Pronounced "cheen-kweh teh-rreh" in Italian, Les Cinque Terre is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful corners of Italy. It is located in the province of La Spezia, in Liguria in north-west Italy. It is a group of five very picturesque towns built into the side of high cliffs. The area is set on steep hills overlooking the Mediterranean. It's easy to plan your visit to Cinque Terre with this presentation of the region and the activities you can enjoy during your stay. This guide also introduces you to the different villages of Cinque Terre.

1. Discovering the Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a group of five municipalities located on the coast of the Levantine Riviera. The name translates into French as "les 5 terres". It includes the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

The largest of the five villages is Monterosso al Mare. It is the only one with a fine sand beach. The oldest villages are Vernazza and Manarola. They are also the most typical. Corniglia and Riomaggiore are the opposite of each other. Indeed, the first is the most peaceful while the second is the most animated.

Despite the rocky and rugged landscape, the roads are now well developed for tourists. You can organise your stay in Cinque Terre with an expert agency that will book the routes, hotels and/or guides for you.

2. How and when to go to Cinque Terre?

Before travelling to Cinque Terre, you can take a look at the map of the region to get a clearer idea. You'll see, for example, that the Cinque Terre National Park is located on part of the Riviera del Levant. It is in the province of La Spezia in Liguria. The Cinque Terre are located next to the city of Genoa.

When you go to discover the Cinque Terre Park, your excursion The tour starts in La Spezia, which is the gateway to the region. Here you can find accommodation and visit the 5 villages during the day. There are several means of transport to get there.

If you are travelling by aircraftFrom Genoa, Pisa or Florence airports. For the first 2, allow 1? hours for the journey, and 2 hours for the third. Excursions to the Cinque Terre start in Spezia or Levanto, where there are plenty of buses waiting for you.

If you're travelling by car, the best starting points are Pisa or Genoa, which are about 1 hour 30 minutes from the Cinque Terre Park. To avoid parking congestion, a no-car policy has been introduced in the National Park. So don't take your car into the small villages. You can leave your vehicle in a car park in La Spezia or Levanto.

If you prefer the train, there are 23 trains a day, between 5am and 11pm from Genoa. They stop at Cinque Terre where a regional train runs about every 30 minutes.

You can choose to hike once in La Spezia or Levanto along well-marked paths. Or take a path that is accessible to bicycles.

Once you have reached La Spezia or Levanto, you can continue your visit by boat or kayak. Alternatively, you can hire a local agency.

It is best to visit Cinque Terre between May and October, as temperatures generally exceed 20° during the day. This way you can enjoy the mild Mediterranean climate. However, the landscapes are more beautiful in July and August.

However, if you want more peace and quiet, go in spring (May and June), late summer (September) or early autumn (October).

3. The villages of the 5 Lands: where to stay?

For your accommodation in the 5 Lands, you can choose between the cities of La Spezia and Levanto. Or stay in one of the 5 small villages (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola or Riomaggiore).

La Spezia is the largest town near the Cinque Terre. It is not part of the Cinque Terre but serves as the gateway to the national park. It is a large, pleasant, lively town, particularly popular with tourists, with a wide range of accommodation.

Riomaggiore is an ancient fishing village nicknamed "the little capital of the Cinque Terre". Of the five villages, it is the closest to La Spezia and can be reached in just 8 minutes by train.

Manarola is an old winegrowers' village and the oldest of the 5 lands villages as well as the most authentic and romantic. It is the most photographed place. Certainly because it is also the most photogenic of the Cinque Terre. Not least because of the beauty of its landscape and buildings.

Corniglia is in the centre of the 5 Terre road but does not have direct access to the sea like all the others. The number of inhabitants is 250.

Vernazza is one of the most picturesque villages in the 5 Lands. For this reason it is not easily accessible by road. You can reach it by train or by steep coastal paths.

Monterosso al Mare means "the red mountain on the sea" in French. This village is the largest in the Cinque Terre. It's not the most aesthetically pleasing, but its beach is ideal for swimming. Of all the villages, it has the most facilities.

As a result, it has more entertainment than the neighbouring villages. It has 1500 inhabitants and is divided into two districts, a medieval and a modern one.

Levanto is the second city in the vicinity, along with La Spezia. It is an ideal place to spend the night before your departure. Provided your itinerary is from north to south. It is quiet and much less crowded than La Spezia and has a very welcoming atmosphere. It has 5300 inhabitants and also has shops and a nice beach.

You can contact an expert agency in order to carry out this trip in 7 days at your own pace, from village to village. They will take care of the bookings for you and give you all the information. You can enjoy a pleasant stay with nothing to think about, nothing to prepare, except your bag! Enjoy a very comfortable solution in total freedom.

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