Dream Destination – Cinque Terre, Italy

Where else can you find a destination that combines the sea, jagged cliffs, hiking trails, colorful villages, countless boats and dry white wine? There may be a few places you could add to the list (Greek islands, or Amalfi Coast perhaps) but none have captured my interest quite like Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera. Ever since I lived and traveled Europe during college, I have dreamed about a trip to the five lands, to explore the small fishing villages that make up this legendary location.

The area was granted national park status in 1999, and the designation has helped keep it from becoming (too much of) a tacky tourist attraction. And, of course, has saved the area from environmental destruction. Each village is connected by train or walking trails, and you cannot drive a car into the town. This truly is my kind of place!!

The five coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso are joined together by 3 different strings of hiking trails ranging from paved, flat roads, to all day, strenuous hikes. The most popular is the 8 mile long cliffside trail (the Light Blue Trail), which takes about 5 hours walking. Connecting the five villages, these trails weave along the coast providing absolutely stunning views over the Ligurian Sea.
For folks looking for a little more sweat, the Cinque Terre High Trail is found inland. The 25 mile challenging climb gives you a more secluded, mountainous feel, and you even may manage to escape the crowds.
The third option will take you by the sanctuary in each village, aptly named Sanctuary Trail. Each village has an ancient church, all very distinct in feel. I’d like to meander my way through all of these paths, aimlessly discovering and uncovering treasures along the way.

Once you’ve exhausted yourself and taken in all of the extraordinary views, it’s finally time to eat! The thing on the menu that caught my eye is the torta di verdure, or vegetable pie. The pie is stuffed with wild local herbs, artichokes, swiss chard, zucchini, potatoes, and leeks and combined with egg and ricotta cheese. Served with a chilled glass of Cinque Terre dry wine wine and you will have one happy hiker lady.

I stumbled across a great blog post with fantastic photos from someone who has been lucky enough to hike between the villages – theroadtoanywhere.com. The next time you hear from me on Cinque Terre, it will be a recap!

Take me away!

Dream on. Where do you want to go?

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4 thoughts on “Dream Destination – Cinque Terre, Italy

  1. Pingback: Travel List Challenge and a Souvenir Secret! | oh, to have the world on a string

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