La Bella Italia has the power to keep surprising its visitors by offering new and exotic destinations that quickly turn out to be the dream destinations of many travelers. One such place is called Cinque Terre, have you heard of it? Buckle up because this will be one exciting ride, as we’ll try to look deeper into the allure of this lovely destination.
Cinque Terre – the enchanting Italian coastline that will leave you speechless
So you think you have seen it all, yet the name of this destination doesn’t ring your bell? Then it’s time for you to explore a new destination! Cinque Terre, in translation meaning “The Five Lands,” is a beautiful rugged portion on the coast of northwestern Italy, a fantastic destination with stunning landscape. As you can expect, the name comes from the fact that this place consists of five beautiful villages, each of which is charming and attractive on its way. Cinque Terre is found in northwest Italy, a lovely coast of the Italian Riviera, located in the Liguria region, close to the city of La Spezia.
A place as authentic as this one is known worldwide, however, don’t feel bad if this is the first time you ever hear of it. Part of the five villages and the surrounding hillside also constitute the Cinque Terre National Park, and the whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Feel the magic of the five villages of Cinque Terre
Small and located near to each other, yet incredible and worth devoting your time to every single one of them, the five villages situated on the Italian Riviera can take your breath away. The colorful coastal scenery they create attracts plenty of visitors from throughout the world, especially during summer time when tourists visit this destination for their summer vacations. But which are these five villages and why are they so special? Let’s have a better view of every one of them.
Monterosso al Mare
Located at the center of a small natural gulf, Monterosso al Mare is a nice little town that consists of two parts: the old and the new town. The two distinct areas are divided by a canal that allows for pedestrians and some cars to get from one side to the other. It is well known for its long beach that runs along most of the coastline, which is also known to be the only extensive sand beach in the Cinque Terre. Tourists usually come to Monterosso al Mare if they’re looking for a pleasant day at the beach.
Other than that, this town has a nice landscape, a diverse surrounding with a significant population of lemon trees spread throughout the area. An interesting fact about this place is how this area of the coast used to be often attacked by pirates.
The colors of this part of the coast are ready to enchant you, so prepare for some incredibly enjoyable sightseeing. If you’re looking for a place to get away from the car traffic, then the town of Vernazza is what you need. This mesmerizing little town is one of the truest “fishing villages” on the Italian Riviera, a spirit you’ll find truly inspiring and amusing once you visit it. Apart from fishing, wine and olive production is also active in this area, as well as the main activity – tourism.
To get to this town, it’s probably for the best to use the local trail which connects all of the five villages of Cinque Terre. Apart from the scenic coastal part, you can also have a great time visiting the charming narrow streets and some of the main attractions of Vernazza, like the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia or the Doria Castle.
Riomaggiore is known to have a shoreline on the Mediterranean’s Gulf of Genoa, and it’s the most southern village of all five constituting Cinque Terre. It’s very well known for the production and consumption of wine, made by the town’s vineyards. It has a small, charismatic beach surrounded by various colorful tower houses, which is a sight quite inspiring, especially for the artistic souls.
The town of Manarola may be the second smallest of the five villages of Cinque Terre, but it doesn’t mean that it is second less visited by tourists. The brightly colored buildings create a flawless portrait of this part of the coast, attracting visitors with the specific phenomenon of colorful houses situated on a cliff. When in Manarola, have in mind to take your camera along since you’ll have a lot of spectacular sights to capture.
This may be one of the oldest towns of all five, and it is mesmerizing. The wine and fishing culture shapes the spirit of this town, so if you have time take a walk along Manola’s vineyards and sense the allure of this place.
Although part of the famous Cinque Terre, Corniglia differs from the other villages in the sense that the town itself is not situated next to the sea but instead is surrounded by numerous vineyards and terraces that keep the town “away” from the sea. Nevertheless, Corniglia still has a view of the sea, even though you don’t have good access to a beach. Anyways, it is a magnificent town with narrow streets and small houses that warm up your heart and create lovely memories.
Even though entirely different, Corniglia is worth the visit, especially because of its interesting history. This place was even mentioned in Giovanni Boccaccio’s famous novel called Decameron, which would probably mean a lot more to you if you’re passionate about literature.
How to get to Cinque Terre?
The road to one of Italy’s paradises is easily accessible by car, so there’s a good chance for you to visit all of the five villages in a day if you wish so. There are also plenty of buses and trains driving on a daily basis, with a starting point from the nearest city – La Spezia.
If you’re interested, you can also hop on a passenger ferry that can take you to any of the places except for Corniglia. You have several options to choose as your starting point of the ferry ride, like Genoa’s Old Harbor and La Spezia, Lerici, or Porto Venere.
The most adventurous and fun way of visiting all five villages would be to use the walking trail which is called Sentiero Azzurro. The so-called “Azure Trail” offers you a fantastic experience, providing access to any of the five villages, although some parts of the trail can be more challenging and tiring than others. It seems like this path was made for the complete pleasure of all senses.
It would be such a pity to visit Italy and not bother trying to spend at least one day at this incredible part of the Italian coast. Dare to explore the majestic parts of Italy and find out why all tourists dream of visiting this destination. It is time for a new adventure, so grab your camera and go!