- Beaches, Hiking, Neighborhood/Area Type
- More than Full Day Time to Spend
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Cinque Terre is a group of cinque (five) villages — Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Corniglia — strung along cliffs that overlook the Ligurian Sea. Since it became both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park in the past couple of decades, the area has been saved from the commercialism that pervades most European cities today.
Visitors like to hike Cinque Terre's leafy crags; Via dell'Amour is a popular (and well-paved!) walk that connects Manarola with Riomaggiore. The trail with the best ocean views is from Vernazza to Monterosso. Unfortunately, this hike is also the most challenging and isn't for the faint of heart, as the trail (or lack thereof) is unpaved and involves lots of climbing under and over various terrain. To avoid the crowds and the heat, recent travelers recommend hiking in the morning. And if you're not up for hiking from town to town, you can always catch the train that runs along the coast and stops at each town.
Cinque Terre also has gorgeous beaches where you can catch some rays, just be sure to bring shoes as they are rock beaches sans sand. Or opt for a hired boat tour that will take you around all five islands. You can also rent kayaks, paddleboards and paddle boats along the beaches. And the tiny villages provide tourists with quaint lodging and delicious Italian dining. Be sure to try the focaccia pesto — it's a Ligurian staple. But keep in mind that during the low tourism season (November to March), many of these accommodations and eateries close. For more information, check out Cinque Terre travel guide.