The last stop in Italy on my tour was Cinque Terre, La Spezia. As you may have already deduced, Cinque Terre translates to Five Lands. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. Probably best known for its National Park and also being home to one of the best walking trails in the world, the Sentiero Azzurro.
The Sentiero Azzuro connects the five towns. Through Busabout, I booked a room in Riomaggiore, the south most town in Cinque Terre, also the closest of the five to La Spezia. Riomaggiore is, like all of the towns, built on a steep hillside. If you need to go anywhere, be prepared for stairs. Luckily the budget accommodation I was staying in was at the bottom of the hill and close to the access tunnel for the railway and the Sentiero Azzurro.
I look back on my trip there and wish I had spent more time there. The vivid colour and the unique atmosphere really made for an amazing location. It was reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast, well without the road running through its heart.
Of the three sections of the coastal walk, the first section northbound from Riomaggiore is The Lovers Path. It is an easy 30 minute walk along a paved coastal pathway. This is by far the easiest walk you will do. In fact, you may exert more energy going from your accommodation to the walk, yes it’s that easy.
The second section was closed so I caught a train from Manarola to Corniglia. It was from this point on that the walk got serious. I am not going to go into details about the walk but it was equally challenging and rewarding. The views are spectacular. Make sure you have plenty of water and fill up as often as you can.
Sadly in October last year Cinque Terre was all but wiped out by flooding. Torrential rain battered the coast that lead to a terrible disaster. I am thankful that I got to see this beautiful area before it was struck by such tragedy. Telegraph Report by Nick Squires
The good news is that many restaurants and business will be open this coming summer in Vernazza and Monterosso. Perhaps now is a great time to get discounted travel to this absolute gem of a location. I know it will certainly help the local economy and family owned establishments bounce back.