The Cinque Terre area is located within the Liguria region in the north west of Italy, situated to the west of the city of La Spezia (itself a major cruise port). Cinque Terre, literally meaning five lands, is comprised of five villages spread across a rugged and dramatic coastline, all of which are classed as a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The area can be visited in a limited number of ways, including by train, a boat service and hiking, each providing a different picturesque approach. The area is quite isolated from private vehicles, although some of the villages can be accessed.
The area and villages have grown since the 11th Century in various forms, with a focus around fishing, however the area has significantly changed as greater levels of connectivity have been brought forward, e.g. with the construction of the railway line that connects into the wider Italian peninsula. These days the area is heavily reliant on tourism, and this is no wonder given its beauty.
When people think of the region the images that come to mind are the variety of brightly colours houses that hang over the water’s edge. The unique colours originated from the fishermen, who whilst fishing wanted to be able to see their house with ease.
If visiting La Spezia on a cruise, or of course the area in general, I definitely recommend spending a day travelling between the villages. Here are some key pointers if you decide to visit:
- Train times – If time is a necessity use the rail connection to quickly access the Cinque Terre region.
- Boat – If time is not a problem I thoroughly recommend utilising the water taxis. Sailing up the coastline affords breath-taking views of the region, as well as the unique approach to each of the villages. Just keep an eye on the time as you can easily get caught up in the beauty of it all.
- Cuisine – Given the villages vicinity to the sea seafood is a speciality of the region so I recommend partaking in it. The region is also famed for their production of Pesto, and one village in particular, Corniglia, is famed for its honey ice cream.
- Beer and wine – The area is also well known for its drink, with the rugged staggered coast line providing ideal climates for wine production. There is also a variety of local beers produced in the region.
- Take a camera – Perhaps it goes without saying, but with such a beautiful area to explore a camera is a must. With the area being a UNESCO World Heritage Site there are a lot of protected flora and fauna, for example Peregrine Falcons, so keep an eye out!
Pictures from my visit last year whilst on board Allure of the Seas can be found here
For more information visit here. Tourist information in La Spezia can also be very informative and assist in organising trips via the water taxis, etc.
Content and images © Marcus Adams 2016
Video by Exploration Brothers, YouTube, 2016
Map © Lonely Planet 2016