The five lands, centries old chanrming seaside fishing villages, nestled in the rugged liguarian coastline with breathtaking views and outstanding culinary temptations.
Situated along a six-mile stretch of rugged coastline lie the impossibly pretty villages of the Cinque Terre, arguably the most famous area of the Italian Riviera. A chain of five small (cinque) towns full of colourful houses and vineyards, clinging impossibly to the steep cliffs. At the water's edge you will find quaint little harbours full of fishing boats and idyllic waterside restaurants. This beautiful region is popular with both walkers and those looking for a relaxing break.
What to do
A trip to this truly unique part of the world is all about exploring and taking in the ambience of this breath-taking area. Almost cut off from the real world via road, they have developed in a unique fashion. As such, getting around can prove to be quite a challenge!
One of the easiest and most popular ways to get around is by train. The coastal line connects the five official Cinque Terre towns. Journeys are short and ticket prices low, trains run every hour or so, so plan ahead for your next connection. For the more adventurous it is possible to walk the whole chain along the mountain footpaths in about six hours, although many hikers like to spread the trip over several days, stopping off to enjoy the towns along the way.
During the summer months ferries run from Genoa, Portofino and Porto Venere. Or its possible to hire a private boat from one of the surrounding ports.
Exploring the five villages from south to north you will find:
For many the first stop when exploring the Cinque Terre. Peeling buildings tumble down a steep ravine to a tiny harbour. A botanical garden and bird watching centre sit on top of a rocky promontory up the hill from its pebbly beach.
Famous for its surrounding vineyards, producing the local wine, Sciacchetra, this bustling village offers a lively main street and waterfront promenade lined with traditional fishing boats. Hike to the top of town where you will find a bar and playground offering fabulous views.
Sitting atop a rocky outcrop, Corgnilia is the only village that doesn't have direct access to the sea. It does however offer spectacular views from its broad sea facing terrace, being the only vantage point where you can see all five villages at once.
One of the quaintest, and steepest of the five villages. Streets lined with pastel coloured houses rise almost vertically from the small harbour, offering spectacular sea views at every turn.
The last village on the chain and the only one boasting with a strip of sandy beach, which in the summer months fills with sun loungers and parasols. Known for its lemon trees and plump anchovies served right from the boat.
Where to eat
Situated in the village of Vernazza, you will find the dramatic Ristorante Belforte, a Vernazza classic for more than 50 years. Built inside a historic fortress overlooking the ocean, you can dine in the atmospheric stone walled interior or take in the spectacular views from one of the terraces. Book ahead for an unforgettable experience.
In the village of Manorola you will find trattoria dal Billy. Situated atop a cliff you will find spectacular views and some of the best fresh seafood served in the cinque Terre, all served up from the daily catch. There is a small restaurant inside but for breathtaking views from the terrace be sure to book ahead.
In the village of Riomaggiore, head to Enoteca Dau Cila. This harbourside restaurant serves a selection of traditional seafood and pasta dishes such as lobster gnocchi, as well as beautiful waterside views.
For a traditional Osteria, head to Osteria a Cantina de Mananan in the village of Corgnilia. This centrally located restaurant offers a cosy atmosphereand authentic pasta dishes as well as spectacular homemade desserts. The panna cotta is a must.
In Monterosso, the beloved Ristorante Miky is not to be missed. Chef Miky De Fina has been marinating, roasting and grilling some of the finest seafood in town since the 1980s. A foodie's heaven using only the freshest local ingredients. Be sure to finish off with of the homemade desserts, including the local lemon sorbet.
How to get there
The nearest airports are located at Parma (92km) Pisa (100km) Genoa (129km) Florence (158km) and Milan (238km). The easiest way to reach the region is by train. A trainline that runs along Italy's west coast connects all five villages with Genoa, Pisa and Rome.
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