The Cinque Terre is a group of five coastal towns that line the cliff tops of Italy’s Ligurian Riviera. Although tiny (the entire region spreads over just 15 square miles) the five towns - namely Monterosso al Mare, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Vernazza - are popular destinations for hikers and sightseers alike. |
The region is situated close to the Italian mainland, making it the perfect day-trip destination. The best and easiest way to visit is by booking a Cinque Terre tour leaving directly from Florence. This will eliminate any logistical stress and leave you free to soak in the authentic Italian charm of these wonderful towns. Below you will find some top tips on the best ways to make the most of your trip.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit for a Cinque Terre tour is a matter of opinion. Whilst some people may enjoy basking in the warmth of the Italian sun during the summer months, others might prefer tackling some of the famous hiking trails in a much cooler climate, throughout the winter.
Whilst it is impossible to satisfy everyone’s requirements, mid-to-late spring and early autumn could be the happy medium that many people search for when visiting the region. April and May sees temperatures beginning to rise again after the winter. Whilst the sea remains chilly at this time, those who are particularly keen for a dip will still be able to enjoy the water if they use a decent wetsuit. September often sees temperatures beginning to fall after the baking hot summer months, however the waters retain their heat and are perfectly comfortable for swimming. Spring and autumn are also wonderful times for hiking, as there is minimal rainfall and a comfortable climate for exercise.
Above all, during these months you will enjoy a much quieter and calmer visit as the hordes of tourists that flood to the area during the summer have either not yet arrived, or have been and gone.
There are a number of options to consider when looking at getting around and travelling between the towns. There are regular train services running across the region, and a Cinque Terre pass will get you unlimited access to each of the towns for the entire day. Alternatively, you could hike between the villages and take in the stunning views across the Ligurian Riviera. There are taxi services in Vernazza, Manarola and Monterosso and this is another transport option worth considering.
If you’re looking for the most efficient way to visit the towns, your best bet will certainly be to book onto a guided tour through a reputable local operator in Florence. This will eliminate any stress and guesswork from your day, and you will reap the benefits of a local guide who will ensure that you experience everything there is to enjoy on a Cinque Terre tour.
Hiking and sunbathing are just two of the great activities visitors can enjoy on a Cinque Terre tour.
Any foodies out there will not be disappointed during their visit. There is nothing more delicious than traditional Italian cuisine, and the food prepared by those local to this area simply cannot be beaten. Once you’ve eaten your food, why not take some time to enjoy a local tipple whilst soaking up the sun on a warm evening. This region is known for its vineyards.
You may also be lucky enough to be in the area during one of the many annual festivals; for example the Grape Harvest Festival in the autumn, the Lemon Festival in May, the Easter processions, or the peculiar Cuckold Festival in November. These are wonderful experiences to meet locals and enjoy the vibrancy of the celebrations.
Photographers will be in their element overlooking the Ligurian Riviera. The rugged coastline and vibrant blue waters contrast beautifully with the lush green hillsides that line the towns. Be sure to bring your camera - these are memories you will want to keep forever!
With gorgeous scenery, great weather, typically Italian character and food a-plenty, there really is something for everyone in these hidden Italian gems. Regardless of your preferences, a Cinque Terre tour will certainly not disappoint.
Mauro Bramante is the Director of WalkAbout Florence, an independent business offering unforgettable tours and excursions around Italy including the best Cinque Terre tour itinerary. 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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