The term “Cinque Terre” originally referred to the five towns of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
- For hikers, there are waking trails through the mountains connecting the five towns or you could do a combination of walk and train as in our case. The road conditions from Rome, through mountains and tunnels, were mainly on excellent highway but it did become tighter as we weaved our way into the Cinque Terre area. From Rome, it took apprometly 6 hours to drive north to our hotel in Monterosso al Mare on the Ligurian Sea. The Hotel Villa Adriana is situated in the newer area of the town with private parking (a big plus since parking is tight) and within walking distance of a terrific beach, numerous restaurants, bars, the boat and train.
- After arriving we began our day with a boat ride, on calm water, from Monterosso to the most southern town of Riomaggiore. The boat ride provided great views from the water as we got the opportunity to see all of the towns as well as some of the hiking trails. Our tour of the town and subsequent hike to the next town of Manarola took about three hours total including a swim in the warm Sea and a terrific seafood platter for lunch. The hike from Manarola to Corniglia was another two hours where we caught the train back to our base in Monterosso. Down to the beach for another swim then out to another delicious supper with a finish of locally made ice cold Limoncello.
- The following day we boarded the train to Corniglia and began the two hour hike to Vernazza. After the hike and breath taking views, we enjoyed a relaxing lunch at the harbor then back to Monterosso by rail since the walking conditions on this leg of the trail were questionable at that point in time. The hike between all five towns is supposed to take about 5 hours. If you simply hiked the trail, you would miss out on the magical flavor of each unique town, so allow for much more time or plan for two days. This is not a race!
- There is a walking tunnel in Monterosso connecting the older and newer section of town. Be sure to visit the shops and embrace both charming locations by the Sea.
Next …………Tuscany area of Italy.
What’s on your travel bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
Tip: Our weather conditions in early October were wonderful but I have seen pictures of Cinque Terra when the weather turned sour and the angry sea spoke loudly. That said if you wait for the weather you will wait forever!