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In northwest Italy, in the region of Liguria, just west of La Spezia on the Italian Riveria you can travel to the rugged coast of Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre includes “The Five Lands” of Manarola, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, and Monterosso al Mare. These five villages and the coast together form one of the regarded UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Five Lands, minus Corniglia, slope down to the water.
The tourist appeal to Cinque Terre may be its quiet, underdeveloped villages and the reason why many tourists choose to travel to Cinque Terre over other spots on the Italian Riviera. Not easily accessed by car, the best way to travel to Cinque Terre is by train or ferry. Once in the villages, you will come across many walking trails. These peaceful trails connect many of the villages and are a wonderful way to experience Cinque Terre and are the preferred way to travel. One popular walking trail is “The Light Blue Trail”, or Sentiero Azzurro, which conveniently connects all of “The Five Lands.” “The Love Trail,” or Via Dell’Amore, also separately connects Manarola and Riomaggiore. Walking along a trail while in Cinque Terre is a great way to experience nature and enjoy the peace and tranquility the villages offer.
Most people travel to Cinque Terre for its landscape and nature, and the majority of travelers come to hike the coastline and enjoy the natural scenery and beautiful sea. Though the trails mentioned before, “The Light Blue Trail” and “The Love Trail,” are relatively easy trails to hike, Cinque Terre also has more advanced trails for the more experienced hikers. The steepest trail is between the villages of Vernazza and Monterosso. Although this trail is winding, and at sometimes can be difficult, hikers are rewarded with breathtaking ocean views. There are also higher trails up in the mountains and if you are interested in doing some extreme hiking while in Cinque Terre it is best to consult with a travel professional to plan your hiking excursions.
The cuisine in Cinque Terre is somewhat similar to what you will find in most of Liguria. Its coastal location means plenty of fresh seafood and anchovies. Local bakeries also offer delicious, fresh baked focaccia bread, which is popular in Cinque Terre. Like in most of Liguria, pesto is very common and a delicious infusion of Italian flavors. Grapes are cultivated in Cinque Terre, which accounts for the local wines of the names Cinque Terre and Sciachetrà. Sampling the wine and the cuisine in the region you are traveling to is an important part of your travel experience - so don’t be afraid to try the unknown!
International travelers can access Cinque Terre by flying into nearby Genova or Pisa. Many travelers choose to also travel to some of Cinque Terre’s surrounding cities while in Italy. Easy train access between cities allows for optimal sightseeing and travel around Liguria and all of Italy.