Cinque Terre is located in Liguria, close by the border to Tuscany. Cinque Terre is the name of the beautiful coast that stretches from alongside the Italian Riviera di Levante.
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Cinque Terre in 20 seconds
Cinque Terre is the name of the beautiful coast that stretches from alongside the Italian Riviera di Levante. The coast is littered with cliffs that strike a stark contrast to the waves of the mediterranean that come crashing into them.
The place is named from the 5 small towns that have been squeezed into and between the cliffs. They stretch from Monterosso to Riomaggiore.
Cinque Terre is located in Liguria
Holiday in Liguria
Due to this, you should now imagine we are standing in the train station of La Spezia, and that we are examining the train times towards Cinque Terre. From there we will be looking for Riomaggiore, which is the first town we will encounter on our way from La Spezia.
The train ticket costs just 2.20 euros and takes 8 minutes. The journey from La Spezia to Manarola takes 10 minutes and costs around 4 euros. The trip to Corniglia takes about 11 minutes, and the price is not much more expensive than the trip to Manarola.
To reach Vernazza the trip will take about 13 minutes, and the price will now be around 6 euros. Last, but certainly not least, there is Monterosso al Mare, which roughly takes 20 minutes from La Spezia, and which will cost about 8-10 euros (prices are updated as of February 2017).
This typically means that once you arrive in La Spezia from Genoa, it will require less than 10 minutes to the next departure for Riomaggiore and onwards to the coast. If you are not able to catch the first train, the next train will depart within 30 to 60 minutes.
Starting in La Spezia
It is no secret that the most beautiful path to Cinque Terre is by visiting the area by water. You can sail here from La Spezia, Lerici or Porto Venere.
The train ride between Genoa and Cinque Terre is especially recommended. The trip is beautiful, but you should be aware that the trip takes quite a while, close to 2½ hours. That is why we would also recommend taking a faster train from Genoa, and exiting the train in La Spezia. You can do this for around 10-12 euros, and this way the trip will take just more than one hour.
If you are visiting by car, and coming from the direction of La Spezia, there is no reason for the drive to go especially fast. On this stretch you will be afforded with a marvelous view out over the harbor in La Spezia, where you can experience the aforementioned Marble Mountains in Massa-Carrara.
Like the other towns at Cinque Terre, there is no option of driving into the center, so you should prepare yourself for a one kilometer long walk. Along the way you will encounter Parcheggio Vernazza which is located on Strada Provinciale 51, and which you will reach from either east or west.
I will however strongly recommend you to take the train that goes between Pisa and Genoa. It makes everything more simple, not having to consider parking your car. It can be extremely difficult to find a spot during the tourist season.
We have to admit that we assume you are reasonably fit, and that you do not have any ailments if you wish to make the most of your holiday in Cinque Terre.
After all, it is very hilly when you’re out in the small towns. The landscape here goes up and down, and depending on which town we are in. In some cases it makes for a nice walk from the train stop and into the center of the town. The center is where the tourists go, down to the sea, down to the cafes and restaurants, and down to the shops selling all sorts of merchandise. And they do it well!
Now, I have visited Cinque Terre 3-4 times in my life, and I am sure I have not been there for the last time. I have traveled here both by car and by train, and there is nothing bad about choosing one option over the other.
But I will recommend one thing in particular. Make sure you set aside plenty of time in the cities, and of course factor in that it takes time to get between the cities, whether going by car or by train.
As written, I’m not at all done visiting this area after my multiple previous visits. And that is because there is so much to see. And I especially enjoy the amazing atmosphere that lives here, in this magical place.
Therefore – if you only have one day here, you probably won’t be able to reach all the cities unless you leave early in the morning and finish very late.
It takes time to enjoy and experience Cinque Terre.
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Vernazza has been awarded the title of one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, and you are probably thinking that the 4 other Cinque Terre towns should share this glory too! Well, so do I, but the organization behind Borghi piu belli d’Italia, has chosen Vernazza, which is rewarded with this title.
Well that is besides the point, or maybe not completely, since Vernazza has its own history. Of course this is a subjective opinion, but the town is considered the most atmospheric at Cinque Terre.
Vernazza was already discovered in the year 1080, and its high economic level was already achieved well before the Middle Ages, something that can be felt and seen even to this day. Here the architectural buildings have a high value, standing proudly in the picture together with the town’s churches, towers and porticoes.
The remains of the medieval fortifications known as “Castrum” can still be seen in the cityscape. In fact it has been possible to see them since the 11th century with the castle and the cylindrical tower.
The 800 or so inhabitants have a huge duty to keep the town tidy, which takes its toll as many tourists come and visit. The buildings which are many years old need a lot of looking after. It takes a lot to live in one of the most beautiful villages.
Wherever you might be at the 5 small villages, the main dish to be expected is fish. Or put another way, seafood is the main course. And no, it is not that surprising that you can be served all types of fish, octopus and other deliciousness from the sea.
Here the seafood is eaten together with wine from the local areas, which is called Sciacchetrá, and where the white wine fits perfectly together with your seafood.
I have found some hiking routes that might be interesting for you to embark on, but there are a few things you need to be aware of before the trip.
Firstly, you will of course need to be properly dressed, but you especially need to have the right shoes on. In addition, you should be aware that the trips can be long and also quite taxing, so you will need to be in reasonably good shape to get from one end of the trail to the other.
Alright, let us begin!
This is a route that may date all the way back to Roman times, starting at Levanto in the west and ending at Porto Venere in the east, and most of the route is located in Cinque Terre.
The route is 40 kilometers long, so it is recommended that you split the trip into 3 laps, as the trip will take you a minimum of 10 hours, depending on your fitness.
This route will lead you to the five churches located at the five small villages, hence the title of the route. From here you will visit small and abandoned houses, and also an incredibly fantastic view out over Cinque Terre.
It is a relatively easy and accessible route for everyone.
This route is one of the most appreciated by hikers, who come to visit the area all year round. The route has existed since the middle ages, and you can make it from one end to the other in a single day, since there are not that many challenging parts.
I probably do not need to mention that with regards to bringing the right clothes, you need to remember that during June, July and August the weather turns really, really warm.
Enjoy yourselves out there.
There are probably many other routes, but I mentioned the most traveled and most popular ones.