Exploring the Cinque Terre
I’m brimming with excitement as the train rattles along the coast. Snapshots of light between the many tunnels reveal a spectacularly blue sea far below. The train station at my destination has an incredible view. And it’s mine to enjoy for 4 whole days.
Pack Your Walking Shoes
The beautiful UNESCO heritage site is made up of 5 fishing villages (from north to south: Monteresso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore) strung along cliffs separated by some of the most magnificent coastal scenery imaginable. The villages are connected by a train track that finds its way along the coast through many tunnels. The walking trails that connect the villages are magical. With the next colourful fishing village peeking in the distance, the sea below and vineyards precariously perching on steep terraces, it’s Italy at its best. It’s well worth the huffing and puffing, just don’t forget your walking shoes!
The Cinque Terre is steeped in history. The area has inspired renowned writer’s such as Shelley, Byron and Dickens and I can see why. The towns are still very traditional and despite the throngs of Americans tourists I still felt as if I had discovered something new.
All the towns possess an old-world charm and slope down to sea-level except for Corniglia, which is perched on top of a tall cliff. There is something unique about them all and if it’s possible they look even prettier in real life. Unfortunately flooding in 2011 means that some of the trails are not open but between hiking, taking the boat or train, you can definitely enjoy the 5 towns in a 4 day stopover.
The local food will not disappoint and there’s no better way to ease ones aching muscles than with a dip in the sea followed by some local wine and fresh fish.
Whether it’s for hiking and exploring the beautiful landscape, pottering about in the colourful village streets, eating delicious fish or swimming in the deep blue sea there’s never a dull moment in the Cinque Terre.
Finally there’s just about time for a quick selfie with the leaning tower before I head for home.
And yes I’m definitely going back.
Maria is a sales manager in Ryanair’s marketing department