The Beauty of the Five Lands: Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre which means five lands is on the brink of Italian Riviera. It is named after the five small towns of Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, Monterosso and Riomaggiore. It has out of the ordinary scenes that are very architectural and filled with lively colors. These villages are connected by old steps and different hiking trails. Accommodation booking should done early especially during summer.

Cinque Terre
Stunning villages – The cinque Terre – Source

Monterosso the largest of them all is among the most scenic towns in Italy. It is located on the Ligurian Sea and is the point of departure for 12km hiking path used by adventurers that runs down the Coast of Cinque Terre. This village features various tourist attractions like a cathedral, castle and a sandy beach with a magnificent footpath. One can board a ferry that connects this town to the other four towns.

Corniglia, the smallest of Cinque Terre villages is located in the center of the five villages. It is not adjacent to the sea like the others but is about 100metres high on a cape. Three sides of this town are surrounded by terraces and vineyards while the part that goes down sharply to the sea is the fourth side. You can reach this village by climbing the Lardarina if you love climbing. It has the narrow roads and a terrace through which the other four villages can be seen with two on one side and the other two on the other.

Manarola built at the mouth of river Volastra has very steep narrow alleyways that lead you to the waterfront. It is considered to be the quietest village of all the five and is known for producing olive oil and wine. The distinctive terraces with vines can be viewed from the hilltop. Wine lovers can make a stop at the small museum that is devoted to wine. It has a tiny harbor with blue water formed by a terraced boardwalk. Sit at the piazza if you want to enjoy the atmosphere and have some great seafood.

Riomaggiore the first of the Five Lands lies between two steep hills is characterized by constricted tower-houses. If you want to go to the little beach of Fossola then you can use a set stairs on the south side. Bird watching can be done at botanical gardens of Torre Guardiola. On the lower part is the old castle of Riomaggiore where one can enjoy stunning sights over the sea. The Lovers’ Walk path is a well covered shoreline trail that has stone benches set on the side of the cliff along the way.

Among all the five towns Vernazza is the only one that has a port. It is considered to be the most beautiful Cinque Terre village. It is surrounded by sharp terraced olive groves and a complex layout. While here you can visit Belforte Castle, the cylindrical tower, go hiking through the north-west trail that is 3.5km and you will have to purchase a Cinque Terre Card to access it. At the end of the paths is the open space of haven with a flowing spring. This town can be accessed by local commuter trains. This will enable you to ride alongside cliffs which overlook olive trees and turquoise waters.

Food Experiences near the Cinque Terre.

If you are interested in a food experience around the Cinque Terre you should also check this page about fishing tours in Camogli. For hiking tours in Cinque Terre you can also check out sister site.

Easy Beach-hopping from Cinque Terre

I am sure that everyone has heard of the lovely Italian Riviera, a more commonly-known term used to describe the coast of Liguria, between the Cote d’Azur in France and Tuscany in Italy.  This almost crescent-shaped stretch of coastline is possibly the most beautiful in Italy and has been attracting visitors for many years; it is often referred to as the Golfo dei Poeti (gulf of poets) in honour of the many famous poets who have lived here for some part of their lives, such as Byron, Shelley, Hemingway and DH Lawrence.  The stretch of coast is backed by the Maritime Alps and the shelter provided by this mountain range means that the Riviera has a very mild micro-climate; in short, it is just perfect for a beach holiday and today I am going to let you into a well-kept secret and tell you about 3 wonderful beaches to visit which are little known to anyone except the locals.

Lerici
lerici beach at night – source

Lerici

If you are holidaying in the area, choose Cinque Terre as your base – a stretch of about 18km of rugged coastline and home to five most beautiful and characteristic pastel villages that just seem to pop out of the sea, tightly hugging the rocky coast.  From Cinque Terre, it is easy to reach the wonderful beach at Lerici, just a few kilometres south.  Here you will find a long stretch of protected beach, crystal-clear water and a new promenade for enjoyable strolling along the coast line.  You can drive to Lerici from Cinque Terre, but in season the parking fills up very quickly; you can also take a ferry from Cinque Terre to Lerici.

Baia Blu

After you have enjoyed the attractions of Lerici, drive North around another impossibly beautiful section of coastline to Blue Bay (Baia Blu) beach “club”.  This is a great place to spend a day in the sea and sun, (or in the shade if you prefer – umbrellas available!)  There is plenty of parking and although you have to pay an entrance fee and extra for hiring an umbrella or deck chair, you do get access to two lovely rim-flow pools (one for children), the beach, solarium (tanning area off the beach) and there is the opportunity to take swimming, diving and aqua-aerobics classes.  There are 300 “sites” with umbrellas and sun beds just waiting for you!

Palmaria Island

For a very different beach experience, be sure to visit Palmaria Island, situated just off the coast and accessed by ferry from Porto Venere.  Palmaria Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and although most visitors come to hike around the island, (which you can do in about 2.5hrs) there are some good beaches on the island where you can relax and enjoy the fabulously clear water and the sun and scenery; the most popular beach is Gabbiano Beach where you can enjoy surfing and jet-skiing, in addition to lazing away the day!  When you tire of the beach (is that possible?) you can go on a boat trip to see some of the caves on the island or visit some of the many WWII military relics.

Beach hopping tour for your group

We would love to organise your days our around Cinque Terre and pack them with activities such as hiking to the best beaches, beach hopping, gourmet tours and cooking classes along with fishing day out on the boat, just email us and we will have the best itinerary ready for you.

 

Hidden Secret Spots of The Cinque Terre.

 

This year go on a holiday of a lifetime and visit the beautiful region of Cinque Terre in Italy. Just to the west of the city of La Spezia, this region of the Italian Rivera is ideal for all; from those looking for a quiet romantic getaway or a luxurious family retreat, this rugged portion of coast has it all.

Lying on the many perfect beaches you can be rest assured that it will be quiet and without the spoils of more populated and well known areas of Europe. There are many spectacular sunbathing and swimming spots dotting along the coast, take time to explore the different hiking and coastal paths and you are sure to find the perfect spot of golden sand and crystal clear sea.

Walking and Hiking.

Hiring a car can be a great option when holidaying in the Cinque Terre as it allows you to see each and every one of the villages and the coastal beauty that lies between them. But also you should considering taking the train as it is a stress free option, a local tourist train takes you to all villages.

One of the most popular routes for those on a romantic break is the aptly named Lovers’ Walk or Via dell’Amore, but there is more if you are up for exploring. Head into Riomaggiore and look for the start of the Blue Trail, or Sentiero Azzurro. A five hour long Cinque Terre hiking route that connects each village, between Riomaggiore and Manarola there is a simple stretch of trial that requires just a leisurely stroll rather than a hard hike. In between the romantic nooks and awe inspiring views you will find some of the best swimming and sunbathing spots, perfect to show off your designer swimwear. If you are interested in walking and hiking experiences in Cinque Terre check our our site dedicated to the area.

The Guvano beach – only if you dare.

Guvano beach ideal swimming spot in Cinque Terre
naturist beach – Guvano – source

Looking for the ultimate in relaxation and sunbathing heaven? Then head to the secret beach. The beach of Guvano, is host to a little known secret amongst the locals – Guvano is a secluded beach between Corniglia and Vernazza. This one is certainly for the more adventurous couples looking for something a bit different – the beach is described as ‘clothing optional’.

Access to this secluded location is gained through a secretive tunnel – you’ll know you are in the right place when you see a crudely painted naked figure above the entrance.

Almost as if you test your resolve to reach then beach you’ll then have to edge your way through a darkened tunnel for about a kilometre – be careful it can get slippery – while the noise of a train going through a nearby tunnel is enough to think the end might be nigh.

Keep on pressing ahead into the darkness despite the impending feeling you may be about to walk straight into a pole, eventually it will open up and you will realise that it has all been worth it as you are greeted by beams of light and leafy green trees.

Be warned a gatekeeper will be sitting nearby and may try and charge you but the beach is free to use but you will have to pay to use the tunnel, so you might want to hand him a tip for letting you through.

After all your troubles you will be greeted by the most idyllic spot for sunbathing (swimwear or not…) and taking in the surroundings. The piercing blue seas lap a pebble grey shore and the water is beautifully warm for a late afternoon swim. The trek down is treacherous so be careful, but you will certainly be rewarded for all your efforts.

The best way to navigate this beautifully diverse area is to talk amongst your fellow travellers so don’t be backwards in coming forwards to converse with your fellow travellers and swap tips when you get there – beforehand, TripAdvisor has an excellent section on the Cinque Terre as well as an informative forum which should help you find out everything you need to know before you leave.

But, you only need one tip – Keep your sunglasses and sun cream at the ready for a holiday to the Cinque Terre in Italy, as the sun sea and sand will be beckoning you wherever you stay in this Mediterranean paradise.

You can also consider to do a day tour from Cinque Terre to Florence, or take a gourmet tour in Parma.