Cinque Terre ("the five lands") is a beautiful and rugged stretch of coast along the Italian Riviera composed of five villages -- Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore -- that, along with the surrounding hillsides, form the Cinque Terre National Park. The villages are largely devoid of large-scale corporate development and infrastructure so getting around the region is best by footpath, train, or boat. (Lisa and I drove to the southernmost village -- Riomaggiore -- rather than take a train since our two-and-half days in Cinque Terre were part of a week-long road trip that included Cinque Terre and Tuscany.) We arrived in late-afternoon then wandered down to a rocky alcove to lounge around while the sun set.
The primary footpath connecting the five villages -- Sentiero Azzuro -- is suppose to take about five hours to walk although when we were there, the leg between Manarola and Corniglia was closed due to a landslide so hikers were directed on a detour that added one to two hours to their journey. Most of the trail between Riomaggiore and Monterosso is pretty tame, especially the paved section between Riomaggiore and Manarola.
Once you leave Manarola, the trail starts to ascend the cliffs overlooking the villages and sea...
|Sun setting over the Mediterranean|
|"I could get used to this!"|
|"And I to this: Aperol Spritz and potato chips!"|
|The southern terminus of Sentiero Azzuro|
|View to the south|
|View to the north|
|Vernazza in the background|
|Afternoon sun over the Mediterranean|
|View of the Cinque Terre coastline from the northern end|
|Some of the trail signage we encountered|
|Looking back from the trail|
|Looking forward from the trail|
|Dusk settling upon the Italian Riviera|
|Another stellar sunset|
|The best beach among all the towns we'd wandered through|