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Walking the Cinque Terre in Italy
By Suzanne Bowles
8 November 2010





Cinque Terre means “five villages” and these five villages just might be the most beautiful villages in the world. Visiting them is a walking adventure. Walking along cliffs, past vineyards, over water streams and down very narrow paths and streets. Not forgetting the thousands upon thousands of steps up and down. No high heels girls!

Having spoken to some people they seem satisfied visiting only a few of these villages. They are each unique, spectacular and beautiful in their own right. They are easily accessible as you walk from one village to another. If you don’t want to walk, catch a short train ride. It is surrounded by impossibly blue ocean and ferries chug along the coast during certain times of the year. Oh! And make sure you position yourself at a table, with a cheeky glass of wine, at the end of the day to watch the amazing sunsets.

Only from the sea is it possible to really appreciate the rocky, rugged beauty of the coastline that hosts these five towns; Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterossa.

 
Riomaggiore is the ideal place to relax. It is surrounded by vineyards, has narrow steep streets, and a little beach with clear turquoise water.
Between Manarola and Riomaggiore is the famous “Via dell’Amore”. Otherwise known as the lovers walk! People from all over the world have symbolised their love by attaching a lock along the walkway. This is the shortest distance between two towns and is quite flat and easy. It takes about twenty minutes.

Corniglia is quaint and centred around a small main square with five restaurants and two bars. Authentic Italian food – don’t they know how to cook? So incredibly simply yet the flavours are amazing! I loved my accommodation in Corniglia with a view directly out to sea, beyond hills and the town. I also loved the jewellery on sale there, as well as the clothing, and I bought myself a mortar and pestle made of marble. I will think of the heavenly town every time I use it. From the balcony of my room I sat watching a man tend to his vegetable patch, watering his garden with patience and great care. It was like a fairytale, alone with no one in sight, on the side of a hill in his own world. As I sat there I fantasized about what it would be like to live in this romantic spot as the sun splashed about on the water below.

The walk from Corniglia to Vernazza is truly spectacular. Vernazza is a little larger and more colourful and busier with more shopping opportunities. Many of the shops sell glass rings made of different colours and shell ear-rings and necklaces. This was one of my favourite villages, although there were a lot of people on coach tours parading through town. It seemed to add to the atmosphere rather than ruin it.

In Monterossa you can take a dip at the public beach with black sand and pebbles. There looked to be some great accommodation there also.

Cinque Terre is being dubbed as the new Amalfi Coast and with good reason. It is stunningly beautiful, idealic and romantic. Go there, lose yourself, and enjoy the natural beauty.

P.S. If you are in love, don’t forget to take a lock with you!

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Comments
GeordieB
I have always wanted to go to Cinque Terre. Your Blog has just convinced me. It's sounds just like the place I have imagined!
Marty
Yes, this has to be my next trip too
John L
Just returned from a week in the region, staying in Santa Marguerita Ligure. We did a day trip on the train to Cinque Terre & did the coast walk between a number of the towns ..... absolutely fabulous!
Another must do is a day trip by ferry to Portofino ... again fabulous!
All told, plenty to do & see & a fabulous climate in October, not too hot or humid & great for swimming in the Med.
Susan Rodgers
I have walked the Cinque Terre on two separate visits and would dearly love to do it again! The whole area is a national park and there are various routes/paths which one can take, depending on levels of fitness. For those who want only to walk for an hour or so, leave from Monterossa and head to Vernazza early in the morning before the sun is up then treat yourself to breakfast overlooking the little marina in Vernazza.....fabulous.
Wilhelmina Hepworth
My daughter hasn't been abe to stp talking about her trip to this region and now it is on my " must do list".
Maria Mazzeo
Fantastic place. I also did the walk starting from Porto Venere. Make sure you start early in the morning as it is the longest and the most spectacular walk.
warren miller
A great place to stay for visiting the Cinque Terre is the "hotel Firenze et Continental" close to the train station at La Spezia. It has large comfortable rooms, and is right opposite the station, from where the trains along the Cinque Terre depart every 30 min or so. Its only about five minutes trip to the first village. It may not be as romantic as staying in one of the five villages, but it is more comfortable and probably cheaper
Owen Pohatu
Suzanne,
Loved reading your story,visited Monterosso in October 2007 still talk about the people the food today, just luv it. We arrived there by accident got off the train walked around, and fell in luv caught the next rain back to Le spezia got a cab to show me the way out of town and on the road to Monterrosso,got into village as sun was setting , drive not for the faint hearted luv it
jayaraman.v
that was a fantastic travellogue !
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