Cinque Terre (five countries) is the name for a group of five villages located on the coast of Italy, which together with the surrounding hills make national park of the same name. UNESCO listed this park in 1997 on the World Heritage List. Maybe the name itself does not seem familiar, but surely you’ve seen pictures of the village on the steep cliffs above the sea, dominated by colorful houses that look like they came out from children’s imagination.
Local people here do not need a lot praising. Suffice is to point out that they are one of the friendliest people in the Mediterranean. Whether you stop and ask for directions, or for a quick glass of lemonade, there will always be one of the locals prepared for a short conversation. You will be surprised how much people here can talk about wine and bruschetta … These five villages are distributed along eight miles of beautiful coastline.
If you want you can explore on foot and you can do it all in just one day. Villages are connected by the “blue route”, as locals call it, which is also known as love route, because many proposals occurred here. But this is not only route, the whole area has network of trails on which you can explore this amazing coastline. However one day for exploration should not be your goal. To find all hidden gems plan to stay for several days.
Chose any village to be your base, there is no need to change accommodation, since the whole area is relatively small and very well connected by railway. So if you decide to explore by hiking and you end up little further from your base you can always come back with train.
The hiking routes are opened all year around and most of them are completely free, except few that are most popular so they charge fee during the season. On the time of your visit some trails can be closed due to maintenance but you should not worry about that since there is always alternative route.
Along the trails there are many secluded beaches so be sure to bring bathing suit, something to eat, so you can stay whole day, and change clothes if the weather is not perfect. Hiking boots are not mandatory, better solution are sneakers or hiking sandals. If you want avoid crowds at all times, spend some times exploring trails that are beyond the five Cinque Terre villages. If you decide to do this, be prepared and bring map or at least don’t be shy to ask locals for directions.
The other solution to avoid crowds is to come during the winter but you will not be able to enjoy beaches and Mediterranean sea. No matter what time you choose, you will definitely have great time. This place is great for active romantic getaway as well as for family vacation.