from here.


Cinque Terre: walking through a UNESCO World Heritage site in a pearl by the sea

The villages of Cinque Terre are located on the rocks above the sea. With houses on those rocks, with beautiful pastel colored shades. It is known from many pictures in holiday brochures, but is hardly mentioned there. But this small coastal strip in Italy has a certain appeal, because the tourists are definitely there. First of all, walking in unspoilt nature ensures that people come here.
You can take beautiful paths along rock walls, with breathtaking views, to the next villages. Moreover, one can enjoy excellent dishes and wines in picturesque villages. Often on a terrace with a view of the sea and the mountains.

Going to Cinque Terre by car?

Cinque Terre can be reached via the A12 motorway (Genoa – Livorno). The exits of this autostrada lead via roads to the five villages on the coast. However, one is not allowed to drive into the villages themselves. The car must be parked before entering the site itself. From there you can walk to the villages.

By train to Cinque Terre

Tourists often come from the port city of La Spezia. La Spezia is part of the La Spezia-Genoa train route and has a central station. At this station you can not only buy a train ticket, but also an entrance ticket to the nature park. From here to the furthest town of Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, it is about 20 minutes. You can get off at any station in the five villages. The route goes through many tunnels under the rocks. Alternated with unexpected, short moments a few meters from the sea. The train can be very busy and all seats are often occupied. You can also take a return ticket to Riomaggiore from Levanto.

By boat to Cinque Terre

Sailing to the villages by boat from La Spezia offers unparalleled views of the coast and the villages. The boats dock in every village and then everyone can go wherever they want. You can get on and off again, or back, regularly. Keep in mind that the sea can be rough when the wind blows. The boat connections are sometimes stopped. Of course, there is always the train, so that you can still get to your destination.

Walking along the beach and through beautiful nature

Of the five villages, most people find Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore the most beautiful. All these villages have one thing in common. The spectacular location by the sea. The villages are connected by a well-maintained hiking trail. This walking path takes you along the beach, the cliffs and through beautiful nature. There are differences in the various tours in terms of difficulty. In any case, bring enough food and drinks and wear sturdy walking shoes. As well as light clothing.

Tour from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza

The journey from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza is the toughest stage. In the beginning one is somewhat misled. The first part goes along the sea and beach. But a little later you go up via narrow paths for a long time. The tour takes you along the mountain walls and terraces of olive and lemon groves. The truly spectacular views along the way make you forget the heaviness of the journey. In Vernassa you can then enjoy a well-deserved meal in the sun at the harbor.

The stage from Manarola to Riomaggiore: the Via dell’Amore

This route is perhaps the best known. The walking tour takes you along the Via dell’Amore. The path of love. The walk along the coast, under steep cliffs, takes about 15 minutes. There are benches along the way where you can enjoy the view. The path probably owes its name to this?

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