I just love Le Cinque Terre. The five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso – and their neighboring hamlets – stole my heart the first time I ever visited, and each time we travel here with guests on one of our tours it feels a bit like coming home.
Although my adopted region of Umbria is truly home, the inviting, laid-back villages of Le Cinque Terre seem so comfortably familiar – almost like a summer lake cabin. But of course this “lake” is the Ligurian Sea and the houses here aren’t cabin-like at all.
The characteristic pastel-painted terra cielo (earth to sky) dwellings reach back into the rocky cliff-sides and up to the heavens, while their colorful faces look out towards the azure sea.
In evening that same sea fades into deep shades of blue, and crumbling towers and statues form dramatic silhouettes against the setting sun.
Most of the hiking trails between and around the five villages were closed after severe mudslides in 2011, and although most have been re-opened, many of these are serious hiking trails – not simply paths for strolling!
But paths for strolling are plentiful too, in particular through the villages themselves and along the seaside beach area at Monterosso, making Le Cinque Terre an ideal destination for all levels of walkers. Whether you take on the sometimes treacherous trails to climb up and down the steep cliff-sides or follow flatter pathways that meander along the sea, one thing is for sure. Your walks in Le Cinque Terre will be spectacularly breathtaking and truly unforgettable.