Cinque Terre, the five lands, are a group of five picturesque villages along the coast surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and woods. The villages can be reached on the train that runs between La Spezia and Genoa or by ferry from La Spezia, Portovenere, Levanto (the next village up the coast toward Genoa where there's also a train station), or other Italian Riviera villages. There are popular hiking trails between the villages as well as in the scenic hills above them.
You'll have to pay for entrance to use some of the trails since they are in the national park. Europe Travel has a good Cinque Terre hiking guide and map with pictures so you'll know what to expect when you go. Note that you need to buy a Cinque Terre Card to use the blue number 2 trails that connect the five villages except when they're closed, as is often the case in winter and early spring due to flood damage. Check current trail closures (marked with red dot).
The Cinque Terre region is very popular and is very crowded in summer. Spending the night in one of the villages is a good way to experience the charm without the huge crowds but since they aren't packed with hotels, you'll need to book ahead. My friends recommend staying in Manarola at A Casa Rooms and Apartments. Here are more places to stay in Cinque Terre.
More about Cinque Terre:
- Cinque Terre Guided Day Tours and Boat Excursions
- Cinque Terre Passes and Train Cards Information
- Cinque Terre Visitors Information on Europe Travel
- Video: Tips for Visiting Cinque Terre
- Cinque Terre Climate and Weather
- Cinque Terre Pictures
TransportationHow to Get to Cinque Terre from Rome
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