Italy has many thousands of kilometres of coastline, and one of the most picturesque stretches is in Liguria. It is called Cinque Terre (five lands), after the five villages that can be found in this area. Trails run from one village to the other, and they provide probably the best way to explore this area. They are never tough, they always offer outstanding views of the surroundings, and they take you through vineyards and plantations of lemon, fig, cactus and other trees to yet another small pastel coloured village.
It is very easy to take a train to one of the villages and start walking from there. We disembarked at Riomaggiore, the southernmost village, from where we took the Via dell'Amore, or Path of Love. This is as romantic as a footpath can get, meandering above the waves that are continuously crushing into the rocky coastline below. The path takes you to Manarola, which is crammed into a small bay, its colourful houses built high up against the mountain. It is surrounded by vineyards and, indeed, famous for its wine. From here, you can continue walking along the coast to Corniglia.
This village stands out from the other ones, because it is built high on the rocks and doesn't have direct access to the sea. Scaling 377 steps takes you right into the picturesque winding alleys of this gem of the Cinque Terre. After Corniglia, you can continue along a path that takes you through farmgrounds, with spectacular views on the coastline, to Vernazza. This village is built on a natural pier in the water and has an intimate bay. The last village is Monterosso, which is larger than the others and less quiet. It is from here that you can also take a boat, which stops at all villages, weather permitting. While views from the boat are great, hiking the path gives you a closer touch with the nature of this great area.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Cinque Terre (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Cinque Terre.
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