Reasons to take a Cinque Terre Vacation When Visiting Italy

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Picturesque landscapes, ancient towns, architectural marvels—Italy never runs out of beautiful things to explore. And there’s one place that has all of these sites and more: Cinque Terre. Also known as the “Five Lands,” this area near the coast of northwest Italy will not run out of surprises for you to discover. So if you only have a few days to immerse yourself in the essence of Italy, be sure to book a Cinque Terre vacation with a luxury tour operator.

Top seven reasons to book a Cinque Terre vacation

  • Feel the sand beneath your feet

Monterosso al Mare, simply known as Monterosso, is the first of Cinque Terre’s five villages. You may not know that it is also the largest, home to the most hospitable sand beach in the area.

This makes Monterosso the perfect starting place for your summer vacation. If you’re looking for the traditional beach experience, you can head on over to the newer part of the village and lay down some towels for you and your companions.

There’s also a beach in the older part of town, although it can take several minutes to get there. But don’t worry—the trek will be worth it. The old town beach has private areas if you want to relax without any distractions.

  • View the Ligurian Sea from above

Missing the trails, you hiked back home? You don’t have to wait until your trip is over. Vernazza, a small and charming village right next to Monterosso, is an excellent starting point for a quick hike.

In fact, Cinque Terre has numerous trails for you to explore, irrespective of whether you’re a beginner or an avid hiker. The path from Vernazza to Corniglia is popular among tourists, with a length of about 3.5 kilometers that can be completed in an hour and a half.

You can also trek from Monterosso to Vernazza and back on a trail that’s just a little longer than the one to and from Corniglia. If you’re new to hiking, you can start at Vernazza, where a beginner-friendly path will help you get used to the long walk.

  • Drink to your heart’s content

Did you decide to take the path from Vernazza to the village next door? Don’t sit down just yet—Corniglia has numerous wonders for you to explore. As the centermost town of Cinque Terre, Corniglia is the only one without direct access to the sea. Instead, it is located on a small cape, about 100 meters above sea level.

Because of its geography, Corniglia has a much more distinct history compared to its neighbors. For instance, instead of relying on fishing and the sea, locals spend more of their time on land, cultivating vineyards and fruit trees.

One of Corniglia’s most prized specialties is the limoncello, a liqueur made from lemons. This beverage is typically served straight in a shot glass, without any bells and whistles like ice or syrup.

But if you want to sip limoncello more leisurely, you can take it as a cocktail. Some popular concoctions include the lemon martini, limoncello sour, Bacio del Limone, and Devil’s Punch.

  • Explore an ancient Roman village

Besides its history in agriculture, Corniglia was also once a Roman village. You’ll see hints of the village’s ancient Roman influence in its architecture. The Parish Church of San Pietro is one excellent example, famous for its Baroque style, built with cobblestones in the 13th century.

If you visit Cinque Terre from June to September, you might be able to catch the San Pietro and Paolo Feast and the N.S. delle Grazie Feast, dedicated to religious icons.

  • Feast your eyes on colorful houses

Just a few meters below Corniglia is Manarola, the fourth town in Cinque Terre. Make sure to prepare yourself for a surprise— Manarola is not like its neighbors.

You’ll notice one of Manarola’s most characteristic features as soon as you step into the village. Multicolored houses dot the landscape, stacked at all angles thanks to the town’s unique geography.

Look below, and you’ll see a tiny harbor jutting out of the village. You can get closer to the sea, but be ready to navigate through narrow alleys and steep curves. If you’d rather hike to the top, make sure you check out the Church of San Lorenzo, a 13th-century Gothic building that was once used as a post to look out for pirates.

The Christmas holidays are an excellent time to visit Cinque Terre and Manarola. From December 8 until January, the village hosts the world’s largest lighted nativity celebration with over 200 figures and 12,000 lights.

  • Take a romantic stroll.

Once you’re done exploring Manarola’s steep steps, you can take a small footpath connected to the final village, Riomaggiore. You shouldn’t try to get to the town in a hurry, though. The path connecting the two villages is the famous Via dell’Amore, also known as Lovers’ Lane.

It’ll take you about 20 minutes to reach Riomaggiore through Lovers’ Lane. But, for those who want a more heart-racing adventure, you can take the trail via Via Beccara. Take note that this path is ideal for experienced hikers, taking about an hour to complete with ups and downs across the mountainside.

You can finally relax in Riomaggiore, a charming village filled with romantic guesthouses and restaurants offering classic Italian dishes.

  • Have a taste of authentic Italian specialties

All that traveling must have left you starving, but luckily, Italy has nothing short of good food to be enjoyed. Focaccia is one of Cinque Terre’s specialties, a crunchy yet fluffy bread topped with olive oil.

And if you’re craving something more filling, you can try authentic pesto pasta and fresh seafood like mussels, anchovies, and shrimp. For dessert, you can’t miss out on trying classic Italian gelato or a handful of freshly baked pastries.

There’s no doubt that Cinque Terre is one of the most exciting places to visit in Italy. But to make sure that you don’t get lost in the five villages, book a Cinque Terre vacation with a certified and experienced tour provider!