For sweeping views of the Mediterranean Sea, as you make your way through meandering hiking trails at the very edge of lush green mountains and intercept Italian villages that seem lost in time and natural beauty, there is no better place to go than Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre, which means “Five Lands” in Italian, stands for the Italian Riviera villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The villages are as quaint as their names.
Cinque Terre seemed hard to get to after a first read of the travel guide, because it is not possible to go from one village to the other by car. But like a lot of things in life, getting to Cinque Terre in the Italian region of Liguria, turned out to be easy when we actually set about doing it.
The journey started with an EasyJet flight from London to Pisa. The car-ride from Pisa to Bonassola, a town adjacent to Cinque-Terre, took a little less than two hours. We stayed in Bonassola for 3 nights. Bonassola was a few minutes and some narrow turns away from Levanto. Levanto, with its train station, was our gateway to Cinque Terre.
We travelled the distance from Levanto to Monterosso by train. We then did the epic and five-hour long hike from Monterosso to Vernazza, and then took the train back to Levanto. By this time, we were fully submerged in the beauty that is Cinque Terre.
Our second day in the Cinque Terre saw us taking the boat to Porto Venere, a town beyond all the five Cinque Terre villages. Porto Venere, while not a part of Cinque Terre, is a beautiful seaside village and deserves a place in every Cinque Terre itinerary. On the return boat ride, we stopped at the last village, Rio-Maggiore. There, the stage was set for the second and easier hike, to Manarola. From Manarola, we did our last train journey, back to Levanto.
We could not walk the trails to and from Corniglia, the village in the middle, as these were closed for repairs after some flooding. I take this as a sign that there is more than a slim chance that we will be going to the Italian Riviera again.
A more detailed post of the hikes in the trails of Cinque Terre to follow! Meanwhile, here are some more pictures.