Sun that shines on stones with lizards bathing in the warm rays. Vineyards. And behind them: The sparkling sea. That’s the Mediterranean region to me, that’s Italy. I spent a wonderful week in the five villages of “Cinque Terre”. The Cinque Terre National Park in Liguria is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it totally deserves this title!
Lonely Planet quote about this beautiful place on earth:
“Cinque Terre isn’t the undiscovered Eden is once was but, frankly, who cares?”
That’s true. Although the region is visited by masses of tourists, I think it still has a lot of unique charm. Not too many souvenir shops, no cars, and thankfully the landscape doesn’t allow to build big hotels! But I wouldn’t recommend to go there in summer, it’s too hot and far too crowded. Autumn was a good choice and it was still warm enough to bathe in the sea. I personally like places more when there are few tourists, but sometimes you can’t be so selfish. Beauty has to be shared. 🙂 So I will share my impressions with you. Let me first introduce you to the “Five Villages”. They are in order from north to south, all of them in hiking distance from each other:
The colorful fishing villages are old and the weather is getting on them. I think to live there permanently isn’t half as pleasant as watching them, but well. In 2011, there was a huge landslide after heavy rain. They managed to restore the villages, but the hiking path between Corniglia and Manarola was closed this year, too, as well as the popular (because easiest) “Via dell’Amore” from Manarola to Riomaggiore. I don’t know if they will ever open again.
Some more impressions.
And some more information, if you like.
Hiking from one village to the other is (except bathing) the main activity in Cinque Terre, and it’s a great experience, though nothing for the very unathletic ones! You have to pay a fee of about 5 € for entering the National Park. For accommodation, there are little private apartments or Bed & Breakfasts everywhere. But a very good alternative is Levanto, a small city at the “entrance” of the National Park. From there you reach Monterosso al Mare within less than 10 minutes by train. The train connects all villages through tunnels and is a very quick and not too expensive way to get around.