Since becoming an official UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, the five fishing villages of the Cinque Terre have become an iconic landmark of Italy. For hundreds of years these villages were only accessible by sea and by the mule trails that crisscross the cliffs of the villages and the surrounding coastline. Today this network of paths offers fabulous walking opportunities and an insight into the life and traditions of the area that you simply cannot attain from a sightseeing day trip. The Trails of the Cinque Terre wind their way through olive groves, past houses, churches and smallholdings, and alongside the vineyards that produce the famous wine of the region.
Train Travel on the Cinque Terre
The easiest way to explore this area is by making use of the frequent trains that run along the coastline. Your trip includes a two-day rail pass which allows you unlimited journeys along the Levanto – La Spezia line so you can be based in a couple of locations but still access all the trailheads for the surrounding walks.
Picking up the train pass is simple- you just head to the Cinque Terre National Park office in Monterosso train station and hand in your voucher- they will give you all the information you need, including a map of the area covered by the pass, a train timetable and a wifi code for use in the train stations. Allow plenty of time for this as the information office gets pretty busy. Once validated, the pass can be used for as many journeys as you like for two consecutive days. In fact, the trains are so frequent and the journeys so quick that you can jump on board to grab an early evening aperitivo in one village, jump back on an hour later to head to another village for dinner, and end your evening with a gelato and a stroll along the harbour in yet another of the villages. Take advantage of the free travel!
The views from the cliff-top trails are simply unbeatable. The surrounding coastline is also worth seeking out - we offer itineraries that include the famous pastel-coloured resort of Portofino, the sleepy fishing village of Bonassola and another UNESCO World Heritage gem, the beautiful town of Portovenere which includes a walk on the nearby island of Palmira.
My top tips to make the most of the Cinque Terre
- Consult the timetable the night before and aim to get the earliest train you can- this will give you more time to linger over lunch and avoid the heat of the day.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get tickets and board the train- it’s likely to be busy.
- Explore the villages in the evenings with your free train pass and make sure you sample some local wine and fresh seafood while you’re there!
Sophia is Macs Adventure's Destination Specialist for the Cinque Terre walking holidays. For more information on this trip, visit https://www.macsadventure.com/walking-holiday/europe-walking-holidays/italy/the-cinque-terre/ or contact email@example.com