Cinque Terre & La Spezia
Visit Cinque Terre and La Spezia, Italy
Cinque Terre and La Spezia is an area of Italy that’s just so beautiful to see and is becoming an increasingly popular destination for travellers. If you’re looking for a typical Italian town that feels like a proper throwback in time, you will find it in Cinque Terre and La Spezia. Few places in Italy are as memorable as the Cinque Terre and La Spezia, a land and culture so unique that it has been protected as a national park and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some people think Cinque Terre is just one place but that’s a mistake. Cinque Terre is made up of five main villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso Al Mare.
Riomaggiore – This village has one main street, a harbour, a rocky beach, a castle, a church, a pharmacy, and a dozen restaurants. This is the village with good train connections and that’s closest to La Spezia.
Manarola – Head north from Riomaggiore and find the village of Manarola, this one street town has a small harbor where you can swim. If you’re just visiting to find that incredible spit of land where nearly every Cinque Terre photo is taken, this is the village you’re looking for.
Corniglia – The smallest village of them all is Corniglia, built far above the ocean on cliffs. To reach the centre of town, be prepared to walk up 365 steps.
Vernazza – This is the most popular town, again it’s a one-street town with a church built on water, a castle, a gorgeous waterfront piazza and a harbour with a small bit of sand.
Monterosso Al Mare – The northernmost village is the biggest of them all! Monterosso is made up of an old town, new town, lots of sandy beaches, some hotels, and a long seaside promenade.
Things to do
Walking the Cinque Terre – If you can, walk at least one portion of the path carved in the cliff between the villages. The shortest and widest connects Riomaggiore and Manarola and in typical Italian fashion was given the name Via dell’Amore, Path of Love. This can be very crowded in peak season, so walk another section if you can during this time. Some of the trails may be closed also due to weather conditions or damage, so always check the condition of the trails before you set off. If you’re into hiking and don’t mind heights, hike the entire 12-kilometre Sentiero Azzurro from Monterosso to Riomaggiore, the trail can become narrow at stages and skirts the face of vertical cliffs, with no barriers between the hikers and the waves crashing below.
See the views of Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero – Situated high above Riomaggiore you will find the Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero, one of the best viewpoints in all of Cinque Terre. You need to walk up to the viewpoint, which can be tough on a hot summer day, but there is also a bus that stops nearby. Hike down and enjoy the beautiful views of Cinque Terre!
Visit an island – Close by there are three islands, Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto which make up the archipelago across from the town of Portovenere, just beyond the towns of Cinque Terre. Palmaria is the largest and most developed of the three, find well-marked hiking trails, lovely beaches and plenty of bars and restaurants here. The views over the Bay of Poets are amazing. To reach the island, there is a regular ferry service from La Spezia or Molo Doria in Portovenere or you can take a private boat for the quick journey across the bay.
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