Cinque Terre: Unesco Human Heritage
Cinque Terre are a cultural site of outstanding value, representing the harmonious interaction between man and nature to produce a landscape of exceptional scenic quality that illustrates a traditional way of life that has existed for 1,000 years and continues to play an important socio-economic role in the life of the community.
It is a very jagged, steep coastline, which the work of man over the millennia has transformed into an intensively terraced landscape so as to be able to wrest from nature a few hectares of land suitable for agriculture, such as growing vines and olive trees. Between hills and creeks rise incredibly the five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso where since the Middle Ages the communities have adapted to a rigid and inhospitable nature by building compact settlements directly on the rock with winding streets. The general use of natural stone for rooting gives these settlements a characteristic appearance.
Suitcase or backpack? Listen …
All the villages are very small and closed to traffic and movements by feet are all quick and easy in a very few minutes. Train stations are inside the village so you will not need to take other connections, with the exception of Corniglia, on the top of the hill, wich must be reached on foot or by bus. You should have to know that there are a lot of steps, everywhere! Steps are to be expected during your holiday in Cinque Terre and that you have to consider when preparing your luggage. A backpack is better than a trolley. The steps of the Cinque Terre represent the wonder of these villages, magically built between sea and mountains. They are the emblem of this unique place in the world.
How to move through Cinque Terre
By Train : Especially in high season, the 5 Terre Express train is the most comfortable, fastest and cheapest way to get around as it connects the five villages with frequent hourly rides .
It takes about 4 minutes from a town to the other. From April 1st to November, the ticket for each ride (you can buy tickets at each station), costs 4 Euros per adult and 2 Eros for children from 4 to 12 years.
Train schedules change frequently, according to the period. You can be always updated, visiting the website of 5 Terre Express.
If you plan to take more than four trains on the same day, the best option is the Cinque Terre Card, (you can buy it at each station) which includes all the trains between Levanto and La Spezia for the whole day, free wi-fi, free entrance to the Blue Trail and much more. If you want to know the rates and the services included, you can visit the website of the Cinque Terre National Park dedicated to the Cinque Terre Card.
By Boat: The most charming landscape can be seen from the sea. Usually, from April to November you can get the boats that connect all the 5 boroughs, except for Corniglia, and that goes up to the wonderful Porto Venere for an unmissable trip to the Gulf of Poets. According to the route you choose the prices range is from 3 euro to 25 (for an unlimited one-day pass). Depending on provisions to prevent Covid-19, there could be important changing. Keep in touch looking at the website of Navigazione Golfo dei Poeti.
Buses connect each village with the others and with some other fascinating venues nearby. For example Monterosso offer a connection ti the Sanctuary “Nostra Signora di Soviore”, Vernazza connect the nearby areas of the Sanctuary “Madonna Nostra Signora di Reggio” and the village of San Bernardino, Corniglia offers a connection from the centre of the village on the top of the hill to the railway station below.
If you are a Cinque Terre CARD owner, bus service is included.
By feet or bycicle:
The best way to get around, especially for hiking lovers. Many paths, with different levels of difficulty, connect the different villages. Pay attention to the shoes you choose:
- flip flops are only for the beach
- running/tennis shoes are the right shoes for hiking
The most famous trails are:
- Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail): a 12 km trail that connects all the villages. It takes several hours of walking but it is simple enough with many rest stops, access to the beaches and several panoramic viewpoint. Some sections may be closed for maintenance. The stretch between Riomaggiore and Manarola is the world’s most popular trail, La via dell’Amore – “the Way of Love”- (colsed for maintenance);
- Sentiero Rosso (Red Trail), a long and tiring traverse, but not difficult, that dominates from the top all Cinque Terre landscape;
- Strada dei Santuari (Road to the Sanctuaries), easily travelable by bicycle or on horseback .
Info and maps:
In Cinque Terre there is a planty of beaches easy to find (the wilder ones are reachable only by boat). The largest beach is in Monterosso. It is also the only sandy beach and the most crowded. All beaches are free. Some offer paid services: bar, toilets, umbrella rental, chairs and etc. A special feature of the coast is that usually there is no wind, so swimming is pleasant even when it is really hot.
On the In Cinque Terre website you will also find a lor information on how to reach all the beaches from the nearest railway stations.