Just like the Sirens lured in passengers of the sea through their beauty and music, Cinque Terre seduces the traveler through pastel-coloured villages resting on Mediterranean Sea bluffs. It’s funny to think I just compared a location in Italy to the Sirens of Greek methodology, but it was the perfect simile.
Located along the Italian Riviera between Levanto and La Spezia sits a series of five villages in close proximity from each other – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – this is Cinque Terre, where life is tranquil and traffic is absent. Additionally, each of the five villages consists of hillsides tamed with vineyards producing unique regional wine and luscious olive groves.
When compared to the other Italian cities I had the pleasure of visiting, Cinque Terre is a completely different animal. Where Mantova, Bologna, Bergamo, etc. were rich in history and museums, Cinque Terre thrives from its scenic views and outdoor activities. Laced together by a system of hiking trails, the region is a hiker’s delight. If you were to ask me, the views seen from the trails are the best part of the journey.
Now, don’t worry if you are unable to hike the trails because there is regional train operating between each village. At a cost of 12 Euros, you can buy a day pass which gives you unlimited access to the rail, hiking paths, and several attractions in the region.
With each village having its own special feel you will surely find one you like; for me, Vernazza stole my heart. Maybe it was the ruins of the Doria castle containing a pirate lookout tower on the cliff, the first taste of the region’s oily focaccia, or the pebbled beach; whatever it was, I am definitely not complaining.
These images of my Cinque Terre adventure do no justice; Cinque Terre is a must-see destination. This very scenic part of Italy is easily reachable from Milan. Just spend around 20 Euros on a roughly three-hour train ride to Levanto, and Eureka! You made it to the 8th wonder of the world!
Porto Venere, UNESCO heritage site
Together with the villages of Cinque Terre, Porto Venere was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The area includes the three villages of Fezzano, Le Grazie and Porto Venere; the three islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.
The surrounding Natural Park offers a unique landscape with its steep coasts, caves and luxurious vegetation. If you are looking for an elegant, charming and yet affordable accommodation, we suggest you check the website of Colonna24.