|di Pamela Thomason|
Why you should visit Cinque Terre
The first time I noticed that Cinque Terre was listed as one of the must-visit places around the world I was a bit surprised. Not that I did not think it was beautiful but grewing up near I saw it on a regular basis, to me it was just normal scenery. Surely there had to be many other places more worth visiting?
Well, it turns out there are not. Not so many, at least. I had to flee my nest and go travelling around the world to finally realize how unique the five villages that make up Cinque Terre – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso – actually are.
I challenge the most experienced of travellers to find a dramatic coastline, picturesque terraced cliffs and medieval architecture all in one place. And if this was not enthralling enough, the area is totally free from corporate development and traffic noise – cars were banned many years ago.
This is why when you visit Cinque Terre you feel like travelling back in time. Despite the huge number of tourists (admittedly too many) that flock there on a daily basis, this World Heritage World site has not lost any of its old world charm.
Whether you want to relax at one of the beaches, visit castle and churches, hike through incredible scenic paths or simply savour the gastronomic products of the land – the anchovies from Monterosso and the Sciacchetrà wine are particularly yummy – your experience there will be unforgettable.
And this little corner of paradise is not difficult to reach. You can take a train from the city of La Spezia to any of the five villages: each one has a separate station and the closest one to the city is only 10 minutes away. Alternatively, you can take a ferry, also from La Spezia – a pricier option but you will get to hop among towns and have a view of them from the water. Normally you can hike from one village to the other but some paths might be closed due to landslides so it is best to check with the tourist office.
There is plenty of info (and pictures) to be found online but this is the official site of the Cinque Terre National Park: http://www.cinqueterre.it/en
What are you waiting for? Book your trip to one of the most amazing places in the world. You will not regret it.
by Pamela Thomason
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