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1800-Countries.com >> 1800-Italy >> Liguria -- Cinque Terre

Three hours south of Milan is a series of five villages clinging to the most inaccessible stretch of coast on the Italian Riviera.

The Cinque Terre, literally five lands, was once used by pirates in hiding. Even today, the hilly towns are still a little off the beaten track; hardly suitable for the tourist by car. Go by train and then use your feet.

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The Upper Trail of Cinque Terre -- L'alta via delle Cinque Terre -- is around 40km long and will take a good ten hours; if you have the right footwear and are in good physical condition.

Connecting Portovenere with Levanto, and overlooking the villages of Cinque Terre, this trail is really intended for serious hikers.

It's a long way down for a swim but there is overnight accommodation along the way. We advise you to go easy on yourself and use it.

Dove Dormire:
Personal account of finding places to stay in the Cinque Terre region.

Local Specialities:
The white Cinque Terre wine is well-known. It goes well with fish as well as the local pasta dishes al pesto -- green sauce, made from basil, garlic, oregano and olive oil.

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Hiking The Lower Cinque Terre

The "easy" trail, between Cinque Terre's five villages, can be comfortably undertaken in four to five hours but we prefer to make a leisurely day of it.

From Riomaggiore station, follow signs for the Via del' Amore. Depending on how much time you spend recording the scene for posterity, you should reach the rocky shore of Manarola in less than half an hour.

You'll probably feel like a drink at the waterfront before heading up the more rugged trail to Corniglia -- less than an hour, even for leisurely walkers.

Although the lower trail out of Manorola is broad and scenic, you'll be gasping once you tackle the steep steps up to the Corniglia road at the end.

Allow one and a half hours for the naturist route from Corniglia to Vernazza -- yes there's a nudist beach nearby.

We like to lunch in Vernazza, the pesto poured lovingly on pasta is delicious and the scenery around here is spectacular. Besides, there's more hilly stretches on the way to the resort town of Monterosso al Mare -- almost 2 hours -- and we need some carbohydrates.

Of course, the more adventurous among you have plenty of higher challenges too. You could easilly spend a week here and not get bored. Take it easy, turn off the mobile phone and no-one will find you..... if you go in May or September.

Cinque Terre Resources

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Comprehensive resource for travellers to the Cinque Terre region. Plenty of background information to whet your appetite, travellers' opinions and a photo gallery -- in English, Italian and German.

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The Tourist Association of the Cinque Terre website is packed with information, photographs and illustrations. A very handy reference point.

Da Baranin:
Manarola bed and breakfast offering comfortable double bedrooms with private bathroom and television.

Riomaggiore Municipality:
The Municpality of Riomaggiore has some useful imformation for visitors to the Cinque Terre. Frames are really not needed here and somewhat let the site down.

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Adrian Vingreyerz dedicates his Swiss webspace to personal experiences in the Cinque Terre. Very informative and well worth taking a look.

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare has the best beach in the Cinque Terre and is convenient for walking the trails between the 5 towns or visiting other nearby areas. Day trips to Genova, Pisa, La Spezia, Lucca, Levanto and even Florence are possible because of the frequent train connections.

La Spiaggia Hotel:
Small, family run hotel, right on the beach of Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre. The hotel has been in the family of Andrea Poggi for several hundred years and has fantastic views along the coast.

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Sanctuary Trails

Each of the five villages has its own religious sanctuary that can be reached through old routes used by devotees throughout the centuries. You'll be rewarded with some really stunning views.

Riomaggiore to Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero -- the longest of the sanctuary trails takes almost 2 hours.

Manarola to Santuario di Nostra Signora della Salute -- allow an hour.

Corniglia to Santuario di Nostra Signora delle Grazie -- an hour and a half.

Vernazza to Santuario di Nostra Signora di Reggio -- less than an hour.

Monterosso to Santuario di Nostra Signora di Soviore -- around an hour and a half.

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