Cinque Terre – Italy : a place on Earth you can’t miss!
It’s 3.00 p.m , we get off the train, kinda groggy and disoriented as the train stops in the middle of a dark tunnel. We are asked to get off, Where on earth are we ?? is the question that comes to our minds!
Oh Finally we got here ! It’s the much awaited Cinque Terre
We have travelled, seen places and this is one of those that just takes your breath away. It takes you to another place, a far corner, another time where time stands still, where life seem perfect, a place of pure serenity!
Of course … you wish you can stay there forever !
Google ‘ Cinque Terre’ ( Pronouced as Chinke Terre) . There is no city or town by this name as you would discover yourself. It is a region nestled in the mountainous Italian Riviera ! Facing beautiful turquoise sea .. trust me, we live in the tropics and we are yet to see a sea of that color . Home to one of the most picturesque landscapes ( wonder why mother earth favors Italy so much !) , warm friendly people – yes they are indeed , mouthwatering cuisine- the best sea food we had in whole of Italy , and of course plenty of wine from Cinque Terre itself!
How do you get there ?
Easiest is the train is our opinion – You may not get any direct trains from the big cities like Milan or Rome . However you can use the main line and last lap on a regional train. Go to www.trainonline .com and it is done. It is that simple .The regional train from La Spezia takes you to any of the five beautiful villages that consists Cinque Terre. We opted to stay in Monterosso, perhaps the largest of them all and the only one with a usable beach!
Everything is Beautiful in Cinque Terre, the Cemetery in Monterosso, the doorbells, the alleys, the colorful houses, even the clothes that hang from the houses have a sense of art and belonging, nothing is too perfect and yet nothing is out of place! Hard to explain and a must see !
What Can you do in Cinque Terre?
There are number of things you can do depending on what you fancy and the time of the year .. We travelled in Spring ,which was lovely , there were enough activities but not too much that would drain you , Weather was fantastic 18-9 C degrees . Ideal for hiking, walking and exploring. If you are not that adventurous boat or Train is the way , Great for lone travelers as well as families alike . Age is not a barrier!
The 5 beautiful villages in Cinque Terre
Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza,Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore are the five. Each one has a unique feel and a look and you may decide to stay in any. Some are more laid back than the others but all equally stunning with little towns and cafes , beautiful houses set in the mountains and rugged terrains.
What is Hiking like in Cinque Terre?
a) One of the best ! if you love to hike it is one of the best on Earth with no exaggeration whatsoever . You have the most amazing views as you climb up and you will be enthralled by the excitement and exhilaration of all what you see.
Can Anyone Hike?
We saw people of all ages hiking from 75 years to 5 years. However lets be practical . There are 3 trails open right now ( subject to the weather of course) all these trails take nearly 5-6 hours including stop overs at the villages. There is a lot of climbing and coming down hill.. So lets say its is not for the faint hearted. You need not be super fit but general fitness is a must if you are to do all. If you are not unto doing all the trails you may decide to do one from Monterosso to Vernezza which we think is the least challenging. The most challenging is the one from Corniglia to Manarola. That is also the most exquisite as it takes you through a terrain of vineyards that are heritage sites of UNESCO for their unique step like positioning.
Should you prepare for Hiking ?
Yes, especially if you have been a couch potatoe ( : … Well it is not too hard but you definitely need tracking shoes as the mountains can get slippery, comfy clothes and depending on the weather appropriate gear. Some water of course. Do not worry about food as you can step down to the villages and enjoy all the lovely gelatins, pastries or a seafood lunch ..
How Long Does It take?
We did mention that altogether three trails took us 5-6 hours. Each trail takes on 1-1 1/2 hrs . All this depends on your fitness level and the times you stop to embrace the beauty of the hike. Anyhow you need to keep an entire day if you wish to do all three trails. You can start after an early breakfast around 8.00 a.m. Where ever trails are closed you can take the train for village hopping. We did that between Monarola and Riomarggiore. And we took the train to come back to Monterroso, Between the two ending villages your train ride is 10 minutes, It is a lot of fun!
What can you expect ?
Expect the most unexpected… Like us !
Don’t Miss out on all the Fantastic food …
Not to miss out on the fantastic sea food. If you are not a seafood fan there are plenty of other options…
After all it is Italy!
Hope we have convinced you to book your flight !!