Italy Via Aurelia

Day 16: Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, the five towns, is a string of five ancient fishing villages clinging to the coastline, surrounded by mountains (up to ca. 800m). The tiny villages were until recently linked only by mule tracks and accessible only by rail or water. Beyond the five villages, Cinque Terre is also a National Park and a paradise for walkers, with tracks along the coast (when not closed), further inland and the so called High Track I walked yesterday. The villages are extremely picturesque and since connected by rail, the area has become a tourist magnet. It is estimated that 2,5 million tourists visit the area yearly, many on day trips from the cruise line terminal in Genoa.

We visited in March and there were many tourists, but it was manageable. We were told by the lady at our B&B is Sestri Levante, that when it is worst, one just walks in line as there are so many people.

We took a train at 9am to the town furthest from Levanto, Riomaggiore.

Next stop was Manarola. The trains run regularly, so it is just a matter of going to the station and waiting.

The third stop was Corniglia, a village higher up in the mountain with views to the coast. The train stops on the coast and one can walk along the road or up a staircase to get to the village (there is also a bus). We took the road up and the stairs down.

We didn’t need to wait long for the next train to take us to Vernazza.

The last and by far largest village is Monterosso.

Full of impressions, we took the train back to Levanto, in itself a beautiful small town, and a good starting point for seeing the villages and hiking the trails. We ended the day admiring the vases that can be found throughout the town, enjoying the sunset and having a final dinner in Italy, before starting the trip home to Denmark, via Mulhouse so we can bring French wine and food back home.

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