Cinque Terre National Park is a protected area inducted as Italy's first national park in 1999. Located in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, northern Italy, it is the smallest national park in Italy at 4,300 acres, but also the densest with 5,000 permanent inhabitants among the five towns.
20 pictures of Cinque Terre National Park from Carissa Gan, Raul Taciu, Erin Hesselink and other travelers
To reach Cinque Terre, you have several options. The nearest airports are in Genoa and Pisa, with direct train connections to La Spezia Centrale, the gateway to Cinque Terre. From La Spezia, you can hop on a regional train (Cinque Terre Express) that stops at all five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Alternatively, you can take a ferry to enjoy the stunning coastal views.
It is essential to book the Cinque Terre Card in advance. This card covers unlimited train travel between La Spezia and Levanto, access to the hiking trails, and the use of ecological park buses. You can purchase the card online or at the train stations in La Spezia or Levanto.
The costs for visiting Cinque Terre vary depending on your preferences. The Cinque Terre Card costs around €16 for a one-day pass. Accommodation ranges from budget-friendly hostels to upscale hotels, and dining options can cater to various budgets. Overall, expect to spend around €100-150 per day, including accommodation, meals, and activities.
The best things to do in Cinque Terre include hiking between the villages, taking a boat tour, swimming in the crystal-clear waters, and visiting the local vineyards. Each village has its own charm, so don't miss exploring the narrow streets, colorful houses, and historical churches.
For dining options, consider trying Trattoria Dal Billy in Manarola, a family-run restaurant offering delicious seafood and local dishes. In Monterosso, visit Ristorante Belvedere for their fresh pasta and stunning terrace views. For a more casual option, grab a slice of pizza at La Picea in Levanto.
When it comes to accommodation, consider staying in La Torretta Lodge in Manarola, an upscale boutique hotel with beautiful rooms and a complimentary wine hour. For a more budget-friendly option, consider Ostello 5 Terre in Manarola, a clean and comfortable hostel. If you prefer a quieter location, Hotel Villa Argentina in Riomaggiore offers stunning views and cozy rooms.
Off the beaten path:
While Cinque Terre is a popular destination, you can still find some less-crowded experiences. For a unique adventure, consider taking a guided kayak tour to explore the hidden coves and caves along the coastline. You can also take a pesto-making class in Levanto to learn about the region's culinary traditions and enjoy a delicious meal that you've prepared yourself.
Another unusual experience is visiting the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Montenero, a beautiful church perched on a hill above Riomaggiore. The hike to the sanctuary offers incredible views of the village and the surrounding landscape, making it a memorable off-the-beaten-path adventure in Cinque Terre.
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Discover the Cinque Terre, between the Mediterranean Sea and the steep relief of the Ligurian coastline
Clinging to the cliffs or built around the small bays, the villages that make up the Cinque Terre have created a small space for themselves: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
From the heights of the precipices overlooking the sea or along the coast, you can be enchanted by the beauty of these preserved places between the industrial Genoa and La Spezia.
A heavenly coastline that reminds us of the south and the Amalfi coast.
But the Cinque Terre is not only five villages, but it is also a national park!
The best way to get from one place to another is to walk along the footpaths that link these beautiful villages for a total of 10 km.
The path n°2 or azzuro path connects Riomaggiore to Monterosso passing through the three other villages. The first segment, between Riomaggiore and Manarola, follows the Via dell'Amore, a one-hour walk on the cliffside, particularly easy because it is equipped but offers superb landscapes.
You will discover the "Cinque Terre", these five villages dotted with vineyards in the hollow of the rocks, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. In the heart of the hinterland, the Alps overhang the landscape, where rocks, valleys, and lakes draw a picture of green and pale blue, attracting hikers.
Walking enthusiasts will be delighted by a visit to the Cinque Terre in Italy
Built into the hillside, the charming, brightly colored houses will amaze even the weariest of visitors, while the local wines will surprise even the most seasoned wine tourists.
A Unesco World Heritage Site, this unexpected area is a historical footprint of the ancient fortifications needed to fight the Turkish assaults and the 'Arsenale Militare'. You will be carried away by the imposing pictorial charm of this Ligurian region.
-Get around walking.
With its relief and trails, the Cinque Terre is a hiker's paradise. Except... most of the coastal paths connecting the villages are closed, some for years!!! And it seems that during the high season, the paths that can be used are not free...
-Getting around by train.
Between the closed paths and the hassle of parking, the train remains what seems to be the most practical and reliable... So as luck would have it, it's not cheap: 4€ per person for a trip from village to village of about 5 minutes! It is also possible to buy an "unlimited" pass for 16€ a day.
-Getting around by car.
Not the best idea... All the places have fees for entrance, there are very few parking spaces in the villages and the tickets fall very quickly if you are badly parked! We experienced it with a 29€ ticket to be paid within 3 days at the Italian Post Office. Frankly, forget it...
The Cinque Terre has a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot, dry summers.
They can therefore be visited all year round in theory, but we advise you to go during the mid-seasons: in spring (from the beginning of March to the end of May, avoiding holidays) and in autumn (from the end of September to the beginning of November).
It is one of the most visited destinations in Europe and the villages are small. So if you want to avoid being at the touch of a button in the villages and on the beaches, avoid the summer months and the busy periods (school vacations, weekends of bank holidays...).
March is an ideal period! Admittedly, there were already a few tourists, but it wasn't too invasive. In addition, we were lucky in terms of weather with a great time: 15 degrees and a great sun (almost) every day.
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