Cinque Terre (pronounced CHEEN-kweh TEHR-reh), which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, is comprised of five adjacent towns along the Ligurian coast in northern Italy. The “Five Lands” (as it’s name translates) are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia and Riomaggiore, each equally beautiful and like visiting a living postcard. So, besides the obviously stunning scenery why else should you visit this gem?
1. It’s utterly charming.
This is one of those places that pictures actually do justice to in the sense that Cinque Terre delivers on them and then some. Whether you are visiting Corniglia on the hilltop or Manarola’s picturesque village square you will constantly have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming.
2. The people are super welcoming and friendly.
Whether it’s asking for directions or stopping in for a quick limoncello there is always a local ready to chat, even with the language barrier. You’d be surprised how much people can communicate over the universal language of drinking wine and eating bruschetta.
3. Ligurian seafood will blow your mind.
Like all of Italy the food is amazing, but when it comes to seafood the people of the Ligurian region knock it out of the park. It is straight from the sea to your plate and will knock your socks off, especially the anchovies which the area is known for.
4. All five towns are connected by the Sentiero Azzuro.
The “Light Blue Trail” is a gorgeous way to walk from town to town along Cinque Terre’s cliffs. Plus, the path between Manarola and Riomaggiore is referred to as the “Love Walk,” which is the perfect place to pop the question or just make out for a bit.
5. If walking isn’t your thing you can take the ferry from town to town.
How cute is that?
6. Just about anywhere you stay will have breathtaking views.
Whether it’s a four-star hotel like the Porto Roca or a small B&B run by a little old lady you will be satisfied. Even if your view is just of an adjacent building it will be the most charming thing you’ll ever see. And if you can’t find anyplace to stay in Cinque Terre you can always rest your head in nearby towns Levanto or La Spezia, which are only a quick train ride away.
7. There are beaches.
Albeit small ones, with the largest being in Monterosso. However, once you rent yourself some chairs and grab a beer all you’ll care about is taking in some rays and wondering how lucky you are to be there.
8. Sciacchetrà, the delightful dessert wine.
Native to the Cinque Terre region, it is made with a mixture of Bosco, Albarola, and Vermintino grapes and has a sweet, almost honey-ish flavor. Perfect for sitting on your balcony taking in the marvelous scenery.
9. Snorkling, diving or kayaking your thing? Riomaggiore has you covered.
Or maybe you just want to fish with your grandkids because that’s how great this place is. You do you do and enjoy la dolce vita.
10. It’s off the beaten path.
Sort of. The popularity of the sleepy little fishing towns has exploded in recent years, but the fact that it’s really only accessible by train makes it a little harder to reach than a lot of the more popular Italian destinations. Plus, it’s not really a place people are heading to in order to party up a storm, which makes it a perfect place to relax and escape to.