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Discover the 5 stunning villages of the Cinque Terre

The Italian Riviera is not short of rugged coastline or romantic towns and villages, but the five fishing communities of the Cinque Terre are its most iconic highlight.

  14/06/2019 15:26
The five villages are no longer the isolated hamlets they once were, but there’s still a feeling of remote authenticity, with few roads, perfectly preserved architecture and a network of stunning coastal and mountain trails.

Let's discover the five villages of the Cinque Terre from south to north!

Riomaggiore

© RilindH / RooM / Getty Images

Riomaggiore is the first stop on many Cinque Terre visits. Peeling buildings line up down a steep ravine to a tiny harbour. Their pastel glow at sunset, best appreciated from the sea, is one of the Cinque Terre’s most romantic sights. A botanical garden and bird watching centre sits on a rocky promontory up the hill from its pebbly beach.

Manarola

© Sky Sajjaphot / Moment / Getty Images
 
The grapevines that surround Manarola produce the Cinque Terre wine, Sciacchetrà. The bustling main street and waterfront promenade are still lined with fishing boats and other such reminders of everyday village life. Punta Bonfiglio, a short uphill hike, has fabulous views and a playground with a bar (or a bar with a playground, depending on your priorities).

Corniglia

@Gianni Crestani
 
Sitting atop a 100m-high rocky promontory surrounded by vineyards, Corniglia is the only village that lacks direct access to the sea, although steep steps wind from a rocky cove and its waterfront train station far below. Its tranquil, tangled streets lead to a broad and breezy sea-facing terrace, the only vantage point from where you can clock (and photograph) all five villages at once.

Vernazza

@Gianni Crestani
 
Vernazza’s small harbour has long been its raison d’etre, but it is Piazza Marconi with its sea-facing amphitheatre of pastel houses that brings on the sighs. The village’s trademark caruggi (narrow lanes) rise almost vertically from here, a maze of stairs and tiny terraces, with big blue sea views popping at every turn.

Monterosso

© Daniel Schoenen / LOOK / Getty Images
 
Monterosso is the only village that has a proper strip of beach, which in summer fills with sun loungers and Italians working on their tans. Known for its lemon trees and plump anchovies served right off the boat, it’s the furthest north of the villages.

Source Donna Wheeler, Lonelyplanet
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