I had never talked about Cinque Terre in the blog before, yet it is a destination that I know quite well, I think I've been there 3 or 4 times and I never get bored. Why do someone get bored with the 5 lands? I don't think it's possible.
I consider them an "evergreen" destination, at any time of the year, except perhaps the winter ones, are the perfect choice for a weekend by the sea!
Finally, thanks to the collaboration with Weekendesk, the weekend package booking portal, I can write an article about this beautiful piece of Italy. I will put some useful information on digital paper for those who want to visit the Cinque Terre preferably by train. Furthermore, at the end of the article you will find a small tip-gem for visiting a village located west of Levanto.
Where are they and what are the Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre are located in Liguria in the province of La Spezia and are sequentially: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola e Riomaggiore.
All the inhabited areas have access to the sea with the exception of Corniglia which is 100 meters high, translated: 382 steps to reach it. The Cinque Terre national park it develops around them and includes numerous hiking trails.
How to appreciate the Cinque Terre
However, I will not dwell on what to see in the Cinque Terre park as I believe that the beauty of these places is not so much the "what to see" as much as the perceive the sensations that the villages transmit to you. What you need to do is to wander around the villages, eat a focaccia near the sea with the waves crashing on the rocks and are the soundtrack to your lunch, stop in the various craft shops and / or, if you are in summer mode , take a dip in the sea. In short, you have to enter the relaxation mode and slowly live the day.
On the other hand, those who prefer and prefer physical activity to sea-view focaccia will be amazed by the numerous trekking paths that wind through the Cinque Terre. Unfortunately, some paths, including that of Love, are closed.
An advice: to be able to appreciate them at best, avoid rush hours by giving yourself a break ... I noticed that the central hours of the day are particularly crowded. This is because, as I understand it, people who get off the big cruise ships flock to the Cinque Terre. The advice is to visit the Cinque Terre in the morning or late afternoon in order to avoid chaos, especially if, like me, you will be in the company of your dogs.
Visit the Cinque Terre: by train with the Cinque Terre Card!
Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are all small villages, it would be unthinkable that the mass of people who visit them every day always moved by car between one land and another. Excluding the car, you can either walk along the trekking routes or you can visit the Cinque Terre by train or ferry.
Visit the Cinque Terre by train it is very comfortable, they are not far from each other and the stations, apart from that of Corniglia, are close to the historic center and the sea. In short, once you leave the stations you are practically there.
Why visit the Cinque Terre by train?
Because it definitely is the fastest and most practical way, perhaps the least spectacular but if you want to see the 5 lands in a day and you have tight deadlines, the train is the best solution. They are frequent and the travel time from one of the Cinque Terre to another is within a few minutes.
Since you will have to get off and on the train several times, it makes no sense to buy a single ticket for each journey. On balance you would pay more and you would also find yourself queuing up every 3 × 2 at the self-service machines to buy the ticket for the route.
The solution I recommend is buy the Cinque Terre Card like i did. It allows an unlimited number of trips between Levanto and La Spezia.
Costa 16 euros for an adult and 12 euros for children (2016).
Visit the Cinque Terre: by ferry with the daily
Another very interesting option to discover the beauty of the Cinque Terre is the ferry. From the sea it is fascinating to see the whole coast and the villages set among the rocks. In this last weekend I didn't choose the ferry option because I had tight times. In my previous visit to the Cinque Terre I traveled some routes by sea, if I remember correctly between Monterosso and Vernazza and it was very nice.
The frequency is not equal to that of trains and therefore more time is needed. Furthermore, the daily cost is also higher. 35 euro for adults e 18 euro the reduced. Also in this case the number of sections is unlimited.
If you have more days and you are not dedicated to trekking, a good idea would be to visit the Cinque Terre one day by train and the other by ferry. Or why not, by renting a sailboat with a skipper. This is a little dream that sooner or later I will realize.
In Cinque Terre with dogs ... Can they be taken on the train?
During the weekend in Cinque Terre my two little dogs accompanied me. These are two small sizes that reach a maximum of 6 kg. Before departure I was informed if it was possible to go on the train with dogs and yes, it is possible for free only if they are a small size. From medium size it is necessary to purchase the Cinque Terre Card for "boys". In any case it is necessary to have a leash and a muzzle.
I took the opportunity to take them with me and give them a ride, sometimes I had to hold them in my arms for too many people so the advice is to prefer morning and early evening hours.
Cinque Terre: where to sleep with and without a dog?
It is certainly intriguing to sleep in one of the Cinque Terre, but at the same time it can be uncomfortable. Most tourists plan to base themselves in Levanto which is wider and there are car parks where to leave the car. In this regard, especially if you want to visit this part of Liguria with your dog, I recommend the Park Hotel Argento . It is a beautiful structure, certainly not cheap but beautifully structured for those who have a dog. Some ground floor rooms have a tiled courtyard as if it were a small garden where you can leave your dog in the open air and not closed in a room. I found myself very well and my dogs also appreciated.
The tip-gem: discover Bonassola, a village not far from Levanto
Everyone flocks to this stretch of coast of Liguria to discover the Cinque Terre; they are based in Levanto and take the train eastwards, towards La Spezia. According to the hotelier, few, however, know the village of Bonassola west of Levanto. And even fewer people walk the stretch of a few kilometers that leads from the extreme west of Levanto to Bonassola via a cycle-pedestrian path built using the tunnels of the old nineteenth-century railway.
The cycle-pedestrian is paved with the dividing line between pedestrians and cyclists' lanes, it is made up of 5 more or less long tunnels that leave space for open stretches with isolated beaches. The waves break on the rocks and the rumble is heard in the silence of the tunnels. It is a very pleasant and perfect walk for anyone who has a dog and wants to take him for a walk. Most of the route is inside the tunnels, the shade refreshes the dog and does not tire him.
In reality, the route does not end near Bonassola but continues up to Framura and its overall length is 6km.
Bonassola I consider it a little gem; certainly does not have the charm of the Cinque Terre but it is still a nice village to spend a few hours. There is a beach and many bars with sea views. A nice alternative for a day trip that is not necessarily linked to the Cinque Terre!
My impression of the Cinque Terre
I told you ... for me the Cinque Terre are an evergreen. Every time I set foot in them they fascinate me and in each one I sit to see the time that passes, the life that flows and the sea and the waves that dispense peace and serenity. I don't usually go back to a place I've already visited, I always like to vary. In the case of the Cinque Terre, however, I am always ready for the exception!
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