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Decades ago the five villages that comprise the Cinque Terre had no road access. Clinging to cliffs overlooking the azure Mediterranean, their houses were an artist’s palette of terracottas and creams. Then the first tourists arrived and now the walking tracks that connect the five are almost always thronged with visitors, though the villages retain their postcard-perfect charm. It is possible to walk between the northernmost village of Monterosso and Riomaggiore in the south in one day, but it’s far better to take your time, stay in one village for a few days and explore the villages on foot. If you don’t fancy the walk, there are roads now (nervous drivers beware!) or more preferably you can ride the local train. For an entirely different view, take to the sea on the ferry.
Carved into the cliffs in Monterosso is the 14 metre high statue of Neptune holding the waves at bay. Due to wartime bombing and rough seas he lost his arms, trident and the giant seashell he held.
These striking murals paint a picture of life in the Cinque Terre and are situated outside the train station. The murals are to glorify the unknown workers who constructed all of the dry stone walls and terracing that is so distinctive to the area.
This links the villages, but be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and carry water as it is not sold along the route. Get an early start to avoid the heat and the crowds.
This is the home of pesto and it’s generously served in restaurants with two different types of pasta that are local to the area (trofie – short dense twists or trenette – long flat with a ruffle on the edges) There is also pesto lasagna!
Check out the local wine and also the delicious limoncello, enjoy an accompanying antipasto platter while soaking up the atmosphere.
These are caught along the coast, then salted and barrelled in the bay by the woman of the Cinque Terre.
While the Cinque Terre is not famous for its long white beaches, the coastline is full of small bays and the clear Ligurian Sea. Manarola you can sunbathe on the rocks then dive off into the deep waters; Vernazza has a small sandy beach good for kids, or jump off the rocks at the end of the harbour; Monterosso has a sandy, pebbly beach great for families.
Take the train to Santa Margherita, then the local bus from directly outside the station
This is just a taste of the information and advice we have available through our House of Travel consultants.
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