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- Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2009
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Take a walk in Cinque Terre
- Posted in:Other Features
These coastline villages are popular destination for backpackers and travellers - the name itself literally means “Five Lands”. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the Italian Riviera between the beach resort of Lévanto and the port town of La Spezia - both are good places to stay while exploring the nearby landscape.
The best way to experience Cinque Terre is hiking or walking one of the many trails between the 5 tiny rural seafront villages that Cinque Terre is composed of. The least strenuous and most common trail taken by tourists is called Sentiero Azzurro. This route takes you through the 5 villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia, and Riomaggiore while it hugs the coastline offered spectacular scenic views. The distance from Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare is 12kms and the trail varies in difficulty depending what point you are at. This trail follows the rocky coast while meandering between hillside vineyards, olive groves, wooded areas and cliff edges. During your hike take some time out to marvel at the expansive views of the sea and varied landscapes or admire the brightly coloured buildings of the 5 villages. Make sure you have plenty of get up and go to conquer the 365 steps that lead up to Corniglia from Manarola. If you are short on time or energy the best part of this trail is between Corniglia and Vernazza.
Monterosso al Mare
This is the biggest village and most popular tourist hub in Cinque Terre. It is divided into two parts, the old town and the new town. It has the only sandy beach of any significance in the area. If sunbathing isn’t what you are looking for visit Torre Aurora (Dawn Tower). This medieval tower separates the old town from the new. Located on the headland, it is the only surviving tower of the 13 that used to surround the village. It is a fantastic place to take panoramic photos.
This picturesque fishing village, said to be the loveliest of the 5 has the only proper natural harbour in Cinque Terre. For sightseeing visit the Belforte Tower where you can witness incredible views of the area. Also check out Doria Castle and the Gothic Santa Margherita d'Antiochia church beside the main piazza.
Not directly on the sea, the smallest village of the bunch is situated instead on top of a promontory about 100 metres above sea level. Strangely enough this remote hilltop village is known for its secluded peddle beach called Spiaggone di Corniglia. This is reachable on the footpath heading towards Manarola. It is really recommended to take a stroll down to the seafront to get some fresh air.
Take the Manarola Vineyard Walk that leads to the neighbouring village, Corniglia or sample some of the famous local Sciacchetrá while relaxing in the town Square, known as Piazza Capellini. If you are feeling a bit adventurous why not take a dip in the crystal clear water of the town’s tiny harbour which is complete with a boat ramp. Leading inland from the harbour are colourful picturesque buildings ascending up the ravine.
The most southern village of the lot is easily reachable from La Spezia. It is normally the starting or ending point for tourists visiting Cinque Terre. The trail linking Riomaggiore and Manarola is called La Via dell’Amore (The street of Love). It got the name for its romantic setting and beautiful landscape. The sanctuary of Madonna di Montenero can be found on the coast road to La Spezia. In the town.
By: Bríon O’Connor