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Worth a detour
Rating 1.6 (215 votes)

Walking the Cinque Terre

Listed under Coastlines in La Spezia, Italy.

  • Photo of Walking the Cinque Terre
  • Photo of Walking the Cinque Terre
  • Photo of Walking the Cinque Terre
  • Photo of Walking the Cinque Terre
  • Photo of Walking the Cinque Terre
  • Photo of Walking the Cinque Terre
  • Photo of Walking the Cinque Terre
  • Photo of Walking the Cinque Terre
Photo of Walking the Cinque Terre
Photo by flickr user Josef Grunig
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The Cinque Terre, one of Italy's most spectacular coastlines, is best enjoyed on foot, and this is indeed one of the most beautiful coastal walks in Europe, as well as one of the most accessible. A string on ancient villages - Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza - lace the coast, connected by sometimes vertiginous walkways.

You can start in a number of locations, but for ease of access the train from La Spezia dumps you in Riomaggiore, when a popular and often crowded stroll, the Via d'Amore (Lovers Walk) takes you to Manorola. This is the beginning of 'walk number 2', the most popular, but also the most commercial - the tourist authorities charge a fee for this walk, which runs all the way to Monterosso, a walk that can most comfortably be done in two days.

The walk gets more interesting the further you go - from Manarolo, an hour and a half takes you to the next village, Corniglia, close to a quiet stretch of beach before taking a steep zigzag path up to the village. Beyond Corniglia, the walk gets truly spectacular, winding through olive groves and dappled woods and then up some extremely steep inclines. the view from the top, back towards Corniglia (where there's a bar for the thirsty hiker) is amazing. From there its a steep descent into the pretty beachside harbour village of Vernazza.

The following day can be spent walking on to the busier resort of Monterosso, an hour and a half away.

For more adventurous walkers, there are plenty of 'free' walks on this coast - the stretch to Portvenere in the other direction, south of Riomaggiore, being the best.

Written by  James Dunford Wood.

Other expert and press reviews

“Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands”

'The Ligurian coast between Cinque Terre and Portovenere is a cultural landscape of great scenic and cultural value. The layout and disposition of the small towns and the shaping of the surrounding landscape, overcoming the disadvantages of a steep, une… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

“36 Hours in Cinque Terre, Italy”

The only way to truly experience the sensory overload that this small area has to offer is by getting off those well-trodden paths. It's almost unfair how much intense beauty, great cuisine and amazing aromas are jampacked into such a compact space. Read more...

Written by press. New York Times 5 August 2007

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