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Cinque Terre, Italy

It didn’t take long at all for me to fall head over heels in love with Cinque Terre, a region on the Mediterranean coast in northern Italy, about 2-3 hours north of Florence/Firenze by train. Cinque Terre (Five Lands), is made up of five small fishing villages that are connected by trails and rail. If your goal is to retreat from the world and slow things waaaay down — this is the place for you.

vernazza

Though overrun by tourists in the daytime, Cinque Terre is nothing short of magical once the dusk falls and the crowds depart. The villages are tiny and rustic and retain the charm of a region unspoiled by the congestion and pollution of a big city. The residents are simple folk, living a simple, blissful life. There are few cars, as residents make their way between the villages on foot, or by train. There is no need to rush here, which gives you ample time to take in the breathtaking scenery…

cinqueterredusk

trailThe main activity or attraction (besides eating) is probably hiking.  The five villages (from north to south: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore) are connected by a system of trails that take you through the terraced landscape, traversing backyard vineyards and flights and flights of stairs as you climb high above the Mediterranean sea to enjoy spectacular views.

corniglia

When I visited, I spent two days in the region, with Vernazza as my base. We had a lovely stay at the Pensione Sorriso,  a comfortable and affordable hostel (where we had a private room). We took a two-hour hike from Vernazza to neighboring Corniglia at sunset, had a wonderful meal at Ristorante Cecio, then took the train back after dinner.

The next day we headed out after breakfast for a challenging, but beautiful hike from Vernazza to neighboring Monterosso. This hike takes you high into the mountains, so if you’re visiting, try to avoid hiking midday, and bring lots of water! This hike was definitely a workout, but the views were so worth it!  We reached Monterosso in a just over two hours, and after refueling with lunch on the beach, we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the warm, turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. The perfect Cinque Terre day.

monterosso2

When I return, I will definitely stay for 3-4 days, since two days didn’t feel like nearly enough time. An excellent place to unplug, unwind and recuperate.

A fantastic overview of the various hiking trails can be found here:
http://www.walksofitaly.com/blog/cinque-terre/hiking-trails

Some video from our trip. :)

Photo Album                         More blogs on our Italian Honeymoon

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