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5 Fun Ideas To Try When Visiting Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre, or 5 Lands, might just be the one place in the world where everyone would love to live some day. Consisting of five fishing villages, this area has been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The coastal views are stunning and the oldest village of the set, called Monterosso, was founded in the 7th century. It isn’t an undiscovered wonderland by any stretch of the imagination, but it most certainly is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
If you’re thinking about a visit to these historic fishing villages, then we’ve put together some fun ideas for you to try during your stay in Cinque Terre so you can enjoy all of the historic features this region has to offer.
#1. Dinner and a sunset in Riomaggiore
The marina offers one of the most incredible views at any time of day, but at sunset the pinks and oranges that dominate the sky make for something that is truly breathtaking. You’ll find many visitors tend to gather near the agave plant in Riomaggiore to watch the sunset, but there are several great locations if you want a view all your own. Just walk around for a bit and you’ll find a hidden corner.
We then recommend La Lanterna for the seafood platter, especially if this is your first time in the region. Life moves a little slower in Cinque Terre, so browse the specials and try some favorites if you want and you’ll have a relaxing experience.
#2. Ride the rails to see all of Cinque Terre.
Almost all motor vehicle traffic has been banned from the five villages that make up Cinque Terre, so your options for transport are typically walking or taking the train. There are six stops on the train route, including La Spezia, which is just southeast of the region. It’s about 5 minutes between each stop in the region and about 10 minutes from La Spezia to Riomaggiore. The train only runs once per hour, however, so you’ll need to get a current time table.
Then all you’ll need to do is get a window seat with a view. Remember to validate your tickets at the yellow machines so your ticket gets stamped. We recommend the Cinque Terre card for an extended stay as you’ll receive unlimited train travel on the line and access to local hiking paths and a few of the museums. The unlimited pass in 2015 is €19 for two days and is available at all of the stations in the area.
#3. Linger in Manarola.
There is only one main street in Manarola, so you’ll be able to enjoy everything the village has to offer if you’re willing to linger for just a bit. The village was built up around an old water mill which can still be seen in the lower part of the village. Don’t miss the ancient bell tower that helped to protect the city or the Church of San Lorenzo with its 14thh century Gothic style. And the views? Amazing.
#4. Embrace adventure in Vernazza.
The wonderful colors of this village in Cinque Terre are engaging to the eye, but there is much adventure to be had here. You’ll find many visitors will visit the Church of Santa Margherita or the ruins of the ancient fortress that guarded the cliffs. What you won’t find are many hikers willing to take on the challenge of a visit to the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio. It takes about an hour and follows the canal until the trail climbs upward to be surrounded by vineyards. You can also follow the trail of the sanctuaries to visit each sanctuary in the five villages if you wish as well
#5. Spend an afternoon windsurfing in Levanto.
At the end of the train line in Cinque Terre sits Levanto, which offers the best deep water bay in the region. The deep waters can create some beautiful crashing waves that are perfect to enjoy if you can find a quiet corner of the beach. There are days when the waves cap at 3 meters, which is perfect for windsurfing on a gorgeous afternoon.
If the winds are too strong for windsurfing, which can happen from time to time, then rent a bicycle and enjoy one of the many trails the village has to offer. Visit the Chiesa di Sant’Andrea and then grab a bite to eat at the Salty Dog Cafe or the Mad Max Pub before catching the train to head back to your hotel for the evening.
Cinque Terre offers unforgettable experiences, beautiful vistas, and a charming way to let the world pass you by as you experience an old-fashioned holiday in this series of villages. Even if all you do is sit back and relax on a lazy Italian afternoon with a gentle breeze caressing you, it will feel like the best idea you’ve ever had.