Cinque Terre holidays in La Spezia travel tips reservations
dal 13.01.2017 04:40
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Vernazza charming view by night Cinque Terre five lands by night.jpg

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Cinque Terre means Five Lands five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore Manarola Corniglia Vernazza and Monterosso located in the Italian region of Liguria. They are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Strung along 18km of serrated cliffs between Levanto and La Spezia, the Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s treasures. These five higgledy piggledy villages Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are cut off by mountains choked with olive groves and dry-stone-walled vineyards, where farmers have eked out a living over the centuries.

The Cinque Terre (pronounced CHEEN|kweh TEHR|reh) consists of five small villages (“cinque terre” means “five lands” in Italian) which cling to the Ligurian cliffs along Italy’s western coast. They are usually thought of and visited collectively, mostly because they’re so close to one another that you can walk from the first to the fifth in a matter of hours, but there are five different towns and each does have its own personality.

Once peaceful fishing villages whose clever residents even managed to devise a way to grow wine grapes on almost vertical slopes, the Cinque Terre now relies almost entirely on tourism. The tiny towns are incredibly popular with American backpackers/budget travelers and German holiday makers, and are getting increasingly popular with people outside those groups as well.

In the traffic-free Cinque Terre, a remote chunk of the Italian Riviera, there's not a museum in sight just sun, sea, sand (well, pebbles), wine, and pure, unadulterated Italy. Enjoy the villages, swimming, hiking, and evening romance of one of God's great gifts to tourism.

For a home base, choose among five (cinque) villages, each of which fills a ravine with a lazy hive of human activity — calloused locals, sunburned travelers, and no Vespas. While the Cinque Terre is now discovered (and can be unpleasantly crowded midday, when tourist boats and cruise-ship excursions drop by), I've never seen happier, more relaxed tourists.

All the towns slope down to sea-level except for Corniglia, which is perched on top of a tall cliff. Four of the towns possess an old-world charm (from North-to-South: Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore). The northern-most town, Monterosso, is completely different.
It is very beachy-resorty, with not much to see beyond the boardwalk apart from modern apartment blocks and hotels—nothing like the narrow, crooked streets of the other towns, lined with colorful old houses stacked haphazardly on top of each other.

There are popular hiking trails between the villages as well as in the scenic hills above them. You'll have to pay for entrance to the trails. Europe for Visitors has a good Cinque Terre hiking guide and map with pictures so you'll know what to expect when you go. Note that you need to buy a Cinque Terre Card to use the trails.
 
The Cinque Terre region is very popular and is very crowded in summer. Spending the night in one of the villages is a good way to experience the charm without the huge crowds but since they aren't packed with hotels, you'll need to book ahead. My friends recommend staying in Manarola at A Casa Rooms and Apartments. Here are more places to stay in Cinque Terre.

Riomaggiore — the most substantial non-resort of the five towns — is a fascinating tangle of pastel homes that lean on each other like drunken sailors. A cliff-hanging trail leads from the beach to old Nazi bunkers and a hilltop botanical garden.
 
The next town, tiny Manarola, is a tumble of buildings bunny-hopping down its ravine to the harbor. You can hike up to Punta Bonfiglio — for a bar on a bluff between the cemetery and the sea — or enjoy tasty treats born right here: pesto on your focaccia, washed down by crisp local wine sprinkled with Mediterranean twinkles. Talk about going local.
 
Corniglia, with its mellow main square, is the quiet town — the only one of the five not on the water. From the train station, a footpath zigzags up nearly 400 stairs to the hilltop town. According to legend, a Roman farmer originally settled Corniglia, naming it for his mother, Cornelia, which is how Corniglia is pronounced in Italian. Residents claim Cornelia’s son produced a wine so famous that vases found at Pompeii touted its virtues. Still, today, wine remains the town’s lifeblood. Following the pungent smell of ripe grapes into an alley cellar, I find a local who lets me dip a straw into her keg.
 
Monterosso, the Cinque Terre’s only resort town, comes with cars, hotels, rentable beach umbrellas, crowds, and a thriving late-night scene. Its historic center cradles Old World charm within crooked lanes and hole-in-the-wall shops.
 
With the closest thing to a natural harbor — overseen by a ruined castle and an old church — Vernazza is the jewel of the Cinque Terre. Its action is at the harbor, where you’ll find restaurants, a bar hanging off the edge of the castle, a breakwater with a promenade, and a tailgate-party street market every Tuesday morning. While the old men putter with their tough little boats, the day’s last bit of sunshine seems to sweep the old women and children into a warm corner in front of the church.

Selected travel Guides Travel Tips Reservation on Cinque Terre La Spezia Italy

Cinque Terre - Lonely Planet

Cinque Terre travel guide - Wikitravel

Cinque Terre Online - Travel Tips

Cinque Terre | Italy Travel Guide - Why Go Italy

Cinque Terre Travel Tips - Ordinary Traveler

Cinque Terre Travel Guide Resources & Trip Planning Info
Hotel Reservation on  Cinque Terre La Spezia

Cinque Terre Online - Travel Tips

Cinque Terre Travel - Visiting Cinque Terre Italy

Cinque Terre Map and Travel Guide - Europe Travel - About.com

The Enchanting Cinque Terre: Fiat-Free Italy by Rick Steves

The Cinque Terre travel guide - ReidsItaly.com

Cinque Terre – Travel guide at Wikivoyage

Bits and Pieces: Cinque Terre Travel Tips
Hotel in Cinque Terre Booking Discounts
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