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Looking for a trip to Italy that offers authentic Italian living beyond the museums, landmarks and throngs of visiting tourists? Or how about the quaint, quintessential village life of vineyards overlooking the Ligurian Sea? It’s not gone from modern times; you just need to know where to look. For breezy, seaside living, look no further than the enchanting coast of Cinque Terre.
Instead of being just one singular destination, Cinque Terre is the culmination of five unique villages carved into the seaside cliffs. While all provide the perfect setting for living in the moment, each offers something wholly unique from the others: Riomaggiore is best known for its pastel-painted walls glowing in the sunset, not to say anything of its birdwatching centre. Manarola is known predominately for its shroud of grapevines and the ever-sweet Sciacchetrá they produce. Corniglia has an equal amount of Sciacchetrá to sample, in addition to a unique spot where you can view all five villages at once. Vernazza houses the steepest hills and quaintest streets, while the final village of Monterosso al Mare has the largest congregation of bucket-list items: Fegina Beach, the Capuchin Monastery, the iconic sculpture of Neptune, countless lemon trees and savory anchovies fresh off the fishing boat. As incredible as each village sounds, the trip is only complete by experiencing all five.
Thanks partly to the geography of the area, and partly to how the towns have grown within the geography, driving from village to village is generally not advised. Thankfully, what the villages lack in parking and paved roads, they make up for in scenic, romantic hikes. A stroll along The Sentiero Azzurro (or Blue Trail) offers stunning views of the ocean as it threads from town to town for a total of seven and a half miles. Alternatively, you can opt for the road less traveled, and take the Sentiero Rosso (The Red Trail). Spanning 22 miles, this ridge-top route offers a smooth and tree-covered stroll for what usually takes 9 to 12 hours. The smattering of bars and restaurants along the path make it perfect for those that wish to savor the journey. Finally, if hiking the Italian coast and countryside isn’t your idea of romantic, you can opt instead for the Cinque Terre Express. Running right along the coast, the train offers the same stunning views as a beachside stroll, while allowing you to sit back and rest instead.
We’ve already touched on some of them in the previous paragraphs, with the Sciacchetrá and sunsets, the coastal hikes and decadent anchovies. But, hidden gems abound in this hidden paradise, ripe and ready for your discovery. Manarola houses the most prominent collection of medieval relics, perfect for any appreciator of history. Sailing and paragliding are both viable options for viewing the villages from a thrilling new perspective. And, if the weather is kind (as it often is in the spring and summer), you can enjoy a show of cliff jumpers in Monterosso and Vernazza. If you’re feeling particularly daring, you’re welcome to jump yourself—cliff jumping is very socially acceptable.
Ready to jump into an enchanting trip to the coast straight out of a postcard? Contact one of our travel specialists today! Their expertise takes all the trouble out of trying to navigate new shores.