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The Best Areas to Travel to in Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre, meaning 'Five Lands' in Italian is a rugged coastal area in the Liguria region of Italy. The five towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, that make up the beauty of Cinque Terre are interconnected with hiking trails overlooking the green hills, vineyards, and the sparkling Ligurian Sea. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one to behold, and here are the top areas to travel to and why.
As the largest of the five villages, Monterosso is the perfect starting point to explore Cinque Terre. Its golden sand beaches and clear waters make it the only village in Cinque Terre with a seaside resort vibe. Monterosso's historic center is worth exploring, as it is filled with charming streets, phenomenal food, and an old castle that boasts a fantastic view of the sea.
Vernazza is considered the most picturesque of the five villages, with a natural harbor that sits beneath pastel-colored buildings tumbling down the cliffside. It is the only natural harbor in Cinque Terre, and visitors can explore its medieval castle and chapel. Vernazza is home to numerous restaurants, cafes and gelaterias, making it an ideal location to sample Ligurian cuisine with a view of the sea.
Corniglia is the only village of the five that does not directly face the sea. It sits atop a rocky spur, surrounded by vineyards and terraced gardens. To reach it, visitors must climb 382 steps from the train station or hike up a steep trail. The walk-up is worth it, as Corniglia boasts breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and offers a glimpse of the traditional lifestyle of Cinque Terre's oldest town. Visitors can sample a glass of the indigenous white wine and the famous basil Pesto alla Genovese.
Considered as the prettiest of the five towns, Manarola is well-known for its colorful houses that overlook the sea. It is the second smallest village, which adds to its charm, as visitors can easily explore the entire town by foot. The famous Via dell'Amore, meaning 'Lovers Lane,' is an easy 20-minute stroll between Manarola and Riomaggiore, with a mesmerizing view of the sea.
Riomaggiore is known for being the most colorful fishing village and forms the eastern end of Cinque Terre. Visitors can visit the Sanctuary of Madonna di Montenero, the central church of the town, perched on top of the hill for incredible views of the bay. Riomaggiore also offers delicious seafood, hiking trails, and the famous Sciacchetrà dessert wine.
Cinque Terre is a true feast for the senses – from its charming towns to its rugged cliffs against the turquoise sea. Each town has its unique charm, history, and cuisine. Visitors can hike, swim, dine, and explore, making each day in Cinque Terre a memorable experience.