Cinque Terre: Steps, vines & cycle rides

One of the lesser-known destinations to explore on Italy’s Ligurian coast is Cinque Terre. Many experienced captains will recommend cruising this idyllic stretch of coastline to their charter clients and owners, not least because it is largely inaccessible except by boat or train. Directly translated, Cinque Terre means ‘Five Lands’; namely the coastal villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. This unique region is part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Here, hilltop houses are painted in a range of vivid colours so that local fishermen can see their homes from the sea. No big label shops will take your attention from the main event: lunch. Meander through the narrow streets, stop and sip an ice-cold limoncello and soak up the laid back atmosphere with a plate of fresh antipasti. Here’s a place to slow down and watch the world go by. Make a beeline for Ristorante Minky where you will struggle to choose between an array of daily specials in lashings of lemon butter, garlic and herbs. Hike the Sentiero Azzurro trail connecting the villages along a cliff top path. Cycle through the vineyards and swim from the aft deck to see abundant marine life.


When to go:

April – November

High season:

July – August

Highlights

1

Walk them all: hoof it up the 365 steps to reach the centre of Corniglia (it takes around 15 minutes)

2

Take your camera to snap the most photogenic village, Vernazza

3

Dine at La Lanterna in Riomaggiore, overlooking the marina for excellent Ligurian food

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