The Liguria region lies in the northwestern section of Italy and contains some of the most magnificent travel spots, including Cinque Terre, Portofino, and Genova. Today we are exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of five villages, together known as Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre National Park is made up of the coastal towns of Monterosso a Mare, Corniglia, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, and Manarola. Each of the five villages has a couple things in common, they’re all tiny and built on cliffs, but they all have their own distinct beauty and personality.
There are mainly two ways to get around the Cinque Terre: on foot or by train. Cars do not have access to enter these towns to preserve the culture and natural beauty of these small villages. Cinque Terre does not have that glamorous resort-like feel of the Amalfi Coast, but instead, it genuinely maintained its historic fishing village persona. Before the tourism sparked, the towns of Cinque Terre made their money through fishing and were indeed very poor. Although tourism has significantly increased, Cinque Terre is still known for its fishing business. If you’re a hiker or seafood lover, then this is your ideal place!
For outdoor enthusiasts, it is possible to hike from one village to another. The trail that connects all five towns is called Sentiero Azzurro, but the section that connects Riomaggiore to Manarola is called Via dell’ Amore (approximately 2km long). The trail is long and steep, so make sure you’re well equipped if you decide to walk it. If you’re not up for the hiking adventure, then you can also ride the train that will easily take you from one village to another in just a couple of minutes. Although the train ride is very short, the train does tend to be delayed and packed, especially during the summer. When you’re planning your trip, make sure to incorporate time for delays because of the train. I would suggest breaking up the trip into two days (3 at most) to have enough time to fully enjoy all five towns. Regardless of whether you’re planning to hike the trail or not, make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes, especially when you’re visiting the village of Corniglia. To get to the center of the village of Corniglia, you need to walk up approximately 400 steps, but don’t worry, the destination is worth the climb.
For all the beach lovers, Monterosso a Mare definitely has the best beach out of all 5 towns and is the only town that has a resort-like feel. Tourists can rent beach chairs and relax while taking in all the beauty this place has to offer.
Liguria is also known for its food, specifically popular for pesto and focaccia. Pesto originated in Genoa, so the whole Liguria region is known for its fresh basil pesto sauce. Since focaccia also originated in Liguria, it is another food that I suggest eating during your visit. Another typical snack that is found in Liguria is called the farinata, which is made out of chickpea flour. When it comes to wine, I would suggest trying the local wine called Sciachetra`.
If you’re looking to bring a little bit of Liguria along with you, then follow my friend’s focaccia recipe! Visit her blog Italian at Heart linked below.