The Cinque Terre are an Italian destination that get a lot of press. There’s good reason. These five picturesque fishing villages located on the northwestern coast of the riviera are quite breathtaking. Colorful houses that seemingly fall into the sea, terraced vineyards, pretty beaches and incredible hiking? Sounds perfect!
The Cinque Terre have, however, in past years, been overwhelmed by tourism. The small size of these villages means that it is easy for them to feel packed. As locals (the Cinque Terre are our home area), we can help our clients avoid the crowds and see the area at its best. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges. However, the past two years gave our clients a special experience of these famous towns.
What’s changed? We have seen a dramatic difference in tourism after the pandemic started. These tiny villages between the mountains and the sea have slowed down. It’s possible, finally, to get a taste of what once was. We love the area where we live, and can happily say that the past two years, summers have been just dreamy.
The Cinque Terre are the perfect destination to get your summer holiday started with a tailor made trip!
Why the Cinque Terre?
Liguria is one of Italy’s smallest regions (third smallest, to be precise), but as they say, great things come in small packages. The world famous Italian Riviera stretches down the coast of this seaside region, from where it meets the French Riviera at its most west, to where it turns into Tuscany, on its east. The Cinque Terre are located on the eastern border by Tuscany.
The “Five Lands” make up one of Italy’s most idyllic seaside clusters of villages. It is a National Park that encompasses about 11 miles of the rocky coastline. Composed of these 5 colorful cliff and seaside villages and terraced hills cultivated with vineyards and olive groves.
The villages are all close to the sea, if not directly on it. Monterosso, the biggest, has a long stretch of rocky and sandy beach. This is the best choice for those looking to start off their summer soaking up the sun. For clients that are more active, the hiking trails that run along the sea loop through the mountains. They afford gorgeous, jaw dropping blues between the vineyards, green hills and turquoise sea.
The food is also spectacular. As so many restaurants had to slow down their pace due to social distancing requirements, serving quality food has become more and more important than quantity. Fresh fish, local vegetables, all with the sunny Mediterranean sun. Though it can be difficult to find great choices in touristy areas, working with a local means that you’ll never be steered wrong!
Nearby villages that will steal your heart
Starting off summer in the Cinque Terre means that you also have some spectacular neighbors to visit.
A day trip by boat to the village of Portovenere is one of our top recommendations. This laid back, pretty town has colorful houses that border the harbor in the gulf of poets. The beautiful, unspoiled island of Palmaria lies just in front. Portovenere is only accessible by boat or bus, there is no train line. This means that it stays quieter than its five famous neighbors, especially in the evenings.
Lerici is a great spot for families, long sandy beaches and great beach clubs. Levanto has one great, long beach that is a fun spot for budding surfers. There is also a fun bike path that families can take to hop to other nearby towns like Framura and Bonassola.
There are endless options for your perfect summer on the sea!
Tailor made tours and excursions
Besides the famous hikes of the national park, there are other special tours we can organize for you. All of them perfect ways to start of your summer!
Our small group boat tour is one of our favorites. You, your captain and a few other guests will depart from the harbor in Monterosso and cruise along the coast of the Cinque Terre, while enjoying Italian snacks along the way. You’ll get to know the other guests on the boat while learning about the history of the area, told to you by your English speaking guide. It takes roughly an hour to cruise down the coast to the southernmost village, Riomaggiore, and along the way you’ll see all five villages. Your host’s smaller boat allows us to get into little coves that bigger boats or ferries can’t access.
Another is our private, guided hiking and wine tour. This is the perfect, immersive day trip to learn the history of the region, get outdoors and witness some amazing coastal views. Your local guide will lead you through the hills to a local vineyard (not open to the public) where you can learn about the “heroic winemaking” of the area. After, you’ll head to a charming wine bar in the area where you’ll have a guided tasting of some of the best small production wines of the area. And you’ll end it with a taste of the queen of Cinque Terre wines, her majesty, Sciacchetrà.
These are just a few of the many experiences we can organize for you in the Cinque Terre area!
Your perfect summer
The Cinque Terre area is a great choice for starting off your summer. Please contact us to learn more and see some of the sample itineraries we can put together. The Cinque Terre can be easily added to a longer Italian or French itinerary, and the options are endless!
We are happy and eager to help make your travel dreams come true – a presto!