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Cinque Terre

Clinging to a particularly rugged curve of the Italian Rivera's north-western coastline, the Cinque Terre ('Five Lands') are five separate villages that, since the eleventh century, have remained largely immune to modernisation to retain the traditions and charm of a bygone era.

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Regional Travel Offer
4.0 stars(35 reviews)
9 days from
£1,199 pp
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Regional Travel Offer
9 days from
per person
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  • DestinationFrance, Italy
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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Our customers love our Cinque Terre tours
The Italian Riviera
S Williams
4 stars
“A very enjoyable holiday, spent with a lovely supportive group of fellow travellers and led by an extremely enthusiastic and helpful tour guide in James. Beautiful scenery, with plenty of interesting places to visit on our excursions. However, it involved a lot of walking and some places had lots of steps to negotiate with steep climbs. Day 1 from London to Turin was a very long one and the journey from Paris to Turin was particularly grewelling. We didn’t finish dinner until 11:15pm that evening. The transfer of luggage on this particular holiday is a very important consideration, and those with small suitcases had fewer problems. In hindsight those that had taken a larger suitcase between them as a couple would have been far better in taking a smaller one each. The staff at the Stella del mare hotel in Chiavari where we were based for the majority of the time were lovely, and the breakfast waitress couldn’t do enough for us. It was in a good location for our excursions. Dinner is not served at the hotel as inclusive on free days, which was somewhat disappointing as we found it difficult to find somewhere else to eat at that time of the season. There were issues at the hotel in Nice concerning dietary intolerances/preferences which could potentially have been fatal. The hotel in Turin was of a higher standard than the others. Although we were only based there for one night, it would have been preferable to have maintained this standard for the duration of the holiday. This was our first European trip with Rail Discoveries, and it was a very pleasant experience overall. We are now looking forward to deciding where to go with them next. Sue & Andrew - Selsey, West Sussex.
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Almost entirely inaccessible by road, the five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, are linked by a railway line or can be reached by boat. A footpath also connects the five villages. Between them, the Cinque Terre, the hills dotted with the vineyards and olive groves that contribute towards their economy, and the sheer-cliffed coastline on which they perch have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The dramatic natural beauty and unspoilt charm of the Cinque Terre has elevated the popularity of these unique villages as a tourist destination. Each village is enjoyable to explore and has its own character. Monterosso - the northernmost village - most resembles a modern resort, featuring a sandy beach and several restaurants, shops and hotels. Vernazza has a smaller beach, but is notable for its ancient clock towers and labyrinthine streets. Atop a hill overlooking the sea, tiny Corniglia is peaceful and offers spectacular coastal views. Manarola's shoreline caves invite exploration whilst locally-caught anchovies are a speciality here. Riomaggiore is another fishing village, but boasts and ancient defensive castle and a good selection of shops selling Italian delicacies.

In addition to their UNESCO status, the Cinque Terre also constitute a protected marine area and a national park. As such, exploration on foot is the best and most popular way to gain an appreciation for the uniqueness and beauty of this region of the Italian Riviera.

Numerous footpaths and hiking trails traverse the hills and terraces between the villages, although at any particular time some may be closed or inadvisable to follow due to the ever-present risk of landslides. Nevertheless, there are always likely to be trails available for walkers of all abilities and any opportunity to experience the magnificence and diversity of the Cinque Terre's landscapes and sea views should not be missed.

Thanks to their long history, the five villages possess many fine historic buildings, monuments and churches. Of particular note are the Gothic-styled Church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia which overlooks Vernazza's harbour and which dates back to 1318, the tiny but beautiful Church of San Lorenzo in Manarola and the seventeenth-century Church of San Francesco in Monterosso which features a wooden altar and choir, several artistic masterpieces (one attributed to Van Dyck) and a vaulted refectory.

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