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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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Portofino
3.8 stars(117 reviews)
2022Oct
9 days from
£1,199 pp
View Details
9 days from
£1,199
per person
View Details
tour map
  • DestinationFrance, Italy
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
Map and accommodation
Our customers love our Cinque Terre tours
The Italian Riviera
26/Sep
Mrs Valerie Moss
4 stars
“Really enjoyed our recent trip to Italy and Claire our Tour Manager was absolutely brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble, she was very organised and helpful, always around if you had any queries. Went the extra mile on several occasions, even suggesting extra trips on our 2 free days. The Group were a great bunch of people and everyone got on really well, but on the down-side we thought the group number at 43 was too big. This sometime caused problems getting on and off the trains with luggage, making you feel under pressure. All of the hotels were very nice and the food served was good. We had 2 long days of travel, both on Saturdays when the trains were very busy, particularly from Genova to Ventimiglia with no reserved seats on a regional train and no specific luggage space. The onward journey to Nice was by coach arriving around 5.30pm and with dinner at 7.30 it gave you no time to look around Nice as we departed the next morning at 7.00 am. What really was the point of putting Nice in the itinerary, we should have been heading north back towards Paris. Arrival in Paris at Gare de Lyons was 13.34 and our Eurostar from Gare du Nord was 18.13. Even allowing for transfer across Paris and the 60 minutes booking in time 4.30 hours was a long time to kill. Fortunately Claire liaised with the Rail Discovery office and they managed to organise a free lunch for us at a nearby restaurant. Thank goodness as it would have felt like an even longer day as we did not arrive back at St Pancras until 19.30. Being a Sunday this added another overnight stay in London as our last train had already departed. Photos of beautiful Chiavari and some very wet sailors who were out on the bow on our trip back from Portofino !!
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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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