The town of Monterosso al Mare has the most extensive sandy beach of all the Cinque Terre villages. Cinque Terre’s literal translation is “Five lands” which is well suited for the series of five villages stretched along the Italian Riviera. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)
Tourists stop to take photographs at the famous “walkway of love” that connects Riomaggiore and Manarola. The village of Manarola is populated with brightly colored homes along the Italian Riviera. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)
A castle ruin overlooks the fishing town of Vernazza. Cinque Terre’s literal translation is “Five Lands” which is well suited for the series of five villages stretched along the Italian Riviera. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)
by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez
31st Fighter WIng Public Affairs
6/22/2012 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Breathtaking is the only word to describe one of Italy's most valued treasures, Cinque Terre. Overlooking the Mediterranean sea the villages were precariously built on rugged cliffs, giving the national park its unique character. Cinque Terre's literal translation is "Five Lands" which is well suited for the series of five villages stretched along the Italian Riviera. Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are connected either by train, ferry or a stunning hiking trail. Each costs a minimal fee and proceeds from the hiking trails go toward maintaining the park. The trails are challenging but well worth it. To gain access to the remote villages, you can purchase a Cinque Terre one-day train and bus pass at the La Spezzia train station for about 10 euro. For a more scenic route, ferries are available from Porto Venere. Traveling from east to west you begin with the town of Riommagiore.
Riomaggiore: A stretch of colorful homes paint the village making it great to photograph and only two minutes away from town you can find a quiet cove. The famous "walkway of love" leading you to Manarola is tagged with graffiti from couples who have traveled to experience the beauty of the villages. This pathway is the easiest trail to Traverse and is stroller friendly.
Manarola: Besides the beautiful brightly colored buildings you can enjoy the local wine and sunbathing on the remote rocks spread along the shore. In each town, seafood is the typical fare, but Manarola has some of the best in my opinion.
Corniglia: This village sits on a hilltop and is the only one without a port, making it inaccessible by ferry. It is also surrounded on three sides by vineyards and terraces. Be prepared to take about 380 steps uphill to reach the village and enjoy the astounding view.
Vernazza: The hike from Corniglia to Vernazza is roughly 90 minutes. A ruined castle overlooks the village. You can expect to find natural high dives, refreshing waterfalls and many fishing spots.
Monterosso al Mare: This town has the most extensive sandy beach of all the villages. The town is divided into two districts: the old and new towns. Both are extremely busy throughout the summer months. Be sure to try the white wines, grapes and olives, as this area is known for these products.
Cinque Terre is a must-see location for all. It offers something for everyone, whether you enjoy swimming, hiking, shopping or sunbathing, you are sure to enjoy yourself.