Travel with me

2017-11-08 06:00
PHOTO: Carolyn BorchardVernazza, the prettiest of the five villages that comprises Cinque Terre’s only proper harbour.

PHOTO: Carolyn BorchardVernazza, the prettiest of the five villages that comprises Cinque Terre’s only proper harbour.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

SO what and where is the “Cinque Terre”? It’s in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia, and comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The easiest way to reach and travel between the villages is by train. A train line also connects all five villages directly with Genoa, Pisa and Rome. Arriving by sea is also an option, from Easter to September, ferries run from Genoa.

Exploring the Cinque Terre is without a doubt bucket-list material, so let us start with Monterosso.

The most accessible village by car and the only Cinque Terre settlement to sport a proper stretch of beach, the western-most Monterosso is the least quintessential of the quintet.

The village, known for its lemon trees and anchovies, is however, delightful. Split in two, its new and old halves are linked by an underground tunnel burrowed beneath the blustery San Cristoforo promontory.

The historical centre of Monterosso has a really nice atmosphere with many small streets, pastel-coloured houses and artisan shops. The main square - Piazza Garibaldi - hosts the town hall and the statue of Garibaldi. If you walk a bit further towards Vernazza, you will see old men playing bocce, a traditional game with balls.

Hike on down to Vernazza, which is in my opinion, the prettiest of the five villages. With Cinque Terre’s only proper harbour, Vernazza has a long history as a fishing village.

While there is a small beach, sightseeing is more common in this astoundingly beautiful cliff-side town.

Highlights include the 16th-century Belforte Tower (which offers incredible views of the area), the 11th-century Doria Castle and the 14th-century Santa Margherita d’Antiochia church. A steep hike will take you to the shrine at Nostra Signora Di Reggio (Our Lady of Reggio), well worth the exercise.

Nestled in the middle of the five towns, Corniglia is sometimes overlooked due to the myth that there are no beaches and the arduous stairway to the top of the hill. If you are willing to make the climb to the top, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of crystal clear waters, deserted streets and beaches.

There are a little more than 370 steps which will take you from the train station to the town of Corniglia, 100 metres above sea level.

Though a difficult climb to the top, the accomplishment and the view are definitely a reward in themselves. Read more in our next column.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.