The Cinque Terre is a small patch of land in Italy’s Liguria region, just northwest of the city La Spezia. If you would translate it it would mean something like “The Five Lands”. But it is not the land that makes this part of Italy famous. It’s the five villages squeezed into the cliffs above the five small bays of the Ligurian sea. The villages look like someone took giant Lego bricks set and started piling colorful bricks into the cliffs. The landscape does not give you many other options that don’t include tons of dynamite and multiple divisions of bulldozers.
So the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are quite “hard” to get to by today’s standards. You can take a train that stops in all the villages, you can take a car and park above each village and then walk down, or you can take a boat and conquer them from the sea. Car is a good option in the winter when there are only a few lost elderly tourists wandering these places but in the high season the walk down to the village and back up to your car can be quite long as all the closer parking spaces will be taken. The roads that lead to these places are also interesting. The road down to Vernazza keeps you wondering if you are going the right way all the way to the bottom and the whole trip along the coast is very scenic. The whole area is protected and is a part of the Cinque Terre National Park. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So yeah, it’s worth a look.
What is equally exciting is the fact that the very next village north from the Cinque Terre quintet is called Levanto, which is a famous Italy surf spot. So playing tourist after a morning surf session is what we did…