Cinque Terre is an incredible UNESCO recognised section of Italian coastline. Home to five fishing villages perched high on the rugged cliffs that rise above the Mediterranean, these magnificently constructed towns offer some of the most striking coastal scenery in the world. |
If you’re planning a holiday in Tuscany, you won’t want to miss out on a Cinque Terre trip. A visit is possible on a day excursion from Florence and most people choose to hike between the towns to make the most of the scenery and the experience.
Here’s everything you need to know before you go.
There are five towns clinging to the cliffs along the coast.
Vernazza. Commonly considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, this town is truly characteristic of Tuscany’s UNESCO gem. Steep olive groves encircle the village, pastel-coloured houses overlook the sea, and you can visit a sixteenth century castle that once protected the townspeople from pirates.
Manarola. An incredibly picturesque destination, Manarola comprises a colourful collection of houses built upon high rock.
Corniglia. This rural Roman village has a long agricultural heritage that you can still feel today, thanks to the vineyards surrounding the town.
Monterosso. The largest of the five, Monterosso is famed for its crystal clear waters and charming old town. During your visit you’ll encounter the ruins of a castle, medieval streets and a beloved sandy beach.
Riomaggiore. Dating back as far as the eighth century, Riomaggiore is spread out across ridges overlooking the waters. Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Lane) begins here and is a romantic path where lovers have been meeting for decades.
To this day, hiking along the ancient system of footpaths connecting the five fishing villages has remained the best way to experience the coastline. During your Cinque Terre trip you’ll discover how, over nearly two thousand years, the steep landscape has been chiselled and shaped. Olive groves, grape vines and lemon trees are cultivated on terraces overlooking the sea. Fields and gardens are interwoven with coastal tunnels and a nineteenth century railway.
What to Pack
By now you’re probably convinced that there really is no better way to explore the area on your Cinque Terre trip. But before you start your hike, make sure you’ve packed properly:
Sunglasses. It might sound obvious, but sunglasses are a must. You want to be able to take in the breath-taking views without making your eyes tear up!
A reusable water bottle. You’re sure to get thirsty while hiking along the footpaths, and it’s very important to stay hydrated.
Snacks. Each town has restaurants you can stop off in, but while you’re walking there aren’t other opportunities to pick up something to eat. Bring some snacks with you in case you get hungry along the way.
Swimwear and a small towel. If you think you might want to jump in the water and cool off in Riomaggiore or Vernazza, make sure you bring a swimming costume.
Camera and power bank. You will have plenty of photo opportunities during your visit, so make sure you’ve got something to take photos with! If you’re using your phone, it’s a good idea to bring a charged power bank with you. The last thing you want is for your phone to run out of battery.
Backpack. Pack all of these things into a comfortable backpack – preferably one that has a waist buckle.
Walking boots. You’ll be walking for a few hours, so it’s important to take steps to avoid getting sore feet. Hiking boots will also give you a better grip on some of the more uneven paths.
When planning your Cinque Terre trip, consider going with a reputable travel company so that you can be confident that you will get the most out of your experience. Tours always include a guide which makes hiking this magnificent part of Tuscany so much more memorable.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including the best Cinque Terre trip from Florence. Whether you want to ride a Vintage Vespa, try the famous Chianti wine or get cooking with fresh local ingredients, Mauro's company promises excitement, adventure and above all, fun. If you're keen to experience the magic of Italy with the help of some passionate and knowledgeable tour guides, look no further than WalkAbout Florence for your next getaway.
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